Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ranger Leveling Guide

This guide was created by Cebe of the Guildwars Guru Forums. All credit for this guide goes to him To see the original posting of this click here.

Rangers are described as "versatile ranged attackers". As such, it is possible for Rangers to to perform varied roles within a team. The weapon of choice for a Ranger is a bow. Bows come in five different types, which all act slightly differently - these are Shortbows, Recurve Bows, Longbows, Hornbows and Flatbows. The sorts of roles Rangers perform are Interrupters, Condition Spreaders, Beastmasters, and Trappers.

Rangers have many survival skills which make them very resilient on the battlefield, on top of their armor, which has an inherent bonus versus Elemental Damage. Rangers have a few unique skill types:
 
Preparations - Preparations enhance all your arrows, giving them bonuses such as extra damage, inflicting conditions, faster flight time or allowing them to be unblockable. Only one preparation can be active at any one time.
 
Nature Rituals - Nature Rituals are small 'spirits' which look like an avatar of melandru that can be summoned at some resurrection shrines. Nature Rituals cause an environmental affect which affects all creatures within it's range. Make sure you don't take a Nature Ritual which will negatively affect your team.
 
Traps - Traps can be set on the ground and remain 'active' for 90 seconds. If any foe walks over the trap within that time the trap will trigger, causing damage to the foe, or spreading conditions.
 
Pet Attacks - These attacks will only work if you have a pet. They will give the pet the ability to do extra damage, inflict conditions, knockdown your foe etc.. much like your bow attacks.
 
2. Attributes
Next let's consider the four Ranger attributes:

Expertise - This is the primary attribute for Rangers. Expertise is a fantastic attribute since, not least, it contains some highly useful skills including block stances and [Distracting Shot], it also gives the Ranger an inherent energy reduction for Ranger skills. A table showing the energy reduction of Expertise can be found here.

Marksmanship - Marksmanship is the attribute which requires investment in in order to make use of Bows, the Ranger's weapon of choice. Higher investment in Marksmanship will lead to a higher chance to achieve a critical hit from your bow. Marksmanship contains most of the Bow attacks. The Marksmanship attribute contains some excellent bow attacks, widely used by Rangers, including [Broad Head Arrow], [Burning Arrow], [Savage Shot] and [Read the Wind].

Wilderness Survival - For general play, Wilderness Survival works well in conjunction with Expertise and Marksmanship, enabling the Ranger to spread a wider variety of conditions, and keep themselves alive with superb skills like [Troll Unguent]. Wilderness Survival also contains Traps, a devide Rangers can set on the ground which, upon activation, will cause damage or inflict conditions on the foe(s) that triggered them. One superb skill in the Wilderness Survival attribute is [Apply Poison] - a skill which causes your weapon to inflict poison on your target foe.

For those interested in Trapping the following links may be of use:

Beast Mastery - This attribute allows a Ranger to use an Animal Companion. The higher the rank of Beast Mastery, the higher the chance for your Animal Companion to make a critical hit. For pure beastmasters, your pet is your weapon, thus, Beast Mastery becomes more important than Marksmanship. In order to obtain a pet you need to have the skill [Charm Animal] on your skillbar, find a pet that you want, and activate it. After 10 seconds you will have captured yourself a pet. Charm Animal and [Comfort Animal], generally speaking, should be stapled to beastmasters' bars, as the latter allows you tto resurrect a dead pet. Beast Mastery contains skills which enhance your pet ([Call of Protection], [Feral Aggression]), and gives you special Pet Attacks ([Enraged Lunge], [Brutal Strike]).

For those interested in animal companions the following links may be of use:

3. Weapons
As discussed before, a Ranger's weapon is a Bow. Let's take a look how beneficial the mods can be when used on a bow:

Bow Strings
 
Sundering - Due to the slow re-fire rate of bows, and the usefulness of the other modifiers, Sundering mods are seen as being less beneficial than others.
 
Vampiric - Guaranteed 5 lifesteal per hit. The 5 lifesteal bypasses armor and unlike the armor penetration "chance" on Sundering weapons, the only downside is the -1 health regen, which hero monks are more than happy to heal up if you're running between mods.
 
