Why do I play Engineer? Not to turtle, that’s for sure.
I play Engineer to support my team, by providing suppressive fire, healing, ammo resupply and teleportation to the frontlines. The appeal of Engineer, however, isn’t just on the support he can provide for the team, or being able to get kills while sitting back and AFK for hours while your Sentry does the work. In fact, the Sentry isn’t even the most interesting thing about the Engineer.
I really enjoy playing Engineer. To be more specific, I love playing Combat Engineer. So much so, I wrote about how much I enjoy playing Combat Engineer in two articles. The Sentry-and-Shotgun combat is really fun, but that to me isn’t the key aspect of Engineer gameplay.
The beauty of Engineer, to me, is that it allows me to control the movement of my team. Essentially, I am playing as the scrapped Commander class, directing my teammates towards where I want them to push towards. I came across this concept in a YouTube video, and I would gladly link it if I can remember which video it is. I am really sorry about that, since that video definitely deserves more views.
Either way, the concept behind it is this:
Your Dispenser is a source for health and ammo for the team. Placing it behind cover, near the frontlines, will give your actively fighting teammates an almost infinite supply of … supplies, which keeps them in good fighting condition.
Thus, a Dispenser serves as a rallying point for teammates. It sets a position where they’ll fall back to when in danger, and by determining the starting point of the push, decides where the main force of the team will push towards. I tend to place my Dispensers in a spot that is clearly visible to the team once they exited my Teleporter, and at a position where the team will usually fall back to, so that they know for sure where it is.
The Teleporter, meanwhile, is the most important building in the Engineer’s arsenal. What it does is that it provides a shortcut to the frontlines by teleporting people from one end to the other. And quite often, a steady stream of mercenaries is what it takes to crack the enemies’ defenses.
Thus, this is the most important tool for dictating your team’s movements. Where your exit is literally determines the path everyone taking your Teleporter will take, since you are already sending them along that way. I said that, but I did remember an idiot Scout walking all the way back to get onto the main route when the Teleporter Exit is literally two steps away from the end of that flank route, just a few seconds away from the objective. Bloody moron…
Still, the Teleporter is vital as it allows you to direct where your team goes. My favourite spots tend to be near the end of flank routes, since having a large number of teammate barging in from an unexpected direction will generally catch the enemy team unaware. That gives us a much better chance of winning.
In essence, playing Engineer is like playing chess, with the other players as pieces and the map as your board. You need to decide where your team should be heading, and place your buildings accordingly so that they go where you want them to. The resources you provide to the team helps them, and at the same time they direct them. That is why I drew the comparison between Engie and the scrapped Commander class earlier in this article.
And the best part about this pseudo-RTS? You still have a Shotgun and a deployable Sentry to tear through enemy ranks. You have the option to get your hands dirty. I’ll probably enjoy RTSes more if I get the option to run in with a shotgun when things aren’t going too well.
This, to me, is the joy of Engineer. The strategy behind building placement, the control you have over the flow of the game, and the option to shoot someone in the face.
I really need to find that video that told me about the team managing aspect of Engineer. That really made me view playing Engie in a new light, and let me enjoy the class more.