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.

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.

Build Overview

60 people answered the multiple choice question asking them their predominant build with 51 supplying additional information in the follow-up short answer question.

The results supplied here in the chart “Predominant Ranger Builds” combined information from both questions as necessary. Therefore, all hybrid answers were coded as hybrid but then also as the varieties they indicated in the short-answer question (for example: hybrid and archdruid and open ranged). The additional builds were only coded when the short answers indicated they were current builds and not builds used while leveling or before mechanics changes. Information on past builds and motivations for changing them is included in the quotes section below the “Predominant Ranger Builds” chart.

All hybrid responses were also pulled out to see what the most common hybrid combinations were in a second chart labeled “Predominant Hybrid Combinations.” Quotes involving reasoning for hybrid builds are below the “Predominant Hybrid Combinations” chart.

Click on the chart to view it larger.

Text Version of Predominant Ranger Builds Results
  • 40.0% of people (24) indicated they use an archdruid, druid, or weedmage build (predominantly using 616 or 635)
    • 2 were between levels 0-49
    • 7 were between levels 59-99
    • 15 were level 100
  • 30.0% of people (18) indicated they use an open archer build (ranged without hiding)
    • 4 were between levels 0-49
    • 5 were between levels 59-99
    • 8 were level 100
  • 20.0% of people (12) indicated they use a one-handed weapon and shield build
    • 5 were between levels 0-49
    • 4 were between levels 59-99
    • 3 were level 100
  • 18.3% of people (11) indicated they use a sniper build (ranged while hiding)
    • 7 were between levels 0-49
    • 1 was between levels 59-99
    • 2 were level 100
  • 15.0% of people (9) indicated they use a brawling/UAC build
    • 3 were between levels 0-49
    • 2 were between levels 50-99
    • 4 were level 100
  • 11.7% of people (7) indicated they use a two weapon combat build
    • 1 was between level 0-49
    • 3 were between levels 50-99
    • 3 were level 100
  • 3.3% of people (2) indicated they use a two-handed weapon or polearm build
    • 1 was between level 0-49
    • 1 was level 100
  • 38.3% of people (23) indicated they use some sort of hybrid build
    • 4 were between levels 0-49
    • 6 were between levels 59-99
    • 12 were level 100

I chose blunt and shield because i had a blink weapon. 2 sec swings due to grouping with a bard and having spike thorn flares is incredibly powerful. [Felstump, 29]

I went open archer to save the Tp’s for spells and whatnot so I may be different there. [Meliot, 43]

I hide unless undead are involved. Their perception is too high often times. [Selvan, 49]

I’ve played both twc, and archery, and I seem to die fairly quickly to both [Direthorn, 58]

I started off as sword and shield until 20, when I wanted to try something different and TWC seemed unique and exciting. I haven’t looked back since! TWC is costly in training points, and I didn’t want to give up magic for it so I decided to forgo ambushing and use a TWC attack from the open kind of build, supplemented with magic (usually as a setup to the melee attack, so spikethorn or tangleweed to knock down, and then two-weapon attack while the creature is down) [Aeith, 72]

Built originally as a sniper, as I became more proficient changed to open archer with an emphasis on aimed shots. Changed to open due to higher round times sniping from hiding. Did find hidden sniping to very useful for solo hunting in warcamps. [Noldi Stewarti, 96]

I figured I’d go with a THW because ranger AS is low enough that I wanted to boost sheer damage. I’m guessing that most ranger players who want to improve offense go for TWC instead, which in hindsight I would have done too. Unlike other ranger players, I’ve gone from 0 to 159 ranger base without ever touching minor spiritual. Part of that is, of course, because my ranger is an alt and doesn’t need utility spells like Stun Relief, or Call Lightning.

