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Thread: Keyley's Guide to MA engineer MK 2

  1. #1

    Keyley's Guide to MA engineer MK 2

    Since I'm bored I decided to put together a small guide for Martial Arts engineers. There is no such guide in the forums yet afaik, and maybe someone is going to read it.

    Why MA Engineer?

    In my opinion MA is a good alternative way for the PvM DD whoring engi from the usual Dual ql 300 peregrine one. It is a little cheaper on the equipment compared to pistols, while still offering impressive DPS rates. You have to keep in mind though that it is more suited for PvM and probably not the best choice for PvP. With a swapped in bow you can even participate in the AS wars, but you will loose the maximum PvM dmg capability by not being able to use two shen sticks.

    Levelling as MA engineer

    When I created my engineer in May 2005 I did it with the sole purpose of going the MA way. So I used MA all the way up from level 1-220. Looking back I can say that it is not an optimal weapon choice for low and mid levels. At those levels being at melee range is a serious drawback. Dmg is also far from impressive. At around level 210 it becomes a lot better, as you then have the HP you need to take some hits and can also equip ql 300 Combined Mercenaries armor. Overall I think it is better suited as endgame choice. If you want to be a top notch DD at every level range, you better use pistols and/or grenade until you do the switch over to MA.

    Which Breed to choose?

    Each breed has it's advantages and disadvantages. Nanomage is the only breed I would NOT recommend if you want to make a MA engineer. Not only because of the lower hp, but also because of the very low STR/STA values. As a Nanomage it will be impossible to self equip ql 300 Combined mercenary's armor without making huge sacrifices in your perk setup. Not being able to swap out your armor will make casting your bots a pain in the ass.
    Opifex has the highest base MA skill of the 4 breeds. This comes at the cost of low STA, which will again make selfing ql 300 Mercenary's armor very hard.
    Atrox have the easiest time equipping mercenary's armor, but due to the low PSY their base MA skill is the second lowest of all breeds. Also the Arithmetic armor you can use will be lower ql than what other breeds can get on, but that's not a big issue in my opinion.
    I chose solitus. The main reason was the balanced abilities. Since I wanted to reach the maximum possible dmg with martial arts, I had to do without the right-hand and eye symbiant. The loss in nano abilities I had to cover with being able to swap my armor whenever I needed to. Maintaining 1k Str/Sta while still being able to equip reasonably high ql Arithmetic armor is easiest to achieve with Solitus in my opinion. The 18 points lower MA skill compared to Opifex at level 220 is something I can live with.
    As a conclusion to the breed choice I think it's safe to say that you can pick whichever breed you want, as long as you are able to selfequip your armor. The difference in MA skill is very small at level 220, so it shouldn't be your main focus when you choose your breed. No matter which one you pick, they all are able to reach 2k+ without towers/contracts.

    Which Skills?

    The skills you will want to max are Martial arts and Brawling. Brawling may seem like a very gimpy special, but it's the only one you get. At level 220 I have about 1.4k brawl skill and the hits average around 2k dmg per hit, so I think it's well worth the IP investment. The Brawl recharge time is fixed at 15s, more skill does not reduce the time. However Brawl has its own AR. Meaning the more Brawl skill you have, the higher your chance to hit and your dmg per hit.
    Dimach I raised only a bit to meet the requirements for the shen sticks.
    I raised parry to 1k, so I can use a ql 215 Blessed with thunder for additional dmg. If you got the IP to spare and want to use higher ql MA attacks, you can of course put in more points.
    The same goes for Physical Init. Put in what you can afford to invest. Personally I don't have a lot of IP in it, only enough to make me hit 1/1 at full agg. If you do a lot of soloing/tanking, you can raise it to be able to stay more def with still being able to hit 1/1. On the other hand I found it useful to hit slower while being full def to give the bot a chance to hold aggro when I solo.

    Do I need to raise evades?

