Full PvE Hunter Ranger Guide [MOD 7+]
Hi! My Ingame name is Mcklaud and im running a Hunter Ranger | Trapper on NW Xbox One. In this guide I will explain how to effectively run a Hunter Ranger in PvE and explain how to use this class in all kinds of circumstances. This is going to be quite a detailed and advanced breakdown of how to play a Hunter Ranger so get ready to re-read a few parts or ask questions incase You didnt fully understand a point. Also, since I am not from an english-speaking country, I obviously dont have any screenshots. Therefore I included some videos with gameplay and alot of links to the Neverwinter-wiki and Nwcalc which will hopefully help explaining this build.
1. Character creation
There are a few points on your character creation that are really important. You need a race that suits the Hunter Ranger and You need to properly roll your Abilities.
Dragonborn: The Dragonborn is the best choice to make for a Hunter Ranger. The benefits it grants are very useful since they boost your damage out-put significantly! On top of that You can freely choose where to put your Ability points.
Drow: If You do not have the dragonborn race unlocked i would highly recommend this race over the Wood Elf and the Menzoberranzan Renegade. This is simply because the Darkfire perk is alot better than the 1% crit chance or Fearie Fire. The Drow race will also allow You to put 2 Ability points into Dexterity and Wisdom, which is what we will be going for. Keep in mind that You can potentially run the Wood Elf or the Menzoberranzan Renegade, they simply arent as good as the Dragonborn or the Drow.
All races and their perks
This one is pretty easy. In order to max your damage You want 18 points on both, Dexterity and Wisdom (this includes the Ability points granted by your chosen class. Make sure You put them on Dexterity and Wisdom!). You will end up with 12 STR, 10 CON, 18 DEX, 10 INT, 18 WIS and 10 CHA. When leveling up always put your points into DEX and WIS.
Thats all You necessarily need to know about your character creation. I kept this a little shorter because You probably read all this a dozen times already. Lets move on to your charactertraits.
I will only highlight stats that are important to push. Everything im not talking about is not worth any points at all so try to avoid running equipment that boosts those stats.
Power: 400 Power = 1% bonus-damage. This is very nice to have but if You can choose between Power and Critical Strike go for Critical Strike.
Critical Strike: 400 Critical Strike = 1% crit chance. All your offensive slots should be slotted with Azure enchantments (or brutal enchantments) until You hit about 16k Critical Strike. Having 16k in here will let You sit around on something between 60% and 70% crit chance which is enough! In combination with potions, feats and buffs from your teammates in dungeons You will usually be critting your big powers non stop.
Armor Penetration: Armor Penetration does not statically increase like Power or Crit. This is one of the few stats that still have Diminishing Returns. I cant tell You an exact number of how many points You will need to put into Armor Penetration but make sure the resistance ignored is between 59% and 60%. This is currently the maximum of damage resistance enemies can have so you dont need to go any higher. Keep in mind that your resistance ignored will be put together by the percentages of resistance ignored by Armor Penetration and STR. STR will most likely boost Your resistance ignored by 4-7%.
Recovery: Recovery has never been that important to a Hunter Ranger in PvE because your cooldowns will be decreased by Your feats. If You are sometimes getting stuck on Single-target rotations You can try to get it up to 2k-2.5k which will decrease your cooldowns by 10%. Usually You dont need any points in here though.
Actionpoint gain: Actionpoint gain is alot more irrelevant this module than it used to be in mod 4 and 5. If you want to you can get up to 1.2k points inhere however i wouldnt recommend it. The only time you need to activate your daily should be at the start of the fight. Apart from that you dont really need them. On top of that you regenerate Actionpoints pretty quickly anyways since you attack with so many Enocunter powers.
Combat Advantge Bonus: 1k-1.2k points would be ideal for this since they will boost your Combat Advantage Bonus by 9%. Dont go any higher because the Diminishing Returns are brutal. It literally wont get You anywhere.
Controlbonus: Same as Combat Advantage Bonus. 1-1.2k is very important to get for a nice boost to Your Crowd-Control abilities. This is the key to pulling off perma-stuns in PvE.
