Lambtor's Ranger Guide

RANGER GUIDE

TABLE OF CONTENTS


A. Preparations before leveling

I. Ranged Attack Damage Modifiers
II. General Guidelines
III. Ranged Weapon Types
IV. Double Weakness Status

B. Ability, Gear, Subjobs and Food Notes

I. Level 1-10
a. Soloing for EXP
b. Pulling and Links

II. Level 10-20
III. Level 20-30
IV. Level 30-40
V. Level 40-50
VI. Level 50-60
VII. Level 60-70
VIII. Level 70-75
a. RNG Responsibilities in Sky
b. Gear Setup for Endgame (Lv 73-75)

C. What to Merit

ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THIS GUIDE


STR Strength (base attribute)
AGI Agility (base attribute)
VIT Vitality (base attribute)
INT Intelligence (base attribute)
MND Mind (base attribute)

THF Thief (job)
DRK Dark Knight (job)
RDM Red Mage (job)
COR Corsair (job)
WAR Warrior (job)
SAM Samurai (job)
MNK Monk (job)
NIN Ninja (job)
RNG Ranger (job)
BLM Black Mage (job)
PLD Paladin (job)
WHM White Mage (job)

DMG Damage
DoT Damage Over Time
WS Weapon skill
RACC Ranged Accuracy
RATK Ranged Attack
JA Job Ability(ies)
EXP Experience point(s)
T Tough (/check function on target)
VT Very Tough (/check function on target)
IT(+) Incredibly Tough or higher (/check function on target)
Lv Level
HP Hit Points
MP Magic Points
TP Technical Points
CP Conquest Points
NM Notorious Monster
BCNM Burning Circle Notorious Monster (fight/area)
KSNM Kindred Seal Notorious Monster (fight/area)

A. PREPARATIONS BEFORE LEVELING THE JOB FOR BEST SUCCESS


If you are completely new to Final Fantasy XI, and want to know how to unlock ranger, you may want to search through another guide or ask someone in game. This guide is focused on how to maximize the effectiveness of your play within the job. If you have unlocked the job, you therefore have a basic job at Lv 30 already. If that Lv 30+ job is one that can use a ranged weapon, and has an ability to build that skill, you may want to spend some time getting that skill to a moderate level. A good idea would be to bring it to that of a Lv 20 ranger, or 60-65 skill, which as a Lv 30 you should be able to do solo without too much difficulty. The jobs that should be able to do this
are:
THF (C+ Marksmanship, C- Archery)
RDM (D Archery)
WAR (D Marksmanship, D Archery)
SAM (C+ Archery)
DRK (E Marksmanship)
NIN (C Marksmanship, E Archery)
COR (B Marksmanship)

If you have a job at Lv 75 and want to be a more potent ranger, meriting is an option available to you for additional preparations. Recommended merit categories (where possible) before starting the job are:
1. Combat skill
(marksmanship or archery; see "selecting a ranged weapon type" below)
2. Enmity decrease
(higher hate threshold allows you to put down more damage before
getting killed or having mages use mp on you)
3. Critical hit rate %+
4. STR+

I. RANGED ATTACK DAMAGE MODIFIERS


ALL RANGED ATTACKS AND RANGED WEAPON SKILL DAMAGE IS BASED ON YOUR RATK VS TARGET DEF FIRST.

When trying to increase ranged weapon skill damage, many people tend to think that loading up on AGI+ will benefit you more for marksmanship, and STR+ will help archery best. The single biggest factor in how much damage ranged weapon skills do is your weapon & ammo base dmg, and after that, it is ranged attack. It is true that archery weapon skills also have a STR based modifier, and marksmanship has no such STR modifier. However, when you have a choice between RATK+ vs. STR+ or AGI+ and want to increase any ranged weapon skill dmg, get RATK first, then STR or AGI (assuming you have enough ranged accuracy to land ranged weapon skills). Do NOT, however, stack up on AGI for normal ranged attack dmg with marksmanship OR archery. RATK and STR still increase normal shot dmg, and AGI does not increase it. You can test
this out yourself anytime; go and pick targets with similar levels and swap out pieces of gear. Ranged attack+ often has a larger impact than STR+ or AGI+.
If you have enough ranged accuracy (RACC) to land weapon skills and barrage consistently, the priorities on stats for increasing weapon skill damage are:
RATK > STR / AGI
For normal shots, it is:
RATK > STR > AGI

