How To: Ranger Raiding

Discussion in 'Hybrid' started by Zahrym, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Zahrym Augur

    Ranger? What is a Ranger? Well by technical definition when Everquest was launched we were imagined as a class that would be a hybrid magic caster and light tank mix of the Druid and Warrior classes.

    What Have we been over the years? The butt of jokes, confused, the odd man out...the guy (or girl) never invited to groups.

    What are we now? This is the real question I want to answer and elaborate on. I've been playing a ranger since late 1999 we have changed, evolved & been re-imagined many times. What we are now is a utilitarian DPS class. We excel in almost nothing, side the occasional ranged DPS burn..but we can do almost anything required of any raid current or past, class restrictions given. We have been this way for at least the last 3 years of my raiding experience. We have the ability when playing at par to do well on DPS while CC'ing (root/snares) Disc tanking (evasion/WS) and spot healing all while adding to the raids overall Dps via Adps buffs and debuffs.

    So we come to the first question, if I'm DPS how do I fulfill that portion of my classes role in a raid? So first off, what is DPS? And what is ADPS?

    Well DPS is maximizing the number spells (abilities/skills) you can cast within a certain time period, and maximizing the amount of damage you can do with each spell (abilities/skills).

    A.K.A. Damage per Second.

    ADPS is an ability be it buff or debuff, skill or spell, that modifies your group or raids damage on said target, or targets via debuff the current mobs in the encounter, or buffing your damage done.

    A.K.A. Additive Damage per Second.

    The greatest impact on DPS is how you play, it's not really gear or AA's (past certain thresholds). When you look at top damage parses for certain classes you're going to see a large variation, if gear and AA's is what made the difference in top DPS for every person of every class, it would dictate they all be at relatively the same level, which is not the case.

    One of the main things to maximizing your DPS or maximizing the amount of globals or times you cast in a certain time period is knowing what you're going to cast 1-2 globals ahead of time, compensating for mob positioning, push...possible encounter mechanics etc.

    For example, if I start casting announced shots I'm going to plan if I need to move at the end of the cast during the global lockout period, to get in line of sight for focused storm or if I can stay still and continue to dps...examples of these would be CoB (for needed movement) and Valley (for not needing to move) I'm going to have these planned out before I actually ever do them.

    Once you have this planned out and know a general rotation for your class (in this example ranger), you need to know the best way to get the information from your fingers to the game. In other words, the best way to tell your character what to do.

    The worst way to do this is actually clicking the button on your bar with your mouse, the second worst way is reacting to a finished other words you see that you're done, and cast reactively based on when you finished.

    The time difference between one cast and the next in that case would be latency + your reaction time, which are both likely much larger then you'd like to admit and very significant.

    The method that's going to result in the best use of global cooldowns is spamming your keys, a lot of people like to make fun of this. But the reality is keyboards that have macros (g15, g19 etc series) can be set up to automatically for this, and you can literally hold down a key that will then maximize input to the game (something like 1 input per millisecond). If you don't have this or a similar keyboard, just mash the keyboard.

    What you're doing with this method is accounting for any error you might make, whether it be not realizing a finished cast or not pressing at all. The time it takes to find the proper key with your mouse, etc. A lot of times this error is a lot greater then people realize/would care to admit.

    Another thing that's going to help you maximizing your spell/skill/ability usage is planning your movement, the reality is any fight that has a mechanic is going to make you move. If you have an instant cast ability, use this during the movement time...or even better plan your movement for a time period where you know you're going to be dealing with the global lockout (the greyed out spell time when you can't cast).

    If you combine your ability to move and plan, with the ability to maximize spells cast and damage done you're going to see a significant increase in your total damage done as a ranger.

    The next step to increasing damage is maximizing the damage each of these spells/skills/abilities is going to do.

    If you have one buff that increases attack speed by 15% or lets say gives a global weapon speed reduction, and another buff that increase damage done by 62% and you overlap these you'll be doing 62% more damage while attack 15% faster, you're going to do more damage using them together rather then separately, now a lot of people know this but don't necessarily put it to practice. A lot of people think oh, i'll just hit these together...and get maximum possible damage, what they don't realize is if you don't sync them with outside sources (beastlord, bard, shaman, berserkers) you're not actually getting the maximum benefit.

