Hey all you Legolas fanboys out there, welcome to the Age of Conan Ranger guide! This essay will provide a general overview of the Ranger class by outlining its current strengths and weaknesses as well as tactics for efficiently leveling and PvPing. This is by no means an in-depth guide for the ranger savvy, but if you're new to the class and interested in trying a Ranger this is a great place to start.
Permitted Races: Cimmerian, Stygian, Aquilonian
Weapons: One-handed blunts, one-handed edged, daggers, bows, crossbows, and dual-wield
Armor: Cloth armor, light armor, medium armor, and shields
The Ranger class in AoC is a pure archer akin to the scout or ranger classes in Dark Age of Camelot. That means no pets and very few nature themed spells. Rangers rely on stealth and distance to deal damage with bows and crossbows. They are also adept with a sword and shield, for close combat fights. The ranger is a ranged DPS class with medium armor, stealth, and considerable crowd control; these abilities can make the ranger formidable in both PvP and PvE.
The ranger is a great choice for players who like to solo. They do great single-target damage. With the use of crowd control and slowing abilities like Pin Down, Mezz Shot, etc. most Rangers can kill an enemy before it ever reaches them, and even if he or she does, the Ranger can still do respectable melee damage or use combos like Incapacitating Stabs to get back to range. Stealth is a life saver and one of the most important abilities of any rogue class. Rangers are no exception. Stealth gives you the option of starting a fight on your terms or avoiding a fight altogether, which is huge especially in PvP. The ranger is also the only rogue class allowed to wear medium armor.
Medium armor offers more protection but weakens the Ranger's stealth ability making him or her easier to spot. Rangers also lack many multi-target abilities and sometimes have a hard time taking on multiple enemies at the same time. The bow and crossbow suffer penalties when used within melee range, so it's best to switch to a sword. The Ranger also doesn't scale as well as other classes. You'll be a god in the early 1-20 levels but will even out the higher you level.
Player vs Environment:
Rangers are great DPSers and fighting monsters is fairly straightforward. Always put as much distance between yourself and your enemy as possible. More distance means more shots before the enemy closes in on you. You should attack from stealth whenever possible for Mezz Shot, which is great for quick crowd control. Also shots in first person benefit from added range, accuracy and damage. Just aim for the chest. AoC even takes elevation into account, so attack from higher ground whenever possible for increased accuracy. In the event of multiple monsters, remember that a Ranger's crowd control is his or her best friend, but I'll talk more about crowd control in the PvP section because it will be your bread and butter.
Player vs Player:
My personal favorite aspect of the class.
Rangers can be excellent PvP snipers and do well solo or in groups. Target cloth wearers whenever possible, use piercing shot and they will be eating dirt before they know what hit them. As a Ranger, your hardest opponents will be heavily armored melee classes. When you fight a melee class, you'll be spending the majority of the fight just trying to get away from them. Be sure you have all of your crowd control abilities on easy hotkeys because they will be extremely important in staying alive and getting out of melee range. Cripple, Pin Down, Leghold trap. Even the melee slows such as Cripple Enemies and Incapacitating Stabs are incredibly important against meleers. I also highly recommend getting Clear the Field if you put points into the Waylayer feat tree. Get used to stealthing a LOT. Not only will it keep you off the enemy's radar and give you the element of surprise, but your Mezz Shot is crucial, especially against casters who won't always run into your traps. Be familiar with what objects you can shoot through and hide behind trees or rocks whenever you can. To do maximum damage, a Ranger needs to be able to stand still and pummel targets with arrows without being targeted, so always use terrain and the environment to your advantage.
The ranger's feats are split up into two trees; Sharpshooter, which focuses on bow skills and abilities, and Waylayer which focuses on the use of a crossbow. Also, unlike some other archetypes, the rogue's general feat tree has a lot of useful feats and should not be overlooked. I recommend choosing just one tree to stick with, either Waylayer or Sharpshooter, and put your remaining points into the general feat tree. A Sharpshooter ranger will shoot faster but do less damage while a Waylayer ranger will shoot slower but have more power. Most high level Rangers I've talked to tend to favor the Waylayer tree because it does more DPS and has more useful feats such as Clear the Field, Shattering Stance, Piercing Stance and Linebreaker, which not only increase DPS but have a chance of slowing or knocking down the enemy. Whichever way you go, I'd save at least 25-30 feat points to invest into the rogue's general tree for feats like Cheat the Reaper, Escape Artist, Agile Mind, and Swift Shadows.