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Old November 22, 2021, 02:39   #1
Egavactip
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The "New" Ranger: Impressions

The past couple of weeks I've been trying a ranger character. Played six games--no wins, though two characters were CL45-50 when they got killed--which was enough for some initial impressions.

The biggest change is the completely different spell selection, which seems awful. So far as I can tell, the new ranger only has around a dozen spells, and some of them are useless, or nearly so, or of limited utility, while some are simply boring. Remove hunger has mild utility but is boring. Cure poison is an extremely minor spell. Stone to Mud is handy but merely a utility spell. Resist poison is a useful defensive spell, though very narrow, providing resistance to only one thing. Sense surroundings is very handy, although the high frequency of artifact lights and rods of magic mapping make it less uniquely useful than it would have been in older versions of angband.

Cover tracks is something I haven't used much but it didn't seem that useful, because it seemed to go away if I ever attacked something. Create Arrows seemed largely useless to me. First it requires staffs, most of which players ignore. Second, it too often just created +0 +0 arrows, which I can frigging buy in infinite numbers. By the late game, a ranger is usually swimming in good arrows, anyway, and the ranger also has Ammunition Brand spell to help fill any gaps at no real cost. Herbal curing is a joke. Decoy is something I've only tried a few times so far, not enough to truly evaluate. Haste is of course very important.

The class is now missing all those handy spells that help weak rangers survive at lower levels (except haste, which it does have), plus most of the useful mid level spells, and all of the powerful spells. There is not a single awesome spell for rangers now (with the possible exception of Decoy, which I have not yet fully explored). The lack of Destruction and Teleport Self/Other is particularly irritating (some might find that with Teleport Level, too, but I don't like that spell).

So with only a handful of spells to choose from, almost all utility-type spells, the magical aspect of rangers basically lost all interest to me. The only spells I used a lot were stone to mud, sense surroundings and haste.

The ranger retains all of his other early disadvantages. I thought at least his missile use at low levels would be more effective but it's as bad as anybody else's. Hit points are bad. Melee damage is bad. If it weren't for the fact that powerful artifacts drop a lot earlier and more regularly in newer versions of angband, the character would be at even more of a disadvantage.

The ranger now also seems to do a lot less missile weapon damage than before. In fact, by the late game, my melee weapons typically did more damage than my missile weapons could, which seems ridiculous. The weapon I used with my last character did around 450 to 475 damage per round, based on item swaps. This was more per round than almost all my arrows except those of Holy Might could do. So I mostly meleed, which did not ever used to be the case.

It seemed to me that bows were not better than other missile weapons now, but perhaps I am mistaken.

The class does still suffer from its previous biggest weakness, which is how weapons dependent it is. Great missile weapons are in very short supply and it is easy for a character to simply not get one during a game, or not get one until way late (as opposed to melee weapons, where it is very common for someone playing the new versions of angband to get a great melee weapon in the midgame). Perhaps I've just been very unlucky the past few weeks, but it does't really matter if a player is better with missiles if all he gets are limp noodles.

I would *love* for a ranger to have combat bonuses against all animals, all trees, and against kobolds/orcs/ogres/trolls/giants.

I would like the ranger to have three spellbooks, with some more and better spells.

It would be interesting if sneaky rangers (this could also be applicable to rogues) had a movement bonus when out of sight/awareness of monsters.

It would be nice to have some sort of ammo type only usable by rangers.
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Old November 22, 2021, 03:08   #2
Pete Mack
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STM as a spell allows LOS cheese, which is insanely powerful for a ranger. My preference would be an aggravate ball spell, that works like the Blackguard spell. Much less cheesy than LOS abuse.
It is worth noting here that rangers and rogues have swapped HP, so Ranger is no longer the fragile half-caster. Between bad CON and low HP bonus, rogue must still "live by his wits" but can no longer "fight his way oit of a tight spot." Rogue's primary stat is stealth, until the end game.
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Old November 22, 2021, 06:53   #3
mrfy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egavactip View Post
The past couple of weeks I've been trying a ranger character. Played six games--no wins, though two characters were CL45-50 when they got killed--which was enough for some initial impressions.
Sounds unlucky. I've been playing a ranger (with the latest nightly builds) and have him up to level 49. I'm probably at the level where I can take on Morgoth and win but due to my methodical style I'm plodding on and trying to kill all the uniques first.

