BloodTalons PVE Archer HR DPS Build

by BloodTalons on July 2, 2017
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BloodTalons PVE Archer HR DPS Build

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INTRODUCTION:

The Hunter Ranger is an excellent DPS class in Neverwinter that can provide single-target and AoE damage as well as some very nice buffs. It can be an excellent addition to any team; massacring the enemies as well as providing a lot of “behind the scenes” advantages to the whole team. Like the other Classes, it has a few different “builds” that it can do. This is my guide to one of those “builds”; the Archer Build.

Please note, it is under construction and will be updated with new information as I finish it. Also, this first half is mostly exposition. It does go into Archer strengths and weaknesses, but feel free to skip it if you just want to get right to the actual build.

WHY AN ARCHER:

Firstly, don’t let people fool you. Most DPS builds/classes in the hands of equally skilled people with equal iL are going to do about the same amount of damage. There IS some variance; some builds are slightly better than others, especially situationally. However, it isn’t enough of a difference that you should play a build you are not good at or dislike solely because someone else thinks it is at the top for DPS. Chances are that it isn’t, and chances are you will be bad at it anyway. I have seen far more HR Trappers who can’t play Trapper and did horribly in a run because of it than I have seen good Trappers. It isn’t because there is anything wrong with the build (Trappers are great), but that Trapper playstyle just doesn’t fit everyone.

So, that is the main reason to play Archer instead; if Archer playstyle fits you better than either of the other two (Trapper or Combat), then you definitely should play Archer. You will do far better on it than you will the other two.

The other reason to play Archer is because, in certain situations, they outperform the other two. Not every situation as there are times when they don’t outperform the other two, but often enough. Archers can be top DPS a good deal of the time; if played right. That last part is important; if played right. Archers are not Trappers or Combats who just attack from farther away. They play differently, and if you don’t play to their strengths, you are going to have a disappointing time. The largest mistake most people make is trying to play them exactly like they would a Trapper or Combat.

ARCHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Naturally, one of the Archer’s largest strengths is that we attack from far range. This means we completely escape much of the AoE damage other classes have to soak up, as well as having a better view and command of the battlefield. We can reposition easily if we need to, and can get away with a lot less damage mitigation. This means most of our stats get channeled into the pure damage ones (Crit chance/severity, power, armor penetration), because we can ignore the defensive ones almost completely. This makes a large difference in our stats.

Our range does have to be counted as a weakness as well. As most “anti-archer” people will note, our range means we can miss out on some party buffs. Things like Anointed Army or Aura buffs from Paladins, etc. In reality, I catch Anointed Army about as often as every other non-melee class that isn’t standing right on top of the tank, but I do miss Paladin buffs and the like. It makes a difference, but I have not found it makes as large of one as people seem to think. Even without the buffs, the Archer is still able to do equal or more DPS than the classes who do get the buffs. That is saying something.

Another strength is we are excellent in a team. We can provide buffs to everyone that have serious impact, and when someone holds aggro for us we can pour on massive damage. If that tank knows to give us the enemies back, we can outright melt things. We are team players, and we give as much to our parties as we get from them. In a party is where we excel.

This means our obvious weakness is solo play. It is actually our largest weakness. We can do most solo content just fine, but not nearly as smoothly as the other two HR builds. A Combat or Trapper is going to have an easier time solo playing. Mainly, this is because we lose a LOT of our potential damage when things are up close to us; which anything we aggro will naturally close distance and be up close. Shifting to gain distance helps a little bit, but our best option is just to one-shot things before they can close or drop AoE around us so even after they close they still get melted quickly. Just be aware, though, solo play is where we struggle at the most.

Another benefit is that we have a REALLY long range. Like, REALLY long. This allows us to almost always hit first. It also means when enemies are spawning at opposite ends of a map, we can just stand in the center, never moving, and continuously hit our targets WAY faster than others can run into range to hit them. Tiamat is a prime example. We can basically cover all 3 clerics with little effort, allowing us to apply our DPS where most needed. This is also very prominent in all of the skirmishes where others have to run across the map to get to the new spawns but we don’t. We stand outside of the battlefield, but cover it all. We are unfazed by those bosses or enemies that run or blink around, laughing as they try to escape our piercing death.

ARCHER’S PLAYSTYLE:

So, the best reason to play an Archer is because of its playstyle. You might be wondering what that playstyle even is. Well, basically, it is standing far back out of the mosh-pit that is typical combat and raining hell down on your targets. You command a birds-eye view of the field, and can react better to the changes because of it (seriously, I am almost always the one freeing people from Valindra’s grasp or Permafrost, etc). You are perfectly positioned to pick off high-priority targets, and are really good at switching between AoE damage and single-target depending on what you determine is needed.

It also means you will mainly use At-Will powers. This is probably the more controversial part of the guide, as well as the main reason most people fail at Archer. To put it bluntly, no Encounter or Daily power we have will equal the single-target DPS of a single Aimed Shot attack. With very few exceptions, they won’t even come close. This is the same for AoE damage and Electric Shot. Trying to use AoE Encounter powers wastes time and will do sub-par DPS to if you had just held down your mouse button and rained down a few Electric Shots. At-Wills have no cooldowns to worry about, and get extra bonuses when we use them, and do more DPS than Encounter powers.

This means, for Encounter powers, we have to be very selective of which we use and when. We typically only use either long-lasting AoE attacks that we can drop down before the fight even begins (basically giving us free DPS) or utility/buff Encounter powers. We also use them discriminately; not spamming them but choosing when they will have more effect than just using an At-Will would. Through the use of these and our At-Wills that outdamage all Encounter powers anyway, we not only rack up great DPS but contribute utility to the team at the same time.

If you are one of those players who yawns at the idea of standing outside of the battle and chunking enemy health bars with At-Will shot after At-Will shot, dropping in the occasional Encounter power strategically when it will have the most effect, then Archer is NOT for you. We do not spam Encounter powers, as doing such strips away a lot of our DPS. We watch the battle and then use them to their greatest gain.

If being the Harbinger of Ranged Death, standing on the fringe of battle and calculating when is the best time to use a power rather than just blasting them off as soon as they drop out of cooldown, then welcome to Archer. You are going to love it here.

RACE:

This one doesn’t matter enough for me to make a definitive suggestion. Any that provide you Dexterity and Wisdom will work. Pick one that you like and can enjoy the aesthetic of.

STATS:

Dexterity and Wisdom are your two main stats. Strength helps out a bit as it gives you Armor Penetration, but considering how easy it is to get the 60% you want (or higher, which you will want come Mod 12), it isn’t worth actually investing in Strength for it. Charisma also helps a bit too with Combat Advantage, but not as much as either Dexterity or Wisdom will. As such, stick with those two.

PARAGON PATH:

I would highly suggest Stormwarden. The main reason is because it gives us access to some excellent AoE options that will compliment our single-target damage. Electric Shot is a perfect At-Will pairing with Aimed Shot, allowing you to either melt a single target in a single hit or pour on constant, VERY wide AoE damage to a group. Split the Sky is a great Encounter Power solely because it lasts so long, allowing us to set it out before the enemies arrive or even spawn (making it free DPS). Twin-Blade Storm Passive is even more AoE damage for when we need it.

In comparison, Pathfinder just doesn’t have anything to offer that we would prefer. Hunters Teamwork/Careful Attack is a single-target At-Will, and using it would lower our DPS (we could have just hit the single target with Aimed Shot and done RIDICULOUSLY more damage). The Encounter Powers and Passives are equally non-useful to us, mainly concentrating on survivability which we do not need.

STATS WE CARE ABOUT (AND DON’T):

I will get into more depth on this one later, but suffice it to say there are only a handful of stats we actually care about and a lot we don’t. A lot of them are stats the other HR builds need or must have. This ability for us to not care about them means we get to stack the pure DPS providing stats even higher than they can (part of the reason we have the potential to out-DPS them).

Want:

Power – Obvious reason. More we have, more damage we do.

Critical Chance – We want a full 100% (or higher) build. Not only does landing a Crit just do more damage than a regular hit, but we also get extra procs and benefits each time we land a Crit from our feats. This means we want EVERY hit we do to crit if we can.

Critical Severity – If every hit we do is a Crit, then we want our Crits to hurt as much as possible. There is diminishing returns on this one, but even when diminished, every bit of it is more damage you will do.

Armor Penetration – Just like Critical Severity, there is a point where more of this doesn’t really help out. That magic number as of right now is 60%, but there are rumors that will change come Mod 12. We do want that 60%, as it also increases the damage we can do.