II. GENERAL EQUIPMENT GUIDELINES / FOOD


Rangers have poor base STR. All RNG job traits are accuracy bonuses or resist poison. In order to do damage, you first have to make sure you can hit your targets. Since RNG don't have many equipment options to get ranged attack+ (compared to standard melee and attack+ gear), and also don't have any job abilities to increase damage (unless through sub job), it's generally easier (and also cheaper) to try to get as much ranged accuracy as possible in equipment, and increase ranged attack/STR through food.
There are only 2 ways to make up for poor STR and low ranged attack. You can either eat meat foods or equip ranged attack+ gear. Most RNG don't perform as well as they might otherwise be able to because of an inconsistent set of equipment. To maximize your damage output, you need to make a decision on what you're more comfortable with. Either you should equip as much ranged attack and STR+ as possible, and eat sushi, or equip as much ranged accuracy as you can and eat meat. Suggestions for food will be given in their level sections. Inconsistent gear means you will likely see many RNG wearing pieces that have good stat benefits, but conflict with or sacrifice the bonuses available from other gear.
For example: wearing a headpiece that gives STR+ and also wearing hand gear that gives only RACC/AGI, at a level when ranged attack+ is available in hand gear and head gear. If you decide to go with the ranged attack/STR equipment route and eat sushi, devote all your equipment slots to boosting these statistics. When exp parties are fighting lower level targets (T-VT), you can sometimes swap out some ranged accuracy in favor of ranged attack and still hit consistently enough to benefit from eating meat. The best way to find out if you're maximizing your dmg output is to run your own tests in the field. Before Lv 50 you won't have many choices of RACC vs. RATK, but keep this in mind as options become available.
In the earlier levels you won't have a lot of ranged accuracy available to you in gear, and not many foods provide this benefit either. In the level sections, food suggestions for RACC+ will be provided, but it's good to note here that for any job you should NOT eat sushi for accuracy before level 40. Other foods provide static amounts of RACC+ that are either equal to or greater than what sushi will give, and should be considered first. If these foods are unavailable at your AH, only go to sushi as a last resort.
When you do eat sushi in exp sessions, try to use sole for the STR+, as the AGI+ from squid will not be noticed in your DoT, and will have a minimal boost on marksmanship weapon skill dmg. The small amount of STR+ in sole sushi will make only a 2-3 point dmg/shot difference in normal ranged attacks, but that serves better than the 0 increase from AGI+.
Changing ranged weapons will cause you to lose TP, but changing ammunition does not. If you change ammunition and the game automatically un-equips your ranged weapon because of it, you will still keep TP. There are no throwing weapon skills.
Haste does not effect ranged attacks, so don't bother trying to knock yourself out to get haste+% gear.

III. SELECTING A RANGED WEAPON TYPE


Standard melee weapons will not be covered in this guide (unless they affect ranged attacks), as the vast majority of your damage will be from ranged attacks and weapon skills.
Rangers can use longbows, short bows, crossbows, guns, and throwing weapons. All of these weapons are considered piercing damage (with the only possible exception being boomerangs; these might be slashing or blunt), and inherit the bonuses or penalties of piercing vs. your target. Undead are strong to piercing (but holy bolts avoid this problem slightly via additional effect: light dmg), and many exp targets are weak to it (birds, greater birds, bats, flies).

No rangers I know use short bows as a main weapon (example: sniping bow - RNG artifact weapon). Short bows have roughly half the delay of longbows, and about half the base dmg of longbows for the level they can be equipped at. Short bows often give a slight amount of ranged accuracy or AGI, but little or no ranged attack. The lower base dmg may be offset by the lower delay when compared to other weapons, which means the ability to gain TP at a good rate. The price of maintaining TP gain with the lower delay is much more costly in ammunition, though. Fire more shots to keep TP gain rate roughly the same as longbows, meaning you pay more money to do it. The lower base dmg of short bows also means weaker weapon skills, barrages, and weaker Eagle Eye Shot if you decide to use the job abilities when you have 1 equipped.
Having to hit your ranged attack macro more often is another drawback of short bows, as the delay between shots gets worse anytime you are slow with the buttons. Fewer shots allow your performance to depend more on your character setup than on your ability to mash a single button for hours at a time.
For these reasons, many RNG stay away from short bows as a general rule. Short bows do have a slight edge when you may want to use arrows that give an additional effect, though. More shots means the effect will have more chances to kick in, or more elemental damage will be put on the target (see Lv 40-50 and Lv 50-60 sections for more on elemental arrows).
The only low delay bow that is worth mentioning is Loxley bow (Lv 57), because it allows sleep arrows to be fired rapidly when the situation requires it, or you need to claim targets competitively and shadowbind isn't available.

