I mentioned to Mrs Bhagpuss yesterday that I thought the Warrior had better bow options than the Ranger and she was mildly outraged. She sees rangers in all games as archers first and foremost. I've never really seen rangers primarily as archers, or even as ranged specialists. I guess it depends whether you feel the origin of the class derives from Robin Hood or Aragorn. I've always tended towards the latter, so my conception of a Ranger falls towards a craggy, taciturn woodsman, thick across the shoulders, strong in the arm and favoring a rather large sword. The bow is definitely a back-up option.
|Yes, it's a sword. YES. Really!|
|He's been ill, okay?|
Often, perhaps usually, there is also an animal companion. A pet. "Pet" is such an odd term to have gained so much currency in MMO gaming circles. The Magician has his summoned and bound elementals, the Necromancer her mindless undead slaves; Shamans of all stripes stand beside their spirit guides as they hurl curses while Beastmasters urge their trained killers forward. Pets, all of them.
For Everquest rangers, origin of a thousand cruel jokes
(Q: How can you tell a ranger tried to break into your house?
A: Your cat is camping his corpse)
the only pet was an unreliably Charmed animal, always likely to turn on its master mid-fight, often with fatal consequence. In the original Guild Wars rangers still needed to Charm their pets, something of a tussle, but once the glamor took hold the pet stayed as long as it was needed.
Given the source material, it really should come as no surprise that a Ranger makes a great, supportive team-mate. Robin Hood worked best in a group and Aragorn was the ultimate steadying hand in a crisis. Rangers (and their close analogue, Hunters) have a poor reputation for group-worthiness across many MMOs but that may have a lot more to do with the kind of personality drawn to play them than the skill set gifted them by design.
|I know he's not much to look at...|
Still, in the end the Ranger walks apart. The skills he brings to a group are skills he has forged first for his own survival. They can be bent to the service of others but that's not why they were learned. As a choice for the player who wants to feel secure in his ability to go where he pleases and do as he will, yet still pull more than his weight in a group, the Ranger is hard to beat.