Content of the article: "“Just play a fighter with a bow” is only a common response to the ranger class because people only consider combat when comparing classes."
Any time I see someone extolling the virtues of the range online someone always pipes up with "Just play a fighter with a bow its better". This kind of thinking happens because it is so much easier to compare classes when talking about combat performance than it is to compare out of combat performance , but it also is an incredibly limited way to look at classes. When you take a holistic look at ranger vs fighter there are many occasions where a ranger easily outperforms a fighter with a bow.
Does the party need to make a check to avoid becoming lost? The fighter has to hope their proficiency in survival can help them pass the check, the ranger just leans back and says I'm a ranger so we don't even need to roll. Does the party wanna sneak by somewhere the fighter has to hope their +3 proficiency bonus is good enough for them while the ranger is slapping a +10 on the entire party including the paladin who dumped DEX thanks to pass without trace. Is someone in the party hurt? While the fighter is hoping the cleric can get there in time the ranger is on the spot with magical healing. Are enemies rushing the archer? The fighter has to fall back or deal with being in melee range while the ranger can drop spike growth to both delay the enemy and punish them with up to 16d4 damage for approaching. Party being attacked by a bear? While the fighter draws their bow the ranger uses animal friendship to let the bear know everything's cool and ends the encounter round 1. Investigating something in the wilderness? While the fighter is fumbling around with skill checks the ranger is chatting up the local plants and animals to figure out what happened.
If I am playing a fighter in a party with a ranger and I have to see the ranger doing all this I fucking better be outperforming the ranger in combat or else why did I pick fighter in the first place. Because while fighter may be a great class in combat, what do they get outside of combat? Absolutely nothing. They get the minimum number of skills and no features that are useful outside of combat(in the base class).
Are fighters better in combat than rangers? Yes absolutely, but the ranger class promises two things to players. That they will be a strong martial combatant and that they will be a wilderness survival expert. While fighter with a bow can deliver on the first promise it gets blown out of the water by the ranger on the second promise, even more so if you use Tasha's variants. Yes rangers have a few crappy class features, but that does not make them a crappy class thanks to their spell casting, wilderness survival, and decent martial prowess.
And for the record Rangers may not be as good as fighters in combat but they are perfectly capable of holding their own. A sharpshooting archery fighting style ranger with hunters mark will still be dropping enemies left and right even if they don't have the feats necessary for crossbow expert yet.
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