Recently I created a thread talking about Tinkers or Rangers as a possible future class in WoW. In that thread, the Tinker won support across the board as more plausible than the Ranger. I largely agreed. However, since I do enjoy a challenge, and I do enjoy to theorycraft while I sit at my desk at work, I decided to develop a rough template of what a Ranger class could be like in WoW, and how they could be different than the current Hunter class. I'd like to hear your opinions on this idea, so I'll be posting up a poll so people can vote, and tell me how plausible this idea is.
Why a Ranger class?
First and foremost, people love archer classes. Hunters for example remain a fairly popular class. Demon Hunters were a favorite in Diablo 3. Legolas was a popular character in the LotR trilogy. In current WoW, the position of the archer class is taken up by the Hunter class. Hunters not only have numerous ranged attacks, but they also utilize pets which give them utility and increase their DPS. Despite their popularity, many Hunter players want to just be archers without having the pet around. This creates a tiny opening for another archer class to exist in the game. Then there is the not so-small matter of elves being the perennial archers of Warcraft and the fantasy genre in general. There is a fairly wide stylistic gap between a "hunter" and an elven "archer". The latter are far more mystical and utilize all sorts of elven magics to perform their abilities. Hunters are more like woodsmen or trackers, using their survival abilities to survive and tame the wilderness.
In short, the Hunter class is more like the Beast Master, the Dwarven Riflemen, or the Troll Headhunters. The class I'm proposing is more like the Priestess of the Moon, the Huntress, the Archer, Dryads, the Warden, and the Dark Ranger. I hope that helps.
Armor and bow/ranged holes in the loot tables is another small opening for this class. Mail armor is the only armor without 3 classes utilizing them, and Hunters enjoy the benefit of being the only class that can properly used ranged weapons.
There are also quite a few popular Hero units from WC3 who haven't been utilized yet who could fit this archetype. Several players would love to be a Dark Ranger like Sylvanas, or simply a Huntress from WC3. This class idea makes that possible. You will hear more about them in the next section.
Armor type: Leather until lvl 40, then Mail. Dark Rangers and Sentinels both can utilize INT Mail, and Wardens can use Agility mail.
Weapons: Bows, Guns, 1h weapons (Warden Dual Wields)
Races: Night Elves, Blood Elves, Undead, Worgen(see Race section below)
How to separate Rangers from Hunters?
I came up with a unique take on this class. Where Hunters are more physical-based, this class would be darker and more magical, pulling from the more mystical roots of elves and shadow magic. There's also no pets to speak of in this class. There are things you can summon to assist you, but they are entirely magic based. The spec breakdown is something like this;
Dark Rangers are similar to their incarnations in WC3 and WoW. Following the example of Sylvanas Windrunner, and the WC3 hero, this spec specializes in shadow magic and necromancy. Ironically, this spec could fulfill two goals at once: A Necromancer spec AND a petless Hunter spec. Dark Rangers can have a maximum of two skeleton minions at a time (unless talented or via Shadow Power). This spec would wear INT mail. Note: Choosing this spec will give you the option of giving your character an "undead" appearance ala Death Knights.
Dark Arrow: Signature Dark Ranger ability that applies a DoT. If the target dies while under its effects, a skeleton emerges.
Shadow Shot: fires an explosive shadow arrow, dealing Shadow damage to a random enemy and their surrounding allies within 10 yards.
Summon Skeleton: Dark Ranger summons two skeletons to fight for it for a short time.
Life Drain: (Channeled) Drains the health from a target for 6 seconds. Every 2 seconds, the Dark Ranger will receive the "Satiated" buff, increasing its damage after Life Drain ends for 1 second. Satiated can stack up to 3 times. If the target dies during Life Drain, a skeleton will emerge from its corpse.
Shade: Dark Ranger version of stealth or camouflage.
Nightwing: Leaps behind the target and viciously stabs them with a dagger laced with shadow magic, healing the Dark Ranger in the process. Requires Shade.
Banshee's mark: Dark Ranger places a curse on the target, increasing their chance to miss.
Shadow Power: A buff that increases the power of the Dark Ranger's abilities.
Different from Hunters: Hunters don't use shadow magic. Also they can't raise the dead and/or manipulate life energies.
Sentinels were by far the toughest spec to theorycraft. However, this spec would specialize in speed, imbued arrows, and manipulation of the battlefield. Not as sexy as the Dark Ranger, but I think it would still be an interesting spec to play as. Modeled mainly after the Priestess of the Moon and the Dryad unit from WC3, but also utilizing abilities from various other WC3 heroes as well as the DH from D3. This spec would wear INT mail.
Searing Arrow: Fires an arrow imbued with flames. This applies a DoT after initial damage.
Cold Arrow: Fires an arrow imbued with cold. This damages and slows the target's movement speed.
