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My Ranger Guide - The Evolution of a Ranger

Last Updated: 3/29/2021

Edit (2/8/2021): This thread has almost become my own little Ranger blog with more information than anyone ever wanted to know and I have consolidated all information into this post you are reading right now. That makes it pretty huge, but it also makes it more coherent as a guide. If you are just discovering this thread and looking for Ranger advice based on my experience, be aware that my mind has changed several times, so you'll want to read in order because some of the advice I give has changed over time and with experimentation. If you don't want to read everything (and who could blame you) the TL;DR below is for my latest build, which at this point in time I believe to be my strongest and most powerful build based on months and years of experimentation, research, and stat tracking.

1. Put your mind at ease - Full Strength, full Dex, hybrid build - they're all effective, you'll have fun, and you will not be gimped no matter which option you choose. When you are growing up a hybrid build is probably best. At end-game, you may want to consider a full Strength or full DEX build. Don't put more points into FOCUS than is absolutely necessary. Having said all this, please continue on to point #2...

2. I currently (as of 3/29/2021) am concentrating on meeting goals for my secondary attributes (health, energy, attack, damage, defense) instead of concentrating on how to spend points into the primary stats (STR/DEX/FOC/VIT). This has resulted in using a "hybrid" build albeit not in the traditional sense. Scroll down to POST #4 for details about that. To meet the goals I have set, I do favor DEX over STR and if you forced me to choose between a STR build or a DEX build, I would choose DEX; you can read explanations of why in the tome below. But again....I no longer think of a "Strength Ranger" or a "Dex Ranger"...I set minimum goals for what I want my health, focus, attack, damage, and defense to be (and in my case also how much I want Light Heal to heal for) and use my STAT POINTS plus EQUIPPED ITEMS accordingly to meet those goals.

3. My Ranger is 223 and has full EDL armor plus lots of good jewelry. Keep that in mind if you are comparing your own build to mine.

4. When wearing my standard equipment and with Wolf mount/Rabbit pet equipped, my stats BASE (and BUFFED) are: STR 5 (1200), DEX 642 (2972), FOC 10 (625), VIT 468 (1348), HEALTH 14000, ENERGY 4790

5. My skills are all at max at the time they are cast (several using hot swamp items): Rapid Shot, Sharp Shot, Entangle, Light Heal, Camo, Steady Aim, Sharpen Weapons

6. The posts below consolidate several posts I've made over time and tell the story of many things I learned along the way.

POST #1 (11/27/2018)

This is based on my experiences with my currently level 153 Ranger. I do not spend much money on plat. I spend mainly for "essentials" such as more inventory/bank space and occasional stat/skill resets. I do not buy chests, fashion, elixirs, etc.

I tried a full DEX build. I tried a "mage" build - using mainly skills and not auto-attacks. I didn't like either. The latter in particular will mean you are always out of energy. I settled on a Hybrid STR/DEX build and have been quite happy with it. EDIT as of 2/8/2021: I feel a hybrid build was the best build while growing up. But read my further posts below for how I eventually went full STRENGTH and then full DEX and found both to be better than hybrid at higher levels.

If you search around a bit, you will see that STRENGTH hits a hard plateau somewhere between 300-350 points. Going higher than that does add minimal damage improvement, but at a greatly diminished return on investment. I plan to go to 350 and no further myself. Therefore, I do the following:

For every 10 stat points you receive (every 2 level-ups) distribute the STR/DEX/FOC/VIT as 4/3/0/3 until Strength is around level 300. Then change so that for every 5 stat points you receive (every level-up) distribute 1/2/0/2 until you hit 350 strength. Then stop raising STR altogether and only raise DEX and VIT as you see fit - I am still raising them equally for now. Yes this means I have not put any points into FOCUS. Instead, find gear that provides either FOCUS or ENERGY directly.