Always Useful, But Not A Priority:

Health – We don’t get hit often, but we do get hit. Especially when the tank can’t manage to hold aggro through our damage or an unescapable AoE gets used by an enemy. As such, getting HP is useful. It isn’t a priority to us, though, like it would be to some others. Take it where you can get it, but don’t focus on it. Getting enough to avoid being one-shot is really the goal.

Recovery – Considering we mainly use At-Wills (which never go on cooldown), getting Recovery doesn’t help us all that much. Even for the Encounter Powers we do have, we use them strategically instead of spamming them. Plus, one of our Archery feats basically cuts all of our cooldowns in half; so we REALLY don’t need much Recovery. If it comes attached to an item with stats you actually DO want, take it. Other than that, though, don’t seek it out.

Defense – See Health. Basically, the same thing.

Don’t Care About:

Lifesteal – We get hit so seldom, that a single potion is usually enough to fill us back up on those times we do take damage. By time we take more damage, our potion will be off of cooldown and ready to use again. Lifesteal doesn’t really do us any good except maybe save us some gold on potions. Ignore it. Doing so will allow you to increase the stats you do want.

Deflect – Same as above.

Most Everything Else – We just don’t have a lot of use for the other stats. We are outside of most of the fighting, so avoiding most of the control effects is easy. We don’t need the healing bonus or regeneration, etc. This is our secret ace; the ability to funnel our stats directly to those that increase our damage and ignore the rest.

 

 

FEATS:

Feats are what really distinguishes an Archer from a Trapper from a Combat. Trapper feats are a lot more about lessening cooldowns and gaining benefit from shifting stances. Combat provides some decent damage bonuses and some much-needed damage mitigation for that build. Archer feats are almost primarily about damage; especially from range. You are going to want to invest entirely in the Archer line; mainly because none of the starting feats in the other two will help an Archer out at all. Putting any points into them will be a waste.

I will break down most of the Feat choices. Many of them are obvious, but a few are up to preference.

Heroics:

Predatory Action – Ignore this one completely. As any HR will tell you, our Daily powers are nearly worthless.

Weapon Mastery – Worth capping, as we will want to be at 100% Crit Chance. Admittedly, this is an easy thing for us to do due to our Archer feats; but only when we are at ranged and nothing is around us. These extra Crit % will help out, especially for those times something closes with us and we lose the extra Crit due to not being at range. Plus, the only other option would be to put points in Predatory Action, and that is a complete waste.

Toughness – For the most part, Archers get to escape a lot of the damage. We can’t escape it all, though. We will want to be tough enough to absorb some punishment, so cap this one out.

Swift Footwork – We do slide/dodge a bit, but not as much as those up close. It will be seldom that you find yourself out of stamina except in fights that force you to be up close (and those are thankfully pretty rare). As such, completely skip this one.

Battlewise – A lot of our damage depends on keeping our distance from our target. As such, we absolutely do NOT want aggro. Considering we do massive damage, sometimes that is hard to avoid. This skill helps out a bit in that area. Cap it.

Agile Combatant – At first, this one seems like an obvious skip. However, it is an extra 3% damage for nothing more than switching stances. There is a nifty trick here; you can attack with Aimed Shot, switch to melee during its animation and then right back to ranged before its animation ends. Thus, you get the damage bonus and practically never leave Ranged stance. It can get old switching to melee just for a second and then back to ranged only for the bonus, but it does provide you with extra DPS. If you find you don’t want to put that effort in, then you can skip this one but it means you will have to put the points into Swift Footwork instead. I, personally, feel putting them here gives you more benefit.

Endless Assault – We do use some damaging Encounter Powers, but they are specific ones. This will help out, though. Once again, it is also a LOT better than the other options for us. Cap it.

Nature’s Enhancement – An obvious skip for us. We neither need the Deflect Severity nor will we be switching to Melee stance (unless using the Agile Combatant trick, but even then this feat doesn’t provide anything we care about).

Lucky Skirmisher – Another skip. Deflect chance is one of those stats that are fine to have if we get it for free, but not really something we care about. We won’t be getting hit often enough for it to make a difference.

Scoundrel Training – This is an excellent Feat for us. Right up our alley. It provides extra damage to our At-Wills (which we mainly use) when we aren’t targeted by our target (which we should strive for 100% of the time. Aggro is bad for us). However, we only get 5 points on this last Heroic line and Disciple of Dexterity is something we want as well. Ultimately, you will want to split the 5 points between those two. I went for two here and three in Disciple, but I don’t think it makes enough of a difference either way to say definitely one over the other.

Disciple of Dexterity – An obvious cap (or if you capped Scoundrel Training, the other two should go here). More damage is exactly what we strive for, and this gives it to us.

Extra Action – Our near-worthless Daily Powers, again. Skip, completely.

Archery Feats

Ghostwalker – It is either this or Keen Eye. Neither one is a must-have for us, but this one I feel gives slightly more benefit to our playstyle than the other. Ultimately, though, just spend those initial 5 points that you have to spend divided any way you prefer between these two.

Keen Eye – See above.

Broadhead Arrows – A lot of our feats give us Crit Chance. This makes it very easy for us to hit 100% Crits. I recommend capping this one. At end-game you may find yourself over-capped on Crit Chance, but you would be better off leaving the points in this feat and re-adjusting elsewhere (like enchantments or boons).

Stormcaller’s Arrow – Split the Sky is one of the few Encounter powers we will regularly use, and I will get into why in the Powers section. However, one of the main reasons we like it so much is its LONG duration. To get it to stay around that long, we have to invest in this feat. As such, cap it.

Hasty Retreat – Being Archers, we like to pick our prime spot on the battlefield and rain hell from there. Getting to that spot as fast as we can, though, is a priority. Every second wasted positioning is a LOT of lost DPS. This feat gives us a constant movement bonus, plus some extra if we get hit (which is usually a sign we need to hurry up and reposition). This isn’t a necessity; you can skip it, but there isn’t a lot else you would want to put it into. Movement is useful to us. You could put it into the Trapper’s Fleet Stance instead, but that would require switching stances constantly to get the movement bonus. Hasty Retreat tends to work better.

Longshot – One of our best feats. It is easy to under-estimate this one, but it will do a lot of damage for you. The key is that the extra damage it does is Piercing, which ignores resistance. Seeing as how all of our attacks are Ranged and how we should be aiming for all of them to Crit as well, this should be applying extra damage to every hit. The amount isn’t really a lot on something like Aimed Shot (which can hit in the millions; the extra few thousand from this is just a drop in the bucket) but on things like Electric Shot, Split the Sky, or Rain of Arrows, this will do almost as much damage as the attack itself will; meaning it almost doubles the DPS on those. WELL worth capping. Combats get a similar Piercing feat, and they will tell you how nice it is to have. Trappers, don’t, though they wish they did.

Unflinching Aim – Up to 20% more damage to all Ranged powers (and, yes, this means At-Will powers as well) AND every Aimed Shot reduces all cooldowns by 1 second? What is not to love. You can use Aimed Shot about once a second, so doing so will literally cut all of your cooldowns in half. This skill is why we don’t care about Recovery. We get most of our Encounter Powers back that we use before their prior use ever wears off, and it is pretty easy to get our buffs to nearly 100% uptime because of it. Really, this feat plus a few other things help contribute to an Archer’s ability to keep up with or outperform the other builds. Of course, cap it.

Bottomless Quiver – I, personally, ignore this one. The reason is simple; all of our Encounter powers are up when we need them about 85% of the time. Occasionally, though, we might would like Fox’s Cunning or Longstriders back a bit sooner. As such, if you didn’t take Hasty Retreat (or only partially took it), then this is a good spot to put those unspent points. Just don’t expect it to make as much of a difference as you might think for us. Our At-Wills never go on cooldown, so this doesn’t help them at all. If you want to be a bit more buff oriented, then this is an okay option. Just not what I would suggest.

Rising Focus – At cap, it is +15% Crit Severity and +15% to your Power. Considering we get to put more into our Power than the other builds, this can really add up. It depends on Critical Strikes to build and sustain it, but we should be doing nothing but Crits anyway.

Stillness of the Forest – An excellent skill, and part of the reason we like to keep as much distance between us and everything else as possible. When at max range, you really notice the extra Crit (especially early on when you haven’t gotten BiS equipment) and the extra damage. The downside, though, is when something gets close, you also miss the absence of this feat. Double-edged sword but very worth capping.

Predator – This is one of the largest damage boosts on any feat. At a +50% damage increase that lasts 20 seconds, this skill is a large jump in your DPS when you get it. You do have to mark your target with an Encounter power, but you only have to do it once every 20 seconds. Even for us, that is easily doable. It is only going to help with singe-target DPS, though. In groups of trash-mobs, you will just have to put a little effort in making sure you mark the target with the most hp (or the priority target you want to insta-gib. This paired with an Aimed Shot is a beautiful sight to behold). Take it, and enjoy the start of your ability to melt things.

