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This build has been designed for the following use:
As always, a decent build in the hands of a strong player is much more powerful than a perfect build in the hands of a player who doesn't know what he's doing; minor variations (runes, attribute points, non-essential skills, and choice of weapon in particular) are not harmful. Indeed, they are generally helpful, as they tend to suit a particular player's playing style and can be used to synchronize the party's abilities even more.
This build utilizes the synergy between Barrage, Favorable Winds, and Winnowing to inflict high damage on multiple foes, with a wall of pets and minions to defend the party. This build requires only loose coordination between players, and a large spectrum of variants are viable. Barrage/pet builds are resilient to dropped players, as only two roles, the Monk and the Minion Master, can be said to be essential.
There are a total of four general roles in the team - the Barrager, the Minion Master, the Supporter, and the healing Monk. A "full team" consists of five barragers, one Minion Master, one Supporter, and one Monk. A "half team" may consist of two barragers, one Minion Master, one Supporter, and one Monk, or three barragers, one Minion Master, and one Monk.
The barragers have nearly endless variations (even more so than the other three characters) due to the fact that many skills work extremely well with Barrage. In general, barragers should stay behind the wall of pets and minions to avoid damage. Shown below are a few example builds.
All barragers should use a Recurve Bow, due to its excellent timing between its firing rate and the recharge of Barrage (they are exactly equal, so the character will always be attacking with Barrage). Also, a Longbow or Flatbow is useful for pulling groups of monsters.
A Vampiric bowstring is useful to increase the damage; Sundering bowstrings can be used to a lesser extent, but without any health degeneration. The bow grip is essentially a matter of preference; a bow grip of Fortitude helps in case the barrager is attacked, while a bow grip of Marksmanship increases the damage the character deals. Other bow grips are not as commonly seen. Because there are few times when the barragers take damage, a Strength and Honor inscription adds consistent damage.
Because of this, Elswyth's Recurve Bow is a common choice (both in popularity and in availability).
R/Mo Rebirth Barrager
<pvxbig> [build name="Rebirth Barrager" prof=range/monk marksm=12+1+1 beastm=8+1 expert=8+1 wilder=7+1][barrage][savage shot][optional][troll unguent][throw dirt][Feral Aggression][comfort animal][rebirth][/build] </pvxbig>
The sole advantage of this build is the presence of Rebirth. Should the group wipe, this character has the ability to resurrect all fallen teammates without aggroing monsters. It also brings an interrupt for interrupting Wurm Siege from Chaos Wurms. However, it deals much less damage than any other barrager presented here.
R/Rt Splinter Barrager
<pvxbig> [build name="Splinter Barrager" prof=range/ritua marksm=11+1+1 beastm=7+1 expert=7+1 channe=10][barrage][distracting shot][call of protection][splinter weapon][optional][Feral Aggression][comfort animal][Flesh of My Flesh][/build] </pvxbig>
Although this variant's pet is weaker than that of a normal barrager and his arrows deal slightly less damage, his overall DPS is significantly higher. Casting Splinter Weapon on himself deals a significant amount of damage with Barrage; casting it on allies before battles increases the party's DPS by an extreme amount.
The final skill slot could be Throw Dirt.
R/P Barrage Shouter
<pvxbig> [build name="Barrage Shouter" prof=range/parag marksm=12+1+1 expert=8+1 beastm=9+1 comman=5][barrage][distracting shot][savage shot][anthem of envy][go for the eyes][Feral Aggression][comfort animal][We Shall Return][/build] </pvxbig>
This variant utilizes Paragon Shouts and Chants to increase the effectiveness of the entire party at the cost of his pet. "Go for the Eyes!" is an effective buff for any attacking ally, no matter what their build; Anthem of Envy is a strong chant to use at the beginning of a battle; "Brace Yourself!" is useful when combating mobs guarding Chaos Wurms (as the Wurm will attempt to knock down your allies before engaging in combat). Using "Find Their Weakness!" before "Go for the Eyes!" makes it very likely that many enemies will suddenly find a portion of their health bar turning gray.
