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 were 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 2,900 or 3,000 to be on the safe side. the end result of this build is a ranger that has about 182% critical severity.
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 will need later on).
My Initial Roll:
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 will sometimes change my rotations depending on the situation. But my general purpose rotation for nasty 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.
AOTS is a great buff and can be very powerful if you know how the stacks work. AOTP is a great buff for yourself as well as 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). For the dailies, I use Seismic Shot and Forest Ghost. For my At-Wills, I use Careful Shot/Hunter’s Teamwork and Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike.
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 Paragonincreases 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 200% critical severity. Since we lost 10% crit chance, we’re going to need to make up for that, but it’s very easily doable.
Dark Fey Hunter – You gain 400 Power
Fey Precision – You gain 400 Critical Strike
Elven Haste – You gain AP 3% faster
Elven Ferocity – When striking a foe you have a chance to deal up to 20000 Arcane damage. (60s Internal Cooldown)
Elven Fury – When you kill a foe you gain 135 Power for 45 seconds. This buff stacks up to 30 times. Trash mobs make this stack fairly quickly and gives an overall 4,050 extra power when all 30 are applied.
Conjurer’s Gambit – You gain 250 Critical Strike and 250 Movement.
Evoker’s Thirst – You gain 400 Life Steal
Illusion Shimmer – You gain 3% deflection chance (you can swap for Forbidden Piercing for the 3% resistance ignored, I have an Axe Beak so i don’t need armor pen)
Shadowtouch – When dealing damage you have a chance to deal 20000 Necrotic damage over a few (4) seconds. After this effect ends the target receives 25% less healing from spells for 10 seconds.
Rampaging Madness – When you deal damage you gain a stack of “Madness”. When you reach 50 stacks of “Madness” you gain 4000 Power, 4000 Life Steal, and 4000 Regeneration. 10 seconds after gaining this bonus your stacks are reset. You may only gain one stack of “Madness” per second.
Encroaching Tactics – You gain 400 Combat Advantage Bonus
Refreshing Chill – You gain 400 Stamina/Guard Gain
Sleet Skills – You gain 2% Crit Severity
Cool Resolve- You gain up to 2000 Power based on how much Stamina or Guard you are missing. Works well with Refreshing Chill
Winter’s Bounty- Chance to gain bonus 10% Action Points when killing a target. (you could also swap for Avalanche if you want to, I just don’t see it as a huge damage booster)
Primordial Might – You gain 400 Power and 1600 Maximum Hit Points
Primordial Focus – You gain 400 Critical Strike and 1600 Maximum Hit Points
Drow Ambush Tactics – Combat Advantage damage bonus is increased by 10%
Dwarven Stamina – You now regain Stamina 5% faster
Abyssal Strikes – Gain +10% Damage versus Demons
Dragon’s Claws – Grants 400 Power
Dragon’s Gaze – Grants 400 Critical Strike
Dragonscale Defense – Grants 400 Defense (can swap for Draconic Armorbreaker and get 400 armor pen, but I have an axe beak so no need for me)
Dragon’s Greed – Grants 400 Life Steal Rating
Dragon’s Fury – Grants 5/6.5/8% increased Critical Severity
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. For those interested, I use the XP boon from utility and my guild doesn’t have any PVP boon unlocked.
Weapon Enchantment – Perfect Vorpal (which brings us up to 182% crit severity)
Armor Enchantment – Trans Elven or Negation (I prefer Elven)
Offense Slots – stack Azure or Brutal enchantments
Defense Slots – Dark enchantments
Utility – your preference (I like 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.
Blink Dog for increased combat advantage damage (5% at epic)
Intellect Devourer for increased combat advantage damage (5% at epic)
Fire Archon for increased damage against targets with less than 50% Hit Points by +7%
Air Archon for the increased damage against enemies not at full health (5% at epic)
I intentionally do not have the Erinyes of Belial in here. This is a high crit build, but more crit is not always the answer. When we were doing our feats, the 50% increase was definitely the way to go. However, we can get more out of the Fire Archon’s bonus than we can out of a 10% increase in crit severity. Feel free to swap the two out and see which one you like better. thank Kerupt for mentioning that
The Aspect of the Pack gives us permanent combat advantage. Because of this, we can really get a big damage increase from running the Blink Dog and Intellect Devourer as opposed to the other Archons.
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
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.