There has been some grumbling going on within the MMOG community at the reveal of Guild Wars 2’s Engineer.
Protests from fans that it’s a joke or a wind-up, mixed with moans of “Grenades?! Turrets?! Ugh…” are seemingly common place at the moment, as the prospect of a technologically advanced class slips into a fantasy heavy setting…
It’s surprising to hear and read the complaints, that such a class doesn’t fit within the lore or setting; that it’s too advanced. Yet the same community were (and still are) accepting of the Charr Iron Legion and their magical technological advancements of flying contraptions and steam powered vehicles. Both of these resulting in huge levels of excitement. But to suggest primitive grenades, mines and clock-work turrets? Well that is surely beyond the acceptable.
With 250 years having passed between Guild Wars/Guild Wars 2 and the advancements this would naturally bring between the melding of Asuran magic and Charr technology, it’s
difficult to believe that contraptions of this nature wouldn’t appear. Having already revealed flintlock pistols and rifles, is it not only a small step to put the basic principals of these weapons into another form? Gunpowder and fire evidently appear in abundance within Guild Wars; a universe that has been forced to adapt to new challenges.
But failing to suspend your disbelief into accepting these new contraptions makes little to no sense, when we are so willing to accept pistols and rifles, and worse; shape shifting Norn, magical Golems and classes that can raise the dead.
It is true that these more magical elements do fit comfortably within fantasy lore, yet steampunk is as prevalent in games now as witches and wizards. Thief, World of Warcraft, Skies of Arcadia, Torchlight and The Chaos Engine have all over the years represented a modern twist on the ‘fantasy blueprint’. For ArenaNet to absorb this material as heavily as they have through the Charr and now into a class, shows a greater commercial acceptance of steampunk; that the genre is not restricted to fairies and firebolts alone.
Where I believe the objections stem from is that players and members of the community are not comfortable with objects that remind them of real life (we do try to escape it, after all). The Engineer’s name is a modern world occupation, ‘grenades’ appear and act as a modern grenade would, whilst turrets echo automated sentries from the likes of Team Fortress 2, Brink and Aliens so heavily that it feels like we haven’t only fast forwarded 250 years, but 1000.
Warhammer Online in many respects has beaten ArenaNet to the punch (which I must add shows another of Mythics influences on Guild Wars). The Engineer between both games, on paper, is very much the same; grenades, knockbacks, flame turrets, rifles and pistols all going to make a tactical area defence class. To anyone with doubts as to how Guild Wars 2’s Engineer will play, I suggest you seek out Warhammer Online’s free trial, though ArenaNet’s already looks more competent. What ArenaNet now need to ensure is that they scale the damage of turrets and grenades so they are always useful, as Warhammer Online’s were often forgettable and ignorable.
If I were to suggest only one visual change to ArenaNet’s Engineer, in order to address these uncomfortable real life parallels, is that they should firstly remove grenades in their current form, and instead have them as bottled liquids. Frost, Oil, Poison, and explosive flash-bang potions would create an air of alchemy and madness to balance a mechanical class; that those who dabbled too far into Charr iron work and Asuran magic are on the cusp of power and destruction, as opposed to the clean image currently portrayed.
But to continue as many are, in complaining that the Engineer does not ‘fit’ is as silly as suggesting dragons are real. MMOGs are fantasy games where disbelief must be suspended to not only be involved, but to be drawn in. As the creators of their own lore and intellectual property, whether we like it or not, ArenaNet have implemented a new to fantasy to their own creation.
What does concern me most however, is if this is the reaction to the Engineer, God help ArenaNet when they reveal the Mesmer…
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Very well put, here’s to hoping all them naysayers actually read this. /thumb up
I’d suggest looking at the video you posted once more.
They don’t behave like a typical grenade; they explode on impact, something you’d expect to see in an alchemical explosion.
Plus, they don’t look like grenades. They pretty much look exactly how you want them too.
If you look at the last grenade thrown (after the frost), it clearly resembles the image shown on the skill tool-tip; that of a more traditional grenade.
