Julian paces through a company of Rangers, a task force made up of many races including the sovereign humans, the proud norn, the inventive asura, the plant-like sylvari, and the feline charr. ”Noble rangers. It is important that you show no fear when you face an Elder Dragon. In Tyria, we fight to the last Companion standing.” (and then we regroup at the local tavern or waypoint) “Without courage, how can we call ourselves Rangers! Before we begin the training, are there any questions?”
A young charr raises a paw with a sad, worried look on her face. “Can I go to the bathroom? I really gotta go.”
“What?” the charr asks. “When nature calls you gotta go.”
“Does anyone else need to heed nature’s call?” The contingent raises a vocal affirmative. /facepalm!
Join us after the potty break for a complete rundown of the Ranger’s skillful armament in Guild Wars 2!
The Training Grounds
Last week, I introduced you to our new column and the mystical wonder of the scene here in Companion’s Crossing. This week, we will be getting down and dirty in the Training Grounds. The training will be fierce, but the skills you learn and the knowledge you take from it will prepare you for the battles to come in Guild Wars 2.
In addition to straw-stuffed practice dummies, the Training Grounds are set up with several long- and short-range targets to refine your skills as a Ranger. You have your swords (greatswords too!), you have your bows, (the long and the short) AND your throwing axes! These are all great weapons to complement your ACTION/ADVENTURING HERO!, however the Ranger also comes with optional off-hand weapon accessories including the dagger, torch and warhorn. With all of this weaponry at your fingertips, you can fight the foes of Tyria like you were Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir all in one! (Sorry. No shields. That is what stalwart Warriors and protective Guardians are made of.) *clever grin*
With the release of Guild Wars 2 closing in (/cheers!!), I will be breaking this into a three-part comprehensive guide spread out over the course of the week. Let’s begin with a comparison of skills between the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.
How Many Skills Does It Take To Carve Out The Core of a Destroyer?
Not including PvP skills, there are approximately 142 Ranger skills across the campaigns of Guild Wars. With that many skills to choose from you could easily spend a half hour (or more) developing a good build to play with. For Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has simplified not only the number of skills for each profession, but the method in which they are acquired. Now you can spend less time choosing skills and have more fun time playing the game.
When you enter the game, you will see a skill bar of 10 skills (you also have skills for your companion, assigned F1-F4, but we’ll cover those in a future guide). Skills 1-5 are determined by the type of weapon you are wielding in each hand, with the first three being your main hand weapon skills and the last two for your off-hand weapon skills. Skill 6 is a healing skill, skills 7-9 (currently locked) are for utility skills (traps, signets and spirits) and skill 10 (also locked) is for elite skills. For this guide, we will be focusing on the first five skills.
Weapons – Dual Wielding
- Winter’s Bite
- Path of Scars
- Whirling Defense
As a Ranger, you begin your first adventure with an axe. Not just any axe mind you, but a throwing axe! I know, I know. You were hoping for a bow and arrow right from the start, but believe me – this is a great weapon for the starting experience. Using a throwing axe will teach you how to use range as one of your profession’s core mechanics.
Your first, usable, main hand axe skill is Ricochet. When you throw an axe using this skill, the axe will bounce between several foes like a ball bearing colliding with bumpers in a pinball game. As you continue using the axe, you progressively unlock more skills. The same method of skill achievement applies to any of the other weapons types. (Sword, Greatsword, Longbow, Shortbow, etc.) After a short amount of time, you will unlock your first two skills, Splitblade and Winter’s Bite. Splitblade throws out of a spread of 5 axes that cause bleeding to any foe they strike. Winter’s Bite will throw an axe that chills your foe (turning them a bluish tint) and allows your companion’s next attack to inflict weakness.
To unlock the remaining two off-hand skills, you will need to acquire another axe and equip it. After dual-wielding both axes and defeating foes with them, you will eventually have access to use the Path of Scars and Whirling Defense skills. Those of you who know Sokka, a warrior from the Southern Water Tribe in Avatar: The Last Airbender (the cartoon), he uses a sort of bladed boomerang. When using Path of Scars, the axe you throw acts like Sokka’s boomerang, causing damage to any foes in it’s path on the way out and on the way in.
