Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ranger class guide

Rangers are the finest marksmen in Hyboria, capable of stalking an enemy and delivering devastating shots with pinpoint accuracy.

From the skilled woodsmen of the Bossonian Marches to the shortbow wielding horsemen of the Stygian desert, their skills with a bow set them apart from other warriors.

With an arsenal of specialist shots that can pin an enemy down, start bleeding wounds or pierce an enemy’s heart, they are difficult opponents. Knights fall to their fletched shafts and all the magic in hell cannot save a sorcerer with an arrow in their throat. They can fight in melee with swords and maces and wear medium armor, but their strengths lay with the bow.

Archetype: Rogue
Permitted Races: Cimmerian, Stygian, Aquilonian
Weapons: One-handed blunts, one-handed edged, daggers, bows, crossbows, and dual-wield
Armor: Cloth armor, light armor, medium armor, and shields

So what the ranger actually is.
Of the three highest DPS classes; Ranger, Barbarian, and Assassin (funny how they are all in the same archetype), the ranger has the highest hit points, the best damage absorption (medium armor/shields), and the greatest survivability. And ranks as the single highest ranged DPS
class by far, and is on equal footing with the Barbarian in raw damage output.

The Ranger might stand as the most powerful pvp class in AoC. It’s my opinion, but the way the class is designed with all its survivability, and its sick damage, they are almost impossible to kill if played correctly.

Available to them, they have two snares, one melee, one ranged—both 65%. And an instant, small radius AoE, 10 second root on a one minute cool down. The root is instant and can be cast on the run, has no stamina usage, and is “chance to break on damage” rather then null when damaged.

If this weren’t enough, in the sharpshooter line, they can spec for a talent that causes the target to burst into flames, running around in fear (can later be made to aoe…), giving it yet another oh **** button. It should also be noted, their stealth attack with a bow is a short duration mezz (about 10 sec), but its buggy as hell with Firestance.

II. Beginning-And all that it implies
For the first 9 levels and that beginning quest, you have about the same dmg output as any other “rogue” in melee at that point. Your bow damage is atrocious. No joke, in the time it takes to line up a shot literally dished out 4x the damage in melee. Your regular bow shots deal
only about ¾ of that of a normal swing, and you lack any true damaging ranged shot. Still, grab the bow from the quests, and use it to pull.

*Note*-If you are new to the game, you need to invest attribute points; this is done in the character & attributes tab. I highly recommend maxing out stealth and putting the rest into climbing and the one that increases your running speed out of combat.

And then it happens…you ding 10. Level 10 marks the unofficial beginning of the ranger career. Two very important things happen at level 10. First you can get a new bow (~20.1 dps bow) from the weapon smith, and you get the godly skill—Salvo.

The Ranger does not come into its own until 17+ and shines at 20+

III. Aiming-The frustratingly useless FPS aspect of AoC
As far as I know, the only way to enter first person is to mouse wheel in. Once done, a reticule will appear on your screen, where the best way to aim is to hold down the right mouse button.

Now that that’s out of the way, why is this skill so damned frustrating? Well, it has two checks; the first is the crosshairs check. Its applied to actually hitting the enemy. ALWAYS AIM FOR THE HEART/CHEST.

The second is the Uper-left, Top, and Uper-right shielding check.

With all of these “checks” you might ask what the hell is gained?

Three things; increased range, increased accuracy (as accurate as long as the target is under the crosshairs), and a 10-15% increase in damage modifier. Its gain is marginal, and you’re more likely to miss then to hit. it could be useful in keep defense situations however, other than that, do not enter into it, it will make you quit the class.

IV. Skill Breakdown
Salvo- What it is, and what it is not.

Salvo is the first 2part chain combo. It “shoots” three times before it begins the salvo induction. The “three times” comes from activating the shot, and then completing the chain, it then fires three .75(ish)drawn shots that seems to deal around 200%-300% extra damage. This shot is extremely potent and is enough to outright kill any mob without upper shielding once the ranger gets a stance.

*Salvo has gone numerous changes; currently it appears to be somewhat bugged, from my testing, the damage gained from stances aren’t applying to Salvo*

Heartseeker- This is gained at 40 and is the next big hitter in ranger chain. Although I cycle through all skills, it’s a quick recharge, and hits hard. Not as hard as salvo, but its only a 1-part chain, and has a quick induction time. It complements the other 1-part chains very well in PvE when salvo is on cool down. It also seems to crit much more frequently, but this is unconfirmed.

