As a Machinist and the ranged DPS of your team, your role is to help your melee DPS secure kills. In most cases you will be expected to follow target calls made by your team, but by no means does that mean you cannot take the lead yourself when necessary.
Machinist in particular is a versatile class capable of potent pinpoint burst backed by effective CC options.
+ Strength - Has the highest potential burst out of all the DPS
+ Strength - Burst is available at a moment's notice as MCH does not need to build up resources
+ Strength - Maneuverability and strong defensive skills make MCH deceptively hard to kill
- Weakness - Critically dependent on cooldowns
- Weakness - Reliant on team for burst setup
- Weakness - Burst and defensives are TP hungry
The Machinist's Toolkit
The Machinist's offensive toolkit is a myriad bag of tricks that all come together with a single goal in mind: to make your burst hit as hard as possible.
The Clean Shot Combo as it is listed in game is the button you will be pressing for the majority of the game. Listed above with their action descriptions, the combo progresses from Split Shot to Slug Shot to Clean Shot and back to Split Shot. Each step of the combo will increase your Heat Gauge by 5. Do also note that the base potency of the combo proceeds from 750 -> 1000 -> 1250.
Hot Shot and Cooldown are the abilities you use to manage your heat. Hotshot increases your Heat Gauge by 25 as long as you are currently under 50 total heat. The actions turns into Cooldown when you are at 50 or above heat and instead decreases your heat by 25. Using either of these abilities will not interrupt your Clean Shot Combo's progression.
This is a lot of text to say the same things as the skill descriptions, but these effects are important enough to reiterate and remember until they become second nature.
Now you've heard plenty about the Heat Gauge, but why is it so important? At 50 or above heat, your basic Clean Shot Combo turns into a Heated Clean Shot Combo.
The combo progresses the same way as the original except each step will do an additional 250 potency. That's an equivalent of 25% more damage from your basic attack just for maintaining your heat properly.
Now the basics should be coming together: Use Hot Shot to quickly gain 50 heat and access to your Heated Clean Shot Combo, and use Cooldown to avoid hitting 100 heat or you will trigger the Overheated status.
Overheated is a status you get when your Heat Gauge hits 100. For the next 10 seconds, all your damage is increased by 10%. After your 10 seconds of Overheated is up, you enter a 10 second period where you are effectively frozen at 0 heat and unequips your Gauss Barrel.
Your Gauss Barrel is the skill that activates your Heat Gauge. It increases all your damage by 5% and stacks with the 10% from being Overheated for a total of 15% increased damage. Once activated, the action will switch to Stun Gun.
Stun Gun is a AoE skill that will stun all enemies within a 5 yalm radius from you for 2 seconds and has a cooldown of 60 seconds. The target closest to you will take the full 1000 potency, while the second closest will take 750 potency, third 500 potency, fourth 250 potency.
Using Stun Gun will instantly force you into Overheat status and can be used as a tool to Overheat on demand as part of your burst.
The most important aspect of this skill is the stun effect which can be used offensively or defensively. It is the only way a machinist is able to proc Between The Eyes without help from your team. It is also a powerful AoE stun that can save either you or your teammates.
The Crown Jewel of the Machinist's toolkit, Between The Eyes (BTE) is the most important button you have. The base potency is nothing to write home about, but when used on a target that is under Bind, Stun, or Sleep status, the potency jumps to 3000. That's right, 3000.
Your teammates can also Bind or Stun for you! Tanks have a spammable 5 second (Paladin/Dark Knight) or 10 second (Warrior) cooldown stun that you can also proc off of. Ninjas have both a Stun and a Bind in their ability kit. Pay attention to your team and see if they're stunning the target on bursts for your Between The Eyes!
Since the base potency is only 1000, and any other GCD will do more damage than this, you will never* want to use Between The Eyes on an un-CC'd target.
*As they say "only Sith deal in absolutes," so as you mature into a seasoned Machinist player, you will be able to make better judgements if an unproc'd Between The Eyes will net you a kill.
Quick Reload will increase your held bullets by one up to a maximum of 3. Any GCD you use will spend your held ammunition. That includes your Clean Shot Combo, Heated Clean Shot Combo, Hot Shot, and Cooldown, and the rest of the guide will refer to these as GCD's. OGCD's are unaffected by any bullets you have.
Using one of the above GCD's with bullets loaded adds two effects: Increases the base potency of the GCD by 250 and reduces the GCD to 1.5 seconds. More damage is always good, but the GCD reduction is important for cramming as much damage as you can into Wildfire's 5 second timeframe.
If Between The Eyes is the juicy entree, then Wildfire is the delicious dessert to end the meal. Wildfire inflicts its target with a debuff that tallies the total amount of damage done during its 5 second effect. One-third of that tallied damage is dealt again when the debuff expires.
With a cooldown of 30 seconds, Wildfire pairs up perfectly with every BTE but unfortunately Stun Gun will only come up every 60 seconds.
