The Ranger's current design does not scale well at all with level and difficulty increase. While it might be fun and very forgiving during the level 1-10 experience as you reach end game all other Javelin's out scale and outperform the ranger. First let us look at how Development defines the classes.
Offense Style: Single-Target
"strong offensive capabilities, respectable defense, and something in its arsenal for every situation"
"Ranger is the jack-of-all-trades your squad needs"
Offense Style: Multi-Target
Playstyle: Heavy-Hitting Tank
"enough artillery to take out a small army, unleash the pure devastation of this hulking war machine"
Offense Style: Area of Effect
Playstyle: Glass Cannon
"dish out damage"
Offense Style: Single-Target
Playstyle: Fast and Precise
"lightning-fast maneuverability to pull off powerful offensive abilities"
Let us discuss our focus: Versatility
What does it mean: The ability to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
Great word, good meaning, but does not translate well to in game performance.
Crowd Control – Frost Grenade mainly single target, small area of effect. Storm Does it better.
Mitigation Degradation – Venom Darts, single target. Interceptor does it better.
Fire Status Effect – Inferno Grenade small AoE. Colossus does it better.
Single Target Damage Build – Interceptor, Storm, and to a lesser extent Colossus all can achieve greater single target damage.
Survivability Build – Colossus, Storm, and soon Interceptor all three better.
AOE Build – Colossus, Storm, and to a lesser extent Interceptor all have better AoE.
What it boils down to is exactly what they say: A Jack-of-All trades, yes the range can cc, yes the ranger can single target dps, yes the ranger can prime, yes the ranger can detonate, yes the ranger has some small and limited AoE,… etc. etc. Jack-of-Most Trades, Master-of-None.
Now let’s take a look at Offensive Style: Single Target
The ranger doesn’t compare to any of the other classes. While yes the Storm and Colossus are AoE based their AoE dmg while performed on a single target exceeds that of the Ranger. Interceptor is King.
Interceptor – Fast and Precise – yup check.
Storm – Glass Cannon – Definitely a cannon, definitely NOT made of glass.
Colossus – Hard Hitting Tank – Check and Check, definitely hard hitting and definitely a tank.
Ranger – Soldier – A fighter, a warrior… what is the developments definition of Soldier. We have the Tank, Colossus (Warrior). We have the Caster DPS, Storm (Wizard). We have the Melee Dps, Interceptor (Rogue). Maybe Ranger is the Ranged Physical DPS hence the name, Ranger? It makes sense that a Soldier be extremely proficient with his weapons in this case guns, yet the ranger is no better with guns than any other class. Proficient with carried arsenal no not any more than any other class and class.
Ranger development quotes:
“strong offensive capabilities, respectable defense, and something in its arsenal for every situation”
Strong offensive capabilities – not stronger than any other class.
Respectable defense – with the incoming interceptor update Ranger just might be at the bottom of the list for overall survivability.
Arsenal for every situation – In all respects this is true, frost, fire, electrical, acid, CC, some small AoE dmg, Some Single Target Abilities, …. You have access to pretty much everything just smaller and lesser than other classes.
“Ranger is the jack-of-all-trades your squad needs”
While it may very well be a Jack-of-All Trades… your squad definitely does not need what the Ranger brings to the fight.
What is the Ranger currently – A Jack-of-Most and a Master-of-None. It really does not excel in any area. What is it suppose to be – From what I can interpret from Developer discussions it is supposed to be the Hardest Hitting Single Target Ranged DPS class, it is also supposed to be the Hardest Hitting Single Target Combo Attack class in the game. It’s is supposed to provide good survivability second to that of the Colossus. It is supposed to be able to bring in some group utility to the fight if needed.
As it stands currently the Ranger achieves none of these things. All 3 other classes can achieve greater single target dps, even though their abilities are for the most part AoE based. All 3 other classes can achieve higher combo attack damage than that of the ranger on a single target despite being primarily AoE based. The so-called Glass Cannon Storm has better shielding than the Ranger. Utility … you CC is single target at most small AoE. Your primers are single target and do not increase combo damage on target than any other primer, your DOME shields the 20% damage from one is nominal to what weapon inscriptions can offer, and the protective shield does not provide prolonged AoE shielding as it just cannot sustain any damage.
End Game Gear Bonuses – Masterwork
Masterwork gear keeps with he Jack-of-All Master-of-None theme.
Lets take a look….
Elemental Ops: Increases elemental effects applied to enemies by 20%.
Small gain in burn damage for Inferno Grenade and Explosive Blaze. Have not noticed prolonged duration CC on Frost Grenade. Does not effect Venom Darts. Negligible on melee electricity damage. Does not effect weapon element effects such as Thunderbolt of Yvenia’s electrical damage.
Airborne Advantage: 50% faster Gear Recharge while in the air (Hovering).
All well and great, but the Ranger is not a Storm, it does not receive added shielding while hovering. You hover for any prolonged duration in end game your shield is gone in a second and you are dropped to the ground. The ranger is true to the Soldier playstyle slapped on it in this since it is a COVER BASED fighter.
Combined Arms: 50% boost in grenade damage for 3 seconds while using Assault Launcher.
If using Venom Darts and either Sticky or Frag variants of the grenade this is good. As Venom is the Primer and Sticky and Frag the detonator, to a lessor extent Inferno Variants. Frost Grenade Seeker/Pulse Combo does not receive the boost 1. Frost does no dmg, and you use the grenade before the pulse launcher.
