When Guild Wars 2: Heart Of Thorns is released, there will be two professions that are able to wield the longbow and place traps. Unsurprisingly rangers have expressed concern about this and many guardians have discussed the playstyle similarities between the two. I thought it’d be a fun idea to compare the two weapons and their traps as well as add my thoughts on them when just one trait line is used.

I appreciate there’s lots of variables to comparisons such as this and there’s a lot to take into account. To keep it simple and as we don't yet have any final numbers for the dragonhunter, I’m using only one trait line designed for the Dragonhunter and the Rangers longbow. Where traps are concerned, things are a little trickier as they vary so much in design. I have tried to pair them as best as possible. I’ve also included Entangle as the ranger “elite” trap as it serves a similar role to Dragon’s Maw.

Inevitably this list and its numbers are going to change considerably once we get to use the dragonhunter in game and once ranger traps are updated. The damage figures in this list will also be updated regularly when we know more information.

Longbow Skills

Ranger Longbow (1)

Dragonhunter Longbow (1)

Long Range Shot: Shoot your arrow from range. The farther the arrow flies, the more damage it does.

Puncture Shot: Fire an arrow which can bounce to the enemies behind your target. If an arrow hits a second target, all enemies struck are crippled.

1000+ range: 317

Damage: 574

500-1000 range: 263

Crippled: 2 s

0-500 range: 211

 

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)

Range: 1,500

Range: 1,200

Thoughts

By default, Puncture Shot has greater utility and damage output than a rangers. Being able to hit multiple targets and cripple them is significantly better than Long Range Shot. The ranger auto attack also suffers a damage penalty depending if your opponent is near to you. With traits and if you choose the typical lines, it’s possible to achieve a minor knockback for the guardian or an extra 15% damage if you tether them. In total, it’s easy to achieve 35% extra damage or keep enemies almost permanently crippled.

Where the ranger is concerned, you can obtain a cripple when enemies are at 50% thanks to Predator’s Instinct, an extra 20% damage output if your opponent is crippled (Steady Focus and Predator’s Onslaught) or you can have your arrows pierce with a 10% increased attack speed. Finally, a ranger has a range of 1,500 units. Who’s the winner here? I’d honestly say the ranger. It’s default damage might be lower, but combined with piercing arrows, opening strike and the cripple - all from 1,500 units, it’s very strong. The minor knockback on dragonhunter is good but it's cripple counts on hitting at least 2 targets and you lose a 15% damage bonus if you take the knockback. Finally, the 15% bonus is only available if you use a virtue.


Ranger Longbow (2)

Dragonhunter Longbow (2)

Rapid Fire: Fire multiple arrows at your foe.

True Shot: Charge up energy creating a powerful attack which pierces through enemies.

Damage (10x): 1,320

Damage: 1,641

Vulnerability: 10 s

 

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile

Range: 1,500

Range: 1,200

Thoughts

Both of these skills are designed to deal high amounts of damage but by default, Rapid Fire easily wins. Dealing ten pulses of damage as opposed to True Shot’s single burst, the damage output is somewhat comparable. When it comes to traits however, things get more interesting because True Shot can provide stability and paired with its default piercing capabilities, should lead to to at least some additional utility for the dragonhunter. That said, the ranger still wins out when combined with its piercing trait, extra range and reduced cooldown, it’s a monstrously good skill.


Ranger Longbow (3)

Dragonhunter Longbow (3)

Hunters Shot: Fire an arrow that grants you stealth when it hits an enemy. Your pet gains swiftness.

Deflecting Shot: Fire a missile that blinds enemies and destroys projectiles.

Damage: 141

Damage: 615

Stealth: 3 s

Blind: 4 s

Swiftness: (pet) 10 s

 

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile

Range: 1,500

Range: 1,200

Thoughts

Both of these skills serve very different purposes with one specifically aimed at survival and repositioning and in the dragonhunters case, protecting others from a potentially large amount of incoming damage. From experience in attempting to use a similar skill that rangers have (Strider’s Defence) it’s incredibly difficult to time it just right. Fortunately, it seems as though the projectile of Deflecting Shot is much more forgiving. I suspect it’ll have much greater use in PvE than PvP. Neither benefit a huge amount from traits.