What I was proposing was instead of an encased explosive, they use bottles. They would then fit into the exploding/reacting on impact.
First off, I don’t think that the Engineer is being as unapproved as you make it out to be. Second…
“What does concern me most however, is if this is the reaction to the Engineer, God help ArenaNet when they reveal the Mesmer…”
Whats this suppose to mean?
Hi Johnny, I think I responded to you in another post 🙂
I think your wrong on the Engineer though, almost every post I’ve read on the Engineer are players not overly keen on it. Of course, this is inevitably subjective to forums I’ve been reading and comments on websites.
Secondly, the Engineer in my eyes is a relatively straight forward class, having been exposed to it in Warhammer Online, however with the changes they’ve inevitably had to make to the hexes within GW2, I think its safe to say that the community will be split on the Mesmer when it does arrive.
Actually, if you pause the video at the first grenade just before it hits the skritt I believe they are called, you will see they infact do not resemble modern grenades. There is no clip and the casing for the grenade does not look traditional. there is clearly a fuse string on the grenade. leaving me to believe it is lit to ignite a chemical reaction and then thrown.. just take another look 😉
I’d support potential reskins/redesigns/sound effect changes of some of the engineer’s arsenal, but I’m also 100% behind this article. The engineer fits the game, so much so that the community were able to predict a great deal of what it would involve.
Not everyone is going to like every profession, and that’s okay. It’s the fans who insist on using flawed arguments to claim that it doesn’t fit the game at all and should be removed who are irritating me.
I would say it’s now a classic fantasy trope thanks to Warhammer, which has had dwarves using this level of technology for decades of the game’s existence. People need to get their heads out of WoW and LOTRO’s butts and realize there are other fantasy environments. See also many Final Fantasy’s.
If suspension of disbelief must be a conscious action, then the design (aesthetically at least) has failed.
Well, one thing to note here is that the fanbase isn’t exactly monolithic. Some people like the clockpunk, and they cooed at the charr stuff accordingly. Others have a kneejerk hate reaction to any technology in their fantasy at all, and now that the engineer is out they feel as if technology is no longer something they can avoid by staying out of the areas it’s found in.
Personally, I’m in between. I’d championed the idea of the engineer while it was still speculation, but some of the aesthetics DO look too much like they’re ripped out of modern armouries rather than steampunkesque. Nothing an art redesign wouldn’t fix, though. I’d also have liked to see a conventional melee option – this is apparently what the flamethrower kit is for, but it would have been nice to be able to follow up a barrage of grenades with some “percussive maintenance” of the enemy’s hide.
This article highlights one of the major misconceptions about fantasy: that the burden is all on us, the audience, to suspend our disbelief; and if we can’t do that, it’s somehow our failure.
In fact, the burden is largely on the authors to seduce us into suspending our disbelief. To do that, they have to create a world that is compelling, consistent and believable, despite all the dragons and magic and other impossible stuff. That’s the ‘trick’ of fantasy: to make us believe things that aren’t real.
Compare Tolkien’s Middle Earth with, say, the world of Pokemon. They’re both outlandish fantasy, but Tolkien took great care to give his world a sense of internal logic. That’s why it’s so much more respected–and effective–than the world of Pokemon. Guild Wars 2 falls somewhere between the two, but I would hope they aspire more towards something like Middle Earth.
With the introduction of the Engineer, some people are starting to wonder.
Dragons do fit a fantasy world, flame throwers, grenades and remote controlled mines do not. The engineer no more fits GW2 than a wizard belongs in a game about World War II.
I think I sit between the two Alendi, but you do raise a good point.
World of Warcraft is a perfect example where its lore began to really lose its way with the introduction of the Drenai and has only gotten worse since. However, changes in lore (as long as they are backed up with appropriate reasoning and logic) should be widely accepted by all.
