DISCLAIMER: MUST BE OVER 3k IL TO RIDE THIS RIDE
I will update this guide periodically as it isn’t entirely complete. I originally posted it over on the arc site and the formatting didn’t transfer over very well.
The HR is an overwhelmingly underrated class. Many consider the HR a little brother to the CW – unable to CC as well and doesn’t do as much DPS. I’d like to shed a little light on a different (and potentially better) way to build a ranger.
Before I get ahead of myself and dive into the details of this build, I need to clarify a few things:
First off, I play on XBOX. Because of some differences between the two systems, I will detail my opinion for the best set-up as it relates to XBOX. Throughout the guide, I will note some differences I’ve heard from PC players where it’s applicable.
Secondly, this build is primarily focused on dealing a ton of DPS. Everything else comes second, but don’t worry he’s no glass cannon. Also, this is a PVE build. The HR is great for PVP and I might make a PVP guide in the future but this build is strictly intended for PVE.
Lastly, everything in this guide is a reflection of a build I came up with. I’m not saying it’s the best, but I sure do enjoy the DPS I can do. Use my guide as a foundation and feel free to experiment. I make only suggestions based on the path I took with my ranger. I am always open to new ideas so any thoughts or questions are always welcome.
This build is essentially a Trapper that capitalizes on Critical Chance/Severity and bonus damage from Combat Advantage. I recommend you have an Item Level of at least 3,000 before you go respeccing just be on the safe side. A “traditional” trapper would be considered mature into his build with an item level of 3000. That is not the case with this one. At 3000 you will just barely be learning to crawl. Patience will pay off as this is an end game build. The result of this build is a ranger that has about 192% critical severity and is an overall DPS machine.
I went with Dragonborn for the 3% increase in Power and Critical Strike. If your only options are the default races then I would recommend going with either the Drow or Wood Elf so you can put the +2 into DEX and WIS.
Initial Stat Roll
Dexterity and Wisdom are your best friend. Dexterity gives you a damage bonus while Wisdom gives you an increase in crit chance (which we are going to need later on).
12 – STR
10 – CON
18 – DEX (16 + 2)
10 – INT
18 – WIS (16 + 2)
10 – CHA
I have a decent amount of roll-over points from Mod 5, and if you don’t have as many as me, then I would put the 4th points into Aspect of The Serpent, Cordon of Arrows/Plant Growth, Hindering Shot/Hindering Strike, and Constricting Arrow/Steel Breeze, in that order.
I’ll sometimes change my rotation in certain situations but my general purpose rotation for DPS in dungeons is Hindering Shot/Hindering Strike, Cordon of Arrows/Plant Growth, and Constricting arrow/Steel Breeze. As for the passives I slot Aspect of the Serpent and Aspect of the Pack while I have Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike and Hunter’s Teamwork/Careful Attack for my at-wills. Finally, I use Seismic Shot and Forest Ghost for my dailies.
AotS is a great buff and can be very powerful if you know how the stacks work. AotP is something we can take advantage of and it adds an excellent boost in DPS for the rest of the party. A nifty quark to AotP is that you can even use it when you are soloing content because as long as your companion is within 25 feet of you, you’ll have permanent combat advantage regardless of placement (so long as you companion is not an augment).
If you’re feeling squishy or having a hard time soloing stuff, I would swap out Cordon of Arrows/Plant Growth for Fox’s Cunning/Fox’s Shift and switch AotP for Crushing Roots. This way, you get a free dodge from Cunning, you can’t get hit wile in Shift’s animation, and your Crushing Roots will prevent you from being hit as often. Also, we’re going to get a nice benefit to our survivability from lifesteal once we do our feats.
For those interested in exactly how I have my powers mapped: (X) Hindering Shot/Hindering Strike, (Y) Cordon of Arrows/Plant Growth, (B) Constricting Arrow/Steel Breeze, (LT) Hunter’s Teamwork/Careful Attack, (RT) Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike
How I order my powers is similar to katozee’s, only I have Cordon and Plant Growth in the place of Fox’s Cunning and Shift.
Starting with Ranged Stance: (Y) -> (B) -> (X) -> (RT/LT) -> (RB) -> (Y) -> (X) -> (B) -> (RT) -> (RB) and repeat
The above rotation allows the largest damage buff from AotS to apply to Cordon and Plant Growth (our hardest hitting powers). The second largest damage buff from AotS applies to our powers that apply Strong Grasping Roots.
For boss fights and single target DPS while in a group, your at-will has the power to do more damage than any other attack you have. Careful Attack allows you to mark an enemy and it is a DOT that procs every 1.5 seconds. The amount of damage that it deals depends on the amount of damage that has been done to the marked enemy in each of the 1.5 second intervals. So, in places like Tiamat and epic Demagorgon you’ll see that bad boy go off for 1 to 2 million every second and a half. Something to keep in mind with Careful Attack is that it is affected by Aspect of the Serpent. You can take advantage of this and just hit the boss with Rapid Shot to quickly stack up AotS from ranged stance and let Careful Attack get a nice damage buff. But it is a game of tug o’ war. Also, if you notice that it didn’t crit, just reapply it until it does and all DOTs will tick as well.
This is the bread and butter of this build. Skirmisher’s Gambit from the Combat Paragon increases your critical severity by 50% but your critical chance is reduced by 10%. The Hunter Ranger is the only class with a feat like this and it is extremely powerful. Combine this feat with a Perfect Vorpal and you will be at about 192% critical severity. Since we lost 10% crit chance, we’re going to need to make up for that, but it’s very easily doable.