Short bows can do dependable damage and competitively gain TP, but a lack of ranged attack+, and low base dmg means JA and weapon skills won't put up much for you.

Longbows are a solid weapon type for the majority of situations you face as RNG. They have high base dmg, and most longbows give a fair amount of ranged attack+ and/or ranged accuracy+. They have higher delay than short bows or most crossbows, but they gain TP at a rate high enough to prevent it from being a real disadvantage. High base dmg also translates to higher damage weapon skills and JA, to make them a good choice for exp parties.
Like short bows, longbows also have the ability to use additional effect arrows for the chance of hitting targets with bad statuses. Silence, attack down, sleep, and elemental damage are all possible with the appropriate arrows. The slight versatility here is worth mentioning, but elemental damage from arrows is not generally very high, nor are the status effects very likely to activate (with the exception of sleep arrows; if a target can be slept, arrows will put it to sleep for a short time at a good success rate, and don't seem to get resisted over time like the sleep spell does). The reason for this may be that additional effect elemental damage is likely based on your INT. It generally gets very difficult to load up on multiple stats with gear and food, and there isn't any overall gain to loading up on INT instead of RACC, RATK, STR, or AGI.

Crossbows are another good weapon choice for RNG. In the early levels you'll notice a big difference in base dmg when compared to longbows. Like short bows, they also have shorter delay. What crossbows do have, however, is a wide range of ammunition. Toward the upper levels you'll see bolts with moderate base dmg, and these will compliment a wide array of additional effect bolts.
Additional effect bolts/arrows are not like most melee weapons with added effects. Effects on bolts/arrows will kick in as much as 80-90% of the time depending on the target and the type of status bolt/arrow. Some ammunition has effects that activate 100% of the time like holy bolts (Lv 30). Sleep bolts (Lv 30), bloody bolts (Lv 25), and acid bolts (Lv 15) are also pretty reliable, with a high chance of activating. One more note about holy bolts: additional effect damage is not added to your enmity total.
Some targets won't process defense down very often, and some are near impossible to get it to stick on. For targets where the effect does land reliably, everyone else around you will be happy you did it. This is mentioned in the Lv 10-20 section, but it's important to note here: the additional effect of acid bolts will not process often on targets with high wind resistance, if at all. This means puks, greater birds, golems, ice or wind elementals, colibri, etc.
Acid bolts for defense down, holy bolts for additional effect damage, and mythril/darksteel for JA/weapon skills turn crossbow into as good of an overall weapon as you'll find anywhere in the game for RNG. Most bolts are also fairly cheap ammunition because they are not created from high level crafts. This allows for versatility, competitive TP gain, moderate weapon skills/JA dmg, and consistent ammunition costs.

Guns have 2 things; highest base dmg of any weapon in the game (ranged or not), and highest delay of any weapon in the game (if you don't count un-upgraded relic weapons). Guns seem to have a TP gain penalty, however. For example, the slowest crossbow in the game has a delay of 624 (when combined with bolt delay of 192). The average gun has a delay of 600, but bullets' delay of 240 brings the total to 840. The 624 delay crossbow will have a TP return of 15% / shot, but the gun will only return 16.5%. 1.5% more TP from an additional 216 delay is not good. Ranged weapons overall have a TP gain penalty as it is, considering their delay (the delay/TP return for standard melee weapons is about 25% more than ranged). Guns seem to suffer the most from this penalty, however. RNG Guns have the worst TP gain rate of any weapon type in the game. Guns also don't typically give large amounts of ranged attack+ or ranged accuracy+ until very late levels. There are also only 2 forms of ammunition available to guns; high base dmg or stun bullets.
The high base dmg will not make up for the horrible delay/TP gain through weapon skills and JA. Guns are also expensive to maintain. In the early levels, guns aren't worth even looking at, due to the high delay, lack of RACC+ (Lv 34 is the first gun that RNG can equip with RACC+ as of this writing), and lack of RATK+. There aren't many reasons why guns are not a great weapon choice, but the few listed are very important reasons to avoid using them in exp parties.
The advantage of guns, however, is the high base dmg. The highest base dmg weapon in FFXI is a Culverin+1 and Heavy shells (51+99 = 150). This allows for the highest amount of damage possible with JA and weapon skills. The high dmg makes guns a decent option where targets have very high defense, but in extended fights they will still be outperformed by comparable longbows, when total damage over time is added up. The high base dmg of guns gives them their place; anytime you need to put up as much damage as possible in very little time, where all you do is stack JAs and weapon skills. This means mission fights, BCNMs, dynamis bosses, etc.

