Questions by Cody
"Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

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Answers by Evan
Michaels, Game Designer for Funcom

As the holidays have come and gone, it's time to continue the regularly
scheduled style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan class
. Fresh off our trip to Oslo and
the Funcom studios, the Ten Ton Hammer staffers were full of questions
regarding the Ranger class. In the subsequent class interview, you will
find answers to questions regarding mounted combat, climbing, tracking
and much, much more! Read on for more style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan and
Ranger info!

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Ten Ton Hammer: Although
you haven’t specifically put together a class preview for the
Ranger, a large portion of information was revealed to the public when
you distributed the “Ranged Combat” exclusive with
your Clan of Conan newsletter. For the most part, it seems like Rangers
are going to be specifically oriented around ranged combat, with the
bow being their primary weapon of choice. Is this true? If so, are they
the only character that is really proficient with ranged weapons?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan Michaels: 
Rangers are indeed primarily focused around ranged combat and, as you
noted, are the only class which uses ranged weapons as their main
source of offensive firepower. While most other classes can use ranged
weapons to some degree, Rangers are exclusive in their proficiency of
them and are the sole user of ranged combos. Bows and crossbows are
equally favored by the Ranger, with different specializations and
combos available for both weapon types.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
any penalty for firing a ranged weapon at a close proximity? For
instance, if a Ranger continues using a bow even when a monster is
eating his face, will he still get full damage on his arrow attacks?
Conversely, is there any penalty for being at an extremely long
distance other than not doing damage to the creature? Does the damage
change for the distance you are away?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan:
Although you will be able to use ranged weapons up close, the Ranger
will suffer some penalties in melee range. However, he will have a
handful of melee combos and crowd control methods to deal with these
limitations. In melee combat, Rangers will primarily use one-handed
swords in addition to their choice of an off-hand dagger or shield.

Currently, there is no
damage reduction on distance shots although
there is a range limit imposed on all shots fired. Additionally,
Rangers gain some benefit by attacking from upper ground.

Ten Ton Hammer: When you
decided to merge the Ranger and Waylayer classes into a single class,
what sort of changes occurred to the final version of the merged class?
Why did you decide to merge those two classes in particular?

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style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: The
decision to merge the two classes was made primarily due to the fact
that both were quite similar in theme, mostly differing only in their
choice of weapon type. In rolling out the specialized feat system, we
felt that giving both options to the player via the
“Waylayer” and “Sharpshooter”
feat trees made for a much more dynamic and interesting class. Overall,
very little has changed in regard to the core abilities of both
original classes, giving the Ranger a rather diverse arsenal of attacks
and abilities.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is the
ranged “first person shooter” mode still in Age of
Conan? Will there be a “sticky” targeting system
included with this class as well?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Yes,
we still have a first-person targeting mode although it is not the only
method of participating in ranged combat. Given the hectic nature of
many of the fights, we felt that not having a
“lock-on” mode would lead to a frustrating
experience for the players in some situations and thus we have included
that as an option in addition to first-person mode. Both modes of
targeting lead to a very different gameplay experience but we will
leave it to the player to decide which they prefer.

Ten Ton Hammer: How does
the ranged “first person shooter” mode affect the
way a player operates with his Ranger? It’s said that the FPS
mode can shoot further and do more damage than the third person mode,
so why would anyone want to shoot from third person rather than first

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Given
the team and positioning-based nature of our combat system, it may
sometimes be beneficial to be able to see what is directly around
one’s character. Some players prefer third-person targeting
as it gives them a better overview of their direct surroundings at any
given time—although they will sacrifice some long-distance
viewing ability in the process. As noted before, this will primarily be
up to the players to decide which they prefer.

Ten Ton Hammer: To me,
Rangers and Barbarians seem incredibly different; yet they both fall
under the same archetype (Rogue). What makes both of these classes
similar? What sort of specific “Rogue-like”
abilities will a Ranger possess?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: All
Rogues share the same general skill-set, so you can expect the Ranger
to have stealth and climbing abilities that are very much similar to
the Barbarian and Assassin classes. (Although Rangers wear the heaviest
armor of all the Rogue classes, and thus will usually be at a slight
disadvantage for the purposes of sneaking around.)

