Over on the official forums Robert Hrouda, during the course of discussing dungeons, began to shed a little light on rangers and their pet functionality (and limitations in dungeons). Having recently begun fractals on my ranger (previously I played them all on mesmer) it’s frightening how quick pets die to agony and AOE. Even with heavy management of their attack and movement it’s almost impossible above level 10 to keep them alive during boss encounters.
What Robert Hrouda does discuss is some of the iterative processes they’ve done to improve pets, with some results making the profession far too powerful in dungeons and thus even stronger in open world. I would imagine it’s a fine balancing act, without wishing to send the pet or the profession into the realms of “OMG OP!!1”.
The best solution I’ve read was to have rangers share their agony resistance with their pet but this still doesn’t fix the pets inability to avoid AOE damage or targeted attacks from the likes of Jade Maw. How they go about fixing that must surely be done at an AI level as opposed to making ranger pets immune to AOE damage or boosting their statistics.
I personally play Ranger as my main, so I’m fairly aware of how to manage the pet, and do my testing as a ranger primarily. What mechanic do you feel is expressly punishing to a ranger pet? I’m more than aware of how squishy pets can be in dungeons, but if you could list out all the issues you are speaking of, I can try and address them.
Rangers have their highs and lows like every other class. They have really good DPS, but they have to work at it a bit more than other classes like warrior or mesmer. It’s possible just not as easy.
As for ranger balance, we have frequent meetings about balance where we discuss that sort of stuff – I go to those meetings on behalf of dungeon content and to lend my experience with ranger knowledge.
I personally accept the tradeoff of damage for survivability (Can’t do damage if you’re dead). I tend to run a condition build using shortbow and sword\dagger, and focus on being supportive and holding aggro while keeping a steady output of DPS through conditions.
Rangers have an incredible amount of evasion and damage mitigation if you are very focused and know when to use your skills and heals (prot on dodge roll, vigor on heals) means you can keep prot for when you mess up, and always have evasions ready. There are some very successful dungeon builds, but most of them aren’t DPS focused.
We’re working on ideas for making pets better in dungeons. There’s a list of reasons we can’t just tweak a number and call it good (it wouldn’t actually solve the problem), but it is something we are aware of and working on.
One of the things you have to think about, is how the game is played. If we buff rangers just for dungeons, than they are too strong for the open world. Considering I can solo most content in the open world by letting my pet tank, I feel ranger is very powerful outside of dungeons. We can’t have rangers that change based on PvP, open world, and dungeons because that gets too confusing for players and puts us on a slippery slope. Whatever we do to the ranger, it has to happen in both the open world and dungeons, so it requires more than just number tweaks. You see a lot of bots as rangers for that very reason – they are really strong open world classes, and buffing them for the sake of dungeons doesn’t work out to being a good fix.
Wow this is getting long. I should go to the class balance forums some time, lol. Sorry for the text wall!
Hey folks, looks like someone beat me to the punch of moving the conversation over here instead of in the dungeon threads.
As for AR resistance on pets and such, know that I am actively looking into solutions to that. It’s not something we are unaware of, and it is an issue we are trying to develop solutions for. I am at scale 52 in the fractals, and pet insta-death above scale 20 is something I am acutely aware of and trying to resolve.
As for me being a PR person, that’s just not true. I’m a designer just trying to interact and talk with people. Plus I can’t imagine any company would want a mouth-piece who has as many typos, spelling errors, and grammatical nonsense as I do speaking for them.
I’m of the opinion that your pet and summon should share the master’s AR. That seems like the simplest most straight-forward solution. We all agree the AR is a problem that has potential fixes, it’s just figuring out how best to fix it and making sure whatever we choose works.
“A way to make pets dodge would be good” is what I took away from it. What if a button existed that could make your pet dodge roll, or gave it evasion for a few frames (no animation!) It could be called the “Dodge!” button, and every time I used it I could make a DBZ Abridged joke to my mates on TS.
But that doesn’t solve the problem. It’s a cool thought that I can bring up with folks, but wouldn’t solve the problem of pets in dungeons while possibly adversely affecting PvP. Making the numbers bigger doesn’t work either (trust me, we’ve tried)
We tried giving them reduced damage from AOE/attacks, and it opened up other problems – mainly that a team of 2 rangers could take on almost any boss in a dungeon by smart swapping of pets and letting the pet take aggro. It’s unfortunate, but we can’t just increase and decrease numbers until pets are perfect – we’ve tried really hard, but numbers are not going to fix pets without letting them break everything. We have to look deeper into mechanics, AI, player actions, and skills.
As much as they seem vestigial, the “attack” and “return” keybinds are really the only thing that can give the player any control, and they can be a bit unwieldy. I would recommend though that if you have never tried using those keybinds, try them out the next time you’re in a dungeon, your pet will thank you for it.
Also, I find that a ranged pet does better in dungeons. My typical pet setup for dungeons is Hyena (because having 2 knockdowns and another hyena is super good), and a Drake (almost any). I know this is contradictory to what I just said about ranged pets being good, but I use the keybinds a lot and that dramatically increases survivability when taking 2-3 hits is all you want the pet to do.
Spiders and devourers can be really good to bring because of the fact that they are ranged. Devourers have an escape from melee ability as well, and spiders have CC, which helps keep them alive while you reposition and pet-swap (or return) in a more favorable place. Tankier pets require more management, but once you get there and know how to use it (in combination with pet swap), you’ll find you’re not facing the death cooldown as often as before.
That and you can name your spiders “Cuddles” and your devourer “Citizen Snips” and get a good laugh out of people’s reactions.