Engineer Guide MKIII (2/3)

Class: Engineer
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Learn how to play an Engineer

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1. Choosing a Breed
1.1 Nanomage
1.2 Solitus
1.3 Opifex
1.4 Atrox

2. Starting to Play

3. Controlling Your Pet
3.1. Pet Commands
3.2. Macros
3.3. Maximum Range
3.4 Pet Runspeed

4. Affording your Engineer
4.1. Begging
4.2. Soloing Missions
4.3. Blitzing Missions
4.4. Mission Locations
4.5. Jewellery
4.6. Monster Parts

5. Skills
5.1. Essential Skills
5.2. Secondary Skills
5.3. Perks
5.4. Resetting Skills
5.5. Buffs
5.5.1. General Buffs
5.5.2. Engineer Buffs
5.5.3. Where to get the Nanos
5.5.4. MetaPhysicist Buffs
5.5.5. Trader Buffs
5.6. Items
5.7. Bots, Buffs and OverEquipping (OE)
5.7.1. What are OverEquipping Rules?
5.7.2. "What has that got to do with me?quot;
5.7.3. Doing the Maths
5.7.4. "There must be an easier way?!"

6. Armour Choices
6.1 Beginner Armor
6.2 Intermediate Armor
6.3 Endgame Armor

7. Weapon Choices
7.1. Beginner Weapons
7.2. Intermediate Weapons
7.3. Endgame Weapons

8. Trimmers & Android NCU Upgrades
8.1. Permanent Effect Trimmers
8.1.1. Attack Speed Trimmer
8.1.2. Taunting Trimmer
8.2. Temporary Effect Trimmers
8.2.1. Tradeoff Trimmers
8.2.2. Damage Type Trimmers
8.2.3. Improve Actuators Trimmer
8.3. NCU Upgrades

9. Implants
9.1. Profession Specific Premade Implants
9.2. Implant Design
9.3. Common Issues
9.4. Sample Implant Design

10. Soloing & Teaming
10.1. Terms & Concepts
10.2. Pets in Combat
10.3. Solo Play
10.4. Team Play
10.5. Offensive and Defensive Auras
10.5.1. Damage Shield Debuff
10.5.2. Reflect Shield Debuff
10.5.3. Blind (Add All Off Debuff)

11. Trade Skills
11.1. Introduction to Trade Skills
11.2. Trade Skill Processes
11.3. Charging for Trade Skills
11.4. Special Tools
11.5. Maximum Skills for each Breed
11.6. Tutoring and Why It's Important
11.7. Where to find out more

12. Player Vs Player
12.1. Combat Specialist or Tradeskill Specialist
12.2. Skills
12.3. Weapon Choices
12.4. Ranged or Close Combat?
12.5. Nanos
12.6. Tactics
12.7. Things to watch out for

13. Anything Else
13.1. Making References & Tracking Damage

6. Armor Choices

In general armor is used for two purposes - improving your AC and getting modifiers. As Engineers rarely stand in the front, and we have our own AC buffs, AC is less important to us. We therefore focus on what other abilities an armor set can give us.

6.1 Beginner Armor

At very early levels. From omni shops, cheap. Modifies treatment and first aid, for better treatment labs and stims.
1 - 200Arguably one of the best beginner armors. Easy to get (guide here). Can then be upgraded to the Storm Carbonum Breastplate version (for clan) or Omni Carbonum Breastplate version (for omni). Agility/Stamina reqs which some breeds find hard, but still a good choice, even if at a slightly lower QL.
25 - 100Adds Time & Space and health. Drops from Mortiigs in Elysium. QL25 gloves from Nascence Start-up Quests. Note it's Unique.
35 - 200For Atrox mainly due to Stamina/Strength reqs and good looks on Atrox. Expensive (guide here).
75 - 300Adds MC/TS. Drops from sided mobs of all levels. Quite cheap.
50-300Adds to nanoskills. Guide here. Pants, Sleeves and Skinchip give TS; Gloves, chip, boots and jacket are MC.

Other armor choices, contributing to AC only
Stamina & Strength Armour (Atrox)

35 - 200Mission Reward / Loot. Good AC, looks bad.
?? - 200Mission Reward / Loot. Good AC, looks bad.