The other part is my ongoing problem with minor spiritual in general: until Lesser Shroud all the way at 20, all the relevant combat buffs are widely available as other-cast spells from three pures, so why learn them? (My paladin likewise didn’t touch minor spiritual until it was time to fixskill into 20 ranks all at once.) [Leafiara, 100]

At this point I use my shield but not my weapon. I hunt almost exclusively with 616 and 635. I have an amazing weapon but i never use it because it would just slow me down to do so and my attack strength is unreasonably low for what I hunt. [Silverthorne, 100]

My ranger is trained for sniping, but in reality open archery is a lot faster 99% of the time. I have multiple lower level rangers who are secondary characters who train in the following styles: TWC+edged melee, polearm melee, OHE/shield ambush, UCS, “druid”/magic. [Alisaire]

Predominant Hybrid Combinations Chart
Text Version of Predominant Hybrid Combinations Results
Build Frequency Count
Archdruid and Brawling/UAC 5
Archdruid and One Handed Weapon and Shield 5
Archdruid and Open Archer 4
Open Archer and Brawling 2
Archdruid and Two Weapon Combat 2
Open Archer and Sniper 2
Archdruid and Sniper 2
Sniper and Brawler 1

Brawler/Sniper – Uses archery for the majority of encounters, and brawling to finish off foes. [Dhairn, 16]

I combine both an open-archer and a sniper, depending on how difficult the foe. [DrZaius, 25]

UAC Druid. I use my physcial skills to make thing susceptible to 616 [if they’re something that can reliably be spiked], if not I use the other spells to make them susceptible to UAC [breeze, weed, call swarm + 1x summon]. [Nroth, 34]

Erek is mainly the “archer in the shadows” but also has a significant amount of magical ability. These two archetypes together make for a fun build, but one that is also highly TP dependent. [Erek, 75]

I really don’t know much about builds and archetypes. I just know that I’ve built my ranger as a Spikethorn-as-a-primary-weapon hunter who is also a decent hider/ambusher/OHE-user. I’m sure I could be significantly better at one by giving up the other, but I can’t bring myself to make that decision! If I was forced to, however, I think I would go all-out weed mage. I’m very tempted! I’d love to be able to try it out for a month or two with the option of going back to my original build if I don’t like it. [Name Withheld, 92]

I am an open archer that utilizes a lot of spells for knockdown/rt/distracting purposes. I fletch my own arrows which is a super duper pain. Losing arrows and collecting arrows and making arrows are all tedious and awful but I find the benefit worth it so I do it. [Name Withheld, 96]

As he got higher in experience, sniping became more difficult and I relied more on 616 or 635. At cap, it’s pretty rare I snipe consistently. [Rouste, 100]

I don’t have a particular archetype in mind. My build revolves around the use of two weapon combat for my primary form of attack, with 615 and 610 to provide single target crowd control, 619 for room crowd control, and 635 for area effect damage. These choices were made in an effort to compensate for the comparatively lower attack strength that rangers have, while also keeping the flow of combat at a more manageable pace. It’s a fairly effective solo build, but doesn’t bring a lot to the table for groups, and suffers from a somewhat slow time to kill as well as a comparatively low efficiency. [Name Withheld, 100]

I was an open archer from 0 to 100, and post cap fixskilled to a more versatile play style of brawling and druid build (616/635). This has allowed my ranger to contribute on bandits without killing any innocents (via 635) and has done much for my sanity in not having to mitigate the broken arrow system. [Kreigh, 100]

My ranger has been my main character since the 90s, long before ranged weapons were a thing. I enjoy swinging a falchion from the shadows, and it works well enough that I have never seriously considered changing up my hunting style. I use spells liberally to help get things dead since my sword+board tactics aren’t always the fastest. Since I do rely so much on spells while hunting (610, 615, 616, 635), I currently have no interest in wearing armor heavier than double leather. Spell hindrance always feels like it’s 50+% no matter what it really is.

I created a second ranger to try out ranged weapons, and I find arrow management to be so obnoxious that I refuse to switch to ranged until/unless that problem is resolved. At the moment, I think only high-end quivers mitigate that problem to my liking. I’m working on it, but I don’t have one yet. [Lanzerik, 100]

Roleplay Builds

I also wanted to highlight a few comments that spoke more to the roleplay reasons for selecting their builds than the mechanical reasons.