Throwing weapons should never be used in an exp situation for any reason, because there are no throwing weapon skills. When you reach Lv 70+, you will probably want to go back and build up throwing for fighting gods in sky. The only time rangers actually use throwing skill is to toss special ammunition (winds) at gods. More about winds will be mentioned in the Lv 70-75 section.

Personally, I recommend crossbow > longbow > gun > short bow as far as exp weapon types go. Feel free to try them all out and use what not only works best for you, but also is the most fun.

IV. DOUBLE WEAKNESS STATUS


When you die (and it will happen, regardless of how prepared you are), you may already know you will be in a 'weakened' status for 5 minutes once someone raises you. If you are killed again while weakened, however, once you get raised you will be in double weakened status. This was instituted in an update quite some time ago, to prevent parties and alliances from relying too heavily on RNG and BLM to win them difficult fights. While in this status, do not bother to engage with ranged attacks. No amount of RACC+ gear, merit points spent, and/or sushi will allow you to hit a target at all, let alone with any consistency. I would not recommend even attempting your 2 hour if you are double weakened. If you are in this status, use standard melee weapon skills if TP allows, then wait the weakness out by resting the entire time. Once you become unweak, the time spent resting will bring your hp heal/tic into the upper 30s or 40s without signet active, and much higher with it on.

B. Ability, Gear, Subjobs, and Food


I. Lv 1-10


From the outset, you know that the job is focused on ranged weapons and ranged weapon skills. If you have been able to get a ranged skill developed through your previous Lv 30+ job(s), this is where you will benefit. Marksmanship and archery are an A- skill rating for RNG, so like all other jobs, you won't have access to weapon skills until Lv 3.

Job Ability:
Eagle Eye Shot (2 hour recast, Single shot, Lv 1)

Eagle Eye Shot is a solid 2 hour, as it can provide the extra boost in damage necessary to finish off a target, and therefore prevent the death of other party members, if not your own. All ranged attack damage and accuracy are influenced by the VIT, DEF, evasion, and distance of the target. EES ignores the distance part. The damage output of EES is exactly 5x a ranged attack single shot dmg (ignoring distance penalties). As far as I know, it is impossible to critical hit on EES (I’ve never seen it happen, and have played the job for almost 3 years). EES can miss; I’ve seen it miss on too weak targets, and I’ve seen it connect without any RACC equipment vs. IT+ targets. As a general rule, if the situation gives you the time, try to swap in as much ranged attack+ or STR+ gear as you can before hitting Eagle Eye. Also try to switch to your highest damage ranged weapon and ammo combination as well. You'll likely not notice an RACC penalty but will see a real bonus in dmg with RATK+ stacked on. Don't be afraid to hit your 2 hour when situations get bad, as hitting it just as you see your party get into a situation they won't be able to handle can save a lot of exp loss and arguing about who made what mistake. You don't often have people argue when someone's used their 2 hour early (especially if it's a damage dealer), but you'll have people on your case if your group gets wiped out and your 2 hour could have made a difference.
As previously stated, don't bother to use EES if you are double weakened. Due to the nerf on black magic and ranged attacks while in double weakness status, you'll most likely not hit with EES. If double weakened BLMs can cast flare for 0, there's no reason EES can't miss or do 0 dmg as well.
EES becomes a vital JA for endgame situations and lots of missions. Don’t just keep it in your back pocket; bring what you can to make it as effective as possible when it has to be used.

Sharpshot (5 minute recast, lasts 1 minute, Lv 1)

Early on, this isn't an important job ability, because you can't use it all the time, or with any other JA. From Lv 1-30 you can either use it anytime it's available, or when you have TP to give that small boost to your weapon skill accuracy. This JA is most effective with barrage (Lv 30) and/or flashy shot (Lv 75, 3 merit points). As it is, the JA is not meant to provide a consistent boost to normal hit accuracy the same way other jobs' abilities are (focus, aggressor, hasso). Since it only lasts for 60 seconds, this is best used when you want to unload a weapon skill or fire multiple shots in a row (barrage). Try to get used to activating it with weapon skills early on, but don't depend on it to guarantee a shot will connect, or that it will help your overall RACC by much during the course of an exp session.

