Swiss Army Knife: Ranger Tactics in
By James Aelasyl' Abels
The ultimate sixth man, a
ranger's versatility makes him an invaluable asset to any party. He is
one part fighter, one part rogue, and one part cleric, and yet he is
certainly unique. A smattering of skills, a couple heal spells, a
variety of buff spells all tacked on to combat style feats make the
Ranger ready to fill any role needed in a group.
Basic Ranger Roles
A Ranger's role is not easily defined without knowing the makeup of her
party. A well-prepared Ranger is the right tool for any situation.
Melee combatant Solid Strength and Dexterity scores along with
Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as bonus feats
allow her to take up a sword or two and help the primary melee
combatant wade through enemies more efficiently. She can even don
full-plate armor and serve as the primary tank herself.
Ranged combatant High
Dexterity, the unique ability to add his Strength modifier to his bow
damage, and the Rapid Shot and Manyshot granted feats let a Ranger
shine while picking off enemies from afar. Staying at range and
avoiding damage and spells saves the healer of the group many
Skills scout A base of
six skill points per level to invest into reconnaissance, stealth, and
utility class skills allow the Ranger to function as a scout or
squishy guardian. She can travel with a Rogue as she disables traps
ahead of the party, locate enemy groups, or rescue fallen comrades.
Backup caster With a
variety of buffing spells and healing spells, a Ranger can use his
limited spellpoints to take some of the burden off of a Cleric or
Sorcerer. Keeping himself buffed up and topped off with hit points
while the other caster can focus on the more one-dimensional classes.
The Quick Sub Fighter
The Ranger is a combatant by all definitions in DDO. The best base
attack bonus (BAB), a good Fortitude save progression, and all the
basic weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies means she is designed to
fight. The only thing lacking is her hit points which are a bit on the
low side in comparison, but she makes up for this with a good Reflex
save progression. The Ranger can go wherever the party needs her.
Frontline, rearguard, or ranged, she defines her place in combat based
on the others in her group. Just like everyone else, the primary goal
of the Ranger is to hit and not get hit back. Without medium and heavy
armor proficiencies however, the Ranger should remain very mobile in
combat. But she should also take care to set her feet before she
swings, otherwise she will incur a -4 penalty to attacks.
Feats: Picking the Right Tools
Feats can do two things for a Ranger. They can help him become a
utility class or more of a generalist. With only four feats from levels
one through ten, it is important for him to plan ahead on how he wants
to define himself.
A combat focused Ranger has plenty to choose from as far as feats are
concerned. Weapon Focus can increase his accuracy. Improved Critical
can increase his damage. Heavier armor proficiencies, shield mastery
feats, dodge and mobility can improve his defense. Spring Attack can
reduce penalties for being mobile. Shot on the Run can let him reload
while moving about the combat area.
A skills focused Ranger may look into one of the seven dual-skill boost
feats such as Acrobatic, Alertness, Athletic or Stealthy. She should
also strongly consider picking up the Skill Focus feat in her skill of
choice to add a +3 bonus to a single skill.
Rangers that want to increase their effectiveness as buffers and
healers might consider a few of the metamagic feats to get the most out
of their limited spell points. Extend Spell can double the duration of
the spell while only increasing the cost of the spell by 50%. Empower
Healing Spell can help the Ranger squeeze use of the last few odd
spellpoints in his pool.
Skills: Packing in a Few Extras
Rangers have the second highest base amount of skill points per level,
on par with Bards and only trailing Rogues. Their skill selection can
be divided into three groupings.
Stealth Skills Hide
and Move Silently help the Ranger remain undetectable even at point
blank range. Both skills are dependent on Dexterity and are subject to
Armor Check Penalties (ACP).
Listen, Search, and Spot allow the Ranger to detect hidden enemies and
ambushes along with traps and secret doors. Wisdom and Intelligence are
the primary abilities for these skills.
Concentration, Heal, Jump and Swim. Concentration helps a Ranger cast
in combat. It is not a very important skill, most Ranger stick to the
fringe of combat and most available spells are buffs that most players
cast beforehand. Heal controls how much players regenerate at rest
shrines so the Ranger is contributing while sleeping on the job. Jump
and Swim help the Ranger avoid dangerous situations and reach locations
other classes find difficult. Neither is extremely important, but they
can be fun.
Spells: Buffs and Heals
The Ranger's spell selection is limited and at level 4 he can only
prepare a single spell. His spell point pool is very small, with only
six points as a base at level 4. First level spells include energy
resistances and a few miscellaneous buffs. Second level spells open up
ability score buffs, a natural armor spell and cure light wounds.
Higher level Ranger spells are not yet in game but are expected with
level cap increases.
Ranger is a very enjoyable class for many, but not for everyone. Most
groups consider a Ranger as a sixth man who does not fit into one of
the four MMO archetypes. It may take some time to learn but Rangers can
find a spot in every group. A Ranger is a Swiss Army Knife, a bunch of
tools in a compact but solid package, useful in any and every situation.
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