Intelligence & Psychic Armour (Nanomage)

75 - 200Mission Reward / Loot. Easy to get.
30 - 200Mission Reward / Loot. Harder to get than Nano.

Sense & Agility Armour (Opifex)

1 - 200Mission Reward / Loot

6.2 Intermediate Armor

The right time to switch into your intermediate armor is when you have the requirements to equip it. When this happens depends on your breed or on the armor choice. The Intermediate armor choices are made of armor sets, where usually each item adds to some specific abilities. You can mix and match to add to the abilities you find most useful.

Reqs start at 365 Intelligence & 300 Psychic. Requires quite an ellaborate process to make (guide here), and has moderate modifiers. This is mostly a good choice if you are going to use the Third Tier armor (see Endgame Armors). The Second Tier armor can mostly be skipped.
Reqs 550 Sense & Agility for ql200
so best for opifexes.
Adds to inits and evades. Guides here and here.
nice inits/evades. From Cerubin in the Crypt of Home (guide here).
Requires TL5. Good health and weapon modifiers. Drops from the Omega/Empath in the Penumbra Unredeemed/Redeemed temple. Also viable as endgame armor.
Armor Requires 550 Strength+Agility/Strength+Stamina, as well as TL6. Quest reward, (guide for clan/omni)
Requires 605 Stamina, and can be used from level 175. Can be found at the Mercenaries Camp (guide here). All the parts add to your health.

(Merlin Armor)
Requires 750 Intelligence & Psychic. Good choice for nanomages. Drops from dragon bosses in Inferno.

6.3 Endgame Armor

Tier 3 Armor
Faithful Engineer Body for clans
Chosen Engineer Body for omni.
For most armor parts you need to make Tier 2 armor first (guide here) and then upgrade it to Tier 3 (guide here). However, note specifically that the back armor, the helmet, and the shoulderpads behave a little differently, so read the instructions for those carefully. Of specific interest are the back item, which adds a nice chunk of health, the gloves which add Pistol and the chest which adds grenade. Almost all parts add to tradeskills.
Jathos' Molybdenum Plate Vest for clan
Kegern's Molybdenum Plate Vest for omni. Neutrals can use both.
Drops from the biodomes (guide here). Has good HP bonus, mainly Vest is used by PvPers.
Alien armor is one of the top armor sets in the game. Check the guide here for more information : Guide

You can basically choose any armor type you wish. However, some options are more popular.

With the Alien Armor, the Arithmetic Armor type is usually used for enhancing your nanoskills while casting your bots and for tradeskilling. As such, it has little use during combat, and is preferably swapped for a better armor after being used. However, not everyone can afford a second set for combat so Combined Sharpshooters is a common option for the evades it gives. Combined Officers is mainly used a cheaper alternative as it has better AC than Arithmetic, though the extra modifiers aren't that useful in the endgame.

As most engineers use ranged weapons, Combined SharpShooters and Combined Commandos are much better combat options. Combined Commandos is for the more damage dealing oriented, while Combined SSharp Shooters provides more survivability. MA engineers will find the Alien Strong armor, and especially Combined Commandos or Combined Mercenaries ideal. Combined Scouts gives more attack rating, which for MA engineers is very important, while Combined Mercenaries adds HP.

New with LE, Penultimate Ofab Engineer armor is an improved version of Tier 3 armor, available to all sides. You buy it in the tower shop for Victory Points, which you get by either killing aliens in the mothership or joining PvP in the battlestations. You then need to upgrade it twice with Kyr'Ozch Bio-Material - Type 64 (any ql), found on the boss in the mothership. Of specific interest are the gloves which add Pistol and the chest which adds grenade. Other parts add to tradeskills and basic abilities.

7. Weapon Choices

In general, weapons can be used for several purposes. First and foremost, weapons are used for direct fighting, by dealing damage. However, weapons can also be used to enhance your combat in other ways, such as providing you with better abilities. We will consider both of these options as "fighting weapons". Finally, weapons can also be used for "twinking", i.e. you can use a weapon to temporarily give you the ability to equip some other item, and then you change back to your fighting weapons. In this section we will deal with fighting weapons only.

This section will also ignore PvP weapons - these will be discussed in the PvP section.

