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Introduction to the Ranger

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Ranger tries to be the one with nature by taming powerful animals, controlling them,  and summoning powerful nature spirits to aid your group, Rangers are masters at delivering deadly ranged or crippling melee attacks while luring enemies into their traps.

You’ll have quite a few ranged weapons at your disposal, including power-based Longbow and condition-focused Shortbow, you can even hurl Axes or create a powerful whirling attack with them.

For close-range combat, you’ll have Greatsword, Sword, Dagger off-hand, and Torch at your disposal, all that topped with powerful Warhorn calls.

Interestingly, each of your off-hand skills has one ranged and one melee skill, offering more choices when selecting your weapons depending on your play style.

If you don’t know anything about Guild Wars 2 profession, and you maybe are looking for a short comparison, check out our introductory guides:

Profession mechanics

Ranger has one mechanic, and it’s tightly bound to the profession theme – pets. While creating your first character, you’ll be able to select your first companion, and later in the game, you will be able to get over 50 more.

Your pet is controlled with F1-4 keys by default:

  1. sends your pet to attack an enemy, if the pet is set to Guard , it will automatically attack the enemy you are attacking
  2. F2 skill will change depending on your active pet, this skill can be set to auto-cast with the ctrl+right mouse button click
  3. recalls your pet to you, if the pet is set to Guard  it will start attacking your target again when you attack
  4. swaps between your active pets

You can additionally hide your pet with the “Stow Pet” button (), this will disable all pet abilities and hide your pet, with the same button, or when entering the combat, your pet will be recalled.

Setting pet mode to Avoid Combat prevents your pet from automatically engage the enemy you are attacking, but you can still manually send it to attack with F1 .

You can open your Pet Management panel by clicking Pet portrait, it has options to select two ground pets and two underwater pets.

You can preview all your pet attributes and skills here (the first skill is the one you have control over) and check what skills Soulbeast profession will get with selected pet.

You can even rename each of your companions here (the name is bound to specific pet, not the pet slot).

All friendly (green) animals with the “Juveline” prefix to their name can be tamed by simply interacting with them (with “F” by default).

Some of them are hard to find, some are located at the end of jumping puzzles, in story instances, or appear only after a specific event is finished.

Check the wiki for a full list of pet locations.

Few pets are even locked behind completion of Hall of Monuments in the original Guild Wars game, those are:

If you have a GW1 account with some progress done towards the “God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals” achievement, make sure to link it to your ArenaNet account.

Skills

Signets

Signets are only utility skills, without a healing skill or elite. They have a passive and an active aspect to them. Using the active component will disable the passive effect for the duration of the cooldown.

In multiple PvE builds, the most popular is Signet of the Wild for its passive effect. In competitive modes Signet of the Hunt and Signet of Stone are often picked for active effects, while Signet of the Hunt will also help in navigating the PvP maps, that movement speed increase is also a good reason to pick it in Open World if you don’t have access to mounts.

Traps

Carefully prepare a trap, and lure your opponent into them… well, not exactly, Traps are simple AoE (Area of Effect) skills placed under the caster’s feet. The only difference is, that they won’t trigger until the enemy (or ally in one case) will step into the area.

Each of the traps also places a Combo Field of a different type, which is activated when the trap is triggered.

 

Healing Spring is an extremely powerful AoE heal and condition cleanse used in all game modes. It functions best in a controlled environment, where you can ensure you or your team members don’t move out of it, it’s the only trap that triggers when an ally (with less than 100% health) enters its area.

Other traps are utility slot skills (no elite in this case), and they are offensive tools, mostly offering condition damage, the only exception to that is Frost Trap that’s a good addition to power damage builds. Additionally, Spike Trap does .

Due to their stationary nature, traps aren’t too effective in competitive game modes, there are some builds that use them, but they get the most value in PvE.

Survival

This type of skills offers a wide variety of utilities focusing on surviving in form of evades, stun-breaks, or more offensively keeping enemies at the distance.

Troll Unguent is your strongest heal skill with a relatively short cast, making it an amazing option for competitive games.

For PvE condition damage builds, instant-cast Sharpening Stone is a must-have, and Entangle is one of the best skills for in all game modes, including some bosses in PvE and better control of your opponent in PvP.

Both in this category also have strong effects, making them a great addition to competitive builds, but as Lightning Reflexes offers more for PvP, Quickening Zephyr is also often used in PvE, mainly in solo Open World content.

Spirits

A very unique skill type is Ranger’s Spirits, once summoned, they will provide constant boons to allies in the range of their position, they can also be repositioned with their active skills, which also offer healing, damage, crowd control, conditions, or even reviewing players.