Zealous - Zealous bowstrings are often used by Barrage-spammers using [[Splinter Weapon], as a way of re-gaining energy to keep casting Splinter Weapon, as spells are not included in the energy reduction offered by Expertise.
 
Elemental - Elemental mods can be used to hit warriors with a damage type they are weaker against, and work well with the "conjure" skills a secondary Elementalist.
 
Condition Lengthening Mods - due to the ability of a Ranger to spread conditions, these mods can come in very useful for lengthening key conditions, such as Silencing mods which are used to lengthen Dazed spread around by skills such as Broad Head Arrow.

Bow Grips Fortitude - Always good. +Health for a beginner is the most useful, since it will help you survive longer, plain and simple.
 
Enchanting - Sometimes useful to lengthen enchantments such as [[Conjure Flame], though generally not really needed.
 
Defense - Defense mods actively reduce the non-armor ignoring damage you take. The +5 Armor can potentially do more for you than a Fortitude mod, though Fortitude works better against Armor Ignoring damage and Health Degeneration.
 
Marksmanship - With Marksmanship +1...you're only missing out on a couple of points of damage, it's never really worth it.

Bow Types:
There are 5 different bow types available to a ranger. For a full explanation of the statistics of each bow, please click here. Starter Rangers should look into obtaining two different bow types; Recurve Bow and Longbow. Recurve Bows are very good, accurate bows which can be used for just about all situations. Longbows are very useful to have one of for pulling foes from a greater distance, as the Recurve Bow only has a middling range.

4. Runes
 
As a general set for most Marksman playstyles:
Headpiece: +1 Marksmanship with +1 / +2 Marksmanship rune
Chest: Vigor rune
Hands: +1 Expertise rune
Legs: +1 Wilderness Survival rune
Feet: Vitae
As a general set for most Beastmaster playstyles:
Headpiece: +1 Beast Mastery with +1 / +2 Beast Mastery rune
Chest: Vigor rune
Hands: +1 Expertise rune
Legs: +1 Marksmanship rune
Feet: Vitae
As a general set for many PvP playstyles:
Headpiece: +1 Expertise with +1 Expertise rune
Chest: Vigor rune
Hands: +1 Wilderness Survival rune
Legs: +1 Marksmanship rune
Feet: Vitae
5. PvE Skills
There are two Ranger-specific PvE skills:
- [Never Rampage Alone]
Available From: Shiloh (Sunspear Great Hall)
This skill increases both your, and your pet's, attack speeds, and gives you both a small amount of health regeneration.
(Luxon Logo) - [Triple Shot (Luxon)]
(Kurzick Logo) - [Triple Shot (Kurzick)]
 
Available From: Luxon Scavenger (Cavalon or Guild Hall), Kurzick Bureaucrat (House Zu Heltzer or Guild Hall)
 
Triple Shot is a bow attack which allows you to fire 3 arrows at the same time. The skill states that you do less damage with the arrows than normal, but that penalty reduces as your Luxon and Kurzick title tracks increase.
6. Secondary Profession Choices
 
When starting out as a Ranger you have 5 choices of secondary profession in Tyria:

Elementalist: Elementalist secondary allows you to use skills such as [[Conjure Flame], [[Conjure Lightning] and [[Conjure Frost], which deal extra damage if you are wielding a Fiery, Shocking or Icy bow respectively. Most other Elementalist skills should be left alone as Expertise will not reduce the cost of Elementalist spells so you will be left with an energy management problem.

Warrior: Warriors allow Rangers to use "Thumper" builds, which involve the Ranger equipping a pet, and a hammer, and using knockdowns and pet attacks to disable opponents. Outside of this sort of build, Warriors do not offer a great deal in terms of secondary profession skills.

Monk: Secondary Monk allows you to use a Hard Res, basically a resurrect skill which, unlike Res Signet, does not require you to recharge it with a morale boost. On the whole , Ranger self-heals, and self-defense techniques far surpass those of a monk's, if used on onesself, an exception to this, is the use of [[Mending Touch] to clear irritating conditions such as Blind and the like.