Defense: You will get a few points of Defense here and there. It doesnt do much though so dont slot it or go for it equipment wise.
Deflection: If You arent inside an Invincibility-frame Deflection is your only way to take a big hit. We will stack up Deflection whenever we can! 400 points = 1% chance to deflect. You can even slot silvery enchantments for defensive slots but i would rather recommend dark emblems for lifesteal.
Lifesteal: There are alot of reasons why You definitely need to get 3000-4000 points in here. I will break down the Feats and Combat-mechanics later and explain why Lifesteal is that important. For now all You need to know is that this is what You should mainly put into your defensive slots. 400 points = 1% chance to proc Lifesteal.
Stamina gain: Stamina is very important to the Hunter Ranger but Stamina gain takes way too long to properly charge up the staminabar. You can get this through the second Icewind Dale boon. Go for it but dont expect much, You probably wont even notice it. This caps on 1k-1.2k points.
Movement: Aside from looting enchantments this is the only thing You should put into Utility slots. 400 points = 1% Movementspeed.
Critical Severity: This isnt a normal stat You can put points into but I wanted to mention this here because it is a crucial part of how You deal damage. Since I was aiming for a very high critical chance with this build You kinda wanna increase your critical Severity as much as You can.
There isnt much to explain on this part so i will quickly tell You what boons You should go for without going into too much detail.
List of all Boons
Dark Fey Hunter
Encroaching Tactics OR Wheatering the Storm (this depends on how much Combat Advantage Bonus You already have. Like i said, You shouldnt go over 1.2k)
Rousing Warmth (procs on Lifesteal)
Tyranny of Dragons:
Will of the Dragon
This is what Im currently running (open the link and click on “Feats”)
Let me explain why I am using those feats and what they are good for:
Predatory Action 2/5: This one wasnt my first choice. However I had a few points left and needed to decide whether to put them in here or into Stamina/Less Threat/Actionpoint gain. Since they modified Threat-generation a Hunter would always end up building up alot of threat. -4% threat wouldnt make any difference though. Actionpoint gain is not as important since You will get your Action Points really fast anyways. Stamina is a key part for Your survival and I will explain this more in depth later on. For now: this feat lets You REGENERATE stamina faster which is not what we will use for Stamina recovery.
Weapon Mastery 3/3: Like i mentioned before, crit is very important. Theres no way around 3/3 on this one.
Thoughness 3/3: This one is a must in this module since 9% max HP will end up being around 6-9k HP.
Agile Combat 3/3: 3% damage after switching the stance for 5 seconds. You switch stances every 2 – 5 seconds –> 3% raw damage increase.
Endless Assault 3/3: You only deal damage with enounter powers –> 6% raw damage increase.
Lucky Skirmisher 3/3: 3% Deflection. Like i said, if You lose control of the fight only Deflection will allow you to take a hit or two.
Disciple of Dexterity 3/3: Even more damage…
Fleet Stance 5/5: The 10% movement speed is better than 5% Action Point gain. It doesnt make a huge difference though.
Deft Strike 5/5: This increases your big hit’s damage by 10%.
Forestbond 5/5: Small cooldown reduction.
Ancient Roots 5/5: This increases the time enemies are immobilized by your roots. Three points in here are usually enough, but it doesnt hurt to max it out. Your base duration of Strong Grasping Roots (SGR) is 2 seconds. Three points would make it 5 seconds. If You decide to put three points only into this feat You might want to put the remaining two points into Fluid Hunter which is a feat in the Combat-path that grants You 1% deflect chance while in Melee stance.
Swiftness of the Fox 5/5: Whenever You use an Enounter power the cooldowns of the different stance’s Encounter powers will be reduced by 15%. This feat is totally broken since it procs on hit and not on use meaning it procs five times if you hit five enemies! On top of that Encounters like Fox’s Cunning will reduce the cooldown by 15% per player buffed as well. This means, the more targets You hit the shorter your cooldowns are going to be. This feat is the engine to any Trapper-build.
