Pretty much the same as ranged DPS anywhere, but I like the turrets and multiple, stacking, instant-cast damage over time (DoT) abilities.
The Engineer’s big class feature is the turret. You get three options: long-range, short-range AE, and medium-range grenade turret. I have not been using that last one much, although I might toy with it. It fires the fastest, with an occasional AE. The short-range one is a flamethrower, although sadly the graphics are fireballs rather than a huge cone of fire unless it gets a good roll. None of these are as game-changing as I might have hoped; the extra damage is nice, and it occasionally pulls adds off you, but most of your offense comes from you. This is not the Lugian Tactician.
The offense is exactly what you would expect from a ranged DPS class: great. Even with WAR’s slower-paced fights, PvE fights are over quickly. The core rifle shot has an induction timer, the close-range grenade toss (single-target, oddly) does too, but most of the rest is instant-cast. You get a long-range DoT, a short-range AE DoT, a melee DoT, and a short-range AE blast.
For super fun, stack those AE abilities. Get the flamethrower, acid grenades (AE DoT), and shotgun (AE blast) going on a tightly-packed group, preferably with another Engineer or two doing the same. In a tier 1 scenario, I did more than 25,000 damage. There was a huge melee party in the center, and I was standing on the side with a shotgun. (“Shotgun? More like shotFUN!”)
That’s pretty much all the class offers. There is also a detaunt (which I hardly ever use) and a turret heal, along with a melee swing. Oh, and I just got barbed wire, which is a PBAE root, so that might be useful once I start using it. Healing: turret only. Buffs: none. Defense: none, although I see a little coming.
Survivability is not too bad. In PvE, it is all you need for the ranged DPS role. Try not to tank big things. In RvR, you last long enough to get healing, so you can keep shooting a bit. You will not take most targets one-on-one, because they have better defense or healing unless they are also ranged DPS. In groups, the Engineer shines with lots of damage all over the place, with almost no flashy graphics to attract attention. There is, however, that loud gun blast, which is especially noticeable if you are standing next to the melee scrum, using your short-range AE cone.
The morale 1 ability is lots of fun: major knockback. This is always good for your survivability, but you need to know the Gates of Ekrund scenario to really love it. The dwarf tier 1 scenario takes place on top of a gatehouse. The big fight is usually in the center, around the gate switch. That is also where the walls are the lowest. Get the tank between you and the wall, fire off morale 1, and watch him go flying. In a game with very little crowd control beyond snares, sending someone over a wall will take them out of the fight for a while as they run back. Oh, and they have your stacked DoTs on them.
I think I am missing most of the class flavour. The spirit of the dwarves is being drunk and somewhat grumpy, and rejoicing in battle. The Engineer does not seem to add much special to that. He gets all the tech bits that are associated with dwarves and/or gnomes in fantasy games these days. So I have a stout lass with a gun and some tech toys. The Engineer items at least get fun names: I am wearing a Tool Belt of Vengeance.
The dwarf starting zone is good, swarming with greenskins and squigs. Around chapter 3 it seems to hit a wall, especially with the competitive public quest. I have never seen the dwarves win that, in many visits from both sides. The greenskins have too great of numbers. I will need to explore more on a future character; because of easy scenario access, I have been leveling quickly from RvR with limited exploration.
See you at the Gates of Ekrund!