I use all the spells though some are only useful early or in the midgame. I still use Remove Hunger, I like not having to carry food around. Sure it's utility but is useful. Detect Life until I get a rod of Detection, and Sense Surroundings can save a spot if you don't have a way of mapping. Resist Poison is very useful since you can't get immunity to poison. Herbal Curing is useful early, but not in the later part of the game. I don't use Stone to Mud that often (I tend to just bore through rock once I get a good weapon and enough strength, even though it's slower - it's less key presses to tunnel than to cast the spell).

I use Create Arrows a lot! I don't ignore any staff but turn all the ones I don't want to use into arrows and then brand them if they can be branded. Sure, some staffs don't create very interesting arrows but the branding spell can enhance them enough to be usable. I carry about 120-200 arrows and like to have them have a mix of different abilities.

I've been finding excellent launchers pretty easily. My current artifact bow, I found lying on the floor at 2700':

Long bow (x5) (+10,+24) [+2] <+5,+4,+2>
+5 to int, +4 shooting speed, +2 shooting power

Using it plus decent arrows is doing about 2 to 3 times my main weapon.

I don't use Cover Tracks or Decoy near as much as I should. I tend to get into fights from a distance with arrows and TO the really baddies.

Quote:
The ranger retains all of his other early disadvantages. I thought at least his missile use at low levels would be more effective but it's as bad as anybody else's. Hit points are bad. Melee damage is bad. If it weren't for the fact that powerful artifacts drop a lot earlier and more regularly in newer versions of angband, the character would be at even more of a disadvantage.
I didn't think there was much of a problem with hit points early. But I'm not a diver, I take on stuff I know I can handle.

Quote:
The ranger now also seems to do a lot less missile weapon damage than before. In fact, by the late game, my melee weapons typically did more damage than my missile weapons could, which seems ridiculous. The weapon I used with my last character did around 450 to 475 damage per round, based on item swaps. This was more per round than almost all my arrows except those of Holy Might could do. So I mostly meleed, which did not ever used to be the case.

It seemed to me that bows were not better than other missile weapons now, but perhaps I am mistaken.
My experience is otherwise.

Quote:
I would *love* for a ranger to have combat bonuses against all animals, all trees, and against kobolds/orcs/ogres/trolls/giants.

I would like the ranger to have three spellbooks, with some more and better spells.

It would be interesting if sneaky rangers (this could also be applicable to rogues) had a movement bonus when out of sight/awareness of monsters.

It would be nice to have some sort of ammo type only usable by rangers.
I'm curious what you would like to see in the spellbooks. Current ones make sense to me but having more powerful ones would be useful.

How about spells (verses) which temporarily brand arrows while you use them?

I don't see a need for a special ammo type. With a good launcher, I'm finding being able to create/brand is good enough.
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Old November 22, 2021, 11:07   #4
Thraalbee
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I recently played an ironman ranger. Cure posion and create arrow are really useful when you have no recall.
Also being able to use any shooter effectively in this release helps a lot!

Rangers with decent gear have always been strong. I'd argue that still stands in this release
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Old November 22, 2021, 14:30   #5
Selkie
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I've been playing rangers almost exclusively in 4.2.3.

I wrote an in-depth review of the class, before the recent changes were made and when herbal curing was in the second spell book.

Herbal curing is now very useful to cure poison before you get resistance. It's much cheaper than resist poison and I use it regularly in the early levels.

The fact that sling ammo is now indestructible is huge for a ranger. I prioritise finding a sling of power and branded ammo early on. With this I can easily get my character to level 30 without a sweat

By this time I will likely be on the verge of finding a randart melee rapier or dagger.

Even in the late game when my melee attacks are stronger than my missile attacks I will still regularly use my launcher. The reason being that I can shoot and scoot. I will regularly have speed of around +25-30 and with haste self and a well positioned decoy then dispatching uniques is relatively simple.

Create arrows can be useful. The better the stave the higher the chance of decent arrows (at least that's what I found). Since a stave of speed is of no use to a ranger then this can be swapped for decent ammo - which you can then brand post level 40.