Thorned Roots 5/5: This simply adds a DoT effect on enemies hit by SGRs. The efffect applies to control-immune targets aswell dealing an additional 250% of your Weapon damage. This makes SGRs insanely good against bosses.
Serpent’s Bite 5/5: Since You will be running Aspect of the Serpent almost all the time this is a huge booster to both damage and crit chance for those encounter powers that seriously need to hurt your enemy.
Biting Snares 1/1: Biting Snares simply buffs everything You have. Actionpoints, damage and control-bonus. As long as You arent very experienced with your rotations this should simply be a passive booster for your damage. As you become more familiar with your Hunter try to have it proc’d whenever you use your daily.
Bloodletting 5/5: Almost every Hunter runs Trapper’s cunning instead of this. Why? I dont know. Bloodletting is incredible and it will get You alot closer to being invincible than any other feat. Bloodletting only increases your Lifesteal while in Melee stance but this is when You need it most. If You get your Lifesteal up to 10% (which is the minimum of what You will want to have) it will be 15% while in Melee stance. The chance for Lifesteal to proc will be calculated for every target individually. This means You have that 15% chance to proc Lifesteal five times if there are 5 targets. On top of that damage over time will be calculated individually aswell so that gives you even more small heals that can proc Rousing Warmth or Endless Consumption. I hope You understand the potential that comes with this feat. If you happen to get lucky a single Lifesteal proc can heal you all the way up if Enless Consumption procs on it.
The alternative to this would be Trapper’s cunning. Trapper’s cunning will give u a 25% chance to apply Weak Grasping Roots (WGR) on a critical hit which will immobilize the target for 3.5 seconds (incase You have 5/5 on Ancient Roots) and apply a very short daze that wont do much but cancel the enemy’s attack. This might sound good right now but it is completely redundant. Imagine You had a crit chance of 50%. Every eighth attack will proc Trapper’s Cunning’s WGRs. The only powers You will be running that dont immobilize your enemies are Steel Breeze and Fox Shift. You usually use Steel Breeze right after applying roots of some sort so if Trapper’s Cunning would proc it wouldnt help You at all. Every hit of Fox Shift will be calculated individually in terms of Lifesteal, crit chance, damage and also effects like Trapper’s Cunning. Since You are invincible using Fox Shift canceling the enemies attacks wont help you at all since they cant harm you at that point anyway. I hope You understand what i am trying to explain right here 🙂
(Instead of Ancient Roots and Sepent’s Bite you could technically run Skirmisher’s Gambit or Longshot as well. However they will limit your abilities to control your enemies for a slight damage boost. I would not recommend running this if you arent experienced with this class though!)
Now we are slowly getting into the more interesting part of this guide. The first thing You want to figure out is whether You want to run Stormwarden or Pathfinder. I would highly recommend Stormwarden for PvE because it will give You access to Cold Steel Hurricane which deals insane damage. It really doesnt matter too much though since the core rotations will stay the same anyways. If You wanna see what all the powers do You can go to Nwcalc aswell.
Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike: This is the only at-will You will usually use. It is less for the damage its dealing but more for applying an aspect of the serpent stack. Aspect of the serpent is the main class-feature You will end up using.
Electric Shot/Clear the Ground: Already talked about this. Nothing too special.
Hindering Shot/Hindering Strike: There is three charges on Hindering Shot. After using it once You will have to wait three seconds to use it again. Hindering Shot applies WGRS which arent really that great. You rarely use it to actually combo/rotate with it since You will eventually run out of charges. However it can be quite useful if You screw up your rotation because u will be able to quickly kill the cooldowns of your Melee powers if You spam Hindering Shot a few times. Regenerating a charge takes 15 seconds. Hindering Strike however is a really strong power. It is an 360° attack, applies SGRs, deals alot of damage and caps at five enemies. Its is the only Melee Encounter that lets You apply SGRs which makes it really valuable.
