Ballad of the archer


In the category of “class features that Syp likes,” you can make sure to include being a ranged damage-dealer. While I’ve done the magical variant, I’ve grown to prefer classes that use straight-up ranged weapons: bows, crossbows, guns, rifles, bee cannons, etc.

In part it’s because I like to have a full view of the action instead of jamming my screen up against mobs and particle effects. In part it’s because there’s a certain joy in being able to whittle down — or kill — a mob before it can reach me. And certainly in part it’s because most of these skills tend to be instant use instead of requiring a cast bar.

Probably the fact that these classes tend to be somewhat popular is the only thing that keeps me from playing them more regularly than I already do. I barely touched the Hunter in LOTRO because Hunters were carpeting the land with their Elfin corpses. But perhaps it depends on the game: In FFXIV, I find myself continuing to drift back to the Bard.

Sure, like others I’m a little let down that this game’s Bard doesn’t have as useful songs that require a lot of use than in other games, but at least there’s a little utility on top of doing some fun DPS from afar. I’ve actually got my sights set on the Mechanist, but that’s not going to happen for a while since the studio decided to lock it behind a quest that’s far in my future.

In Neverwinter I’ve been flirting with a Hunter Ranger — she has neat animations and so far can put out some serious hurt on mobs without getting touched. Maybe it’s a lazy thing? I like making the mobs run up to me instead of the other way around. In real life my characters would have horrible cardio.

I loved my Hunter in WoW, especially in the Wrath era when she had a big ol’ gun that poured out the heat. In WildStar, I enjoyed my Engineer’s range, although like most shotgun-type classes, it wasn’t as far out as I would’ve preferred. And in SWTOR I definitely thought that my Agent’s blaster rifle was much preferred to beating things to death with rave sticks.

It’s just a shame that it has to be “bow and arrow” most of the time, especially in fantasy games. Bows aren’t bad… I guess, but almost every other option is far more cool.


2 thoughts on “Ballad of the archer

  1. pkudude99 March 3, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    After level 54 you’ll start using a skill (get it at 52, but no point in using it until 54 when the new skill then requires it) for both Bard and Machinist that adds a cast bar. It’s “only” 1.5 seconds, as opposed to casters using the full 2.5 second GCD (or longer for some spells) for their casting and FFXIV allows “slidecasting” so you still have more mobility than a caster, but it’s no longer instant anymore. Takes some getting used to, but isn’t bad once you are used to it.

  2. Aywren March 3, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    When I play Bard in end game dungeons and raids, I’m singing songs all the time. It may not seem like it, but the extra damage, and especially mana regen for healers, is super important. There are times my songs have saved a raid, or so my white mage friend has told me — when she is out of mana and without other means of mana regen, no heals support the tank, and the whole thing falls apart fast. So it may not seem like songs are huge, but they can be once you learn to use them well.

    To add to PKDude’s comment above, Bard and Machinist both change a lot after Heavensward. I’m probably not the best person to talk about it because I continue to strongly disagree with the direction they took my beloved Bard in, and I see no “fix” in sight. Some people are fine and still love it just as much as before, so don’t let that sway your experimentation! I’m moving towards going Monk on that character now because I feel like my outgoing DPS is way too slow and lacking, despite the wonderful support I can provide. Maybe it’s just not for me anymore. 😦

    That being said, it’s a GREAT class to level and learn dungeons with! You can see everything from the ranged view and it helped me learn a lot of mechanics.

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