I'm trying for the third or fourth time to make it through the Elite difficult level in Torchlight 2, and as usual, I'm unable to proceed past the second stage of act 1 (the Estherian Steppes). This time through I'm trying out a two-handed engineer, which I've had good success with on other difficulty levels. However, my character simply cannot stay alive against the monsters I'm fighting. The Healing Bot, for example, simply cannot provide enough heal points fast enough, and I inevitably run out of healing potions.
My problems typically go one of two ways:
I load up on defense points (Vitality), but this results in a noodle armed character who cannot deal near enough damage to make progress.
I load up on offense points (Strength), but this makes my character extremely vulnerable, especially to mobs and champion monsters. The damage I deal is still considerably less than it would be in a lower difficulty level.
Long story short, what should I be focusing on to survive (and eventually beat) the game in Elite difficulty? I know the game says I should expect to die a lot at this difficult level, but the brick wall I find myself up against seems impassible.