I played a ranger during the beta weekend almost exclusively. Not sure how many other folks tried out the profession, but I'd like to see what you think.
If I play DPS, I generally gravitate to the Ranger. Something about bows I really enjoy and pets. *shrugs*
(Warning: Like everything I tend to write, it's a little long)Pet
Pet management isn't too bad. For the most part, you can ignore it if you really want. Though the one thing I found was that the pet was squishy. REALLY squishy. Most of the time I hit the heal was to keep the pet up in PvE.
In WvW, the pet is almost useless. It looks cool running around with you, but for the most part it's health bar just disappears if it's going after a group. The one saving grace was the 'Rescue Fallen Allies' ability. I used that a bit to get other folks up if they were on the ground. It'll probably sit on my bar in most WvW scenarios.
Possible the pet will become more viable in later levels (I only hit around 20ish) but in the beginning it's kind of meh.Ranger
I tried to open up all the abilities with every weapon I tried. The longbow of course my favorite. Each was interesting, an I did enjoy using them all. I think they give this profession enough knock back abilities and slowing to allow you to keep range (which is nice).
Also, I don't think any of the abilities (save whatever they call rain of arrows) require you to stand still. Also very nice as I can keep running while dealing out death and giggling madly all the way.
The range to target is also acceptable. In WvW I never felt I couldn't reach someone up on the walls (or from up on top of the walls) as long as I got into the right position.
What really opened up combat though was when I got the weapon swap ability on the fly. Ranged dps folks until they were on top of me, switch, and keep going. I really like that aspect of the game. Made the ranger feel a lot more useful in those situations then in other games.Healing
I opened only a handful of utility abilities, but my goto in WvW for healing was whatever the aoe heal on the ground was. Run in, drop it for folks and then keep going. No idea how much healing it actually does (I'm terrible at reading tool tips), but I figured something better then nothing.
In PvE, always ditched that one for the self/pet heals. Mostly because the pet needed them more then I did. Unless I was feeling brave and going into melee for fun.Utilities
Like I said I didn't really open up that many other extra skills. I got the fire spirit that gave a chance to flame other people's weapons/damage. Again, a big goto in WvW. It also has a secondary effect that blinds enemies. What the actual does, I'm not sure (percent chance to miss I'm guessing).
A lot of the PvE didn't use most of the utilities I got. I had no issues with being able to blow through that part of the content. Mostly I was concerned with buffing/healing friends in the WvW areas with the utility skills. This time around anyways. Need to look more at the list of skills to see what might be better.Overall
I really enjoyed the play style of this profession. I did try thief for a bit and it was very different. One of the differences that was huge was repair costs. I think I repaired the ranger only a handful of times. Literally, I can count on 1 hand between 1 - 20 how many times I repaired.
On the thief it felt like every other skirmish I was repairing or something was broken.
I'll be definitely playing one at the start of the game. Kind of have to anyways since Iobhar needs to make his debut. Though, next beta I will give elementalist a shot. Though, I'm sure I'll definitely have a ranger too . . can't help it, too fun to play
Hope others enjoyed them as well !!