    So if I know for example, a shaman/bard/beastlord are going to sync at the start of Oratory (a fight I know will only be 40-60s long) I can cast my longest to shortest duration buffs before the fight starts, knowing they will all last longer then 60s (minimum) and get a complete 60s window of full overlap on all buffs (internal and external) example below:


    In this example, I have all necessary buffs before the fight starts and I attack for the full duration for the max damage possible on every ability possible, the result is a parse 35k above anyone else of the same class even from a ranger in the same group as me getting the external buffs at the same time I am. I'm not claiming I'm better, or somehow more skilled or uber. I'm just stating that the benefit from knowing exactly what to do is clear.

    In the next example (windsong) I show how you can plan out DPS abilities once you know the general length/timing of the raid.


    In the above example I made sure I always had a damage modifier sync'd with epics for the add burn, as well as followup damage for the boss sustained DPS phase. This was based around the raid dps + set downtime during each 'inactive' boss phase (if you run out, as in this example) and accounting for trying to give the group i'm in a damage modifier as much as possible as well. Also notice I didn't use Bullseye, this was the first time I did this raid and didn't want to waste burns that may be needed later without knowing, therefore I knew to save it because I was unsure of raid length & if a disc call would be made. This is a good way to approach new fights typically.

    You need to be aware of how long the fight is going to last, a good estimate of the total active up time attacking mobs, so you can figure out when to use what, and how to use abilities as much as possible with as much overlap as possible. You need to be aware of things in the fight that may give you additional damage benefits, or times your guild will need burns.

    An example of this is I know from doing CoB with a guild twice I have 18 minutes (minimum) between the first mini, the first port, and the Wilo main burn. This means I can use a 'Main' burn on the first mini, and still have everything up for the first port, and I know I will have 18 minutes after the port before we burn Wilo.

    A lot of this stuff I have gone over is going to require a lot of practice, but the most important thing is you stay self motivated to improve weekly. You can find little things in every encounter that are going to allow you to do more damage. Things like learning to DPS multiple targets, learning to autofire on mobs as you run from target to target, constantly doing damage while mobile.

    The second part of our class is utility, I see this as primarily a secondary role but nowhere near inconsequential by any means.

    Our Adps:

    1) Auspice.
    1: Increase Chance to Critical Nuke by 27%
    2: Increase Accuracy by 200%
    3: Increase Chance to Critical Heal by 27%
    4: Increase Chance to Critical Hit by 195%
    5: Increase Chance to Critical DoT by 27%
    10: Increase ATK by 165

    This is MGB'able and can be pre buffed with tranquil blessings.

    2) Group Guardian.
    4: Increase Melee Haste v3 by 20%
    7: Increase Current HP by 600 per tick
    8: Increase ATK by 168
    9: Increase Hit Damage by 32%

    This is neither MGB'able or tranquil'able.

    3) Third spire of the Pathfinders.
    4: Absorb Spell Damage: 100% Total: 200
    6: Decrease Hit Damage Taken by 3%
    7: Increase Critical Hit Damage by 20% of Base Damage
    8: Absorb Melee Damage: 3% Total: 100000
    12: Increase Critical Nuke Damage by 30% of Base Damage

    This will buff you+your group.

    Primary Utility spells:

    1) Vinelash Cascade ~ This is a frontal cone root, it snares when the root portion fades.
    2) Grasp of Sylvan spirits ~ This is a low resist check quick-cast root AA we got recently, very useful.
    3) Volatile/Glacial arrow ~ These are debuffs we can cast off the global lockout for spell damage modification for anyone attacking the marked target.
    4) Heals/Deluge/Balm ~ We have a slow-low heal named 'Purespring' a quick large heal named 'Desperate Downpour' and a slow-low cure named 'Wild Balm' all very useful, not only for keeping yourself alive, but your group and other targets if you're short on healers or one dies etc.
    5) Entrap ~ Quick cast, AA snare, nearly instant..super low resist check + long duration.
    6) Convergence of spirits ~ Instant cast heal + HoT (aa)
    7) Protection of the spirit wolf ~ Small ward. (absorbs Y% damage until Xtotal)
    8) Outrider's Evasion ~ Melee mitigation buff (evasion based)
    9) Weapon Shield Discipline ~ 24 second parry modifier.

