The New Ranger

June 30, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 5 Comments
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If the ranger is the next profession released, what is it going to be like? Obviously some major changes are in order. A lot of what worked for Guild Wars isn’t going to work for Guild Wars 2.

This is pretty speculation heavy, and I think this post is more about feeling out what the ranger in Guild Wars 2 could be like than specific prediction.

A quick review of the Guild Wars ranger. Their primary attribute is expertise, which reduces energy costs and skill recharge. Beast Mastery governs the damage and frequency of criticals along with the effectiveness of other BM skills. Wilderness survival focused on the effectiveness of traps, nature rituals and preparations. Markmanship focused on conditions and damage.

The only things we really know about the ranger in Guild Wars 2 is that it will probably have a pet, use longbows and shortbows, probably use rifles, pistols, swords and perhaps daggers.

I guess the big question is, what will the unique profession mechanic be. Elementalists can switch among 4 elements, the warrior can grow in power through adrenaline and then use a burst skill. The unique mechanic doesn’t appear to be based on a GW profession’s primary attribute. It seems based more on something that is unique and interesting about the class.

What is unique and interesting about the ranger?

Pets for one. I would be surprised if Arenanet didn’t fully overhaul the entire pet system and replace it with something much more useful and easier to use. For instance I don’t think you’ll have to carry around a skill like Charm Animal just to have your pet with you. I think however you summon on your pet, it won’t be on your skill bar. Shaun likes the idea of pets as summoned familiars, I’m not so sure, but any summon/dismissal of a pet I’m thinking of adds up to the same thing really.

Pet skills often took up a lot of room on your skill bar in GW, it was difficult to come up with an intricate and reliable build as long as you had to bring Charm Animal, a skill to heal or revive your pet, and whatever attack skills you wanted for your pet, plus skills that allowed you yourself to do damage.

Although I suppose something like the Warhorn could serve the same purpose as Charm Animal. By equipping it, your pet follows you around. That could make sense. I like contradicting myself. It means I can’t be wrong either way.

That’s kind of why I think any skills involving pets will have the same effect on your character. Dual purpose skills. Anet was leaning in this direction a little bit (barely) when it added skills like Heal as One, Run as One, Companionship, Rampage as One, Never Rampage Alone, Strike as One, Symbiotic Bond and other skills.

Although I suppose rangers could use skill chains as well when it comes to pets, it might make more sense. Or for that matter your pet could have its own skill bar. Thats also a likely possibility. I guess I’m operating on way too little information. I think pets will be made much more useful, easier to control, and be much more present as a result. How precisely I’m not sure.

Pets are a ranger definite, but are they the unique mechanic? I don’t think so. I think the mechanic will be something else. Some form of basic skill use.

Rangers are by and large a ranged profession, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with aim or marksmanship. Would it be as simple as gaining “focus” as the battle goes on, improving your aim, criticals, and damage, or is that too close to the adrenaline mechanic of the warrior?

Perhaps another alternative would be holding your shot get better aim and do more damage. Again a little too close to the charge mechanic that the warrior has. Those suggestions are just guesswork with no evidence to support them.

Aiming, actually using crosshairs to aim, seems out of the question. MMOs are not first person shooters, and I can’t imagine Guild Wars 2 would require actual aiming. They’ve even given the example of someone firing an arrow it bouncing off the target and returning to the person to restore their health. That would be one hell of a Hawkeye.

One possibility is that I’m wrong and that the unique mechanic of the ranger will be entirely based on its GW primary attribute, Expertise. Skills could take less energy to activate based on some arbitrary mechanic. It would be hard to guess at what that mechanic would be, I’m sure it would be brand new. The more targets you hit the more effective expertise becomes? Too simplistic perhaps.

If I were a game developer (game developers must loathe people who say that) I’d probably aim for reality. Going into battle you’d have focus and better aim or expertise, and then lose it as the battle goes on, becoming less effective. Doubtless a mechanic that would be criticized for eternity.

Lets step away from the unique mechanic talk and discuss some of the things the original ranger had that may or may not be seen in GW2.

Nature Rituals. I’ve stated previously that the new focus Arenanet has on movement, sort of takes away from game mechanics like the ritualists spirits, which are stationary and keep game play from moving around. I think that holds true for NRs too. Constantly throwing down NRs could be a pain in the butt, especially since they took time to cast. They keep you out of the battle. I’m not saying they won’t come back, but they won’t be in their current form. They’d be something you’d perform quickly and would move with you.

Traps are one thing I can see them doing away with entirely. They were abused for farming purposes, and like above, they don’t exactly travel. They were great for handing out conditions but I just think they don’t fit.

Preparations are a little more difficult to predict. It just makes sense for bows, but with rifles and pistols, and the possibility of rangers wielding swords and who knows what else, I’m not sure what will happen with them. Tipping those blades with poison makes sense, but using Kindle Arrows on musket balls?

To sum up, I think the unique mechanic will either be either aim based or expertise based or both. I think the special skill types will be pet attacks, some kind of new take on nature rituals, something brand new, and I’ll go with a new take on preparations.

One thing I’ve ensured with this post is that I’m going to be wrong about everything and yet right about a couple things. At the very least. I suppose I should be more confident about some speculation but its too open. There is so very little to go on. I’d very much appreciate input in the comments.

Aidan you hunk


  1. Reading through your speculation and thinking about the unique things about the warrior and elementalist gave me an idea.

    With each of those we’ve seen strategies to make the 10-slot skillbar larger than it seems. Warriors swap weapons and elementalists change attunements. I wonder what it would be like if rangers could have a ‘stable’ of sorts where they can select between a number of charmed pets or even sympathetic nature spirits.

    Of course, I tend to sit in the camp that says the ranger’s unique mechanic will be nature-based and rely heavily on pets. (I also like pets)

    • Thats an interesting idea, and it seems possible. However, usually rangers are more bonded with one particular pet. Theres a sort of relationship between master and pet. But you’re absolutely right, it could be one way of extending the skill bar.

      What you said makes me lean towards pets having their own skill bar though. or something like it.

      Yeah I’m all over the map on this one.

  2. There was colored bullets in the gun concept art. Could it have something to do with preparations?

    • Possibly, i’m certainly not ruling it out. Just in my head it seems weird to have preparations for bullets. Not sure why. preparations just seems so old fashioned and nature based and bullets don’t fit that in my mind. but thats more of an imagination thing than based on any evidence.

  3. Next profession reveal is this week.

    Guild Wars 2 Some nice guesses on the picture we linked in the last post (here it is again if you missed it: ). Stay tuned this week for the next profession reveal. =)

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