ArenaNet have revealed the third profession to grace the fair lands of Guild Wars 2's Tyria. Lead designer Eric Flannum and game designer Jon Peters spoke to Gamereactor about the returning class - the Ranger is a tree-hugging survival specialist, combining traps, pets and ranged weapons to wreak havoc from afar. So what exactly's been said about the new class? Let's take a closer look:
Pets will set the Ranger apart from other professions, in that they're the only ones that'll have ‘em. Up to three pets can be tamed at once, and are broken down into twelve types. Within these types there'll be variations - bears for example, can be either brown bears, black bears and polar bears, each with skills specific to that variation. A brown bear would use Fearsome Roar, whereas the polar bear will flaunt the more exotic Icy Roar. The dragon-like drakes can also be tamed, with each of their various elemental forms - fire, ice, etc. - lending themselves again to specific abilities.
Pets are also broken down into terrestrial, amphibious and aquatic groups, which decide where they can follow you. The inclusion of the aquatic group, said Eric Flannum, speaks to the large number of sub-aquatic areas in Guild Wars 2 - citing underwater cities as an example. Sharks, spiders and lizards are said to be included as pets. That's right, effing sharks.
Pets, once charmed, assume the level of the ranger. However, they also progress through twenty evolution levels, unlocking up to four ability slots each waiting to be adorned by one of eight abilities.
Three modes dictate how pets respond to the world, aggressive, defensive and passive, while commands such as attack, heel and stay allow you some direct control. And them's the pets.
Rangers can set traps, such as ice traps and spike traps, which are triggered as enemies walk over them. They can only be laid one at a time, and poof into nothingness if you walk too far away.
The ranger's spirit skills summon nature spirits, who cast a constant area of effect buff for as long as they survive. The Sun Spirit was given as an example, a fiery spirit who increases fire damage in the immediate vicinity. Just like traps, they'll vanish when you run off. They're also susceptible to damage, so a few thwacks from the enemy and they'll be toast.
Five skills were offered up as examples of what the ranger will be up to. Whirling Defence, Spread Shot, Serpent's Strike, Hunter's Call and Barrage. Interestingly, Eric Flannum spoke of how Guild War 2's new engine will allow for far greater detail in the skill animations. Whirling Defence in the original Guild Wars was always meant to feel like an agile deflection of incoming projectiles - even though the engine couldn't show it - but in Guild Wars 2, we're promised, you'll see actual projectiles being knocked away by a ranger's Whirling Defence.
Comprehensively, the ranger's weapons are as such: main hand weapons will be swords and axes. Off hand weapons are axes, daggers, torches and warhorns. And two-handed weapons are greatswords, longbows and shortbows. With the abolition of secondary professions, ArenaNet are adamant that the ranger can still be specced as a melee character. Greatswords will obviously help in that respect.
More on the Guild Wars 2 info-drip-feed as we get it. But for now, rangers!