Notes About the Strength Plateau:
Strength does one thing; it increases your damage stat, which does one thing; it makes your auto-attacks do more damage. There is a formula that determines how much damage your auto-attacks can do:

Damage = [0.159132 * sqrt(Strength) + [0.05972 * sqrt(WeaponAbility)] + 0.96523] * PhysicalDamage + ElementalDamage

Can you see the reason why there is a Strength Plateau? It's because the SQUARE ROOT of Strength is factored into the formula. And square roots give diminishing returns. For example...you start out the game with 5 points in Strength.

If you spend 95 points into Strength it will have 100 points total and you will get 10 points of Strength (sqrt of 100) added into the damage formula.
If you spend 300 more points into Strength it will have 400 points total and you will get 20 points of Strength (sqrt of 400) - an additional 10 points - added into the damage formula.
If you spend 500 more points into Strength it will have 900 points total and you will get 30 points of Strength (sqrt of 900) - an additional 10 points - added into the damage formula.

You are spending more and more points into Strength each time to gain the same amount of damage increase as the time before! This is the Strength Plateau!

This website is an excellent resource to understand different formulas in the game and plan your character build: Celtic Heroes Calculator. Use it to prove the Strength Plateau for yourself and to calculate how many points you want to put into Strength, Dexterity, Focus, and Vitality and the different effects each will have on your character.

At this level, I had enough skill points to raise 5 skills as high as necessary. It is most effective to choose a small set of skills and keep them maxed, rather than a wide range of skills that are only mediocre. The following skills are what I used based on my extensive testing, but feel free to use whatever skills fit your play-style.

Sharp Shot (maxed)
Rapid Shot (maxed)
Light Heal (maxed)
Bolas (only as high as necessary; typically 10-15 levels higher than yours)
Camouflage (only as high as necessary; typically 10-15 levels higher than yours)
Meditate (no points, but use it at level 1 to help with extra energy regen)

Quick note - I have from time to time raised Meditate by as high as 10 points - the extra mana regen was amazing! I liked it. I wish I could keep it, but I felt ultimately the points were better spent elsewhere. If you do spend money on more than just "essentials" then Energy Sigils would be a good investment.

There are other skills that are useful and could be swapped for some of those I mentioned, but let me give a short blurb for each skill:

Sharp Shot - No brainer. High damage, fast cooldown, zero windup animation.
Rapid Shot - Cast once do 50% more damage for up to 30-ish seconds! Saves lots of mana vs. casting other skills. Cools down in 60 seconds, so half of your life, you can have it active! Trains up your Bow skill quickly!!
Light Heal - Saves money on restos, keeps you alive during battles, heal quickly between battles, be a stand-in healer for groups that don't have a Druid. Heal your friends!
Bolas - Kill any melee-attack enemy without losing a point of health, even bosses. Or be lazy and only cast at the beginning of a battle and have your enemy half dead before you take any damage.
Camouflage - Some may scoff, but seriously - IT'S ZARKING INVISIBILITY!!! Go places way above your level. Easily separate one enemy from a crowd. No drawing aggro while traveling. Easily complete "gathering" quests.
Meditate - No brainer to use the skill at level 1 and increase mana regen by +7

Gear. I can give general advice here. Buy a necklace from a Lux vendor that gives energy regen ASAP. No need for health regen if you have Light Heal, so you can buy the "cheaper" version. Upgrade as necessary and as gold permits. Work toward a quiver (offhand) that will regen energy, but this won't happen until you are a bit higher level - 50 at least, but maybe even more like 80-100, but keep it in mind.

For armor - there are others that are going to have much different opinions than mine, but I like vendor-bought armor way more than quest armor. Because it gives stat bonuses to DEX and FOCUS. And if you put 0 points into focus, having your armor provide a ton of it is REALLY helpful. However, I would suggest free armor (quest armor) only up until level 100. Before then, it's just too expensive for the money you can earn and isn't necessary. I just used whatever I came across up until level 50-ish. Then i did the vendor quest to get Darkshadow armor (free quest armor) in Stonevale and used it all the way up to 100. Then I went for Opal armor (restricted to level 100). And honestly, it has lasted me just fine all the way to my current level 153. I am finally starting to see the need for more protective armor just now and looking into upgrading to Wyrmbone (vendor armor restricted to level 140).

