Let me first start off by saying, no one build is better then another, everything is based off of playstyle, and skill. I have played Xbow since I was able to get my first ranged weapon in tortage, though it doesn’t really shine tell mid 20s. I decided to write up this guide to help newer players in the leveling process, as Xbow spec, and make suggestions to help along the way.
First suggestion is to get a mouse with multiple extra buttons, its great to tie your CC abilities to these buttons as well as Excellent Balance (Knockback resist feat)
What to expect as Xbow:
Easy leveling - Leveling as xbow is by far easier then leveling as bow spec, the reason being is Xbow is multi target based, when Bow is single target based.
Hard hits - Your Piercing Shot is your main skill it has a 3 second cast time and takes a couple seconds to get threw the combo, at lvl 80 takes about 5 seconds from start of combo tell it fires, it is rather slow, but hits for 2500-4500 damage on 1 or more targets.
Crowd Control - Xbow spec has the best crowd control available in my opinion, we don’t have the fear that Bow spec has which is a very nice crowd control, but we do have multiple knockback abilities, snares, a stun, and roots.
Column Attacks – Column attacks work like this, anything between you and your target and anything next to your target are hit with your shots, there for in order to maximize the damage you output, you will want to learn how to line up your targets, this takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down it is easy to master and becomes second nature. How to properly line up targets when also tanking them
Mez Shot - as you know by now Rangers are a rogue class and using the hide ability is very usefull, we also have 2 attack from stealth abilities but only 1 is with a ranged weapon, and that is Mez Shot, this is a stun, but it breaks with any damage, I recommend it for pulling, and also recommend to equip a bow when using it (faster animation). Mez shot comes in real handy in high lvl dungeons when you only Have one tank you can mez a target tank pulls other target let tank pull his target away then drop a leghold trap for the mezed target to run into after mez breaks, this gives you enough time to kill the tanks target before your mezed/trapped target gets to the group, works great in Atzels Fortress
Range - Xbow users have a much lower range compared to Bow users, and we do not get a feat to improve it, like Bow users
Speed – Lets face it Xbow shots are slow, all of them, nothing is "instant".
Fear – No fear ability (unless hybrid, which I don’t recommend) puts us at a slight disadvantage, when compared to Bow spec Rangers in the CC department, but we receive other things to make up for it.
Skill Points: Different people have different preferances for this, personnaly for Leveling on a PvE server I put 1 point into Bandaging, Fast Healing, Recovery, Fast Recovery, Climbing to 180, Max Hiding, Max Endurance, Max Run Speed or Skulk, rest into Run Speed or Skulk depending on what you maxed.
20-40 Khopshef Province, Wild Lands of Zelata, Outflow Tunnels, Sanctum of the Burnning Soul
Youll want to start off in Khopshef Province, even if your Cimmerian, because Connels Vally sucks for lvling (you have to run way to much). You should easily get into your mid 20s in Khopshef fairly quickly, once you run out of quests or they are to hard to solo, move to Wild Lands of Zelata, switch between both zones and you should get to mid 30s rather easily, you can also do Outflow Tunnels in Old Terantia, But I recommend getting the quest line from Fabio in Old Terantia and doing Boarder Ranges in Wild Lands, before you do Outflow. After all that you should be in high 30s and can normally do Pyramid of the Ancients in Khopshef to Finish your lvls.
Optional: 38+ Sanctum of the Burnning Soul – Group Dungeon lvl 40 Set gear drops off the boss's of the dungeon, decent rings drop off the Blood Defiler Boss.
Combo List for 21-40
24 – Piercing Shot II
28 – Crippling Snipe I
30 – Incapacitating Stabs II
32 – Stealthy Strike
36 – Bleeding Puncture II
40 – Armor Ripper II
40 – Heartseeker
Thought I would mention here with Xbow you almost always kill your target with your Highest Rank Piercing shot, if they are still alive 1 or 2 white hits should kill them, once you hit 40 you can replace those white hits with Heartseeker
At lvl 40 your feats should look something like this.
At this point you will need to decide weather or not you want to spec into Clear The Filed (only KB available tell lvl 60), Shield Bash (melee shield attack), and Barbed Arrows (increased Bleed damage of bleed combos) I personally don't use melee so I went with Barbed arrows to move down the feat tree, this of course is based of personal preference and play style.
Piercing Wounds - This increases your passive bleed from the Puncture feat damage, but barely noticeable so I skip it some don't.
Pitch Pots – Useless skip it
Piercing Stance – since 1.05 Shattering Stance is superior then Piercing Stance
40-60 Terantia Nobel District, Field of the Dead, Eglophian Mountains, Ymirs Pass, Ampatheater
I like to start with Terantia Nobel District, and then move onto Field of the Dead, you will get some quests in TND that ask you to go to FotD. At 50ish you should be done with both these zones (they added a new dungeon to FotD Cradel of Decay, generaly I skip most dungeons but if your not in a hurry check it out). Next Head to Eglophian Mountains where you should obtain about 5 lvls then head to Ymirs Pass at 55ish, where you will get to 60 from questing.