 

 

POWERS:

Like most classes/builds, there is a pretty small list of powers we actually find useful. Some are situational, which you will find yourself switching into and out of your bar as needed. Some will pretty much never leave your bar. I will break these down into a good bit of detail, only because they need to be. Using your powers effectively and at the right times in the right ways will determine whether or not you are an effective Archer or someone most teams kick out of dungeons. *As a note, I will be focusing mainly on the Ranged version of powers, with only a few exceptions. For the most part, that is all we care about. I will note the few exceptions*

Quick “Priority” Power list: These are the ones you want to rank up first and cap first (and roughly in this order), as these are the ones you will mainly use.

Aimed Shot

Rain of Arrows

Twin-Blade Storm

Seeker’s Vengeance

Longstrider’s Shot

Fox’s Cunning

Electric Shot

Split the Sky

 

Aspect of the Falcon

 

Explanations:

Rapid Shot – First At-Will you get, but nothing noteworthy past that. It isn’t worth capping, and isn’t worth using once you get Electric Shot and Aimed Shot. Use it at the beginning when you have nothing else, but forget it as soon as you are able. It pales horribly in comparison to the other two mentioned.

Split Shot – This is a decent AoE At-Will (especially for starting out), but still doesn’t outperform Electric Shot or Aimed Shot. The key with Split Shot is it starts off hitting things in a wide cone, but the longer you hold it, the more damage it does but the narrower the cone gets. It does pierce targets, so technically you can hit a group of enemies with a full charge when it is at its narrowest for its max damage. The problem is this, though. In the time it takes to fully charge Split Shot, you could get off 3 or more Electric Shots (which will do more damage than the single Split Shot AND have a much larger AoE range on it so it probably hit more things, as well). Without being charged when it has its widest cone, it does about as much damage as a single Electric Shot, and you can do these uncharged Split Shots about as fast as you can Electric Shots. The place Split Shot really falls short of Electric Shot, though, is Split shot won’t hit things obstructed behind walls or just out of your line of sight. Electric Shot will. If you hit one enemy standing in a doorway to a room, Electric Shot will chain to every other enemy in its radius inside the room, whether you can see them or not. Electric Shot, at its max, also has a WAY larger AoE range than anything Split Shot can accomplish. All together, Electric Shot just outperforms it in all ways. As to Aimed Shot… it isn’t even a comparison. You can almost get off 2 Aimed Shots (at max rank) to a single full-charge Split Shot; and while Split Shot will pierce targets, it won’t even do 1/4 the damage of a single Aimed Shot. For single target damage, Aimed Shot spanks it. For AoE damage, Electric Shot spanks it. Use it early on, and it will serve you well, but just like Rapid Shot, replace it once you get the other two.

Marauder’s Escape – It does okay damage, but has the same weakness pretty much all of the Encounter powers do in that regard; in the same amount of time it takes to cast Marauder’s Escape, you could do 2 Aimed Shots or about 6 Electric Shots; both of which will do SIGNIFICANTLY more damage. Using this skill will lessen your DPS. As such, the only thing it has going for it is any utility it brings; of which it does have some as a repositioning tool. The problem is most enemies will just quickly close the distance again before you can even capitalize on it when you are solo playing, and when you are in a group you shouldn’t need to try and open up new space between you and your target. Early on when you have nothing else to put points into, it can be used. Once better options open up, though, ignore it.

Seismic Shot – Our dailies are all pretty much useless. This one is slightly less so. It can do almost as much damage as an Aimed Shot (which is the benchmark for whether we should use an Encounter power, or not. If it does less than an Aimed Shot, we should have just used the At-Will instead so we don’t lose the DPS), but is able to do it to multiple targets. It takes about the same amount of time to cast as Aimed Shot, so if you can position right and cast it at the right time, this will gain you DPS by virtue of basically being like an AoE Aimed Shot. Plus, the fact that it can group enemies together is also very useful (not only to you, but to other classes who can then employ their own AoEs more efficiently). It does have its drawbacks, though. Mainly, it isn’t a targeted attack like Aimed Shot. If the thing you were aiming for moves after you start your cast, you will completely whiff it and do no damage (meaning lost DPS). So, only use it on targets you are pretty sure are neither going anywhere any time soon or about to die (because nothing is more annoying than using this and then watching your team kill everything right before the green line reaches them). Making these types of judgment calls and making them well is what separates a good Archer from a poor one. Go ahead and put points into this Power, and even max it, but only after you have already maxed all the other high-priority ones.

Aspect of the Falcon – One of our key powers. This one lets us do more damage the further away we are from our target. It is a 1% increase for every 5′, and considering we can get a little over 100′ with this Power maxed, this grants us around a 20% increase to our damage. That is a LOT just for standing where we should be standing, anyway. It has the same double-edge as the Stillness of the Forest feat, though. When we are at max range, we REALLY do damage. When something is close, we REALLY notice that lost damage. Get at least 1 point in this, and it is worth maxing eventually, but each successive point past 1 only gives you 3′ more range. Helpful, but not game-changing.

Hindering Shot – We aren’t Trappers. Applying Grasping Roots (especially considering they last such a painfully short time for us) doesn’t do much for us. Crowd Control is not where we excel. In fact, for the most part, we completely ignore it. I wouldn’t bother with this skill at all, except you will need to put points into something as you level and this is as good of a place to dump them as anywhere. Just don’t prioritize it or cap it.

Rain of Arrows – This is one of the few Powers actually capable of out-DPSing Aimed Shot. It hits for about 13 ticks of damage that are about 1/10th that of a single Aimed Shot, and takes about the same amount of time to cast (barring the wonky aim mechanics and that you are quick enough to center it where you want it). As such, it is already going to do more damage than Aimed Shot. The thing to keep in mind, though, is Aimed Shot only applies that wonderful Feat, Longshot, once. This will apply Longshot every single tick of damage. This doesn’t mean use Rain of Arrows all the time; you still have to use it strategically to get the most out of it. This may CAST as fast as Aimed Shot, but it isn’t as quick of damage as Aimed Shot. It takes most of the LONG duration of ticks before it out-DPS Aimed Shot. If, for whatever reason, your target takes anything less than about 9 of those 13 ticks, you would have been better off not casting it and sticking with Aimed Shot. For instance, if it dies soon after you cast this, or if it moves or gets knocked out of the VERY small AoE area. That is really this Powers largest flaw. It has an incredibly small AoE range, which not only makes it an incredible pain to aim right (causing you to sometimes spend extra seconds positioning it… losing precious DPS time), but it doesn’t take much for an enemy to move out of its range. This is where that Archer judgment call comes into play. If you think your target is going to move soon, don’t cast. If you think it is pretty close to dying, don’t cast. If the terrain is all wonky and uneven, causing you to waste time trying to center it where you want it, don’t cast. Now, a lot of this applies to singe-target usage. Rain of Arrows IS an AoE (even if a small one). It is absolutely amazing for doing damage to close-packed groups. Still keep in mind whether or not the pack might move or disperse or die too quickly to get any damage out of it, but ALWAYS be on the lookout for those opportune moments when the enemies converge and then stay still. Dropping a Rain on them then will REALLY bump up your DPS. Naturally, cap this one eventually.

Forest Ghost – Same story as most of our Dailies. Barely useful. You can use it to escape mobs (though you have to be quick do to it), but past that it isn’t really good for anything. Seismic Shot will vastly out-DPS it. Put the points in it when you have to, but ignore it otherwise.

Forest Meditation – A pretty good self-heal… that also freezes you in place, which makes it of VERY minimal use. If you want to use up your AP to save a potion, then it helps, but otherwise ignore it.

Thorn Ward – This is a pretty decent power that does see some occasional use. It isn’t going to give you as much DPS as some others, but when single-target damage is called for against a hardened target (like a boss), this can do some work for you. It has all the benefits we like of a skill; can be cast ahead of time with a long duration so we can get free DPS out of it, attacks multiple times so triggers Longshot for each one, has a built-in debuff that benefits the entire team, and has a wide AoE. If only it multi-hit then it would be perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, so only use it for those single-target fights that you have time to switch powers going into. Get it to rank 3, but it is way low on the list for capping.

Aspect of the Lone Wolf – We are Archers. Nothing should be close to us. As such, this is pretty much of no value to us. In solo play, we might see some use out of it, but not as much as other passives we could slot. In team play, where we shine, it will be useless to us. Ignore it.

