Attributes are characteristics that dictate a Character’s effectiveness in combat, and there are three types; Primary Attributes, Secondary Attributes and Profession Attributes. The Primary Attributes increase automatically whenever you level up, but Secondary Attributes as well as Profession Attributes need to be upgraded manually. Therefore, where you choose to put your upgrades affects your proficiency in different types of combat. There are 4 Primary Attributes, 5 Secondary Attributes and 1 Profession Attributes for each Profession. Profession Attributes, naturally, are exclusive.
Each Profession has different priorities in terms of combat, for example some prefer ranged combat to melee, and others focus heavily on inflicting Conditions, and as such it is important to know which Attributes to spend your points in, in particular in relation to the Secondary Attributes.
The Primary Attributes are Power, Precision, Toughness and Vitality. These are mostly self explanatory. Power affects the amount of damage that each of the Engineer’s attacks do, with each increase in level increasing it by one point. Precision increases the likelihood of landing an Engineer Critical Hit, which deals at least 150% damage. Toughness increased the Character’s armor by one point per level. Finally, Vitality affects your base Health, with each point increase resulting in 10 more points of Health. The higher the Health, the more hits the Engineer can take before going down.
The Secondary Attributes are more specific, and pander to different play styles. They are Boon Duration, Condition Damage, Condition Duration, Critical Damage and Healing Power. Again, the titles are indicative of what each Attribute does. Boon Duration increased how long positive Boons last. Condition Damage increases the potency of Conditions like Bleeding, Burning or Poison. Condition Duration increased the length of time a foe is inflicted with the Condition. Critical Damage improves the damage multiplier on Critical Strikes, tying it to Precision. Finally, Healing Power improves the strength of all heals used by the Character, including self healing.
Attributes are typically increased by investing the appropriate part of the Trait tree when leveling up, as each set of Traits has a linked Attribute or Attributes. It is important to note that Attributes can also be buffed by wearing certain Equipment and in Player Versus Environment, through the use of Consumables.
In the case of the Engineer, the Profession specific Attribute is Tool Belt Recharge Rate, which as you would assume reduces the recharge time of all Tool Belt Skills. These include various Elixirs and Healing Kits, as well as other things that affect the power of Turrets and Bombs used by the Engineer.
The Engineer is a class that focuses many of its Skills on inflicting Conditions. The Engineer’s Weapons are typically gunpowder weapons, and their Skill Sets often feature Conditions such as Immobilized, in the case of the Rifle Skills Net Shot and Overcharged Shot, as well as Bleeding in the case of the Shrapnel Grenade Skill and the Launch Caltrops Mortar Skill. They also feature less common Conditions such as Poison in the Launch Poison Dart Skill, as well as Chill in the Freeze Grenade Skill. All of these combine to make the Condition Duration and Condition Damage Attributes very important to the Engineer, and are certainly something worth investing in.
The Player that has selected the Engineer as their Profession of choice also has some Healing Skills at their disposal in their Utility Skill Set. These are things such as Elixirs, Elixir F, Elixir B, Super Elixir etc., a Med Kit for dropping bandages either for personal use or for aiding the Engineer’s allies, and even a Healing Turret that both regenerates the Player and their allies. These are support Skills for both the Player, and anyone in their party, and as such the Healing Power Attribute would also be a wise choice, in particular if the Player is partial to playing as part of a party as opposed to venturing out into Tyria alone.
Aside from these, Engineers mainly deal pure damage and have a few combat tricks up their sleeves, such as pushes and leaps, and these will not be affected by the Player’s choice of Attributes or Traits whenever they level up. Damage will automatically be improved as the Player’s Primary Attributes improve with leveling.
It is important to note that all of these recommendations are conditional on the manner in which the Player uses the Engineer profession, for example if they never use Healing Skills and focus only on combat, then there is no point in allocating points to the Healing Power Attribute, though this is presumably obvious.
All in all, it is a good idea to put some thought into how you allocate the points you receive upon leveling up, and it is always important to prioritize the combat styles that you use most often, as investing in these is the most lucrative and the best use of your points.