Over this past week, I had finished leveling my Ranger to 36 (with just @1k to 37), without having ever stepped in the Garlaige Citadel. Okay, so I did go into the Crawler's Nest, but hey, you have to /bow down to conventionality sometimes, alright? >_<
In retrospect, I really did enjoy Ranger. The nature of a puller is certainly different from a mage, particularly late at nights when I would sometimes fall asleep in the few seconds of shuteye I'd get in between pulls. That, and for some reason, plugging arrows and bolts into (flying) things, is strangely amusing, I can't quite get enough of it.
OMG, Barrage is silly!
OMG, Holy Bolts are silly!
That pretty much sums up my feelings once I hit Ranger 30. ^^ With two Hawker Knives and HQ Noct Gear, my Ranged Accuracy finally got to the point where I'd actually hit most of the time. Barrage also gave me the following skillup run, which literally caused me to sit back and chuckle for a good couple minutes, before continuing:
In any case, my particular path to RNG36 is as follows:
0-11: Solo'ed this before the Ranger nerf. I don't remember much about this stage, to be honest.
11-12: This level was done with the help of Onekomaru and Aetion, who both decided to help powerlevel me with their Bards. I still miss the 4x Minuet. ^^ Too bad it was late at night, and they were sleepy though. >_<
12-18: This was one of the more memorable parties in my Ranger career. As a Corsair now, I find myself constantly trying to duplicate this, but for some reason, there has been a total lack of Rangers around. Seriously, a "/sea all rng 12-15" would turn up maybe, one, maybe even two RNGs if I was lucky.
In any case, I guess I have to consider myself lucky on this one. I grabbed together RNG RNG RNG COR BRD WHM and we went to town on Worms from the Maze of Shakrami, to Korroloka Tunnel, getting all of us 5-6 levels in the process. Hooray for skipping past the accursed dunes!
18-21: I think Coejus helped powerlevel me from 18-20 back in the Maze of Shakrami here. I probably found the Land Worms too hard to hit without all the +RAcc gear for my liking, and besides, I needed to skillup my Marksmanship at the time, too. Later on, I'd find myself a BRD and a COR, and the three of us took out Land Worms in Qufim for a bit.
21-23: I think I got this in the Qufim party I had with Willriker, although it feels like a lot of xp for just one party, especially since while it was decent, I don't remember the xp being fantastic. But I do know that I was looking to perhaps moving onto the jungles at this stage, which was something I'd find trouble doing.
23-25: I was invited to a terrible party in Qufim, with a "know-it-all" noob, that just irritated the heck out of me. When half the Pugils con "Tough" to you, and xp is a whopping 65xp/kill, it's time to move on. His reply? "I don't have the Kazham keys yet." Fair enough, but don't go about holding everybody back. That, and don't tell me when to pull, gawd dammitaru!
25-26: Yuhtunga Jungles! I had two so-so parties off Mandragora and Goblin Smithies here. One was NA, the other JP, and I can't really say one was any better than the other. My Japanese party, however, did end up straying away from the usual "just outside of Khazam" camps, and ended up camping at the Yhoator Jungle zone after the leader made a mistake, and tried fighting Yhoator Mandragoras instead (oops...) I had seen other parties use the same camp, and I have to say, I wasn't terribly happy with it. Pulling was annoying because of the unavoidable Goblin Smithy right at the mouth of the tunnel, and the rest of the mobs were at the next tunnel down.
26-30: This was my other favourite party as a Ranger. When my JP leader assembled a party of NIN RNG RNG COR WHM BRD, I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical at first. But then Goblin Furriers at the Yuhtunga Jungle Outpost were so soft, we were immediately chaining for xp in the high 200s, and leveled up to 30 in no time. Two Rangers (the part I was worried about), turned out to be very good in the end- our Ninja did a pretty decent job at holding hate (what, with two of us wailing arrows), and I had someone to help me pull the somewhat spread-out Furriers. Definitely want to come back here again.
30-31: I got another JP invite, and dragged Cerin (RDM) along for a party off Sahagin and Makara, just outside the Sea Serpent Grotto. I have to say that it definitely got a lot easier as time went by, though. We still managed a decent pace, although I think the trick here is to somehow manage the transition from Sahagin up to Makara well. A good party, although not spectacular.
31-32: NA party down in Yhoator Jungle off Mandragoras. There was this diva WHM however, that annoyed the heck out of me, insisting that I wait for full MP before I pull, even going as far as to sarcastically fire a shot at me when I suggested he raise another party's WHM when his mana was ready ("That must be the first time you've waited").
Like, I'm sorry if you can't manage your MP bub, but I've played 282 levels of mage classes to know when you have enough mana. Besides, does he want the chain or not?
"No death > No chain," he says.
"And we haven't died yet," I reply.