T. is an open archer, with just enough spell training to know how to work with the spirits of nature (OOC: she only knows 600 spells, no 100s).. She’s an outdoors Aelotian, who hates big cities and will stay away as much as possible. She’s built to be able to survive on her own if need be, so lots of dodging, survival, first aid, MIU/AS, etc. [T. Aelo’tyn, 35]

My ranger focuses on graceful/elegant combat. Her ranger archetype leans more into art and artistry, as well as a darker path of magic involving acknowledging death as a part of life. [Seomanthe, 39]

My Ranger prefers to kill things with her hands. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

Satisfaction with Overall Combat Abilities

Click on the chart to view it larger.

Table: Ranger Satisfaction with Overall Combat Abilities, by level
Efficiency at solo hunting individual enemies Efficiency at solo hunting swarms Longevity while solo hunting Contributions in small group hunts (1-3 others) Contributions in large group hunts (4+ others) Disabling single targets Crowd control
All Levels Totals Very satisfying 43 14 37 19 11 36 17
Somewhere in between 16 32 19 24 16 16 32
Very unsatisfying 1 12 3 9 15 6 6
Unknown/not applicable 0 2 1 8 17 2 5
0-49 Totals Very satisfying 13 2 13 7 4 11 4
Somewhere in between 6 11 4 7 3 7 9
Very unsatisfying 0 4 1 0 2 0 3
Unknown/not applicable 0 2 1 5 10 1 3
50-99 Totals Very satisfying 13 6 11 7 3 10 7
Somewhere in between 3 7 5 7 5 5 9
Very unsatisfying 1 4 1 2 4 1 0
Unknown/not applicable 0 0 0 1 4 1 1
Level 100 Very satisfying 16 6 13 4 4 14 6
Somewhere in between 7 14 9 10 7 4 14
Very unsatisfying 0 3 1 7 9 5 2
Unknown/not applicable 0 0 0 2 3 0 1

The things that make us good soloers are what we contribute to the group, but we don’t have anything like a focus spell or benediction. [Nroth, 34]

I feel a Ranger can be a big part of a group hunt success. We can calm, use tangleweed or thorns to deal with swarms and mobs. We can protect with our spells. We can deal with living and dead if need be. [Morofinwe, 35]

One of the issues with a Sniper Ranger is due to how Hiding works…and the tendency for my build to one-shot the enemy. It makes it so, in a group, I have to work to NOT kill as fast as I can, which can be frustrating. [Nehor, 38]

Combination of a system [armor system specifically] being geared towards heavier and thicker pieces and lack of choice of hunting areas. Wearing light armor currently IG is harder to accomplish as a Semi than it should be. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

No point in grouping when the entire group has to wait for you to find your arrows [Qili, 75]

If we cannot trip something, then we really struggle with setting them up for a killing blow. Mass calm is nice, but we have no way of forcing RT on something. [Goldtree, 76]

Ranger crowd control is excellent, and one of my favorite aspects of the class. Unfortunately, those crowd control abilities don’t translate well to groups that are more effective at killing targets quickly, and frequently go unused in my experience. [Name Withheld, 100]

Disabling for a ranger is funny. We have a lot of spells. All of them are inefficient compared to 616, which just shreds most things and is a damage spell. 607, 609, 610, 612 (used offensively) are all set-up and either real short term or very unreliable and we have ALL those sup-par spells (607 being the best, but compared to other non-pures, we sadly NEED 607 more than they need to lower somethings DS…it’s pathetic). 615 is my favorite, but it has the issue of chasing something and then I can’t use it while it’s off chasing some ithzir into Neverland or something. I’m not going to get into the 100’s because most rangers won’t have the CS to use it for hunting outside of 117 (which again requires 3 more seconds and everyone has easy access to through blue crystals). [Arshwikk Aralock Ardenai, 100]

Mass Calm is a great spell, however I would like to see further crowd control options. Breeze and Tangleweed help mitigate some items but are not reliable or fast enough for true crowd control. [Alisaire]

Nature’s Fury (635)

Multiple people mentioned Nature’s Fury in relation to group hunting, stating that they were unsatisfied with its player-unfriendly nature and mana cost. Several mentioned (or implied) it being too overpowering to use in groups. Not all comments are quoted below. This spell will be covered later in Part 4: Magical Skills as well.

