Monday, July 13, 2009

"Class acts: the Ranger" article on DDI

"See the Verdant Silence ranger build and theverdant silence weapon in this month's Class Acts."

UPDATE: My evaluation of this article may have been excessively optimistic. In an unprecedented move, WoTC has published a heavily rewritten revision, due to "unacceptable quality". Several powers have been tweaked or redesigned. Although there are many changes, the fact that many of them were inexplicably listed as 'Immediate Interrupt' yet had no trigger seems to be the most urgent fix. These have been changed to Standard actions. Oddly, in my first reading of the article I completely missed that - action type is one of those lines that rarely provides new information, and often gets skipped.

There is no such build. If, like me, you read this introduction and start building expectations while the .pdf loads, you will be up for a bit of a letdown. Specifically, none of the following items, which I was hoping to see, is actually in the article:
  • New class build, with a cool class feature.
  • New, non-terrible, at-will powers.
  • More feats to expand ranger options.
To sum up, this Class Acts does nothing to address the most pressing concerns I have with the class. What it does have, however, is a series of Encounter and Utility Powers of all levels, playable and moderately interesting, though not terribly exciting. There is no clear theme that I can make out - just a lot of "hit stuff twice, gain a bonus or two". On the other hand, all utilities are very nice, and encounter powers to boot, and I expect to see many of them as the new picks of choice for their level - they are all on the offensive side, triggering when you down a foe or when you suffer a specific type of attack, granting you extra attacks or healing. (UPDATE: Many of these utilities have been toned down since I wrote this. No more free attacks and per-encounter healing, to begin with).

To the article's merit, none of the dozen powers presented looks obviously broken. (UPDATE: D&D development team disagrees with me here, so take this opinion with a grain of salt ;) ) Also, the magic weapon giving name to the article provides a cool bonus for dual wielders: free shifts when hitting twice. Nothing that puts it remotely close to the Bloodclaws and Reckless weapons out there (thankfully), but an interesting property nonetheless. It's a pity that the badass ranger in the picture won't be able to use it, though - it only works for heavy blades.


  1. Previous Class Acts articles:

    Wizard (364): More powers (illusion focused). This one did have A at-will.
    Swordmage (367): More powers (mainly cold and lightning).
    Warlord (369): More powers (polearm and multi-class powers to facilitate infernal warlock mutli-classing).
    Bard (376): Paragon Paths (designed to grant class feature-like powers for multi-classing Bards).

    Don't expect to ever see a new build in the Class Acts articles. They are for adding powers of a particular niche (illusion for wizards, polearm powers, etc).

  2. I know, I know... silly me. But they do talk about it as a new build and, as such, I can't help but feel let down.

    Also, I can't find the niche they are trying to fill here - there's a very evocative name (Verdant Silence ranger!) but all I see is a random collection of melee powers.

    To be fair, the powers are good overall, and the problem is most likely with my expectations ;)

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