Additionally, the Rogue archetype feat tree provides many shared
abilities and specializations between the three classes. For instance,
the general Rogue feats “Cheat the Reaper” (which
allows the Rogue to occasionally recover from otherwise fatal wounds)
or “Excellent Balance” (which grants the Rogue an
ability to escape movement impairing effects) provide archetype-themed
bonuses and abilities which reinforce the “roguish”
nature of the Ranger, Assassin, and Barbarian.

Ten Ton Hammer: On
another note, the Rangers seem like they could be extremely powerful
compared to other combatants. With the ability to hit at range and in
melee combat, what sort of weaknesses will a Ranger possess to put them
on a level playing field with a more melee based combatant?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: One of
the key weaknesses of the Ranger is, as noted above, the fact that
ranged attacks are not always optimal during close-quarters combat. As
the majority of their abilities revolve around ranged combat, melee
battles will be somewhat to their disadvantage. Although we have given
Rangers a handful of abilities to aid them should the need to fight
toe-to-toe arise—just as we have given melee classes a couple
powerful abilities to cope with ranged opponents—a powerful
melee opponent will be a challenge for the Ranger if he is allowed to
close within striking distance.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
give us a brief description of how the climbing skill will work? When
can a player actually use the “Climb” skill?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan:
Climbing is used at specific points in the world which are defined as
being climbable. These are placed throughout the landscape by gameplay
designers, and will be available at various points throughout the game.
While some climbing points are commonplace enough to be used by a
novice, others will require a bit more specialization in this
skill—which Rogues are particularly adept at.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is
mounted archery still in the game? If so, how will it work and what are
you doing to make sure this particular piece of the gameplay isn't
overwhelmingly powerful compared to the other classes? How will a
player stand any sort of fighting chance (in PvP) against a mounted

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan:
Currently, all classes will have the ability to perform attacks while
mounted. That said, mounted archery—as with spell
casting—is limited to normal directional attacks, and thus
disables the use of the more powerful ranged combos.

The balance of this is, of course, something we will keep an eye on as
things progress. However, there are a number of counter-measures
available for knocking players off their horse and thus making them
extremely vulnerable for some time afterwards. We expect that mounted
vs. non-mounted combat will be used in various tactical ways and are
encouraging people to experiment with the strengths and weaknesses of
both approaches.

Ten Ton Hammer: Finally,
how will the tracking skill work? Will it be something that appears in
a player’s UI? How will at affect PvE and PvP?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan:
Currently, the ability will allow you to discover and find your way to
selected types of objects and targets via the mini-map. Tracking is
something we are still fine-tuning, so you can expect more information
to be available about this in the near future.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else about the Ranger that you’d like to tell the
Ten Ton Hammer readers?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Given
that Rangers are the only class using ranged weapons as their primary
means of attack, they certainly offer a unique experience when compared
to the other classes in the game. I feel that the mix of ranged and
melee combos is a challenging yet engaging task for players to master
and ultimately leads to very fun gameplay.

Rangers are pretty flexible in their means of attack, with various
stances unlocked by feats allowing one to pick and choose the best
approach for a given fight. For instance, “Sniper
Stance” enables the Ranger to focus primarily on range,
damage, and precision while “Shattering Stance”
grants all of the Ranger’s attacks a chance to knock down
their target as well as damaging nearby hostiles.

In regard to group utility and desirability, Rangers have a diverse
skill-set which allows them to benefit both themselves and their group
as the need arises. Examples of such abilities include:
  • Piercing
    ”, which allows the Ranger and their group
    to penetrate or even eliminate directional shields on their target of
  • Linebreaker”,
    which is a powerful shot capable of knocking down all foes in a column
    between the Ranger and his target
  • Volley”,
    which allows all of the Ranger’s shots to affect additional
  • Heartseeker”,
    which will instantly kill an opposing minion in addition to increasing
    the likelihood of one’s team performing fatalities for a
    period of time.
Overall, I’ve
been rather pleased with how the Ranger class
has developed and I have no doubt that many players will find it to be
extremely enjoyable.

What do you think of the Ranger class in the style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan? Will
combatants be overwhelmingly powerful in PvP? href="">Let
us know on the forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016