Necromancer: Secondary Necromancer is very widely used in "Touch Ranger" builds. Touch Rangers exploit the fact that Expertise reduces the cost of [Vampiric Bite] and [Vampiric Touch], and allows a Ranger to spam them, stealing a vast amount of health.

Mesmer: Mesmers non-attribute skills such as [[Epidemic] can be used to spread conditions further.
If you own Factions and Nightfall you will also have access to the following four secondaries also:

Paragon: Paragons are the second Elonian profession to give you access to a Hard Res. Paragons also have their own brand of condition removal in the form of [Remedy Signet]. Paragons, using ranged weapons (spears) as a Ranger does, means it is possible for Rangers to use a spear and shield to reasonable use also.

Ritualist: Rit skills always seem considerably more potent if used on you by either a Hero, or another Player. Skills like [Splinter Weapon] can work very well if used on a Ranger, moreso when used in conjunction with [Barrage] or [Volley]. Similarly, [Nightmare Weapon] and [Triple Shot] can be used to create a damage spike, as can [Brutal Weapon] and [Dual Shot]/[Forked Arrow]. Ritualists also have other Hard Res options, namely [Death Pact Signet] and [Flesh of my Flesh].

Assassin: Assassins offer little to Rangers, as far as playing a Marksman goes, however, as with Dervishes, Expertise can be abused in order to spam Dagger Attacks. The PvE skill [Asuran Scan] can be used to augment this to chuck out some high single-target DPS.

Dervish: There are a few Dervish skills which can be useful for Rangers. One such skill is [Rending Touch], which is a cheap, no-attribute, enchantment stripper. Two others are [Ebon Dust Aura] and [Grenth's Grasp], which providing you are wielding an Ebon or Icy weapon, is a nice, cheap way of inflicting Blind or Cripple on foes. If wielding an Ebon bow, you could also use [Ebon Dust Aura] in conjunction with [Volley] which will blind multiple foes if it hits.
 
7. Ranger Elites
This section will quickly, and generally, appraise some of the Ranger elite skills.
 
[Broad Head Arrow] - A classic Caster-Shutdown skill. Daze can seriously disrupt a caster and this skill is excellent for dealing with Caster bosses. This skill can be combined with [Epidemic] to spread the Daze to other foes. [Volley] then works well to interrupt multiple Dazed casters.
 
[Burning Arrow] - This elite is a high-damaging skill, which causes Burning. This skill is often combines with Apply Poison to inflict a large amount of health degeneration also.
 
[Prepared Shot] - This elite can be used with other more expensive skills, and act as a form of energy management. Heroes benefit well from this skill as they have a tendency to mindlessly spam skills, leaving them low on energy - Prepared Shot helps to regain some of their energy.
 
[Barrage] - Barrage, while having the ability to hit multiple foes, also strips your preparations. Barrage works well with [[Splinter Weapon] to create a large damage spike to bunched up foes.
 
[Crippling Shot] - This is very spammable cripple, useful in PvP, especially Alliance Battles, as a way of controlling the battlefield.
 
[Enraged Lunge] - This is arguably a Beast Master's most potent elite. Providing you have a couple of skills in recharge, such as [[Call of Protection] and [[Call of Haste] (amongst others), the bonus damage from this skill can be huge.
 
[Ferocious Strike] - This elite Pet Attack provides the user with an energy return. It is good for powering high-energy Beast Mastery builds, while continuing to inflict damage.
 
[Practiced Stance] - This elite works very well with preparations which do not last very long. One such preparation is [Choking Gas], which, if used with Practiced Stance, will remain active for longer, and recharge quicker.
 
[Magebane Shot] - Magebane is an unblockable interrupt, with the power to disable skills, acting rather like [Distracting Shot]. Excellent for dealing with Casters who are using blocking enchantments, such as Monks, to hit through the blocking enchantments and interrupt / disrupt other key spells.
 
[Famine] - Famine is widely used in dual farming builds. Famine will deal damage to foes whose energy drops to Zero, this can be enforced by using skills like [Ancestor's Visage] and [Sympathetic Visage], which will continually trigger this.
 