What I think ArenaNet have failed to do is bridge that gap, officially, as to how the Engineer came about, where the technology was discovered (just saying the Iron Legion isn’t good enough) how the Asura’s played a part (if they did) and why other races have adopted this technology.
i think you’re simplifying the problem
yes there are people that complain about technology but they also complained about the guns
the larger number of people that are displeased with the engineer mostly think that it would certainly work for the Charr and perhaps Humans and Norn but for an Asura to use a steam or clockwork powered device seems a bit primitive while for the Sylvary it is clearly too advanced
also GW is taking a more “realistic” approach to fantasy apposed to the more cartoonisch style of games like WoW so bulky machinery doesn’t feel right
i quite like the engineer but i do think it isn’t quite fitting
I think the real problem here is that a lot of fantasy rpg fans have now real understanding of historical weaponry and base their opinions more on what they are used to than what is actually possible.
The fact that GW2 includes pistols and rifles places its technological capabilities somewhere in or after the the 1400s, during which gun powder weapons were prevalent in European theaters of war (only trailing Asia by a few centuries). Once you introduce rifles, mortars and canons to a world in which 250 years have been used to evolve Budger Blackpowder’s dwarven powder kegs, it is not asking too much to expect grenades and mines. Adding magic to gunpowder makes a lot of magically delicious explosive things possible. Any GW fan that believed their ranger could set a trap that magically set folks on fire (aka, placed a mine) should have no problem with an engineer doing the same think 250 years later.
The online furor looks to me like a vocal minority of folks who don’t their technology in their ren faire. I’m just glad ArenaNet has enough vision to move past such short sighted stagnation. In the mean time, I’m accepting the powder kegs that Budger pulls out of thin air and dropping them within range of my spirit spammer’s turrets on a field of ranger trap mines. 😉
I honestly think once we’ve all been exposed to GW2 lore and environments, the Engineer will begin to look more fitting. Anet understands their universe more than anyone else, they created it, and if they didn’t see a problem with it. Then I’m with them 100% (excluding the fact that I never had a problem with it).
Someone on guildwarsguru posted this:
It’s a history of ancient weapons and how the engineer might be inspired by those
Oversimplification of something that is not a black and white issue.
1. There is a HUGE grey area between no tech and commando. Some people are more comfortable than others with where the engineer fits in that grey area.
2. Part of why some people’s initial reaction was that it was another joke is because the write up and the skill videos were not up to the caliber of prior reveals. Even supporters of the engineer have admitted there is room for improvement on second glance. Some of the visuals were poorly done or annoying regardless of genre. I’m also hoping the part where the whole video flashes blinding white during the grenade skill was just for effect, and it’s not something that’s going to happen constantly during PvP.
3. Advanced tech was supposed to be what set the charr apart from the other races. A similar feel to the engineer could be achieved with a charr thief. But instead the charr get stripped of some of their uniqueness. The distinctiveness of the professions has been somewhat compromised as well with the engineer’s uni
unique mechanic like that of the elementalist. Identical? No. But similar enough that they don’t really seem like unique mechanics. A lot of the engineer feels recycled and repackaged from previous professions, but in the form of a tech class. It makes one wonder if they started running out of steam, and with one profession remaining, it’s a little troubling.some of us approach the reveal with unease.
4. Some people are turned off by turrets not because of the tech but their implications for the active, dynamic game play ANet has promised. Even Eric admitted that engineers can be played more stationary while dancing around a question regarding dynamic game play.
5. It’s a little early to call the profession game breaking, but again, there’s room for improvement and hopefully ANet won’t jump to the same conclusion that any complaints are fueled solely be “omg grenades” and that the profession doesn’t need any refinement.
The Engineer owes as much to alchemy as it does to the technology provided by the Charr and maybe worked upon by the Asura. Arenanet gave us another clue with their previous article about the Hylek .
“All hylek have a set of poison glands that produce a deadly toxin. Hylek are naturally immune to their own secretions, as well as a wide variety of other natural poisons. Because of this, the hylek do a great deal of experimentation with poisons, antidotes, and a wide variety of compounds. Their knowledge and ability make the hylek some of the most sought after alchemists in all of Tyria—particularly by groups such as the Order of Whispers”
The combination of alchemy and engineering along with magic provides enough of a grounding in lore to make sense to me.