    With that said, lets get to what abilities to use to maximize damage on spells/skills/abilities.

    #1 | 40-120s fight.

    a) Prebuffs ~ Get Scouts mastery of fire/ice + Poison arrows + BP proc up.
    b) Cast Auspice (if you're on mgb, or no one's assigned), Bullseye, First Spire, Imbued, Attack, Guardian
    c) Get Adps buffs.
    d) Announced > Focused > Hearthslash > Provoking shot > Cold (VoA) > Fire (VoA) > Cold (HoT) > Fire (Hot) > Cast forced rejuv.
    e) Repeat d, spam.

    #2 | 90s-120s fight.

    a) Prebuffs ~ Scouts mastery of fire/ice + poison arrows + BP proc.
    b) Bullseye + Attack + Guardian + Imbued + Auspice (if you're on mgb, or no one's assigned) + First spire + Sham/bard epic (and their personal cooldowns) will always be 'main' burn..

    #3 | Melee 60-120s fight.

    a) Outrider's Accuracy + Epic + Cata glyph
    b) You can also choose to wait until after the next shaman epic, so you don't waste a lot of the glyph time.

    Things to note:

    a) You should learn/understand when you can do what in encounters for yourself, there is no substitute for self understanding. It's your job if another ranger is constantly ahead of you (and in the same group as you) to pick apart the parse and figure out exactly what is making the difference. It's also important to understand that if you're not in the same group as other people parsing you're likely not going to parse the same unless buffs are done (from other classes) at that exact same time, the same amount of times, etc.
    b) Things like Volatile arrow & Glacial arrow are good to keep on your 'spam' key since HoT.
    1) Example of spam key: /doability 1
    /disc XYZ
    /Alt Act ###
    /Alt Act ###
    In this example it would do whatever I have set to ability one, as well as a disc and two AA's.
    c) Pets are terrible DPS typically, try not to waste a global lockout on casting pack hunt instead of a main dps ability.
    d) If you don't understand what stacks, or more importantly what a buff actually does...use lucy.
    e) Bard epic AT 'you are filled with the spirit of vesagran'
    f) Sham epic AT 'you are blessed with the gift of the ruchu'

    Below is our (rangers) current damage modification abilities, and a short but simple explanation of how to break down what stacks.

    Bullseye Discipline Rk. II

    1:Increase Archery Skill Check by 20%
    2:Increase Archery Damage Modifier by 174%

    Note the archery damage modifier, Not the damage, minimum damage...or flat base (on hit) additive damage modifier. Also note the slot of the buffs.

    Guardian of the Forest

    2:Add effect: Guardian of the Forest Effect
    4:Increase Haste v3 by 25%
    7:Increase Hitpoints v2 by 2600 per tick
    8:Increase ATK by 325
    9:Increase All Skills Damage Modifier by 62%

    Note how the modifier is categorized as 'All Skills Damage Modifier' and the slot of the buff.

    No two buffs that are alike would stack, as some might have been told, or found out. These are not alike. While the end is 'more damage' it's not as simple as saying 'they both increase damage, therefore don't stack'.

    Also while we're on this explanation, I guess I could add why Outrider's Attack goes here also.

    Outrider's Attack

    2:Increase Chance to Hit by 40% with All Skills
    3:Increase Chance to Critical Hit by 30% with All Skills
    4:Increase Damage Bonus by 130 with All Skills
    12:Increase ATK by 250

    Notice the damage modifier this time does not mention a specific skill (archery/bullseye disc) nor a modifier (all skills damage modifier/guardian of the forest) ~ This is a flat damage bonus on the end of the DPS algorithim.

    Outrider's Accuracy

    2:Increase All Skills Damage Modifier by 52%
    4:Increase Chance to Hit by 160% with All Skills
    5:Increase All Skills Minimum Damage Modifier by 29%

    Refer to guardian stacking.