Job Trait:
Alertness (Lv 5)

This trait says that it reduces the chance of being detected by enemies. It may slightly reduce the aggro range of those who detect by sight or detect by sound. This does not necessarily allow you to get past enemies without being detected, but it does cause all targets to show up on your radar as red dots. As a general rule of thumb, if a target shows up on the radar, you're inside detection range.

a. SOLOING FOR EXP


Immediately you'll notice upon changing to ranger that you do not have a lot of what most other melee jobs get. Rangers do not take hits well, and are not meant to be tanks. Rangers cannot heal themselves without resting until later levels (see Lv 20-30). Rangers are meant to put large holes in things, and do it quickly. Rangers have:
Low HP
Low VIT
Low STR (Lower base STR than all jobs except SMN and BLM)
High AGI
E rating in evasion (same as BLM, PLD has a C; Lv 75 RNG evasion caps
at 200 without merits)
No parrying skill (unless available from sub)
No shield skill (unless available from sub, and cannot equip any
shields outside of the BCNM30 rewards)
Low defense (cannot equip heavy armor; only cloth shirts/robes etc.
and light scale armor, with a few exceptions)

When you're solo and just starting out, the easiest and sometimes only way to stay alive is to take out targets quickly.

For the first few levels, use a longbow; because when you are soloing, a high damage weapon only benefits you. In exp situations, higher delay on longbows can be a disadvantage (compared to other options at that level, which will be mentioned in the level range sections), but when soloing, it helps to put as much damage as possible into that initial shot (also referred to as pull shot) on the target. This will give you possibly 2 shots of damage before mobile targets can come up and hit you. Your early exp should focus on stationary targets like worms if possible, as you'll only get hit with the occasional stone spell.
This is also the best time to work on how to do what you'll be asked for most often in exp groups: pulling. When soloing, start with stationary targets and then work up to mobile targets when you get a bit farther out into the field. Fighting beastmen as an early soloist will give you practice on the basics of party camps and pulling. You can search for safe areas, shoot a nearby beastman, then run back to the safe spot and minimize the possibility of additional enemies teaming up on you.
One more note for early soloists: as mentioned before, undead are weak to blunt, but strong to piercing weapons. They also have abilities that can drain HP -and you don't have much- so avoid undead when choosing exp targets.

b. PULLING AND LINKS


You’ll notice soon that certain targets link, and with practice you'll be able to pull enemies that are close to each other, but do not link on to you. Early on, most enemies will link only when they see another enemy like them running after you. If their backs are turned and a nearby friend of theirs is on you, they will stay where they are. In the upper levels, some enemies link on sound. If they are close enough to hear one of theirs run by on the way to you, they will turn around and join them.

EQUIPMENT 1-10

There are not many early weapons or armor that help a great deal. For those with gil to spend, there is Feather collar+1 at Lv 7 for a small amount of ranged accuracy. Also at Lv 7, if you've spent the time or the money to get them, Leaping/Bounding boots are the best you can get until Race-specific gear in the upper 20s. Longbows are the way to go, as ammunition is cheap but provides good damage. There are crossbows also available with bolts for decent damage as well, and will serve to increase your marksmanship skill if you couldn't build it before unlocking the job.
For standard melee weapons, use an axe and swing it on targets between shots.

WEAPON SKILLS 1-10

10 skill is Hot Shot/Flaming Arrow. It is basically a straight damage weapon skill. Higher TP= more dmg, along with the attributes mentioned at the top of this guide to boost weapon skills.

SUBJOBS 1-10

For the first few levels when you're soloing, you are best served by subbing WHM if you can for cure spells to minimize downtime. If you don't have a sub available that can cure, use /MNK for the extra HP and WAR if you have nothing else. /NIN does not give any benefits to RNG until Lv 24, and doesn't allow a real benefit until after Lv 28-30. An explanation why is in that section.

FOOD 1-10

Grilled hare, meat jerky, and other low level meats are a good way to go, but you may want to use a food that helps reduce downtime. For example, apple pies will keep resting to a minimum if you have /WHM available, due to the extra MP.

Lv 10-20


Job Ability:
Scavenge (5 minute recast, Lv 10)

Scavenge is one of the job abilities people tend to forget about. It’s slightly less profitable than steal, so that's probably the reason. You'll randomly get a free item when you use it, and sometimes you'll get nothing. You cannot scavenge anything inside a city. Almost everything you can scavenge is an item used in crafting ammunition, or will be pre-made low quality ammunition. The ammo you may get that's ready to use isn't anything you'd bring out in an exp party, as it will have lower base dmg than buyable or craftable ammo and has RACC-. If you have woodworking or alchemy leveled, you can benefit from free logs/lumber, firesand, bolt heads, fletchings, or arrowheads. The type of item you get is based on the lowest level targets in the zone. In Boyahda tree, you can get Demon Arrowheads, but in Bibiki Bay it's Holy Bolt Heads, etc. One of the RNG Artifact quests requires you scavenge up an item, but aside from that it's essentially unused by most.