On one hand I’m very satisfied with 635 because it’s one of the best AoE spells in the game, but on the other hand, being player-unfriendly-only really sucks. Crowd control is middling for me because 619 is one of the best mass disablers, especially at cap where things that inflict stun or immobility just get shaken off, but the lack of a mass knockdown like 410 or even 1219 is very much felt by rangers at cap (and I’d argue the same for clerics and empaths). [Leafiara, 100]

635 does too much damage to use in large groups. It would be nice to have a lower spell slot do AoE damage with reduced damage. [Erykk, 100]

Hunting with 635 to deal with swarms is simply not viable at my present mana levels. Maybe later post cap. [Name Withheld, 100]

I often have to reserve my spells in groups, which is frustrating. I wish there were bolt spell options for Weed Mages that didn’t blow up the world. [Leifa, 100]

Conversely, one person stated they felt positive about Nature’s Fury, although perhaps for a different reason:

MoC is too expensive to be viable prior to very far post cap – 635 is a good compromise. [Name Withheld, 100]

Satisfaction with Offensive Combat Abilities

Most comments focused on inadequate CS until post-cap and mediocre AS. Several comments discussed how rangers were adequate at many things but not great at anything in particular. It is worth noting that rangers do not typically use any sort of bolting spell.

Click on the chart to view it larger.

Table: Ranger Satisfaction with Offensive Combat Abilities by Level
Overall attack, bolt, and casting strength (AS, CS) Melee Attack Strength (AS) Ranged Attack Strength (AS) Bolt Attack Strength (AS) Thrown Attack Strength (AS) Casting Strength (CS)
All Levels Totals Very satisfying 21 18 24 0 3 10
Somewhere in between 28 25 13 9 9 29
Very unsatisfying 7 11 7 14 6 10
Unknown/not applicable 4 6 15 36 41 11
0-49 Totals Very satisfying 8 7 10 0 1 3
Somewhere in between 7 9 3 3 2 7
Very unsatisfying 1 0 1 1 0 3
Unknown/not applicable 3 3 5 15 16 6
50-99 Totals Very satisfying 6 6 5 0 0 3
Somewhere in between 9 5 4 1 1 8
Very unsatisfying 1 3 1 9 4 2
Unknown/not applicable 0 2 5 5 10 3
Level 100 Very satisfying 7 4 8 0 2 4
Somewhere in between 11 11 6 4 5 13
Very unsatisfying 5 8 5 4 2 5
Unknown/not applicable 1 1 5 16 15 2

At 61, my AS seems to lag behind others in the same level range. The only thing that offsets this is lower ranged DS on many mobs and how many abilities rangers have to further lower a foe’s defenses, so there’s that. Doubling up on Perception is doable, but unfortunately doubling up on Ambush for the AS boost will have to wait until near-cap/post-cap. [Kedsie, 61]

I’d probably use more CS based magical attacks but the CS is fairly low, despite the fact that at level 75 he has 50 ranks of Ranger Base and 26 ranks of minor spirit. Over-training the spell levels to raise CS is just not in the cards with this build based on the TP cost. [Erek, 75]

I would love to be able to use CS spells from MnS in some way. There’s a lot of options that are totally unavailable, web especially seems like something rangers *should* be able to use. [Ascelon, 91]

I actually don’t know how to determine whether or not I’m satisfied with the components in this question except to base it on results….and I’m pleased with how most of my hunts go (once I learn the quarry’s weakness). Also, I can’t really answer the question in the context of rating these components on a comparative basis to other classes since I don’t play other classes. [Brandilor, 92]

At higher levels, the benefits of 425 massively outweigh those of Camo. Throw in shadow mastery which gives 1 second RT, and I have no reason to use camo at this time. For AS, Sure, I can 117 before every swing, but that only adds to the roundtime problems. [Amerek, 100]

Ranger CS is incredible at post-cap, relative to enemy TDs, almost it’s as if the design doesn’t even account for the idea of a ranger having more than 1x spells. Pre-cap, though, not only is CS noticeably less impressive, but there’s also no way you’re casting 635 more than a few times per hunt without going dedicated pure ranger. [Leafiara, 100]

My melee AS and CS with attack spells is adequate for hunting, but it’s nothing special. I suspect that a large percentage of the difference between me and others I’ve compared myself against comes from two things: 1) their gear being more uber than mine, and 2) enhancives (since I’ll use them if I find them, but I’m not willing to expend a lot of effort to obtain high end enhancives and then keep them charged). [Lanzerik, 100]