[Glass Arrows] - This elite adds a nice amount of damage, with a bonus effect if the arrows are blocked. It also lasts longer than most preparations.
 
[Oath Shot] - This skills is good when used to recharge long-recharge skills including Nature 
Rituals, Whirling Defense and Traps.
 
[Escape] - This elite allows you to be very resilient, blocking a lot of other physical damage dealers and providing you with a nice speed boost. It has a quick recharge, and a cheap energy cost (before Expertise's energy bonus) allowing you to pretty much use it on recharge. Of course, this skill cannot be used in conjunction with other stances.
 
[Incendiary Arrows] - Basically a [Volley] which doesn't strip your preparation. This skill can be used with Apply Poison or Barbed Arrows to provide some very potent AoE degen.

[Expert's Dexterity] - When used with [Read the Wind] this elite stance can chuck out some nice sustained DPS, however, you do lose the ability to use a block stance such as [Whirling Defense].
 
8. Common/Tested Ranger Builds
 
I've included these elite-less builds for those people starting Rangers on each of the three continents.
The skills should be available immediately, or very early on, however, all three builds follow the same pattern, and that pattern of Preparation, Attack skills, Self-Heal, and Stance, should be adopted for most Ranger builds as a good foundation to create others.
 
Tyria Starter Build
Marksmanship=11+1+1
Expertise=11+1
Wilder=8+1
[Read the Wind]
[Power Shot]
[Savage Shot]
[Distracting Shot]
[Troll Unguent]
[Dodge]
[No Skill]
[Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available in Post-Searing Ascalon

Cantha Starter Build
Marksmanship=11+1+1
Expertise=11+1
Wilder=8+1
[Apply Poison]
[Power Shot]
[Distracting Shot]
[Hunter's Shot]
[Troll Unguent]
[Whirling Defense]
[No Skill]
[Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available from Shing Jea Island before the journey down Saoshang Trail

Nightfall Starter Build
Marksmanship=11+1+1
Expertise=11+1
Wilder=8+1
[Kindle Arrows]
[Power Shot]
[Crossfire]
[Hunter's Shot]
[Troll Unguent]
[Whirling Defense]
[No Skill]
[Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available from Profession Trainers in Churrir Fields, and the skill trainer in Kamadan

A note on Power Shot: Power Shot it given to you free on every continent on starting Ranger, however, it should be noted that this skill is out-performed by others you will find later on in the game, and that should be considered when creating builds after leaving the starter areas.
 
Classic Alliance Battle Skirmisher:
[Apply Poison]
[No Skill]
[Distracting Shot]
[Savage Shot]
[No Skill]
[Antidote Signet]
[Troll Unguent]
[Natural Stride]
Marksmanship: 9 + 1
Expertise: 12 + 1 + 1
Wilderness Survival: 9 + 1

Keep the preparation up as much as possible. Use Natural Stride as much as possible to run around the battlefield, and Troll Unguent as a self-heal. Antidote Signet can be used to clear Blind, though this can be replaced with [Mending Touch] to remove a wider variety of conditions. On a side note, Mending Touch is also affected by Expertise in that it's energy cost is reduced.

The Optional Elite Slot could be one of a few attack skills depending on what you want to do. [Crippling Shot] can be used if you want to control the movement of enemy groups. [Burning Arrow] can be used if you want to inflict decent damage and Burning on foes. [Broad Head Arrow] can be used if you want to be able to shut down enemy casters.

The other Optional Slot could be [Rending Touch], [Throw Dirt], or another sensible attack skill, such as Screaming Shot to enable you to inflict another condition.
 
Packhunter (Requires Paragon Secondary):
Weapon #1: Vampiric Spear
Weapon #2: Zealous Spear
Weapon #3: Shield
[Spear of Lightning]
[Blazing Spear]
[Merciless Spear]
[Bestial Fury]
[Poisonous Bite]
[Enraged Lunge]
[Charm Animal]
[Comfort Animal]
Beast Mastery: 10 + 1 + 3
Spear Mastery: 12
Expertise: 8 + 1

This build combines the DPS of a Spear with the bonus of Adrenal skills, with the DPS of your pet with a high rank in Beast Mastery. Beast Mastery, at 14, will cause Bestial Fury to last for 11 seconds. Your weapon, instead of being a Bow, should be a Spear and Shield. Although you will not meet the requirement for the shield, you will still get 8 Armor from one, along with the additional mods, so it is well worth taking one than not. You can take your pick with the spear attacks on the whole. Deep Wound is always favoured, and can be obtained from Vicious Attack, or Merciless Spear.

