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How are the rangers and their pets in 5.0? My impression was that they were pretty bad early on, so i skipped the class. Having returned after all the DLC releases, i'm considering doing a ranger multi with Chanter.

My experience with rangers back in the beginning was with Maia, whos pet i found more of a liability than help, though she was a decent ranged autoattacker with spells (geomancer).

Have rangers improved since early on? Are pets worth the investment now? Or would i be better off jus going Ghost Heart and sticking to Marked Prey and Wounding Shot?

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I always found that Rangers were pretty good - mostly because of their insane accuracy buffs (and Driving Flight which allows for some awesome shenanigans).

The Animal Companion has one very impressive ability (if you build around it a bit): Takedown Combo. It raises the next attack's damage by 100% (additive), which works very well with all attacks that have high base damage... AND damage over time. Especially dmaage over time. It raises the ticks' damage by 100% and will NOT get removed like after a normal attack. That means that for example a Disintegrate (which already does high tick damage) can get double damage ticks which destroys almost everything on the spot.

Also the Animal Companion himself does quite good damage once you manage to unlock Predator's Sense all the time (for example with a Battle Axe + modal or Brand Enemy or Gouging Strike or Deep Wounds and so on).

 

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Chanter/ranger with the Red Hand can deal decent single target dps and also increase pet's survivability with buffs/chants. But IMO the most fun build for a ranger is the arcane archer/cipher with Frostseeker -  crazy accuracy and AoE damage (and also great buffs for the pet).

Edited by Kaylon
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13 hours ago, Boeroer said:

I always found that Rangers were pretty good - mostly because of their insane accuracy buffs (and Driving Flight which allows for some awesome shenanigans).

The Animal Companion has one very impressive ability (if you build around it a bit): Takedown Combo. It raises the next attack's damage by 100% (additive), which works very well with all attacks that have high base damage... AND damage over time. Especially dmaage over time. It raises the ticks' damage by 100% and will NOT get removed like after a normal attack. That means that for example a Disintegrate (which already does high tick damage) can get double damage ticks which destroys almost everything on the spot.

Also the Animal Companion himself does quite good damage once you manage to unlock Predator's Sense all the time (for example with a Battle Axe + modal or Brand Enemy or Gouging Strike or Deep Wounds and so on).

 

So they have dps options. How about survivability? I remember Maia's hawk being a pain to keep alive, despite beinc immune to engagement.

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The ability "Resilient Companion" along with some other (active) AR buff (like from your party's paladin or a cipher or whomever) helps a lot - given that high AR is the most impactful defensive stat you can have. AC's AR also scales with level. But a passive +2 is a big deal actually since underpenetration leads to a lot of damage reduction. The numbers -25% (-1 PEN), -50% (-2 PEN) and -75% (-3 PEN) don't do it justice because it's actually a lot more after the numbers come out of the damage resolution.

The bear has an additional +2 which stacks - so he is the tankiest AC of them all when it comes to high damage spikes (like when he gets targeted by several enemies). The boar has infinite health regeneration which means that when concentrated on he will go down a bit faster, but he can absorb a lot more damage when it doesn't come too quickly. Both are pretty ok as offtanks and sturdy flankers. Maia's bird actually has the best stats by the way (if you sum them up: highest stat number).  

You can't tank with any AC though. They don't have the defensive stats for that, not even the antelope (although it helps). And that's not what they are for.  Use them as flankers or as bodyguard against rushers or even as path blockers (some of them, like bear or lion, have bigger models and tak up more ground space which helps with blocking pathways a lot). Always unstealth and egage with the tank(s) first  - only then send in the ACs. Besides that ACs can get healed and they also don't suffer injuries when they go down (and then potentially revived). If you have a PL9-SC Paladin in the party he canl get +2 Zeal every time the AC goes down. So you can revive quite often without any hassle with injuries. 

Never forget that they are like permanent summons which you can upgrade. If you would present a n item which would invoke a permanent summon in every fight (and even buff and revive it etc.) everybody would be "Whoa how useful!" - but somehow with the Ranger everyboy just goes "whoahy is de pet so bad?". I don't get it.  

One of the most fun solo chars I had so far was a melee Geomancer (Wizard/Stalker), combining very high AR with three bodies (bear, me and my Essential Phantom) with great damage, debuffing and top accuracy. That build relied heavily on the AC. Also fun was a ranged Scout I posted in the build thread who uses Watershaper's Focus. It's still fun and viable but doesn't use the AC a lot. So both can be nice and viable.

Edited by Boeroer
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9 hours ago, Raven Darkholme said:

A priest can also make a pet immortal via SoT and BDD loop if you give him brilliant with a cipher or item.

A priest can make anyone immortal this way.

What can specifically abused with a pet is that it doesn't get Wounds when down, so feel free to tank with it and rez it indefinetely.