I think I win that argument there, although the above isn't quite true- I did die, but that was after I quickly remembered that pulling a Goblin Pathfinder brings his Goblin's Bee pet along, which then links with all the Yhoator Wasps around, which....uhoh...>_<
At least I told the others to run away, leaving me as the only one dead from that. >_<
32-33: I assembled an English party of RNG THF NIN WHM RDM COR, and after some debate, we decided to take on the Worker Crawlers at the start of the Crawler's Nest. I have to say, I didn't really like this party. For one, the mobs were too spaced out, at least in clumps, so I'd have to watch for links (could take a while), then ater clearing one cluster, run over and start pulling from the other cluster (even more time), and then once I got there, watch for links again (even more time).
The worst part was the THF who was a complete noob. Didn't know how SATA worked, heck, he tried SATA'ing off me, although I knew something was up when I saw him ready Sneak Attack behind me, and quickly moved out of the way before his Trick Attack. Despite our instructions, he showed typical noob behaviour, and never learnt. Definitely the downpoint of this otherwise solid party. Oh, did I mention that his SATA Viper Bites were dealing a grand total of 80 damage?
33-34: Another one of my parties, I got together a group of NIN RNG BLU WHM COR BLM, and dragged them all the way to Purgonorgo Isle. XD
In all seriousness, yes, it's really, really out of the way (and I should've split the party into two and just Tele-Mea'ed), but the xp is so free-flowing here, it's quite hard to resist, unless you don't know what you're doing. Soft, squishy Alraunes, and even softer, squishier Toucans (flying mobs ftw) got us constant chains in the decent numbers, at least, until a bunch of us hit Level 34, when it just turned to "decent xp."
34-35: Tried solo'ing Flesh Eaters in the Attohwa Chasm, which was something I had periodically done from time to time, but unlike say, the Maze, or Korroloka, or Qufim, I hate solo'ing in the Chasm. For some reason, whether it be the silly patches of weeds, or the slight bends in the side paths, you actually have to get in really close to the Flesh Eaters in order to shoot, otherwise "You cannot see the Flash Eater". Of course, that meant that you also couldn't run away from Stonega in time, although you could easily survive one or two Stonegas.
There were times, however, when certain Flesh Eaters would be particularly Stonega-happy, not to mention that they pop in clusters, so you'd have to deal with the unavoidable, "cannot run away in time from" link. However, Hirushi came down to save the day, and when the Flesh Eaters started conning Decent Challenge, we took a little tour of Vana'diel, trying to find mobs he could powerlevel me off, before settling down (surprisingly), on Marine Dhalmels in Bibiki Bay, which were strangely easier than the Ravens, partially, I guess, because of everybody's favourite Dhalmel move, Berserk.
35-36: My final party as a Ranger was strange, yet very entertaining. I was on my way to Jeuno, when I got a tell for a party in the Crawler's Nest. When the leader told me he had a powerleveler, I was even more skeptical, and when I asked him on his proposed setup (RNG SAM SAM WAR THF BRD), I was even more put-off, to say the least.
For some reason, I decided to accept, and boy, this party turned out to be fun. Not because I could pull nonstop, due to the powerleveler, but we camped in the famous "sack room" in the Crawlers Nest, competing against three other parties. I still managed to outpull all of them, including our THF, who was helping me pull, getting a "Damn, you're fast" out of him. The reasoning was simple:
I had Widescan, and they did not. ^^
It was the first time I had ever used Widescan for my pulls, but it turned out great in the end. A few seconds before the Crawler would die, I'd open the map, check Widescan for a red dot in the surrounding tunnels, and then tell the THF where the next mob was, and then he'd Flee over for the pull. It was very amusing, to say the least, although as the THF was also controlling the BLM that was powerleveling us, I eventually because the sole puller instead, especially when the place emptied out.
I was surprisingly keeping up with both SAMs in the party, and throwing in a few Barrages into the mix allowed me to have enough TP buildup such that I could create a Distortion skillchain with both Samurais (they'd just alternate) via Split Shot → Tachi: Enpi.
We were also camping next to some gilsellers, and it was amusing to see them die over and over again.
That pretty much sums up my Ranger career thus far. I might've missed out a fvew parties, or gotten some of the details wrong, but I think that suffices as a decent summary of my experience. I am now @1k to 37 after soloing some more in the Attohwa Chasm, but the place is now too slow for my liking to really go there and solo xp. I figure I'm more or less done with Ranger, at least for the time being, and I can always just do an escourt quest on another job and use the scroll to ding RNG37 should the need arise.
I've sinced moved onto Corsair, and like I said, it plays very differently from Ranger, which is something I miss. My Corsair adventures so far include several terrible Dunes parties, teaching a bunch of JP newbs party dynamics (more on this another time), and I actually managed to make myself a good Valkurm Dunes party!
I have to say though, compared to RNG, COR's Ranged Accuracy SUCKS. I was so eager to take out my Bandit Gun +1 and start plugging Goblins with bullets (hooray for capped Marksmanship), but I think the only shots that hit were the ones that I fired with Sharpshot on. -_-