   

Due to spirits being stationary and easy to kill, they are not effective in competitive play, and are only used in instanced PvE content, even in the Open Word pace of the fights makes them suboptimal.

Most spirits are used by support players for boons they offer, as their active skills are not very strong, with the exception of elite Spirit of Nature, which has incredibly strong AoE revive potential.

Command

Commands have everything to do with your pet, be that some shared boost, or simple damage increase for your pet

   

Starting with the elite, "Strength of the Pack!" is a great boon providing utility, but due to the abundance of boon sources in any group content, it’s only good for solo Open World.

For PvP players, "Protect Me!" is often the first skill they’ll pick due to , , and being a on top of that.

"Sic 'Em!" may seem to be a simple pet damage increase, and maybe doesn’t have much potential in theory, but when combined with Beastmastery and good boons, your pet will hit hard, it’s also the most popular skill taken by power-based Soulbeasts.

Speaking of boons on your pet, "We Heal As One!" is a very good heal skill on a short cooldown, that’ll also copy over boons from you to your pet and vice versa. In PvE that is often used offensively.

Specializations

Marksmanship

Don’t let the name fool you, Marksmanship is not exclusively bound to using bows or to ranged play. While it can boost your Longbow, it also offers Signets reduced recharge and multiple universal damage-enhancing traits.

In PvP, you might want to focus on instant damage increases like Clarion Bond, Moment of Clarity and Remorseless creating a very popular 332 build for this trait line.

For Open World, where you kill everything fast and can control your environment better, 223 traits (Hunter's Gaze, Farsighted, Lead the Wind) offer an amazing boost in damage, and boons like and .

Skirmishing

Skirmishing plays around dodging, movement and positioning while also boosting critical hit chance, condition damage, and enhancing or synergizing with Shortbow skills and Traps, which makes this trait line very versatile.

Hunter's Tactics and Vicious Quarry can increase your critical hit chance by 25% while under the effect of and when flanking the enemy, which on its own is a great combo to pick for PvE, especially in Open World if you are able to handle your pet’s positioning.

In the end-game, PvE, Sharpened Edges and Hidden Barbs are great traits, complemented often with Light on your Feet create a popular 132 trait pick for condition builds, and for power builds 133 with Vicious Quarry is a good choice.

If you are using any traps, Trapper's Expertise is a must-have if you are running Skirmishing, and for interesting interaction between strong skills and Weapon Swapping check out Quick Draw.

Wilderness Survival

This specialization is focusing on surviving, sharing damage with your pet, or letting it take crowd control effects for you, you can improve your Survival skills here, apply some defensive buffs, gain Vitality, and increase your condition damage.

For PvE condition builds, 313 selection with Taste for Danger, Ambidexterity, and Poison Master will be a great selection, while in competitive game modes one can’t oversee the value of Wilderness Knowledge which will improve your Survival skills, the backbone of most PvP builds.

Nature Magic

This trait line is your “support” specialization, it’ll increase your concentration and improve your Spirits and Warhorn.

The most popular use of Nature Magic is in healing builds with Druid elite specialization with 221 traits consisting of Wellspring, Spirited Arrival, and most importantly Nature's Vengeance, which will massively enhance your Spirits with more health, higher defense, bigger radius and additional application on top of boons.

Beastmastery

The specialization focuses on improving Axes, Greatsword, Command skills, and your pet attacks and attributes, which synergizes particularly well with Soulbeast elite specialization.

Resounding Timbre, Two-Handed Training, and Zephyr's Speed (322) create very good synergy in PvP builds in combination with Soulbeast.

In instanced PvE content, you’ll be focusing more on enhancing Axes with 333 traits with Resounding Timbre, Natural Healing, and Honed Axes, with Potent Ally being a very good alternative for Open World and solo play, creating 233 selection.

Gameplay Tips

Ranger is a pretty straightforward profession, in Open World your pet is your companion and friend, but also can be an extremely useful tool.

Try to select the proper Pet for the situation you are in, for example Jungle Stalker[s] is amazing for early-level combat because of it provides, and Red Moa[s] is great for and it provides, but Wolf[s] might be more useful in the clutch with its CC (Crowd Control) and on demand.

Or maybe you want to keep your enemies at range, Jungle Spider[s] can help you with all the it has. And if you really need healing, visit Maguuma Jungle and tame Fern Hound[s] for heal and .

Options are endless, and it all depends on the situation and your own preference.


If you are ready to start playing this profession we recommend a starter build that was created to help with the traditional leveling experience of the core profession.

If you are looking for more builds for all game modes, make sure to check your build guides.

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