The Archer’s Paradox describes the phenomenon whereby an arrow aimed directly at the centre of a target will invariably miss. The bowman must account for the flex of the bow, the wind and the myriad of other external variables each time they release an arrow if they want to hit the target every time. The Guild Wars 2 Ranger profession might seem to be the same entity as it was in Guild Wars 1, but ArenaNet have made some significant alterations whilst still retaining the charm and lure which the profession holds in fantasy RPGs.
The Ranger was one of the core 6 professions in GW1. It always struggled to find a place in the typical PvE team – coming under the umbrella term of “DPS”. A Ranger would often find it difficult to worm its way into the standard setup due to having a lower damage output than Elementalists, Necromancers and Ritualists, less armour than Warriors and Paragons, a less reliable interrupt than a computer-controlled Mesmer, and virtually no support capabilities. It was a jack of all trades, and (at least in PvE) a master of none.
Another PAX Prime has come and gone from our city of Seattle. Fortunately we managed to avoid the H1Nerd1 outbreak like we had a few years ago but as always, PAX can be a very draining experience. Just like Frenzy + Healing Signet: it’s awesome and hilarious, and probably will leave you wiped. There’s so much to see and so much excitement in the air! NCSoft has always had a large presence at PAX, typically having a large space with huge murals of the games on display along with tons of demo stations. While they did just announce their new MMO Wildstar, GW2 was really the star of the show; so much in fact that it had 3 different locations dedicated to it (Alienware and Logitech). Even with more floor space than probably any other single game aside from Halo, the Guild Wars 2 stations and booths were always completely packed for all three days, literally from opening to closing.
The ranger is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all as well, relying on his keen eye, steady hand, or the power of nature itself. A master of ranged combat, the ranger is capable of striking unwitting foes from a distance with his bow. With a stable of pets at his command, a ranger can adapt to his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
A ranger is accompanied by his pet, a loyal animal companion. Rangers charm pets and then bond with them. A ranger can have up to three pets at his call, but generally speaking, only one pet can be active at any time. Pets’ base health, armor, and damage are based on the level of the player that owns them.
Pets are charmed by interacting with juvenile versions of the species you want to charm. There are a variety of Tyrian species that can be charmed, including bears, moas, devourers, and sharks. As you adventure with a pet, it evolves to become more unique and eventually allows you to give it abilities that compliment your tactics.
Rather than manage a unique resource in combat, a ranger will manage his pet, assigning them a behavior from aggressive to passive. A ranger can also manage his pet by giving commands such as “attack,” “heel,” and “stay.”
Rangers have a number of special skill types:
Traps–Traps are utility skills that can be placed at a ranger’s current location. When an enemy enters a trap, it is triggered. For example, Spike Trap will cripple and bleed enemies that pass through it. A trap can remain active as long as the ranger chooses to remain close to it. A ranger can only have one of each trap type out at any given time.
Spirits–A spirit skill summons a nature spirit that influences the area around it. For example, Sun Spirit applies additional fire damage to allied attacks inside its influence. A spirit stays out for a short period of time and goes away if the ranger wanders too far away from it. Spirits can be attacked by enemies and removed from the battle. A ranger can only have one of each type of spirit out at any given time.
A ranger is mostly a master of ranged weapons, however, he can use sword or greatsword in melee combat. The ranger weapons are:
Main Hand: Sword, Axe
Off Hand: Axe, Dagger, Torch, Warhorn
Two-Handed: Greatsword, Longbow, Shortbow
A ranger has three active pet slots. Outside of combat, or through the use of utility skills, the ranger can swap their active pet. There are 12 different types of pets, including some terrestrial (spiders), some amphibious (lizards), and some aquatic (sharks). Within each type there are subtypes that can influence pets’ abilities. For example, a polar bear might have an Icy Roar, while a brown bear might have a Fearsome Roar. A ranger’s pet gets its level from its master, which determines their basic attack, armor, and health.
Pets have customization options. The first of these has to do with a pet’s evolution level. Pets evolve up to 20 evolution levels. Each pet type receives automatic bonuses at different evolution levels. For bears, these bonuses might be increased health or increased damage. Pets gain evolution points when the player gains XP while the pet is active. At certain evolution levels, pets will unlock ability slots (up to 4 total). Ability slots can be filled from a list of active pet abilities based on pet type.
In addition to managing his skills, a ranger will be able to manage his pet with limited commands and modes. This will be an interface element for the ranger class. Here are some examples:
Modes–Ongoing behavioral settings the ranger can toggle.
Aggressive–Attack what I am attacking.
Defensive–Attack enemies that attack me.
Commands–Specific, direct commands that execute right away.