Not happy with the class? Wizards is hoping these updates might change your mind.
Over the past year, you’ve seen us try a number of new approaches to the ranger, all aimed at addressing the class’s high levels of player dissatisfaction and its ranking as D&D’s weakest class by a significant margin.
Those two factors combined to put us on the path to this revision. Though the revised ranger retains many of the elements of the existing class, a lot has changed, so it’s best to simply dig into the new material to get a sense of how it feels. But at the same time, the release of this revision gives us a chance to talk about how a revised class can best be implemented as part of the D&D game—and how the game will evolve in the future.
You can think of the material presented in this series as similar to the first wave of the fifth edition playtest. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. They are highly volatile and might be unstable; if you use them, be ready to rule on any issues that come up. They’re written in pencil, not ink. For these reasons, material in this column is not legal in D&D Organized Play events.
The material presented in Unearthed Arcana will range from mechanics that we expect one day to publish in a supplement to house rules from our home campaigns that we want to share, from core system options to setting-specific material. Once it’s out there, you can expect us to check in with you to see how it’s working out and what we can do to improve it.
Now some of you may be wondering “why are Rangers considered bad” in 5th. I had the same thought and I know the problem: You were probably interacting with “The Hunter” Ranger Archetypes. I didn’t think they were bad at all and had solid, consistent damage and good utility. But, after doing some digging on various forums, Facebook and Reddit, I came across a recurring theme. That theme was that Beast Master Rangers basically sucked. Given that players really only had 2 choices which route to go with their Ranger it’s no wonder why a lot of the feedback was pretty negative.
A lot of the other complaints basically came from “Rangers aren’t as flashy” as other characters or “Fighters are just better” and things like that. I can understand that mindset if you were wanting to play a dungeon crawl or hack & slash type of game. However, if you were playing in a fleshed out world with ROLE playing then Rangers should have been invaluable in your party. But really it doesn’t matter what type of game you end up playing moving forward because all of these changes are only making Rangers better – that’s right folks these changes are just straight-up buffs to the class.
Some of the changes effect the group utility of Rangers and some of the changes just increase their damage output. Favored Enemy got a pretty nice boost, especially when you get Greater Favored Enemy. Primeval Awareness is really strong now, too! Natural Explorer is also extremely useful in and out of combat, more so than it was before. But I think the biggest improvement will be the new Ranger Conclaves which replaced Ranger Archetypes completely. The new Deep Stalker Conclave even adds some more utility spells to the Ranger’s options. The new Conclaves are also where you will find your 5th level Extra Attack if you were curious.
Overall, I think all of these changes only enhance Rangers and if you were enjoying the Ranger before, well, they are just better now. It’s a lot of little tweaks that help the Ranger class find it’s identity and stand out. So go forth and adventure bravely, Rangers!
You’re in my neck of the woods now…