Ranger Longbow (4)

Dragonhunter Longbow (4)

Point Blank Shot: Push back your foe with a point-blank shot. The closer they are, the farther it pushes them back.

Symbol Of Energy: Fire a slow, arcing arrow which explodes on impact to burn targets and sear a symbol of energy into the ground.

Damage: 282

Damage (4x): 2,050

Knockback: 600 (for range less than 300)

Vigor: 1 s

Knockback: 500 (for range between 300-600)

Burning: 2 s (656 damage)

Knockback: 400 (for range greater than 600)

Pulses: 4

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile

Radius: 180

Range: 900

Combo Field: Light

Thoughts

Similarly to the above, these are very contrasting skills. Point Blank is purely for disrupting enemies or players that are attempting to reach you, while Symbol Of Energy deals damage, burns and provides vigor to those in the symbol. The damage on Symbol Of Energy is good and the additional properties are of value to your team in not only allowing additional dodges but leaving a field you can then blast. As to which one I’d prefer? As a ranger, I’d love to have Symbol Of Energy simply because it’d be so useful for achieving a variety of things. That said, in PvP the knockback from Point Blank Shot is invaluable.


Ranger Longbow (5)

Dragonhunter Longbow (5)

Barrage: Barrage the target area with a hail of arrows that cripple.

Hunter’s Ward: Form your arrow into a barrier and deal damage at the location.

Damage (12x): 1,692

Initial Damage: 205 / Final Impact Damage: 1,641

Crippled: 1½ s (stacking)

Crippled: 2 s

Number of Targets: 5

Number of Impacts: 4

Range: 1,500

Maximum Number of Barriers: 5

 

Ring Duration: 6 seconds

Radius: 360

Radius: 360

Thoughts

Both of these skills are similar in principle, but are delivered slightly differently. Barrage is a 1,500 unit AOE cripple that deals a reasonable amount of damage over 12 attacks. Hunter’s Ward functions similarly to a trap in that you fire a barrage of arrows at a target location and all enemies struck will then be snared in a barrier of magical light. Considering both apply a cripple but Hunter’s Ward also traps enemies, it might seem obvious that it’s a superior skill. However, Barrage does more damage, cripples for longer and only has a base cooldown of 30 seconds. Hunter’s Ward is 60 and there’s no traits that reduce it. Holding players in place is very powerful but I still think the rangers is better overall, especially at a cooldown of 24 seconds when traited.

Traps

Ranger Trap 

Dragonhunter Trap

Flame Trap: Set a trap that burns foes.

Procession of Blades: Set a trap that whirls around and damages enemies when activated.

Damage per pulse: 73

Damage (10x): 1,930

Burning per pulse: 1 s (328 damage)

 

Number of Targets: 5

 

Duration: 3 s

 

Trap Radius: 120

Trigger Radius: 180

Damage Radius: 180

Attack Radius: 240

Combo Field: Fire

 

Unblockable

 

Thoughts

Both of these traps are intended to offer some of the highest DPS on the skillset. Flame Trap is condition based and pulses for several seconds. Offering a fire field, it’s damage is high if you are condition based but can also be easily cleansed. Where Procession Of Blades is concerned, the damage is physical (1,930) and with traits, can also stack bleeding. There’s no denying, even with traited ranger traps for double the duration, that the dragonhunters is superior, even if the cooldown is slightly heavier.


Ranger Trap 

Dragonhunter Trap

Frost Trap: Set a trap that chills foes.

Light’s Judgement: Lay down a trap that creates an area of pure light which reveals enemies and pierces their armor.

Chill per second: 1 s

Damage (10x): 1,100

Number of Targets: 5

Revealed: 1 s (stacking) / Vulnerability: 1 s (stacking)

Duration: 3 s

Duration: 10 s

Trap Radius: 120

 

Trigger Radius: 180

 

Damage Radius: 180

Attack Radius: 240

Combo Field: Fire

 

Unblockable

Interval: 1 s

Thoughts

Technically Light’s Judgement and Frost Trap are incomparable. That said, I think it’s fair to say that Light’s Judgement is an amazing trap that finally provides a method of detecting stealth users. In contrast, Frost Trap can certainly keep them hindered but it doesn’t last long and deals no damage. Light’s Judgement however deals damage ten times, applies reveal and 20 stacks of Vulnerability that last for 1 second. It’s probably one of, if not the strongest trap in the dragonhunters arsenal. Its cooldown might be long in comparison to Frost Trap, but it's totally worth it. 


