Rangers and the Archetype system.

I have played nearly every class in Aion to 20 or more.  I enjoy all of them for various reasons and all are fun to play while leveling up.  I find that the Priest Archetype is the easiest to level initially, the Mage archetype puts out a lot of damage and the Warrior archetype is a nice balance between damage and survivalbility.

"Yeah, I'm looking good!"

"Yeah, I'm looking good!"

The one archetype I have problems with is the Rogue archetype.  Assassins are fine. They are a bit hard to level and require frequent resting after kills but they tend to even out after 10 and become a pretty solid leveling class, all in all. They blossom, at level cap, into an awesome fighting force, one that can really do well in PvP and PvE.  In short, Assassins are great.

Rangers on the other hand are a wreck at low level.  An absolute, frustrating, bang your head against the wall train-wreck.  This is completely caused by the Archetype system in Aion.  You see, in Aion you start off picking from one of four character Archetypes; Warrior, Mage, Priest or Scout.  You level as one of those Archetypes up to level ten, at which point you Ascend and pick your final class.  For example, the Warrior Archetype produces either a Gladiator or Templar, the Mage Archetype becomes a Spiritmaster or Sorceror and the Priest Archetype develops into a Cleric or Chanter.

This is all well and good for those Archetypes.  Even though their class changes, the core of the class remains the same.  Gladiators and Templars are both melee damage dealers with good survivalbility, Sorcerors and Spiritmasters both deal magical damage from range, etc..  There are a few things you must adjust to, but the core of the way the class plays remains the same.

The Scout archetype is different.  It produces the Assassin or the Ranger.  Whats the big deal you ask?  Well one is a

I r teh broken....

I r teh broken....

melee character and the other is ranged.  Two totally different play-styles.  For the first 10 levels, your newly rolled wannabe Ranger will be forced to do nothing but melee.  The only skills he will get are all melee based.  No bow usage at all.

Then suddenly at level 10 you will become a Ranger and get your first bow skills.  The problem is, you don’t get enough, quickly enough.  You are instead forced into killing mobs by using the few bow skills that you have and then switching into melee when the mob gets close.  You are a weak melee/ranged hybrid for a significant portion of your initial leveling experience.  Not enough bow skills to matter and weak melee skills.  This makes leveling very difficult.  Way more difficult than any of the other classes in Aion, as a matter of fact.

Something needs to be done about this and Rangers brought in line with other classes in the low level game.  It is extremely frustrating to level until around level 25-30, which is when you finally accumulate enough ranged skills to make a difference.  Until then, Rangers can be a headache to play.

Thankfully, Rangers end up being an extremely powerful class.  They can dominate in PvP and PvE at level cap and anyone who goes through the leveling frustration is in for a treat.  Rangers and bow classes are normally among the most populous of classes in MMOs, I expect many to be rolled in Aion as well.  But, something tells me that we will see few at endgame.  The leveling difficulties of the rangers will make many look elsewhere for a class.


14 Responses

  1. wow and here i was wanting to play ranger next weekend :p

    • Yeah, its tough to recommend one in beta, because the characters are all being wiped. However, in the live game, I encourage anyone who wants to play one to roll one. The levels between 10 and 25 or so are tough but after that they start to really come into their own.

  2. […] Sorceror and the Priest Archetype develops into a Cleric or Chanter. Read the rest of the post here and let me know your thoughts! __________________ My Aion blog: […]

  3. I’m going for it anyways, I’ve been though enough MMOs to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is worth it.

  4. Yes unfortunatly NcSoft really needs to change the way archetypes work .. TBH they should still fall into Categories ( ex. Warrior , scout , priest , Ect ) but you should be able to then choose Scout – Ranger at level 1 which would provide Ranged skills rather than melee which Scout – assassin would get , but both classes should keep common similarities such as Hide , Devotion and Focused Evasion. which is are both scouts common skills, Same for Warrior as both Templar and Gladiator would have Common skills as well as class specific skills. I honestly think this would improve gameplay and possibly draw more players into the game. but thats just my 2cents

  5. I believe, in some twisted fashion, you’ve convinced me to give Ranger an honest try. Despite my absolute love for bows, I always skirt around the bow class. Too much kiting, always with the pets. It just doesn’t feel very… heroic or epic to be spending your time having something else fighting for you, or allowing you to run away. (Even though “tactical withdrawal” happens to be one of the most effective tactics ever conceived.)
    It is, admittedly, contradictory to my person though. I dodge trap-laying classes because I hate being anchored to that area, and dislike that sort of setup in a kind of game that can be more spontaneous and less “logical” than real warfare. (On that note, I’m curious as to how traps will work when you’re flying. Assuming they do at all?)

