Rangers are one of the 11 Classes in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, and in this Guide we’re going to take a look at how they work in order to not only help you make a better Ranger, but also help you to determine if this is the class for you. If you are new to Pillars of Eternity 2 or just need a refresher when it comes to Class selection and Character Creation, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let’s get started…
Ranger Builds and How They Work
Rangers in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire prefer to strike from a distance while their Animal Companion gets up close and personal. They have many passives that increase the effectiveness of Ranged Weapons, and many that buff their Animal Companion. Rangers are Bonded with their Animal Companion, and will take a penalty if it falls in battle. Because you can spend many points buffing it, you can Multiclass Rangers very effectively, even with melee characters. Choose this class if you like playing from range or if you’d just like to have a furry friend around.
Not surprisingly, Bond is the resource of Rangers, and it is what they will spend on Active Abilities in combat. The amount of Bond they have will increase when they gain a Power Level, allowing them to use more powerful Abilities, and other Abilities more often. This is similar to the Fighter’s Discipline or the Barbarian’s Rage.
Each Animal Companion has its own bonus, and knowing what these are helps determine how you will play your Ranger. You can only choose one Companion, so make sure you select the one most appropriate to your style of fighting. Subclasses have a rather large impact on your Bond, so let’s move on to those.
Ranger Subclasses, Which to Choose
In this section we’re going to take a look at the Subclasses of the Ranger and see why you might choose one of them, or not. A huge aspect of playing a Ranger is their Animal Companion, and your Subclass plays a large role in determining how you will best use it. Let’s take a look at what the Ranger Subclasses are, and talk a bit about what sort of Builds you can make with them.
Ghost Heart Rangers prefer the freedom and flexibility that comes from summoning their Animal Companion on demand. They do not suffer from Bonded Grief like other Rangers, but must spend Bond to summon it. Select this Subclass if you don’t want to use a pet, or if you don’t want to risk them dying in combat, giving you a penalty.
Bonus: Immune to Bonded Grief. Animal Companion is immune to Engagement.
Penalty: Must actively summon Animal Companion during battle (costs Bond and has a duration) Companion is considered a Spirit and is affected by Spirit-targeting powers. Animal Companion cannot be healed (Unable to learn both Heal Pet and Revive Pet abilities).
Bonded Grief gives you a penalty to Might, Resolve and Accuracy and occurs when your Companion dies during combat, normally. Ghost Heart Rangers cannot suffer from Bonded Grief and when their Companion dies during combat, all they need to do is re-summon it. The downside is that this costs Bond to do so, though you summon very quickly. This Subclass is suited for players who want to play a Ranger but don’t want a Companion, or for those who want one but without the worry of Bonded Grief.
Ghost Hearts can Multiclass well with just about any class, however, since they will most likely focus on Ranged Weapon attacks, ideally this would be with Classes that give benefits to that. Fighter, Paladin, or Chanter all work well here.
Fighters have passives that increase damage, and Disciplined Strikes increases Hit and Crit chance, which are both useful. If you are certain of the type of weapon you’d like to use, you can choose the Devoted Subclass to further increase your damage with that weapon type.
Paladins can use Flames of Devotion at range, which hits like a truck and has increased Accuracy. This allows the Ranger to dump points from Perception and pump other Attributes, because Accurate Wounding Shot gives Accuracy as well. It also allows Rangers to use Weapon Modals that reduce Accuracy but increase overall damage, like Rapid Shot.
Chanters work well if you use Firearms or a Crossbow, because they can reduce their Reload and Recovery Time with them. Since Rangers have the Gunner passive, that further reduces Reload time with these weapons, there is a natural synergy here. Try using the Pistol Modal, Rapid Reload for enhanced attack speed.
Sharpshooters favor Ranged Weapons above of all other types. They take their time when firing, hitting a bit harder than your standard Ranger, at the expense of slightly lower Recovery Time and less Deflection. Choose this Subclass if you absolutely know you’ll be using a Ranged Weapon.
Bonus: Bonus Hit to Crit conversion (15%) when attacking targets greater than 4m away. Bonus Penetration (+1) when attacking targets 4m or closer.
Penalty: +10% Recovery Time. -10 Deflection.
Sharpshooters hit a bit harder, but shoot a bit slower and have less Deflection than other Rangers. Since these bonuses only apply to Ranged Weapons, players choosing this Subclass will most certainly be using one, and all that’s left is to decide which type you want. Be sure to study the different Ranged Weapon types on the Wiki, and what their Modal Abilities are. This will help you shape the type of Sharpshooter you wish to be.
Sharpshooters can Multiclass effectively with nearly any class, but it is advised they do so with martial ones. The benefits this Subclass provides, only applies to Weapons, and not spells. Some good choices are Fighter, Paladin, or Rogue. Fighters and Paladins for the reasons listed in the Ghost Heart section.