Finally, Whirling Defense is an incredible axe skill carried over from the first Guild Wars. Before Guild Wars 2, Whirling Defense granted the Ranger with a 75% chance to block all attacks, and when blocking projectiles it would damage adjacent foes. The skill also had a 60 second recharge. The new upgrades to the skill now give it a 25-second cooldown, and the best part of Whirling Defense is the cool animation that happens when activated. Did I mention that this skill still blocks projectiles and damages nearby foes?
Weapons – Two Handed
- Long Range Shot
- Rapid Fire
- Hunter’s Shot
- Point Blank Shot
When you acquire your first longbow, your first skill is Long Range Shot. The range of the skill is 1200. I am not sure if that’s suppose to be 1200 feet, meters… pixels (Does anyone know what the metric system is in Kryta?). The point here is to use range as your ally with this weapon, and with this skill, the farther your arrow flies, the more damage it will inflict.
Rapid Fire, Hunter’s Shot, Point Blank Shot and Barrage are all Ranger skills carried over from Guild Wars. Originally, Rapid Fire was a Preparation skill that allowed the Ranger to attack 33% faster. The Rapid Fire skill in Guild Wars 2 shoots off 10 arrows in quick succession, giving you that sort of Legolas feeling at fast-forward speed and still giving honor to its preceding skill name. Instead of causing a bleeding condition, Hunter’s Shot hits a foe with a vulnerability condition (lowering the foe’s defense), and grants your companion with a swiftness boon to increase her movement speed. Like its ancestor skill, Point Blank Range still does damage at half the bow’s range, but it also pushes the foe back several feet. The closer you are to your foes, the farther they will fall back.
The Barrage skill in Guild Wars only allowed a Ranger to shoot arrows at up to 6 adjacent targets, striking additional damage if they hit. In Guild Wars 2, Barrage is upgraded to look exactly as it sounds. Instead of 6 arrows falling upon foes, Barrage now rains a multitude of arrows in a targeted area. Foes caught in this spectacular display are crippled by the sheer awe of the skill (and the pointy tips).
- Poison Volley
- Quick Shot
- Crippling Shot
- Concussion Shot
Crossfire is a skill from Guild Wars which retained only its name in Guild Wars 2. The skill requires some tactical positioning for it to be effective. If you attack a foe from behind or from the side while using Crossfire, you will inflict a bleeding condition on that foe. Like the Splitblade axe skill, Poison Volley shoots 5 arrows from your bow, inflicting a poison condition to any foes hit by them. (Foes will look a sickly green color when poisoned. Watch out! They may throw up on you.)
Making a return appearance into Guild Wars 2 are Quick Shot, Crippling Shot and Concussion Shot. Many years ago, Quick Shot simply fired one arrow twice as fast, but in Guild Wars 2, the skill fires an arrow and launches your Ranger into an evasive retreat while granting swiftness. Once an elite skill in Guild Wars, Crippling Shot has been downgraded to a regular skill in Guild Wars 2, but in addition to crippling your foes it also makes your companion’s next 3 attacks inflict a bleeding condition.
Last, but certainly not least, is Concussion Shot. Comparing the two versions, Concussion Shot still dazes and still has a 25 second recharge timer. The version in Guild Wars only interrupted spells. In Guild Wars 2, if you shoot an arrow using Concussion Shot and it strikes a foe, it causes a dazed condition, unless you hit the foe from the side or from behind, in which case it causes a stunned condition. What’s the difference between these two conditions? I asked myself the same question and this is what I discovered.
According to the Guild Wars 2 Wiki,
“Daze is an effect caused by some skills which interrupts and prevents the target from using skills for a period of time.“
“Stun is an effect caused by some skills which interrupts, immobilizes, and incapacitates foes for a short duration.”
Sounds like the same old Concussion Shot to me, except now you can attempt to interrupt ALL skills.
This concludes the first part of our beginner’s guide to the Guild Wars 2 Ranger Profession. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and if you have any comments, suggestions, or if there was perhaps something I missed, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep your eyes peeled for the continuation and conclusion of this guide throughout the week. Thank you for reading and have a great week!
-  The introduction and dialogue is a reference from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book One: Water, Chapter One: The Boy in the Iceberg, when Sokka is giving a speech to the children of the Southern Water Tribe.
-  This is a reference to the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring during The Council of Elrond.
-  Refers to an early 19th Century nursery rhyme “What Little Boys/Girls Are Made Of?“
-  Reference to a Tootsie Roll Pop Commercial. “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? The world may never know.”