The third character class in Guild Wars 2 was confirmed as being a Ranger. Touted as... "a keen-eyed master of archery who can harness the power of nature or fight alongside his loyal animal companion"... the Guild Wars 2 ranger has a range of special skill types allowing him to command 12 different types of pets, summon nature spirits, use preparations, lay deadly traps or barrage his foes from long range.
The short video below is from the Guild Wars 2 closed beta, in February 2012. It displays the contents of the hero panel, showing the various weapon skills, slot skills and traits available to rangers in GW2.
While the ranger is primarily a ranged weapons master, utilising two-handed Longbows and Shortbows he is also very effective in melee combat using a two-handed Greatsword or a one-handed Sword or Axe in his main hand, with a Dagger, Warhorn or Torch in his offhand.The Longbow, as the name implies, is a stationary, slow, long ranged weapon, while the shortbow is a very quick skirmishing weapon. While rangers don't have access to different types of arrows, they will have "Preparations", which are utility skills that can cause their arrows to have additional effects.
Here's a bow-wielding female Ranger using the Bow Attack "Spread Shot" and the Torch skill "Bonfire".
Using a sword, the Ranger is very, very mobile. Most of the Ranger's sword attacks move him in some way. His three part combo with the sword is a basic attack, followed by a kick which kicks the opponent away from him, and finally a follow-up leap attack. Another sword skill is called "Hornet Sting", where he attacks the opponent and then rolls back. A third skill is "Serpent Strike", where he rolls around to the back of an opponent and then poisons them with Serpent Strike.
Melee Ranger using "Serpent Strike" with a one-handed sword and a Dagger in her offhand...
In Guild Wars 2 Rangers use axes very effectively as a kind of short range throwing weapon.
An Axe-wielding male ranger uses "Whirling Defence" to dispose of some foolish attackers. Anything that is designated as a blockable projectile can be deflected with Whirling Defense, which is a channeled ability. This includes things such as arrows, bullets, and fireballs.
The Warhorn can be used to call in temporary animals to attack things. One warhorn skill, "Hunter's Call", summons three hawks that fly in and start ripping away at the targeted enemy.
The video below shows the skill "Hunter's Call" in action...
As in the original GW, the Guild Wars 2 ranger charms his pets into joining him as a faithful companion. Old faithfuls such as Moa birds, Spiders, Lizards and Bears are available to charm but there are also some new additions including a Devourer and the first water-based pet, the Shark!A GW2 ranger has two active pet slots and can switch the pets even when in combat, but usually only one pet can be active at any time.In Guild Wars 2 the ranger's pet does not evolve as it did in the original guild wars. Instead the pet is given the same level as the ranger who charmed them. In GW2 you also get to choose between three different pets right from the start with those choices varying according to your race.Pets can be ordered to "heel", "stay" and "attack" which is a great feature to avoid unintentional aggros and pet-induced pulls.
Here's a look at Guild Wars 2 Rangers dishing out some Barrage Pet mayhem!
The ranger's spirit skills summon a nature spirit that affects the area around it. There are two key changes to the way spirits work in Guild Wars 2. Firstly, a ranger can only have one of each type of spirit out at any given time. The exception to this is where a party has multiple rangers, then each can deploy the same spirit at the same time. The second change is that the Ranger now needs to stay in the required radius to keep a spirit active. Whether a spirit affects allies, enemies, or both is based upon the individual spirit in question. For example, "Sun Spirit" only buffs allies. It adds fire damage to allied attacks inside its area of influence.
As in previous campaigns, the Guild Wars 2 Ranger will be able to place traps at their current location. These traps can only be triggered by enemies and will only affect enemies. Spike Trap is back and will cripple and bleed enemies that pass through it.There are two key changes to the way traps work in Guild Wars 2. Firstly, the GW2 ranger can only have one of each trap type out at any given time. The exception to this is where a party has multiple rangers, then each can deploy the same trap or spirit at the same time. The effects of the traps stack depending upon the effect in question. For example, multiple traps that apply bleeding would stack (up to the bleed stack limit), whereas multiple traps that cause blindness (a condition that causes the target's next attack to miss) would not stack.The second change is that the GW2 Ranger needs to stay in the required radius to keep a trap or spirit active. If he moves too far away from the trap it will effectively "disarm".
It's enough to make you "quiver" with excitement... Guild Wars 2 hits another bullseye!