For the many players who haven’t deviated at all from the Trapper tree, I’ll offer a bit of reasoning behind abandoning a few beloved feats. First off, Ancient Roots: why would we need the longer duration for roots? We don’t have cooldowns to begin with so we are constantly reapplying the roots.
Secondly, let’s go over Serpent’s Bite. The biggest argument you will hear in opposition to this build is Serpent’s Bite vs Skirmisher’s Gambit. To shorten my point I’ll just go ahead and say it: Skirmisher’s Gambit yields more damage than Serpent’s Bite. Below is a link to a spreadsheet my buddy Ney made comparing Serpent’s Bite and Skirmisher’s Gambit.
I dont have the last two boons for Tyranny of Dragons, but when (more like if) I get them, I’ll put them into Dragon’s Thirst for the increased lifesteal. The 3% lifesteal we’re missing out on won’t make a noticeable difference in the long run. On top of that, the Earth Archon gives us a damage boost when we’re at full health so that life steal will help us stay at full life.
The only boon I can’t suggest with certainty is the Guild Boon. You might be in a guild that has different boons than me and that could be a good or a bad thing. I have my offense boon set to Power while my defense boon is set to defense. I’d say power is better than armor penetration if you have it available and are already at 60% resistance ignored. For those interested, I use the XP boon from utility and my guild doesn’t have any PVP boon unlocked.
Weapon Enchantment – Perfect Vorpal (this is what brings you up to 192% crit severity)
Armor Enchantment – Trans Elven or Negation (personally I like the Elven)
Offense Slots – Azure or Brutal enchantments
Defense Slots – Dark enchantments
Utility – your preference (I use Fey Blessings)
Augments are ancient news. High ranking bonding runestones and a fast proccing companion is the way to go for all DPS classes. I use the mercenary, which can be obtained from the Heirloom pack in the ZEN market. Also, once you get the Heirloom pack, all of your characters can pick it up from the Reward Claims Agent in the enclave. Why the Mercenary? He has 3 offense slots you can slot all rank 12 Bondings into.
You might wonder why I would upgrade the bondings past Perfect (rank 10) since the percent of companion stats you receive remains the same. My answer plain and simply is that the game is wrong. After rank 10, the percentage goes up but the tooltip doesn’t update with the higher levels. Rank 11 Bonding Stones give you 80% of your companion’s stats while a rank 12 gives you a whopping 95% of your companion’s stats. So, when the mercenary procs three companions gift (which he does all the damn time) it’s like you running around with 3 Ioun Stones.
Honorable mentions for the summoned companion go to the Young Yeti, Air Archon, and Zhentarim Warlock.
But Taco, the Zhentarim Warlock is so much better!
Possibly, but only if you play on PC. PC has the Sword Coast and with it all of the cool companion only equipment pieces that would give that Warlock everything it needs to be a great buddy. However, on XBOX we don’t have the shiny and sparkly companion talismans that PC does. As a result, the rings and belts available to our Mercenary are far superior to the lacklustre talismans in the AH.
For those who need to see to believe, I have a little before and after for the companions gifts from my Mercenary with two Rank 12 Bonding and one rank 11 Bonding. Keep in mind, my Mercenary is only rare. I’ll get him legendary one day.
Fire Archon for 7% increased damage (at epic) against targets with less than 50% health. This is going to really be evident at major boss fights where they’re dbelow half health for a bit of time and their health accounts for a lot of damage in dungeons
Earth Archon for 6% increased damage against targets while you’re at full health. There are alternatives and feel free to swap this one out, but whenever you’re running in a group you’re usually going to be at full health thanks to a paladin, healer, and even your lifesteal
Erinyes of Belial for 10% increase in crit severity
Air Archon for the increased damage against enemies not at full health (5% at epic)
You might wonder why I;m going with the Erinyes of Belial. So without it, we’re at 182% crit severity. Increasing that by 10% to bring it up to 192% will actually yield us a 3.6% increase in damage (when our crit chance is at 90%).
AotP gives us permanent combat advantage. Because of this, we can get a consistent damage increase from running the Blink Dog and Intellect Devourer which give you 5% combat advantage damage each at epic. So, feel free to experiment. At the moment, My setup is what I’ve listed.
Lantern of Revelation
+1,000 Critical Strike
+1,000 Armor Penetration
+600 Combat Advantage
Thayan Book of the Dead
+1,000 Critical Strike
+1,000 Armor Penetration
+600 Action Point Gain
Sigil of the Controller
+1,000 Critical Strike
+600 Control Resist
Lostmauth’s Horn of Blasting
+1,000 Armor Penetration
+600 Control Bonus
Another artifact worth mentioning is the wheel of elements. It’s good to use in the active artifact slot so you can pop it, get the fire buff, and deal an additional 30% damage. Personally, I prefer the Lantern as it’s a damage buff for the entire party.
I’m currently using the Dragonflight Raid Hood, Dragonflight Raid Gaiters, Elven Assault Coat, and Elven Assault Bracers. Get the Lostmauth set for the neck and belt (extra damage every time you crit). I’ll probably switch some stuff out for the Umbral gear once my guild unlocks it. As for the rings I’m currently wearing the Ring of Rising Precision +4 and Ring of Brutality +4. My companion is wearing the Ring of Rising Power +4, Ring of Brutality +4, and the Dragonflight Assault Belt. For my artifact main and off hand I have the Twisted set.
Artifact Main Hand/Off Hand Powers
For the main hand use Hunter’s Teamwork/Careful Attack or Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike. I use Careful Attack because that does an insane amount of damage on boss fights. My off hand has Aspect of the Pack and Combat Advantage Bonus.