- The Skillbook
- Your Skills
- --Mortal Blow
- --Arrow Rain
- --Silver Hawk
The Ranger is a unique class; they don't really excel greatly in any one area, but where other classes may fall, Rangers can stand out. Rangers combine a unique combination of ranged One-on-One combat and Mob-combat, possessing skills that allow you to be in the middle of the fray or sniping safely from the distance. They're skillbook makes them masters of versatility and resourcefulness.
This guide is written with every knowledge I have gained in my journey to Ranger and many years of playing experience. It's not perhaps the best or the most complete, but I hope my insights may help you make decisions that you will be satisfied with. Consider this guide a "second opinion."
A Rangers skillbook is not particularly set in stone and often times builds created vary greatly on the individuals preferred playing style. You should not limit yourself to following a very concrete build; you should adapt it to your own path.
The general consensus though, is that you max Strafe as soon as you can. After you have Strafe you can usually get by fairly well; the rest of your skillbook is open to your own creations. I will explain every skill, possible pro's and cons, and also leave you points that are most beneficial to leave a skill at.
Just remember you cannot have them all. You have 151 SP to spend during the 3rd advance, that leaves you 19 SP short of being able to master everything.
Thrust: [Mastered: level 20. +30 Speed]
Suggest Level(s): 0, 5, 10
Description: Thrust permanently boosts your moving speed. Mostly considered to be a skill for convenience and thus Thrust usually gets leftover SP. (if there is any).
Speed has it's definite advantages though. It allows you to move about your map faster, escape from enemies quicker, and many other benefits. However, the argument is you can get speed from Equips and Potions, so you'll want to use SP- which is hard to get and expensive to reset- on more useful skills.
There's also the fact of Mounts to be considered. As of patch V.49 you can tame wild creatures to ride about upon, and they boost your moving speed well past Thrust or even an Haste. Thrust will still allow you move faster off your Mount (like in the training field) but then again in higher levels you very rarely train alone, and most the time you'll have someone who can give you Haste anyways.
It begs the question "I wonder if there's better uses for my SP?"
Mortal Blow: [Mastered: level 20. 250% Damage; 70% chance of activating. 10% chance of instantly killing an enemy with less than half its HP left]
Suggested Level(s): 5, 11, 20
Description: Mortal Blow can be a little confusing at first. It activates when a monster reaches your minimum range; instead of trying to smack your enemy with a bow, Mortal Blow will fire a sometimes fatal arrow at very close range. As said, it applies pretty good damage, and sometimes if you inflict enough damage there's a chance MB will kill the enemy in one hit.
Mortal Blow is a prerequisite of Arrow Rain so many Rangers will have this skill at level 5 early on. It's up to you to decide whether you want to leave it at 5, 11, or master it. Mortal Blow is useful when a enemy gets right up into your face, and sometimes an enemy will spawn right on top of you so it's hard to avoid. Also if the enemy happens to be stunned by Hawk or Arrow Bomb, Mortal Blow won't un-stun the monster like bow-whacking would.
The counterpoint is that, like Thrust, maybe there's better places to allot skill points. Yes, MB comes in handy and it looks more awesome than causing minimal damage by bow-whacking, but Rangers possess a lot of skills that keep enemies out of your face. The whole point most the time is to stay away from enemies, and many places you will train at will reflect this. The argument is with skills like Puppet, Arrow Rain, Power Knock Back, you'll only use Mortal Blow in some rare instances. Most the time you will not approach a monster and hope Mortal Blow will work, you'll be trying to keep it far away as possible.
Also looking ahead, there's Dragon Pulse in the 4th job, which forceably knocks back enemies a great distance, kind of like a ranged Super Power Knock Back. There's probably more useful places for your SP in my opinion.
Puppet: [Mastered: level 20. Summons a doll for 60 seconds with 6000HP.]
