Ranger (sometimes called Huntsman by players of other MMOs) has one of the consistently highest damage rates in GW2. Ranger also has the best ranged attacks, which can combine with pet skills to provide a wide range of effects.
New Player Note: Along with Guardian, we highly recommend Ranger for new players. Ranger is easy to use, has powerful attacks, and the pet is very useful.
Most people play Ranger as a damage/power class. However, Ranger has access to a lot of good condition damage (“condi”) through the use of traps.
Best Ranger Builds
Condi is very strong in the game right now, and a condi Ranger build can be extremely effective. This is particularly true in WvW, partly because trap Rangers are so rare, and thus enemy players will not expect to encounter traps.
We recommend Snow Crows builds, as these are carefully-tested and kept up to date with the current meta.
The best main weapon for a power-based Ranger is the longbow. For a condi build, use shortbow.
Common secondary weapon choices are axe/warhorn and sword/warhorn.
Rangers have a somewhat bad reputation in Guild Wars 2 for two reasons:
- Ranger knockbacks
- “Pet on passive”
If you are working with other players, or in a group event, be courteous: don’t use knockbacks. Longbow 4 is fantastic in solo play, to the point where it becomes habitual for many rangers.
Other players may be casting AoEs, or planning to use melee attacks. Ranger knockback spoils their shot, and knocks the enemy out of their attack range.
Be aware of other players, and don’t make things harder for them!
“Pet on passive”
This is something you will likely only hear in dungeons or guild puzzles. However, it applies in regular PvE mode occasionally as well. (Notably in the second phase of the Dragon’s Stand meta, for Rangers who are running around the outside of the chamber with the zerg.)
Ranger pets will go out and aggro enemies, and pull them to the group. There are some situations where this is bad, for a variety of reasons.
If someone says “Pet on passive” in chat, click the red “Guard” icon on your pet skills bar to switch it to the blue and white “Avoid Combat” dove. This will put your pet into “passive” mode, and it will not attack enemies.
Druid: The best healer class in the game. Druid is useful and (partly due to its rarity among players) highly in demand for raids, WvW, and large group meta events like Dragon’s Stand.
Soulbeast: As of this writing, Soulbeast is not particularly useful.
Every ranger starts with one of three pets, based on their race. At level 5 you unlock the ability to tame more pets, swap them out, and give them custom names.
A full list of tameable pet locations can be found in the Guild Wars 2 wiki. To tame a new pet, approach a friendly (green) creature named “Juvenile _” and click F to charm the pet.
Best Ranger Pets
Brown Bear Ranger Pet
One of the most common ranger pets, particularly for low-level characters, as it can be chosen at character creation. Brown bear is a reasonably good tank. The combination of brown bear and longbow is so common that it’s known as a “Bearbow Ranger.” Brown bear can be tamed in Fields of Ruin, Gendarran Fields, Harathi Hinterlands, and Eternal Battlegrounds.
Reef Drake Ranger Pet
A major improvement over brown bear. Reef drake has a higher health pool, so it works better as a tank. And its special skill is a powerful daze (damaging condition). Reef drake can only be tamed in Southsun Cove, a level 80 zone.
Lynx and Tiger (Cat) Ranger Pets
All cats share a very good slashing attack. Tiger grants fury to nearby players, and Lynx inflicts bleeding on its target. Tiger can be tamed in Dragon’s Stand (requires the Heart of Thorns expansion pack) and Draconis Mons (Living World season 3). Lynx can be tamed in Lion’s Arch, Desert Borderlands (WVW), Ebonhawke, Snowden Drifts, and Dredgehaunt Cliffs.