    Personally I don't think that evades are of much use on an engineer. I only raised them to around 500ish (with the berserk implant installed). Together with the new spirit infused Yutto NCUs I don't get critted that much, I even avoid some hits in inferno hard missions. If you want to, you can still max them, but I think if you want to skill for PvP too you will have to dump your tradeskills.

    Can I still use tradeskills as MA engineer?

    Yes, it's possible to keep your tradeskills and still raise all skills needed to perform well as MA engi. In my current setup I can make everything, but it takes a little more effort than for a pure TS engi. The only Tradeskill I did not raise is Psychology, cause I have a crat on the same account to take care of that. Also I tried not to dump too much IP into the tradeskills in general. In my Tradeskill outfit using the HQ machine I got pretty much exactly the amount of skill I need.
    Still about 3.5mil IP left, so it is theoretically possible to max all evades and psychology too. I want to leave a little room though in case FC invents some new things that need IP spending in other areas.

    Which buffs are useful?

    The most useful buff we can cast ourselves: Slayerdroid Transference will boost your MA skill by 300 points. This is the buff that makes the whole martial arts idea work.

    Other buffs you should ask for when teamed/buff begging:
    Lesser controlled rage (+12 MA, cast by MA)
    Martial arts Mastery (+60 MA, cast by MA)
    Mark of Peril (+7 crit, cast by MA)
    Take the shot (+4 crit, cast by Agent)
    Dirty Fighter (+45 to Brawl, cast by MA)

    And of course anything that adds to your offense and +dmg is good too. Crat and keeper auras can make a huge difference for the DD output you will have.

    Which Perks?

    This is my perk setup at level 220/23:
    I put 10 points in mechanic. The AC drain is pretty nice in my opinion. It helps the bots to break the min dmg barrier sometimes and it also helps with the fist attacks, which have a very high max dmg value.
    10 points in shotgun mastery for the +dmg.
    10 points in bioshielding.
    5 points in Kungfu master. (This Perkline also gives you a nice 2-3k heal perk at level 5)
    5 points in Ambidextrous also for the +dmg.
    10 points in Champion of light infantry.
    10 points in Champion of nano combat.
    3 points in AI tech.
    This is maybe not be the best setup for your playing style, but it works for me. You can always adjust the perks to suit your current needs. Maybe put a few points into Freak str to self the armor earlier.

    Which symbiants/Implants to use?

    It is pretty obvious, but of course you will want Right-hand, left-hand and feet implants instead of symbiants for the added MA. In the eye slot an Exterminator Occular Enhancement instead of the symbiant also gives a nice boost to the dmg output. I waited with the exterminator occular until I was finished twinking on the other high level symbiants though.
    In situations where you don't have to tank, the Ethereal Implant of Berserker Rage in the Left-Arm slot is also very nice. I use a ql 240 left-arm symbiant instead of the berserker implant if I know I'm gonna take a lot of dmg (Soloing for example).
    When I started to go for the Shen sticks I replaced the right- and left-wrist symbiants with ql 270-290ish multimelee implants. If you want to get the max benefit from these slots it's possible to put in +energy dmg clusters.

    Should I focus on +dmg or +crit items for the best Dmg output?

    To see what is better in a certain slot, you have to compare your average dmg per normal hit with your average dmg when critting. When using Martial arts the average crit is usually about 2k higher than the average normal hit. One point crit increase means you will crit once more in 100 hits. That equals to 2000dmg/100=20 dmg, meaning each +crit gives you +20dmg.
    If you now take for example the shoulderslot, you got the choice between a Globe of clarity, a Might of the Revenant and a Barrow Strength. Globe of clarity gives 1 crit (+20 dmg), MoR gives +32 dmg and Barrow Strength +15 dmg. This makes MoR the best choice, followed by GoC and then Barrow strength. As you can, see the difference between a GoC and a Barrow Strength is not much, making the Barrow Strength a great low budget choice if you don't want to spend 200mil+ on a Goc.
    Another example for the back item slot: Lets compare a RBP with a Spirit shroud of the artillery. RBP adds +60 dmg, but only to energy dmg. That means it will only affect your weapon hits (BoB or Shen stick), making it give you +60dmg*.66=+40dmg if you are wearing two weapons. The Spirit shroud adds +1 crit, about +20dmg, but to all attacks. So we can see that a RBP is twice as good as a spirit shroud dmg wise.
    Another important factor is the new martial arts weapon template you will get once you go past 2k MA skill. On low AC mobs going from like 1990 to 2010 will increase your fist crit dmg by about 250 points. This means you should focus on getting past 2k first, before you start adding +dmg items while sacrificing a few points in MA skill. Without towers and/or contracts this will be an issue for 220 engineers only. So if you can't go past 2k MA skill anyway, you can let your MA skill drop a few points in favor of more +dmg.

