This guide is heavily based on Highorbit's Engineer Guide MKII. Updated in the AO forum by Muhandes and condensed here in this guide by the AO Universe team.
So you started an Engineer? First of all let me welcome you to the profession. I'd like to say right at the beginning that this guide isn't only aimed at new players, I've tried to add in as much information, or links to information that should hopefully be able to satisfy a large number of commonly asked questions. Much more information is available in the Useful Reference Threads.
What this guide doesn't do: Provide you with a step by step list of things to do to make your character uber.
1. Choosing a Breed
- Unique items for int and nanoskills twinking at early/mid-game.
- First to cast and easiest to self each bot and nano.
- Easiest to equip Tier and Arithmetic armor.
- Easiest to equip symbs at mid-game.
- Best at most tradeskills
- Least HP (~1.5k less than soli at 220)
- Hard to equip the best symbs at endgame.
- Hardest to equip Combined Commandos armor.
- Worst SB for clan.
- Worst Burst, AS.
- Best at early and mid-game (up to TL5 probably) where HP is rather meaningless and casting and selfing first is meaningfull, due to symbs and abilities.
- Hardest for PvP at endgame due to lack of perks and HP.
- Cheapest to play as it doesn't require much to self everything.
- Decent HP.
- Good enough nano skills.
- Easy to equip endgame symbs.
- Good endgame perks for PvP.
- Most IP to max abilities
- With good HP and nanoskills mix probably the best overall breed for the average player, not looking for unique advantages.
Good endgame PvP due to perks (and SB for omni).
- Best weapons. Highest pistol combo. Best Pistol/Grenade AR.
- Best evades.
- Easiest to equip CSS.
- Easiest to equip the important endgame symbs.
- More AS.
- Good burst.
- Slightly less HP than solitus.
- SB for clan is bad.
- HP regen tick is slowest.
- Best choice for an evade engi.
- Slight loss of HP is covered up by better evades, if one chooses to play this way.
- Best HP (~1.5k more than soli/opi, ~3k more than NM).
- Mongo Rage, an endgame Perk which might be usefull for PvP.
- Easiest to put on strong/merc armor.
- Least IP to max abilities.
- Fastest HP regen tick.
- Best Burst.
- Good AS.
- Hardest to put symbs in. Even the 250 symbs are very hard at 220.
- Hardest to self bots and nanos.
- Hardest to put Tier armor/CSS/Scout/Officer.
- Worst at tradeskilling
- Worst for start and mid-game.
- HP, SB and maybe MR make it good for endgame PvP.
- Not a good choice for the beginner player and a challenge to everyone.
- Most expensive to play as it requires much to self anything.
The most important thing you'll have here is your very first Robot Shell. As well as some health kits, first aid kits and if you're Omni or Clan a blank token board.
You may need to raise some of your skills to upload these nano crystals and activate the bot. So press the "U" key. You'll find the skills you need under "Nano & Aiding".
You can see a description of any item or player by holding down shift and left clicking on it. The description contains all the information about the skills you need to wear or use the item.
If you need to remake your robot you can do so by right clicking on the Nano Progam under the Space section. This makes a bot shell in your inventory again. Bots cost credits though, so make sure you kill a few creatures before losing your first pet.
This bot will last you until you terminate it, it dies, or you log off. If you lose your connection the bot will wait for 2 minutes for you to reconnect before powering down.
3. Controlling Your Pets
3.1. Pet Commands
Pets are controlled through the command line (i.e. hit enter, type in the command). But don't panic there are ways to make this much easier, which we will go over later.
The "mode" commands will change the way the pets behave until you give the pets a new mode command. These are:
the pet will follow the owner and attack any target that attacks the owner. This is the default mode.
the pet will follow the owner.
the pet will follow the owner. The difference between this and follow isn't clear.
the pet will stop and do nothing. Also sets the mode to /follow.
the pet will attack the selected target, and subsequent targets that attack the pets. Afterwards, the pet will return to the owner and to the previous mode.
the pet terminates and disappears.
the pet reports its health, nano, ncu and location.
