Image via Grinding Gear Games

The Ranger class in Path of Exile 2 makes you feel like Legolas (Preview)

Path of Exile 2 is upping the ante with its character class system, both in terms of story and gameplay feel. Case in point: the Ranger.

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Until now we've only had a look at the new classes (Mercenary; Druid; Monk; Sorceress; Huntress; Warrior), with fans only left to wonder what developer Grinding Gear Games would do with the current ones . After talking with the team directly and checking out the new Ranger footage, it's clear this is a pretty stark new direction they're going in.

Path of Exile 2 Ranger trailer gives us a glimpse of cinematic approach to come

The footage does a lot to immerse you the traditional Ranger fantasy (an animal-loving defender of their homeland woodsman and all that). Cinematics like the one first shown below are nothing new to Path of Exile despite not being in the game itself, but it's possible that will change. When we asked Game Director Jonathan Rogers if they will be a bigger part of the sequel, he replied, "We can't talk about cinematics yet, but story is important to us for Path of Exile 2."

Rogers has said similar in other interviews leading up to the game's launch, indicating they want to try to solve the story presentation issues that plague ARPGs (who wants to read all that text when they could be blasting, am I right?). I don't know about you, but I'm very curious to see how cinematics could play into that. Based on how the Executioner boss fight is set up here, it appears brief in-engine cinematics are the plan, and it's a damn fine one.

Ranger is a lot more mobile in Path of Exile 2

Image by Grinding Gear Games

As for gameplay, what struck me most is just how active Ranger now feels. Thanks in part to the heavily upgraded animation system, some skill gems like Frost Escape will see you perform a backward-launching attack that allows you to deal damage while escaping from immediate danger.

It's safe to assume such skills will do less damage than your main skill (though it could be skills now given all the systems changes being made), but will be worthwhile for their utility. (And said utility can be enhanced by combining with support gems like Frozen Nexus, which leave chilled ground around frozen enemies.)

Related: All Classes in Path of Exile 2

Knowing Grinding Gear Games and its freeform design philosophies, it would not surprise me to uncover ways to convert these 'vault' skills into high damage main skills, as is sometimes seen now with movement skills in Path of Exile. (Catch me in the beta flipping in every direction as bullet hell skill gems beat my CPU into submission.)

In addition to that, you can now shoot while moving (albeit at a movement penalty), which frees up a lot of options on the battlefield and makes gameplay more fluid. This of course ties nicely into the newly implemented WASD movement, which is proving a hit among Grinding Gear Games staff (recent estimations indicated most developers were using it).

Ranger will feature at least four new Poison skills in Path of Exile 2, and combos galore

Image by Grinding Gear Games

The next most striking thing is it's clear they're going harder than ever on the poison themes previously available to archers, thanks to new skill gems like Poisonburst Arrow, Vine Arrow, Poison Bloom Arrow, and Gas Cloud Arrow, which can do everything from slow enemies, spread poison, or launch an AoE. Due to increased visual clarity as well as encouraging players to use more skill gems (putting it somewhere in between a traditional ARPG and an MMO), the themes are allowed to shine more.

Speaking of using more skill gems, combos are a major focus for Path of Exile 2; in this case, you can try things like producing plants with Poison Bloom Arrow, then dropping Gas Cloud Arrow on the plants to make them grow using poison (yielding more and faster damage).

Plague Bearer makes a return, too, and works the same as before (i.e. stack up poison counters by doing poison damage, then unleash a ton of it). I struggled with this one a lot in the first game as the icon indicating your poison counters is very small and out of the way (and blinking in this game will get you killed, leaving little room to check it). Hopefully, the promised UI changes for Path of Exile 2 make this skill easier and more pleasant to use.

Meanwhile, skill gems like Corrode Armour will enable another means to scale offense (Rogers assures me there will be plenty of ways to do so, as is typical for Path of Exile), and the Snipe skill shot now provides a reliable source of single target damage. Administered by charging up and releasing at the right time, doing so produces a guaranteed critical hit. This combines nicely with Sniper's Mark, which now grants a Frenzy charge when you crit (thus providing a variety of potential bonuses like extended arrow duration).

In short, Rangers can expect a lot more utility, mobility, and combos in Path of Exile 2, as well as some reworked skills and new ways to scale damage. I can't wait to get my hands on it when the beta finally launches.

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Author
Sean Ridgeley
Sean has been a gamer since he was old enough to hold a controller, and has a deep love of RPGs, shooters, and horror games. His favourites include Dragon Age: Origins, Overwatch 2, Path of Exile, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Silent Hill 3, and Darkest Dungeon 2. Professionally, he's been writing and editing for nearly two decades, mostly in the gaming space.

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The Ranger class in Path of Exile 2 makes you feel like Legolas (Preview)

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