Home Guest Article Guild Wars 2 Starter’s Guide: The Ranger

Want to get started in Guild Wars 2 but aren’t sure where to begin? Harsh from the Xen of Onslaught [XoO] is here to help. Today, he kicks off his Guild Wars 2 Starter Guide with the popular Ranger profession.

Everybody’s favorite wildlife enthusiast, the Ranger, is back, though with quite a few tweaks from how you might remember him. Using his keen eye, steady hand, or the power of nature itself, the Ranger is capable of striking unwitting foes from a distance with a wide array of weaponry.


Time changes all things

For Guild Wars veterans, it’s important to know what’s changed for the Ranger since the last game. With the second title moving away from interrupts, and likewise reflex based gameplay, the Ranger has changed a lot from its previous incarnation.

  • Removal of extra armor vs. elements
  • Loss of Expertise as energy management
  • Loss of block stances
  • Loss of focus on interrupts

The loss of Expertise is null because this game lacks an energy pool , so you don’t need e-management. The loss of block stances and armor vs elemental damage hurts, however the Ranger is still a very difficult class to kill. This is because Rangers can, with little trait investment, increases endurance regeneration by 50%, allowing you to dodge and roll like a madman to avoid damage.


My be(a)st friend

The Ranger has a variety of pets at his command, allowing him to adapt, endure, and overcome whatever his foe throws at him. Here are the facts every animal lover needs to know:

  • You can have two pets at your command, however only one pet may be active at a time, much like the weapon switching system.
  • 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 befriend.
  • There are a variety of species that can be charmed, both terrestrial and aquatic, including bears, drakes, devourers, and jellyfish.
  • As you adventure with a pet, you will eventually be able to give it abilities that compliment your tactics.
  • Rather than manage a unique resource in combat, a ranger will manage his pet, by assigning them a behavior from aggressive to passive.
  • A ranger can also manage his pet by giving the pet basic commands.


New dogs? How about old tricks?

In addition to familiar pet-based gameplay, Rangers are bringing their most fun tools back to the fight. Utilizing traps, the Ranger can create hazards at choke points. He/she can also provide the team with party-wide passive spirit buffs. These tools become significantly more powerful when traited, even providing the ability for the spirits to follow you and your party!


Guns are for wussies

Like Batman, the Ranger isn’t fond of firearms. Instead, he prefers more visceral combat, using deadly melee weapons and hard-hitting long distance attacks.

Greatsword (two handed): Though the ranger generally tends to favor ranged combat, he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The greatsword is a powerful weapon, providing a gap closer with a low cooldown, impressive damage, and a stun. If you laugh at a Ranger running at you with one of these, you will regret your derision rather quickly.

Longbow (two handed): This iconic weapon allows the ranger to strike from afar, and really shines in a team battle. Sporting an area-of-effect attack that causes cripple, a rapid fire attack, and a knock back for when foes get too close, the longbow is just about as versatile as the Ranger is himself.

Shortbow (two handed): Have you ever wanted to be cursed at by random people on the internet because they can’t catch you as they bleed to death? If your answer is yes, then the shortbow is for you. This weapon may be tiny, but it packs a wallop with cripple, poison, bleeding, a stun, and a built-in speed boost. While a lot of this weapons power comes from positioning, once you effectively master this your foes will be left crying.

Sword (main hand): If you don’t think you were rolling around enough before, with this weapon you may as well give yourself blue spikes and go collect rings. Two sources of cripple, skills to get you out of or around trouble and poison, combine this weapon with the dagger offhand for some real battlefield mayhem.

Axe (main hand): While most people will tell you axes are fer choppin, the Ranger is perfectly happy putting the spetsnaz to shame. Bleeding and chill are the big players this weapon brings. The auto attack skill is even useful in group fights due to hitting multiple targets. Multiple chances to crit? Yes please.

Dagger (offhand): This weapon brings poison, a small bleed, and a cripple to the fight, making it a very good complimentary weapon for condition based builds.

Axe (offhand): Provides a weaker version of the Axe multi hit skill, and a mediocre defensive ability. Unless this weapon receives some sort of buff, it is the Dan Hibiki of offhand weapons.

Warhorn (offhand): One of my personal favorites. The warhorn provides a plethora of boons, to include swiftness, all of which can buff nearby allies. The other skill is a swarm of birds which can cause bleeding when paired with utility skills, or can trigger the trait that causes bleed on critical hits. When a single skill has 16 hits, each one of them capable of stacking conditions, I can see why Hitchcock wrote that book.

Torch (offhand): This weapon can be summed up rather easily: Either throw fire, or set the ground around you on fire. This may sound overly simple, but the torch is very powerful in ranged condition builds due to the combo system in Guild Wars 2. Fire some arrows through your bonfire to set off some real fireworks!


Final word

The Ranger is a jack of all trades, yet still a master of every one of them. I hope this guide was helpful to those wanting to learn about this pet-loving profession. I look forward to seeing you in game!

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