Job Trait:
Accuracy Bonus (Lv 10)

As it says, will make your ranged attacks as well as normal melee hits more accurate. I won't get into the exact acc bonus amount when you are RNG main, as several sites have estimates on it. Gaining this trait does not change your equipment setup for exp until possibly Lv 70 anyway, so just know that it does help, but only to compensate for exp target evasion jumps as you level.

Rapid Shot (Lv 15)

Occasionally you will execute a ranged attack with almost no delay. You only get 1 of these job traits, unlike NIN or MNK who get an additional boost to delay reduction every 15 levels or so. You really have to pay attention closely to notice when it kicks in, since it doesn't seem to happen very often. Rapid shot rate may be based on a stat most RNG won't gear themselves for like INT. It's more likely, however, not to be based on any character statistic, and is just a set % chance of kicking in, like double attack. You’re probably best off by not trying to find ways to boost this job trait, since it does not visibly kick in often.

EQUIPMENT 10-20

As RNG, depending on your comfort level with soloing, you may have joined your first parties at Lv 10, or waited until 15+. At Lv 14 you see Ranger's Necklace, which is RACC+5, RATK+5. This piece can be worn until at least Lv 40, and the alternatives through Lv 75 for neckwear will not do much better. The alternatives will be discussed at the levels they are available.
There is also Trailer's Tunica (Lv 16, rare/ex). With nearly any job at Lv 30, you can solo the NM that drops this in the Horototo ruins. This body piece will last you from 16-30, though if you don't have it, the AGI+1 is unlikely going to hurt your performance. You’ll get to exp in what looks like a mining shirt. If you can't get one or don't want to spend the time, scale armor will provide a bit of defense in the spot you can't get any other bonuses. At 17 you can put on the lizard gear, but get used to looking at whatever shirt you pick; you don't see a new one until 30.
Bone rings+1 are your first real chance to get some ranged accuracy, and do well at Lv 16 to provide that. These do not get replaced until Lv 21 with Beetle rings. Not much is available to give RACC or RATK at these levels outside of a ranged weapon+1, rings, and Ranger's Necklace.
The San d'Orian CP headband (Royal Footman's or Kingdom) is really nice for the low levels. 1 AGI and some HP+ are about all you can hope for in low level gear. If you can get them, there are Linen Cuffs +1 (Lv 12) that give +1 STR, but for the cost you may or may not consider it worth the time. For waist gear, brave belt (Lv 18) gives a small amount of STR+, and is worth the -1 AGI.
If you can get one, a Hunter's Longbow (Lv 12) is a really nice ranged weapon. High dmg, STR+, AGI+, RATK+, RACC+. The combination of stats this longbow provides are only imitated in Eurytos' bow, which by many is considered the best ranged weapon in the game outside of full relic. The major drawback to Hunter's Longbow is the fact that it gets replaced by Power bow+1 (Lv 16). That leaves its utility to a very short period of time. If you decide to go with archery, take Hunter's Longbow until Power bow +1. You will be set on that slot until Lv 30. As far as ammunition with archery, there are Fang arrows (Lv 15), but Iron arrows are a decent alternative if you want to save some gil. The best arrows you can see in this stretch are Poison arrows (Lv 19). Base your decision on availability at AH, and how much you value the benefit. As a general rule, however, most people won't be impressed with how you do dmg in the Valkurm Dunes.
If you don't want to use archery and Fang arrows or Iron arrows, you can use crossbows. Blind bolts are available (Lv 10), to help you avoid a hit or 2 on your way back to camp from pulls. You can also use acid bolts (Lv 15), which provide a defense down effect on targets. As mentioned before, the additional effect of acid bolts will not process often on targets with high wind resistance. This means puks, greater birds, golems, ice elementals, etc. The estimates are that the defense down is about 10-13%, and you'll notice other melee in your party doing up to that much more dmg when the additional effect processes. Increasing your entire party's dmg output by as much as 10-13% won't show up on any parser, but it will translate to faster enemy kills and higher exp/hr.
The incredibly low base dmg on bullets before Lv 20 makes guns more for show than anything else.
For standard melee weapons, use an axe and swing it on targets between shots. Beestinger (Lv 7) gives AGI+1, but the dmg of a 1 handed axe vs. VT-IT targets is much higher than any benefit you'll see from the AGI+ combined with the dagger's pitiful 4 base dmg.

