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EQLizer Ranger Guide
Rangers are the guardians of the woodlands. They are 3/4 Warrior and 1/4 Druid which is quite a powerful mix indeed. Rangers can wear most types of armor (though they can not wear platemail) as well as being able to wield most weapons. They gain all of the meelee abilities of a warrior with the exception of bash. They also can cast some quite useful druid spells. They have the best direct damage spells of the hybrid classes. Paladins specialize in damaging undead, shadowknights specialize in damage over time where rangers are the master of the outdoors.
Rangers are a great class for beginning players. They get their meelee skills earlier than other hyrbids. Where paladins and shadowknights will have to wait for their secondary attack(bash) until level 12, rangers gain theirs(kick) at level 5. Paladins and shadowknights do not get dodge until level 10 where rangers gain it at level 8. While all hybrids gain double attack at level 20 only rangers get the ability to dual wield and they get it at level 17.
Each hybrid gains a special skill. Paladins can lay hands once per day and shadowknights can harm touch once per day. These abilities are special abilities that only those two classes have. Rangers share their special skill(tracking) with druids and bards but they gain it at level 1 in comparison to level 20 and 35 respectively. They also are the masters of this skill and have the largest range on it. This skill can be incredibly useful in outdoor zones. There are certain monsters in your level range and you might wander around for 5-10 minutes looking for a skunk for example as it is a level 2 monster. With tracking you can simply track it down and move on to the next one. At higher levels this skill becomes even more important as you will be searching for those rare NPC's in outdoor zones and you might want to know whether or not a monster has spawned in a dungeon. If you enter a monsters lair and they haven't spawned you might voilate the anti camp code preventing it from spawning, but not if a ranger is in the group.
This makes rangers a great hybrid for players who do not have the experience or patience to wait 22 levels for their class to peak. By the time you reach level 17 you will still be able to match a warrior pretty well (though they will already have double attack). At the same time you will have spells which will increase your armor class, hit points, act as a damage shield, heal you, protect you from fire, do direct damage, use as area effect spells, increase your agility, cure poisons, root monsters in place and render you invisible. It is probably safe to say that rangers peak earlier than any other hybrid class.
The flip side of this coin is that you might not be as strong as other hybrid classes at later levels. Your spells will still be able to more than hold their own and your melee will do that and more. However it is common knowledge that the paladins and shadowknights have some of the best class specific(if not the very best) class specific weapons in the game. Ranger specific weapons are powerful in their own right(and one handed which allows you to duel wield them) but will have to take a backseat to the holy swords. More importantly perhaps is that the lack of platemail armor will rear it's ugly head at higher levels when magical platemail begins to come within your reach. These are factors that you will have to strongly consider in creating this class however I wanted to take a paragraph to point out why these are not as large a factor as many would lead you to believe.
Weapon wise you are the only hyrbid that can duel wield. Where shadowknights have powerful two handed swords which will cause some sinister effects from time to time and paladins have one handed swords which will rip undead beings to shreds the rangers will be able to have wield two of their special weapons at once. This doubles the chance of your weapons special effect going off. The ranger weapon currently in the game is also lightning quick which when coupled with double attack and duel wield means you will be able to hit not only hard but often.
Armor wise there is no way around it. Platemail armor is simply going to give better armor class than non-platemail armor. There are many types of magical armor such as lupine which are better than non-magical platemail. However magical platemail cannot be beat due to it's added armor class. One thing that should be mentioned however is the armor class difference between full plate and full chain is not all that much in the greater scheme of things. You can make up for the lack of platemail by having high agility. Agility has a huge affect on armor class and high agility when combined with your personal buffs can raise your armor class well above the average warriors. Without buffs you can be comparable to his if your agility is sufficiently higher.
So what special skills can a ranger look forward to besides the aforementioned?
At level 3 you gain the ability to forage. This skill will allow you to save tons of money that you would otherwise spend on food and drink. It will also allow you to stay out as long as you want or until you become overloaded.
At level 10 you gain the ability to sneak. Sneak is a special skill which allows you to move silently. This can be used as a "poor mans" invisibility and will be somewhat useful until you gain the ability to cast superior camo at level 49.
At level 11 you gain the ability to meditate. Meditate of course is one of the more useful skills in the game as it allows you to regenerate your mana at an accelerated rate. Meditating and then healing will allow you to drastically reduce your downtime when you are solo or in a group without a healer. The combination of meditate and heal really eliminates the need for bind wounds which requires a bandage and only can heal you up to half your health.
Level 18 will grant you the parry skill. Parry like dodge will reduce the amount of hits you take and is a very welcome addition to your arsenal.
At level 25 you will gain the hide skill. This skill is like casting an invisibility spell on yourself with one notable exception. If you move you will no longer be hidden. This is very useful when you are meditating or when used in conjunction with the sneak skill(where you can sneak behind a monster and then hide before the patroller knows your there).
Level 35 sees the last of your special skills disarm and riposte. Riposte will keep you from getting hit and disarm will allow you to knock your opponents weapon from his hands. Disarm is very useful when it works(which isn't very often) because monsters with weapons hit much harder than those without them.