Celestial Arrow: Fires an arrow imbued with arcane power. On impact it damages all targets in an 6 yard radius. (cast time and brief CD)
Gust Arrow: Fires an arrow imbued with nature magic. It deals nature damage, pushes the target back, and dazes them. (brief CD)
Atonement: (passive) While firing your arrows, you have a chance to gain a buff. Searing: Your next searing arrow will be a critical hit. Cold: Your next Cold Arrow has a chance to freeze your target. Celestial: Your next Celestial Arrow resets its cooldown, and your next Celestial arrow will be instant cast and cost no mana. Gust: Resets its CD, and your next Gust Arrow will silence the target for 2 seconds.
Dryad Shot: Fires an arrow that removes one beneficial magic buff from the target, and applies poison/slow. (cast time and brief CD)
Starshards: Rains starshards down on the enemy target, causing Arcane damage over 10 sec (brief CD)
Mana Dragon Sphere: Summons a sphere of energy above the Ranger's head. Whenever a damaging spell hits the Ranger, the sphere immediately sends out a mana flare, damaging the caster for a % of the damage, and causing a lockout of that magic school for 2 seconds.
Bow Strike: (melee range) Strikes the target with your bow, stunning them for a few seconds.
Different from Hunters:Sentinels use more magical abilities. They are also far more anti-caster. I had more anti-magic abilities planned for this spec, but I ran out of space.
A popular unit from WC3 that is often requested, but tough to implement. This spec would specialize in more close to mid-ranged combat than its sister specs. Modeled after the Warden and the Demon Hunter from Diablo 3, this spec would wear agility based mail armor, dual wield, and specialize in poisons and Shadow Magic. This spec should be very strong against melee classes.
Raven Blade: Slashes with a Raven Blade, dealing increased weapon damage, and increasing the duration of Shadow Strike.
Shadow Strike: Hurls a poisoned dagger which deals large initial damage, and then deals damage over time. The poisoned unit has its movement rate slowed for a short duration.
Fan of Blades: The Warden flings a flurry of Raven Blades at multiple enemy targets around it.
Shadow Port: The Warden teleports up to 20 yards in any direction. After using Shadow Port, Raven Blade, Fan of Blades, and Shadow Strike's damage are increased for 2 seconds.
Raven Return: Throws a shadow glaive forward for 25 yards, damaging all targets in its path. When it returns to the warden, it is healed for % of the damage done.
Spirit of Vengeance: You sacrifice a portion of your health and mana to summon a spirit of a fallen warden to assist you in battle.
Vengeance: You sacrifice a portion of your health and mana to create a powerful avatar that summons spirits to attack your enemies. When the Avatar of Vengeance dies, the spirits vanish. Wardens can also become avatars of vengeance if they die in battle.
Different from Hunters: Hunters aren't melee anymore, they can't teleport, and Wardens are more bad-ass by default.
Charm: Charms a target to fight for you.
Owl Scout: Summons a spectral owl that can scout the area for you. You can also command it to perch, and it will stay in an area for an increased duration. Can see invisible units. The Dark Ranger's Shadow Power alters this ability.
Piercing Arrow: Fires an Arrow that pierces through a target, hitting other targets nearby. (Sentinel and Dark Ranger)
Shadow Net: Places a net of shadow energy around a target, holding them in place and damaging them. If any outside damage occurs, the enemy is freed. (Warden and Dark Ranger)
Alignment: Reduces Magic damage by 15%, Increases your magic damage by 10%
Moon Well: Summons a moon well at the target location. Allies who stand within 5 yards of the well are instantly healed. 5 charges.
Ultravision: (CD) Greatly improves the ranger's chance to see invisible enemies for 10 seconds.
Vault: The Ranger somersaults forwards or backwards 15 yards. Sentinels get an improved version of this ability (25 yards/Physical damage reduction while vaulting).
This one was a bit tough, but this pic pretty much convinced me to heavily limit the racial options of this class.
So here are the races that can be this class.
Alliance: Night Elves, Worgen
Horde: Blood Elves, Undead
Why? I think its time we go back to classes being limited to only a few races. Druids have the lowest race combinations available, and its one of the most popular classes in the game. I just don't see many races being able to be this class. Also this helps with class lore without this proposed class losing its flavor.
In the case of the Undead, when you select this class, your character will automatically change to an undead version of a High Elf. Get ready for the Sylvanas clones!!!
Note: Worgen were added because poster Constellation rightfully mentioned that Moonclaw Worgen have been added to the ranks of Sentinels, and are being trained by Shandris Feathermoon. Thank you for that information.
Though I don't think this class will ever be implemented, I hope this post demonstrates how it could be achieved. Considering that Sylvanas is one of my favorite WoW characters, and the Warden is one of my favorite units from WC3, I would love to see this appear in WoW. Unfortunately, I know that it has a slim possibility of occurring. In any case, I hope you enjoyed this write up, and I look forward to your responses.