Suggested Level(s): 9, 12, 18, 20
Description: Puppets one of the most unique, interesting, and necessary skills in the game. It summons a doll that causes the enemies to attack it and not you. Note that Puppet doesn't draw monsters to it like a magnet, the enemy must be trying to attack you ( i.e. in an aggravated state) to draw monsters to it, and also even though the skill says "summon" it only requires MP to use, not Summoning Rocks. This is a must have skill as a Ranger, don't have anything less than 9 points in it. I recommend you have more than 9, but thatís up to you.
How exactly can you use puppet? Well, the basic use is to aggravate a monster and cast puppet so you can fire at the monster while it's distracted in attacking your puppet. If you want to get more tricky you can aggro an enemy and then cast puppet on a platform your puppet can't be attacked from (Useful for enemies with distance attacks). Of course you can use it to lure mobs and enemies as well, there's many creative uses for Puppet; half the fun is utilizing the terrain and vantage points with puppet effectively. You can also use Puppet on bosses!
Puppet however is less effective against monsters who have attacks that blast everything in a certain range, like a Crimson Balrogs black lightning attack. Also with some monsters it's hard to tell whether its aggro'd at you or not. Squids often take some time for them to get aggro'd at you, so you may cast puppet to early, or because squids have a radius attack you might still take damage if you're to close. Also, Some projectile attacks like those found in Death Teddy's penetrate through multiple targets including Puppet. Puppet is hard to use in parties too, if you're attacking the same monster. Puppet only attracts monsters if the aggro is against you, so if someone else hits it puppets effect cancels and the monster turns on your party member.
However even though it takes some practice and experimentation to use effectively, Puppetís an extremely useful skill and it's very cheap to use. As the enemies you train on get progressively stronger you should adjust puppet so you have enough time to attack before the puppet vanishes. Generally, to be safe, level 18 puppet has the max timer (60 seconds) and is a good place to stop at. However if you want the extra 1000 HP (which is a lot) max this skill. Chances are you won't regret having at least level 18 or max puppet. But if you just absolutely need the SP elsewhere, level 12, or bare minimum level 9, is effective, though certainly not nearly as much.
Inferno: [Mastered: level 30. 150% Damage with Fire Attribute]
Suggested Level(s): 1, 11, 28, 30.
Description: A unique attack in that it has an elemental fire attribute. It's pretty strong normally (150% at max) but against enemies weak to fire you get an extra 150% damage multiplier (Though there's some confusion to how this works exactly, though). On the other hand enemy's invulnerable to fire attacks it only applies 1 damage, and some claim monsters are sometimes only "resistant" to fire attacks not invulnerable. Otherwise, the general complaint against Inferno is that it's another mob attack and you already have two: Arrow Bomb and Arrow Rain. Why do you need another one for? Sure it's stronger than Arrow Bomb sometimes and even stronger than Arrow Rain in some instances (And of course sometimes it's weaker, and it doesn't stun), but it's 30 SP points and without it you can max everything you want no problems. It is however a good idea to have at least one point in Inferno to draw mobs without fear of stunning them.
But, there's some things that should be considered here. For instance, do you have Final Attack? FA makes Arrow Bomb slower, and Inferno will apply stronger damage and much faster than Arrow Bomb+FA could match up to. Arrow Rain is stronger yes, but it's a different attack. Arrow Rain has a high vertical range, and a short horizontal range. So enemies you could use Inferno on sometimes you won't be able to use Arrow Rain against because of distance. Also like Arrow Bomb it has an explosion radius. If you don't get Inferno you'll be stuck with using Arrow Bomb for long distance attacking. If you have FA, you might want to think twice about that. Also, while there's limited maps with mobs of fire-weak monsters, there's no saying maps in the future won't contain any.