Constricting Arrow/Steel Breeze: This Encounter is by far my most favourite one and i would never run any dungeon without it. Some people say that they’d run Hindering Shot instead of this but i would never recommend that. In my book Constricting Arrow and Steel Breeze are just as important as Fox’s Cunning! Constricting Arrow hits a target and applies SGRs to enemies nearby. This is capped to five enemies. The damage it deals is insane, especially on control immune targets. Thats because You will proc Thorned Roots’ DoT and instantly deal 250% of your weapon damage. Keep in mind that if your Constricting Arrow crits the Weapon damage and DoT will keep on critting as well. This alone would make this Encounter power totally worth it but to top it off the Melee power Steel Breeze that comes along with it is a very important part of your rotation as well. It might not deal too much damage but u can kill your cooldowns with it in combination with Plant Growth/Hindering Strike. Steel Breeze also is a five target 360° attack. Whats really good about it though is that it will fill up your Staminabar. Using Steel Breeze is your main way of recharging your Stamina. Never cut Steel Breeze out of your rotation because Stamina is more valuable than HP or damage. You wont be able to hold aggro and stay alive without it. The more enemies You hit the more Stamina You are going to refill.
Fox’s Cunning/Fox Shift: Fox’s Cunning gives everyone in your group a free dodge next time they are getting hit. This is really useful and you can even time it to catch attacks like Lostmauth’ Laser-eyes. Fox Shift will make you Invincible and immune to control effects as long as you use it. On top of that it’s damage output is really nice and as far as i know You can get up to ten hits with Fox Shift.
Cordon of Arrows/Plant Growth: When I first played with this power I hated it. It is very slow and somewhat cheap. You deal alot of damage with Cordon of Arrows and u even have three charges which generate after 20 seconds each. And as if that wasnt enough it can be placed on the ground and function as a trap similar to the cleric‘s Chains of Blazing Light. When using this you might want to Dodge-cancel after your character raises their arms up. This will turn Immobility-frames into Invincibility frames. Plant growth is just as powerful. All targets inside of Plant growth will take very high damage over time and cant move for 4 seconds. The immobility will wear off if You deal to much damage to your target, the DoT will stay active though. Cordon of Arrows caps at five enemies. Plant Growth doesnt have an actual target cap.
Seismic Shot: Seismic shot is a strong five target attack that pushes the enemy away and deals alot of damage. I tend to use it quite alot when running Cordon of Arrows because You will run out of charges. In that situation u can still put one or two Seismic Shots out instead of Cordon of Arrows and keep your damage up and running.
Forest Ghost: Whenever a fight against a group of enemies starts i tend to pop this. It will turn You invisible for roughly 6 seconds and has a cooldown of 30 seconds. Using it will take almost an entire second which is quite alot for a Hunter Ranger. This makes it very hard to use mid-fight. Keep in mind that You cant dodge-cancel Forest Ghost’s animation. It will simply cancel its activation.
Cold Steel Hurricane: This power is totally underrated! Nothing deals as much damage to either enemies with a big hitbox or a very big amount of enemies! It is hard to explain so I will leave a clip to showcase it’s strength. Since its cast-time is really long its not always as useful though
Aspect of the Serpent: Aspect of the Serpent (AotS), Biting Snares and Deft Strike are what qualify the Hunter Ranger to be a top-tier damage dealer. Its effect is quite hard to explain. I will link nwcalc so You can check it out yourself http://nwcalc.com/#/. Basically what it does is boost your Melee powers through using Ranged powers and vice versa. You will run this 99% of the time.
Aspect of the Lone Wolf: This is what You will run alongside Aspect of the Serpent in dungeons/ fights that dont require You to stun enemies with Crushing Roots. This will boost your Deflection chance by 22%-30%. 22% is quite alot and You will almost be able to Deflect every second hit if You add up all your other buffs on Deflection.
Crushing Roots: Crushing Roots is a new class feature that was introduced with this module. It will make You daze the enemies when You apply roots. Since this perk only lasts for a very short time You really want to push your Control bonus up to 40% to significantly increase its effectivity. If there are enemies You have to control You always want to run this instead of Aspect of the Lone Wolf. Keep in mind that switching those perks mid-dungeon is nothing unusual. I always use this perk for Lostmauth all the way up to the Scorpion boss and then switch to Aspect of the Lone Wolf. This is because there wont be enemies to daze for the rest of the dungeon.
