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Musings on the Ranger Class


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I posted this elsewhere but I thought I would post it here for the heck of it. I know its way too late for this kind of thing but I thought I would put it out there regardless.

 

Perceived problem:

Currently, the Ranger class does not seem to be a terribly interesting and is a bad option for any party. This is especially problematic since one of the companions in the game is a Ranger. Part of the issue may lie in the "shared health" mechanic and part may be to the underwhelming nature of its talent/ability selection and the general play experience.

 

Many of the better implemented classes are very unique and their unique elements are desirable. The paladin has auras and LoH. The Cipher has soul whip which confers a damage bonus and helps him build up magic points. The Ranger however is saddled with a pet that clutters things up in the front line, drains his health and doesn't really add much to the party. Basically, the Ranger's pet is a LIABILITY. Its unique class mechanic makes it worse not better.

 

Possible Solution A:

The first thing I would advocate is to rethink the shared health mechanic. Currently, a melee ranger is not really a thing. However, what if there was a modal where damage could be split with a pet when in close proximity (Ranger gets hit, takes 70% of the dmg, 30% goes to pet and vice-versa or some such). I would make this a selectable ability for those Rangers that want to fight up close. The thing here is the shared health mechanic would promote the use of the pet since it would increase combat effectiveness not reduce it. In other words, there would not be a shared health pool but rather shared damage for melee builds.

 

Outcomes of Solution A:

More build types are possible and the pet is no longer seen as a liability.

 

Possible Solution B:

Another possibility is to rework ranger abilities.What if ranger talents/attacks would be focused on coordinating attacks with the pet. This is similar to how some of the abilities for the Mad Dog Barbarian archetype for Pathfinder work. With this, shared health is not necessary since the player would still be motivated to keep the pet alive to continue to use most of its attacks.

 

Outcomes of Solution B:

Ranger would play in a unique way and pet would, again, not seem to be a liability but rather a source of strength.

 

Conclusion:

I would recommend any solution that makes the pet seem desirable and a source of strength rather than a liability. These are two possible suggestions. I do believe the shared health mechanic is at the core of the problem but is not the sum of the problem.

 

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Edited by Shevek
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I think they should keep the shared health, but the Ranger needs:

 

A) More health and stamina so the companion taking damage isn't so terrible.

 

B) The animal companions need to be able to be return to their master. Kind of like a summon. The IE games did this (sort of) with their familiars. This will make it so they don't clutter up the screen and take up too much space. This will also allow you to get them out of danger when needed.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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That would still make using the pet come at a penalty. I just have a hard time with the class being penalized for using its single distinguishing feature. What if cipher's took damage for using Soul Whip or Chanter's health drained for chanting? I dunno, it just doesnt seem right.

Edited by Shevek
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That would still make using the pet come at a penalty. I just have a hard time with the class being penalized for using its single distinguishing feature. What if cipher's took damage for using Soul Whip or Chanter's health drained for chanting? I dunno, it just doesnt seem right.

Don't the monks use wounds?

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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That would still make using the pet come at a penalty. I just have a hard time with the class being penalized for using its single distinguishing feature. What if cipher's took damage for using Soul Whip or Chanter's health drained for chanting? I dunno, it just doesnt seem right.

Yeah, or what if Monks usage of Wounds required that they lose Health? Wait... original.gif

(Namutree beat me to it!)

 

I jest. But, really, I definitely think the Ranger and pet's health can somehow be linked without necessarily being the exact same pool. But, I think the main focus of the Ranger class should be on the synergy of the Ranger's and pet's abilities/actions in combat. If you have that, then you're automatically at an effectiveness loss when one or the other suffers from low Health and must retreat. But, if you both have to retreat at the same time because of low Health, it kind of defeats the purpose of the scale of effectiveness that depends on the availability of both entities.

 

Maybe just some modals would do the trick, in place of shared health? One for the animal, to take 20% (or whatever number is deemed best) of the damage dealt to the Ranger while it's activated, and one for the Ranger that does the opposite. They could even be optional abilities or something.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Animal companions should be upgradable and have passive abilities. Here's some ideas. I've made them into three tiers. Level 1, 2, 3.

