First Look at Neverwinter's New Hunter/Ranger Class - Part 1

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Today, Cryptic Studios has released their module 2 patch for their wildly successful Neverwinter MMO. If you haven’t experienced Neverwinter yet, you are missing out on a game with one of the most unique MMO combat systems, one of which may become the new standard for upcoming titles (I’m looking at you ESO). With this release, Cryptic unveils the much anticipated Hunter Ranger class, a fierce woodland warrior who can strike from great distances and provide powerful DPS without a scratch. I decided to try it out today and level one 1-10 to give you my impression of this quiver happy class. 

Once you have created your hero, your journey begins per usual on the shores near the Protector’s Enclave.  When choosing the race for your hunter ranger, keep in mind that you want to maximize the ranger’s primary stat, dexterity, while utilizing the secondary stats, power and wisdom.  Selecting a Drow, elf, or half-elf are all optimal choices.  I went with the half-elf race.  To aid you in your early adventures Cryptic has released a hunter ranger booster pack for 3500 Zen, or about $40.

The first thing you’ll notice while cleaning up mobs around the Enclave, is that this class has amazing range.  Your initial bow attack has a max range of 80 feet, which can be increased by 6 when you spec into Aspect of the Falcon.  The first few levels in the tutorial go by in breeze because of this, especially when you receive Split Shot.  

After the first few levels you will receive split shot, a deadly cone attack that fires several arrows into multiple enemies.  The longer you hold Split Shot, the smaller the width of the cone becomes until it shrinks into a single target.  Split Shot is great opener for attacks at an early level, allowing you to strike several enemies in a given area.  

The power menu allows you unlock new skills and upgrade them throughout your leveling experience.  From levels 1-10 I put points in Split Shot, Aspect of the Falcon, (giving me +6ft of range) and Marauder’s Escape (an evasion power that comes in handy).  I also had enough points to unlock Hindering Strike, and Rain of Arrows. 

Here is a shot of the Hunter Ranger’s feat tree.  Archery, obviously is a go-to if you prefer ranged DPS and using your bow.  Combat allows you to master the melee stance that you receive at level 10.  Finally, Nature appears to be a ranged healing class, which I may have to try for myself.  

Rain of Arrows is your first targeted AOE.  This skill allows you to place your target over a group of mobs, and then shower them with arrows.  Once you unlock this skill (around level 6) it becomes a solid opener which you should immediately follow with Split Shot.  

Here we see Hindering Shot in action.  This allows you to root an enemy for a short amount of time, allowing you to focus on weaker targets or ranged enemies.  This skill will certainly come in handy during PVP.  Use this attack when you are facing a mob with a higher level enemy that needs to get close to you do to damage.

Pictured here is Seismic Shot, your first daily attack.  Seismic shot is a powerful AOE attack where your Ranger fires a thundering shot into the ground, damaging enemies in its path while also pulling them towards you.  This attack is great and can cause tremendous damage if you can string into the following order: Rain of Arrows, Split Shot, then Seismic Shot.  I pulled this rotation off a few times on large mobs and completely and utterly obliterated them!

That’s it for this session of Neverwinter.  Check back in a few days when I go from level 10-15 with my newly unlocked melee stance.  I’ll also do some PVP to see how this class plays with and against others.  Thanks for reading!

Follow me on twitter for all of my MMO articles and updates: @richardwhelchel

Published Dec. 5th 2013

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