Silly Ranger, what are you doing?

This is going to be slightly silly and nitpicky. However, bear with me!

Rangers are a staple class/profession in anything fantasy. The nature-attuned bow-wielder, able to put an arrow through anything that crosses her path. As bows were what was primarily used for ranged fighting before guns existed (and became widely used), this is no surprise. I’ve always loved the ranger archetype, and I will not deny that my early days of reading fantasy and playing D&D influenced my decision to take up archery as a hobby. It requires a lot of skill and practice to be able to shoot accurately – you have to be able to judge and adjust for things like the arrow’s flight and arc, wind (direction it’s coming from, if there’s any lift, windspeed, and gusts), if you’re just shooting something stationary or a moving target…not to mention the fact that archery requires a surprising amount of upper body strength in order to fully draw a bow.

It’s also a hobby that can easily lead to injuries – I refuse to wear armguards any longer after one incident where I didn’t have my arm turned out enough and the string caught on the underside of the amguard, both yanking it off and scraping a few layers of skin off the underside of my left arm. Ouch. As that little story suggests, though, there are proper archery forms, and they exist for a reason. Following them not only helps to maximize the power behind your shot, but it also helps prevent you from injuring yourself like I did.

So what does this have to do with Guild Wars?

Well, somewhere along the line…Rangers in Guild Wars never learned how to hold a bow properly!

pew pew pew

At the left here, we have my Ranger, Verene (yeah, guess where my nickname came from :P). She’s being a good little Ranger, shooting at the poor Master of Damage who puts up with so much abuse from players. Also, can I just say that I love the Dryad Bow? Best bow skin in the game. Anyway. See how she’s holding her bow? Well, part of the form is correct. Standing with her body perpendicular with her target, right arm pulling the string back straight and even with her ear (or so it would be, had I gotten the screenshot from a straight side angle). I generally stand straight instead of bending my knees when I shoot, but that’s not necessarily wrong, and her feet are planted far apart to brace her.

But the way the actual bow is held…my goodness. Sure, it looks cool. Her left arm – the one holding the bow itself – is bent, which would prevent her from being able to get the max draw on the bow. But the worst…if there was an actual string there, when she looses that arrow? It would get caught on her armor and the force behind the arrow would be lost, or worse, it would simply carve the hell out of her arm. Also note how her head is tilted in order to try and get a proper line of sight – with the bow drawn that far, the string would also catch on her chin and shoulder. Ow.

Sure, artists are creative, but even so...

This continues in Guild Wars 2, or at least from what we’ve seen in videos thus far. Look at Eir, in this screencap from the new trailer shown at gamescom 2011. She’s doing it again! In fact, what she’s doing is even worse. At least Verene up there had the arrow held on the top of the bow, so it was possible to get a full draw on the bow, even if loosing the arrow was going to result in pain, realistically. The string was going over the top of her arm. Eir is holding the bow on the underside of her arm. At least it appears that she’s got her arm turned so that the string shouldn’t catch on it, but…it appears that she’s holding the arrow between her hand and the bow. Assuming it flies at all, she’s going to get a handful of fletching, which I can also say from experience is painful. Not to mention the fact that without the fletching, or with it damaged, the arrow is not going to fly straight. You can also see pretty clearly how her body blocks how much of a draw she can get. Where she is right now is about the maximum draw she’d be able to get.

However, a second later in the video…

Um. Magic disappearing arrow?

Oh.

Not only are the arrows taking flight while the string hadn’t been released (physically impossible!), but…where’s the other half of the string? How does she have it drawn that far back? It just doesn’t make sense!

I have no idea if male Rangers shoot like this in GW/GW2, because I’ve only ever played lady archers in GW1 and I haven’t seen much Ranger gameplay yet from GW2 videos. And yeah, I know, this is monstrously nitpicky. It’s a small detail that bugs me, though, and I can only really think of one explanation.

Rangers in GW/GW2 have magical bows that defy the laws of physics and the strings are just for show (or don’t exist at all); the arrows have a mind of their own and just have to be placed on the bow and the Ranger has to go through the motions of firing for them to fly :P

For the record, this shows decent archery form, though the right hand should really be up against the cheekbone so that you can get a proper sight down the arrow. Not perfect, but it would actually work pretty well in reality ;)

What little details do you tend to get nitpicky about in games? Your own personal pet peeves?

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8 thoughts on “Silly Ranger, what are you doing?

  1. Rangers hold their bows vertically, but I’m pretty sure they bend their arms to release the arrows.

    Btw, your descriptions of arm scrapes make me wince!

    (I have a dryad bow too! It’s my fave!)

    • I’m not exactly the most graceful person ever, but cutting my arm like that still ranks as one of the most painful things I’ve ever accomplished. And that was just with a cheap practice bow at school! So yeah. I don’t even want to think about what kind of injuries could be possible with an actual powerful bow.

      I love my dryad, I just bought it recently. r11 so it was cheap :D So awesome <3

      • Drago’s Flatbow. There’s not much to be said about its appearance (being so plane looking), but it’s so large that I don’t care!

        Anyway, I don’t know much about archery, but I do hope it gets touched up a bit before release. It’s going to bug me now that I’ve noticed it… :P

  2. Well, the male GW ranger does have a more correct pose. http://i.imgur.com/rXqGV.jpg My rugged ranger Tyrias Snowcaller here, modeling his Oppressor’s Longbow, has just about everything right except he’s pulling the (invisible) string into his chest, and the fletching end of the arrow into his eye. Perhaps that’s how he got his eyepatch, haha.

    P.S. I like your blog, as you might be able to tell from my recurring commenting. :) Keep it up! And look me up in-game if you feel like it.

    • Cool, so male Rangers are (mostly) correct in their form, minus the arrow-in-the-eye part XD Oppressor bows are awesome, I’ve never really gotten a good look at them before, haha.

      Thanks, btw! :D

      • You are welcome. :D Oh, and I feel your pain with the armguard incident; I’ve hit the string on my arm before when I wasn’t wearing an armguard, and once was enough to teach me to be really careful, haha. Oh, archery. Fun yet unforgiving of mistakes. :)

  3. My pet peeve is not exactly the same thing but I guess it’s close enough…

    I have medals and awards for marksmanship with pistols both from my time in the military as well as a civilian. I’m both fast and accurate. My father was a D.I. in the USMC and began training me in the use of firearms from a very early age.

    Having said that, even with roughly 4 decades of training and practice, I would NEVER attempt to shoot two pistols at the same time… F***ing waste of ammunition!
    Everytime I see someone shooting two handguns (one in either hand) simultaneously in either a movie or a video game it irks me. Not only are they not hitting anything with their “off” hand, just the fact that they are trying ensures they are also not going to hit a damn thing with their main hand too.

    In a game where a rifle can be “charged up” to deliver a more powerful shot, or used as a form of propulsion to send you flying through the air, more than a little suspension of disbelief is required, and you have to just let your imagination fill in the automagical blanks.

    But ya… I guess dual-weilding would be what irks me like that… (I definitely sympathize with the intent of your article.) Just gotta go with it tho… fantasy world…. fantasy rules.

  4. I totally agree that proper bow form should be emphasied. Perhaps the players form could transition from the terribly incorrect animation they have with Eir to a proper form as you unlock each bow skill demonstraitng your mastery of the weapon.

    Also for another instance of terrible bow form see the elves in the battle for helms deep in the lord of the rings movies… heh just so sad.

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