Table Of Contents:
2.0 The Problem
3.1 The Linear Approach
3.2 The Foundation Approach
4.0 The Approach
7.0 The Tiers
7.1 Pathfinding Skill Portfolio
7.2 Stealth Tactics Skill Portfolio
7.3 Wilderness Warfare Skill Portfolio
7.4 Frontiersmanship Skill Portfolio
8.0 Interactive Skill Tree
9.0 Skill Mod Distribution List
Welcome to the unique ranger proposal. A few hours ago i just decided to let my opinions out by writing this thing about how i think ranger should develope and more specifically what aproach to proffession we should adopt taking into account the very irritating scout+ orientation we have and remarks from non-rangers.
It all comes back to what Holocron said back in the day: Rangers arnt unique.
This is the defiining point im trying to make, that there is a way to make ranger fun, there is a way to make ranger great. The way is by making us unique and not simply a scout plus set up. We need to stop thinking in a linear fassion in regards to simply better camps, better camo, better traps and involve other areas of knowledge we pick up in scout in our tiers.
Well enough of that, ill leave you with the proposal, hope you enjoy reading it as i enjoyed writing it.
NOTE: Oh and yes i know there will be mistakes heh only took me a few hours to slap together.
2.0: The Problem:
Scout and Ranger are closely linked because of the Master Scout pre-req of Ranger. This is good in that it opens the possibilites for a wide range of progression direction, however presently this isnt realised and ranger plays the support role to its pre-req counterpart. The most important thing is for us to move away from seeing Ranger as just a Scout enhancer and realise its a profession in its own right with Scout as the foundation of learning.
A good way to describe this way of thinking is the SAS. Picture this: (nothing concrete, just an example of the aproach)
You learn to shoot a few weapons, you develope your physical and mental stregnths to the point you can enter SAS training. Once you get to SAS training you dont just enhance your shooting skills, your physical and mental stregnths but you learn totally new techniques, new skills, new aproaches and develope into a completely new fighting unit, an SAS unit.
If you think of the initial training as your starting proffession, basic training is required in order to reach SAS level, but once you get there you head off in a totally new direction. Without the initial training you couldnt become an SAS unit, you need that initial understanding in order to progress into the new area.
Now the thing to realise in this example, basic training provides you the means to start SAS training, however once you hit SAS training its a totally new game. You get areas enhanced for sure but the main point is you learn new skills and head off in a totally new direction because you have basic understandings from your intial training.
Ranger needs to reflect this. Scout should learn us a few core knowledge areas then ranger progresses your character to a totally new level, in a new direction, taking those key knowledge areas and morphing/brewing them into an elite profession.
There are 2 main advancement approaches, the Linear Approach and the Foundation Approach. Both have stregnths and weaknesses, both have a place in games however only one is suitable for SWG in order to make it fun experience for those who choose the ranger path.
3.1: The Linear Approach
The Linear Approach is perfect in a continuous and linear (no suprises there then) progession situation. A situation whereby you start as a Scout for instance and then throughout your entire game life and experience, you increase your Scouting skills, get a better and better Scout and 'level up' as a Scout. You start off as a basic unit with only a couple of core skills at your disposal, then as your experience developes you become better, perhaps to the point you could be considered a ranger, to the point where you are actually called a ranger.
The point is that you are always a scout no matter what you are called, you are simply a better scout than you where before, you are a called a ranger because you are a high level scout.
As i said before this approach is perfect for a certain situation, a situation such as a level based game where you start off as one class then develop in the class. In SWG its different, its profession based, you stop progressing as a scout the second you get ranger. Your scout effectiveness may increase as you progress in your elite (ranger) profession however this is just a by-product of your elite profession impacting your character. You may use a ranger skill for instance that helps you perform a scout ability, this is the sort of impact im talking about and why the Linear Approach doesnt work for ranger and a good few other professions (like the hybrids for examlpe).