As I’ve already mentioned, ranger melee attack strength is very poor compared to the other two semis. I prefer to not use ranged, so I can’t really comment there. Casting strength is, in my opinion, rather excellent due to the much lower TD of things versus ranger spells such as 635. [Name Withheld, 100]

Satisfaction with Defensive Combat Abilities

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Table: Ranger Satisfaction with Defensive Combat Abilities, by Level
Overall attack, bolt, and casting strength (AS, CS) Melee Attack Strength (AS) Ranged Attack Strength (AS) Bolt Attack Strength (AS) Thrown Attack Strength (AS) Casting Strength (CS)
All Levels Totals Very satisfying 21 18 24 0 3 10
Somewhere in between 28 25 13 9 9 29
Very unsatisfying 7 11 7 14 6 10
Unknown/not applicable 4 6 15 36 41 11
0-49 Totals Very satisfying 8 7 10 0 1 3
Somewhere in between 7 9 3 3 2 7
Very unsatisfying 1 0 1 1 0 3
Unknown/not applicable 3 3 5 15 16 6
50-99 Totals Very satisfying 6 6 5 0 0 3
Somewhere in between 9 5 4 1 1 8
Very unsatisfying 1 3 1 9 4 2
Unknown/not applicable 0 2 5 5 10 3
Level 100 Very satisfying 7 4 8 0 2 4
Somewhere in between 11 11 6 4 5 13
Very unsatisfying 5 8 5 4 2 5
Unknown/not applicable 1 1 5 16 15 2
DS

It’s hard to answer this for the generic Ranger vs. Erek. His gear is allowing him to hunt comfortably without worrying overmuch about conventional attacks (maneuver based or other tricks are another matter). That said, I have seen other rangers struggle defensively, especially the TWC varieties. TWC should allow for a bit more DS so that it becomes a viable choice as a standard Ranger archetype, which would be more in line with classical “story” rangers, such as the Drizzt archetype. [Erek, 75]

Target Defense

Elemental TD is severely lacking, and while rangers do cast from the spiritual sphere – their spells are mainly about the elements. Elemental TD shouldn’t be a hole. [Dhairn, 16]

TD can be somewhat of an issue, but no moreso than any other class that isn’t pure. MOSTLY I lean toward satisfying on all of the above issues. Hiding is still proving my best defense and it works very well with the Ranger’s spell suite. [Nehor, 38]

It’s hard to complain about ranger defense. When I consider this, I must consider self-spelled only, in which case they have probably the best physical DS and one of the best maneuver defenses (as it should be – for maneuvers). However, self-spelled, their elemental TD is horrid. Yet, they should not be in heavy armor and do not have LaM to help out with that. Also, I think it’s dumb that rangers are spiritual as opposed to elemental, like nature and the elements go hand in hand. Leave religion to the paladins, but we’re not going to change this. So, the effect of being pathetic to element based spells is ironic and absurd, but how it is. Maybe add an ETD buff to 602, I dunno. [Arshwikk Aralock Ardenai, 100]

Maneuvers

Many comments discussed maneuver defense and struggles with it. Only a few have been highlighted here.

After achieving 120, mixed with up to 640, rangers have pretty great defense. However, like previously stated, maneuvers can pretty quickly chew up an open archer- SMR2s because of the lack of TPs necessary to 2x PF and maneuvers due to the same reasons in terms of Combat Maneuvers’ cost. [Kedsie, 61]

I wish Rangers were even better at maneuver defense than they are. I feel for a class known to be agile, dextrous, and very attuned to their surroundings I feel they should be even more skilled than they are at reflexively responding to creature and environmental maneuvers that come at them. [Aeith, 72]

DS is pretty well covered especially with help from friends. TD just doesn’t seem to be covered very well with spells and maneuver seems to be a total crap shoot no matter how you train. [Shern, 91]

