Savanja: How was the playability of your Ranger pre-Live Update. What techniques were important to your ability to be effective
both solo and in groups?
Catareina: Prior to LU20/KoS expansion, we were damage dealers. Overpowered, yes. But between LU13 and
LU20, the ranger class finally felt the way I perceived it should feel. A class that you could invite to your group and depend
upon to bring the mob down quickly and efficiently. The ranger was highly sought after for groups and raids because of their
damage potential. The sheer power of the class was not necessarily all a positive, however. We were so powerful, that it was
easy to become complacent and sort of be 'lazy' because we could deal damage so easily.
One of the key elements to solo play was the effective use of Cheap Shot (a short duration stun), high damage poisons, and
stun poisons to take on the more difficult monsters. Of course, when initiating combat, a good stealth based and/or positional
attack was key to starting the fight off on the right foot.
In group play, aside from knowing exactly what all our abilities could do, I think a major component was having a good feel for
agro management. Our damage was insane, therefore it was ridiculously easy to pull agro from the tank. Wiping a raid isn't fun,
and I was responsible for several wipes due to going too heavy on the damage.
Kaeros: I assume you mean pre-LU20? If so, we were very playable, a ton of fun, but at times unwieldy due
to the huge DPS. We enjoyed a very beneficial intersection of proc mechanics, weapon delays, and Combat Arts that enabled some
pretty extreme damage. It depended on the alignment of several factors to reach the biggest hits, but when they did align, the
results were staggering.
One of the more important 'techniques' that a ranger needed to use in groups or raids was aggro management. Our damage potential
was off the scale, so the ability to manage your hate gain was a necessity. That said, we're fortunate to have some of the best
hate reduction and hate removal skills in the game, so it was a matter of learning to use those skills effectively. Like
proactively dumping hate in mid-combat instead of waiting til you pulled aggro to hit Evade; like not dropping your heavy hitter
bow combat arts in the first 5 seconds of combat. Those points will seem elementary to many at this point, but I think a lot of rangers
had to adapt to wielding such power.
Savanja: What exactly changed with the Live Update?
Bongotezz: After the nerf i noticed that the procs (Savanja: A proc utilizes an ability or effect.)
I do have went off less often and the mob often got to me with more HP than usual. The previous solo scheme I
was using, needed to be appended to add a few melee attacks to it at the end
and the mob was dead. Other than that the nerf was very transparent to me.
There was 1 change to the crippling arrow line that I was not happy about.
You used to be able to cast that line on the run. They changed that so you
cant. i used to use that if one of the initial arrow attacks missed. I would
back up and fire it off. It did decent damage and debuffed the mob. It would
be enough to make up for the miss. Now that I cant do that I end up meleeing
the mob more if I miss on the initial arrow attacks. So I often get hit 3-4
times a fight instead of 0-1 times.
Catareina: Actually, we are still finding things that changed with LU20. But the thing that apparently
dropped our damage output so significantly was the adjustment to proc rates of poisons. Stances, and all procs in general. We
were a very proc heavy class, and I was used to seeing procs account for 45% to 65% of my total damage output. I don't have
enough data to give an accurate number at this point, but so far, it feels like total damage output was cut by anywhere from 35%
to 50% depending on the scenario. I'm also seeing a ridiculous number of blocks and parries in almost every encounter. Whether
stealth-based, positional, or head-to-head, a significant number of attacks are being blocked/parried now, and it doesn't seem to
be related to mob level. Also, agro management is no longer an issue. I can go full tilt and never worry about drawing agro
from the tank unless I use my highest damage attack on or shortly after the pull.
Savanja: How does your Ranger play now? How have the changes affected your game play? Are you less effective playing solo or in groups?
Catareina: This is so difficult to answer. The class honestly feels like a shadow of what we have been
in the past. It even feels worse than prior to LU13 when we were just mediocre damage dealers. I now find myself working
much, much harder in an attempt to maximize damage output and still sometimes coming up short of some of the other non-dps type
classes at times. If I have to stop attacking for any reason, i.e. recast a poison, hex the mob with a hex doll, or whatever, it
has a very significant negative impact on my dps. As things are right now, our melee attacks seem to be more effective than our
ranged arts. I'm spending much more time using melee attack than I ever have before.
I feel terribly expendable in groups. There are several other classes who can bring an equivalent amount of damage, or more,
plus have a bit more utility than us in the form of buffs and/or debuffs. I have not felt that I am of any significant value
to a group since the day the expansion came out.
Kaeros: I don't really feel much like a ranger anymore, sadly. We're spending more time in melee than we do
using our bows - and by level 60, it should really be the opposite, especially given the distribution of our CAs b/w ranged and
melee. Most of our damage *should* come from our bows, but it doesn't any longer. Stream of Arrows (our level 55 Ancient
Teachings skill that roots, stifles, pacifies, and increases hate gain while boosting firing rate and arrow damage) is barely
useful at all - some rangers have found that spending 30 seconds in melee autoattack produces better DPS than using Stream. It's
discouraging that we're having to put away our bows, as they're probably our most definiing aspect - rangers are supposed to be
the masters of the bow.
Post-LU20, I'm certainly less effective in both contexts (group and solo). If you're asking which one is worse -
probably soloing. At least in a group I can depend on other classes to help meet the challenges, but soloing can be extremely
challenging. Granted, the game *should* be challenging, but soloing right now is harsh. Especially if you're up against an
up-arrow mob, b/c our Cheap Shot stun goes from 6 seconds down to 2, which is nowhere near enough time to land any high-damage
flank or ranged attacks.
Savanja: And I must ask...Have you ever solo'd a yellow ^^^?
Kinda tossed that question in as a joke, but it doesnt seem these Rangers have had that particular pleasure.
During the writing of this article, this update was made, posted by Lockeye.
Clearly hearing the pleas of the Rangers, they took the time to look over the class, and it seems some of the changes are
being addressed and fixed. I truly hope it goes a long way towards restoring the Rangers love of their class.
Many thanks to Bongotezz of Kithicor, Kaeros of Butcherblock, and Catareina of Butcherblock. All three of you did a great
job in informing me on the aspects of the Ranger class, and explaining the things that we all wanted know.
Something to add? Feedback to share? My virtual door is always open, feel free to e-mail me.
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