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1 hour ago, Elric Galad said:

A priest can make anyone immortal this way.

What can specifically abused with a pet is that it doesn't get Wounds when down, so feel free to tank with it and rez it indefinetely.

Yes that is true but I was specifically responding to the question how to make the pet tanky and immortality is still superior to resurrection if one does have priest and cipher in party.

You do have a point about being able to abuse the no wounds and there is plentyy of situations where it is super helpful, for example vs nasty dampeners.

Edited by Raven Darkholme
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On 11/28/2019 at 6:15 AM, TomReneth said:

My experience with rangers back in the beginning was with Maia, whos pet i found more of a liability than help, though she was a decent ranged autoattacker with spells (geomancer).

an alternative to trying to keep your pet alive is to lean into it a bit by using Vengeful Grief (Nimble and Tenacious upon pet knockout). It created some funny incentives in some fights, sorry Ishiza.

(Also, if you're keen to micromanage, Ishiza is likely the most tankiest pet, because they are immune to engagement and so therefore can just constantly run out of melee range as the enemy winds up an attack.)

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Yes, if you are willing to pause a lot you can remove her just a tiny bit from the enemy while he's swinging at you, producing an "out of reach" miss. But while that's a good thing in solo runs I find it way to tedious for a normal playthrough. If you could script that for the AI though...

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On 12/3/2019 at 11:18 AM, thelee said:

an alternative to trying to keep your pet alive is to lean into it a bit by using Vengeful Grief (Nimble and Tenacious upon pet knockout). It created some funny incentives in some fights, sorry Ishiza.

(Also, if you're keen to micromanage, Ishiza is likely the most tankiest pet, because they are immune to engagement and so therefore can just constantly run out of melee range as the enemy winds up an attack.)

I hadn't thought of that as another reason to go Ghost Heart if you're willing to sign up for the micromanagement.  Not that I NEED another reason to go Ghost Heart, it's absolutely my first choice for Ranger.

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Ghost Heart is really nice but i think for the Ultimate a normal ranger would be superior just due to the fact that you can either start a fight safely with the pet or even better proc brilliant with it.

But in general ofc ghost heart has a very strong package.

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Why is Ghost Heart considered to be a strong package in the first place?

I mean the ability to drop the AC somewhere within 4 meters can be nice - but that range is short and with an AC with big size it's often way too short for my taste. Oh, and the non-engagement which is nice - but I doubt most players who prefer Ghost Heart did even notice.

You need to spend 1 Bond every time you want it (Revive Companion is "only" 2 - given that you won't need it that often if you know what you are doing), you can't start an encounter with the AC (my biggest gripe), you can't heal it (not a big deal I think since you can resummon). And you can't summon anything else (which is why my preferred Ranger multiclass, the Geomancer, never comes as Ghost Heart).

Somewhat exxagerated, but all it does is making the AC a "disposable" thing for players who don't know how to handle (or simply don't like) ACs in general. I mean that's fine and a good subclass option in order to meet players' needs and wishes. And it's viable - def. not worse than vanilla. But I fail to see why it's a particular strong package. What do I miss?

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I mean it's a lot less good for party ofc, but for solo you won't be able to always keep the pet alive unless you are a priest multiclass which is also highlevel enough to do the bdd sot thing.

One of the things Ghost Heart/Cipher could do for example was potd digsite drake, while ofc at that low level a normal pet would just get slaughtered and you can't even revive yet at level 4.

Ofc it becomes slightly different once you reach pl 3 and can revive, but solo that might not be ideal either, since you will get bumrushed by the enemies, while reviving.

I guess it completely depends on the classcombo, a class with summons like monk, wizard, druid, priest or chanter would not want ghost heart, since you can open combat with pet and then use the distraction to summon your regular stuff and someone who can keep the pet alive wouldn't want it cuz no reason and it is really easy to keep it alive with party as has been stated already or with a ranger/priest.

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7 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Why is Ghost Heart considered to be a strong package in the first place?

I mean the ability to drop the AC somewhere within 4 meters can be nice - but that range is short and with an AC with big size it's often way too short for my taste. Oh, and the non-engagement which is nice - but I doubt most players who prefer Ghost Heart did even notice.

You need to spend 1 Bond every time you want it (Revive Companion is "only" 2 - given that you won't need it that often if you know what you are doing), you can't start an encounter with the AC (my biggest gripe), you can't heal it (not a big deal I think since you can resummon). And you can't summon anything else (which is why my preferred Ranger multiclass, the Geomancer, never comes as Ghost Heart).