Cover tracks is only of use for escaping in my view, but it does work and I've tested it thoroughly.

I love sense surroundings, satisfy hunger, detect life, resist poison, haste self, decoy and brand ammo. These are the staple spells. Every class has it's junk.

With poison resistance in your armour, then resist poison retains a use. Drolems won't be able to touch you. The only way most other classes can double resist poison is by carrying potions. So it's a powerful end game spell.

WHAT THE CLASS NEEDS: I suggest some sort of stealth spell addition. I think it's right that rangers should be able to cast a spell that works like a mushroom of Shadows.

MY TOP TIP: try a half troll ranger. It shouldn't work but somehow it's extremely powerful. The biggest advantage is you can carry all of the heavy sling ammo without a penalty. The native fast recovery is very useful and the extra HP can save you in the late mid game.
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Old November 24, 2021, 15:15   #6
robinjohnson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egavactip View Post
Remove hunger has mild utility but is boring.
Its practical effect is to free an inventory slot, which is a big deal, and can certainly enable more interesting play.

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Sense surroundings is very handy, although the high frequency of artifact lights and rods of magic mapping make it less uniquely useful than it would have been in older versions of angband.
Again, the utility is in not having to carry that rod, and whatever you can take instead.

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Cover tracks is something I haven't used much but it didn't seem that useful, because it seemed to go away if I ever attacked something.
So don't attack something! Stay out of sight and you've got an invaluable respite to heal and recharge your gear.

Quote:
Create Arrows seemed largely useless to me. First it requires staffs, most of which players ignore.
Other classes ignore them. Rangers turn them into arrows!

Quote:
Second, it too often just created +0 +0 arrows, which I can frigging buy in infinite numbers. By the late game, a ranger is usually swimming in good arrows, anyway, and the ranger also has Ammunition Brand spell to help fill any gaps at no real cost.
I turn almost every staff I find into arrows (and, once I've got near-inifinite gold, buy all the staves the shops have and do the same) and keep the best ones. By the midgame I was carrying a golfbag of +10 or higher arrows in a range of slays and brands. This hasn't been my experience my experience with other classes.

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Decoy is something I've only tried a few times so far, not enough to truly evaluate.
I've not got the hang of it either, but figuring it out feels like a fun puzzle. I've used it successfully to draw fire from breathers a few times. I tried digging a long spiral corridor and putting a decoy at the end of it to drain nasties out of a vault, but it doesn't seem to last long enough to work for that.

Quote:
I would *love* for a ranger to have combat bonuses against all animals, all trees, and against kobolds/orcs/ogres/trolls/giants.
I like the idea of an animals/trees connection, but hostility doesn't seem to fit. Maybe trees should *like* Rangers, though I'm not sure what that would look like.
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Old November 27, 2021, 18:07   #7
archolewa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinjohnson View Post
I like the idea of an animals/trees connection, but hostility doesn't seem to fit. Maybe trees should *like* Rangers, though I'm not sure what that would look like.
You know, having class-specific reactions from various monster types could be interesting. For example, maybe Rangers get effectively a stealth bonus against trees (i.e. the trees stay asleep longer). Orcs could be more likely to flee from Blackguards (since Blackguards tend to be large and intimidating, and orcs are easily intimidated). Similar with undead and priests. Undead could be stay asleep longer around Necromancers.
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Old November 27, 2021, 18:32   #8
Pete Mack
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@Arch--
NPP has this in 0.5. Unfortunately it also has hard barriers on progress in the form of unkillable angels that appear out of nowhere after DL ~60.
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Old November 27, 2021, 22:38   #9
MITZE
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Decoy *was* a lot more powerful, but was rightfully nerfed because it allowed for ridiculous shenanigans.

Basically, if you put a Decoy down, an enemy would always path to it if it wasn't in the enemy's LOS, even if you were. This meant that you could put one in an alcolve or something out of enemy sight, and shoot said enemy a whole bunch with no risk to yourself, at least until the enemy had pathed to the point where it had eyes on the Decoy.
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Old November 27, 2021, 22:59   #10
Estie
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I dont know _any_ variant where peaceful monsters arent predominantly annoying. In a game where killing rewards xp, friendlies are the real enemy.
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