Aspect of the Pack – This kind of suffers from the same thing as Aspect of the Lone Wolf. Combat advantage is great for us, and we won’t get it often being so far back from the fight, but this won’t give it to us for exactly the same reason; being so far back from the fight. We are not likely to often have allies that close to us. You can put some points into it (especially when there is nothing else to put them into), but it won’t see much use or give us much benefit.

Aimed Shot – Our main skill, and the thing we use to rain death down on those who dare stand in our sights. Aimed Shot is capable of MASSIVE damage; more than just about any other Power. It has a very high base damage. In addition, it is an At-Will, and a lot of our other feats/powers/companions add extra damage on top of our At-Wills (the Hunting Hawk being a prime example). Once you start reaching end-game, a single Aimed Shot from max range will top out at a few million damage; which you can do every single second with no care about cooldowns. Even better, each Aimed Shot you do will lower the cooldowns of your Encounter powers by 1 second. Aimed Shot is an amazing skill for us, and should be capped first. Of note, though, it will feel sluggish and slow when you first get it. It has a long cast time which is shortened for each rank you put into it. This is why you want to cap it first, as doing so will greatly increase the DPS it provides as well as make it feel more enjoyable to use.

Constricting Arrow – Same problem as Hindering Shot. We don’t get enough benefit from our crowd control to care about it, and it definitely doesn’t do as much DPS as Aimed shot. Using it will lower our overall DPS. So, don’t use it.

Aspect of the Serpent – Great skill, just definitely not for us. We don’t use any Melee powers, so we won’t gain any stacks from it. Ignore it completely.

Boar Hide – This is an okay buff, but not a great one. We have much better, so this will hardly ever make it into your tray. Dump points into it if there is nothing else to put them into, but ignore it otherwise.

Split the Sky – Another great power we will use a lot. Split the Sky is an interesting power in that it can be amazing DPS… or just okay DPS. The thing with it is that it is an incredibly large AoE that lasts 10 seconds (with points in the appropriate feat). Meaning you can cast it over a battlefield before the fight even starts, and it will hang around for a long time doing damage to pretty much everything due to its range. The damage it does varies, though. It will strike 1 target about every second for okay damage, but if that is all it did then it wouldn’t be worth the rather long cast time. It will also strike any target that attacks you or an ally (companions included). This is where it really does its damage. In a trash-mob setting, each enemy that strikes someone gets hit in return. The more they hit, the more damage this does; plus that extra 1 hit every second. Due to this, it can really tear through a group of enemies with serious efficiency. Each hit, of course, also procs Longshot for more damage. The slow also comes in handy more often than you might think, especially when solo’ing. It is an eventual cap candidate, but not really a priority. All ranking it up does is increase the slow % (which, as stated, does actually come in use on occasion). That isn’t really enough to make it a cap priority, though.

Blade Storm – As you can guess, ignore it. Great for Combat HR; worthless for us.

Electric Shot – Our other main skill. Electric Shot is amazing for AoE damage. It casts fast (about as fast as Rapid Shot, actually, and does about the same amount of damage) and does AoE damage in an incredibly large area; especially at max rank. The damage it does is great (especially with it proc’ing Longshot) and can be improved by getting the Electric Shot artifact power on your Artifact Weapon for an additional +10% damage. The fact that it hits things behind walls or outside of your view is a bonus that cannot be overappreciated. This really makes a difference in certain dungeons (I’m looking at you, CN). This will damage things behind you, stealthed, obstructed by walls; Electric shot doesn’t care. If the enemy is within its range, it will damage them. Due to its fast cast, extremely large range, and decent damage, it out-DPS most other AoEs.

Hawk Shot/Hawkeye – One of the few powers I am actually going to talk about the Melee version of. The ranged version is just a basic damaging attack that does more damage the further you are from your target. The problem is even at maxed range, it still doesn’t do the damage Aimed Shot does (a re-occurring theme, I know). This means using it actually costs us DPS. The ranged version of this Power is useless to us. The melee power, however, has its uses. It is a damage buff to you and the entire team, but only for your Encounter powers. In addition, it is only for 15% to you (half to your party) and only for 5 seconds. All together, that makes this power pretty limited. We don’t use our Encounter powers enough to gain a lot of benefit from this. However, it is possible to switch melee, cast this, and then cast our Encounter powers for those times we DO use them. It will only net us a 15% increase to that one power’s damage, though. This increase won’t add up to the damage we would have done if we had just put a different power in its place. All in all, only useful for those rare times you would rather go pure buff for your team than do the DPS yourself. Put points in it, but you will ignore it 98% of the time.

Disruptive Shot – You can use this skill to decent effect, if your timing is good. It will cost you in DPS, though, and the gain from it isn’t that great. It has more uses in PvP, but this guide is mainly focused on PvE. It is near useless, but so are most of our Daily Powers.

Stormstep Action – This power decreases the cooldown on all of our Encounter powers by 1 second when we use a Daily power. I assume you see the problem here. We get the same thing simply by using an Aimed Shot instead; which will do more damage than our Dailies AND won’t cost us a passive slot. Ignore this one completely.

Binding Arrow/Oak Skin – The Ranged version has the same issue as the above Crowd Control Powers; less damage than Aimed Shot and not as useful to us as it is to, say, the Trapper. The Melee version is of limited use. It says increasing regeneration, but it is actually a HoT (heal over time). It also provides a bit of a defense buff. It applies to you and your allies, giving it even more utility. In general, I don’t run with this except for those times when I feel I might need the extra healing (like, say, when there is no Cleric or Paladin on our team and we are going somewhere that at least a little damage is unavoidable). It is worth putting some points into it so you have it for those rare times you need it, but 95% of the time you won’t use it.

Commanding Shot/Stag Heart – The Ranged version of this power does meager damage (better off with Aimed Shot, as usual), but does give some utility to the entire team. Basically, it debuffs your target, making them take extra damage from all sources. It isn’t a very large debuff. It has been tested at about a 15% increase to the team’s damage, though in practice it has felt more like just a 10% increase. Being that it is for the entire team, this power occasionally sees some use against certain bosses. The problem is it has a horridly long cast time. This means you lose DPS in order for the rest of the team to gain DPS; DPS they won’t even know came from you. I do have this skill and use it occasionally, but doing so you are making a conscious decision to sacrifice your own DPS for others. Make sure they will appreciate it before you do. The Melee version is a bit of decent utility, but only if you were already going to slot the Ranged version anyway. It isn’t worth using just for the Melee version, though.

Fox’s Cunning – Oh, how I love Fox. Plain and simple, Fox will allow you and your entire team to dodge one attack completely. It works for almost everything; even most insta-kill attacks. Running with a newbie team that can’t seem to avoid the fiery balls of death the Fire Scorpion Twins keep dropping in Lostmauth? Run Fox, and you will single-handedly win that fight by keeping them alive. Tired of dying to Red in Dragonflight because there just isn’t enough warning before the red circle pops up underneath you and then insta-kills you? Fox will not only save you every time, but your team as well. The list is endless for places where this skill is amazing. With that said, though, it does not have a permanent spot in my bar. The truth is, most places you don’t have a use for it. Just on very certain runs. It is AMAZING for those times, but almost useless outside of them. Get it, rank it up, but learn where it is a necessity and where it is not. Use it appropriately.

Cold Steel Hurricane – Another Daily that falls short. There are some abuse cases where you can get some decent damage out of this, but otherwise it just costs you DPS due to long cast and awkward usage. Ignore it.

Twin-Blade Storm – Excellent passive that will greatly increase your AoE DPS. While running through the trash-mobs of a dungeon, this should stay in your bar. It is a flat 16% increase to your damage any time you are hitting 3 or more targets with an attack. Electric Shot and Rain of Arrows work wonders with this passive. On bosses that don’t have a lot of constant adds, I usually remove it for Seeker’s Vengeance instead, but otherwise it stays in.

Longstrider’s Shot – One of our best Encounter Powers. Few people understand just how good this really is; especially for us Archers. It provides a 20% damage buff to EVERYONE in a very large area. Not just people on your team, but EVERYONE. It also provides a run-speed buff. Just in regular play, this thing is a game-changer. Your entire team constantly doing 20% more damage just by you using this one skill (which is a fast cast time) AND running faster is great. In places like Tiamat, Demogorgon, Dragonflight, most Hes, etc; this thing becomes godlike as it gives that bonus to everyone. They do more damage and get to the places they need to be faster. You also do 20% more damage, so even in solo play, this is worth using. It works very well with your feat, Prey, as you need some Encounter power to apply Prey. AoEs, like Rain of Arrows, will apply it but indiscriminately. You want Prey on the target you want dead first, and leading with Longstriders Shot is a great way to put it where you want it. Plus, following it up with an Aimed Shot that now does 20% more damage is a great way to insta-gib what you wanted dead. Why this works so much better on us than the other HR builds is simple… you have to be far away from your target for Longstriders to work. If you are close, it doesn’t apply the buffs. We are ALWAYS far from our target, so it ALWAYS works for us. Most smart teams will want us in them just for this one fact. Longstriders has a permanent spot on my bar.

