For many of us, it has been a long journey since Guild Wars 2 was first announced, yet there are many others who will be taking their first steps into the world of Tyria next week. We stand together on the edge of destiny to begin our first adventures, but there are choices to be made before we set out on our initial journey.
One of the most important decisions you make will be to choose your profession. When you choose to play a Ranger, you are accepting a challenge that no other profession can offer. What is this challenge you ask? Follow along after the break to learn how Rangers can shape the fields of battle.
Each profession needs to feel as unique and different as possible.
Choose Your Dynamic Roles as The Ranger
Rangers are the most unique characters to play in Guild Wars 2 because they have the ability to take on a unique diversity of roles. Whether fighting alone or taking charge against insurmountable odds, The Ranger has a barrage of skills, weapons, abilities and companions that inspire support and devotion to help fellow allies and party members complete any task. In addition to our legendary prowess with ranged weapons, Rangers can swap to melee weapons to use a swift and cunning approach to defeat those who stand in their path.
Another unique mechanic that is exclusive to the Ranger is Animal Companions (also known as pets), which are AI controlled Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) that follow and fight alongside you. In character creation, you are given a choice to pick one out of three companions to start the game with. Across all of Tyria, the Ranger can charm more than 40 animal companions (To charm new pets, find a ‘juvenile’ animal of that species. Then approach it and press ‘F’ to interact). Companions can help support rangers and their allies in many ways, including granting boons, boosting health regeneration and resurrecting yourself and defeated comrades, as well as inflicting additional damage and conditions against your foes. Like the professions of Guild Wars 2, each companion is also unique and different.
Rangers can plant devastating traps that burn, bleed, cripple, chill and poison when enemies trigger them. Summoning spirits of nature is another talent that is unique to the Ranger, and these spirits support allies with healing, revival and condition removal, granting bonuses to damage and increasing chances for protection and swiftness. These same spirits will hinder foes in various ways too.
Signets are passive skills that give various beneficial effects to you and your companion.
The role you choose to play as a Ranger is limited only by your own imagination. You can fire a Barrage of arrows for Area-of-Effect damage. You can drop a Healing Spring to add some health support to your allies. You can take full control of your foe through quick evasion while striking them with a sword, dagger, or greatsword. Or, you can take any combination of those you can think of. You can even make up your own roles if you wish, like this one for example. When I play my role as a Ranger, I am an arrow-slinging, sword-swinging, horn-blowing, dagger-stabbing, torch-burning, companion charming adventurer.
Choose Your Weapons
Axe – Dual Wielding
The throwing axe will be your first weapon when you begin in your race’s home city. As a main-hand weapon, you can throw an axe to bounce it between multiple foes, split it into a spread of five to cause bleeding, or throw one axe and chill your foe, drastically reducing its movement speed. Equipping another axe into your off-hand slot will allow you to wield an axe like a boomerang or use both as a defensive counterattack.
Longbow: The longbow is a two-handed weapon that launches arrows from an extended range. You can rapidly shoot up to 10 arrows in quick succession, knock a foe back at close range, or fire a barrage of arrows to rain from the sky in a large targeted area.
Shortbow: With a two-handed shortbow, you have the choice of loosing an arrow that will inflict several different conditions such as bleeding, crippling, poisoning, dazing, and stunning. Since the short bow forces you to fight at a closer range, there is a skill to activate an evasive retreat should it become necessary.
Greatsword: The Greatsword is a two-handed weapon that focuses on quick evasion for up-close and personal combat. Strike fast and strike hard. Block attacks, cripple your foe and swoop in for the finishing move!
Sword – Main Hand Only: While wielding swords in your main-hand slot, you can unleash a quick flurry of chained attacks and inflict bleeding and poisoning conditions while evading to set up for your next series of strikes. Be quick. Be cunning.
Dagger – Off-Hand Only: Combine the sword with an off-hand dagger to increase your Ranger’s ability to evade attacks and stab your foes with poisoning strikes. Throw the dagger from a medium range to bleed and cripple.