Now, some quest armor is good. And I do absolutely suggest getting your Warden/Lunar armor - the main armor line that everyone wants, but can take forever because rare boss drops. Do work on it for sure! But unless you get lucky or are gifted the drops needed for it, find something else until you can get it. Beastbone armor - quest armor you can get at level 150 is very good too. It provides no bonus to DEX or FOCUS, but does provide some direct bonus to ENERGY (which is basically all you need FOCUS for as a Ranger), so it is an option but not until level 150+.

Always be upgrading your weapon. Right off the bat, save enough money to buy the War Bow from the guy in Dustwither Catacombs. Then upgrade to Ancient Bow as you can in Shalemont. Then the step-up Ancient Bow in Stonevale. Personally I have stuck with vendor bought bows rather than quest bows. I bought the Opal (level 100) bow. Then upgraded to Adamant (level 120). May upgrade to Wyrmbone (level140). Check the auction for these things and hopefully you'll find a deal rather than paying full vendor price. That goes for armor and quiver too.

I am no expert on jewelry, but I boost my energy regen with the aforementioned necklace, and I use my bracelet slot(s) for items that give FOCUS. I tend to use rings that boost my skills. Especially Bolas and Camo - because I can save skill points that can be used elsewhere.

Mount: Wolf. Gives DEX and FOCUS. Grants an additional attack skill.

Pet: Rabbit - Because it give FOCUS and ENERGY regen! Plus an extra heal! Other logical choices for Rangers are spiders and chickens (seriously) as they boost DEX. But as a Ranger with zero points in FOCUS, the Rabbit works best for me. Also you can spam a Rabbit's skill all the time to quickly level up the ability. The same is true for Chicken, but is not true for any pet that has an attack instead of a buff. So your spider will only do minimal damage for quite a long time, but you can get your Rabbit's health boost and energy regen up farily quickly.

Other tips:
- Always keep your inventory clear enough to be able to fast travel
- Get all your abilities from quests and start using them to level them up ASAP
- Never give your items to others and you can't be scammed
- Help other people when they need it. Rangers can do this better than other classes because others always appreciate 4 minutes of INVISIBILITY (you can cast Camo on others) and HEALS!!!

POST #2 (4/23/2020)

I've had a couple questions from people and wanted to post some updated information. So read the original post first, then read this. :)

My Ranger is now level 200 and here are updates based on my experience and research.

I still buy and spend very little plat. I have only bought plat twice since I started this game in 2016. Both were during plat sales. The first time I spent $20 to get 600 plat and 2 years later I spent $10 to get 300. I did not even need to spend the second $10 because I still had 400 of the 600 left from the first sale, but eh....it is worth giving some money to a game I have played this much. I still spend plat only for utility purposes such as extra hot bar slots; i have not bought any "fash" or "vanity" items with plat...ever.

One thing to note is that prior to level 170 I did not use any elixirs to level. I did start using super knowledge elixirs after that. I probably should have started using them earlier, but not before 150-ish. Up until then there are repeatable XP quests and I used those to level. Then I grinded from 150-170 without using elixirs. And.....I burned out and quit playing for a year. When I came back, I have used elixirs (mainly super knowledge) to level from 170 to 200, but all were bought from the Auction House; none were bought with plat.

I am still using a Hybrid build, tipped a little in favor of STRENGTH. I hesitate to give advice on stats, because I am still experimenting myself. I don't even want to think about how much gold I've spent on Rebirth/Alt Books! But let me describe the last 2 iterations I tried. I was pretty satisfied with S/D/F/C at 665/330/10/10 which buffed to 900/635/190/10 with items (jewelry/armor/pet/mount) and I had 3000-ish energy and 2150-ish health. I was happy with auto-attack damage, and skills. But I eventually felt that 2150 health was not enough. I rarely died, but I often took critical hits of around 1500. That makes your health bar go WAY down and of course means that if you took a second such hit, you'd die. I felt way too squishy. I know a Ranger isn't a tank, but I felt I needed a little more health than that. So I am currently at 450/350/10/240 which buffs to 780/720/190/240 with items and I have 3379 energy and 4200 health. Summary: Yes, my autos do less damage, but with 2x the health I used to have, I am much happier. I have to heal less way less often during fights and don't come so near to death very often.

