by Darcena Wolf-Valslayer

Welcome to the results of the 2020 GemStone IV TownCrier Ranger Survey! The intent of this survey was to gather detailed information on player satisfaction in regards to all aspects of the ranger class in the game GemStone IV.

Method

This survey ran from February 27th to March 23rd, 2020, with two parts released simultaneously that were filled out independently. Participants could fill out one and not the other if they so chose. Each survey was comprised of a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions. You can find archived copies of the first half of the ranger survey here and the second half of the ranger survey here.

All survey results were given to Senior GameMaster Estild, who is in charge of the development team at the time of this writing. In addition to that, I have worked to summarize the results of the survey similar to how Leafiara summarized the Cleric Survey in 2019. I strove to reflect all viewpoints while also not misrepresenting the number of individuals who felt a certain way. 

As Leafiara wrote in the cleric survey, I’ve also highlighted comments that stuck out as exceptional for being either:

  • Succinct
  • Thorough
  • Specific
  • Unique in view
  • Unique in the way they were articulated

Comments were chosen for quality over quantity; if ten people said to replace 311 Blind (not a real example) and one person said to keep it, at best I only include one comment from each perspective. (The exception would be if some of the ten give different reasoning to their arguments.) Emphasizing how many people simply like or dislike a spell or other element of clerics was left to bar charts instead of quoting anybody and everybody.

In an attempt to support those who may be using a screen reader, all charts have also been described in text below the image.

Participants

Individuals representing sixty unique characters participated in the GemStone IV TownCrier Ranger Survey with sixty respondents to the first half of the survey and forty-eight respondents to the second half.

Amount of Time Participant Has Played Ranger Consistently

  • 18.3% of participants (11) had played their ranger for less than one year.
  • 5.0% of participants (3) had played their ranger between one year to less than two years.
  • 11.7% of participants (7) had played their ranger between two years to less than three years.
  • 10.0% of participants (6) had played their ranger between three years to less than four years.
  • 1.7% of participants (1) had played their ranger between four years to less than five years.
  • 48.3% of participants (29) had played their ranger for more than five years.
  • 5.0% of participants (3) rarely play their ranger or don’t play their ranger consistently.

Level of Ranger 

  • 39.0% of rangers (23) were at level 100.
  • 8.5% of rangers (5) were between level 90 to 99.
  • 5.1% of rangers (3) were between level 80 to 89.
  • 10.2% of rangers (6) were between level 70 to 79.
  • 1.7% of rangers (1) were between level 60 to 69.
  • 3.4% of rangers (2) were between level 5o to 59.
  • 8.5% of rangers (5) were between 40 to 49.
  • 10.2% of rangers (6) were between 30 to 39.
  • 6.8% of rangers (4) were between 20 to 29.
  • 6.8% of rangers (4) were between 10 to 19.
  • 0% of rangers (0) were between 0 to 9.

Post-Cap Ranger Experience

Of the 23 capped respondents, 21 reported their amount of experience. 18 of the 21 were under 2x cap with three outliers at 16.8mil, 20mil, and 32.5mil.

Intent Versus Actual Use

 

Respondents were asked if they intended their character to be a main, an alt, or a pocket rangers. Pocket rangers were defined as a character kept solely for casting defensive spells such as Mass Colors (611) and Mobility (618) on friends, imbuing rods, foraging, or some other task wherein the ranger is really there only to support other characters.

  • 37 respondents intended their character to be their main character.
  • 38 actually were using the ranger as their main character.
  • 22 intended their ranger to be an alternate character.
  • 21 were actually using their ranger as an alternate character.
  • 1 respondent intended their ranger to be a pocket ranger.
  • 1 respondent was actually using their ranger as a pocket ranger.

While these totals are interesting, they don’t show the whole picture of the movement between main, alt, and pocket status for rangers.

Actual Use: Main

  • 34 respondents intended their character to be their main and it remains their main
  • 3 respondents intended their character to be an alt but made it a main
  • 1 respondent intended their character to be a pocket ranger but made it a main

There were a few different reasons given for why a ranger was being used as a main that included enjoying the “blend of nature-attuned combat skills and magic abilities (including imbuing and armor resistance)” (Brandilor, 92), animal companions (Brandilor, 92), easier hunting (Name Withheld, 96; Morofinwe, 35), falling into more social opportunities (Seomanthe, 39), and “I really liked Spikethorn” (Qili, 75). 