Ranger Trap 

Dragonhunter Trap

Spike Trap: Set a trap that bleeds and cripples foes.

Test Of Faith: Lay a trap that creates a ring of weapons which punish enemies that attempt to cross their threshold.

Damage: 49

Damage: 1,462

Bleeding: 5 s (638 damage)

Crippled: 6 s

Crippled: 2 s

Trigger Radius: 180

Number of Targets: 5

Sword Radius: 240

Duration: 3 s

Attack Radius: 240

Trap Radius: 120

 

Damage Radius: 180

 

Unblockable

Unblockable

Thoughts

Both of these traps are specifically designed to keep a player crippled while dealing damage. The key difference being that test of faith has a longer cripple and will re-apply itself if enemies cross the blades. Spike Trap simply delivers a cripple and bleeds which lasts for around 3 seconds. With traits, its duration is double but even then it only comes into line with Light’s Judgement: it still lacks the initial damage burst or the cripple re-applying itself.


Ranger Trap 

Dragonhunter Trap

Viper’s Nest: Set a trap that pulses poison on foes when triggered.

Fragment’s Of Faith: Lay a trap that deals damage and unleashes multiple fragments into the area when triggered. Each fragment grants aegis to allies, as long as they don't already have aegis.

Damage (3x): 147

Damage: 1,462

Poison Per Pulse: 3 s (252 damage)

Crippled: 6 s

Number of Targets: 3

 

Trap Radius: 120

Trigger Radius: 180

Damage Radius: 180

Attack Radius: 240

Combo Field: Poison

 

Unblockable

 

Thoughts

I bunched Test Of Faith and Viper’s Nest together because they both cause objects to appear. The former a pickup that provides Aegis and the latter snakes which cause poison. Admittedly the snakes aren’t physical, but it’s the best comparison we’ve got. Although Viper’s Nest pulses and causes poison damage (useful for reducing healing) it also does pretty poor damage and only effects 3 targets. As with Flame Trap, it can also be cleansed immediately. Where Test Of Faith is concerned, it deals a large amount of damage and provides a consumable that grants Aegis to the individual who picks it up. Regardless of whether you trait Viper’s Nest, it’s very poor compared to Test Of Faith.

Elite Skills

Ranger Elite

Dragonhunter Elite

Entangle: Entangle foes around you with vines. Entangled foes bleed and are immobilized until the vines are destroyed.

Dragon's Maw: Lay a trap that pulls enemies and creates a barrier which holds them.

Damage: 49

Damage: 1,462

5 stacks Bleeding: 8 s (1700 damage)

Slow: 4 s

5 stacks Immobilized: 1 s

Trigger Radius: 180

Number of Targets: 5

Attack Radius: 240

Duration: 5 s

Maw Barrier Radius: 90

Radius: 600

Range: 180

Unblockable

 

Thoughts

The upfront damage of Dragon’s Maw is better than Entangle and you can, like all Dragonhunter traps, trait it to bleed. Even though both skills can hold players, Entangle pulses to deal considerable Bleed damage and an immobilize. Players can break out of it if they destroy the vines, but it’s radius is considerably larger than that of Dragon’s Maw. Having said that, Maw can cause slow on all those it pulls in and as far as we know, you can’t destroy the trap (though you can likely stun break out of it).

Final Thoughts

Based on all the above, if you're after a true Longbow profession the ranger is still the winner. That said, I think it's also instantly evident that the ranger traps are poor and the dragonhunters are pretty incredible. Even though they can't be thrown, I think in a PvE and PvP environment they'll be incredibly powerful. Hopefully the rangers will receive some care and attention to theirs. Despite all the above, comparing both the ranger and dragonhunter at a longbow and trap level is missing the point. Both professions fill very different roles. When you factor in armor, virtues or the pet, their playstyle and what players seek from both becomes very different. As someone who has both a ranger and guardian, at first glance I was uncomfortable at how close both professions now seemed. On closer inspection, there's a signific divide to the point where there is no real comparison. 


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

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Lewis currently splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Battlerite, and World of Warcraft, having covered MOBAs and MMOs for many years.

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