Regarding the "strength hard plateau" - it isn't as bad as I thought when I wrote the original guide. This wonderful website helped me figure that out --> https://celticheroesdb.com/calculator and I have refined into a Ranger who primarily does damage with auto-attacks plus Sharp Shot and my damage seems to be maximized by putting into DEX only the minimumm amount of points to make sure my auto-attacks hit most of the time and all the rest into STR. In my original guide I stated that I had not spent any points into FOCUS - this is still true. I have always found ways to get enough FOCUS by using items/mount/pet.

I still believe it is most effective to choose a small set of skills and keep them maxed, rather than a wide range of skills that are only mediocre. Three points to note here. First, there are several skills that do not need to be maxed - they only need to be raised high enough to be effective for the level of enemies you are currently fighting! This helps save points for other skills. Secondly, jewelry and some types of armor give points to skills - this saves points that can be used on other skills. Lastly, all skills cap at BUFFED points of 50. They cannot go higher than 50. At around level 180, since I had items that buffed all my skills, I had enough free points to pick up a new skill.

Here are the skills I have, listed in the order that I suggest a new Ranger should put points into them, but all of them and the notes apply even at level 200.

Sharp Shot - always as high as possible

Camouflage - just high enough to work on creatures up to 10-15 levels above you. Yes, use it! You can walk into a room full of 15 mobs - bump into only the one you want to fight - and once you have the aggro, you can fight only that one without any of the others even noticing that you are killing their buddy. Don't shoot at him first. Bump into him first and make him attack you, then start shooting. When I play my toons of other classes, I miss this ability SO MUCH! Plus, besides Rogues with Hide, no other class can get places without risk of dying - like to the fishing spot in Carrowmore or to the 200 room in Alchemical Quarters. All the way to the end of the Boggan tunnels, etc. CAMO IS MY OVERALL FAVORITE SKILL IN THE ENTIRE GAME!

Rapid Shot - always as high as possible. At level 180/185/190 you can get items that reduce the cool down time. At present my Rapid Shot lasts for 32 seconds (I have buffed 49 points in it) and it cools down in 45 seconds. Couple it with a quiver that gives 30% haste (or a haste ring until you are able to get such a quiver) and you'll never need a Haste Potion. It's why Rangers in particular can level using only Super Knowledge elixirs (versus combo elixirs) better than any other class. With a super haste elixir and my current weapon, I fire 40 auto-attacks per minute. With Rapid Shot for 32 seconds out of every 45 and 30% haste for the 13-second gap, I fire 37 shots per minute.

Light Heal - high enough to recover HALF of your buffed health; plus put extra points here as you get them, and eventually max it

Bolas - just high enough to work on creatures up to 10-15 levels above you

Steady Aim - Pick this up later in the game, at the point when you have extra skill points; eventually max it, but start out by just dumping your extra points into it. No sense letting them sit there unused. Steady Aim is better than Sharpen Weapons. It gives almost but not quite as much damage and it significantly buffs your attack (which helps you not miss when attacking). The extra attack is particularly helpful since above I recommended keeping DEX low in favor of STR high. Since lower DEX means lower attack, Steady Aim is a way to make up for it. Sharpen Weapons is a party buff, but still - be selfish and take Steady Aim instead. BY THE WAY - I know that this is one of those skills with an ambiguous description. I HATE that. You don't know whether it will actually do anything. I did the testing for you and it will. You'll have to trust me. Theoretically for my current setup it adds 8400+ damage per minute to my auto-attacks. This was calculated using raw numbers (in other words, not taking into account damage reduction because of a mob's armor) based on how much it increases my DAMAGE stat - which is something you CAN see (but only after you take the leap of faith and put points into it) plus using the damage calculator mentioned elsewhere in this post. But this skill IS worth it. It does increase your damage. And it does increase your chance to hit.

