On Monday, Wizards of the Coast released more Unearthed Arcana for Dungeons & Dragons 5e, producing a revised Ranger class page. As with all Unearthed Arcana, this is intended to be used for playtesting, until all of the kinks can be ironed out and abilities made official. In other words, you can use this new Ranger description in your home games, but not in an official D&D Organized Play event.
The Ranger has been a sore spot for 5th edition, ever since it launched in 2014. Players across the internet have been trying to revamp and reimagine the class with any number of homebrew solutions. Most of these solutions have ranged between silly to outright ridiculous — sadly, a lot of players try to turn the Ranger into the MarySue of the D&D world.
Having played both as and with Rangers on several occasions, I understand the complaints of the class. Most people (including a fellow player and myself) quickly realized that for the Ranger to remain a useful ranged (heh) DPS class, a certain combination of skills, feats and abilities were the most viable options to players. The beastmaster tree was woefully underclassed and required a specific type of player and campaign to make it feel at all interesting or scalable.
The most intriguing aspects of this Unearthed Arcana are the increased focus on stealth, and the attempts to rework the Beast Conclave tree. However, some of my major complaints with the beast tree are still there, they’re just a little smoother around the edges.Whether or not that translates into better viability remains to be seen.
It’ll be interesting to see how the various Subreddits and WoTC forumists react and poke holes in this new build. The Ranger is an old, beloved class, in desperate need of a rework, but thus far, we’ve not seen the right rework.