Seeker’s Vengeance – Another great passive, but with a difficult usage. Hard to say no to +19% more damage. The issue is you have to be “behind” your target to get it. In actuality, you don’t have to be directly behind your target. You can be a bit on the side of them as well. Just don’t be in front. In multi-target trash-mob situations, Twin-Blade Storm is just easier to use and works better. In single-target situations, though, where it is easy to maneuver into position for this to proc, this is a great damage boost. Take it, cap it, and switch it in for most boss fights.

Cordon of Arrows – I consider this skill a trap for Archers. Don’t use this. It is an excellent skill for Trappers or even Combats, but NOT for us. The reason is simple; Cordon of Arrows doesn’t crit at range. It only crits if you are up close to your target, which we almost never are. This not only means no extra crit damage but no Longshot, either. It also doesn’t (I am sure you can guess what I am about to say) do as much damage as Aimed Shot, anyway, even when it does Crit. It is a multi-hit skill, but only if you drop the Cordon directly on top of multiple targets. Dropping it in front and then having them walk into it bugs out and often only hits one. Using this skill will VASTLY lower your DPS. Don’t use it. The utility it provides of bunching enemies together also isn’t useful enough for us. Our main AoEs are WIDE AoEs (Split the Sky, Electric Shot), so we don’t care if the enemies are super-bunched up or not.

Crushing Roots – Do I even need to say it? Not useful to us, at all.

 

 

 

With that long list and explanation of each Power out of the way, time to simplify things for everyone. Here is a few examples of my typical bar, depending on what I am doing, and why.

 

General Play: Use this for running general content, going through the dungeon itself, most HE’s, and against any bosses that have a consistent amount of adds being spawned

Passives (Aspect of the Falcon, Twin-Blade Storm) – Falcon is just an all-around great DPS buff and the extra range can come in handy. It never leaves the bar as there is no situation it isn’t useful. Twin-Blade Storm is 85% of the time useful, as most often combat is done against groups of mobs; whether we are playing in a dungeon, skirmish, HE, doing Boons, etc.

Dailies: (Seismic Shot, Forest Ghost) – Seismic Shot is the most useful of our Dailies, as given the right circumstances, it allows us to do an AoE version of an Aimed Shot. We have to time it right and aim carefully, but if we do, the payoff is large. That is why it stays in my bar. Forest Ghost is mainly just a filler that very rarely is useful; mostly as an oh-shit escape mechanic. Really, just about any other daily would be about as useful, though.

Encounters (Rain of Arrows, Longstriders, Split the Sky) – This setup provides the most DPS possible in general. You don’t use all of them at all times, though. If there is only one or two enemies and the fight has already started, Split the Sky is going to cost you DPS. It really only shines when it can be cast over a large group of enemies; or REALLY shines when you can cast it before the fight even starts so that its long cast time doesn’t cost you DPS (If fighting a boss, try to learn the timing for when it spawns adds, and drop Split the Sky right before it does to maximize DPS. Split the Sky won’t do enough damage on just the boss, but if adds are there, it will). Rain of Arrows should be saved for only when you are sure most of its damage will land on your target(s). Using it on an enemy that moves a lot is going to cost you DPS when they whiff most of its damage. Longstriders is about the only one that should be cast constantly, as soon as it is back up. Even then, though, if you are solo playing and everything is close to you, try to shift-dodge back to gain the distance needed for it to actually proc the buffs. If you can’t, don’t use it. Stick to the At-Wills.

At-Wills (Aimed Shot, Electric Shot) – By now, I am sure I have explained why these two are the best combination. Aimed Shot will do way more damage than any single-target Encounter Power, lower all of your cooldowns by 1 second, and has no cooldown of its own. Electric Shot has a VERY wide AoE, hits around obstacles, and casts fast enough to rack up more DPS than almost any AoE Encounter Power. These two are primarily what you will use; using your Encounters only when it would be most effective to do so.

 

Single-target Play: Use this for times when you need to focus damage down on a single, hardened target that doesn’t have a lot of adds. Quite a few bosses fit this category; Orcus, Demogorgon, most of the ones in FBI, SPC, etc.

Passives (Aspect of the Falcon, Seeker’s Vengeance) – Falcon should always stay. Seeker’s Vengeance is an obvious choice for single-target damage with no adds around. Twin-Blade Storm only gives you extra damage when hitting 3 or more, and is useless to you otherwise. Seeker’s Vengeance will give you the extra damage just as long as you are behind your target; which tends to be easy to do against most bosses (the damned Turtle Dragon being an obvious exception).

Dailies: (Seismic Shot, Forest Ghost) – Same reasons as before. Mainly, there just isn’t a lot of other options. You could replace Seismic shot with something else, as you don’t use it on a single target. You could just use Aimed Shot, instead, do more damage, and not have to worry about missing.

Encounters (Rain of Arrows, Longstriders, ThornWard/Commanding Shot) – Rain of Arrows is still excellent against singe-targets, but only if you can keep them in the damage for the duration. If not, as always, Aimed Shot instead. Longstriders is amazing, no matter how many enemies you are fighting. Plus, it still works great for applying Prey. Thorn Ward and Commanding Shot basically fill the same role; debuff to help the team do more damage. Thorn Ward will do more DPS for you, but considering it debuffs an enemies Resistance, if that enemy already has a low Resistance, it isn’t going to help. For most bosses, though, this isn’t a concern; they have the Resistance to warrant the debuff. Commanding Shot does pitiful damage, but also just flat increase all damage the target takes. Which you use is really up to preference and situation, but either one will work.

At-Wills (Aimed Shot, Electric Shot) – Same reasons as above.

 

High-Danger Play: Use this for runs where the party keeps wiping, or where you know there is a large chance of insta-death.

Passives (Aspect of the Falcon, Twin-Blade Storm/Seeker’s Vengeance) – Only thing to determine is if there are enough targets to warrant Twin-Blade or not.

Dailies: (Seismic Shot, Forest Ghost) – Same reasons as above.

Encounters (Rain of Arrows/Split the Sky, Longstriders, Fox’s Cunning/Oak Skin) – If I feel there is little chance the target(s) will stand still long enough for Rain of Arrows to do damage, then Split the Sky is usually a better choice. The slow it provides can really help in handling mobs. Fox’s Cunning is the ultimate in avoiding insta-death, and the difference it makes is easy to see. A team that was wiping before will suddenly not wipe because of it. In general, Fox’s Cunning is the way to go. However, if you know there is going to be unavoidable damage and not enough healing to compensate, Oak Skin can help. You COULD run both by replacing Rain/Split, but that is a lot of lost potential DPS. Only do this if the team just can’t seem to survive any other way. Afterwards, don’t run with that team again.

At-Wills (Aimed Shot, Electric Shot) – Always these two; always.

 

*UNDER CONSTRUCTION* (I will get to filling in these other categories when I have more time)

Boons

Equipment

Companions

Mounts and Insignias

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  • Eric
    July 3, 2017 at 1:14 am

    What ability score roll should I start off with which you prefer me to roll on wisdom And dex

  • July 3, 2017 at 6:48 am

    I do like where this build is going, great to see that some people are starting to see value in Split the Sky and a few other abilities you mentioned that have been berried for a long long time. I would like to add one thing that you should consider, split shot. This skill has value in burst damage vs. charge damage. If you spam click fast enough you can do some serious damage to a massive aoe area. I’ve compared electric arrow vs. split shot and the damage simply does not compare to the rate of attack of split shot and overall damage. There is one drawback to using split shot however. You end up breaking your mouse quickly as you constantly click click all the time. So the alternative as you posted is electric shot. You also mentioned using aimed shot, which is great, however it’s use is limited to single target only, so basically bosses. It’s a great ability if you don’t generate agro, but if you use any aoe skill, you will likely get agro, which means that you will not be able to cast aim shot as often as you’d like. I think the longstriders shot is really the bread and butter of the whole thing as it improves all of your damage as you mentioned. I sadly don’t have a fully geared out HR to try Archer at full potential, but archery can be great.