At this point, the Machinist's ideal burst all comes together. While Overheated and with three bullets from Quick Reload stocked and ready, you are able to in rapid succession, Wildfire, GCD, Stun Gun, GCD, BTE, GCD, (Wildfire ends), GCD. The total potency from this short 5 second sequence becomes:
All the moving parts come together in these 5 seconds for the highest damage sequence available to any job in feast regardless of role. This is the reason Machinists are feared for their monstrous burst ability.
Do be warned, since Wildfire shows up on the status bar as a debuff, it is a rather large sign that your burst is coming soon. This combo is difficult to pull off in real play as relies on not only your cooldowns, position, and your team, it also relies on the enemy team doing nothing to interrupt your combo during the 5 seconds Wildfire is up.
Flamethrower is an auxiliary skill that doesn't fit as easily into machinist's kit as the earlier mentioned skills do. It is a 5 second channeled ability that inflicts a stacking DoT in a cone AoE and leaves you vulnerable since the range is only 8 yalms.
The initial hit of Flamethrower does 1000 potency and each second standing in the AoE will add a DoT that does 500 potency per stack up to 5 times for 6 seconds. That means you have the potential to do two ticks of 2500 potency if you manage to inflict a 5 stack Flamethrower debuff on your target. Unfortunately that also requires your target to stay still for 5 seconds in your fire, which is unlikely to say the least.
The more useful application of Flamethrower is that it will increase your Heat Gauge by 10 for every second you channel it for. This is useful to quickly overheat without using Stun Gun or GCD's that increase your heat by only 10 each.
You can attempt to Wildfire burst if you get high stacks on a target for the potential extra 5000 total potency damage, but it is unreliable due to the amount of unreliable factors needed to set up and have your team follow along with.
As an additional note Flamethrower's AoE will go through walls which is useful to flush out enemies hiding behind walls and other small obstacles.
Leg Graze is a simple CC ability with a cooldown of 30 seconds that slows the target by 50% for the next 3 seconds. Useful offensively to catch a target, or defensively to run out of enemy range.
Leg Graze is also useful to waste an enemy Concentrate.
Blank is a simple CC ability with a cooldown of 10 seconds that knocks back your target by 15 yalms and deals 500 potency worth of damage. It has a cost of 250 TP.
This unassuming ability is in fact one of the most powerful defensive abilities in Feast! The simple ability to desync the enemy's melee burst from their ranged is incredibly valuable and adds seconds to your team's ability to respond to damage. Your healer will be able to deal with burst offset by a few seconds much easier, your tank may take the cue to stun enemy DPS, and you have time to reposition yourself. At a cooldown of 10 seconds, Blank is available every single burst provided you have the TP and awareness to use it.
Terminal Velocity is your Adrenaline Rush (Limit Break, LB ability). Terminal Velocity deals 6000 potency for the closest target, 4500 potency for the second closest, 3000 potency to the third, and 1500 potency to the fourth. The damage is not modified by any player inflicted vulnerability but is affected by Culling Time. It will also reduce healing potency on the targets hit by 25% for 15 seconds.
Unfortunately, using your LB is exceptionally unreliable. Depending on your and your target's latency, movement, and a whole host of factors, Terminal Velocity has a high chance of missing your intended target. Using Leg Graze, having your team stun the target, or aiming at a target running in a line towards or away from you will increase your chances of landing your LB.
Additional PvP Actions
Machinist has a handful of potentially useful additional actions.
Safeguard is the gold standard of additional actions. Reducing your incoming damage by 25% for the next 10 seconds will almost always guarantee your survival due to the already slim margins of most kills from bursts or the accompanying high pressure. Your healer will thank you.
Do note that predicting when to use Safeguard for maximum effect is difficult, as using it in the middle of a burst when you are at half health will provide much less benefit. Experience and practice is needed, and even the best of players are unable to predict everything.
Be warned that the 60 second cooldown is long in the world of Feast. Many players will look for targets with Safeguard on cooldown to attempt and kill. The reverse is true as well, targets without Safeguard available are also generally good targets for your team.
Recuperate is the second additional most will take. Sometimes one additional heal is all you need to survive the burst. 25% of your maximum HP healed instantly is a massive additional buffer in your survivability. (Your healer will thank you, even more.)
Unlike Safeguard, an instant heal is much easier to use, and most effective when you are in the middle of being targeted. These two abilities are chosen together most of the time due to the increase in survivability when used individually and even more so when used together.
Bolt is a useful ability that may or may not edge out the strong defensives Safeguard and Recuperate for more utility. It is the PvP equivalent to sprint with a 10 second duration and 30 second cooldown timer.
A movement speed increase in Feast is incredibly helpful for chasing and running away, and coupled with Blank can make you frustrating to target.
However unlike Safeguard and Recuperate, Bolt has variable return and is entirely up to player skill to make use of the additional positioning benefit. The effects are often intangible, and movement and CC abilities on the enemy team will work against you.