I feel like I suffer maneuver-based critical hits more often than I should (specifically, spike thorns and other attacks from treekin druids). I feel that as a ranger who is attuned with nature and familiar with those forms of attack, that maybe I should be a little more resistant to them. But, I suppose that would necessarily mean my own such attacks wouldn’t be as effective against treekin druids, so I’m satisfied with just telling myself “every class has to have some weaknesses” and accepting this as one of mine! Also, I can’t really answer the question in the context of rating these components on a comparative basis to other classes since I don’t play other classes. [Name Withheld, 92]

Positives

We don’t excel in any one category, but we’re pretty good in all areas so our overall defense is good. [Nroth, 34]

I only have DS problems when I am stunned, webbed, or incapacitated. Rangers have no innate mechanism of escape st this time. Probably would be an awesome 650 ability. [Amerek, 100]

Ranger’s physical DS is at a good spot. With access to Wall of Force and all of the other defensive spells we have, I have no problem there. Because I chose to use a ranged weapon, my bolt / ranged DS aren’t as high as a shield user, which is sad for me, but understandable. Likewise, my ranger is weak to elemental based warding attacks. Even though I wish it could be higher, having some sort of vulnerability is perfectly understandable in this game. [Anarquendi Aldudil, 100]

Satisfaction with Non-Combat Utility Abilities

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Table: Ranger Satisfaction with Non-Combat Utility Abilities, by level
Utility (e.g. non-combat effectiveness such as foraging, defensive spells, imbuing, etc.)] Build diversity Self-sufficiency Flavor (e.g. messaging of spells or combat abilities) Solo hunting fun factor Group hunting fun factor Roleplaying fun factor Ability to make silvers
All Levels Totals Very satisfying 44 22 36 27 44 18 43 17
Somewhere in between 13 26 21 27 12 25 10 22
Very unsatisfying 3 9 3 3 4 10 3 13
Unknown/not applicable 0 3 0 3 0 7 4 8
0-49 Totals Very satisfying 12 5 11 8 13 5 14 7
Somewhere in between 6 10 6 9 4 8 3 5
Very unsatisfying 1 2 2 1 2 3 0 2
Unknown/not applicable 0 2 0 1 0 3 2 5
50-99 Totals Very satisfying 14 9 10 9 13 8 12 6
Somewhere in between 2 4 6 7 3 5 3 8
Very unsatisfying 1 3 1 0 1 2 1 2
Unknown/not applicable 0 1 0 1 0 2 1 1
Level 100 Very satisfying 17 7 14 9 17 5 16 4
Somewhere in between 5 12 9 11 5 11 4 8
Very unsatisfying 1 4 0 2 1 5 2 9
Unknown/not applicable 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 2
Utility

I LOVE the utility factor that rangers have. It’s honestly one of my favorite things about the class (in addition to animal companions). I absolutely love being good at foraging and skinning, it’s something I feel is very rangerly and I enjoy it greatly. My favorite adventurer’s guild tasks are the foraging and skinning ones. I also love having a greater ability to survive in the cold or weather (like in Icemule), that also feels very strongly class-specific. I wish imbuing could be reworked though, as it is now it’s just not something I’ve ever done or had interest in and I don’t see many others doing it either. I like the general concept of having a skill meant to synergize with another class, but as it is now it’s a setup step for someone else to actually do the real work with, and it feels sort of empty and useless. Maybe this is just me, but Imbue (614) is one of the only parts of the ranger spell circle I wish could be redone. [Aeith, 72]

The first section (Utility) in the survey is a mixed bag, because I love the skinning/foraging features (which admittedly is available to most classes, but rangers have spells that help here) and those like it, but the main upper end of the utility spectrum (imbue and resistance) really needs some work I think. I think it could be a great feature but I rarely hear about anyone doing a lot of imbuing (I only use it as a novelty myself), and I only see rangers at the tip-top of the spectrum doing any sort of resistance. I think this could be re-worked into something great that doesn’t necessarily require training that invalidates your chosen archetype. Granted, it could be that Erek is only 75 and it’s not intended to be used by leveling characters, but I think there could be something done here to make it fun and interesting at all levels. [Erek, 75]

Mages can permanently enchant armor, sorcerors can permanently ensorcel armor but Rangers can only temporarily enhance armor. And to be able to do it well, you have to give up your ability to hunt well! [Silverthorne, 100]

Flavor

The only gripe I have is with some of the flavor. Our CHANT verb is silly. [Kedsie, 61]

Right now, all if the titles really pigeonhole rangers as treehugger. I see my rangers ability to control nature a function of his ability to manipulate the natural order of things. An important component of nature is entropy and chaos. Rangers are not masters of nature in Gemstone, they are treated as mere conjurers of plants and animals. [Amerek, 100]

Make Silver

Many comments focused on the low ability of rangers to make silvers.