At some point, if you are wearing good enough jewelry/armor, you will have enough points to get a 7th skill. Here is what I suggest.

Entangle - just high enough to work on creatures up to 10-15 levels above you. This is what I have chosen based on SO MANY alteration books used to test out every skill. It is one of those skills where you cannot see a direct number as evidence that it is doing anything. But it is. I tested it. In my opinion, this is the best choice for a 7th skill (as of this writing of course). It has really helped me when lixing or bossing. And it only needs to be kept high enough to be effective and not maxed. It works especially well in tight quarters where Bolas isn't very effective. Also, some mobs are faster than others even when they have Bolas on them. For those that can still get to you faster than you'd like, Entangle may be a better choice, or Bolas them first and then Entangle them when they get to you instead of trying to kite them.

Sharpen Weapons - is a second choice. It was actually my choice for awhile but I got tired of having to recast both it and Steady Aim every 2 minutes while lixing. So I dropped it and went with Entangle. I can handle re-casting one skill every 2 minutes IF I HAVE TO (still annoying) - but re-casting 2 skills drove me nuts.

Other options that some people use along with notes about why I chose not to use them...

Double Shot - It will fire 2 shots. But it has a 2-second windup animation. In the time it takes to wind up and fire, you'd have fired off 2 auto-attacks anyway, and without using any energy. This basically means that the main benefit it provides is that this skill cannot be dodged whereas a regular auto-attack shot can be. In testing, this skill DID seem to get critical hits more often than I expected - so even though it isn't part of the description for the skill, this skill possibly might do more damage than just 2 regular auto-attacks, but that could have only been coincidental and it wasn't enough more to make it worth it. Plus any skill that you fire every X seconds during a battle uses up energy. If you have too many, you'll be out of energy a lot. Plus, you'll strain your brain mashing buttons all the time during battles. That applies to several other skills listed below too.

Longshot - First, I found that it messed up the rhythm of batttle for me. Largely due to its THREE SECOND windup animation. That's an eternity in this game! I would cast bolas first, then I want to start shooting right away, not cast LS and wait for that 3 second windup. It DOES do a good amount of damage. But it's awkward to shoot. Even more awkward to use it a second time during a battle (while kiting using bolas). And if not using bolas or fighting in a group where somoene else has aggro, you'll only get to use it once per battle. Lastly, it sucks energy big time.

Barbed Shot - A great idea! Just too little damage. Uses standard 5-second apart ticks instead of faster ticks like a Rogue's Rend skill. If it worked like Rend, it would be absolutely worth it. Plus the nail in the coffin - it's another skill with a THREE SECOND windup. You'll fire off 2-3 auto-attacks in 3 seconds. It's not worth missing auto-attacks to cast a skill like this.

Defensive Spikes - I love the idea of DS. The damage is low but not abysmal. However, if a Ranger is using Bolas and/or Entangle, it doesn't make much sense to have DS, since he will barely get attacked and it only works when being attacked (like a Rogue's Riposte). If not using Bolas/Entangle, this skill might be in the running. But I am using Bolas and Entangle both as of this writing. And the damage is low.

Explosive Arrow - Similar to Longshot, including the THREE SECOND windup, but with one extra consideration. If you want to hit multiple mobs at the same time, great - it will do a good amount of damage to all. But if you don't, you are going to accidentally hit some mobs and draw aggro you don't want. It has the same issues as Longshot - three second windup messes up the rhythm of batttle and comes at the expense of shooting 2-3 auto-attacks. It DOES do a good amount of damage - far more than I thought! Basically the same amount as Longshot BUT TO MORE THAN ONE ENEMY! So it would be awesome if you can find a way to effectively fight multiple enemies and live - would be great to couple it with Defensive Spikes. But it's awkward to use and my style is one enemy at a time.