Optional/Recommended – Ampitheater – group dungeon Ymirs Pass, great armor sets only 3 bosses, cool story, and a great purple cloak quest reward.
Combo list for lvl 41-60
44 – Pin Down III
48 – Piercing Shot III
50 – Cripple (melee)
52 – Bleeding Puncture III
56 – Stealth Strike II
58 – Armor Ripper III
60 – Crippling Snipe II
Note: If you find that Piercing shot III and Heartseeker are not enough, you can stager Piercing Shot III then Piercing Shot II
Booby Trap – this is by far one of the greatest skills a Xbow Ranger has at his disposal, with 3 points in, it will Knockback Guardians, and up to 2 targets at a time, this does not share a cooldown with leghold trap, but there is a 5 second global cooldown when you use one trap or another, learn to use this trap very well, it is simply amazing to have.
60-80 Thunder River, Atzels Approach, Tarrantia Commons, Kashetta, Slaughter House Cellar
Ok 60 to 80 your leveling will start to slow down. Start off in Thunder River, then move to Atzels Approach, cycle between them if quests get to hard to solo in one area or the other, around 70 you can head to Kashetta were you will be disapointed to find there are still very few quests to do, You can also do the Villas in Terantia Nobal District, they are available at lvl 40 and scale to your lvl, they are on a 4 hour cooldown and repeatable, worth pretty good XP and take a couple hours to clear all of them, I only do 3 of them I don’t do the 4th, way to many mobs and takes forever and stops giving good xp reward at like 50-60 cant remember. At lvl 75ish you can do Tarantia Commons that has many good quests and decent rewards. at 76 you can get quests for Slaughter House Cellar some are repeatable and the instance resets every 4 hours, one run of this instance nets you about 1 million xp and 1 gold if you clear the whole thing.
Last edited by Vheffner; 28th September 2009 at 18:40..
Grinding: Grinding is good in east Ruins of Kashetta but you can easily become overwhelmed by mobs, taking 1 AoE buddy with you will net great XP, Another good place is the Death Master Camps, they are usually heavily camped though. Genearly I try to stay away from the instances tell I hit 80 because they are such a time sync, but if time is not an issue do them up for xp and loot.
Combos List for lvl 61-80.
64 – Bleeding Puncture IV
68 – Piercing Shot IV
70 – Cripple Enemies (melee)
72 – Stealthy Strike III
76 – Pin Down IV
80 – Flesh Ripper
80 – Piercing Shot V
80 – Volly Backwards (Bow)
Volly Backwards – This is a Bow only skill But I use it in PvP, I don’t use melee skill so I keep a Bow & Arrow as my second weapon set, Ill use the bow for many other things to, like pulling targets, and Mez shot (stun from stealth), I use a bow because of the faster shots.
At 80 my combos are set up for Piercing Shot V, then Piercing shot 4, Heartseeker, and Linebreaker (feat), In raids I open with Armor ripper and then cycle Piercing Shot V & 4 and an occasional Linebreaker.
At 80 your feats should look similar but not exact to the below build, keep in mind you don’t want to be like everyone else so test things out and find what works best for you.
Should haves: (you can choose between Barbed Arrows, Clear the Field, and Shield Bash)
EDIT: Here's my reworked, optimized spec. Removed Agile Mind and a few other things that I very rarely used. I almost never ever get Feared and it's a total of 3 pts needed to get it in that build. I can't really see anything that anyone might miss. Mountaineer and self-rez in all it's glory, but those times are behind me now. Feel free to comment and rate!
UBEREDIT 2: The more I messed around, the closer I came to your build...so I'll just use yours. \o/ Because mine didn't even work! Buggy feat calculators...
Column Attacks – Column attacks work like this, anything between you and your target and anything next to your target are hit with your shots, there for in order to maximize the damage you output, you will want to learn how to line up your targets, this takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down it is easy to master and becaomes second nature.
A question about this, if you don't mind, from a complete newbie (actually played a Ranger at launch, but I've been gone from nearly 1 year now and trying to get up to date ASAP).
What Crossbows shots are column attacks? All crossbow shots or only those improved by the Scatter Shots feat (that would be Piercing Shot, Flesh Ripper at lvl 80 and Linebreaker feat-granted skill)?
And which attack has the "column" effect? The combo opener, the white attacks, the combo finisher or all of them?
Thanks, and very nice guide. Helped me alot, since I am mostly a PVE player (carebear if you prefer) and found myself struggling with the bow.