[Enraged Lunge] can be swapped for the elite [Heal as One], if you need a little more healing. [Heal as One], of course, does the job of Comfort Animal which gives you a free slot to play with. You can use a Resurrection skill here if you wish ([Signet of Return]), or alternatively skills such as [Disrupting Throw], [Feral Aggression], [Call of Haste] are all good.

This build is resilient and can prove to be a formidable foe in Alliance Battles and the like.

Beast Master:
[Distracting Shot]
[Call of Haste]
[Call of Protection]
[Enraged Lunge]
[No Skill]
[No Skill]
[Comfort Animal]
[Charm Animal]
Beast Mastery: 12 + 1 + 1
Marksmanship: 8 + 1
Expertise: 10 + 1

Idea of the build is to keep Call of Haste and Call of Protection recharging as much as you can to power Enraged Lunge. Other Beast Mastery "pet-enchancement skills" can be used depending on taste and style of play such as [Feral Aggression]. Use Enraged Lunge on recharge. Choose two other pet attacks which will help your team depending on who you're fighting, for instance, [Savage Pounce] to disrupt enemy casters, [Poisonous Bite] to spread poison around, [Brutal Strike] to deal a nice amount of bonus damage to help finish off foes. Distracting Shot is chucked in there because it's a purely awesome skill, this build does, however, require a bow with a requirement of 9 or less.

It is possible to do away with Distracting Shot, and your bow, and use a Staff instead.
 
Splinter Volley (Requires Ritualist Secondary):
Weapon #1: Zealous Flatbow
[Volley]
[No Skill]
[Triple Shot (Luxon)]
[Distracting Shot]
[Savage Shot]
[Splinter Weapon]
[Nightmare Weapon]
[Resurrection Signet]
Marksmanship: 10 + 1 + 1
Expertise: 11 + 1
Channeling Magic: 10

Idea is to use Splinter Weapon before you use Volley, and use Nightmare Weapon before you use Triple Shot to create damage spikes. Use Interrupts when necessary.

This build is often used with [Barrage], however, Volley works just as well, for those who own Eye of the North, and frees up your Elite slot for whatever skill you would rather take in it's place. Good elites could be [Broad Head Arrow], [Magebane Shot] or [Escape]. Broad Head Arrow works nicely with Volley, if you team up with someone who is able to spread conditions through Epidemic or 
Fevered Dreams.

Broad Head Epidemic (Requires Mesmer Secondary):
Weapon #1: Silencing Bow
[Read The Wind]
[Broad Head Arrow]
[Distracting Shot]
[Savage Shot]
[Epidemic]
[No Skill]
[No Skill]
[Resurrection Signet]
Marksmanship: 12 + 1 + 1
Expertise: 12 + 1

Use Broad Head Arrow on a caster target and use Epidemic to spread the Daze to adjacent casters.
Interrupt at will.

If you wanted to drop the preparation in favour of [Volley] you can then hit multiple dazed casters, causing massinterruption of spells. Optional Slots could include other utility such as [Mending Touch], [Rip Enchantment], [Rending Touch] or [Throw Dirt].
~More builds to be added at a later date~

9. End Notes
If anyone wants me to add a build on here, or thinks anything should be changed, please post here or PM me.

Hopefully I covered all the basics of Rangers but if I've got something wrong, or left something out, please let me know. I'm trying not to be too technical, since this is more aimed at beginners, though Rangers have been around for a very long time, and it's often very difficult to extract only the important bits of information to convey.

If you want to leave a build for me to put insert please do so, but please leave notes on Attribute Spread, and usage.

Discussion on other sub-topics may be added at a later date.

Hope anyone who needed to found this useful.

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