I like the idea of grenades being alchemical flasks and I also think it was a poor aesthetic choice to have a flashing red light along with a beep for the mine in the video, something more clockwork would have caused less outcry.
Lewis, in my opinion you are missing the root of the problem here. You claim that we should suspend disbelief, and just accept the ”Iron Legion and their magical technological advancements”, but the problem is that Iron Legion tech is not supposed to be magical. It’s not at all same as Asuran magi-tech, and therein lies the problem. As long as it’s presented as the huge defensive turrets of Black Citadel, it’s still believable. The big Charr ‘cars’ with their ‘clockwork’ engines begin to stretch the concept, and for me personally they already stepped past the limit. However, the engineer profession brings the ‘technology’ to where it would require Star Trek level of advancement to actually accomplish the tasks in believable way without the ‘wizard did it’ excuse. It’s not just ‘clumsy grenades’ or ‘simple turrets’. It’s small turrets that pop out of nowhere, and fight with advanced FoF target tracking mechanics. It’s shields with advanced stasis containment fields that absorb and redirect energies. Steampunk, when you look at it, is really no different from fantasy magic. It just uses the Holy Power of Steam instead of the traditional Essence of Magic, and puts it all into casing of some stylized industrial revolution aesthetics. Again this is simply my own opinion, but I think having two entirely different magical concepts (‘essence’ and ‘steam’) living in the same world, stretches the imagination too thin. They are conflicting concepts, unlike the Asuran magi-tech which essentially does exactly the same thing as ‘steam tech’, it just uses the already existing concept of magic to patch in what couldn’t be accomplished by the ‘realistic’ level of the existing technology. Guild Wars already had the engineer profession – that’s the original ritualist. As a concept it worked perfectly fine in the Guild Wars environment of magic. I fail to see why the ritualist had to be scrapped to be replaced by this pseudo-steam-magic-commando profession that simply doesn’t follow the pre-existing techno-magical rules of the world. Same kind of engineer concept works perfectly fine in Star Trek Online, but in a fantasy world the GW1 ritualist was simply a much better fit.
I totally agree with you, Nogitsune. But also for me as a sylvari loving elementalist there is just a too big gap from the advanced charr technology to the nature sylvari. I do understand that for example a guardian norn is a weird sight to see, but a sylvari engineer is really overstretching it for me.
I feel that the cause of this is that Arenanet didn’t explained or showed how advanced the technology really has become outside of charr territory and how the sylvari deal with it. If I had known more about it then the gap probably wouldn’t have been that big and it would have been much easier to accept that a class like the engineer exists in GW2.
Now it just feels for me that they try to get fps players to try GW2 and that they just ignore the sylvari completely.
I also agree, Nogitsune. These mechanics would have fit much better with the existing Ritualist, a class that already has a solid place in GW lore and was well-loved by many players.
I’m not against the steampunk concept because I dig the aesthetic, I just think the Engineer carries it too far. Sorry, but there’s no way that autotracking turrets can exist without magic. That being the case, how did the charr end up developing it? It looks a lot more like an asuran gadget to me. Really, that’s my only problem with the profession. Neither steam nor clockworks are smart enough to do that because no matter what, they aren’t sentient.
The Ritualist still would have had a much more comfortable fit though and would have been welcomed by many long-time GW fans.
there is a real problem with turrets – they don’t exist even nowaday. turrets require AI to know how to hit the enemies…
Great class though
I think you’re following a preconception that may not necessarily apply. Comparisons are easily made between the sylvari on one hand and elves, dryads and fae that traditionally have an aversion to postmedieval technology on the other – however, that might turn out to be taking the analogy too far. Yes, harmony with the environment is probably a little more important to the sylvari than it is to the asura or charr, but the sylvari are also the most curious of the races, and it’s easy to imagine that a sylvari might be curious enough about how all this stuff works to learn how to do it themselves.