Defensive Bulwark: Regenerate Javelin Shield by killing 3 or more enemies within a time limit.
Not bad while killing red trash up to Grandmaster 2. Grandmaster 3 you may not kill fast enough. Forget it if the majority of NPC’s have any time of shielding, and its worthless in single boss fights.
Tip of the Spear: 50% boost in Gear Damage for 5 seconds after using Ranger’s Ultimate Ability.
So you get a 50% boost for 5 seconds every 5 minutes or so? Not worth the slot. This really should be a boost to Ultimate dmg and/or Ultimate Recharge. Btw tip of the spear refers to a combat force that is used to puncture the enemies initial lines of defense. Having a faster recharge to meat each enemy wave and higher damage to deplete initial wave forces.
Vanguard’s Badge: 20% boost in Shield Restoration by killing an enemy with Melee attacks.
Let’s just be honest here, Melee kills is just not the Rangers thing. Sure melee attack to prime the enemy for detonation combo. Or melee a close proximity target of opportunity to disrupt it. If your at low shield, your trying to hide behind cover, your not running headlong at an enemy trying to get their health low enough so your week melee attack can kill them.
Argo’s Mace (Blast Missile): Defeat an enemy with an Electric Explosion.
Decent as it primes surrounding enemy with electricity.
Avenger’s Boon (Pulse Blast): 110% Boost in Melee Damage for 20 seconds after attacking.
Usually you prime with Melee then Pulse Blast to detonate. Though since you would be in melee range could follow back up with another Melee, that said Ranger Melee has an internal CD and can not be used as fast as the Interceptor. So not that great IMO.
Recurring Vengeance (Seeker Missile): Ability Cooldown is refreshed when you defeat an enemy, can occur between intervals of 7.5 seconds.
Good If you combo to get the kill, that said using this on even a RED no shield NPC at full health won’t kill it. Decent if timed right. Useless in prolonged boss fights or trying to take down enemies with shields.
Tactical Onslaught (Venom Darts): Venom Darts permanently gain an extra charge.
The extra charge is nice. What would be better is if it got the extra charge and each dart seek out different targets within close proximity of target as to apply the acid to multiple targets instead of just one. Maybe even have greater acid effect.
What is being done to make the Ranger better?
There was some Dev chatter eluding to Rangers being the Shield Breakers. The only class to get Shield Penetration Gear.
“What if I told you they get the only shield penetration gear item in the game? We changed energy pulse. It’s pretty good.” – Ben Irving @Benlrvo on Twitter.
That is all well and good, but I have some questions and concerns.
Does shield penetration mean it breaks down the enemy shields faster or does it mean it passes through the shield and directly damages the enemy’s armor?
If by ‘Energy Pulse’ he is referring to Pulse Blast then this is rather limiting, because if it is as good as he eludes to that means that Pulse Blast is the one and only Assault Launcher that a Ranger will equip.
It would be better if it was NOT tied to an ability but rather a Component. This way it only would take up one of size component slots rather than limiting the Assault Launcher. If this were to be become realized the Component should read something to the effect of:
Bulwark Breaker: A portion of Gear and Weapon Damage Penetrates Enemy Shields and Directly Damages Enemy Armor.
Bulwark Breaker Masterwork Variant: Add > Weapon Damage applies a stacking debuff to enemy shields, stacking up to X times.
This one Component would make all the difference and make the Ranger the best single target class against shielded enemies and a Must Bring in groups for the stacking enemy shield debuff.
The Jack-Of-All is not working at end game. The Ranger really needs a more defining role.
If the Dev’s are leaning towards Armor Pen already, why not expand it and give the Ranger a defining role as best single target gunslinger against shielded enemies.
Change up some of the Master Work bonuses to augment this.
Instead of Airborne Advantage: Rename to Tactical Advantage: Gear Recharge gain after breaking enemy shields.
Tip of the Spear: Have something to do with Ultimate bypassing or doing extra damage to shielded enemy.
Vanguard’s Badge: instead of Melee attacks change it to have something to do with weapon rounds syphoning enemy shields in some way shape or form. You deplete theirs X amount and gain in yours X amount.
The Dev’s may very well be headed in the right direction to turn the class around, but it is a long ways off and needs some tweaks.
February - last edited February
Doesn't scale well? The world first boss kill on the Scar stronghold GM3 was just completed by a 2 man team consisting of a Ranger and a Storm.. That says enough right there. A Colossus cannot really tank at higher difficulty without a very tuned build, and doesn't do nearly as much damage as the rest. And the interceptor is too reliant on melee range. I'd say the Ranger is sitting pretty well right now.
Interesting read and some good points. I think they are looking at some things though because my Tip of the Spear is different and quite useful.
Tip of the Spear: Restores 40% Armor to nearby allies when performing a Combo
February - last edited February
Ranger abilities overall are pretty bad and simply don't scale well.
I'd say Ranger has whole 2 abilities that worth anything really above GM1 - Frost Grenade and Venom Darts, simply because they actually do something meaningful, which is CC and damage increase debuff.
Abilities like Pulse Blast and such are simply worthless because even if you stack Impact damage (which you should, instead of Blast) - it simply does less damage than any half-decent gun and combo damage is also weak.
What works best for me so far is basically stacking Impact/Physical/Weapon damage through the roof and running around with a good Legendary/MW weapon simply shooting things. This works, but god, it's so boring... abilities do nothing, ultimate does nothing... ehhh...
I seriously think Ranger abilities need like good 100% damage buff across the board to even feel decent.