    So in this example, and I guess as our main damage modification is now explained, we can all come to understand better how it works.


    1) - this is a site with old and new information alike, useful if you use it.
    2) - This is a site for gamparse & gamtextriggers both useful tools in everquest.
    3) - a site to dump and compare loot & search spells etc.
    4) - good site for basic information, information on epic 2.0 etc.
    5) - base information for most spells/abilities.
  2. Zahrym Augur

  3. Zahrym Augur

  4. Kansan Cloudkicker Lorekeeper

    Zahrym, this is a great post. I copied and pasted into Word. Thanks for this. I noticed you post your heroic agility in your sig which makes me think you value it. Is that the heroic stat you aim to get the highest, and why? Thanks.
  5. Zahrym Augur

    Hello Kansan, I've actually got 2 more major sections i'm still refining that are aimed at gear selection and general overall play (stuff like grouping & augs & clickies etc)

    As it stands right now 2 of the 6 functions from heroic agility are providing the best returns I've seen post dex nerf. I guess in reality the answer is I prefer to be alive then to do a couple extra damage on a bow attack. I've always personally geared for what gives me the most effective survivability over anything else.

    From everything I've parsed 300 hagi = almost exactly 1.2% chance to dodge. Where as 300 hdex = .85% chance to block OR parry, it does not seem to modify both of them, it tends to be either you block OR parry 1 attack in 1 combat round, and the bonus is gone. I've consistantly seen dodge return higher effective health overall for our base caps + base stats so unless you're tanking with a shield all the time it's really not that helpful for us.

    I.E. heroic agility: Also increases the chance to dodge an attack, grants a bonus to defense skill.
  6. Kansan Cloudkicker Lorekeeper

    Thank you for the follow up. I am looking forward to the gear dissertation. I currently focus on heroic str due to the damage bonus it provides with dex as a secondary focus. Will be very interesting to read. Thanks again man.
  7. gnomeboss Augur

    doesn't hdex also mod riposte? so if you did actually tank with a shield, dex > agi?
  8. Zahrym Augur

    It says riposte, I saw 0.003% in the decline, meaning it was actually worse with hdex, change across the board. It's possible since the original testing some AA etc has messed up that part of the calculation. It's also possible I messed up as I didn't strictly look for riposte, but just looking at the 4 most recent parses there is a less then a .003% riposte change over 200 hours in the hagi vs hdex parse & it was actually in the decline, which is probably why I didn't think much about it. The tanking (or aug heroic stat) section was more focused on raw values, meaning the total avoidance difference in 300 hagi vs 300 hdex where as agi won out for durability in clear margins for rangers, I'm sure there is a viable argument for adding all three mitigation stats it modifies + the ranged damage, but honestly I don't care much about .002% more damage over 10 minutes if I die for an entire minute from a hit I could have dodged, and it only really takes this happening one time to value durability over damage, even in the slightest of margins.

    Edit: Also this post is very helpful if you're interested in customizing for your play style.
  9. Shang Augur

    Erm, out of curiosity, how often do you block?
  10. doktartp Augur

    You can either block or parry in a given round. once you do one, the other isnt needed. The mob doesnt ninja attack a second time unless strikethrough works like that.

    A few things, are you using a mod for your dodge to increase you base skill >? if you have a higher dodge cap it might be why your seeing a difference in numbers.

    There is a set order of defense checks, you should have a % for parry and one % for riposte, you would have to start with your total hits, see how many get to dodge stage, how many get to next stage, etc to see what the % chance it versus the 15 parries in 1000 mob hits. Those 15 might only be out of 500 chances due to other things settling first.
  11. Shang Augur


    No class can parry and block.

    Block is a monk/beastlord skill. Those two classes don't get parry.

    Shield Block is a COMPLETELY different melee attack that falls in a COMPLETELY different attack-check spot.

    The order is Block/Parry -> Riposte -> Dodge -> Shield Block -> Miss -> Hit.

    Iirc, block is technically before Parry. No class can do both, so it doesn't matter.

    Here's how to test it. Make sure you're using a shield when doing all tests, and that the character has shield block.

    Get a ranger. Pull a few mobs. Turn on all filters, hit weaponshield. All attacks are parried.