    Which Armor?

    From low levels to late TL5 I wouldn't worry too much about Martial arts specific armor. Go for the standard armors, like Carbonum, Tier or maybe OFAB. Being able to cast your bots should always have top priority at those levels. If you want some MA adding armor for your midlevels, the new Rhinoman Armor introduced in 17.4 is also an option.
    For TL 6 and upwards, Combined Mercenary's with a Dchest in the chest slot is the obvious choice, as it offers both Weapon skills and HP. If you want to use something cheaper, you can go for a Cuirass of obstinacy. It goes for usually under 20 points in RK 2 beast raids.
    Until you get the helmet upgrade from sector 13 you can use a Predator's circlet in that slot if you don't need the AR from the merc helmet.
    In the shoulder slots Might of the revenant and a Globe of clarity are the best choice.
    For the back armor slot a Robust Backpack gives you the best dmg output, followed by the Spirit shroud of the artillery.
    Arul sabas and rings depend on what weapon setup you are using. If you use fists only, go for two melee dmg bracers. With one weapon + fist mix one energy dmg bracer with one melee bracer and for dual weapon + fist go for two energy dmg ones.
    If you don't need the AR, you can also swap the Merc gloves for Electrophoridae gloves for more +energy dmg.
    Another nice thing to get a little MA boost is the Ring of crawling ants you get from the Jack Legchopper quest. It might be just the thing you need to get above 2k MA skill and the STA buff is nice as well.
    Last edited by Keyley; Jul 11th, 2007 at 07:13:54.

  2. #2
    How do I cast my bots wearing Combined Mercenary's armor?

    The answer to that is simple: You don't. It's not possible to selfcast your bots in a combat setup. There are however a few items you can swap in to make it fairly easy.
    If you don't have any of the MA weapons yet, it's possible to use the Spirit Phulakterions (SL catacomb drops) for a huge boost to your nano skills. Even when you are using one weapon, you can still take advantage of them. It's easier to boost T&S with items, than it is to boost Matter Creation. So I implanted MC into my right-hand. If you wear your weapon in your right hand, you can swap in a Watchful Spirit Phulakterion to your left hand. It automatically equips to your left, so you can just r-click it without having to fear your weapon will come off. With the T&S boost you get from it, you cancel out the loss of the right hand symbiant.

    Other easy to swap things that add T&S and/or MC:

    Pure Novictum ring for the control unit
    Dark Biotech Rod ring (Also more T&S than MC)
    Star of Inguenity
    Arithmetic Armor
    Teh Blue Robe

    Until you can self all your armor, it may be a pain to swap between arithmetic/mercenary's. But since the whole MA idea is more suited for the late SL levels, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
    Now, at level 220, it's easy to swap the armor at will. I don't use ql 300 Arithmetic, cause I can't self it (No INT in the eye slot). I would recommend to go for the highest ql Arithmetic you can self equip while wearing the Pure ring and the dark Biotech ring.
    How many items you have to swap in depends on your setup. If you are using a sniper's friend and don't want to raise your perception, you will loose your Nano controller unit for quick swapping. The Star you should be able to swap out with the stabilising aid easily. Personally I don't bother with any HUD swapping. I just equip 6 pieces of arithmetic and the two rings to be able to selfcast the widowmaker.
    All this armor swapping may sound like a lot of trouble, but it really isn't. You will be able to selfequip all the pieces needed, so it will be really quick. I also doubt a pistolero in full CC/CSS is able to cast the widowmaker without doing any swapping either.