/pet rename "New Name"
renames the pet. The name must be at least 4 characters long. If you'd like a colourful name check here.
/pet chat "Chat text"
the pet says the text.
Since our pet can't heal, the /pet heal command is useless to us. The command /pet emote also doesn't work on our pets.
From level 100 you can also have a pet dog. From then on, if you issue a command, other than /pet rename, it is issued to both pets. To issue a command to one pet use /pet "petname" command.
You can also issue these commands from two other places. The first is the pet window. Type "/open pet" to open this window, and you can see some of the commands are available as buttons. The second is macros, which we will go into now.
The command /macro macroname macro text creates a little icon for your to place on your shortcut bar (press "Y" if you can't see that). Which then allows you to perform the command just by pressing a number from 1 - 0 depending on it's position on the bar.
You can either have the game help you with this or do them yourself. If you want the game to help you simply type in /help pet and click on each of the links to create the macro. Otherwise, just type /macro Attack /pet attack etc.
3.3. Maximum Range
Your pet will only obey your command up to a maximum range of 50 metres. If your pet is further away than that, for example since you issued a /pet wait command and moved away, and you issue a command, you will get the message "Pet is too far away. It can't hear your command." and the pet will do nothing.
Your pet will also stop fighting if you are further from it than 50 metres. You will first get a warning "Your pet is out of range, if you don't get closer to the pet it will abort the fight and return to you." You are then given 5 second to close the distance to your pet. If you close the distance, you will get the message "You are within your pets range again." and your pet will continue fighting. Otherwise, you will get the message "Your pet is out of range, it's aborting fight to return to you." and your pet will come back running to you.
3.4. Pet Runspeed
The runspeed of your pets is your own runspeed*1.2 (or maybe 1.25). This is done so your pet will be able to follow you around. However, runspeed is only determined when the shell is activated, or when you zone. You should therefore make sure that you activate shells when your runspeed is optimal. For example, don't create shells when your runspeed is debuffed. If you do, zone again after the debuff wears off. If you get a runspeed buff, zone so your pet gets the new runspeed.
4. Affording your Engineer
Getting enough credits to fund your character is pretty hard to start off with, this is the same for all professions, but I think more so on those that depend on their nanos.
If you find you don't have enough credits to afford the next bot up, then slow down! Take a little while to gather those credits up and relax a little. Levelling is not the most essential part of the game, having fun is.
"It's not the end of the journey that matters, it's the path you take to get there"
Now you've done that we'll take a closer look at some things that can help you make a few credits.
4.1. Begging Don't do it. Too much of this happens already and this may well get you ignored by a large quantity of the higher level population. There are other ways, they may take longer but you won't annoy anyone in the process.
4.2. Soloing Missions
Before we begin looking at missions as a way of making credits make sure you get Clicksaver.
Get a lock pick, nothing worse than being stopped by a locked door, or unable to steal a poor mobs precious belongings because they were inconsiderate enough to have locked it away. Also make sure that you get yourself a few backpacks to put all the items you loot in. Then it's simply a case of kill and loot everything you can, after all there's no team there with you.
In the next couple of sections I'll include mission settings for you to try out. The settings below give you a high chance of human mobs. The choice is then between XP and Money as the reward. We use the Good / Bad setting in this case just to get missions that are nicer to do. Avoiding assassination missions and observing missions, as well as return item mission since we want the most stuff for ourselves!
Mission Setting: Bad, Money, Order
Mission Setting: Good, XP, Order
Soloing missions is an excellent (albeit time consuming) way of getting items and credits for yourself, and it's well worth learning to do. Soloing team missions is even better than solo missions if you can. Of course to do this you at least temporarily needs a team mate.
4.3. Blitzing Missions Blitzing is a process of running, or calming (if you're an NT, Trader or Crat) through a mission purely for the reward, that means you don't kill anything. Runspeed is probably the most important skill for doing this.
Mission Setting: Bad, Money, Order
The chance of receiving an xp reward is directly related to the percentage of mobs killed in a mission, we don't want an XP reward since we're not going to kill any mobs. Always save (use Insurance Terminal) before you attempt a blitz, this way if you die during a blitz you have lost nothing except for the couple of minutes it takes to recover.