General ranger variations
At least one ranger must bring Favorable Winds (often abbreviated as FW) and one ranger must bring Winnowing (often abbreviated as WW or Winn). Troll Unguent is a good skill to swap out for either spirit, as the monk (below) should be taking care of all the healing. If you decide to bring FW instead of Troll Unguent, reduce your Wilderness Survival to 0 and move the remaining points to Expertise. If you instead choose to bring Winnowing, you may want to move a few points from Beast Mastery to Wilderness Survival to create a heartier spirit. (Note that the Wilderness Orders support character can bring Winnowing if necessary.)
The purpose of the pets is to tank for the group (at least until the Minion Master produces an army to do so). A dead pet with an exploited corpse serves no purpose, so it is important for the rangers to raise their pets at every opportunity.
All rangers should try to keep their Expertise level at or above 8 (including runes), as this will make 5-energy skills (most importantly, Barrage) cost three energy. Optionally, having 9 Expertise will make 10-energy skills cost only 6 energy.
The Minion Master must be able to do two things: This minion master must be able to raise a large undead army, and he must maintain said army.
Unlike many other minion mastery builds, the minions here are not intended for pure damage, but rather to body block the Grasps of Insanity from reaching the ranger line, Though you can take advantage of this large party of minions by using skills such as Mark of Pain and Barbs.
The most restrictive variable on a minion master is time. The recharge time on many minion skills is quite long, as are the casting times. Therefore, a weapon that reduces both these times is desirable, as is one that increases the level of the minions. Since recharge time is longer than casting time (and therefore more important to reduce), an ideal staff would be an Adept 20/20 Staff of Death Magic.
N/Mo Lich MM
<pvxbig> [build name="" prof=necro/monk deathm=12+3+1 soulre=12+1 Curses=3+1][aura of the lich][Ebon Battle Standard of Honor][Barbs][Mark of Pain][dark bond][blood of the master][Signet of Lost Souls][rebirth][/build] </pvxbig>
This character makes a quick, maintainable group of bone horrors that inflicts MASSIVE damage when combined with Barbs and Mark of Pain.
Rt/N Explosive Animator
<pvxbig> [build name="Explosive Animator" prof=ritua/necro spawni=12+3+1 deathm=12][animate bone horror][animate shambling horror][animate flesh golem][death nova][signet of creation][boon of creation][explosive growth][blood of the master][/build] </pvxbig>
The Ritualist primary attribute Spawning Power allows a minion master to create heartier, if weaker, minions, and allows for additional healing through Signet of Creation. Because most of the damage in this team comes from the rangers, the loss of offensive power is not a big issue, although the loss of armor can be.
Unlike other minion masters presented here, this build deals a large amount of damage from Explosive Growth and Death Nova. The idea behind this is that as the tanks die, they will damage the remaining enemies - hopefully reducing or eliminating their need now that they are dead.
These characters greatly enhance the damage output of the barragers by various means. They should carry equipment helpful for using many skills in a short period of time and making these skills last longer, if possible.
N/Mo Orders Necromancer
<pvxbig> [build name="Orders Necromancer" prof=necro/monk bloodm=12+3+1 soulre=8+3 healin=10 prote=2][order of the vampire][order of pain][blood renewal][blood ritual][awaken the blood][heal party][succor][rebirth][/build] </pvxbig>
This character should use as many superior runes as possible to reduce his health, decreasing the amount of health he sacrifices with his spells and increasing the rate of healing from Blood Renewal. As a result of this, he should stay well back from combat - remember that the key spells on this bar, Order of Pain and Order of the Vampire, will affect everyone on the necromancer's sphere of influence. Succor should be cast on the Monk so that he will not have as many energy management problems, and Heal Party should be used to alleviate pressure on the monk.
Monks must focus on healing, though they can bring a skill or two that removes hexes. Enchantments should not be used at all when the party is fighting Banished Dream Riders or Scythes of Chaos. Equipment is mostly optional - if all goes well, the monk won't need to do much healing at all, and most monk spells cast quickly enough that there is little danger of them being interrupted or not activating fast enough.
Mo/E Word Monk
<pvxbig> [build prof=monk/elem healin=12+1+1 prote=10+1 divine=8+1][word of healing][Protective Spirit][Shield of Absorption][Seed of Life][Cure Hex][Dismiss Condition][glyph of lesser energy@0][Aegis][/build] </pvxbig>