Aspect of the Pack: Aspect of the Pack is something I rarely run. It does however grant Combat Advantage to your whole team which is alot more significant than You might think it is. Combat Advantage grants crazy buffs to your entire team and it isnt active as often as You might think it is. Dont run this though if You need Crushing Roots or Aspect of the Lone Wolf – Keeping yourself alive is more important than to grant extra damage to your team. Also, dont run this if there is a GWF running daring shout or a Renagade-CW. They will make Aspect of the Pack unnecessary since they grant Combat Advantage aswell.
Thats about it. Those powers are what You will end up using the most. Dont forget that there are alot of other decent powers I wont be able to explain in detail.
6. Combat Mechanics
This is probably the most crucial part to becoming a helpful addition to any dungeon running group. . Since this isnt a simple showcase of what powers Im running but rather a guide on how to perform well, I will try to explain two main rotations I highly recommend You to run. I will split this into two parts each: Stacking damage and Survivability.
Two more things before we start; both rotations will run Rapid Shot, Electric Shot, Forest Ghost, Seismic Shot/ Cold Steel Hurricane, Aspect of the Serpent and Crushing Roots as their standard. Since i already explained situations in which You will want to switch your Class features I wont go into any further detail here. I set Crushing Roots as the standard because You will use it more often and You will rely on it whilst rotating. Aspect of the Lone Wolf is more like an passive feature. Lastly, keep in mind that this is very detailed and might be hard for some people to do without practice. If You dont understand some parts of those rotations do not hesitate to ask or watch the videos Im linking. Lets get to it!
This rotation will have You run Constricting Arrow (X), Cordon of Arrows(Y) and Fox’s cunning (B). It doesnt matter what button You use for each power, however I really like it this way because for me it saves the most time I can possibly save inbetween attacks.
The first thing I am going to explain is the begining of a fight. Keep in mind that your goal is still controlling the crowd, thats why i like to go in first – even before the tanks enter the fight.
The first thing You should do is hit Fox’s Cunning, Forest Ghost and Constricting Arrow in this order. Firing the Constricting Arrow off is really important because You need to have roots applied to proc your initial Biting Snares. As You switch stances Biting Snares will proc granting You a 30% damage boost for the next ten seconds (By the time You are actually rotating You will have this 30% + 10% on Deft Strike + 34% through your AotS on your big powers). The first Melee power you should use is Plant Growth. After that you should use Fox Shift and Steel Breeze in what ever order You like. This is pretty situational and doesnt really do too much to your damage-output. At this point Biting Snares will most likely be active for another 8-6 seconds + all AotS buffs are now applied! Now You start your Ranged roatation: Usually You will want to drop Cordon of Arrows first and then use Constricting Arrow in order to get the maximum damage out of it. After You fired of the Constricting. Go ahead and pop your Fox’s Cunning and switch Stances to finish off your rotation and start the next one just like this. Keep in mind that You might want to use your daily instead of Cordon of Arrows sometimes because the cooldown of Cordon of Arrows is very long. This will let You optimize your damage in longer fights.
As You may have noticed this rotation is quite time consuming and it will usually take 4-6 seconds. This leaves alot of frames where You actually are quite vulnerable. If you need to stop rotating for maximum damage to pop a Fox Shift or Fox’s Cunning you shouldnt hesitate to do so. Staying alive is always the most important thing.
This rotation is used in order to control 3-5 enemies (Every enemy above 5 will be hard to handle and only possible after alot of practice). You will run Constricting Arrow(X), Hindering Shot(Y) and Fox’s Cunning(B). Im using this rotation in order to permanently stun (immobilize+daze) a number of enemies. This works through applying SGRs constantly while having the Crushing Roots perk on. Keep in mind that this works less well on control resistant enemies and enemies less than 3 since You wont be able to proc Swiftness of the Fox often enough. Running this rotation your main goal is to constantly stun enemies rather than dealing as much damage as possible. This rotation’s damage is still very high though, so dont underestimate it and make sure You ALMOST ALWAYS use it in T2 dungeons. This will take the pressure off your entire team if You do it correctly.
