Guild Wars: Playing it safe with a Ranger

puppMost all of my Guild Wars 2 time as of late has been spent playing my Ranger, Dawnbreak Wild.  Methodically going through all of the zones once again, she’s hit level 60 without peeking her head outside of a 1-25 zone.  It’s relaxing progression and I’m grooving to it.

But I started to wonder if I’m just playing it so safe with her, so vanilla.  Her setup is as far from fancy as one can get: I use a longbow and greatsword, switching between the two to keep combat variety going.  My preferred pet is a dog, who does a terrific job knocking the enemy down and being a tank.  My traits primarily focus on giving me more damage.  And my skills are mostly signets, giving me more toughness, regeneration, and a passive speed boost.

With this setup, she cuts through the enemy pretty fast and is surprisingly durable.  I’ve had many encounters where she’ll be swarmed by a pack of mobs, only to get out her greatsword and live long enough to see each one of them beheaded.

I do see it as a very vanilla build and playstyle, and I guess that concerns me that I’m going down a predictable, boring road.  I haven’t really done much with spirits or traps at all, and I think that there’s probably a lot of more interesting builds out there if I just took some time to do research.  I guess I worry that I’m getting stuck in a rut only partway through her career and am not that motivated to experiment.  Maybe I’m writing this to provide that inner motivation.

For those of you who play Guild Wars 2, do you find yourself figuring out a build early on and then pretty much sticking with it from then on out?  I’m reminded of what a high school teacher once told me, that if she let the kids choose their own seats, by the third day they will all be sitting in that spot for the rest of the year.  We’re creatures of routine and habit, even when given a wide menu of options.


8 thoughts on “Guild Wars: Playing it safe with a Ranger

  1. seth October 11, 2013 / 8:41 am

    I have a tendency to equip all signets just because I love the passive bonuses. When I slot activated abilities I have a weird habit or perpetually saving them for future trouble, and I end up not using them very often.

  2. slaynne October 11, 2013 / 9:01 am

    Seth hit it spot on. My thief has all signets equipped and I never use their active abilities. Too many choices means I have to think too much. Most of the time that leads me to brain fatigue and then eventually into a coma.

    Friends don’t let friends have choices.

  3. Lythiea October 11, 2013 / 10:11 am

    I switch traits constantly depending on what playstyle I’m looking for… Less so for gear, since it’s expensive to acquire. Especially the ascended gear. I play an ele and Mesmer primarily – they completely change based on build/weaponset. I also play WvW primarily, so I’ve learned to change out utilities/traits situationally: That build that is amazing in a coordinated Zerg may not be good for small groups or scouting. That being said, I have preferred builds: Especially if those builds have alternate trait slots that can be managed on the fly. Half of the fun of the game for me is playing around with new options to find which one is best for what situation.

  4. Rowan October 11, 2013 / 10:28 am

    I say nothing wrong with a vanilla build. Exotic is not always better.

  5. Jeromai October 11, 2013 / 10:58 am

    I think when you’re leveling, it’s perfectly ok to find a build that you’re comfortable with and stick with it. I found early on that some weapons per profession were a lot better for solo dps than others – my guardian ran around with sword/focus long before it was cool, my warrior was an axe charr pre- and post- nerf. (Thematically, I preferred my second guardian and warrior alts to use a greatsword to change things up.)

    These days when I run around the open world, I focus a lot on swiftness to keep moving around at a good clip as I’m either in exotic zerker on an 80, or I’ve learned to stack power on my leveling gear and so don’t need utility skills to give more damage.

    The danger is when one goes into a dungeon and expects the same skills and builds to work, without at least changing the utilities for the situation. I rarely used stability and Stand Your Ground when I was leveling, for example, but always swapped it in when I saw a mob that did knockdowns in dungeons (yay, AC.) I always had every weapon I could use in my inventory, just in case an encounter needed more control, or to go ranged, etc.

    And as you get higher up in levels, having a condition removal or many becomes important in both group dungeons and to a lesser extent, wandering the open world, whereas it’s more of a waste of a skill to bother with it in the lowbie zones where mobs are more well-behaved.

    My main headache these days is trying to retrait for specific dungeons (normal explorables vs aetherblade filled ones, one may require a bit more sturdiness and condi removal for the latter), WvW, Tequatl killing (am I defending turrets or in the foot zerg), or farming in the open world… on the same character. Hopeless. Each facet does better with a different build, but takes so much time to swap back and forth.

  6. kiantremayne October 11, 2013 / 3:17 pm

    I tend to play around with different weapons and skills early on with each class in GW2, then settle into a play style I’m comfortable with somewhere in the level 30 – 40 range. For example, I’m working on an elementalist (which will be my 7th character to max level once she’s done – just necro to go after that). It took a while messing about using a staff for range and trying the elemental summoning skills to see what working with a pet was like before I settled on dual daggers, conjured weapons and some survivability skills.
    My own ranger uses longbow and a melee set up (greatsword, sword/dagger or sword/axe depending on my mood). I’m a bit odd in that melee is my usual form of attack on the ranger, and the longbow is there as back-up. The beauty of GW2 is that there’s no one way to play any of the classes, and you have to be ready to mix it up a bit depending on the situation.

  7. Ocho October 11, 2013 / 4:07 pm

    Personally, and I know I’m odd, I prefer going in blind. On top of that, I’ll try to pick builds that seem like the least played/just look the most fun. That’s how in WoW I leveled as a tank… I had no idea that Warrior would be a tank, I thought it would be a mid-range DPS. Sometimes its fun to pick a random choice and let the cards fall as they may.

  8. Randomessa October 15, 2013 / 11:38 am

    I’m probably not your target audience, but I haven’t switched from Shortbow since launch….

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