Arrow Rain: [Mastered: level 30. 160% Damage, attacks up to Six monsters]
Suggested Level(s): 1, 28, 30
Prerequisites: Level 5 Mortal Blow
Description: Arrow Rain is a mob skill unique to melee-ranged classes. Much like a Wizards lightning attack, Arrow Rain damages monsters within a radius around your character and it has no minimum range. Typically up until now you couldn't use a mob skill if your surrounded by enemies, you had to try and attack from a distance if you could. Now you no longer need to worry if a mob gets in your face, unlike another ranged class who are still stuck with your old predicament. Thatís a very strong argument for Arrow Rain. Leaving Arrow Rain at level 1 isn't that wise of a decision, and certainly the benefits of having 29 extra SP points to put elsewhere is weak as well, because Arrow Rains way to useful to allot the points elsewhere. But if you want too...Your choice I suppose.
Arrow Rain comes in useful in a lot of places. You don't always have to be in the middle of a mob taking damage to use it, in fact a lot of the places you use Arrow Rain is from a safe distance above the mob below. Arrow Rain has a great vertical range, so you can hit monsters a good deal below you and around you. It's also a strong attack with 160% damage increase.
Though it's not entirely popular, some Rangers choose to get Arrow Rain even before Strafe. Killing 6 enemies at once in mobs is much cheaper and faster than killing a mob one at a time with Strafe. So if you have the right maps (Which are somewhat limited) you can train especially fast at first. But that can be discussed in another guide all to it's own.
Why would you leave Arrow Rain at 28 instead of 30? Well, the last two levels only add 1% damage, and at 28 Arrow Rain has it's maximum area of damage (The skill doesn't say so, but the area of affect increases as it becomes higher leveled). But if you figure this skill owns and you need every bit of power, go ahead and max it. Unless you want those 2 SP you save elsewhere.
Silver Hawk: [Mastered: 30. Hawk summoned for 180 seconds, 99% of stunning]
Suggest Level(s): 16, 21, 29, 30
Prerequisite: Level 5 Puppet, uses Summoning Stones.
Description: This skill consumes 1 Summoning Stone to call a Silver hawk to your side. The hawk will hover above your character, and when an enemy comes into range it will swoop down and attack. However hawk is not really used for its attack prowess, itís especially useful because it has a very high stun rate. Very useful for fighting monsters one on one, especially if youíre attacking a monster and another one spawns behind you. Your feathery friend will swoop down and stun it, allowing you to keep focused on the enemy at hand. Also hawk will keep attacking and re-stunning a monster, so in theory as long as you keep getting hawk to stun a monster you can keep attacking without having to worry about it attacking back or even moving. Very nice indeed.
Of course Hawkís somewhat unreliable at lower levels, but even half way through the skill level 16 Hawk has an impressive 90% stun rate. Of course, 90% still isnít 99% and level 16 hawk will have you using more summoning rocks and hawk wonít attack as fast. If you want the SP for something more important, go for it, but Hawk is a very useful skill. Especially when youíre partying and the flow of monsters spawning on your platform is high. If a monster spawns unexpectedly on you this can cause a lot of time to be wasted, and youíll probably lose more HP/MP/Mesos trying to recover your position. With Hawk, you can keep a steady training rhythm without to much fear of being knocked awkwardly around like a punching bag.
Strafe: [Max: level 30. 100% Damage per arrow]
Suggested Level(s): 30
Description: Fires 4 arrows at once. Strafe acts like 4 separate arrows fired on top of each other, not one attack. Because of this each arrow is subject to activating a Critical hit, so the damage range is between 400%-800%. Strafe is fast and can consume a lot of MP, so the general idea is to master strafe as fast as possible so you squeeze every ounce of power for your money. Thereís really no good argument against strafe, and thus not much reason to talk about it. Itís way better than Double Shot, and you wonít get a new main-attack until youíre a Bow Master. Just master it as quick as you can.
Section 2: Under construction.
Well, enjoy. Comments are very much appreciated, even if it's only a "good job!". If you think something wasn't good, or if you have extra content or "other opinions to add", I'm very open to throwing that into my guide.
Edited by PoserMobile, 30 January 2008 - 03:43 PM.