Engineers now have 3 attack skill choices besides Pain and Transferrence. How do they compare?
Gadget is a level 28 pure STR Engineer.* She is wearing a mix of Shocktite and Sunwalker eq, and is weilding a Modified Mark VI A-OK rifle. She has 6 in Wither, Leech and Decay. Here are the respective skill descriptions:
8 Energy, 12 sec. cool-down, 12m range, 10 sec. duration
10 - 14 damage every 2 seconds
10 energy, 15 sec. cool-down, 6 sec. duration, 12m range
10 - 20 damage per 2 sec., + heals caster per damage tic.
12 energy, 20 sec. cool-down, 12m range, 10 sec. duration
20 - 35 damage every 2 seconds, +60 Armor Value to target.
The skill descriptions do not state how many ticks run per skill, or specifically whether they tic on the last second. Also, Wither is listed at an average of 12 damage per tic, Leech is at an average of 15 damage per tic, and Decay is at an average of 27.5 damage per tic. Let's find out what actually happens on an enemy:
I took Gadget to Soucho - Wasted, and engaged the enemy with the "TV eye" on top of his head. This enemy is an Engineer class and can heal himself (pefect for testing over a long battle). The results are in:
Wither tics 5 times, for 22 -24 damage per tic
TOTAL damage for 1 cast = 115
ACTUAL DPS for this enemy = 9.58
Leech tics 4 times, for 22 -28 damage per tic
TOTAL damage for 1 cast = 100
ACTUAL DPS for this enemy = 6.66
Decay tics 5 times, for 31 -40 damage per tic
TOTAL damage for 1 cast = 177.5
ACTUAL DPS for this enemy = 8.87
Wither and Leech do very close damage per tic (23 and 25), but Leech does an extra tic of damage on its final second. This may be a bug, as neither Wither nor Decay tic on their final second. The longer recharge of Leech makes it weaker for straight damage over time. Of course, it also heals...
Decay does more damage per tic (35.5) than Wither or Leech, but does not come close to the ratios listed in the skill descriptions (which show about 2x more damage per tick). It also does less damage than Wither over time, and only about 1/3 more damage than Leech over time. Still, Decay is probably the best skill to have for bosses and heavily armored enemies. It debuffs enemy armor by 60, and many players attacking the enemy will cumulatively cause huge bonus damage very quickly. It also does the most damage on a single cast. It is a very party friendly skill.
So how will you spec now?
*There is little practical difference between a STR Engineer and an INT Engineer right now. STR Engineers at lvl 27 (the last time I compared both builds) have about +4% more hit, but do -5 attack damage. Empathy skill damage is -4, while Wither skill damage is -2. Your build may vary these numbers some, but probably not by much.