Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Class Highlights: The Ranger

If you are a fellow lover of animals or just like bows, ArenaNet points you towards this class.  I disagree, and I'll tell you why after the break.  I love most of the professions, but this is not one of them at the moment.  There are some glimmers of hope in the class, but the profession is in need of some work.

First, I played the thief as my main in this beta.  I got to level 25 with him, and then tried out a ranger on the last day of beta.  I had only experience to level 5 and did not progress in any weapon sets other than the shortbow, axe, and warhorn.  Let's be clear though, I have done my research, and I have read the class forums on Guru and the Official forums, and watched several PvP videos.  I may not have the experience of playing the class, but I have been analyzing it extensively, albeit from a distance.

The ranger is...alright.  I'm not excited about the class, at least, not as much as I thought I would be.  The pet AI is still so messed up, that I can't really gauge how useful a pet is at the moment.  Some pets are pretty finished, while others are relatively useless.  The pet's controls are simply non-responsive, and I was really hoping they would fix this between the press beta and now.  It was one of the press's biggest complaints, so I would have put money on that they would have fixed it by now.  I'm sure they will get to it, but it really should be a top priority because the pet system is one of the major attributes of the ranger profession.

The pets also die constantly, and need some more survivability.  I understand that you don't want to let them tank the mobs, but the poor pets get slaughtered in WvW and 5v5s.  No one even goes out of their way to attack them and they die.  I think they could increase their resistance to aoe's, and that would solve the majority of this problem.

 The third major problem is that the ranger is pretty decent without a working pet system.  That almost seems to show how useless the pets are at this moment.  I saw an interesting suggestion on the forums that seemed relatively popular.  Instead of trying to fix the AI, they might just want to incorporate the pet into the moves that the weapons kills do. For example instead of your bow knocking the enemy back, your pet rushes into them and knocks them back. I think this is a band-aid fix, and won't fix the problems of mesmer's and necro's, but it is a decent solution.

The melee weapons are consistently good. They are not only able to put out control, damage, and some AOE, they also are interesting to use.  The warhorn can summon down birds to attack your enemy, that is pretty visually cool to see. The greatsword uses really fantastic animations to leap, to add bleeds and looks great.  The same cannot be said of the shortbow and longbow.

I feel most people who like the concepts of rangers also like the concepts of bows.  Don't get me wrong the bows have decent-to very good range, have decent amounts of damage as a ranged weapon, and are useful.  However, they just don't have the "wow" factor.  My thief's shortbow was far more interesting than the shortbow of a ranger.  I try not to be biased, but it was pretty upsetting to see how much my interest fell by switching to this class.  There simply aren't any interesting animations involved (maybe one on the longbow, but again its only mildly fun).  I shoot my bow and I shoot it again, oh I can shoot it fast now, and oh I shoot it again.  Yes, you may be crippling, causing your foe to gain vulnerability, or daze them, its just you can't tell that from watching the animations.  Every shot looks the same, and is one the same major complaints of the thief's pistols.  There really should be a way to tell what the ranger is doing from their animations, I shouldn't have to look at the enemy's conditions to tell that.  This makes sense from a game that wants to cater to the esport audience and be visually appealing.

I will say though, I really like how the weapon skills that you use, also affect your pet.  I love that, and its nice to see that in everything, the weapon skills, traits, and utilities all add to this aspect.  Ideally, your pet and you act as a cohesive unit.

The utility's are pretty good. You have the traps, the signets, and totem-like spirits that provide buffs.  The traps can be ground targetable with traits, and make for a decent list of utilities.  The spirits can move to follow you with traits.  There is a decent variety, and they all seem to fit the ranger archetype, so I have no complaints.

The traits are decent.  Again, I have no complaints, and some are pretty good.  I'd really like to know how camouflage works for the one trait in Wilderness Survival.

In conclusion, the ranger is a little underwhelming.  Its effective, its just lacks flavor in several key areas.  The only part of the ranger I like right now is the fact that I can switch pets, the greatsword, the sword, and the warhorn.  Everything else is just eh...I know some will disagree, but this profession is one of the classes that needs the most work.

1 comment:

  1. You have a good point about the lack of animations on the bows. I played necro in the BWE and all the staff animations are the same and it is very hard to tell the difference between the marks. I believe the elementalist staff animations are mostly the same as well.