3.2: The Foundation Approach
The Foundation Aproach reflects a profession based system or a system where you progress in stepping stones. In a SWG sense you get certain professions to make your template, to make your character so you dont just progress in a linear fassion. Progression though establishing foundations allows you to experience totally unique game areas of character developement accessed through 'training' in basic knowledge areas (for instance starting professions).
The core concept here is that you take a starting profession (a basic knowledge area) and then this training allows you to access higher developement content (the elite profession content). The elite profession is unique, a stand alone development area that uses the key understanding your learn in basic training to goes off in another direction.
This aproach reflects the progression system of SWG, the requirement to make ranger 'Fun' and the reason why i keep playing this game because of its aproach to character developement. The only problem is currently ranger does not follow this aproach, which is one of the main reasons why the skills and profession aspect of being a ranger is not fun.
Throughout this document i aim to detail how this aproach could be used to develope ranger into a fun profession. I will detail tiers, skills, directions, roles and game impacts which will hopefully spark your imagination cells into life, allowing you to see what ranger could truly become. Its not just about making ranger fun to play for the first couple of months like it presently is (until the creature centric limitations kick in) but making it fun throughout your gaming life, you can always develope, you can easily get a basic understand but to become great you will need to work at it (easy to grasp it, hard to be great at it)
4.0: The Approach
We currently adopt the linear approach to ranger and this is highlighted below:
Exploration -> Better Exploration (Wayfaring)
Camping -> Better Camping (Frontiering)
Organic Collection -> Better Organic Collection (Hunting/Tracking)
Trapping -> Better Trapping
Scout Plus in other words, something we need to move away from if ranger is ever going to become a fun profession past the first 2 months. Instead we should be moving towards to SWG Foundation Approach which allows us to make a unique and ultimatly fun profession that will entertain us for years to come. In order to detail the new direction i will highlight the core 'basic knowledge areas' of scout so i can better show the process and how we get to the new ranger set up.
The basic knowledge areas of scout are:
- Habitat Engineering
- Situational Enhancement
- Living off the wild
- Self Sustainability
- Agro Avoidance
- Crowd Controlling
- Unconventional Attacks
- Organic Collection
- Intel Gathering
- Weakeness Exposure
- Combat Anticipation
Burst Run Efficiency
Creature To Hit
- Target Exposure
- Combat Anticipation
This list can be refined down to core basic knowledge areas of:
These are what scout is about, these are the areas you get a grasp of in scout training camp and these are the areas that will be morphed/brewed into ranger. The way we get to how ranger should be set out doesnt simply take hunting, then make rangers better hunters and doesnt take conealment, then make rangers better at concealment. The ranger concealment skills will no doubt be better and more effective than those gained in scout but that isnt the focus, the focus is the concept of concealment must feature in the new ranger as part of what a ranger does but not just a scout plus concealment skill set.
From analysing the basic knowledge areas covered in scout and 'brewing' them into a unique profession i have come out with these core knowledge areas for Ranger based under 4 (tier) headings that will also support the roles defined later:
- Movement Skills
- Intel Gathering
- Visual Stealth
- Self Extraction Techniques
- Crowd Controlling
- Wilderness Orientation
- Situational Enhancement
- Organic Collection
The thing to understand with this is that its not just continuation from scout. The headings may sound familiar but frontiersmanship is not about enhancing camping over Scout camps, it wont just feature camps. It will feature skills and abilities only accessible because of your previous survival, situational enhancement and organic collection knowledge gained during your basic scout training. Dont expect the linear approach where each tier follows on from a scout tier, thats not how things should be. In order to make Ranger fun and unique the tiers need to be unique and the skills contained within need to be ranger skills in their own right, not just a progression of scout skills.
Now ive highlighted the approach ive adopted to make this profession fun with a long lasting apeal i will move onto the direction ranger will head in. In the following section i will cover points such as orientation, roles, characteristics and playstyles in an attempt to visualise how ranger will fit into the game and how ranger will 'play'.