These are you’re two big hitters, the rest of the skills are self explanatory.

V. Feats-The 4-part split personality of the ranger
1. Introduction to the Sharpshooter Tree
As the awkward title hints, and previously mentioned, the ranger is really two classes rolled into one; the Ranger— Bow, and the Waylayer—Crossbow. And each of these has two “specs”. You can ignore the other line for now, as it does not benefit the ranger in any noticeable way in
raw damage, and complements stealthers end game. Im going bow, so I have no advice to give on crossbows.

The Sharpshooter=bow. And it’s the one to stick with, bow just seems to outshine crossbow in many important ways, the most prominent being salvo, which can only be performed with a bow.

2. Stances
There are two lines in each one. Both give “stances”. The Fire side gives Fire Stance, which adds 30.0 DPS to your bow, +20.0 fire dmg (rises as you level slightly) and a fire proc which seems to be about ~20%.

Sniper Stance gives 30.0 DPS +5 damage (rises by .5 per level it seems) and seems to give an overall additional 9.0 DPS to the bow. It also increase accuracy by 2%. That accuracy does not improve.

Both are great, and are about even in PvE. In PvP

Firestance will pump out slightly more dps, because it gives a nice elemental damage, and is unaffected by armor rating.

You can mix and match each side, grabbing many feats from each side that will significantly increase the ranger’s potency. One of them has a chance to root an enemy in place on any shot!

Eventually you’re going to want to stick with once stance, even though there is only a 5sec cool down between the stances. And stick with one “ultimate” skill. Volley, or Flame Barrage. Both make your attacks aoe for a short time.

3. Feats, and my recommendations.
These are what I view as the must haves; I will break them down by Tier.

Tier 1- Focused Fire
FF adds BIG damage. About 20.5 DPS to my bow for 15sec at 40 and grows every level, and is on a 1min cooldown. It’s amazing and your forced to take it.

Tier 2- Bow Specialization, Eagle Eye.
Bow Spec adds about 6.5 DPS. Take it Eagle Eye adds 5m to your attacks, take it, but only after
Bow Spec.

Tier 3- Rapid Stab, Splintering Puncture, Tendon Rupture, Ricochet
Rapid Stab blows, don’t get it. Splintering Puncture blows, don’t get it. Tendon Rupture is great. Allows the Ranger better kiting, by giving +5 sec to Pin Down. Ricochet is awesome, Adds a small chance to snare the target for 4s by 65%.

Tier 4- Quick Shots, Silent Shots
Quick Shots a good compliment, and best invested at 33 after the root ability in the tier 5 is maxed. Gives shorter CD’s to your combos. Silent Shots is more pve, and is required for sniper
stance. I don’t like sniper stance, and I don’t like this ability. Imo skip it.

Tier 5- Firestance, Sniper Stance, Knee-capping
Won’t go into the stances again. Knee-capping adds a small chance on ALL hits (salvo is
counted technically as one hit…sort of) to root the target for 4-5sec. its imbalanced in pve and pvp, and you’re an idiot to pass it up.

Tier 6- Sulfurous Burst/Blast, Cold Nerves, Deadeye.
Sulfurous Burst/Blast is an aoe stealth detection “flare”, blast makes it a small dmg in the aoe to knock people out of stealth. It’s great, but useless for leveling, so at the moment it’s a waste
Cold Nerves add significant stam reduction to all combos. Get it, love it, breath it. Deadeye adds a straight 9% damage increase to all combos. It’s a sexy 3 point talent. Get it

At this point it comes down to preference. For PvP grab:
Fire Trap It sucks, but it’s a pre-req. grab and max to move down.
Immolation and its follow up. The fear is a nice oh **** escape tool that will be invaluable later on.
Critical Aim has an irritating bug associated with it, and at the moment, does not cause the combos to crit.
Apparently this is by design…so skip it, white crit damage is not worth 3 talent points.
Flame Barrage over volley. Flame Barrage is a much harder hitting salvo that fires without directionals, and causes aoe burn damage. Great skill, defiantly pick it up.

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