Somewhat exxagerated, but all it does is making the AC a "disposable" thing for players who don't know how to handle (or simply don't like) ACs in general. I mean that's fine and a good subclass option in order to meet players' needs and wishes. And it's viable - def. not worse than vanilla. But I fail to see why it's a particular strong package. What do I miss?

for casual players - not having to worry about bonded grief i bet. it's a really rough penalty and very few other (sub)classes have something like that where it actively punishes the player for poor micromanagement or metagaming.

but that nonengagement is sweet. maia has like the best ranger subclass and pet combo, and ghost heart gets you some of the way there. an itinerant was my second choice for a run-through (after a bunch of nerfing happened) and between speeding my AC past the front line towards squishes and potions of impediment and concussive tranquilizer i was a better mage slayer than the mage slayer subclass.

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I just love Takedown Combo to pieces - especially with DoTs. Do you know what works similar but with ACC? Lion's Sprint. You can cast multiple Disintegrates with +15 ACC as long as it's up. Pure DoTs don't count as "attacks" that remove the bonus but still get the +15 ACC. Too bad that Ranger/Barbarian doesn't have any DoT-only ability. 

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9 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Why is Ghost Heart considered to be a strong package in the first place?

I mean the ability to drop the AC somewhere within 4 meters can be nice - but that range is short and with an AC with big size it's often way too short for my taste. Oh, and the non-engagement which is nice - but I doubt most players who prefer Ghost Heart did even notice.

You need to spend 1 Bond every time you want it (Revive Companion is "only" 2 - given that you won't need it that often if you know what you are doing), you can't start an encounter with the AC (my biggest gripe), you can't heal it (not a big deal I think since you can resummon). And you can't summon anything else (which is why my preferred Ranger multiclass, the Geomancer, never comes as Ghost Heart).

Somewhat exxagerated, but all it does is making the AC a "disposable" thing for players who don't know how to handle (or simply don't like) ACs in general. I mean that's fine and a good subclass option in order to meet players' needs and wishes. And it's viable - def. not worse than vanilla. But I fail to see why it's a particular strong package. What do I miss?

I like it because it's a one-stop-shop for a lot of the stuff you otherwise need to spend points to support the pet. You get SO MUCH as just a class feature, requiring very little further investment at all.

- Pet got hurt?  You could spend a Bond AND a ability point AND a long cast time to heal it, or... you could Ghost Heart resummon it for 1 Bond, no ability investment, and fast cast time.

- Pet died?  Same deal, except it also costs less Bond to resummon than revive.

- Pet Immobilized? Dominated? Stunned? Paralyzed? ANY kind of CC? Resummon.  Problem solved.

- Pet needs to be moved?  Either let it walk because it's immune to engagement, or resummon.

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it also kinda helps the ghost heart along that the sharpshooter subclass is decidedly niche due to how strong of a downside a categorically universal recovery time penalty is, and the stalker which--while can be strong--arguably requires a lot more micromanagement and really leans further into bonded grief as a mechanic.

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13 hours ago, Boeroer said:

You need to spend 1 Bond every time you want it (Revive Companion is "only" 2 - given that you won't need it that often if you know what you are doing), you can't start an encounter with the AC (my biggest gripe), you can't heal it (not a big deal I think since you can resummon). And you can't summon anything else (which is why my preferred Ranger multiclass, the Geomancer, never comes as Ghost Heart).

Rez pet doesn't give back full HP. If you intend to use pet for tanking (and you don't use some priest combo for it) the bond cost of Ghostheart seems hard to beat.

Brillant + Ghost Heart is basically a pool of instant summons which certainly help against megabosses.

Now if you are really grinding for bond points (SC Class ranger for example), Ghostheart is not the way to go IMHO because you'll HAVE TO spend some bond for it even in the best case. 

MC Rangers don't have tons of top priority bond spenders, so using a couple points for a convenient pet seems like well-spent bond.

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MC Rangers should use all their Bond for stuff like Takedown Combo is my take. Anyway: I didn't say that Ghost Heart is bad. It is not. It's well balanced in my opinion and more importantly: it's not boring but brings something different to the class which is nice. But still I would't call it a general "strong package". I would consider to give this tag to other subclasses which are blatantly stronger compared to the base class - like Troubadour for example.   

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Troubadour, Streefighter and Trickster are basically OP ^^

There are other examples, but not that extreme.

Then there is another tier of "strong" subclasses in my book. This is the place where I put Devoted, Ghostheart, Berzeker, Tactician or Bloodmage. Tactician and Bloodmage are a special case because they are quite OP but only for a couple of bosses fight, so it depends how you value this (they are strong anyway).

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Yes, but still no Ghost Heart. It has its merits, but I think it's overrated.

But to be fair this also has a lot to do with micromanagement. If you tend to micromanage a lot anyway (like I do - I don't use AI at all) you won't find it hard to handle the AC.

If you let it run on AI you will have a lot more problems. 

So how often you use pause might influence your perception of "Ghost Heart AC vs. normal AC" immensely. 

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