Direction is very important as it establishes how ranger fits into the game, what ranger actually does and how it plays. At present ranger doesnt have a direction other than to make your scouting skills better, this needs to change. Using the aproach and the Core Knowledge Areas ive highlighted previously i will layout the overview of what will make up the ranger profession.
Orientation, a big part of any profession overview as it describes they way the profession interacts with the other systems and how it 'fits in' with the game. Ranger's orientation will be unique, Ranger's orientation will be attractive for a long time and Ranger's orientation will be unrestrictive in a playstyle sense.
I supose the main area is the creature orientation aspect of the current Ranger set up. From the outside all looks good, focus a profession on an area of the game and make them 'specialise' in it. Well even if we were better at taking creatures and focusing our efforts on creatures we would still be playing under the primary issues of:
- It limits us from 2/3rds of the game content in that ranger becomes a 140 skill point hole in your template as soon as you attack an npc or player.
- The GCW is the part of the films we ALL relate to, being creature centric again takes us out of that and future developments
- New content is focused around npcs and npc type battles which i like, im not complaining, but it just means rangers again become a hole when playing the new content
- Groups and guilds who go out to fight most often dont just go after one type of target, they attack what they are presented with in the situation (creature OR Npcs).
Again this just means that ranger becomes a group liability when fighting npcs and players in this regard.
There is no doubt in my mind that creature centricity and combat 'gating' (in terms of gating rangers to only creature combat) is bad for the proffesion, bad for the game but ultimatly makes the game not fun. This needs to be addressed.
Scout as a basic proffesion does well because it teaches the basic knowledge areas by using them against an often easier opponent (a creature). This is fine for a starting proffesion and makes sense, learn to trap animals and get used to the wild before developing your knowledge into the hunmanoid and epic creature domain. This however is where the creature centricity should stop. Ranger skills should aid you in fighting again creatures, should aid your group in fighting against creatures but they shouldnt be orientated around creatures, instead orientated around the wilderness.
With this mind, creature only aspects and creature centricity should be dropped from the ranger arsenal and instead only feature as a secondary impact effect (the result of using your ranger skills to aid your scout skills) and a feature of situational enhancement.
Aswel as making ranger an open and unrestricted class it will also see heavy orientation around wilderness combat, sneaking and in a general sense; survival. You will become increasing aware of this as i go though the upcoming sections and start to highlight the skill portfolio.
Roles are extremely important as they give you a 'place' in the game, they give you a purpose and a reason to be playing a proffesion. We all know ranger doesnt have a role, what we do have is a 'makeshift' role based off the fact our scout skills are limited to creatures and we have an ability to harvest dead critters, this role is hunting.
Ranger needs new roles, roles that are unrestrictive, that are fun to play but are backed up by meaningful and unique skills. This section will highlight a few of the roles i aim to support and will come back to roles after laying out the skill portfolio to emphasis how these roles will be supported specifically.
The Core Knowledge Areas as highlighted previously are a great base for setting out how the profession will fit into the game. The headings (also the proffesion tier names) of Concealment Tactics, Pathfinding, Wilderness Warfare and Frontiersmanship give you a good picture of what roles the proffesion could fill and what roles it will allow players to adopt.
It is important not to think of each tier having to provide a different role but more to think about what each tier will bring to the various roles. A role such as Pathfinder will obviously mainly feature skills from the Pathfinding tier, however, a role such as as Ambush Tactician would draw on skills from Wilderness Warfare, Stealth Tactics and Pathfinding to support the role. Its the same in another example, Hunting Guide: The Hunting guide role would draw on skills from Pathfinding such as tracking, intel gathering and movement skills. It would then draw on Stealth Tactics for skills such as visual stealth then on Wilderness Warfar for skill of debuffing and combat specifics such as crowd controlling and wilderness defenses. Finally it would utilize skills from the Frontiersmanship tier such as situational enhancment and organic harvesting.