Meditate - Use to regain energy between battles without putting any points into it when you are young. You won't need it when you are higher level.

Armor update - Vendor bought armor worked best for me until I got DL. Once you get DL, you don't go back. :)

I still believe...

Mount: Wolf
Pet: Rabbit

FINAL NOTE: I've had some questions about how to finance things. Like super knowledge elixirs and vendor bought armor, etc. Answer: Fishing. Exactly how is something you'll have to find out by taking a leap of faith and just doing it. It is a subject for an entirely different post. But if you want to know how I afford things in CH, fishing is my answer. :)

POST #3 (2/8/2021)

Two weeks ago, I finally hit end-game, level 220. At some point I changed from a hybrid build to full STRENGTH to try it out, probably around 6 months ago (from the time I posted this).

I recently changed to full DEX to try it out. Reset all my points, took all of my spendable points out of STR and put them all into DEX. And I like it much better.

I have done extensive testing of all skills and have found the ones that fit my style, are enjoyable for me to play, and make me feel pretty powerful - often able to survive in situations where others seem to die - example: I have no problem soloing the hounds in Arcane Sanctum for bounties. If you're not high enough level to have fought those, that won't mean much to you, but it is a bounty that lots of people either abandon or ask for help to complete because those hounds are evil and they hit hard with both melee attacks and a Rend-like DoT. Much of this build was developed by fighting hundreds of those hounds to figure out the best way to survive and win difficult battles.

To keep it simple - a full DEX build does exactly what you think it will do. Your auto-attacks hit for a bit less but all other stats and skills are more powerful (attack stat, defense stat, skills).

Here is something interesting I learned. Steady Aim and Sharpen Weapon, both being DEX based skills, buff your stats (damage for both and attack for SA) by MORE the higher your DEX is. Therefore, even though you have lost some auto-attack damage versus being full Strength, some of that loss is offset by the larger buffs you'll get from SA and SW when you are full DEX!

QUICK NOTES ABOUT ABILITIES before we go further:
Max all your important abilities. They do matter.
My RABBIT TAMING ability is maxed, meaning my rabbit provides the maximum possible amount of health and energy regen with his NATURAL FOCUS skill.
My WOLF RIDING ability is maxed, meaning my wolf does the maximum possible damage with his HOWL attack skill.
My FIRST AID ability is maxed, affecting (positively) my numbers for LIGHT HEAL.
My BOW ability is maxed, affecting (positively) my numbers for auto-attack damage.
My RANGED COMBAT ability is maxed, affecting (positively) my numbers for SHARP SHOT and STEADY AIM.

I have done A LOT of testing and recording of numbers and a summary of my results becoming a FULL DEX Ranger is presented here:

Pros of my full STRENGTH build:
+480 damage stat with no buffs active, HOWEVER...
With both SA and SW active the full STRENGTH build had only +217 more damage stat versus my full DEX build!

Pros of full DEX build:
+1065 more Sharp Shot damage
+133 more attack from Steady Aim
+62 more damage from Steady Aim
+419 more health from Light Heal
+1095 attack stat
+2190 defense stat
More Sharpen Weapons buff (but I didn't record numbers because I didn't have SW when I was full STR)

I did some battle testing and quick practical summary:
1. I kill mobs in the same amount of time (and perhaps quicker) with a DEX build versus a STR build - the more powerful Sharp Shots make up for the lower auto-attack damage
2. For mobs that do dangerous amounts of damage - like the hounds in Arcane - Light Heal can heal for so much more with DEX build than STR build that you can survive far more easily
3. For bosses, full DEX keeps me alive for the same reason as #2 - with the normal gear I wear for battle, my Light Heal heals for 2500+ and I can basically be my own support druid (so to speak)

I think about it this way. STR has only one advantage => higher auto-attack damage. That's it. No advantage to attack, defense, or any skills. Just auto-attack damage.

DEX gives an advantage to nearly everything except for auto-attack damage, attack/defense/skills. AND IMPORTANTLY: even the loss in auto-attack damage is made up by a combination of higher Sharp Shot damage, and larger buffs from Steady Aim and Sharpen Weapons.

