Ever since Tasha leaked and we saw the new rendition of Favored Foe, people have been passionately going back and forth about it. Opinions have spanned from wanting the CFV version to just getting rid of Hunter's Mark entirely because it's holding the Ranger back. Any criticism typically gets met with accusations of petulance or an impossible level of satisfaction. Any support for the new Favored Foe gets met with accusations of not really caring about the Ranger and dozens of responses about why they're wrong (I'll confess to leaving a few of those). People espouse that WotC can do no wrong while others of course shout about WotC's ineptitude.
But one thing people aren't really talking about is that it isn't about Hunter's Mark, not really. Hunter's Mark just happens to be most famous example of a more fundamental problem.
Since the PHB Ranger came out, two critiques have been steadfast among the others. These complaints, too much competition for Bonus Actions and everything requiring concentration, can be directly linked to a Ranger's spellcasting. Over half of the Ranger's spells require concentration and all but three of the Ranger's attack spells require both concentration and bonus actions to cast, directly competing with each other and other Ranger features, which brings me to my point.
If it weren't Hunter's Mark, people would still be dealing with these core issues of too much competition with other spells. There are of course spells that should require concentration, spells like Ensnaring Strike, Hunter's Mark, and Spike Growth, but one-off castings that are cast and used on the same turn 99% of the time also cost those things. If it weren't Hunter's Mark, the choice would still exist between maintaining a longer spell like those mentioned above and ending that concentration to cast a one-off spell like Hail of Thorns or Lightning Arrow. And it just feels bad. So very, very bad.
Yes, there were definite MC concerns regarding Favored Foe, but Favored Foe itself wasn't an actual solution. It just offered a way for Rangers to finally have one over-time spell that could be held active through those one-off castings, just like a Druid holding Flame Sphere can toss around a few Ice Knifes, or a Wizard can hold a Force Cage on half the enemy and still Fireball the rest, or an Arcane Trickster can simultaneously keep a Hold Person going while utilizing Blade cantrips. If the Ranger's spells were actually designed in a way that separated the long-term spells from the essentially instant one-offs like almost every other class does, then we wouldn't have been talking about this for so long and we probably never would have had to worry about Favored Foe and it's MC implications in the first place (btw, this would apply to Paladins too if they actually had to expend their spell slots for something other than Smiting).
Tasha's Ranger has gotten a bunch of new stuff and it's all bright, shiny, and absolutely welcome, but these issues we've been talking about forever remain unchanged.
Of course, it's all too late and this post isn't actually going to change things, but I'm hoping we can do a better job of identifying why we feel this way with regard to the Ranger so maybe its truly fixed in 5.5 or 6, whenever they happen to come along.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk, ta!
- Class Feature Variant Help!!
- The Ranger Class has come a Long Way from its Original State in the PHB
- Are “on hit” ranger spells underpowered?
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Favored Foe and why it isn’t really about Hunter’s Mark." specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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