4.4. Mission Location
Location is important, the further away from the mission terminal the mission is the more credits you'll get as a reward. This doesn't mean we have to run into the middle of nowhere to get a couple of hundred more credits though. Check out getting missions from other cities or towns and see how easy they are to get to.
If you find yourself looting a lot of ingots, gems, rings then we can make these more valuable by turning them into jewellery. Check out this guide for what you need and how to do it. Then you can turn what are normally junk items into rings, which will get you more credits from the shops.
To make Jewelery you'll need quite a lot of Agility and Mechanical Engineering.
Converting Monster Parts to Blood Plasma will need a bit of Pharmaceutical Tech skill. Check out the trade skill section for more information.
5.1. Essential Skills
This section covers the skills that are essential or useful to your progress as an engineer.
All skills are effected by something called "trickle down" from the basic abilities, this means a small increase in that skill based on the ability. As well as this skills can only be raised a certain amount before the ability needs to be raised as well.
The most important skills for us are those that make our bots, without those we're not much good. So at every step the following are essential for us:
Intelligence - Effects all nano skills, most trade skills Matter Creation - Bot Creation Time and Space - Bot Creation Computer Literacy - NCU, Belts & Grid Matter Metamorphosis - Shields Treatment - Med kits, nano kits, implants Body Development - This increases your Hit points Nano Pool - Increases your Nano points
5.2. Secondary Skills
Any other abilities you raise depend on your Breed choice. As Solitus I always suggest you raise Agility and Stamina (in addition to Intelligence).
There are two reasons for that, the first is that those two abilities also effect "Matter Creation" and "Time and Space". The second reason is that it's very easy to make implants that depend on those skills.
Some of the other skills you might be interested in are below (Any weapon skills are covered in the next section):
Run Speed - Self explanatory Biological Metamorphosis - The bot heals are using this skill. All Bot heals are mission reward only. Psychological Modification and Sensory Improvement - Raise to at least 66 Map Navigation - Optional, but if you raise to 80 you can have the important map upgrades (people & monsters) quickly. Otherwise use temporary implants to increase and upload maps as you level.
Provided you have the Shadowlands expansion pack you will have access to Perks. You'll receive a perk once every 10 levels up to level 200, and one perk for each level over level 200 giving you a total of 20 perks by level 200 and 40 in total by level 220. To access the Perk menu press Shift and P.
You can a Perk configuration tool to help you decide which you'd like here thanks to AUNO. There are no definite answers to which perks to choose, that is down to how you want to play your character and what you'd like to do. Remember that Perks are cumulative, and the benefits of each level and each perk stack.
A couple to pay close attention to are the two below that increase our "Matter Creation" and "Time and Space" skills.
It's well worth considering Bio Shielding . This provides you with some healing capabilities as well as an Absorb Shield that gets bigger the more points you put into Bio Shielding up to a maximum of 10000 at level 201.
Don't panic if you make a mistake with Perks, while it can take time it's not impossible to correct a problem. You are allowed to reset one perk point every 2 hours.
5.4. Resetting Skills
Before I begin on this section, please read and understand the following: IP Reset points provide the only method for you to change a character. This specifically relates to high level characters since those require the most work.
The game does change, the rules are rewritten on a regular basis and you cannot say for sure that the choices you make now will still be the best a year from now. If you have used all your IP Reset points you will have no way at all to adapt.
In many instances it is better to re-roll a character than use one of these points (before level 100 for instance). If you're short in IP for a particular skill it is always better to level if you can rather than use one of these points.
It is possible to reset skills if you need to. Every character has access to a fixed amount of IP Reset Points, and you'll get a few more every time you hit a title change (but not at level 205).
Title Changes at levels: 15, 50, 100, 150, 190 and 205
Each point allows you to reset a single skill, and returns all of the IP you have spent in that skill allowing you to spend it elsewhere. To do this you have to remove all weapons, equipment, armour and implants. The Map Navigation skill cannot be reset.