    • July 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

      For me, I find Electric Shot works better and out-DPS Split Shot. Not to say Split Shot is bad; it isn’t. The wider AoE range, the fact it hits enemies whether they are obstructed from view or not, and the nearly equal damage of Electric Shot just wins out for me in the end.
      Aggro is a real problem for us; partly because we are squishier than most HRs but mainly because every bit of distance our target closes with us is lost DPS. I haven’t gotten to suggested companions and the like, yet, but the Owl is on there for this exact reason. It is also why we do our best work in teams; specifically with teams with really good tanks that can hold aggro from us. On the flip-side, it is also why we are the worst of the three builds for solo play.
      Longstriders is an amazing skill, and the fact that we use it more effectively than the other HR builds is part of our charm. It isn’t the key to our damage, though. The real key is all the bonuses we get for being at range. Aspect of the Falcon gives us +20%, Stillness of the Forest gives +10%, the Hunting Hawk gives us +8%; that is nearly a +40% damage increase just for standing outside of the fight. Add in the 50% from Prey (plus all the other little extras we get when we use a ranged attack, like Longshot, Unflinching Aim, etc) and we are doing massive damage with our ranged At-Wills. Toss in Longstriders, which we can use to best effect, and there is another 20%. These are the things we get (or use better) that the other builds don’t, and they are what makes us viable.
      Glad you like the build, though, and ALL feedback is welcome. A person could definitely make Split Shot work in place of Electric Shot, just still feel Electric Shot works out better in the end.

  • Eric
    July 3, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Cool and what’s a good race to pick for this build?

    • July 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      The three races that will give you points in Dexterity and Wisdom are Dragonborn, Wood Elf, and Drow. Dragonborn is better; mainly because of the +3% to Power and Critical Strike. The other two work as well, though. You can even get Half-Orc to work, though that is Dex and Strength. The extra Critical Severity on them is nice.

      All told, though, any race will work. Those listed above are just the ones that will give you a slight edge in damage over the others.

  • July 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Excellent. I’ve been playing my old Rangers recently. Way back in Mod 2, my 3rd character was a Wood Elf Stormwarden pure Archer called Ghost-in-the-Trees. This guide tells me where I’m going wrong being swamped by trolls in IWD! I shortly after made a Halfling Pathfinder Combat/Trapper hybrid, which seems to do a lot better, especially in the melee range.

  • Eric
    July 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Pretty sweet I’m using half orc I dropped a 20 dex 13 strength and 13 wisdom or is it ok to put the extra two into strength also ?

    • BloodTalons
      July 7, 2017 at 6:10 am

      Dexterity is the main stat you care about. Putting the other two points in Wisdom will give you a bit more crit chance; putting it in Strength will give a bit more armor pen. You want both of those, but both of them are really easy to get anyway. So, it almost doesn’t matter which.

  • July 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    can you screenshot your power list?

    • BloodTalons
      July 7, 2017 at 6:08 am

      I will, yes. Unfortunately, I forgot my password to MMOminds, so taking me a minute to recover it so I can log back in and update the guide with things like a power screenshot and companion list, etc.

  • July 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    That’s the best companion to have with this build

  • Chris
    July 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Excellent write-up. With the new load outs feature I decided to try Archery, looking forward to putting your tactics into practice. Did you level up with this path? I am still a baby level 70 with no epic gear yet, am I just going to be frustrated trying to stay alive working through the campaigns?

    • BloodTalons
      July 7, 2017 at 6:07 am

      I leveled up with a version of this build, yes, though through play and a LOT of testing I eventually modified it to what it is now. I also have done all of the campaigns using it; dailies and weeklies solo. It is completely doable. With that said, though, Trapper or Combat IS going to have an easier time doing it solo than an Archer. Those two don’t care how close the enemy is to them; we definitely do. If you like the Archer playstyle, then you can stick with just it to do everything. If you don’t mind one of the other two, though, you can also make one of them your solo loadout and use Archer for group content.

      • Chris
        July 13, 2017 at 3:42 am

        So I tried some skirmishes and dailies today and had a lot of fun watching the damage tick up and up. However, I was pulling agro from a GWF during a PUG daily. Do you think the Battlewise 6% less threat is worth a respect as I don’t have it now. Or is it not really going to help due to the high hits from Aimed Shot? I seemed to be fine during a 5 player skirmish… Any thoughts welcome…

        • BloodTalons
          July 13, 2017 at 4:05 am

          The 6% is worth it, but it will only make a small difference. It is better than having nothing at all, though. I also suggest an Owl (or the free dog companion that I currently forget the name of); either of those will reduce your threat even further. Using them is worth it for us, seeing as how not gaining aggro makes such a large difference to our damage potential.

          Even with running those, and having a dedicated tank, there are times I STILL pull aggro. There have been groups I have had to actually turn down my damage simply because I was pulling everything. Still managed to be top paingiver; just not by as much as I could have.

          If you are having threat problems, I definitely suggest respecting to gain the 6% from the feat and then tossing an Owl companion on top of it.

  • Maxpedition
    July 8, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you sooooo much for this guide. I followed the build and I absolutely love it. Works like a charm. I ran ndemo a bunch today and my performance improved beyond anything I could have imagined. Please give us the rest!!!!! Boons, mounts, enchants, and so on. This “IS” my sort of ranger. I cannot thank you enough. Awesome guide all the way through.

    • July 18, 2017 at 3:27 am

      I was FINALLY able to recover my password, so I will be posting up a new update to the guide within the next few days. I would have had it up, sooner, but I could not get into my account. I apologize to everyone for the delay, and am glad to see the guide has helped out at least a few people play a HR the way they enjoy and still be competitive/useful.

  • Ken
    July 9, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Interesting build…. just respeced to see how it works out.

    A few comments and questions:

    1. Is electric shot the best choice when your initial volley doesn’t wipe out the enemy group, and you find yourself surrounded? I had been using Cordion of Arrows in this scenario, since it does have pretty decent damage. It also buys you a couple seconds when the enemy is approaching.

    2. Cordion of Arrows does have its uses for when you know large groups of enemies are going to spawn ( such as Ship raids in River District ). Several stacked can do massive damage.

    3. I never had much luck with Seismic Shot. Seems like 50% of the time, you get a total whiff, even when it appears to be going right through mobs. But considering none of our other dailies are worth anything, as good a choice as any.

    4. Rain of arrows seems to be bugged at times, and does no damage.

    5. Sometimes Longstrider’s buff procs and sometimes it doesn’t …. just how far away do you have to be?
    Thanks.

  • July 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    only problem I have wth archery is, its not suitable for all situations and some being key. but good build, will be making this one of my loadouts.

  • July 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I just thought I would add longstrider is 40% dmg buff not 20 like you said

  • Some1
    July 12, 2017 at 12:19 am

    so there will be updates soon ? I think this is the only archery build i found for current mood 😀 and i kinda like it. Need to know about gear/companions etc

  • Gangsta Chao
    July 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    When are you going to release the other stuff enchants companions gear etc I really need it

  • July 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Can u tell me if u will update this guide soon ? I need to know bons/gear and companions for this build.

  • Maxpedition
    July 14, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I am eagerly waiting for the follow up to this build. I want to make sure I am using the correct enchantments, gear, companions, mount bonuses, artifacts etc.. I am rolling with this build hardcore. For companions I’m currently using the Yeti as my main summoned since once he grabs agro I can make sure to stay at range, I have the owl and hunting hawk in the active slots as well as the siege master and fire archon. The war dog may replace “something” since it also reduces agro but I’m not sure if its worth the lessened dps, my other idea was the black ice prospector since it will give my yeti additional agro. This stuff is why I REALLY want Blood talons advice!!! Your my only hope Obi wan Kenobi. lol

  • July 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I notice if i stand at max range my companion wont engage, should i be using augment companion?

    • July 18, 2017 at 3:33 am

      Melee companions have this problem, yes. Ranged companions are better at engaging even when you are at max range. This is a weakness of ours, though. It means if we want to use some of the really nice melee companions (like Con Artist or Sellsword, for instance), we have to sacrifice a bit of range to get them to engage. I plan on covering this exact topic in more detail when I update the guide to include a part on Companions.

  • Anonymous
    July 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    You state that at end-game “a single Aimed Shot from max range will top out at a few million damage”. That’s just not true. If that were true, everybody in the game would be playing archer HRs.

    What’s happening is that the damage from aimed shot and other at-wills is added together after each shot into one number, so it looks like you’re hitting for millions each hit, but really you’re just hitting for another 120k+ and it’s added to the total damage done. After a few hits the number is in the millions, but you’re not hitting for millions each time–that’s the total damage.

    Throughout this post you measure everything in comparison to Aimed Shot. If you really thought you were doing millions of damage per shot, then your analysis of every other power is probably really off to the point of being either useless or wrong.

    • Contractions of Fate
      July 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Very True. I see it with other classes as well, and I have at least two of all of them.