    Which HUD/UTIL items?

    Everything that adds to your critical chance or your dmg is your friend here. I use a Dreadloch Stabilising Aid, Sniper's friend and a Viral Targeting Subunit in the HUD slots. ObiTom's Nanocalculator and Aquarius Multitask Calculator are in Utils 1/2.
    Other nice items are the device and the Masterpiece ancient combat tuner.

    Which weapons?

    Now this is where the MA way gets it's biggest boost. Back in 2005 the Blades of boltar were the best choice to increase the dmg output, but since the arrival of the Dreadloch shen sticks they are made redundant. The Shen sticks are by far the best weapon for any profession using martial arts. So for the maximum PvM dmg output you will want to wear two of those beauties.
    If you want to keep some PvP versatility, you can settle for one Shen stick and one Blades of boltar. Equipping a single Shen stick is easy, and the multimelee needed to equip the BoB in your offhand is really low.
    Then if you want to PvP you can remove the weapons and use a bow to swap in and out at will for Aimed shots. The probably best choice would be the Superior Sapphistic bow. It has a very short equip delay (0.1s) and yields decent Aimed shots.

    How to get enough Multimelee for dual Shen sticks?

    For the engineer getting the MM req to wield two sticks is the hardest part, but it's easily doable without towers/contracts if you have the right equipment.
    Items to boost Multimelee:
    Full set of ql 300 Combined Mercenaries armor. +210
    Juggler's Treat +10
    Dynamic Sleeve of Aries +10 (if used instead of the Merc sleeve)
    Blackmane's Leather Cloak of Balance +15 (If you are Neutral)
    R-wrist, l-wrist, eye implant +XX (depends on ql, but 270ish ones should be enough)
    Ambidextrous Perk +120
    Counterweight Perk +40

    If you have access to contracts/towers it becomes really easy. Also I did the MM twinking when I was in perk reset, so I had a nice boost from trickle down as well.

    Which MA attacks should I use?

    Fighting unarmed or with a special Martial arts weapon will give you the chance to use some of the MA special attacks. They work like an additional attack special, like for example fling or brawl. As an engineer you can use all of them, except for "Upon a wave of summer"and the Totw/IS ones. They all lock your MA skill, so you can use only one attack until the skill unlocks again.

    Useful MA attacks:
    "Attack of the Snake" and "Bird of prey" are simple DD attacks, locking your MA skill for 15/30 seconds. The dmg isn't impressive, but they are cheap IP wise.

    "Blessed with Thunder" gives you the best DD output. It does a DD hit and then puts a DoT on the target. The DD hit alone does more dmg than the other two attacks, and the DoT is a nice addition if the mob doesn't die too quickly. Due to the game mechanics the initial hit and the first DoT usually hit simultanously. Lock time is 40 secs.

    "Flower of Life" is a huge self heal, locking MA skill for 5 minutes. At ql 220 it heals for 2700 HP.

    "Bright, blue, cloudless sky" has more uses in PvP than in PvM. It does an init debuff on your opponent for 40 secs and also has a 100% chance to stun the target. Lock time here is 3 minutes.

    For "Blessed with Thunder" and "Flower of Life" you need to raise your parry skill. The skill is otherwise useless, so you need to decide if those two attacks justify the IP spending for you. I raised my parry to 1000, so I can use a ql 220 Flower of life and a ql 215 Blessed with thunder.

    Are there other useful things for the MA engineer?

    Some other things you will maybe want to get your hands on is a large stack of Crat Coffee and a flurry of blows. Both items boost your crit chance. I use only a ql 108 flurry of blows, so I didn't have to spend any IP in fast attack.

    Is fighting as MA engi boring?