After extensive testing, I have settled on the following skills, and I generally use the following strategy in battle:
1. I cast buffs: CAMOUFLAGE to avoid adds, STEADY AIM to increase damage and attack, SHARPEN WEAPONS to increase damage
2. I cast ENTANGLE (maxed at 42 points) as the first skill in my attack so any melee or ranged mob does half damage for 30 seconds
3. I cast RAPID SHOT (maxed at 50 points with swap). Because of a Godly bracelet that reduces cool-down; It lasts for 32.5 seconds/cools down in 42 seconds. There are only 9.5 second windows where it's not active.
4. I cast SHARP SHOT (maxed at 50 points) every time it cools down (every 10 seconds) - ***it does over 1000+ more points of damage with a full DEX build versus full STR***
5. I cast HOWL (wolf mount attack skill) every time it cools down for extra damage (3584 stated damage as of this writing)
6. I auto-attack for as much of the 32.5 seconds that Rapid Shot is active as I can - often the full time. Note: Sharp Shot does not interrupt auto-attacks at all; it casts simultaneously with them (0 second windup)
7. I cast NATURAL FOCUS (rabbit pet skill) to heal (for 900 as of this writing) and replenish energy (132 points per tick as of this writing) as needed. During the 9.5 second Rapid Shot cool-down if possible.
8. I cast LIGHT HEAL to heal, often to full health because it heals for a LOT when you are full DEX, as needed. During the 9.5 second Rapid Shot cool-down if possible.
9. By this time Entangle has cooled down and I go back to step #2 and repeat until the enemy is dead.

All 7 of the Ranger skills I mentioned above are at max when I cast them, although many require swaps to be so.

NOTE: When I was full STRENGTH, I dropped BOLAS (which if you read previous posts, I used to have) and picked up DOUBLESHOT. When I went full DEX, I dropped DOUBLESHOT and picked up SHARPEN WEAPONS. Here are my reasons.

Dropping BOLAS: As you get older, and especially once your daily hunting/bounties are in Gelebron's Tower where the hallways are narrow and the enemies close together, Bolas just doesn't work as well. You'll start kiting an enemy and accidentally run into a another one and now you have to fight both. And just the 'kiting' strategy in and of itself will eventually become tiresome - running around all the time while fighting wears on you, and sometimes you run too far and the enemy resets - boo! Bolas can still be useful, but I found myself using Entangle all the time and Bolas very rarely. So rarely in fact, I felt the skill points were being wasted. I chose DOUBLESHOT as the replacement because it maxes out at 42 skill points instead of 50 (same as Bolas).

Dropping DOUBLESHOT: Doubleshot was more effective when I was full STRENGTH because it does 2x the amount of an auto-attack (and importantly, is guaranteed not to ever miss!). When I went full DEX, auto-attacks did a little less damage, and therefore so did Doubleshot. Doubleshot also interferes with auto-attack animation; you lose 1-2 auto-attacks while Doubleshot is winding up, so it isn't actually as advantageous as it might seem on paper. I found myself casting mainly during the 9.5 seconds when Rapid Shot was cooling down so I didn't lose 1-2 auto-attacks. Instead I picked up SHARPEN WEAPONS to offset the fact that my auto-attacks were doing less damage. I believe that, except for the fact that Doubleshot is a guaranteed hit, it doesn't add much damage to your attack cycle because of the windup time.

One Note: I keep Doubleshot, Longshot, and an attack skill my current bow (Dark Bow of Solar Flames) grants in one of my hotbars. I have no points in Doubleshot or Longshot, so why do I do this? Because of mages in Gelebron's Tower that cast Cloak of Fire on themselves. COF does damage to you when you do damage to the target with auto-attacks. To combat this, when a mage casts COF, I stop auto-attacking and instead hit him with: Doubleshot (which only does normal damage since I have no points in it, but even normal damage is 1k-2k), Longshot which does 3k+ damage (with no points in it, it does not do the "root" but that's of no consequence; and Longshot can be used on mages because they don't run up to you, they stay put and fire at you with their wands), Sharp Shot, and Howl (wolf mount skill).

