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Some repetitive stuff, but here are my thoughts:
Q. What is the most important thing to know about rangers?
A. Ranger's have a hidden stat that is determined by how much time you've spent in the wilderness vs. how much time you've spent in civillization. You should do everything you can to avoid spending significant time in civilized areas. - Add wilderness/civillized to your prompt, so you know where you are
- Do not spend any unneccessary time in the newbie academy. Get the fine leather gear and such if you want then get out
- Head directly to the kobolds or forest of nowhere to do all your initial ranking
- The easiest way to judge if you have the right wilderness time is by the gain or loss of fast camo - The void is civilized, avoid it, don't drop link if you have a choice.
Q. What is "fast camo"?
A. fast camo is the ability to camouflage without any lag associated with it. It's obtained by having a high enough time in wilderness ratio. Without fast camo there is about a two or three round lag before you can come out of camouflage. Other skills like creep are effected more subtly.
Q. Who can see me camouflaged?
A. Some mobs, Wood-elves if they are in the same room (you won't show up on who or where, however), other rangers, assassins that have marked you. Some conjie familiars. I don't know about shapeshifter forms, but probably some of them as well. Fiends, nightgaunts once they are on you (the conjurer had to see you first to send it though). The only way others can see you is if you aren't camouflaged, or in the case of getting fogged/faerie fired, can't camouflage. Bleeding, poison, or any other type of tick-based damage will bring you out of hiding also as well as area spells.
Q. Who can I see?
A. Once you have acute vision - other rangers, camouflaged mobs, any pc hiding in the wilds (sylvans & assassins). Not all mobs that hide in wilderness areas will show up though (especially my favorite, the gear burning yeti)
Q. Where are ranger guilds?
A. The newbie academy, west of Galadon just south of the kobolds, Emerald forest, north of Arkham, in the Ogier grove in Tar Valon (civilized), Arial city, I think there is one in Seantryn but I'm not sure. Blackclaw, east side. Southeast side of the holy grove. There may be others but those are the main ones
Q. What alignment/ethos/cabal should I be?
A. Lawful evil tribbie rangers are as much a valid concept as the more common chaotic neutral sylvan. That being said, evil rangers and good rangers both have a harder life than neutral ones do IMHO. Good rangers have some gaps where ranking in a wilderness area becomes difficult. Evil rangers (especially half-drow) don't have the sylvan support structure behind them. It's not all buddy buddy in the wilds, but most of your guild will not be open enemies unless you make them so. For your first ranger cookie cutter neutral is the best bet. Nexus rangers (blatant favorite cabal plug) bring some awesome powers to the bond, a nexus conjie's best friend.
Q. What to gear for?
A. Damage and Hitroll initially, saves, +str, hp later on. This is the rangers greatest weakness, not all the gear you are going to want is in a wilderness area. You'll just have to head into a civilized area (like the frigid wastes) get what you want and get out.
Q. Where can I rank?
A. Do a forum search for ideas, but common areas are Forrest of Nowhere, Trolls, Drogran hills (ugruks), The Battlefield, Drannetty wood, Mount Calarandaryl, Kiadanah-Rah. The idea being stick to wilderness areas unless you are absolutely desperate and willing to spend hours in the wilds regaining fast camo.
Q. Where can I quit in the wilderness?
A. Anywhere there is a pit (wood elves have an advantage here since it can be their hometown) - emerald forest, the grove, jade hills, the open plains, Northern Foothills, The western crossroads far west of Galadon (not wilderness, but one step from it), Outskirts of major towns like Galadon, Hamsah, or the Seantryn Bay (again not wilderness, but not cities either), your guild, probably other places I'm unaware of
Q. What's the best race?
A. All have advantages and disadvantages, humans have no additional experience penalty so are a little easier ranking than the others. I'm not a fan of felar rangers (17 str sucks) but some people like them
Q. What does bark skin do?
A. Bark skin provides -AC and some damage reduction. Keep it up at all times
Q. What skills are important?
A. Virtually all of them have value unless you have infravision, then dark vision is useless. Kick is about the only additional command you can enter besides dirt/disarm in a fight at low levels. I never practice it, but I don't knock people who do. Once you get serpent strike or entangle you should use those over kick however.
Q. What do fashion and imbue staff do?
A. Fashion staff creates a staff according to level without any bonuses. There is a long lag attached, camo first. Imbue staff will: give the staff +hit/+dam bonuses according to level, make it glowing, make it a healing weapon (approx. 40 hp when it glows blue). Imbue staff will also hit you for at least a devastate, more likely an obliterate. This has two issues - one, it hurts. Be at full health before imbuing a staff. Two, it has a long lag (less than fasion) and it brings you out of camouflage - try to be somewhere safe when you cast it.
Q. How do I lag?
A. Lash and bearcharge are the only ways. However, you have the following options - you can easily out move anybody in the game except a wind walking sylvan, especially in the wilderness or rough terrain. If they don't have teleport/return capability you should be able to catch them. Entangle increases your advantage by draining their moves. Call lightning is an excellent choice right after they flee, especially if they are writhing after an ambush.
Q. What is camp?
A. Okay, my first ranger I was pretty confused about this, maybe other people get it right away. Camp is like nap, only better. You can camp immediately after combat in almost any wilderness area. When you camp you automatically go to sleep and start regenerating at an accelerated rated. Camouflage first, then camp. Knucklehead that I am, I'd enter camp, then sleep. Sleep brings you out of camping and into normal sleep mode, don't do it, just camp is sufficient.
Some general thoughts (some obvious, some not):
Buy a ranger knapsack in the emerald forest guild, it's one of the better containers around that can be bought or picked up from the groundThis shop no longer exists
- Once you get butcher, turn autosac off so as to have food sources, ask your group to do the same. Keep a small stock of steaks on hand so you don't have to worry about trying to kill something while you are starving.
- Even after you can find water, carry a full canteen. Initially, I found that more than once I'd run out of mana trying to find water.
- Turn autoassist off. If you aren't the tank in your group you should be starting with camo;ambush as soon as the tank starts. Only exception is with two rangers this doesn't work any more, mobs can only be ambushed once / hour or so
- Sword/shield is the best alternative when tanking until you can imbue a ranger staff, dual wielding axes is probably the best bet when you want to dish out damage
- Ambush drive DOES NOT let you select a direction the way warriors do. They'll be driven in a random direction. Use it sparingly if danger is all around.
- Spam lore often to at least 81%. That way you can begin to figure out what spells staves and scrolls cast.
- You aren't a spec-less warrior, try not to fight like one (although for ranking you will often fight mobs just like that)
- After level forty, find areas with only one entrance exit and keep an active snare there. That way you can be at peace in the area except if someone avoids your snare or teleports in by random chance
- Start finding scrolls & staves to take advantage of. Detect invisible scrolls and staves are both pretty common.
- Once level 15, you can ambush onslaught, this is harder and will make your ambush skill go up faster.