    Having to only press q, /pet attack, afk is a missconception about using Martial arts. Of course you don't have a lot of specials like soldiers or hundreds of perks like a shade, but you will still be very busy in a fight.
    In an endgame setup you will have brawl and "Blessed with thunder" as your special attacks, together with 5 DD perks from the two champion lines and Kungfu master. That alone doesn't seem like much, but being melee you have to worry a lot more about where you are standing in a fight.
    Personally I always enjoyed the up close and personal kind of fighting more than standing in the back and shooting from a distance. If you don't like to be close to the mobs, you better stick with pistols.

    What will my dmg look like?

    When wielding Two martial arts weapons, you get a triple attack. 2 weapon attacks and 1 fist attack per cycle. So you get a total of 45 hits per minute.

    With my current setup ( I have about 2100 AR with 31% crit.

    Hits on High AC mobs:
    1kish (fist)
    3kish (fist crit)
    2kish (Shen stick)
    4kish (shen stick crit)

    Hits on Low AC mobs:
    1-3kish (fist)
    4.5-6kish (Fist crit)
    2kish (Shen stick)
    4kish (Shen stick crit)

    It's possible to reach 100k/min or more personal dmg. In zerg environment the dmg suffers a little due to the lack of range, but if you don't slack and stay focused it will not be a serious drawback. Dmg is of course depending on outside buffs too. Mark of Peril and TTS work wonders.


    If you want to try something different and if you can live with the disadvantages, then maybe going MA is the right thing for you. As the DD whore that I am, I can only say that it works for me.

    P.S. This guide is by no means complete and I'm sure I forgot tons of things. So if you have any comments and/or corrections, I will update it.
    Last edited by Keyley; Jun 26th, 2007 at 14:47:44.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    just a note, the 0.1 equip on sapp bow is kinda unrealistic it's more like 1s with lag and stuff

  5. #5
    I updated the guide already to incorporate your questions Takun. Maybe I missed a few. When I get back from work I will check again.

  6. #6
    copy and pase from the first one^^

    nice one key
    but... ma engi isn't only for pvm. i used a long time this setup,
    33% crit (last time with sniper friend),
    tradeskills for 300ish ai armor/5ish arul sabas) and
    less evades

    and now this one
    Back/one Shoulder : Ofab,
    right finger 250ish rusty (le engineer prof ring),
    no tradeskills,
    no ma weapons (bob/shen stick),
    max bow/as/ma/brawl,
    max defensive skills and
    grenade max.

    As with Superior Sapphistic Bow is like the onehander, between 1k oder 30% dmg
    2,5k crits in pvp are nice too
    ar self : 2124

    aye dmg in a inferno mish ~ 130k/min, rk much more


    03% basic
    15% ai crit scope
    05% sniper friend
    02% ObiTom's Nano Calculator
    02% Aquarius's Multitask Calculator
    01% Globe of Clarity
    01% Predator Circlet
    03% Exterminator Occular Enhancment (ql 226+)
    Last edited by Killercat7; Jun 25th, 2007 at 17:16:37.
    Killerkatze7 - 220/30/70
    Rymar - 220/23/65

    Killercat7 - 220/30/70
    Eparee - 182/10/38

  7. #7
    Added more stuff and updated several sections.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Keyley View Post
    Which Breed to choose?
    Atrox have the easiest time equipping mercenary's armor, but due to the low SEN their base MA skill is the lowest of all breeds.
    That's inaccurate. First, MA is 50% agi, 20% str 30% psy, there is no sen in it.
    Second, NM has lower MA than Atrox (964 vs. 968).

    I still think the conclusion is correct. NM/opi are bad idea because it is hard to get 1000 str/sta (though with the new research supposedly in 17.5 I will have 1000 str/sta with no perk sacrifice on a nanomage). NM/Atrox are bad idea since they have lower MA skill.

    PS. why MK2? I am not aware of a previous version. The other post is just preliminary.
    RK1:220/30 Alicia "Muhandes" Jolt General of Destiny. My setup/A quick screenshot
    "Guides": 210 symbs before 170, 220 symbs before 180, NM Engi Twinking 205, 210, 215, 220.
    WTB ql150 weapons, Grand Armbands, Eye of the Evening Star.

