After a few skirmishes with lesser foes, I feel ready to face my arch-nemesis class. Today, I will take a first step towards turning Rangers into enjoyable, balanced characters. There is much work to do, so expect several posts on the subject until I'm satisfied with the result.
On this entry, I will address Ranger class features. As I explained in my class overview posts, these are terrible overall. I'm convinced that better features would make the class more enjoyable to play but there is little room to improve them from a balance point of view, as the Ranger's power level is somewhere around the stratosphere. In order to keep a semblance of balance, consider the following revision to Twin Strike (which I will comas a requirement to the feature changes proposed:
I propose the following modifications for Ranger class features:
Hunter's Quarry - damage reduced to 1d4 (heroic), 2d4 (Paragon), 3d4 (Epic)
(The feat Lethal Hunter now increases the dice to d6 instead of d8)
Skirmish (new feature) - On your turn, if you move at least 3 squares away from where you started your turn, you gain a +1 bonus to melee attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
Replace Archer Fighting Style and Two-blade Fighting Style with the following:
Archer Fighting Style: Gain a +2 bonus to AC against Opportunity Attacks. Your Prime Shot increases damage done by your Hunter's Quarry by your Wisdom modifier, in addition to its normal effect.
Two-Blade Fighting Style: Because of your focus on two-weapon melee attacks, you can wield a one-handed weapon in your off hand as if it were an off-hand weapon . (Make sure to designate on you character sheet which weapon is main and which is off hand). Your Skirmish feature increases damage done by your Hunter's Quarry by your Wisdom modifier, in addition to its normal effect, as long as you are wielding two melee weapons.
What is the reasoning behind these feature changes? I pursued the following objectives:
- More build differentiation. Previously, the archer build didn't have any feature that actually improved your archery. Now, although any build can do a decent job at either range or melee, there will be one clearly favoured option.
- Get rid of unwanted, "free" feats. They are poor, uninteresting choices for class features, unless the feats in question have strict requisites, like Two-Weapon Defense or Armor Proficiency. Which wasn't the case.
- More fun. In this case, I tried to accomplish this by increasing the importance of movement and positioning. Prime Shot was a good idea, but it often wasn't worth the effort for Archer Rangers, so I improved the bonus. Likewise, I gave melee builds a similar tool. In order to balance for the added damage, I reduced Hunter's Quarry damage.
Note that there was a published alternative for the new Skirmish feature, in the Prime Strike feat from Martial Power. I could have used that instead, but I disliked the lack of control that a Ranger (with few pushing powers) had over the effect. Skirmish works well, from my experience with monsters and the Warlock's Shadow Walk.