Final Disclaimer: I experiment a lot (if that isn't obvious by now) and this is my story at this point in time. I used a hybrid build up until I got EDL around level 190, then I went full STR, then I went full DEX and liked it. Someday I'll probably experiment with some other build - another type of hybrid perhaps and who knows? Maybe I'll like that better. But for now, I can state that I prefer the full DEX build.

But I never say never, and your mileage may vary.

POST #4 (3/29/2021)

This post is so long, even I have difficulty remembering what all I have recorded here. Quick summary: I have experimented with a full STR build, a full DEX build, and now (not sure if I've mentioned this already above) a full VIT build - that's right, I put all my points into Vitality getting STR and DEX only from my gear (the amount provided to both was significant it should be noted) to see what would happen. Based on the results of all three of these, I figured out a few things I liked and it resulted in a paradigm shift for me. I stopped concentrating on primary stats (STR, DEX, FOC, VIT) and started focusing on goals for the secondary attributes (Health, Energy, Attack, Damage, Defense).

For example, in my experimentation with full STR I figured out that I didn't want my DAMAGE to fall below 3500 (buffed) or else I felt I was doing too little auto-attack damage. In my experimentation with full DEX, I found that having ATTACK at 6000 or greater (buffed) seemed to work best for me. In my experimentation with full VIT, I found that I really liked having high health and eventually settled on 14k health being the minimum I'd want to have.

So I threw my former thinking about how to split my points between STR/DEX and even VIT out the window and set the following goals:

1. 14k HEALTH
2. 4k or greater ENERGY
3. 6000 or greater ATTACK (buffed)
4. 3500 or greater DAMAGE (buffed)
5. LIGHT HEAL of 2200 or greater (buffed and with swap items)
6. DEFENSE - was the least of my worries, but I settled on 3000 minimum

Then I basically threw all my stat points and gear into one big pile and figured out how to make it so. I ended up making and even exceeding all of my goals with the following stat distribution. It ended up making my stat distribution very interesting. It was something like STR/DEX/FOC/VIT = 5 (1200)/468 (1972)/10 (625)/468 (1348). The first number is points spent, the second includes buffs from worn items.

Bottom line: I'm back to a "hybrid" build, but I don't focus on STR/DEX. I focus on the secondary attributes, consider points I can spend plus points I get from gear as one big pool of the same thing, and spend to meet goals for my secondary attributes.
Last edited by e5c4p3artist on Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:42 pm, edited 30 times in total.

Re: My Ranger Guide - The Evolution of a Ranger

Dropping DOUBLESHOT: Doubleshot was more effective when I was full STRENGTH because it does 2x the amount of an auto-attack (and importantly, is guaranteed not to ever miss!). When I went full DEX, auto-attacks did a little less damage, and therefore so did Doubleshot. Doubleshot also interferes with auto-attack animation; you lose 1-2 auto-attacks while Doubleshot is winding up, so it isn't actually as advantageous as it might seem on paper. I found myself casting mainly during the 9.5 seconds when Rapid Shot was cooling down so I didn't lose 1-2 auto-attacks. Instead I picked up SHARPEN WEAPONS to offset the fact that my auto-attacks were doing less damage. I believe that, except for the fact that Doubleshot is a guaranteed hit, it doesn't add much damage to your attack cycle because of the windup time.
Double shot will never loose DPS. Casting it takes 1.5s. The fastest the game allows you to auto (on a hero haste or rapid shot) is 1.1s so two autos are 2.2s. So, you are doing damage worth 2.2s in 1.5s + it doesn't miss. Double shot (and double attack for warriors and rogues) is the most consistent skill in the game. The only reason i could see for not using double is if you are autos do so little damage it's actually a loss to spend that energy on double. At that point though, you are more of a mage then a ranger.

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