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.

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.

Satisfaction with Completing Adventurer’s Guild Bounties

I don’t like having to get down on my knees without a weapon or shield in full offensive in the middle of a hunting ground. It’s a invitation to death. So I hate foraging and heirloom searches. [Sreka, 16]

I always rejoice when I get a foraging or skinning bounty. That is the stuff rangers are so good at! And it feels great to be so good at them! For combat tasks I feel rangers are at a healthy average. The only task I don’t like to do out in the wild is gem tasks because if you are actually trying to collect them off creatures it is so random and unpredictable and takes so much time to accumulate it’s almost never worth it. Which is why for gem bounties I just buy off of player shops or stockpile over time myself. It’s my least-favorite bounty, because of how tedious and unpredictable it is to do in the wild, and how boringly easy it is to do with buying from player shops. [Aeith, 72]

I never do escort bounties. My ward usually gets murdered from hiding two rooms away from the gates. The rest I feel rangers are suited for very well. [Kreigh, 100]

Mentions Bandits

Bandit amushes and traps are very difficult to overcome for a class that is unable to double in CM until later in their career. MOC is also too expensive, and therefore taking down multiples at one time becomes a battle of attrition. [Dhairn, 16]

The bandits are the bane to my ranger. The traps alone can disable my ranger to the point of frustration. How can my ranger, at level 30, protect an escort? I keep failing if I do it solo. I need a group. [Pukk, 35]

most things that require hunting can be difficult as the AG already tries to emplace me dangerous areas, the foraging tasks are a bit easier, and bandits/escorts are pretty much slaughter [Direthorn, 58]

I refuse escort, rescue, and bandit tasks… they’re no fun [Diria, 58]

Rangers are solid at literally all the AG tasks. While bandits do tend to chew me up with CMs a bit, that’s to be expected. [Kedsie, 61]

Any task involving Ambushes from bandits are detrimental in the extreme, and I have since stopped doing them. As a Ranger, a perception-based profession, and one that SHOULD be skilled in trap-making, I spend far too much time caught in traps or stunned by the ambushes I should be able to sense as a profession that supposedly makes it entire living outside and trapping animals. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

Bandits are a challenge for anyone, but the fact that rangers’ only AoE attack is not player friendly poses a big problem. It would nice to have a player friendly version of 635 that hits fewer targets. [Maodan, 86]

some of the bounties put you at a disadvantage and others take way more time than the reward is worth. ie getting your throat cut 5 times in 1 bounty (which goes back to CM being to random) or an escort from EN to Icemule. heirloom search where you have to put weapons away and be on your knees in a hunting area is just insane, risk no way worth the reward. [Shern, 91]

I think rangers are especially good at bounties in general. I’m unhappy with escorts just because I hate them; it’s not because I think rangers specifically have a hard time with them.

Regarding bandits, I have a love-hate relationship with them. It’s hard to be satisfied with them because they’re all massive jerks, but I do think rangers have abilities that make bandit hunting easier. 609 and 619 are both especially helpful. 635 is incredibly satisfying to use on bandits, but I’ll confess that I’ve murdered other players on accident due to what I honestly thought at the time was careful use. I think it would be wise to modify 635 such that we can EVOKE it or something to cast a player-friendly version of the spell. [Lanzerik, 100]

A ranger can be great at any of these if they want to. 619 is a help not every class has either for escorts and rescues. I personally hate bounties, but I’ve done my share to have 3 +10 bonuses on my badge and know how efficient a ranger can be with them. We’re built to be good vs bandits even (perception/survival?high DS in off), something many pures lack till very post-cap. [Arshwikk Aralock Ardenai, 100]

Bandit ambush and traps need to have more defense against. 202 ranks of perception, survival, etc, and I still always get pushed down to offensive DS, and rarely avoid the traps walking into a room. The weight is too much on the bandit side and little you can do about it. [Name Withheld]

Hunting Group Size

I don’t know anyone who isn’t capped or near-capped. And I am a slow typist. No matter how fast I type, people are always five or six sentences ahead when I am done. People get impatient. So I shut up and mostly don’t talk, except at Quilic Standard Time (and occasionally on Lnet). I hunt alone because for 99% of the game, I am alone. [Sreka, 16]

I’m quite happy to hunt in groups. I have a variety of things to contribute. Ranger skills/abilities don’t play a factor in my decision to mostly hunt solo. [Nyqa, 17]

hiding and sniping is harder in a group but sometimes at my level it is hard to find a hunting partner to compliment my ranger’s play style. [Pukk, 35]