Resist Nature is the only ability rangers share with adventurers, and therefore the only ability that can pull in large amounts of silver from the playerbase. It is not sought after, nor is it powerful enough to be in the future. [Dhairn, 16]

Foraging, imbuing, and skinning can make silvers, but nowhere NEAR what enchanters/ensorcell can make. Likewise, resistance is very arduous comparably, and is in much less demand. The literal BEST part of my ranger is roleplaying him. [Goldtree, 76]

I have no problem putting in time to farm skins and herbs but it just doesn’t seem to pay much. [Name Withheld, 96]

No great way to make silvers. Yes we have 620 but in it’s current state barely any want it [Puptilian, 100]

Other

They have a decent ability to assist others with spells but not as much as others. They are fun to RP with any number of ways to present themselves but then this is more about the player not the class. As a jack of all trades they do not excel in anything that I can tell. Overall very disappointing which is why I switched to a new class. [Olojor, 22]

Rangers’ Society Choices

Table: Rangers' Society Choices, by level
Voln Council of Light Guardians of Sunfist
Total 21 18 21
Levels 0-49 8 3 8
Levels 50-99 4 8 5
Level 100 9 6 8
Voln
Table: Influences on Ranger's Society Choice: Voln
Voln
Strong consideration Some consideration Little consideration No consideration
Defensive Power 2 5 6 6
Mana Recovery 1 3 9 6
Offensive Power 2 5 8 4
Roleplay 11 3 0 6
Suggestions/advice from other players 1 2 6 10
Time/difficulty to master 0 1 7 11
Utility 11 3 3 2
Warcamp access 0 1 2 16

My choice to be in voln is to fill a huge mechanical oversight in the archer ranger vs. undead department.

Upside: Voln allows ease of hunting undead with brawling. To take that away puts archers at the mercy of blessed arrows versus (commonly) uncrittable monsters. If it weren’t for this, I wouldn’t be in Voln.

Downsides/opportunity cost: By being in voln, I miss out on some great mechanical advantages for the use of leftover stamina in GoS, as well as immediate hunting grounds in warcamps. [Dhairn, 16]

As a melee user, joining Voln was all about gaining the ability to hit undead with self-blesses. I also like the role-play aspects of the society. And in general I like how the favor system works (except for the fact that now I’m 72 and there is a large level gap without undead to hunt, which is frustrating as I NEED undead to hunt to power my abilities! But… I should probably save this for a different survey)

Upside: Blesses, roleplaying, a fun progression through the society ranks, and being a little extra powerful against undead

Downsides/opportunity cost: I mentioned this in my answer above, but when your powers are fueled by constantly needing to kill undead, having a very large level gap in the game with no like-level undead to kill is absurd and deeply frustrating. Right now if I want to keep using my abilities I either have to pay for Reim (which while I enjoy Reim for fun, it feels uncomfortable having something I need to do for my society behind a cash paywall for a dozen levels), or I have to go to a lower-level hunting ground and boringly hunt creatures so far under my level I neither get experience or a challenge, just so I can farm some favor. It’s really not fun, and it’s the first time I feel there has been a major downside to choosing Voln. [Aeith, 72]

Upsides: Great utility for mobility to some hunting areas that might otherwise be a pain to get to. I am talking about the Voln seeking ability as well as being able to use portals within the monastery for access to certain hunting areas.

Downsides/opportunity cost: For Voln, you’re tied mainly to hunting undead in order to continue to use the symbols/features. This can be problematic if there is an area you’d like to hunt/explore and that area is void of undead. [Erek, 75]

 

Symbol of Recall is 99% of the reason my ranger went Voln. +13 CS against the Sanctum’s lurks and monstrosities is nice too, but not a driving factor.

Upsides: I don’t think Voln is especially synergistic with rangers in any way, but Recall is convenient.