 

* Antelope - Lvl 1. Higher defenses. Lvl 2. Increased evasion from attacks (10% attacks miss). Lvl 3. Increased movement speed (150%) as health drops below 25%.

* Bear - Lvl 1. Higher Damage Threshold. Lvl 2. 50% bleeding damage (DOT) chance (5 hp every second for 4 seconds) with every critical hit. Lvl 3. 100% bleeding damage (DOT) chance (5 hp every second for 4 seconds) with every critical hit.

* Boar - Lvl 1. Gains Might at low Stamina. Lvl 2. 50% chance of knockdowns with every critical hit. Lvl 3. 100% knockdown chance with every critical hit.

* Lion - Lvl 1. Terrifying Roar ability. Lvl 2. 50% bleeding damage (DOT) chance (1% of enemies health pool every second for 5 seconds) with every critical hit. Lvl 3. Bloodlust: increases attack speed/movement speed by 25% as enemy drops below 30% health.

* Stag - Lvl 1. Carnage ability (like barbarian's, but limited-use). Lvl 2. Knockback and buffet. 2-5% chance of knockdowns that throw enemy 5 paces back with every hit. 10% chance with critical. Lvl 3. Maim. 50% bleeding damage chance (DOT) for 10 seconds (3 hp every second for 10 seconds) with every critical hit.

* Wolf - Faster movement rate. Lvl 2. Bloodlust: increases attack speed/movement speed by 50% as enemy drops below 15% health. Lvl 3. Predator's game. Wolf is invisible unless attacking, spooted by magic, or has any status effects (hobbled, flanked, poisoned, etc).

 

Clearly needs some balancing. But it makes "upgrading your pet" as another ability. Perhaps at levels 4 and 8?

Just bumping this from the old ranger thread.

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Maybe just some modals would do the trick, in place of shared health? One for the animal, to take 20% (or whatever number is deemed best) of the damage dealt to the Ranger while it's activated, and one for the Ranger that does the opposite. They could even be optional abilities or something.

Thats shared damage rather than shared health. That is my first suggestion. It would make melee rangers more viable I think. I would just do one modal that the ranger activates.

 

I would strongly suggest taking a look at the Mad Dog archetype I posted. That is how you design a martial pet class, imo.

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This is going to become DOtA now, isn't it?

What is DOtA?

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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I haven't tried a Ranger in the Beta. As to how the animal companion works as stated, if this was a pen&paper game I would avoid the class. Sounds like the D&D Wizards familiar mechanically(In most D20 systems familiar has only 1/2 casters hp - it will likely work similarly with shared HP and a ranged primary character), by that it'll be a terrible front-liner. (Both the Animal cohort and the Primary character.) That it basically makes the ranger have two target-able sprites, the primary character and cohort. In pen&paper games, even a regular cohort only works when gamed to the max. Can the animal wear armour like a PC or have level up buffs increasing it's deflection relative to obtainable magical loot a warrior could obtain?

 

On the other hand it would allow greater action economy if the animal cohort uses the Rangers base stats? How does it currently work and what would you want it changed Shevek? Give the cohort it's own Health/Stamina pool? Do you mean the cohort has a standalone health pool and has a constant Shield Other effect with the primary character?

 

Regardless I'll try the Ranger myself and offer a few musing. From my reading of the class it seemed it wasn't meant to be a meat shield/front liner but to use the cohort as a harrier while using the Ranged attacks with the Primary.

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I like the symbiosis aspect of the ranger and pet.  I think that should be strengthened, not severed.  For example there's lots of traits that improve the pet to do this or that, but one trait that imrpoves shared defenses if both get hit (higher lvls might have more).  Why not have pets level up naturally and give passive bonuses (like Lynch's idea) and instead of pet specific talents focus more on the bond between them for talents, like..a pet-ranger escape to one or the other, a momentary buff of shared DT(whichever's is higher), other things that exploit the best of both (going with the symbiosis theme).  I think partially what makes rangers unappealing to others is that bow damage is kinda weak and maybe abiliities like mark should be buffed up a lot but only apply for ranger and pet or maybe give wounding shot a chance to incur a maimed penalty for the fight based on fort.   Another idea and not sure if part of this game is the ability to use different ammo so can have all sorts of arrows like old IE games (you'd have unlimited normal ammo, but the others would have stacked x amounts of magical arrows and in this game, you could craft them~!)  I dunno, I kinda liked playing the ranger,but the damage was not much compared to my rogue which might be how it should be.