Rogues can use their abilities from range, allowing for you to build sort of a “Sniper” character. Pierce the Bell hits like a truck, and does increased damage from range. Blinding Strike will allow you to set Blinded on enemies immediately, which can make you take considerably less damage. Dirty Fighting allows you to convert even more Hits to Crits. Consider taking the Assassin for further increases to damage while Stealthed or Invisible. And don’t forget to Empower your attacks!
Stalkers prefer to stay near their Animal Companions and gain bonus Deflection and Armor for doing so. Take this Subclass if you want to melee or tank and have a Pet.
Bonus: The stalker and their companion gain +5 Deflection and +1 Armor Rating when within 4m of each other.
Penalty: The stalker and their companion suffer Bonded Grief when they are more than 7m from each other.
Stalkers have Separation Anxiety (the same penalty as Bonded Grief) when far away from their Animal Companion, so it isn’t advised they use a range weapon, unless they plan to stay close. Blunderbuss has a 4m range, and is a good option if you must use one. This is a great Subclass for a player wishing to fulfill the tank role, and is comparable to many other tanking Subclasses, especially because you can upgrade your Animal Companion which can also Engage targets and deal damage.
When Multiclassing a Stalker you’ll want a class that benefits from being in melee range, or close to it. Fighters, Paladins and Monks are all good options. Fighters have many tanking passives, that allow for you to deal damage or stay alive. Paladins have tons of defense, and can heal themselves. Monks can help boost your DPS, by increasing your Action Speed, and also gives you and extra resource with Wounds. You could even play a Shifter Druid, along side your Animal Companion.
No Subclass Rangers have a lot of freedom, and don’t really miss out on much. Take this one if none of the above sound appealing, or you’re unsure how you want to play. It multiclasses extremely well, so don’t be shy.
No Subclass Rangers will play much like the Sharpshooter, only they won’t take a penalty to Deflection and Recovery Time. This allows them to use melee or ranged weapons effectively, and is great if you are unsure what weapons you want to use. Highly recommended for new or inexperienced Rangers.
Multiclassing a No Subclass Ranger is rather easy, because there’s really nothing you need be concerned about. Wounding Shot, the primary attack of the Ranger, can be used with any weapon so there’s no need to worry which you choose. In addition, you could be a caster and just take abilities that effect your Companion from the Ranger Ability Tree, and take spells from your other class. This is the perfect Subclass for that because you don’t need to stay nearby, or keep recasting it every 60 seconds, and you don’t suffer a penalty to Deflection or Recovery Time.
Attributes and Races
The last thing we’re going to cover here is Attributes and Races and how they affect the Ranger. The game recommends Dexterity and Intellect and highly recommends Might and Perception. Dexterity increases Action Speed, which is good for getting off more attacks. Intellect increases Duration, which helps with Wounding Shot and Heal Companion. Might increases Damage and healing and Perception helps with Accuracy, but more importantly Crit chance.
Just exactly how much of these you should have depends on the Subclass you selected, and I will make my recommendations along with Race below:
Ghost Heart – Prioritize Might, Perception, and Intellect. Might will have less of an impact here because you cannot heal your pet, but is still the best Attribute. Perception helps with Crits, which further increases Damage. Intellect will help increase the Duration of your Animal Companion when you summon it. Elf and Godlike are solid choice here.
Stalker – Prioritize Might, Resolve and Constitution. Stalkers will need to be a bit more hardy (especially in the tank role) because they will be in melee range and will take some Hits. Take Human, Aumaua or Dwarf here.
No Subclass – Prioritize Might. Because No Subclass Rangers can fulfill nearly any role, what they pick after Might will depend on their Subclass/preferred style of play. Varies.
A good number of Ranger Abilities give increased Accuracy, more so than any other class in the game. Accuracy not only increases the likelihood you will connect with your target, but also the likelihood you will score a Crit. Because of this, Rangers benefit more than most Classes from having higher Crit Damage. Keep this in mind when choosing Abilities and Multiclassing, and be sure to find ones that synergize.
As mentioned above, Wounding Shot can be used at any range, and has extremely good Accuracy. Consider using it with a Weapon Modal that gives -Accuracy in exchange for increased Action Speed or Damage. Savage Attack and Rushed Reload both come to mind. This will hurt your Crit chance, but might improve your overall DPS.
Rangers are a great choice if you plan to use Firearms or weapons that need reloading. Their Gunner passive gives -20% Reload Time, which is significant, because Firearms have long ones. Multiclassing with a Chanter, you can knock this down another 20%, as well as reduce Recovery Time. Rushed Reload, can also bump it down further, and almost negate your Reload Time.
Lastly, I wouldn’t recommend Multiclassing with a Ranger if you have no plans to invest Ability Points in your Animal Companion, and don’t plan to use Firearms. Ranger has very few good Active Abilities (if you don’t have a Companion), and the ranged passives are not strong enough vs. ones from other Classes like Rogue or Fighter. Hopefully this will be fixed, because Ranged Combat should be part of the main focus of the class.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Class Guides as we cover all 11 Classes as well as Character Creation! What did you think of the Guide? Was it helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.