The thing that really set's rangers apart from warriors however is the ability to cast spells. While you will never be as good as a pure caster your spells are good enough to make them useful in many situations and especially if you are solo or in a small group. There are several types of ranger spells and I will attempt to describe the more common lines of spells below:
One of the first line of spells you will receive is the Skin Like Wood -> rock -> steel series of spells. These spells add armor class and hit points. While these spells are not comparable to those of a similarly leveled cleric they are very useful if there is no priest around. The armor class and hit points granted by these spells are similar to the courage->center->daring line of spells that a paladin can cast.
Probably the most useful line of spells when soloing is your heal spells. These begin with Minor Healing at level 9 and end with heal at level 39. While you will not be able to match the healing of a priest or a paladin these spells are still very useful as they reduce downtime and allow you to fill in as the healer in emergency situations.
Root spells are the one thing that warriors are lacking the most. Rangers are able to cast Snare at level 9 and cast Grasping Roots at level 15 which not only roots a monster but also does a bit of damage. The level 49 Ensnaring Roots takes this a step further doing a decent amount of damage as well as rooting your prey. These spells will keep those runners from getting away and are very important if you do not have a pure caster and even if you do.
Ranger direct damage spells begin with Flame Lick and grow from there. Your direct damage spells will never be a powerful offensive weapon and you should not attempt to use them as such. They are however good for finishing off runners, fetching monsters and getting that extra bit of damage to compliment your melee skills. For example your level 15 burst of fire will do 13 damage and takes 15 mana. At level 15 you will probably be able to hit for more than 15 damage with your sword but burst of fire never misses and more importantly it has a much greater range. While these spells are not overly effective the other hybrid classes will envy you because this is an area where they are truly lacking.
The Ward Summoned spell is an underrated ranger spell. When you get this spell at level 22 the damage:mana ratio is still pretty good. This will allow you to have a leg up on elemental beings. The only problem with this spell is there mare not any elements that will give you experience at this level. By the time you are high enough to reach the elemental planes you will have the dismiss summoned spell(level 39). This spell has the best damage:mana ratio of any ranger direct damage spell.
Speaking of damage spells rangers are the only hybrid which can do area effect damage in the form of lightning spells. These spells will allow you to damage multiple targets at once. While your mana:damage ratio will not be high it is still better to have than to have not.
One type of spells that keeps rangers interesting is the sight spells. At level 9 you will be able to cast Glimpse which allows you to zoom in and peek at something in the distance. Much more useful however is the level 22 Bind Sight. This spell allows you to bind your sight to your target and see things through their perspective.
Rangers also can fill in and cast utility spells. You will be able to cure poisons and more importantly increase a players strength and agility scores. Perhaps the most popular utility spell in the game is Spirit of Wolf which will allow you to double your speed in outdoor zones. This can be used not only to escape death but also to reduce travel time. You will be able to cast it at level 30. What spirit of the wolf is to land travel the level 22 enduring breath is to sea. Enduring Breath will allow you to breath underwater. This is not only useful for those underwater expeditions but can also be a life saver if you get rooted while beneath the waves.
At level 15 you will be able to cast Camouflage. This spell will render a player invisible in outdoor zones. This can be useful if you need to get by a powerful monster but as with all invisibility spells it has the habit of wearing off at the wrong times. At level 49 you will be able to cast Superior Camouflage which will render you invisible in indoor zones as well.
One of the most useful ranger lines of spells is the thistle series of spells. These spells are damage shields. There are two different lines which can not be stacked with one another. One line grants you additional armor class as well as doing a small amount of damage to your attackers. This line can only be cast on yourself. The other line does not grant armor class but does much more damage. This line can be cast on others as well. Damage shields may not seem to do a lot of damage per hit but they add up over time and by the end of the battle can constitute for a lot of damage.
At level 30 you can cast Stinging Swarm. This damage over time spell will slowly eat away at your opponent over the period of a couple of minutes. DoT spells such as this one have excellent damage:mana ratios the only problem is that they take time to do their full potential. However many of the monsters you will be fighting at this level are going to take time to kill anyway and these will more than do their fair share of the work.
Rangers get a few other miscellaneous spells such as cancel magic, harmony, calm animal and levitate. These spells each can serve their own purpose and can be very useful in certain scenarios though will mostly stay un-memorized in your spell book.
Think you want to be a ranger but can't decide on which race to be? Well it's not much of a decision as there are only three races in the game which can be rangers, those being humans, half elves and wood elves. Humans will ease the experience penalty and have the highest strength and stamina. Half Elves have the worst ability scores but do offer infravision and the ability to start on the mainland. Wood elves are the best choice ability wise. Wood Elves will start off with the ability to forage and hide as it is their natural abilities. This will ease the failures when you first gain the skills and also allow you to take advantage of these two ranger skills from level 1. Wood elves also have the highest overall skills of the three in the long run. Although humans have an extra 10 strength and stamina wood elves have a 20 point agility advantage, and 5 point advantages in both dexterity and wisdom. My suggestion would be to create a wood elf and put all of your points into strength. This will help your melee skills. Besides the 105 starting agility should make up for the lack of platemail down the road.
As you can see rangers are an interesting mix of the warrior and druids classes. Rangers are one of the most(if not the most) intersting classes in the game. They make an excellent choice for soloing in outdoor zones because of their ability to track, heal and fight. They have the widest assortment of hybrid spells and are also the only hybrid which can duel wield. In exchange for these niceties they suffer the 25% hybrid experience penalty and forfeit the rights to wear platemail armor. You will never be as good of a tank as a warrior or as good of a caster as a druid however you will be a fine mix between the two classes and a welcome addition to most groups.