Edited by serenityangel
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i like what’s been suggested for the ranger and i think that what could have worked for me would’ve been that depending on the animal companion you chose you’d get the companion’s bonuses. For example, you choose a wolf and ranger gets faster action speed, you choose bear and ranger gets better defense/offense. Also, i’d have given the ranger class-unique talents. Only the ranger could lay specific traps which the rogue couldn’t. The ranger should be able to detect certain traps and hidden containers a la Davy Crockett like a trapper. Also, i’d have given the ranger a unique talent for weapon upgrade. At the start of the game you’d choose the weapon type you’d mostly use and then every few levels you could upgrade it, e.g. faster and more damaging bow.

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Perceived problem:

Currently, the Ranger class does not seem to be a terribly interesting and is a bad option for any party. This is especially problematic since one of the companions in the game is a Ranger. Part of the issue may lie in the "shared health" mechanic and part may be to the underwhelming nature of its talent/ability selection and the general play experience.

I somewhat agree here. I think it is interesting but... just like with how I would want a Spiritshift Druid to be a path rather than "automatic gain", I'd want a Beastmaster Ranger to be a path. The standard Ranger = The traditional IE Archer, and the Animal Companion being a Ranger Skill/Ability you choose to get or not get. Generalist Druid = Standard Druid, and Spiritshift form being a choice.

 

With how skills and talents work, regardess how the UI works, it allows me to build a melee Druid with or without Spiritshift with the clever use of some talents/skill points/attributes. If "Spiritshift" is a "Talent" you pick at Level Up, rather than at character creation, I think the Druid would be more fun.

 

Why am I talking about the Druid?? Because I feel the exact same way with the Ranger. Animal Companion being a choice, a Talent/Ability you pick/choose (if you want) at Level Up. Probably not going to happen due to the code/strings/triggers/scripts tied to the Ranger/AC mechanic but... *shrug* I dunno, I feel like I voicing my opinion on this still.

 

I feel I want a traditional IE Archer in my party... is the Fighter or Rogue the go-to Infinity Engine-esque Archer in Pillars of Eternity?

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Having played a few games as a Ranger here's my opinion. (Note I have a novice grasp of tactics in this game. Still play on Normal mode.) Regardless the Ranger requires advanced tactics and enemy pre-knowledge to work. Used the Bear, holds up decently in melee vs other melee monsters. Then the same companion is a liability when fighting caster types. (Literally once I see a spell, usually the Bear/Ranger is out of the fight - this means for survivability you keep the companion out of range/out of encounter when fighting such monsters. Meaning Ranger is at half ability vs whatever your familiar is weak against. I figure I could have chosen a Wolf but figured it'd be half again as useful as the Bear in melee. Half as good as Gazelle vs mages. ) I can't come out and say the class is a lost cause, because I'm sure someone knows how to make it work (tactically, without taking the companion out of the encounter).

 

Not sure how to fix it if it's more then me not utilizing the character properly. (For note I picked talents that affected the animal companion) I can tell you a permanent shield other effect is broken if the familiar has it's own hp pool. But at the same time, it was distressing whenever the companion went down and my main did to. Do know I likely won't use any Rangers in the game, but luckily have a large pool of companions to choose from.

 

Cheers.

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Do both the ranger and pet take damage if hit by the same aoe spell, if so I imagine they keel over from one fireball.

 

Perhaps things could be fixed by giving pets some form of spell resistance(not immunity), whether automatic or via talent.

 

Or their health pool could be differently linked, for instance every 4 damage the pet takes ranger takes 1 instead of a 1:1 ratio.

 

I still think they should be linked because meatshield pets are not interesting to me.( I doubt any K-9 unit police oficer would send their dog to get shot if there was an alternative)

Also I hope pets will be useful for the whole game and not loose their oomph in the first half.

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I feel I want a traditional IE Archer in my party... is the Fighter or Rogue the go-to Infinity Engine-esque Archer in Pillars of Eternity?

 

 

Rogue, with tons of perception!

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