5.5.1. General Buffs
The first buffs you should look at getting in the game are the "Proficiency" nanos or the appropriate "Expertise" nanos. Expertise nanos overwrite the Proficiency nanos, so you cannot use both at once on the same skill, however they can be extremely useful.
A few other general nanos to get as an Engineer are Regeneration which increases the rate your bot will heal, Healing which you can use to heal your bot a small amount and Nano Crystal (Pet Warp) which warps your pet to you, useful if it ever gets stuck or lost.
5.5.2. Engineer Buffs
You can find a list of all Engineer nanos here.
Each of the Knowledge Nanos adds 80 to trade skills as listed. Each of the Mastery Nanos adds 125 to trade skills as listed. This buff overwrites the 80 buff, so you cannot have both running.
One particular line to pay close attention to is our attack rating buffs for the bot. These are very good for increasing the amount of damage your bot does.
5.5.3. Where to get the Nanos
As with all professions, most nanos with no SL requirement can be found in shops up to QL 125 and as mission reward at any QL. The ones with SL requirement can be found in the SL gardens and sanctuaries.
Clicksaver is a useful program to help you find the items / nanos you want without having to read the description for every single mission. Please note that Funcom do not support Clicksaver in any way.
The exceptions for these are listed below:
- Bot heals, the Sympathetic line and the Disruptive line are not available in shops.
- "NanoCrystal" instead of "Nano Crystal", except Shield of the Obedient Servant mentioned above and Sloughing Protective Field which can be found in shops, is dyna loot only, i.e. these drop from outdoor bosses.
5.5.5. Trader Buffs Team Skill Wrangler (Premium) - Adds nano skills and weapon skills.
Apprentice - Each adds 40 to one of your trade skills
Journeyman - Each adds 80 to one of your trade skill
Maestro - Each adds 125 to one of your trade skill
None of the trader tradeskill buffs stacks with each other, or with our own tradeskill buffs. However, unlike our buffs, they have no level limit, so you can get them even at very low levels.
These are details of some items that add to "Matter Creation" and "Time and Space" which we can use to help us summon our bots.
Drops from mini-bosses in the catacombs beneath the temples in Shadowlands. Found up to + 80 version. This version adds to TS, PM and SI. Can be dual-weilded with the Pensive version.
5.7. Bots, Buffs and Over-equipping (OE)
This applies to weapons as well, but my primary concern here is to explain how it applies to our pets.
5.7.1. What are Over-Equipping Rules?
These rules were introduced several patches ago in an attempt to combat the growing number of characters using items and pets substantially over their skill levels.
For weapons and armour it reduces the effectiveness in increments of 25%. OE does not apply to NCU memory, Belts, Implants, HUD items or Util items. For pets it simply makes them stop responding entirely and they enter Behind mode (will follow you around but not respond to other commands).
5.7.2. "What has that got to do with me?"
In effect this gives us two things to consider whenever we make a bot or put on a piece of armour. The first being how we get all that extra skill in the first place, the second is how much do we have to maintain in order to continue using it.
Lets use the Slayerdroid Guardian as an example. This requires 874 "Matter Creation" and "Time and Space" to cast and activate the shell.
Now before the OE rules were introduced that meant you could get Mochams and a 132 Wrangle and make that bot at a very early level and continue using it until you logged off even if those buffs ran out.
What OE rules changed was that you need to be able to maintain 700 MC and TS to continually use the bot.
With a weapon instead of a pet the weapon would become 75% effective at the first OE level. If your skills were even lower, then the gun would drop to 50% effective.
5.7.3. Doing the Maths
You can figure out exactly how much skill you need to use something, or the highest you can possibly use without being effected with these two little formulea.
Amount of Skill Required to Control = Amount of skill to make or wear * 0.8 (Round up result to the nearest whole number)
Maximum amount within OE = Current Skill * 1.25 (Round down result to the nearest whole number)
5.7.4. "There must be an easier way?!"
Fortunately for us there is, a player made bot known as Helpbot can help you out with what you can and can't use.
Simply send helpbot a tell and ask him:
/tell helpbot OE <skill>
Enter your skill and he'll show you the result of both of the formula I have above.
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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