WEAPON SKILLS 10-20

40 skill gets you Split Shot/Dulling Arrow. This weapon skill does dmg and has an additional effect of lowering a target's INT. Unless your party is really getting hurt by enemy spells, stick to Hot Shot/Flaming Arrow.

SUBJOBS 10-20

Monk works well here, since you're not going to see any traits from subjob that are of much use. Monk gives HP+ for a little more survivability in parties. If you are still soloing to 20, you're still best served by going /WHM. If MNK is not an updated option, /WAR does fine as well. Do NOT set your subjob to Ninja before Lv 20, as you don't get dual wield or any ninjutsu, and your base AGI difference will at best be 1 point; most likely at the sacrifice of 1 STR.

FOOD 10-20

Galkan Sausage is good for the dunes if you need RATK, as are Rarab Meatballs. Vegetable Broth/Soup will give RACC+5 or RACC+6, and some AGI. If you don't mind eating food that lasts for over an hour, the best option available overall is Flounder Meuniere. This gives RACC+15 (flat amount), RATK+14% (caps at +25, or about what skill for Lv 50 would be), and Enmity-3. Use this food if you believe your exp party will be fighting for over 2 hours straight, as this can't be beaten for the bonuses it provides at this level.

Lv 20-30


Job Ability:
Camouflage (5 minute recast, lasts from 15-45 seconds, Lv 20)

This is another often ignored ability. Mainly because many RNG have an invisible spell available through subjob, and ninjutsu or white magic invisibility is not only much more dependable, it also has a much lower recast time than 5 minutes. Camouflage is good for low levels, when you need to walk past an enemy that will otherwise come after you. Camo does not help you avoid aggro from targets that detect by sound or low HP. It only helps with detection by sight. At the time you have this ability, you're not trying to avoid enemies that detect by sight anyway. When you do fight those enemies that detect by sight again for exp, you'll likely have ninjitsu to go invisible instead.

Job Trait:
Resist Poison (Lv 20)

Sometimes you resist poison status. Does not reduce your hp/tic loss from being in poison status or the duration of poison. This can prevent attacks or opposing abilities that have an additional effect of poisoning you from giving that status, however. When a spell is resisted the log will show "Resist! __ resists the effects of the spell." Otherwise, you may only see "__ evades."

EQUIPMENT 20-30

Almogavar Bow (Lv 20). Decent base dmg, some ranged attack+. It drops off an NM named Fraelissa in Jugner forest if you have a job 50+, but sells on auction house for pretty cheap. There is also Power Crossbow (Lv 25), and Zamburak+1 (Lv 29), which is an excellent crossbow for Promyvions and the jungles. For bolts, there are Venom bolts (Lv 25), which can poison targets, and there are Bloody bolts (Lv 25). For the soloist, these are a necessity at any level you can use them. Most hits with Bloody bolts will drain HP. The amount ranges from single digits up through 50 or 60+hp. The amount might depend on your INT, and on the target's dark resistance. These won't work against undead or dark elementals.
In longbows you won't see anything change from Power bow+1 for now. You have Horn arrows (Lv 29), and also Silver arrows (Lv 24). Silvers have higher base dmg but no RACC+. If you need the RACC, go with Horn, but if you can land hits well, use Silvers.
Guns get normal Bullets (Lv 22); a 46 dmg ammunition, but before Lv 30 the lack of RACC and RATK in guns makes it a hard choice to justify the cost in gil. The 600+ delay from guns hurts as well.
Martial slacks (Lv 24) are a great piece of gear for the time due to the AGI+, and evasion+. For the same reason you'll want to get a Nomad's mantle (Lv 21), and Emperor's hairpin (Lv 24). RNG are very restricted when it comes to good back gear almost through Lv 75. Around the upper 20s, you get access to race specific gear, and for some slots, these offer about the best RNG can get for quite a while. For all races, RSE feet (Lv 29) can replace leaping boots, because RSE will give either the same AGI+3, or a more beneficial STR+, along with HP+ in some cases. RSE Hume hands are the only STR+3 gear RNG can wear at any level in that slot. Taru can use the STR+ from RSE hands, but Elvaan, Galka, and Mithra will best be served by upcoming Noct.
Archer's knives are a necessity at Lv 28, regardless of subjob or race. RACC+10 & AGI+1 is huge. If you are hell-bent on going /NIN before you exit the jungles, get 2 of these, and eat RATK+ food.

