Analysis of the Elven Ranger

A Couple of XBow Lives

I ran through a pair of Xbow lives on my way to completionist; 15 Alchemist/3 Ranger/2 Rogue and 18 Artificer/2 Fighter. Inquisitive for the first and Great Xbow for the second. Why Great Xbow? Wanted to try it and see if Volley Arbalest of the Damned was any good. Both were INT-based so had full trapping.

The Inquisitive was imbue dice heavy, had around 33 I believe, you can get more but I'm playtesting and getting past lives not creating the best versions of these. Shiradi was my primary for this and the build performed rather well, even in high reaper where imbue builds usually nosedive. I led Kill Counts in multiple R8-10 groups. This is leaps and bounds better than the Sorcerer Inquisitive and if I wanted to play an Inquisitive I'd probably go with this. The bottle heal also provides significant party utility.

The Great Xbow artificer went up to 32 after the changes to ranged Endless fusilade then AOE and ED revamps. Thundershock Weapon is amazing. AOE and knockdown. This was my #1 attack from 15 thru 29. Hunt's End isn't awful, without it being an epic strike it can be used within your normal rotation. The loss of high alpha numbers hurt though. All the other AOEs were subpar. I ended up going top tier in Macrotech to try it out after discovering that Pin is completely useless now from Shiradi. Like I could not get it to work at all. Not to mention that when you're using Pin with a Xbow you stop and do the exaggerated reload animation that you get before doing Endless Fusilade. This makes it virtually impossible to use in combat. Hammer Time from MT is useless now as well. The animation has been slowed down so much that mobs are gone from the area it hits. You can only use it if mobs are stuck around a tank or if they are activated but haven't moved yet. I ended up going Pluck the Strings as my epic strike. It's fine, nothing special. DPS was poor at 32. Not enough RoF and not enough alpha. If I wasn't using Endless Fusilade I was a non-factor in high-reaper. Performance is much better in R3 and lower.

Since Great Xbow builds aren't that common here are the feat breakdowns:

1 - PBS, Precise shot, Rapid shot
2 - Rapid Reload
3 - Precision
5 - Construct Essence
6 - Insightful Reflexes
9 - Luck of Heroes, SWF
12 - IC Ranged
13 - Improved Construct Essence
15 - Improved Precise Shot
17 - WF Ranged
18 - Quickdraw, Second Wind

HPs were good, almost 3,000, and PRR/MRR was high for a ranged build, 180 and 100 without any Sentient Gem (Don't have one in Volley and wasn't going to reset for this). Volley was amazing in content under R3 but I didn't feel it doing anything in high-reaper. Another problem I had was weapon use. Divine Artillery takes you up to 20 but then the pickings are slim. I tried out a ES challenge traded Great Xbow and that wasn't great then ended up going with the Great Xbow from Borderlands trade and that always felt underpowered. Had to use that until 28. Could have made a Thunderforged but those are ML26 so not much point in having it for 2 levels. Therefore, while this build concept makes a stout character that can crush Elite/R1, the lack of weapon options (you're unlikely to have Divine Artillery on hardcore) is a hindrance if you take it into hardcore.

PS: I tried to give Necronomicannon one last try since it was part of the Fey winter set and it is simply a bad rune arm. The Trap the Soul rarely triggers in Legendary high-reaper and the damage and targeting are bad/erratic respectively. Cool concept but not practical for advanced gameplay.
Wings and Completionist

I finished off my two remaining lives (bard - went thrower and warlock, the only one I couldn't pull a ranged build off with) and my Elven ranger is now a heroic completionist! Along the way, I also got Reaper wings for this character. Honestly, I never thought I would have either on this character and it does go a long way to dispelling the idea that alts cannot make progression or be competitive in the game. The road has been an interesting journey through a variety of ranged builds. Now I get to pick up the longbow again and see how it plays post-Hunt's End/Sniper Shot changes. I'm planning on going 13 Rogue/6 Ranger/1 Paladin right now. Sneak attack remains a major differentiator between ranged DPS builds from my experience. After changes to the way imbues work I no longer find the Arcane Archer tree attractive and will be using the Paladin imbue instead. This does free up some APs for me. I've had some talks with players on Dark Hunter vs Ranger. I'm going to stick with Ranger for now, primarily through familiarity. I want to see how archer performs now versus before bow combat changes before I go mixing and matching ranger paths.

The journey continues, back on our main path, a bit stronger, a bit wiser, a bit better geared.question about your experience with inquisitive.
I have a question about your experience with inquisitive. Would you say imbue dice or sneak attack dice are better for high endgame reaper? Any other epic strike good ? Perhaps shadowdancer’s epic aoe strike ?


Well-known member
Because of the way inquisitive fires, I found single-target epic strikes to be lackluster. It's hard to go from a high rate of fire to switching over and pressing a single button on a target that isn't a boss. I'd go for a ranged AOE strike, although even then, I'm not sure how often you are going to want to break your machine gun shooting routine. Pre-nerfs I actually like Carrion Swarm or Orchid Blossom. Now...not a ton of sexy options.

Sneak Attack dice are better unless you are pushing mid-30s to 40 imbues. But be warned, inquisitive doesn't carry over great into high-reaper. DPS falls off noticeably. The Alchemist version was the only one I felt I'd like to stick with.