Some of the information in this section is taken from Silverado's DD Guide. The main engineer weapon choices are Pistol and Grenade. There is also some experimentation with Ranged Energy and Martial Arts, but as this is a mainstream guide, we will not discuss them.

7.1 Beginner Weapons

In general, your first priority in the early levels is to launch and control as big a bot as possible, so your weapon of choice is the one that will help you achieve this goal. This is true at least until you can launch the best RK bot. Some people even do this until they can "self" the best RK bot, meaning they can launch it without outside buffs. As pistols are the easiest to equip, pistol being a green skill, and they happen to have the best mods, they are the best beginner weapons.

Weapons that help in launching a better bot:

Adds MC. Of special interest are the QL1 and QL51 ones, as they have low requirements and add 2/14 MC. Guide here.
Adds 5 int. Dual wield able. Rollable.
.%XPThis weapon adds to your experience modifier, which means you will level faster.

Beginner Pistol Weapons:

Reasonable damage. From Backyard vendor in Jobe up to QL50. After that boss loot only.

Low multi requirement, high minimum damage. Guide here.

This weapon will accompany you for a while if you want, as you keep upgrading it. Guide here.

Beginner Grenade Weapons:

Slow, but has nice damage, and sounds great. Dyna loot.

Only available up to QL50 from shops.

A lot of noise and damage, but extremly slow.

7.2 Intermediate Weapons

When you move to the intermediate weapons, it is time to decide what weapon type you are going to use. Most intermediate weapons tend to be Pistols.

Intermediate Pistol Weapons:

High min damage and low high damage make it best for SL mobs. Fast burst/fling recharges and no MBS. Drops from either the Lab Director in the Biomare Dungeon (guide here) or the Notum Soldier.

Slow but with exceptional low damage, making it good for SL mobs. Drops off SL sided mobs.

See above. Especially good for RK mobs.

Mainly for RK mobs. Drops from Patrica Johnson at ace camp (guide here).

Intermedate Grenade Weapons:

Reasonable damage on RK mobs. Rare dyna loot.

7.3 Endgame Weapons

When you arrive at the endgame you will probably know exactly what weapons style you want. Pistol setups tend to do the most damage, while Grenade costs less IP.

Engame Pistol Weapons:

Pistol of the Creator
Maker/Creator for clan, Ingenious/Innovatory for omni. Very high max damage make this good for RK mobs/aliens, but no specials and low min damage. Clan version is made from Sacrosanct Pistol + Turn Spirit of Bacam-Xum, omni version made from Inamorata Pistol + Turn Spirit of Aam. The weapons drop off sided mobs, the turn spirits can be bought from Yutto Manuals in form of Turnspirit Flesh Pouches and they drop from the heck bosses in inferno (near incarnator).

Kyr'Ozch Pistol - Type 1 and Kyr'Ozch Pistol - Type 4: Type 1 does fling and type 4 does burst. The very high MR requirement means you will not get the same ql on both hands. Until your burst is around 1300 it is best to have a higher type 1. Found from aliens, type 1/4 upgrades found on Generals/Admirals of city aliens.

Currently the best pistol weapon. You buy it in the tower shop for Victory Points, which you get by either killing aliens in the mothership or joining PvP in the battlestations. You then need to upgrade it five times with Kyr'Ozch Bio-Material - Type 812 (at least 80% ql of pistol), found on the boss in the mothership. Can be dualed, even at ql300.

Engame Grenade Weapons:

Primary reason to use Grenade, mainly due to the mods.

Best damage grenade for SL. Tradeskill (guide here).

Best damage grenade for RK. Found from aliens, type 1 upgrades found on Generals/Admirals of city aliens.

8. Trimmers & Android NCU Upgrades


This section covers the items you can use on your robot to enhance it's performance. Trimmers can be used as many times as you need and won't disapear on use. NCU Upgrades are single use only.

8.1. Permanent Effect Trimmers

When used these trimmers have a permenent effect on the robot, so you only need to use them once per bot. Note however, that it is not 100% agread that the effect lasts when you zone, so you might need to redo them every time you zone.

8.1.1. Agg/Def Trimmer

This line of trimmers can be bought from the Devices terminal in general stores. The maximum Quality is 100 which represents either full defense or full offense.