When the others are not around I usually hunt solo. I started solo hunting until I made some friends along the way and now we hunt together just about every time we are all in. [Morofinwe, 35]

Very introverted, and friends who used to play have left the realms. [T. Aelo’tyn, 35]

I have one or two primary hunting partners. Occasionally we group up into 3-4 person groups. This is my group of friends/RP choice and not a mechanical consideration. [Seomanthe, 39]

I prefer hunting solo, lets me do what I want when I want [Diria, 58]

I only have one character, I don’t play with alts. And I enjoy hunting on my own for the most part, I don’t have to worry about anyone else (other than my animal companion!). Every so often I hunt in groups with friends I have made in the game and that is fun too, I have nothing against it, I just have a little bit of a loner tendency when I hunt in gemstone. Events with big groups are great (although usually in those I’m surrounded by capped players so I’m just turtled and hoping to survive). With the player population as it is it can be hard sometimes to find people to hunt with in the same level range. I have friends who are +/- 10 levels apart from me that it just doesn’t make sense to hunt with. But this is all mostly just personal preference, I’m fine hunting any which way. Although if I wasn’t able to hunt solo in a class I wouldn’t have reason to play that class and I’d think that class was fundamentally broken. [Aeith, 72]

 I hunt solo due to most people I know are way above or below my level [Rasson, 78]

all the people i used to play with are gone. And the people i knew are well ahead of me. with all the power hunters in game no one stays at your lvl for to long. in a week or so they sprint by you or fall behind. My time is also to random to be fair to anyone wanting to hunt with me. [Shern, 91]

Friend group mostly, Rangers have decent utility for groups but nothing like a wizard. [Ascelon, 91]

I most often play while I’m at work, and as a result I often have to leave the game abruptly. Because of this, I rarely hunt in groups. Nobody wants to be abandoned in the middle of a fight! [Brandilor, 92]

I’m Plat, so that tempers the base. Unless I’m doing bandits, I don’t need to be with others. And it can get wonky with 635 and hiding. [Rouste, 100]

Group hiding mechanics are atrocious. The group leader cant hide or he stops leading the group? [Amerek, 100]

Most of the time I hunt solo – it’s what I’m most comfortable with and used to. Over the years this had varied – sometimes I spent more time hunting in small groups – usually this was more a factor of [Name Withheld’s] social life than a hunting preference. She’s never been one to rely on others in order to hunt/survive. I’ve also found that when solo, I can take my time and deal with the round time from TWC. When in groups, I rely more on magic because she needs to be faster in order to get a shot in. [Name Withheld]

As stated in part one, Rangers aren’t great group hunters. They’re precision hunters, meant to go one on one, but can handle crowds in a pinch. The problem is the spell that deals with crowd control the most instead of single targets kills everyone not grouped. I’d like to see that change a bit. Not tweaked in weakening the spell, but tweaking it so it doesn’t schwack everyone. [Kreigh, 100]

I would say that 95+% of my hunting is done in a group of just one other player: my wife, who plays various classes. The rest of my hunting is done solo. While I do enjoy interacting with and/or roleplaying with other people in various situations, I have almost zero interest in hunting of any kind with other players in Elanthia because I find it to be stressful and the complete opposite of fun. That’s just me; I’m an introvert and game mechanics have nothing to do with it. Invasions? No way, not a chance. I temporarily move to other towns or just don’t log in while they’re happening.[Lanzerik, 100]

I generally end up hunting solo, as I feel my combat effectiveness slows down the group as a whole, and I don’t want to be dead weight. At least when I’m solo, I can just go at my own pace, and deal with the disadvantages of the class without inflicting them upon other people. This is especially true in situations such as the Duskruin Arena. [Name Withheld, 100]

Buffs 

I definitely enjoy the challenge level of hunting self-spelled, most of the time. I also hate sitting in a scrolly room waiting for mass spells to be cast on me. [Nyqa, 17]

I always try to self-spell but there are times when I have to get outside buffs as well. Depends on the situation and the availability. Even with those spells it is still difficult for me. [Pukk, 35]

sometimes it can be difficult to receive outside spells, I do ask, but am always at the mercy of others, Darkstone castle also likes to dispel randomly which is problematic…I don’t do dreavens not by choice, but I just have a serious tendancy to miss them [Direthorn, 58]