Actual Use: Alt

  • 18 respondents intended their ranger to be an alt and it remained an alt
  • 3 respondents intended their ranger to be a main character but made it an alt

One respondent who had a capped ranger and changed from a main to an alt mentioned that they did not feel there was much for a post-cap ranger to do. Another mentioned disliking the arrow gathering system of archery (Olojor, 22). Conversely, one player who intended their ranger to be a pocket ranger, actually enjoyed “playing her too much and liked her character/roleplaying concept behind her design” (Finnlebec, 44) and therefore upgraded to an alt.

From the individuals who intended their ranger to be an alt and still use their ranger as an alt, there were the following comments:

  • not fun mechanically or in RP (Felstump, 29)
  • “too middle-of-the-road as semis, compared to more distinct strengths of bards, paladins, or warpaths” (Leafiara, 100)

Actual Use: Pocket

  • 1 respondent intended their ranger to be an alt but made it a pocket ranger

This individual explained that they lost their social group and did not find the ranger engaging in solo play.

 Table of Contents

Intro, Demographics, and Table of Contents

This section provides an overview of the ranger survey as well as some information about the respondents such as their length of time consistently playing their ranger, level of ranger and amount of post-cap experience if applicable, and the movement of the intent and actual use of their ranger between main, alt, and pocket functions.

Part 1: Class Satisfaction

The section is intended to provide some broad views on playing a ranger before delving into specifics. Questions asked how participants described rangers, how satisfied they were with playing a ranger, how flexible they felt training paths were, how unique they felt rangers could be within the chosen training path, any specific problems they were having, and any general ideas they might want implemented for their class.

Part 2: Overall Gameplay

This section is intended to provide a broad overview of gameplay for rangers. Questions asked about: character build type; satisfaction with overall combat abilities, offensive combat, defensive combat, non-combat abilities; and society choice.

Part 3: Physical Skills

This section is intended to provide specifics on how players of rangers view their physical skills. Questions asked about: weapons trained in and reasons; weapons used while leveling;  Armor Sub Group worn, training amount, and reasons; satisfaction between hindrance and squishiness; CMAN satisfaction, training amount, and reasons for choosing them; and choices in training ambush and dodge.

Part 4: Magical Skills

This section is intended to provide specifics on how players of rangers view their magical skills. Questions asked about: satisfaction with each spell in the 600s and 100s with relation to its design, mana cost, and spell slot; satisfaction with amount of mana available to cast spells; ranks of lores; factors influencing lore rank splits; benefits and costs of lore rank splits; and amount of and satisfaction with Arcane Symbols and Magic Item Use.

Part 5: Utility Skills

This section is intended to provide specifics on how players of rangers view their utility skills. Questions asked about: amount of first aid, survival, and stalking and hiding trained per level; comments on reasoning for training paths.

Part 6: Class-Specific Attributes

This section is intended to provide specifics on how players of rangers view their class-specific skills. Questions asked about: the importance of a variety of specific class attributes and asked if the respondent had begun a ranger for that attribute or still played a ranger because of that attribute, amount of satisfaction with the combat effectiveness of animal companions, and implementation ideas to boost animal companions’ combat effectiveness.

Part 7: Hunting Style

This section is intended to provide specifics on how players of rangers manage the logistics of their hunts. Questions asked about: how satisfied rangers are with their ability to complete Adventurer’s Guild bounties, the number of characters in the rangers’ hunting parties, the types of buffs rangers use while hunting, the types of armor specializations rangers use, and rangers’ reasoning for hunting self-spelled or with outside spells.

Part 8: Roleplaying

This section is intended to provide specifics on how satisfied players of rangers are with the roleplay opportunities of various parts of their class. Questions asked about: players’ satisfaction with the inclusion of roleplaying elements into the ranger’s class development, the primary aspect of ranger mechanics that separates the class from others in terms of roleplay, satisfaction with ranger companions’ roleplaying abilities, and ideas for boosting companions’ roleplaying flavor.

Part 9: Future Growth

This section is intended to provide specifics on how rangers would like their class to grow. Questions asked about: general concepts rangers would like to add to their class, how rangers felt about development going towards a Ranger Guide, and satisfaction with post-cap experience.

Conclusion

 

Qafziel Nalfein

Qafziel Nalfein

Qafziel Nalfein, scholar and political devotee, travels Elanith learning more about the relationships between notable parties. His focus is on the Cooperative Houses of Elanthia and Meeting Hall Organizations and their liaisons, but he’s also known to pop into a town meeting on a whim or congratulate someone on reaching the pinnacle of their studies whether it be in warfare or sorcery or something else entirely. Qaf is always on the lookout for ways to connect individuals and organizations both with each other, with adventurers, and with the TownCrier for the betterment of our society. He maintains a network of informants who assist him in his tasks.