There are many more examples i could go into great detail with but i feel its better just to highlight a few in bullet format isolating the key areas and enforcing the concept of not having roles for tiers but roles supported by skills in tiers.
The Pathfinder: The Pathfinder is the front man, the seek out and target guy of a group relaying information between group members and giving them a target to lock onto. No unit is faster at getting through the wilderness unscaved than a pathfinder and no other unit has the correct skills to call in a group strike team with group wide highlighted objectives and target locks who understand the situation before they even get there.
Primary Skill Tier: Pathfinding
Secondary Skill Tier: Stealth Tactics
The Hunting Guide: The Hunting Guide fills the gap between weapon user and the target, the interface of groups that supports the group, finds them targets, helps them travel to the target and uses his/her knowledge to expose weaknesses in the enemy.
Primary Skill Tier: Pathfinding and Wilderness Warfare
Secondary Skill Tier: Frontiersmanship and Stealth Tactics
The Recon Unit: The Recon Unit is the forward scout unit opperating outside the confines of normaly squad formations. The Recon Unit works primarly alone at his/her task or with a few Recon Units and utlises the skills in the Pathfinding role aswel as many others to set the groundwork for a suprise attack. The recon unit goes in, preps the battlefield with ambush traps covertly, provides the squad or player with intel, provides a suprise attack option for the group on attack and extracts him/herself.
Primary Skill Tier: Pathfinding, Stealth Tactics, Wilderness Warfare
Secondary Skill Tier: Frontiersmanship
The Explorer: The explorer knows no boundaries, seeks out adventure and forever seeks the unknown. The Explorer utilizes skills from all areas to traverse the lands, survive in the wilderness and support their companions. Adaptability and knowledge are the explorers tools and thinks nothing of spending a week out in the most dangerous and hospitable habitats in the galaxy. Whatever is needed to be done the explore can perform be it hunting, guiding, frontiering, intel gathering or simply a quiet space with no one around for miles.
Primary Skill Tier: All Tiers
Secondary Skill Tier: -
Now ive layed down a good few examples of how the new direction will support roles and detailed what will support them i will move on to how ranger will be percieved and what qualities a player must have.
A ranger will be defined as the wilderness expert, the master of concealment and 'the guy we need for our hunt' when talked about in game. The aspects of concealment and group support will no doubt become our defining tiers but will never overshadow the other two to the point they are unused or undesireable. A ranger will be seen as a tool to a group and those who realy work at their ranger skills will be rewarded with respect and a high level of confidense in your abilities.
The characteristics and perhaps even personality traits the player should find usefull when playing the ranger profession could be:
Patience: Your skills are not nuker skills or those that allow you to smash the hell out of people so dont loose your cool and pick your battles
Maturity: You will need to master all the aspects of ranger to opperate fully as a ranger so you much not aproach it as a way to be powerfull but a path to learn how to become powerfull. Act like a kid and youll be treated like one, treat your skills as powers rather than tools to acomplish tasks and you will never be as effective as other rangers.
Adaptability: Ranger will have roles, but these roles will be as diverse as the people you will encounter so use them wisely. Dont get fixed on one role and expect everyone to change for you, the skills and roles are there to be utilized if needed so take advantage of that.
So those are the main areas a ranger should look to when playing the proffesion. The lifestyle aspect of ranger plays a heavy part in the new aproach and is required to get the best out of the skills.
Playstyles in this new ranger set up are wide sweeping. From the player who loves to sneak around, to the explorers amongst us, the roles and skills are there to support what you need. Specific combat orientation between creatures, npcs and pvp combat is now open, you pick how you want to play, you pick what areas you want to specialise in, its completely up to you. Ultimatly though the new system allows you to play the proffesion how you like, how you have fun but doesnt limit you from areas of the game.
Message Edited by Owen-Lars on 03-13-2005 01:50 AM