I enjoy progressing in gemstone and dying is never fun. I will always have my own self-spells up, but I find hunting with only self-spells is too dangerous most of the time. If I can hunt with self-spells + massies (mass blur and elemental defense III) then that is usually good enough for me to go out and hunt. And when there is a Dreavening I feel more confident hunting and uphunting. Challenge can be rewarding, but my goal of hunting is to get exp so I can go back to town and role-play and progress towards my next level and continue the grind towards cap. [Aeith, 72]

When I have outside spells, I am more likely to hunt in places that are more challenging or at my level. Should I find that I am self-spelled [more often than I’d like], I tend to hunt less or in areas I am familiar with. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

New hunting grounds are clearly designed to be hunted by only people with top gear and outside spells. Not self sufficient players. [Ascelon, 91]

I have enough friends that I can get outside help. But self spelled is all I really need. [Silverthorne, 100]

High level hunting area swarms make hunting only self spelled very challenging. Death in those areas can be very tedious. [Valdarrow, 100]

While we do attend Dreavenings for convenience, my wife and I have put in the effort to have pocket buffers on both accounts capable of keeping each other fully spelled up and entirely self-sufficient. I don’t consider it to be necessary for hunting, but I do consider it to be a whole lot more fun. If you can win more easily without much of a problem, why not do it? [Lanzerik, 100]

I can hunt self-spelled. I think anyone can. I will say for certain that most pure classes are much better at it per exp. For example, my mages, sorcs, clerics, don’t need any other spells. I like to hunt with a wizard buff on the ranger. Not for DS, but mainly the elemental TD and wizard strength for RT. Pures don’t generally have to worry about rt or TD, as I said, per the same exp level. I mentioned before that one thing about rangers is they are a melee class that really is best served operating in light armor, which has a bad cva. Unfortunately, this was grossly overlooked when helping other classes. The truth of all this is that even squares can eventually have the same number of spells as a ranger in the end, but a ranger will never be able to make up for some the lack of skill ranks, cmans, and other things that only squares have. It’s a flaw in long-term thinking, ascension aside, that lowers the ceiling of rangers post-cap. [Arshwikk Aralock Ardenai, 100]

While I agree Gemstone is a social game, I do not believe that reliance on others for hunting when you’re usually separated by multiple levels is intended. [Dhairn, 16]

There are times and places when hunting self-spelled only isn’t possible or fun — especially being in Sunfist — and I appreciate having the option to get outside help. [Nyqa, 17]

While I agree that this is a community, and that I can always ask for help, the reciprocation of that is left to the good will of others, I can usually get a few useful spells to help out, but nothing I would say as something I can rely on, nor should I necessarily need to rely on. [Direthorn, 58]

Grinding out XP via hunting is a timesink and a bit of a chore- if I can make it easier while keeping it fun, I will use outside spells. With limited time to play, I don’t want to spend most of it running back to town for healing or waiting on a rescue. [Kedsie, 61]

I like the social aspect of helping each other with spells. Since I hunt mostly grouped, we make sure each other has the right level of sparkly things. [Erek, 75]

The most important outside spell for me is 509, to keep my ranged RT at minimum. The rest are just nice to have. [Maodan, 86]

1 of the choices for hunting self buffed was GM’s intended it to be possible. I find this to be untrue. As the game has become more complex a lot of the time the new abilities don’t take the old into account, which tends to make creatures stronger then maybe was intended. ie bandits cutting your throat every time. [Shern, 91]

Outside spells help me with ranged RT. [Rouste, 100]

The game would be more fun if I could actually hunt self spelled. The only reason I have a wizard alt is for 509, otherwise my ranged RT would be 7 seconds with hiding. Gross. [Amerek, 100]

A lot of my “need” for outside spells for my ranger just goes back to how low their AS is for semis. What I actually “need” is a heavy-hitting weapon (or two weapons) to compensate for the low AS, which in turn means I need DS from outside spells. Had I gone with a shield, my ranger would essentially be invincible DS-wise and significantly slower at killing, which would be intense boredom to me. [Leafiara, 100]

I play for fun, and the part of hunting that’s fun for me is killing things in effective and cool ways. If I’m struggling to kill something, I’m not having fun. If I need other people to actively help me kill something, that means that I’m struggling and therefore not having fun. If I can find a way to get myself even more spelled up, I’m going to do it, because that means I’ll be able to kill things better and therefore have more fun. [Lanzerik, 100]

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.