Guild Wars 2 – Ranger

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

21 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 – Ranger”

  1. Seeing positioning playing a big role in GW2 looks exciting. Watching the arrows light on fire after being shot through the trap looks awesome too. Bit of a shame that Ranger is a pet-dominated class, though :(

  2. i was surprised rangers couldn’t use guns. ranged class usually equals ranged weapons like guns.

    i was a little disappointed with pets, aside from the abilities, and controlling the evolution (which should have been in gw) what other new mechanics are there really?

    I guess i was expecting more innovation.

    1. Definitely feels the least changed, but I think it’s because this round of interviews overemphasized pets and underemphasized battle mobility. It kind of feels like they might have taken a bit of the Assassin’s pie.

      1. Rangers have always been mobile and evasive in GW1 – they’re not stealing anything from the assassin.

        Stances have been a big role – whirling defense, lightning reflexes, and escape being classic *core-skill* examples. Rangers were one of the original runner classes because of their speed and evasion capabilities.

        All that’s happened is that with the “secondary class” mechanic being removed, it meant that they needed some melee capability that they would normally have gotten from a secondary class – just as warriors needed some ranged abilities that they would normally have gotten from a secondary class.

        They haven’t “stolen” anything from an assassin-type class. There’s still plenty of scope for them…stealth, dual daggers, poison, chain skills, shadow-stepping, guns possibly, and of course their own form of evasion.

        For example, a ranger does very different things with a long bow to what a warrior would do with the same long bow…I’m sure an assassin-type class will have it’s own awesome and unique dual-wielding and highly-mobile skills.

        1. Good point. I guess the difference is that I’ve never felt like rangers were quickly evasive. I’ve never seem them played where they flit about the battlefield, in and out of melee, etc. Maybe, in a way, rangers were the original mobile class, and the GW2 concept is closer to what was originally intended.

          They already said the shortbow is a run-n-gun weapon, which is going to be amazing.

    2. Kind of agree on this one. I was hoping to play a character like Nathaniel “Hawkeye” Bumppo with a trusty long rifle and loyal dog by my side. OK, so hawkeye didn’t have a dog, unless you count Uncas.

  3. Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be a pretty enticing game. Throw in the fact it will NOT have a subscription and I’m seeing no reason to care about SW:ToR any longer.

    1. Yes this is *the* game I’m looking forward to. I’m also hoping it will be the one to lure my wife away from her first MMO, World of Warcraft. It’s time for something new.

      1. It will be like that time we had at least four people playing LotRO at once. All GW2, all the time, woo!

  4. GW2 is definatley on my radar right now; so is SWTOR, next year looks like it will be a good MMO year.

  5. The ranger becoming a “pet-required” class makes me rather sad. I really liked the fact that the GW ranger was “pet-optional” and that I could focus on being an archer. More WoW-ification on this isn’t a good thing. It feels like GW2 will have far fewer options than GW did, overall. More of a classic MMO, and less of the rather unique gameplay featured in GW.

    1. I wouldn’t start fretting just yet. Eric Flannum and others at Anet have repeatedly said there will be options for other classes to focus on ranged combat – classes without pets, likely.

      The warrior’s Arc Shot looks pretty impressive, and I’m sure there will be even cooler ones at his disposal. The warrior page also says he can use rifles for sniping.

      Concept art (and one of the shadows on the Anet profession page) seems to indicate some kind of rogue or assassin themed class will be available as well. This class may be just as agile and stealthy as a ranger with some ranged options. Personally, I can’t imagine such a character without at least a shortbow and hurled daggers for range options.

  6. ***incendiary comment of the day***

    Let this be a lesson in effective communication with your playerbase. Had they simply said “We’re gonna make the Ranger much more like WoW’s Hunter” they’d still be getting tomatoes thrown at them.

    But if you dress it up like this, people love it.

    ***end incendiary comment of the day***

  7. In AD&D my favorite setup for a ranger was wielding dual small axes that he could throw as well. (I had to bend one rule for this IIRC). A dual axe wielding/throwing beastmaster type pet class would be awesome, it’s what I always wanted to play in WoW.

  8. It seems a little strange to combine increased mobility with a mandatory pet. If you are able to shoot on the move and have skills to get back to range, then you don’t really need a pet to tank your enemies. In other games, this kind of mobile play style tends to require a lot of control on it’s own and having a pet to control as well would be a nuisance.

    I reckon that the reason the pet is semi mandatory is that the pet bar is how Rangers get their additional >15 skills with only two weapon swaps (i.e. warriors have chains, Eles have 4 attunements). Also maybe a ranger without a pet would be too close to some other profession ANet have in mind (Rogue?).

  9. Why would they make the pets mandatory?! This is really disappointing. They make me choose between heavy armor and having a pet just so I can use bows? The only thing I can think of is that they are planning on making another profession for the marksman and archery fan base, but no more traps and spirits. (and yes, they basically said to use the pets or play warrior instead)

    1. No…

      They said use another ranged profession. They did say ‘like the warrior’ but that’s the only other profession out so far with bows and guns.

      They also said that there are plenty of other professions out there that use bows and guns. So you should stop worrying.

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