    Get a warrior. Pull a few mobs. Hit Furious. All attacks are either parried, or riposted.

    Get a rogue. Pull a few mobs. Hit Nimble. All attacks are either parried, riposted, or dodged.

    Get a warrior. Pull a few mobs. Hit fortitude. All attacks are missed, shield blocks, dodged, riposted, or parried.

    When calculating how useful a skill is, you have to take the number hits that could have feasibly gotten to the point where they are checked.

    Parse has 500 total attempts. These are fake numbers:

    150 parries, 50 ripostes, 100 dodges, 50 shield blocks, 100 misses, and 50 hits.
    • 500 attempts for parry. 150 were successful. 150/500 = 30% NOT 150/500 = 30%
    • 350 attempts for riposte. 50 were successful. 50/350 = 14.29% NOT 50/500 = 10%
    • 300 attempts for dodge. 100 were successful. 100/300 = 33.33% NOT 100/500 = 20%
    • 200 attempts for shield block. 50 were successful. 50/200 = 25%.. NOT 50/500 = 10%
    • 150 attempts for avoidance. 100 were successful. 100/150 = 66.66%.. NOT 100/500 = 20%
    Defensive parses without these taken into consideration are extremely misleading, and incorrect.
  12. Zahrym Augur

    None without a shield obviously I was referring only to shield block, and the fact that the only thing evident from any parse I've ever done comparing durability in terms of Hdex vs Hagi was Hdex only ever seems to modify parry returns for us, where as I see a .85% cumulative increase in evasion with heroic dex vs base stats, shield block and riposte stay relatively the same to the ten thousandths of a percent.

    If I modify Hagi I see again normal returns on base defensive skills, but a cumulative 1.2% increase on evasion from dodge.

    In response to Doktart I can re-test when I have time. But looking at what I have now in response to both posts the method I used to dissect the parses was from 3 or 4 posts on steelwarrior + necrotalk + gambosoft and one I forget. But it's outlined below very well.

    It *did* follow the suggested behavior of:

    How EQ does it, according to yoda:

    If you want to display hit rates that match what EQ mechanics does, here is some simple math.

    First, a Block is either a Shield Block or a Block depending on class. Monks and BSTs get Blocks, everyone else gets Shield Blocks.

    Block% = 100% * (# of blocks) / (total number of swings)
    Parry% = 100% * (# of parries) / (total number of swings, minus Blocks)
    Riposte% = 100% * (# of riposte) / (total number of swings, minus Parries and Blocks)
    Dodge% = 100% * (# of dodges) / (total number of swings, minus BPR)
    ShieldBlock% = 100% * (# of blocks) / (total number of swings, minus PRD)
    Evade% = 100% * (# of misses) / (total number of HITS + MISSES)

    Notice that the denominators differ. The above is useful if you want to work out "how good is that dodge V item?"

    NetHitRate% = 100% * (# of hits) / (total number of swings)

    Next, if you are displaying percentages, you can include decent "error bars" easily:

    %chance +/- 1.96 * sqrt(%chance*(100%-%chance)/denominator)

    Where %chance might be the values displayed above, and denominator is the denominator of the above fractions -- the more samples something is based off of, the more accurate the resulting percentage is.

    So you can be told "your dodge rate is 3% +/- 2%", etc.

    I'm not sure if you want to do this kind of thing, but I'd think it would be neat.

    Following your rates, can you confirm the behavior of the game is:
    * Check block skill first
    * If not blocked, then of the remainder, check parry skill.
    * If not blocked or parried, then of the remainder, check riposte skill.
    * If not blocked, parried or riposted, then of the remained, check dodge.
    * If not blocked, parried, riposted, or dodged, check shield block.

    Shield Block is apparently tested at a different time than Block.

    I'm aware of how it works based on this post. While it's true shield block is calculated at a different point it doesn't seem to matter for rangers, if I stack 300 hdex vs 150hagi and parse I see a total cumulative change in defense of .85% from base for modifying Parry/Riposte...where as if I mod 300hagi vs 150hdex I again see a cumulative change back to a total defense increase of 1.2% for dodge. In other words it seems that dropping the modifier as low as possible on the parry/riposte portion tends to mean I see higher returns from dodge in the format of relative durability to physical damage.