      If you Crit-Crit-Crit-Crit-Crit-Crit-Crit the CUMULATIVE Crits are all stacked into one big number. That’s your current, cumulative CRIT TOTAL for that power/spell, NOT the damage of your last Crit Hit. It’s the cumulative damage of ALL of them. That’s why you see orange 900756, 1035288 etc. They are stacking up for display purposes only.

      Run ACT and check on the Test Server.

      Same happens with many DoTs, like DO DC’s Brand of the Sun At Will. If the first tick of the DoT Crits, ALL ticks of the DoT Crit, and they stack into one big number displayed.

      I see the same with my new TR’s Gloaming Cut when she is Stealthed. It is not a DoT, but EVERY hit crits in stealth,and she is a Stealth build, but she is not doing 298,756 damage with a SINGLE hit, even when buffed by GF and AC DC.

      It happens with a lot of powers with a lot of classes, but not all.

      The only way to assess powers is by proper testing on Preview with ACT running and no boons, no enchants, no companions, no artifacts etc.

      But I hear konsole players cannot do that.

      There’s a GWF build here based on Mighty Blade Buffing all AoE attacks, like Weapon Master’s Strike. It doesn’t. WMS is just not treated as an AoE by the game. Mighty Blade does NOT affect Cones, Cylinders, Linear AoE, “Personal” etc. WMS and Hidden Daggers are CONES.

      Oddly, I can no longer post to that build page.

      The only powers affected are:

      Encounters: Mighty Leap, Roar, Punishing Charge, Grand Fissure.
      Dailies: Spinning Strike, Avalanche of Steel, Slam

      And probably Reaping Strike, Wicked Strike and Not so Fast

      So, rather than Mighty Blade, I’d use Deep Gash, especially with a high Power/high Crit build. Mighty Blade just does not do what the Build Author thinks it does. I’ve tested it myself with ACT and it does not do what it says on the Tin.

      Roll on Single Damage stat weapons with Zero Power, Zero Crit, Zero ArPen and 1,000-1,000 damage. Then we can ALL test properly.

      ~

  • maxpedition
    July 16, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Not true. Since I have switched to this build I have crits on demogorgon in the one million range. Currently my gear score is 10,068. So to keep seeing those orange 900756, 1035288, etc numbers keep popping up rapid fire is awsome. And you can test to see that yes the crits are in the millions, simply fire one aimed shot and press x afterwards to see if your overall damage increased by that amount. You can check your damage in this manner throughout the entire fight. So Bloodtalons is correct about about critting in the millions.

  • Ken
    July 18, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Fox’s Cunning does nothing – absolutely nothing. After multiple deaths against the blue dragonflight dragon, with the power active – it will never be on my powerbar again.

    • July 18, 2017 at 3:48 am

      Fox’s Cunning guarantees you a complete avoidance of all damage on ONE attack. In certain cases, against certain enemies, that is amazing. In other cases, though, it does next to nothing. The designers even seem to have coded certain bosses with skills like Fox in mind (as there are one or two others that act similar). For instance, Drufi’s ultimate attack (I forget the name, but it is the one you have to hide behind the Permafrost on) actually hits first with a small attack and THEN hits for the large attack that one-shots people. This is specifically done to pop things like Fox so you can’t just Fox to negate it. There are other examples as well; the dragon fight in Malabogs, Valindra will send out an attack that hits everyone right before each strafe of lightning the dragon does so it pops Fox so you can’t Fox out of that (or, you can, but you have to have amazing timing to cast Fox right after Valindra’s attack but before the lightning strafe hits). There are also some strange attacks that can’t be dodged at all by any means, so Fox (and similar skills) don’t work. The Orcus prayer damage is one. I believe blue dragon has some attacks that fall into these categories. Fox works wonders on Red, and is even effective on Black… but is pointless against Green (I hate the gas) and Blue.

      CONTINUED

      • July 18, 2017 at 3:49 am

        There are LOTS of other cases, though, where Fox is just amazing and will outright save the entire team. You CAN Fox the steam attack from the Dragonturtle, pretty much all of the attacks from the Stone-eye (though you still get the CC effects like being tossed, etc), laser beams from Lostmauth and in eToS, green orbs of death in CN, falling meteors from the Firescorpion Twins, the jump insta-kill from GWD boss that you get no time to dodge otherwise, insta-death circles of fire from Dragonflight Red, etc. In other words, don’t count Fox out just yet. It ISN’T useful always, or even most of the time, really. But in very specific situations, it is a team-saver. The trick is just figuring out which times those are.

    • July 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      I have recently began experimenting with Fox’s Cunning in Nsva and let me say I can see its value. I’d never use it on the blue dragon during DF, though. The release button is your very best friend during all DF’s, especially at Blue.

  • July 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I really like this build I tried it a bit, and it is really why I play ranger because I want to pew pew, not to melee. I am anxious to see your companion choices, currently I have the frost elemental to lessen aggro, the remorhaz, and the everfaithful Spot the dog. I am using Frosty because I seem to take less damage but he does have those issues at range. So any thoughts will be appreciated.

  • Maxpedition
    July 18, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for recovering your password. I literally check back in everyday to see if this guide has been updated. Ive had sooo many people asking for “my” build now, I simply direct them here since I can’t take any credit for my newfound success. Ive had comments such as “hunters must be broken now, how did that 10k ranger beat me”. Lol im loving it!

  • Maxpedition
    July 19, 2017 at 2:47 am

    I might be doing it all wrong with the companions which is why I cant wait for Bloodtalons advice. But here is what I am using currently: For my summoned companion I switch between the Yeti and my augment. When doing dailies, or questionable pugs, etc.. I use my Yeti. For me it just offers security. Once a big demon such as in round two of POM gets agro on me I target it till my yeti takes it attention and I can then get back out to range. In situations where I have a reliable tank or really dont have to worry about mob agro such as ndemo or tiamat I use the augment. The reason is I can just start unloading the dps and stay there without having to worry about getting in close to proc companions gift. Once my bonding stones are higher level I was considering switching over to something else such as an archer or other ranged companion. If my companion can proc companions gift at range then I can stay at range, or at least thats my thinking on it.

    For active pets I have the owl -less agro on me, hunting hawk -more dps at range, siege master -more dps all the time, and fire archon -again more dps. The owl and the hunting hawk I recently picked up after reading Bloodtalons comments in the comments section :).

    Once Bloodtalons updates this guide Ill be closely following his recommendations.

    • July 19, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Yeah im in the same boat i have owl,hunting hawk, erinyes,air archon, con artist. Im debating to see which compqnion works when i shoot at max range though. Im thinking about kenku archer.

  • July 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    The remorhaz works pretty well when there is a good tank, not so well when solo and mobs can close, so then I use frost elemental. I am anxious to read Bloodtalon’s recommendations too. But I do burn mobs pretty fast with this build.

  • Maxpedition
    July 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Ive been doing a bit of testing with ranged attacking companions at leat with what I currently own. These are just my personal observations. I have the rhemoraz, fire archon, and kenku archer. Out of those 3 the fire archon seems to do ok with proccing companions gift but it sometimes gains unwanted agro. I think it may have something to do with its attacks having a damage over time effect and increasing its threat. The kenku archer does well in that it never seems to die unless a massive aoe hits. The reason is that the kenku attacks from stealth and almost never grabs agro which I like in groups. The rhemoraz is sort of middle of the road, I like its look but it doesn’t seem to perform as well as the other two.

    I plan on picking up the zhentorim warlock, and guard archer in the next few days and test them out as well.

    I’ll update again when Ive tried out a few more. My personal testing was in ndemo, tiamat, CN, and just doing dailies. But, all of this may be in vain. Bloodtalons may recommend a melee companion. Lol

  • Naesala Krisfiel
    July 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I have a question please. What build do you suggest for someone who solo’s quests, yet loves dungeon runs also? I know I had a build on one hunter that included a kicking melee abilities build included, but it was just a matter of using tab to enter that mode. Any suggestions? I am really liking this build of yours, but I fear that when I have to get up close and personal, which I often do in solo fights, that I might come up lacking. Thanks for your help! Great info. My only suggestion is to screen shot the Powers set up, as I am older and it is easier for some of us if we have the visual. Just a small thing tho. 🙂

    • Maxpedition
      July 24, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      One trick I use for when mobs get in close is to use a belials portal stone. Its my agro dump. Then just fire rain of arrows or another aoe directly over it. The mobs just melt as they are focused on the portal stone.

  • Luis
    July 23, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    You play in pc ps4 or xbox one?

  • July 23, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I need your help to see that it is better according to your ability as a remote archer in PvP that attacks or measures to and to take at the time of domination

  • Maxpedition
    July 30, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Bloodtalons, Please update!!!! I’m begging you.