    I like being challenged though, and the idea of playing a Chanter (i.e. hardly being challenged while leveling) doesn’t seem like real fun, even if it’s less stressful in spots.
    I’ve come to see myself more as a “thinking man’s” gamer (if only to challenge myself (I currently play WoW, I don’t get enough)) so I think I might pick up the bow and arrow for the first time in my gaming history. It seems like it could be very rewarding, as a class, and as an accomplishment.

    Assuming that I’m not compelled to pick up the Daggers while I’m at it. Killing healers is rewarding on the most primal of levels.

  6. god i hope its hard and stays hard… the less rangers the better… more spots for me in a grp with my ranger >:)

  7. I fell in love with the Ranger as soon as I researched Aion’s classes. Then I started leveling one and was soon gnashing my teeth in frutration. I really, really wanted to play this class, but leveling from 12 to 16 was making my eyes bleed, not to mention the damage my keyboard was starting to take. I finally hit level 16 and trained my first ranged chain skill. That did wonders for me. It rekindled my love for the class. Until I started getting quests to kill elites. >.<

    I still plan on making a Ranger as my main, though. I think it will be worth it in the end. Fortuneately, my wife will be playing with me, so I can ride her coattails during the early game.

  8. I agree with you 100%. It was odd to play my scout then at 10 pick Ranger and you have no skills up to then to give you idea of what its like. It feels like every other class gets a better idea of how either of their sub-classes work. At the very least they should let scouts have both ranged and melee skills to begin with. Perhaps enough to give a both playstyles one skill chain a piece. That way by the time they are 10 you have an idea of how each plays and can make a more informed decision when making your choice.

    I still plan on playing one because I love a challenge but more than likely it will be my alt. I’m far to obbessed with the chanter class. Those skill chains are so freaking sweet looking.

  9. Actually I think you’re a bit wrong here. In reality, both the Assassin and Ranger at level 10 are harder to level out of the gate than the Warrior, Mage or Priest archetypes. This is because they both fundamentally diverge from their initial scout archetype while the others do not.

    Even though the Assassin is a melee class and the scout archetype starts out as melee as well, they differ because the Assassin develops into a burst melee dps class. Up until about level 22, the Assassin isn’t a very high dps class. At level 22 though, I believe you get your 4th inscription ability that allows you to do some big damage on crits.

    You were also wrong about the Ranger. Rangers at level 10 do not have to melee if they don’t want to. As a level 10 Ranger, I would initially snare my melee target, shoot my only other ranged ability and then walk backwards auto shooting. Your basic ranged ability’s timer would end and I’d shoot the mob again and continue to walk backwards or strafe from the mob. By the time my ranged ability would be up the third time, the mob was just getting out of my snare and my snare shot would be back up. The snare shot can be done on the move so I’d use it, then shoot the mob again and just auto shoot now till it died.

    The only time I had to melee a mob is when my snare was resisted. The main problem with this method though is that it is a bit slow but other than that, the Ranger shouldn’t have a huge issue with mobs even at level 10.

    • Sure, you don’t have to melee but your ranged damage is so little that every mob takes forever to die. Compared to the other archetypes its a very, very slow process. Its not hard per se, it just consumes large amounts of time relative to the other classes. Also you have to have a fairly large area to kite in, otherwise you will get add aggro, which will end your mob killing very, very quickly! 🙂

  10. But based on the movement modifiers aren’t you doing -less- damage moving backwards Or has that been found untrue for ranged classes?

  11. I read up on all the classes prior to creating my ranger. I know it’s a PITA, but the rewards once I level up enough will be WELL worth it, IMO. That said, it WOULD be nice to get a little love from NCSoft. (a friend of mine calls it a “bow-job” ROFL!)

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