The ranger in Guild Wars 2 excels at both melee and ranged combat, and is the game’s only true pet class. Rangers also make effective use of a suite of Traps that are capable of crippling foes, or spreading various Conditions to further augment the damage caused by their core weapon attacks.
The skill bar for your active pet will be displayed directly above your weapon skills (shown below), with the F1-F3 keys used to command your pet to attack your current target [F1], activate its unique skill [F2], or toggle between passive and aggressive mode [F3]. Each pet species has 1 unique skill (activated by pressing the [F2] key) with the remaining three shared between other pets from the same family. This unique skill should be considered an active part of your normal skill rotation during combat, and as such you will want to use a pet that compliments your overall build in some way.
Once you’ve tamed at least one additional pet, you will be able to switch between them during combat by clicking on the small arrow icon to the right of the pet skills. You can have a total of 4 pets slotted; 2 for combat on land, and 2 for underwater combat. Your slotted pets can be changed at any time by opening the Pet Management [K] window.
To tame new pets, you will need to locate a “juvenile” version of that animal type in PvE and WvW zones. They will be easily distinguished from other creatures both by having “juvenile” in their name, and their nameplate will also be green.
Once you’ve found a juvenile animal you would like to tame, simply walk up to it and interact with it by pressing the [F] key. This will bring up a window that tells you a little bit about that particular pet, and also gives you the option to equip your new pet at that point as shown above. Once equipped, you can also give your pet a new name by opening the Pet Management [K] window, and clicking on the small quill icon located at the top of the window.
Ranger Weapon Sets
Starting at level 7, the ranger is able to equip two unique weapon sets. These can be actively swapped by pressing the [`] key at any time out-of-combat, though there will be a short cooldown after swapping weapon sets during combat before you will be able to swap back again. For more information on how this system works, please refer to our Intro Guide to Builds.
The weapons that rangers can equip along with their associated skills can be seen in-game by opening the Hero window [H] and selecting the Skills and Traits tab on the left. We’ve also added a list of available weapons for the ranger below:
Ranger Trait Lines
Upon reaching level 11, you will begin earning Trait Points (1 per level for a total of 70 at level 80) that can be spent in any of the five available Trait Lines. Each point spent will increase 2 primary or secondary attributes, with every 5 points spent unlocking either a Minor or Major trait.
The trait lines for the ranger are listed below, along with their associated attributes and weapon or utility skill type associations.
Ranger Quick Facts
- One of GW2’s three Adventurer professions
- Able to wear Medium armor
- Able to charm Animal Companions to fight beside them in combat
- Offers a highly mobile, evasive combat style in melee
- Able to equip both short- and longbows to excel at ranged combat
- Uses a variety of Traps to cripple and damage foes
- Can summon Spirits to support allies
Ranger Themes and Combat Roles
Unlike the necromancer which deviates from its traditional RPG archetype in some significant ways, the ranger in Guild Wars 2 neatly incorporates many of the hallmarks of a more traditional ranger. More so than any other profession, the ranger is in tune with nature, and able to summon temporary Spirits that augment their allies’ combat effectiveness, a variety of animal companions, and even set a variety of traps to hinder and damage their foes. We’ll take a closer look at each of these core aspects of the ranger below.
In terms of combat roles, the ranger excels in two important areas: direct damage output, and group support.