Torch – Off-Hand Only: Instead of a dagger, equip a fiery torch that you can toss or throw down a field of fire that can be used by all nearby allies to burn your foes.
Warhorn – Off-Hand Only: With a warhorn, you can sound the Call of the Wild that will boost yourself and nearby allies with a faster movement speed, a mighty boon that will raise power and condition damage, and increase the chances to strike a critical hit. You may sound the horn to call in a flight of hawks to swarm a single foe.
Harpoon Gun – Underwater Only: If you dive into an underwater environment, you will automatically switch weapons. One of the weapons you can use is the harpoon gun, which shoots spears that splinter and bleed multiple foes. You can cripple and send a frenzy of piranhas to swarm your enemies too. A fun underwater evasion used with this weapon is the Ink Blast, which leaves a blinding trail in your wake when you retreat.
Spear – Underwater Only: The Spear is a melee weapon used underwater. At close range, you can use chained attacks while evading, reflect projectile assaults and bleed foes, making them vulnerable. You can also block, kick and immobilize your enemies.
Animal Companions (Pets): Just like a sword, a bow or a spear, an animal companion is a valuable extension of the Ranger. As you come across new companions in your travels, you will learn that each one has different skills and strengths. Learn what these companions can do and take advantage of those abilities to the fullest extent. Discovering what makes these animals tick is ultimately the key to becoming a true beastmaster.
Choose Your Traits
When you reach Level 11, you will begin earning Trait points that you can apply to 5 different Ranger trait lines. Each trait line relates to your hero’s primary and secondary attributes (as seen in the Hero panel. Press H).
Marksmanship: This is a trait line that focuses on long-range damage and the use of signets. Adding trait points to this line will increase your Power attribute by 10 and raise the duration of conditions you inflict on foes by +1% per point. Power increases the damage of your character’s attacks. When you use conditions, like bleeding or crippling, the duration is extended.
Skirmishing: This is a trait line that focuses on mobility, traps and switching weapons in combat. Trait points applied to this line will raise the Precision primary attribute by 10 and increase your Critical Damage by 1% per point. Precision relates to your chances to score a critical hit, while Critical Damage determines the multipler for a critical hit.
Wilderness Survival: This is a trait line that focuses on defensive combat maneuvers. You will raise both your Toughness primary attribute and Condition Damage by 10 points each when applying trait points to this line. Toughness applies to the character’s armor. Damage to foes caused by inflicted conditions increases with more points.
Nature Magic: This is a trait line that focuses on improving boons and spirits. You can increase your character’s maximum health (as it relates to the Vitality primary attribute), and improve the duration of Boons by 1% per point added to this trait line.
Beastmastery: This is a trait line that focuses on improving your pet’s abilities. Adding points to this line will improve your ability to heal by 10 points and grant a +1 Pet Attribute Bonus.
Choose Your Own Adventure
As you can see, the Ranger, paired with her companion, presents a daunting challenge. From this glimpse alone, you may find that this is a lot to juggle and balance for one profession. For myself, I may be a master of the Ranger and companion when it comes to the original Guild Wars, but like you, I still have a lot to learn about the Guild Wars 2 Ranger. Even the companions act differently in the new world of Tyria. However, I am undeterred from choosing Ranger as my first profession. If anything, I am inspired to learn more and uncover the secrets of this profession so that I may pass on that knowledge and wisdom to other Rangers.
Now is the time! Claim your destiny! Forge your legend!
The time has come to create your first character, to choose your first profession, to begin your first adventure. When you choose your profession, above any other reason under the Tyrian sun, make sure that ‘fun’ is the most important factor in your decisions, no matter where the adventure takes you. Press play to begin your adventure as a Ranger.
P.S. If you should see a Sylvari Ranger of the Wilds darting about the Anvil Rock server, feel free to say hello. See you in-game! Until then, join me in a little dance! A special thanks goes out to our Guild Wars 2 community players Tim Lojko and Arajandra for helping with this video!