  9. #9
    Oops, I meant PSY. Will correct it.

    I just named it MK 2 to set it off from the first one, where I forgot to reserve space for additions.

  10. #10
    bump for one of the hawtest engis on RK


  11. #11
    posh, just wasting our thread space . Nice post, thanks... thought about taking my engi ma a few times, never really had a guide though. Bump for a great DD engi
    Gotrice: 220/25 opifex (retired, too unworthy of my CC)
    The Renaissance <3
    Playing WoW with the other young children.
    Sneakyrice on Frostmane (US)

  12. #12
    A very nice guide Remember this build takes PATIENCE. But is very worthwhile in the end. Here is my finished completed build: and it works great.. I have purposly left off the perks layout because i feel like everyone should have their own unique strategy with this part. If you have any questions feel free to /tell to me /tell Warpdrive
    Last edited by Nightwire; Sep 20th, 2007 at 09:08:34.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwire View Post
    whats more sexy than a engi in mercenary armor with 2x shen sticks DD
    Easy answer is - engi in commando with silverback
    Kuznechik, Board member of Disciples of Omni-Tek (and few dozens of alts)
    DoOT is recruiting
    Well, as a well-known fact - I know nothing (especially about engineers).

  14. #14
    Bald Nanomage Engi with Silverback > all.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by IHaveHugeNick View Post
    Bald Nanomage Engi with Silverback > all.
    Dont forget the artillery crep that matches almost perfectly with beast sleeves...

    Tho any male engie is not really sexy until they sport their Tradeskill buffing gear
    Grenadearchy Online
    Takun - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Crit Monster - Overlord of Mortar Kombat
    Grenades - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Leveling Monster - Advisor of Mortar Kombat

    Grenade Infos
    Pure DPS - [Setup] - 1701 Fling to cap Sloth - 1% crit is equal to ~28+ damage
    Agg/Def: 100% - 1440 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 150 Ranged Init to cap Sloth
    Agg/Def: 0% - 2640 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 1650 Ranged Init to cap Sloth

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Takun View Post
    Dont forget the artillery crep that matches almost perfectly with beast sleeves...

  17. #17
    Very Nice job!!...................You crazy kung fu type engie you
    Arjen-Keeper of the ancient screwdriver

    Proud member of Valor Eternal

  18. #18
    Omg alc that has to be the ugliest GUI / setup Ive ever seen DX

    Is that the default GUI I see? :x

    Talk about minimal.... Ill post mine later when the patch stops ****ing with my graphics card so I can play again -o-
    Grenadearchy Online
    Takun - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Crit Monster - Overlord of Mortar Kombat
    Grenades - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Leveling Monster - Advisor of Mortar Kombat

    Grenade Infos
    Pure DPS - [Setup] - 1701 Fling to cap Sloth - 1% crit is equal to ~28+ damage
    Agg/Def: 100% - 1440 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 150 Ranged Init to cap Sloth
    Agg/Def: 0% - 2640 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 1650 Ranged Init to cap Sloth

  19. #19
    Yeah default GUI... screenie made just after 17.4, i'm still reworking my custom GUI - it really sucks having to do it every patch

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by IHaveHugeNick View Post
    Yeah default GUI... screenie made just after 17.4, i'm still reworking my custom GUI - it really sucks having to do it every patch
    And whys that? o_O

    (is confuzzled)
    Grenadearchy Online
    Takun - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Crit Monster - Overlord of Mortar Kombat
    Grenades - Grenade Engineer [Equipt] - Leveling Monster - Advisor of Mortar Kombat

    Grenade Infos
    Pure DPS - [Setup] - 1701 Fling to cap Sloth - 1% crit is equal to ~28+ damage
    Agg/Def: 100% - 1440 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 150 Ranged Init to cap Sloth
    Agg/Def: 0% - 2640 Nano Init to insta cast Isotos - 1650 Ranged Init to cap Sloth

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