I personally like to start this rotation the same way I do using the Max-damage rotation. The invisibility from Forest Ghost and initial rooting from Constricting Arrow are always good to have. This rotation seriously is simple. Use Hinderring Strike, Steel Breeze right after, switch stances, Constricting Arrow and lastly Fox’s Cunning. This might sound crazy since You wont be moving at all but it works wonders! A full rotation should only take about 2-2.5 seconds. You will just repeat this until the enemy counter drops below three. At that point You will have to use Fox Shift as well in order to proc Swiftness of the Fox often enough. It is a little harder to properly run this if your enemies are all spread out. If this is the case You might wanna consider using Fox Shift to jump around until You see an opportunity to start your rotation. If You want to make sure to get the most damage out of this rotation make sure You have two melee stacks applied when using the rotation‘s first Hindering Strike. This will make Hindering Strike hit 44% harder.
There really isnt much to say. If You manage to properly rotate u wont have any problems unless there are control resistant/control immune enemies. If You have problems starting your rotation make sure You use Fox Shift, Forest Ghost and your dodges the way I explained earlier this guide so You can make use of as many Invincibility-frames as possible until You find a good time to start your rotation.
Thats about it. If You understand and learn to use those rotations properly You will become a truly effective addition to your team and You will be able to keep your team alive alot better than GFs or DCs could ever do!
7. Gear and Companion choice
Equipment wise You dont have alot of choice if You are going for a maxed build. Like i alrady explained above You kinda wanna push crit and lifesteal to support damage and survivability as much as possible. One of the few questions You kinda wanna ask yourself is: Do You want to run the Lostmauth set or a wisdom belt? A wisdom belt will let You push your crit chance and it also is very cheap. The Lostmauth-set however is more expensive. Therefore it will push your “Crit-per-second effectivity”*. The Lostmauth set definitely is the better option if You have enough AD to afford it. The rest of your equipment should be chosen in terms of what stats You still need. I explained this above in the “2. Charactertraits” chapter.
For your Weapon Enchantment you should use a Vorpal. A Perfect one will already be enough. Since you will be critting most of the time this will significantly increase your overall damage. There is no other Weapon Enchantment that comes close to the Vorpal.
Your Armor Enchantment should be either a Soulforge or a Negation. I would highly recommend a Soulforge though because it actually is alot better and alot cheaper at the same time. Hunters dont have the problem of getting killed two times in a row after their soulforge pops because they can dodge away or use Fox Shift. In the end its up to you though and if you feel like a Negation can do a better job of keeping you alive you can go for it.
List of viable artifacts:
-Lantern of Revelation
-Lostmauth’s Horn of Blasting
-Sigil of the Trickster
-Sigil of the Controller
-Thayan Book of the Dead
-Shard of Valindras Crown
-Wheel of Elements
-Belial’s Portal Stone
Possible choices for your active Artifact in order of usefulness:
-Wheel of Elements
-Lantern of Revelation
-Shard of Valindra’s Crown
DO NOT RUN THE SIGIL OF THE DEVOTED! YOU DONT NEED MORE ACTION POINTS!
Link to all Artifacts
-Active: Erinyes of Belial, Air Archon, Earth Archon, Cantankerous Mage
-Summoned: Any Augement
-Active: Intellect Devourer, Blink Dog, Slyblade Kobold, Fire Archon, Tomb Spider, Skeletal Dog, Dancing Blade, Wererat Thief
Link to all Companions
*Dont mistake “Crit-per-second effectivity” with Critical Severity. The Lostmauth set becomes more viable the more orange numbers You see. The actual height or chance of critical strikes doesnt matter.
8. The End
If You still have questions feel free to ask. I know that this was a VERY long guide and I hope You were able to learn something. If one of the things I stated was wrong please let me know so I can check and eventually edit it. Thanks for your attention and for making it to the very end of the guide without giving up 🙂