Before anyone suggests that I’m writing this post because I’m a turret engineer, I am not. I play an engineer regularly and when I do so, it’s always as conditions. Having that said, I still think turret engineers and despite them being annoying to fight against, should be a valid style of play. They sacrifice a great deal to be able to fulfil a defensive role and limit themselves significantly because of it. If a player wants to do that, they should be able to.

Sadly, turret engineers have been a blight on structured PvP for some time and it predominantly revolves around the fact that they were so powerful at controlling a point, that uprooting them proved impossible for some professions. The regeneration on turrets, combined with their shield and the nuisance of a rifle engineer - hitting you all the while - was a headache. Use more than one turret engineer on a team and the whole problem multiplied to the point where PvP really wasn’t fun.

My Engineer, looking fabulous.

Despite turret engineers being very strong, there were some professions that could comfortably deal with them: greatsword mesmers were more than capable of cutting them down when attacking from maximum range. On top of that, a coordinated team could comfortably sweep onto a control point and focus the engineer in just a few seconds. Sadly and for a large proportion of Guild Wars 2 players who don’t play as a team of five, solo queuing and regularly fighting against teams of turret engineers proved a recipe for rage.

After several months of turret engineers climbing the leaderboards, ArenaNet’s Josh Davis finally addressed the issue with a single proposal:

"Hi all,

As a follow-up to my post from last Friday, I wanted to give you a run-down of the changes we’re looking to make to the engineer’s turrets:

Engineer turrets will be able to be critically hit. (Edit for clarity: this change means the turrets can take critical hits against them, but they still cannot deal critical hits themselves.)

Engineer turrets will be able to be affected by conditions.

Considering most minions/summoned pets are already susceptible to the aforementioned changes we feel that this is a fair way to bring turrets more inline with the rest of the game.

These changes should only slightly affect the viability of turrets in PvE/WvW (low creature crit chance/condition application), while providing for more counterplay against turrets.

We’d love to hear your feedback on these changes. Feel free to respond below with your comments.

-Grouch"

On paper I actually think this sounded like a relatively simple, yet effective solution. In reality, its actually crippled an entire skill set of the engineer’s to the point where turrets and turret based builds are now useless.

Having played many structured PvP matches since the patch went live (as both an engineer and as my usual condition ranger, mesmer or necromancer) turrets are now so weak that they have no ability to survive anything. Even with such heavy trait investment, anyone can comfortably kill a turret with only a couple of hits. Their survivability only plummets further when you throw a group fight into the mix. Considering their lengthy cooldowns, I’m now wondering as to what purpose turrets even serve because their ability to deal damage or protect a point is irrelevant: they don’t survive long enough to produce a single attack.

By allowing turrets to not only suffer critical damage but conditions as well, they simply have no chance of surviving. When a single Rapid Fire can destroy a Rocket Turret instantly, or one Entangle is capable of killing every single turret surrounding a control point, something is very wrong. I’m not suggesting that turrets were right before, but we’ve swung so far in the opposite direction that an entire line of skills is now redundant.

Considering the engineer already has handfuls of skills that are downright terrible, it’s only forcing players further and further into celestial rifle or rabid. To neuter turrets in this way has also had ramifications on Supply Crate to the point where the turrets that arrive with it are almost guaranteed to die instantly. As a result, the engineer is now left with an elite that provides a few health packs and a stun. Hardly exciting.

The fragility of turrets wouldn’t be a bad thing if their cooldown had been reduced to reflect the fact they die quicker than previously but instead, engineers are now left with a rocket turret that has a 50 second cooldown, which dies to a single skill. How is a turret engineer, in any shape or form, supposed to be viable now? This isn’t ‘balancing’, it’s the eradication of an entire playstyle.

When I posed my concerns to many players in the Mists or to friends, they all laughed. They were glad turrets were now useless and that overnight, they had vanished from ranked play. What frustrates me so much about this attitude is that it’s entirely selfish as opposed to looking at the bigger picture of how a profession and its skills function. I regularly hear about how turret engineers and the fact they are AI controlled is unfair and yet a mesmer differs little in the sense that Phantasm’s are also AI controlled damage. The only difference being that a Phantasm’s damage is higher than any turret, lower in cooldown, can be shattered and you don’t sacrifice any utility for having them. Oh, and unlike a turret, they can follow you. Why then, are turrets seen as the villains of PvP?

It might sound as if I’m some sort of turret-lover but that’s not really the case. They were too strong. However, balancing a profession and its skills shouldn’t be reactionary and any subsequent action taken shouldn’t render that specific build useless. Imagine how mesmers would feel if their Illusions and Phantasms died in one hit, but had a 50 second cooldown. They’d be rightly annoyed (I know I would be, I play a mesmer too).

As far as I’m concerned, turrets should only be affected by burning and to compensate for how weak they now are, they should have their cooldown significantly reduced. I honestly think 25 seconds would be more than fair. Would doing this bring turret engineers back into structured PvP? Most likely. Would that be a bad thing? No, I don’t think so.

I've reached out for ArenaNet for comment, so I'll keep you posted.

[Update] Having reached out to ArenaNet, they simply stated that they weren't willing to provide a quote on this issue, at this time.


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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2016

About The Author

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Lewis currently splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Battlerite, and World of Warcraft, having covered MOBAs and MMOs for many years.

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