Trimmer - Positive Aggressive-Defensive
These increase the attack speed but decrease the bots ability to evade.

Trimmer - Negative Aggressive-Defensive
These decrease the attack speed but increase the bots ability to evade.

This range of trimmers basically alters the position of your pets Aggressive-Defensive slider. The effect is much the same as altering your own, at full offense the bot hits faster but has less effective evades so gets hit more.

The majority of our bots are more than capable of taking a little punishment though so we tend to favour the Positive Trimmers over the Negative ones.

8.1.2. Taunting Trimmer

This trimmer is made using components that can be easily bought in the shops. The Quality ranges from 30 to 200 and will require Mech Eng and a small amount of Chemistry to build.

The components needed are:

XU-11 Serum - From Pharma Tech Components
Chemical Impact Injector - From Melee Weapon Components
Trimmer Casing - From Mechanical Engineering Components

Which will give you:

Trimmer - Increase Aggressiveness

This trimmer adds a relatively small taunt value to your pets hits. In effect each hit making the mob more angry at the robot. Used in conjunction with Trimmer - Positive Aggressive-Defensive this can make the pet very good at holding the mobs attention.

8.2. Temporary Effect Trimmers

These trimmers last only for a timed duration. They all lock some skills to make sure they cannot be used too often.

8.2.1. Tradeoff Trimmers

These can be used once every 5 minutes, and the effect lasts for 5 minutes. They increase one ability of the robot at the cost of another. They also give a minor skill increase to the skill they lock (3 for ql200).
They can be found at the Devices terminal in general shops, and can also be rolled as mission reward.

Trimmer - Divert Energy to Avoidance - Increases your bots Evades at the expense of it's Maximum Health. The trimmer is currently bugged and increases Poison AC instead of Duck Explosions. It can be very useful for PVP as the damage the bot takes when you use it will break calms. Locks Electrical Engineering for 5 minutes.
Trimmer - Divert Energy to Defense - Increases the bots Armour Class at the expense of it's Attack Rating. Locks Mechanical Engineering.
Trimmer - Divert Energy to Hitpoints - Increases the bots Maximum Health at the expense of it's Defensive Ability. Locks Electrical Engineering for 5 minutes.
Trimmer - Divert Energy to Offense - Increases the bots Attack Rating at the expense of Armour Class. Locks Mechanical Engineering for 5 minutes.

8.2.2. Damage Type Trimmers

These trimmers change the damage type your robot does for 10 minutes. They decrease the hitpoints of the robot by a significant amount. They lock Mechanical Engineering for 60 minutes, so they can only be used once every hour. All in all, most engineers don't find them very usefull.

They are made by combining an energy core of the appropriate type, with Trimmer Casing. Energy cores are found on minibosses in alien ships, or in apf. Trimmer Casing is from Mechanical Engineering Components.

Trimmer - Fire Damage Modifier - from Heated Energy Core
Trimmer - Energy Damage Modifier - from Charged Energy Core
Trimmer - Cold Damage Modifier - from Cooled Energy Core

Note that these trimmers appear to be bugged, and they cause the bot to appear to have zero HP and stop moving. Zoning solves the problem.

8.2.3. Improve Actuators Trimmer

This trimmer adds to the damage your bot does and to its health. The effect lasts for 10 minutes, but it locks Mechanical Engineering for 60 minutes. It can be useful in a tight spot due to the immediate healing it does.
To make it combine Smelly Liquid, found minibosses in alien ships and in apf, with Trimmer Casing from Mechanical Engineering Components. The result is :

Trimmer - Improve Actuators

Note that it can only be done up to ql244 since the casing can only be found up to ql220.

8.3. NCU Upgrades

They provide additional NCU space for your bot, 110 more NCU at QL200. These do not come without a price though, each upgrade lowers the Armour on your bot (400 AC with a QL200 upgrade).

For the most part these NCU Upgrades are unnecessary as the bots generally have enough room for you to run a reflect shield, damage shield, AC buff and an Attack Rating buff. However you may want a keep a few handy if you really need them, especially since they drop fairly regularly in missions.

The lower Quality NCU upgrades tend to be more useful than the higher level ones as you're unlikely to need 110 more NCU on a robot.

9. Implants

First of all, implants are essential to your character, all the Nano Programs and weapons in the game assume you have them to a greater or lesser extent.