Enliven restores 50% of your TP on a 60 second cooldown. If you're running into TP issues even with the Increased TP Recovery trait, you are Reloading far too often.
Concentrate will prevent the next negative status effect in the next 10 seconds including knockback on a 30 second cooldown.
Purify will all negative status effects on yourself, and can be used while CC'd.
Neither will benefit you as much defensively as Safeguard or Recuperate will.
No, don't do this. Only villains do this.
PvP traits are overall less impactful than additionals, but are important to choose the right ones. Not all traits are created equal. Some are obviously better than the others. Traits not listed are either currently irrelevant, or too weak to be considered.
Increased HP and Decreased Damage Taken fulfil the same role, but in order for Decreased Damage Taken's 3% to overtake 500 hp in usefulness, you have to take 16666 damage in a burst window. Increased HP is more effective HP than the 3% damage down in most cases.
There is an argument for taking both when you know the enemy DPS is strong enough to warrant it. It'll take experience to identify such situations, but could save your life when you do.
Increased Damage Dealt increases your damage dealt by 3%. Simple and sweet. This is taken over any form of action recast time because damage dealt also applies to your oGCD's such as Between The Eyes and Wildfire while action recast time does not.
Increased TP Regeneration increased your TP regeneration by 40%. This trait is enough to support all your Reload and Blank TP usage and you should never need to use Enliven. An additional action slot is far too valuable to use for TP regeneration.
Increased Resistance Duration increases your CC resistance duration from 10 seconds to 15 seconds. This includes sleep, stun, silence, and bind. This is a possible consideration if you are afraid of being stunned every 10 seconds, but there are usually more important targets for the enemy to stun.
Priorities and "Rotation"
Your general playstyle will be playing keepaway with the entire enemy team. You want to be nowhere near anyone dangerous and abuse your range as much as possible. This keeps you from being targeted as often and helps you and your own healer identify when to use defensives. When the enemy does collapse on you, you have your Leg Graze, Blank, and potential additional actions Sprint, Recuperate, and Safeguard to help you stay alive. If you have the need to go in to Stun Gun and set up your Between The Eyes yourself, do so as quickly as possible and get out to limit the amount of time you are vulnerable. Flamethrower at your own discretion if you think you can get away with being a stationary target while you're channeling.
Blank as mentioned earlier is your most useful defensive ability as Machinist. It will desync enemy burst, interrupt Limit Breaks, push the enemy into bad positions, and so on and so forth. You see the enemy paladin running in to stun your healer? Blank that tank out of the vicinity. You see enemy melee cast their Limit Break? Blank and cancel their cast. You see the samurai dash towards you for their midare? Blank him away and desync the enemy burst. For even more annoyance, Leg Graze after Blank and watch them try to limp back towards the fight.
The all important burst was covered above but does not need to always be perfect. Sometimes it's smarter to not use Wildfire on your burst target so that the enemy has a harder time to see who you are bursting. Sometimes it's smarter to use Wildfire on a target you aren't bursting to distract the enemy from your real burst target. Putting in a few GCD's and auxiliary resources like Leg Graze or Quick Reload into your fake Wildfire target can make it look like a real burst and confuse the enemy team. This allows you to save the bulk of your damage for the real target while pressuring the enemy to waste resources on your fake out.
It is also possible to split your burst in a few ways to increase the frequency you burst. For example Overheat (manually or from Flamethrower), Quick Reload x3, Wildfire, GCD x 3 is still 6900 potency. Similarly Overheat (manually or from Flamethrower), Quick Reload x3, GCD, Stun Gun, GCD, Between The Eyes, GCD is 9775 potency. Dividing resources this way will allow you to burst even if you aren't able to use Stun Gun to proc Between The Eyes These are just two of the many ways you could combine or divide your cooldowns and resources into different bursts to suit your needs in a match depending on whether you need burst frequency or burst intensity.
Using your Terminal Velocity for a burst is also viable, as is using it to follow up or precede your real burst. Lining it up with Melee LB is particularly potent if both are able to hit at the same moment. Using it as pressure to give your team a breather is also an option. Treat it as another tool in your box that happens to do 6000 potency in a line aoe.
Depending on how familiar your tank is with a Machinist's needs, they may or may not be able to stun for you on a burst for your Between The Eyes proc. Ninjas also have a Bind and can optionally include a Stun in their burst combo. This allows you to not expose yourself to Stun Gun in melee range. Watch what your tank and team does and adjust so that you can use your cooldowns to their maximum potential!
The following are useful macros to consider using but are by no means necessary.
<e1-4> refers to the order of the enemy team. Default list is as follows: 1 Tank, 2 Healer, 3 Melee, 4 Ranged.
/pvpac "Blank" <e1-4>
/micon "Blank" pvpaction
/pvpac "Leg Graze" <e1-4>
/micon "Leg Graze" pvpaction