A human Warrior walks through a golden forest in the far north of the Eastern Kingdoms. Suddenly he hears the light rustling of leaves from the side and turns to the source of the sound. Before he can see what made the noise he is dead, several dozen arrows sticking out of his body. The Rangers of Quel’Thalas can kill without alerting the intruder to their presence. Though their order has gone through harsh times in recent years, the Rangers are rebuilding. Of course, the knowledge of Ranged combat is far from exclusive to the High Elves (now the Blood Elves), and other races are more open to the thought of training others in their ways.
Rangers have existed for almost as long as civilization on the ancient continent of Kalimdor. While some may be known by other names, they are united by their duty: defense of their lands against intruders. Sadly, due to the turmoil that resulted from the Burning Legion's invasion during the Third War, many Rangers have fallen in combat. With all the conflict in the world, many would-be Rangers must journey to exotic lands to learn the ways of distanced combat.
Rangers have existed in many different forms over the millenia; the Night Elf Sentinels are the earliest recorded Ranger organization, but ancient Troll society may have had many unorganized Rangers. In fact, since most Trolls excel at ranged combat, it is quite possible that they were the original Rangers.
The Sentinels protected the forests of Kalimdor ever since their creation nearly ten thousand years ago. Under the leadership of its founder, Tyrande Whisperwind, the all-female Sentinels kept watch over the forests during the period known as the Long Vigil. When the Highborne rebelled against the teachings of Cenarius and tried to return to their arcane roots, they were exiled, and all Highborne women who had joined the Sentinels went as well (along with others who had begun to feel the power of the Well of Eternity could be controlled). When they arrived in the forests of what would come to be known as Tirisfal Glades, the former Sentinels vowed to protect their new home with the same ferocity and devotion they had shown on Kalimdor. And so they did, through the Troll Wars, and during the Second War they protected their ancient lands against the might of the Horde. However, during the Third War, the Rangers suffered incredible losses: Sylvanas Windrunner, sister of the famed Alleria Windrunner, and Ranger General of Quel'Thalas, fell in combat against the then-Death Knight Arthas. She and her warriors were raised from the dead as Banshees, cursed phantoms that could curse or possess their enemies. Though Sylvanas eventually regained her physical form (the method is a mystery to all; no one can be sure if her body is her own or that of another), her soul was permanently damaged, as were those of all other Dark Rangers. To this day, all that connects them to their previous existence are their use of the bow and passion for their causes.
One of the most famous High Elf Rangers, Alleria Windrunner, was a major player in the Second War. In the aftermath she was lost in the Twisting Nether, along with Turalyon, and thought dead. However, though they were seperated within the Nether, she soon found herself in a verdant forest unlike any she had seen. After days of wandering she realized she felt no hunger or pain and she, too, believed she had died. However, as she soon found, though she was a ghost of sorts, she was certainly not dead; Alleria's spirit had been drawn into the Emerald Dream. While her body's location is unknown (to her at least), she is able to move through the Dream at will. Eventually she was confronted with an awe-inspiring sight as Cenarius himself appeared before her. He himself was surprised to see a High Elf in the Dream, and she was amazed by the grace of a god she had thought to be only myth. In time she was informed of events that occured since the Second War, including the fall of Quel'Thalas and the undeath of her sister Sylvanas. Like the High Elves she remained loyal to the Alliance, but was torn by love for her sister. As such, any members of the Horde who come to her will likely be asked to correspond between the two former Rangers.
Alleria is unable to leave the Dream because she is disembodied and has no idea of where her body is.
Alleria trains potential rangers in the Cenarion Encampment in the Emerald Dream. However, one must complete a series of quests to unlock the Ranger Hero Class. The start of these Quest Chains are Tyrande Whisperwind in Darnassus for Alliance and Sylvanas Windrunner in Undercity. Both these quest lines take the player through part of Outland and then the Emerald Dream itself. Of the assorted portals into the Emerald Dream, the one in Twilight Grove is closest to the Cenarion Encampment.
