Having decided on a Ranger, I suddenly decided I’d better give a Guardian a proper go instead of basing my decision on a single weapon experience (the starter club no less). Leveling the Ranger, I’d seen the Greatsword wielding Guardian’s and decided that looked too fun not to try. Reading too that Rangers with Bears (aka Bearbows – groan) are somewhat mocked made me want to check my decision before going too far.
And indeed it is way more fun once you have a weapon that suits your playstyle – in my case relentless melee for a melee class. I merrily leveled through Wayfarer Hills again, this time swinging bright arcs of destruction and jumping about with great dexterity. It was markedly harder – though ‘hard’ isn’t quite the right word for the starter zones – than playing a Ranged class. Several times I got overwhelmed by the combat dynamics and on-screen tells, enough to need reviving once. So I can imagine that at higher levels melee would indeed makes things significantly more difficult.
I enjoyed the Guardian, but didn’t enjoy it as much as the Ranger, who felt much more flowing and perpetually moving – the old trick of siccing your pet onto a mob while you quickly mine a node before returning attention to the fight never gets old. And being able to initiate from range speeds things up dramatically, as does moving toward your next target as you fling arrows at the current.
The other thing that swung me back was noticing how many Ranger’s were running around also wielding Greatswords1. It’s taken me this long to realise that you really can have completely different ways of playing a single class based on your kit. It’s quite an innovation when compared to Warcraft, and makes the class choice easier as you don’t feel like you’re missing out. The dramatic changes weapon choice makes means it’s all but impossible for newbie like me to work out what class someone is – which I think is a compliment to the game design.
So back I went to a Ranger, and I leveled a third time2, with a Bear, Longbow, and Greatsword. As in Warcraft, there’s something about starter zones that really work. I also finally dug out a straightforward video by LordWafflez on stats and talents and builds to use for fun Ranger leveling, which helps immensely with the feeling of being inundated with sometimes baffling options. Plus the tips on weapons swapping – I thought that was just for when an enemy got in your face and you were forced to switch to melee, so understanding it could be used proactively was an eye opener.
I played through the first Personal Storyline, and it was quite interesting. Some of the plot points resolved very abruptly, and the voice acting was a bit gung ho for my head canon version of me, but the Jotun storyline was effective. I felt sorry for the big oafs.
All of which means I’m finally, for the first time since buying GW2 back when it launched, ready to try a second zone. As a Ranger. Definitely a Ranger…
(And wow is this is a screenshot worthy game)