    This may sound weird but after some experimenting I’ve been having really good luck with the green slime as my summoned companion on this build. It’s not a dps pet necessarily, but what it does is slows and stop mobs. In areas like illusionists gambit it really shines. It doesn’t have the nice looks of other companions but it sure has the utility. It quickly became one of my favorites. This may be the one I take to legendary, it’s at epic now.

  • Pthoraxis
    July 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Amazing guide! I’ve been using this since yesterday and it’s sooo relaxing! It works fine on lower levels of gear too! I am eagerly awaiting updates as many other here as well 🙂

  • August 10, 2017 at 5:50 am

    As with others before me , eagerly awaiting update , as I recently finally built an archer HR after deleting the character multiple time because , this class to me feels like archer and it has been difficult to play as one with the trappers in demand . Your build and reasoning are just the perfect way for me to help build me an archer in neverwinter .

    Amazing guide , can’t wait for update

    • August 31, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      want more dmg? be a trapper or combat, the meta has no place for an archery spec, you will be outperformed very easily and hated on for not pulling your weight in dungeons, been there done that. not fun i know

  • Maxpedition
    August 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Has anyone using this build tried using a lightning enchantment? I’m currently using vorpal since any crit severity boosts our dps. However I was wondering how lightning would do with all of our aoe’s, (electric shot, rain of arrows, split the sky). I’ve seen other classes use it to good effect on groups of trash mobs and it really boosts their dps considerably, but the downside is when they reach bosses. Their single target dps is sub par. Im curious how it performed on this build if anyone has used it. Thanks.

  • Eric
    August 17, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    When are you updating the rest of everything blood?

  • August 21, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Max , can we meet over Reddit or something and discuss this ? I’m following your recommendation on companion,(still collecting them , I have the kenku Archer for now ) also got a Belial portal stone , and things are working great . I made it to lvl 70 2 days ago and have been running t1 dungeons and thrones( where I out dpsed a lot of dps classes a higher iL than me once and stayed on 2nd pain giver spot on the other 3) . The best output came when I ran a VT yesterday and was hitting valindra for 190k damage per aimed shot . and that critical chance ! I’m no where close to decently geared and I’m amazed by the numbers .

    Bloodtalon , please upgrade the guide soon !

    • Maxpedition
      August 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Are you on PC? If so we can run some stuff together. Im Maxpedition in-game also. My gear isnt great yet either, however I hope to change that soon with the upcoming x2 rp weekend at the end of this month. I had been using the drowned weapon set because before finding this build I really needed the added survivabilty, but recently switched over to the crafted chult set only because they are on par with most end game sets and they are readily available on the AH. I just wanted the upgrade before x2 rp. Once I start tackling later campaigns I can always roll my chult set into it for the rp If I want.
      Right now my advice for anyone is to stock up on rp items. Its best to prepare now and reap the benefits in a few weeks. Also prices for refinement items will increase during the event.

      • Maxpedition
        August 22, 2017 at 11:11 pm

        Abhijeet, I started a Reddit thread like you asked. It’s titled “Bloodtalons HR archer build discussion” I made my Reddit account awhile back while playing a cleric in a different game so my handle on Reddit is Healstorm. I posted my current gear. This doesn’t mean what I’m using is best in slot by any means it’s just the best that I’ve been able to get for myself so far, lol. Once bloodtalons updates the guide I may change out a lot of what I’m using depending on his advice.

  • Morbid Chaos
    August 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    How is this build working out for end game? Can you keep up with other HDPS and or pass them and compare this build to say a trapper which I hear is top DPs how does it hold up to it?

    • August 31, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      against good players, this build is trash for end game hasnt got a chance with trapper, A good trapper would wipe the floor with an archery spec whilst being 2k IL behind

  • Maxpedition
    August 31, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Against players with similar IL I almost always come out on top, however players that are 2-3k+ IL above me tend to beat me. That being said, x2 refinement begins today and I hope to upgrade some gear. I find our biggest competition is well geared control wizards. All my gear is purple atm but I hope to get most to orange and perhaps one or two mythics out of this event.
    My speculation is that this build will severely climb the dps ladder even more as stats increase.

    • August 31, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      archery builds dont have a chance against good players, if you play against any decent player of similar IL they would destroy your dmg. The meta isnt meant for archery, cryptic tried to help archery out but it did nothing you need to be too far away for ti to be good and you lose out on too much dmg trying to reach that distance gap aswell as the main feat being capped with debuffs making it useless in a good group.

  • Maxpedition
    September 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    That hasnt been my experience at all. I’m in an old guild /alliance with many top geared players who have been around since release. If I can be competitive with them then so should pretty much anyone using this build. I have had random folks requesting me to join their groups due to this build and I found it to be quite a compliment.

    I believe your speaking from a lack of experience s/p the last few updates. Perhaps you’ve played a archer in the past, but that experience is irrelevant in todays game meta. I recommend trying this build out in today’s game, you may be pleasantly surprised.

    In addition to what Bloodtalons has already recommended I would remind people not forget about combat advantage and armor penetration. Both of those just increases the dps potential of this build.

    • Mjbc
      September 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Hey man. I don’t know if BloodTalons is going to finish this guide, but can you post a picture of your boons? My girlfriend is an archer (stormwarden) and she wants to re-spec and this was the only guide we could find. Reading your comments, seems like you got some things figured out 😛

  • September 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I found this build very good, at least in theory, still have to try it with my HR to see how well it works. I was reading most of it, applying almost everything to my new HR build, then I was going to apply the boons, but I was disppointed to see you don’t have that part yet.

    Can you complete the build soon? I’d like to check out what is missing then.

    I used to have a Trapper HR, but I haven’t played Neverwinter for months, so I’m curious to see what’s new. I felt like every built I read long time ago said Trapper is the only and best way to go, for HRs. They used to say archer and combat are/were useless. I also remember reading back then, that electric shot is/was useless. I tried electric shot and split shot and honestly I liked split shot more, the downside is it takes a long time to cast for maximum damage. Seems like I will give electric shot another try, after reading your suggestions. By the way, was electric shot buffed while I was away from the game? Is that why it used to be useless and now it’s so good according to you?

    Now with the new feature loadouts, I can have the same character as trapper and archer at the same time so I’m going to give your build a try for archer. I’m curious to see which one of the 2 does more damage. I’d also like to know what weapon and armor enchantements, weapon sets you recommend, twisted, or the new aboleth weapons… Etc.

    • Maxpedition
      September 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      The reason I prefer electric shot over split shot is that I simply do more dps in most situations. Split shot fires out in a cone and requires holding down the shot for a second or two to increase its power and it gets blocked by line of sight. Those are three very limiting factors. Electric shot on the other hand hits your target and spreads out in 360 degrees. For example lets say your in IG where you can easily get surrounded by mobs; using electric shot will hit mobs in front of you, behind you, everywhere in 360 degrees. It can even extend your range in some cases. Say your at max range and you can hit the first mob in a group. Since electric shot spreads out in that circle from your target your actually hitting mobs farther than what your max range usually allows. Here’s another example. Lets say you see a mob near a corner and the corner is blocking line of sight to any other mobs. If you use split shot you can only hit the mob in view, but by using electric shot you can hit that mob in view “plus” the ones that are not in view. Lastly, electric shot is very fast and doesn’t require holding down the skill like split shot does. So that is why I find electric shot vastly superior to split shot.

      • Maxpedition
        September 18, 2017 at 8:41 pm

        I forgot to mention that it’s important to make sure your bow is specced with the 10% electric shot damage bonus and to get your electric shot at will to +4 to get the most out of it.

  • OrdinarilyBob
    September 16, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Hello. I’m new to Neverwinter, been playing a little less than a month. My first character is a Wood Elf HR because I wanted to be an “Elven Archer” (I picked the race/class before I had any idea about the game mechanics). I found I couldn’t walk safely around the Siege of Neverwinter event zone alone, if I was attacked by groups of bad guys I’d be overwhelmed… I just couldn’t put out any damage. Finding the above has saved the game for me. It’s exactly my preferred playstyle, and it works! I respec’d to this build, and I’m so much more powerful. I could melt the goons in the event zone now, and can solo things I couldn’t before. Maybe this isn’t BIS, but it does plenty fine for me. I’m only L67 and have rare-quality odds-n-ends gear I picked up along the way (I think my IL is like 5k), but I’m so far able to do anything I want now, and have fun doing it, so that’s all that matters to me! Thanks BloodTalons! I look forward to any updates you may do on gear, etc. Until then, I’m gonna follow Max over to reddit and see if I can learn more there.

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