Rangers have a variety of combat options available to them; they can weild a number of weapons and can use steady, constant ranged attacks as a viable attack method. However, they are limited to Leather armour, and cannot survive heavy sustained attacks. While Rangers typically either use Bows or thrown Glaives (depending on whether they are Rangers or Sentinels), they are known to use swords as well in dire situations. However, Rangers are masters of survival, and so are nearly as adept with close-range weapons as they are with ranged weapons.
In addition, all Rangers can summon a Bird Scout (the type depends on the race), which binds the user's vision to the bird. The bird is capable of flight and will not be attacked by enemies
- Marksmanship Rangers are what most people think of first; Rangers who are able to hit their target from incredible distances with unerring accuracy. They can do things with bows and arrows that others would think impossible. They tend to stay hidden and defeat enemies before they have a chance to approach. Their primary weapons are Bows, Guns, Crossbows, and Thrown weapons
- Combat Rangers are less reliant on the extreme distance that other Rangers often find themselves using. They will often use their ranged weaponry until their foes are close, then bring out a Sword or other close-range weapon and defeat them. These Rangers are less known than their counterparts, primarily due to the fact that there are fewer rumours. When an ally dies from an unseen attacker, many run away; they don't get the chance when the assassin is an arm's length away
- Aid Rangers are different than most in that they have a number of healing spells in their repetoire. Aid Rangers use unconventional tactics including arrows or bullets with special enchantments. They also have auras increasing move speed, damage dealt, and evasion. While their combat skills suffer as a result of their focus on non-combat options, having one can make quite the difference.
All classes have the potential to become Rangers, but in order to create a Human Ranger the player must first unlock the Ranger Hero Class and complete a series of quests in Caverns of Time: Gnomeregan
Rangers primarily use, of course, ranged weapons. However, they also use melee weapons in the rare cases that their target gets too close for comfort. Weapons that Rangers can use include:
- Swords (One-handed)
- Axes (One-handed)
Aid Rangers can enchant their ammunition but not their melee weapons.
Talents & AbilitiesEdit
Rangers, as a whole, depend on distance when fighting. With a variety of shooting, slashing, and magic techniques, a Ranger can be a rather unpredictable foe. Adding to this is the fact that rangers can use limited stealth for creating ambushes.
Marksmanship Talents can increase the Range, Accuracy, and Damage done by ranged weapons. Several Talents, such as the high-level Snipe, increase multiple stats (Requires Stealth. Doubles the Accuracy and Damage of the next Ranged attack. Puts a 4-second cooldown on the Shoot ability (Improved Snipe increases the Accuracy and Damage by an additional 3%/6%/10% and allows you to remain in Stealth while using Snipe at 60/55/50 yards from the target)). Another talent ability, known as Warning Shot, makes an attack that does no damage but can Fear an enemy (not usable if you are in combat with the target). Other talents include aiming for specific parts of the body (Leg Shot reduces speed and evasion, Arm Shot reduces attack speed and damage).
Combat Talents allow a ranger to fight at close range nearly as effectively as at long range (compared to a Marksmanship Ranger). Through Talents they can Dual-Wield. A number of their abilities have counterparts in the Marksmanship Tree, though they are designed with the different combat styles in mind (Pierce Leg and Pierce Arm correspond to Leg Shot and Arm Shot, respectively).
Aid Talents focus on the 'other' aspects of Rangers; the misc. abilities that make the Rangers world-renowned for their devotion. These talents allow the Ranger to put a basic poison on their arrows, bullets, and daggers, or enchant their ammo with Flame (Searing Arrows, put a Debuff on target that burns for small damage over time), Frost (Frost Arrows, slow movement speed for a short time), Holy (Holy Arrows, does extra damage against Undead and Demons), or Dark energies. They can also gain access to Ranger Aura, which increases all damage caused by nearby allies.