A good implant set can make the difference between you being very happy with your character or having problems with your character.

Throughout this section I'm going to try to avoid stating that you must implant certain things wherever possible. However, some statements like that are inevitable.

9.1. Profession Specific Pre-made Implants

You can buy profession specific implants for each profession up to quality level 100 from the general stores.

These implants are far from what most of us consider perfect, but they can save you the time and money building your own if you really don't want to until later on.

It's also worth checking the booths of other professions as sometimes you can make a better set by combining aspects of different professions.

Please take care if you do use these implants, especially if you're a Nanomage character. The implant set I have suggested below contains heavily implanted Life because as Engineers we don't have all that much, and as mentioned at the beginning out of all breeds Nanomage has the least life.

This is particularly important if you open a chest with a bomb in it. If you don't implant life and are Nanomage you will most likely be killed by any such bomb.

Eventually of course you'll have to build your own.

9.2. Implant Design

Designing implants is one of the most complex parts of the game and takes a long time to get used to, but if you have doubts or are unsure then just ask.

The first thing you should do when you are considering making your own implants is download Nano Nanny. This small program will really help you out as the number of combinations possible is very very large.

You should consider which skills you need to increase, of course there will be many conflicts within the implants if you wanted to increase everything so you have to be a little selective.

For each implant there are 3 slots, Shining, Bright and Faded. Each of these slots provides a different amount of skill increase, Shining provides the most, Faded the least.

So lets think about which skills are important to us as Engineers and whether or not we'd like to implant them.

Essential Skills to implant

Matter Creation - Required to make your bot
Time and Space - Required to make your bot

Highly Recommended

Intelligence - Effects all nano skills
Matter Metamorphesis - Required for engineer shields
Max Health - Increases your Hit Points, keeps you alive longer.


Bio Metamorphesis - Required to heal your bot
Weapon Skill - Depends on which weapon you choose, but I would suggest implanting the skills above carry higher priority.
Run Speed - Being able to move faster is just useful, you should have spaces to implant this without conflicting.


Sensory Improvement - I personally don't recommend implanting this because it conflicts with skills I consider more important like Intelligence.
Psycological Modification - As above.

As I've said, "Matter Creation" and "Time and Space" are both essential skills, however those use the same spots in the implant set so you have to balance the skills. So as an example you would install Shining "Matter Creation" and Bright and Faded "Time and Space" which balances the increase of those skills.

It's worth remembering that if all implants are of equal quality level, then:

Increase from shining = Increase from Bright + Increase from Faded

Experiment in Nano Nanny, it's free and once you learn the process it makes designing implants for you, or any of your other characters much easier.

Above everything else I want you to remember that anything I write here isn't set in stone and if you disagree then try your set up.

9.3. Common Issues

Ability Requirement on Implants - It's possible to alter the ability requirement on an implant a certain amount. You can see this change with the following example:

In Nano Nanny next to head implant select the following clusters.

Shining Time and Space
Bright Ranged Init
Faded Sense

Then build the implant (a function of Nano Nanny to simulate an implant build) at any quality level. Checking the results will reveal it requires Intelligence.

Repeat this process but this time only with these clusters:

Shining Time and Space
Faded Sense

This time the resulting implant requires Agility.

Max HP or Body Development? - In general the increase in HP provided by implanting HP directly is greater. There is an exception to this though. The Atrox breed gets more HP per point of Body Development than any of the other breeds, which makes implanting Body Development more beneficial for your character.

9.4. Sample Implant Design

This Implant set is purely generic and has no weapon skills implanted (except where the ability requirement needed changing), those depend on your weapon choice and the set will need altering in accordance with that.

The set itself will require you to have Agility and Stamina raised to wear it, although alterations could be made to change those requirements.

Sample Implant Design

Please continue on to Part 3 of this guide for information about gameplay, tradeskills and PvP.

Previous Section: Breed, Pets & SkillsNext Section: Strategy & Tradeskills

Last updated on 10.19.2012 by Llie
The current version of this guide in the AO Forum is being updated/maintained by Muhandes
This guide is based on the Engineer Guide MK II by Highorbit.
Thanks to Martinn for the majority of the MC TS buffing item list
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