„Sometimes you just need a few drones, sometimes you need a 200 pound steel wolf.”
The Shaper specialisation for the Artificer is a Summoner type specialisation, granting the Artificer a way to „shape” drones and create them using a
much more potent and efficient fabricator, although only capable of creating simple beast type constructs in the image of wolves, eagles, bears and so on.
Shapers can be quite useful as a way to keep the enemies at bay with drones while they help the team get in range, resupply ammo and focus on repairs, while a Shaper using a Familiar is essentially a second ally with more impressive combat capabilities. Just don't touch the Shaper's pet or they will nuke you from orbit...
A Shaper can easily create openings for their team in both offense and defense, using drones to distract enemies and cause mayhem on the battlefield by
flanking the enemy or bombarding them from above when the team isn't in a position to take out large groups of enemies quick enough, or redirecting fire
from allies when necessary if the Vanguards need to resupply or recharge their equipment. A Familiar is also an excellent tool in helping a Reaper take out
enemies if theres no one else to assist in combat.
The Shaper's constructs, as mentioned, are simple and cannot wield Praetorian Class weaponry as of yet, however, most Artificers have managed to integrate their sentry
turrets into the designs of some of the constructs, granting them at least low caliber firepower. Despite this, the drones are still more effective at melee
range, as they are usually designed with sharp claws and talons made out of small energy blades. The drones are created with a unique upgrade to the Omega
Fabricator known as a Delta Drone Catalyst, which allows the Shapers to create fully automated AI drones with whatever body type they can design.
The drones aren't invincible and do not benefit from a Vanguards shield link, unless it is a Familiar specifically designed to benefit from it.
The drones are mostly used as distractions to keep the enemy busy, however, some Shapers create a unique construct with more powerful upgrades that they always
keep around as a sort of pet. These types of drones have been classified as Familiars and can be upgraded far beyond what a regular drone is capable of, however,
this does cut down the Shapers maximum drone count from 5 to 3, as they require far more energy to keep active.
Once a drone is destroyed, it takes a short amount of time for the Omega Fabricator to rebuild it again, after which the Shaper can redeploy the
drone. However, a Familiar takes a considerably longer amount of time to rebuild. Shapers that absorb energy after an enemy kill reduce the amount of time it
takes to rebuild a drone or Familiar, even being able to redeploy the drones immediately if they picked up an excess amount of energy, meaning they can keep a
constant flow of drones attacking or disrupting the enemy.
The Delta Drone Catalyst is far less customisable than most other equipment, as its purpose isn't something that can be changed all that much and Shaper
specialist Artificers retain all of their regular gadgets and repair units from the Omega Fabricator. However, whenever they use one of them, they are
automatically applied to any drone deployed on the field. That being said, one of the Arch-Artificers has recently managed to create drones of herself
that have full combat capability of a Praetorian and even have all 5 drones active despite the massive energy consumption.
The Shaper's maximum drone capacity increases to 10 and its construct rebuild speed is massively increased, allowing it to
redeploy a drone the instant it is destroyed. During the duration of the overcharge, the drones and constructs are given a
boost to their weaponry and combat capabilities (still not capable of using Praetorian weapons, however).