    There is room for argument and I'm sure in an ideal situation dexterity is still the winner for a 'best of' situation where you're modifying ranged damage + parry at a consistent rate but this is not realistic. I've seen very few raids that would make prioritizing a secondary gain of ranged damage better then a .35% increase in durability when the consideration is physical damage. Take into consideration the modification of dexterity on ranged is actually:

    Direct: Every 10 heroic Dex = +1 flat to ranged this is easily parsed, as well as the str base on melee and multiplier on dex.
    Indirect: It's 'believed' to boost crit rates, at a rate of 25dex per 1% (a suggestion I've parsed and never seen proven or results of) However what I have seen is small increases over large portions (something like 150 dex total = 1% crit) whether it be base or heroic doesn't seem to matter.

    It's almost a pointless stat either way you go hagi or hdex...I would need hypothetical increments in dexterity guaranteed to be in the hundreds on augs to make it stat highly enough valued to go out of my way of gearing for effective durability to make it worth it. Don't misunderstand what I mean, I don't mean I need an aug with 150heroic dex, what I mean is I would need total values after you have your 'best of set' to be divisible by 150.

    Considering the most recent changes have made us agro machines that lose dps if we aren't constantly at 99% of the tanks agro via having to spam summer's nukes in order to stay competitive and combine this with the fact our primary sources of sustained damage are no longer modified by heroic dex (you see no damage modification on focused or announced lines from hdex) so it's autofire only modification at this point and 55% of our total spells cast in real time situations have an agro modifier attached and have nothing to do with ranged damage.

    In the RoF 'time line' so to speak if you really wanted to maximize the benefit you get from stat banks it would look something like:

    a) Trying to hit 1350 dex raid buffed even, use trib if necessary as this is the highest 'impact' point due to getting the crit modifier at the large 150 incriments. Even doing this i'm not convinced the modification on our ranged is enough to compensate for the ability to just hit summer's again.
    b) Trying to hit even numbers divisible by 10 on other valued heroics (agi, str)
    c) Gearing for viability over anything simply because of what summer's spam has become in relation to DPS and our class performance as a 'dps' role in a raid. I'm not even convinced not gearing all heroic wis/int wouldn't be more beneficial then anything else atm just for the sheer fact we want our mana pool to last as long as possible or our dps is cut by more then half when we stop being able to spam.
  13. Shang Augur

    Alright, good.

    As an aside, I did Agi=Dex > AC > Spell damage when determining gear/augs, usually.
  14. roth Augur

    The Block/Parry, Riposte, Dodge, Shield block, Hit/Miss check order is not exactly valid anymore. Once a character gets their "special attack upon riposte" AA - for rangers it is Hunter's Return Kick - the order changes slightly :

    Riposte, Block/Parry, Dodge, Shield Block, Hit/Miss.

    Knowing the correct order helps. I don't know why the SoF era AA's (even though some classes have the AA a bit earlier than SoF) adjusted the check order.
  15. Zahrym Augur

    That's interesting, it's almost like riposte has an assigned value in multiple calculations, and moving it caused it to void in some.

    What I mean is if riposte was Skill # 25 or w/e and the Hunter's Return Kick makes it Skill # 45 permanently for that character it would mean any other equation using the value # 25 for returns would be void, would explain why return kicks gives riposte immunity.

    I don't have time to test this and verify obviously, but that's interesting information thank you Roth.
  16. Delbaeth Elder

    There was a patch in Secrets of Faydwer when this changed. Before the patch using Weapon Shield discipline meant absolutely no ripostes while new SoF mobs with strikethrough could often hit. Raid mobs could kill you right through the discipline. After the patch ripostes became common under WS and mobs stopped striking through it. Hunter's Return Kick had nothing to do with it, they changed the game. You can /resetaa on Test, hit WS on an Arena dummy and watch the ripostes scroll along amid parries despite not having riposte immunity AA.

    Since mid way through Secrets of Faydwer: Riposte-Parry-Dodge-Shield Block-Miss-Hit

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