Downsides/opportunity cost: Not having Sigil of Determination can be unfortunate at times, I guess, but I don’t find it a huge downside or anything. Voln’s low mana recovery compared to the others also doesn’t strike me as being all that bad on a ranger since I like keeping stamina for mstrikes and wouldn’t want to sacrifice spirit on this of all professions. [Leafiara, 100]

Council of Light
Table: Influence on Ranger's Society Choice: Council of Light
Council of Light
Strong consideration Some consideration Little consideration No consideration
Defensive Power 12 4 1 1
Mana Recovery 10 3 2 3
Offensive Power 12 4 2 0
Roleplay 4 0 5 9
Suggestions/advice from other players 1 3 3 10
Time/difficulty to master 5 5 4 4
Utility 8 4 5 1
Warcamp access 0 0 2 15

I knew I’d want society powers for mana to spellup and I wanted to see how feasible HC CoL was.

Upsides: It does exactly what it says on the tin. I can get hunt ready in 10 minutes rather than 20.

Downsides/opportunity cost: No way to hunt undead which are a high proportion of the potential targets at my level. [Name Withheld, 24] 

Upsides: Ease in use, not having to hunt to earn favor. Spirit regens far faster than having to hunt undead for favor. Not to mention hunting with a bow vs. undead is more of a headache than a pleasure. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

Upsides: I depend heavily on the ability to fully replenish my mana twice during a hunt. The benefit of being able to fully heal is also huge for me from time to time. The ability to transport to safety was also very helpful to me in the earlier levels before I learned 130.

Downsides/opportunity cost: The ability to spend more than the available amount of spirit (“spirit death”) and not paying close enough attention to my spirit level have been the only negative consequence of my society choice. There are few things more frustrating in the game than an unnecessary spirit death when you have a full head of exp. I really wish that could be prevented via game mechanics, but for game balance purposes, I understand it. [Name Withheld, 92]

To effectively hunt as a weed mage, you need to be able to wrack.

Upsides: Wracking. I hunt with mana, this gives me enough to finish a hunt and tasks.

Downsides/opportunity cost: Voln is a commitment to hunting undead, Sunfist is a commitment to hunting warcamps… CoL is not much of a commitment to anything. I kind of like this honestly but the only real benefit I get out of CoL is wracking…but that is a huge benefit. [Silverthorne, 100] 

Guardians of Sunfist
Table: Influence on Ranger's Society Choice: Guardians of Sunfist
Guardians of Sunfist
Strong consideration Some consideration Little consideration No consideration
Defensive Power 6 7 5 3
Mana Recovery 5 7 5 4
Offensive Power 7 7 5 2
Roleplay 11 3 3 4
Suggestions/advice from other players 3 5 5 7
Time/difficulty to master 4 4 5 8
Utility 8 9 1 3
Warcamp access 7 4 4 6

Upsides: Sunfist in my opinion is the best society. However, the time and effort to cap it compared to the other societies are the only reason I’ll hesitate in using it.

Downsides/opportunity cost: I feel obligated to finish it early, since the warcamps get so difficult after level 20. The level of difficulty makes me avoid it on all my characters, even though it’s my preferred society. [DrZaius, 25]

CMs and Shield Specs chew up an open archer, so I definitely avoid warcamps unless I have a good group with me. By the 30s or so, Grimswarm are using them pretty consistently, and in a pack they can literally rip apart an open archer in a couple of rounds.

Upsides: The utility sigils like Resolve to boost further already strong skills (like for skinning), Determination for when you do get a rank 2 head/eye/arm wound.

Downsides/opportunity costs: I haven’t tested in some time, but I would really like to get more use out of Distraction and Intimidation. IIRC, these are INF based, and unfortunately INF is a tankstat. I may correct that when I earn a fixstat, but given the other crowd controls a ranger has, it’s not top priority, just fun flavor. [Kedsie, 61]

As I mentioned before, Sunfist is mechanically de facto for a Ranger because if sigil of escape. Without a stun breaker just sitting there for 10 rounds and hoping you don’t get whittled to death is foolish.

 I would prefer to be in Voln for my character tbh. [Ascelon, 91]

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.