Today the third seminal class for Guild Wars 2 was officially released. The ranger profession joins with the elementalist and warrior to round out the icons of the adventurer, scholar, and soldier groups. I was kind of hoping for one of the fringe classes to be released, like the necromancer, but it makes sense to have the three (out of eight) professions released now that will likely be the most popular to new Guild Wars players.
The ranger seems to stay most true out of the three to the original Guild Wars profession concept. They are masters of the bow, utilize traps, and retain their spirit calling abilities. The official site’s article mostly discusses the ranger’s emphasis on pets. In Guild Wars, except for a few specific builds the ranger’s pet mostly takes a back seat to all the other skills available. There was even less importance on the type of pet that a player chose if they had to bring a pet along. In Guild Wars 2, though, it seems that the ranger will be an honest-to-jah pet class. In the IGN interview ArenaNet even bluntly states “players who want range without a pet are better off playing another profession.”
Each ranger can have three active pet slots. Each pet furthermore can evolve using evolution points to unlock static bonuses and skill slots for the pet. Each pet, once tamed, will be at the ranger’s level, but it will take experience points gained by the ranger to gain evolution points for the pet. Rangers will be the only profession with these nameable, fully customizable pets. (A necromancer, for example, has “pets” but they are more aptly named disposable meat minions.) From PCGamer we learn that these pets in the active slots are easily swappable when out of combat, but there is at least one elite skill that can bring all three pets to the battlefield at once for a short period of time.
There will also be quite a few pet archetypes like bears, moas, and sharks. Yes, sharks. The archetypes are broadly broken down into terrestrial, amphibious, and aquatic, but ArenaNet stated that they want to put fun over reality. So you might get a bear with incredible swimming lungs. The archetypes put a role on the animal. A bear is good for taking damage, a wolf is good for DPS, and a moa might help buff the group with its squawks of fury. Each archetype, however, has species. The example given was a polar bear, that might have an icy roar, and a grizzly bear, with a ferocious roar.
The ranger will also focus on very mobile combat. Rangers can equip swords and axes for melee and short range combat. I say short range because apparently rangers love to throw axes. I love the example from the PCGamer interview:
So the thing you’ll get with a Ranger attacking with a sword is a lot of movement, and you can use that movement to really good effect. In fact one of the really cool combos you can do with Ranger is: say you’ve got a sword and a shortbow. You can use your combo up to the second attack, where you kick the guy away from you, and then not do the third part. But instead use skill number 2, Hornet Sting, which will cause you to roll backwards – so you’ve just created a ton of distance between yourself and the guy you’re fighting. You can then immediately swap to the shortbow and use a cripple on them, and try to kite them with the bow.
Kiting has always been a bigger deal in Guild Wars, but the focus on these tactics for the lighter armored class is great. I never liked that in World of Warcraft of Lord of Rings Online a hunter, once tagged in solo melee, was kind of done with the bow. Having the high mobility that will get a player back in plink range looks great.
What is most interesting, and I feel most surprising from what the community assumed, was that the ranger will not use guns. A lot of people thought that perhaps a charr ranger would be a gunslinger and an asuran’s pet would be a golem. ArenaNet said they wanted to give the ranger a very nature-oriented role. It will be exciting to see what profession will use guns or golems. Hopefully with the playable demo at Gamescom a short time away we will start learning about professions with greater frequency.
look like gelfling, smell like gelfling