WEAPON SKILLS 20-30

70 skill gets you Sniper Shot/Piercing Arrow. This weapon skill does dmg ignoring part of a target's defense. The amount ignored is based on TP at time of use. Now that ranged attacks are based on a target's defense, the way melee attacks are, this weapon skill is the one to use. You'll be using it for a long time, too, since you get absolutely nothing new in ranged until skill hits 175 (Lv 55 w/o merits, 53 with max merits possible in skill).

SUBJOBS 20-30

/WAR works well for HP+, and some STR+ until Lv 28 or so. You won't be using provoke, so subbing MNK is actually not a bad idea for the HP+ to survive pulls. /NIN does not really provide its full benefits until 28, when you can dual wield Archer's knives for RACC+20 and AGI+2. On top of that, you'll have access to Utsusemi as /NIN at Lv 24, though targets you pull before Lv 33 don't really hit all that hard. /DRK might be a viable sub from 20-30 as well, since the attack bonus is better than what most subjob passive traits will give you.

FOOD 20-30

If you don't mind eating food that lasts for over an hour, the best option available overall is Flounder Meuniere, and this is true through Lv 35. Stats for this are listed in the 10-20 section. Otherwise you can use Mutton Tortilla or Navarin from Lv 25-35 for RATK+ and some STR+. For RACC+ see previous food level sections.

Lv 30-40


Job Ability:
Barrage (5 minute recast, lasts for 1 RATK, Lv 30)

This is the Lv 30 ability that defines the job. Other jobs have
theirs; Samurai with meditate, Dark knights with soul eater, Thieves with trick attack. This job ability allows several shots to be fired within 1 ranged attack. The number of shots fired increases with level. At Lv 30, you can get up to 4 shots, and it increases by 1 every 15 levels, with a maximum of 6. You won't see the individual ranged attacks show on your battle log; it will only say "__ uses barrage. The ___ takes _ points of damage."
From what I have seen, barrage can miss entirely, and it actually does a fair amount of the time at Lv 30. The reason for this is that damage for each shot is only figured out if the shot before it has landed. If you miss the first shot of barrage, that's it; all shots miss. If you hit the 1st, and miss the 2nd, the 3rd and 4th miss, etc. Again, you won't see any of this show up on the battle log; it's all done when calculating your total JA damage. You also won't see any special animation on your screen (like firing your bow 3 or 4 times very quickly). You’ll only see a regular ranged attack animation, but there will be a sound to let you know it was used.
Barrage seems to have a ranged accuracy penalty, as the first shot will land based on your total RACC vs. target evasion, but landing a full barrage on IT targets is unlikely without RACC+ food. Even with sushi you won't land all hits every time. For best results, it's a good idea to macro the ability along with sharpshot. Any ranged accuracy+ gear you may have swapped out for ranged attack+ during your normal shots should be swapped back in to try and get all barrage shots to land. Barrage also will not fire more shots than the amount of ammunition you have equipped, so try to keep an eye on the ammo you have left before using the ability. It looks bad when people see you shoot barrage for only 100 or so damage simply because you ran out of ammo.
Using barrage does several things. First, it puts out a large chunk of damage (and gets you enmity along with it). Second, it provides exactly as much TP as the number of shots landed would normally give you (when added up). For example, if your TP gain 15% per shot, and land a 4 shot barrage, you'll get 60% TP return. The TP return is just as valuable as the damage of the JA, because it allows you to use a weapon skill almost immediately afterward (depending on TP gained and the TP you had before using barrage). Barrage, you could say, is the ranger's form of meditate.
When you activate barrage, it will not be lost when you use a weapon skill, but it will be overwritten if you try to activate unlimited shot (Lv 51). Since it stays active when you use a weapon skill, you can use sharpshot and barrage when you already have TP, and then fire a weapon skill with sharpshot's bonus on. The weapon skill itself will give you a bit of TP, and the TP return from barrage can get added to that. Many RNG will use barrage this way (total TP at each step, assuming a 4 shot barrage, is on the left):

100% 1. Start at 100% TP+
2. Activate sharpshot
3. Activate barrage
15% 4. Use weapon skill
75% 5. Use ranged attack macro (barrage fires)

Of course, if combined TP from first weapon skill and barrage are over 100%, you can weapon skill again.
This combination will generate a LOT of hate. Just activating sharpshot and barrage will generate a bit of hate. It is not likely that anyone will be able to pull hate off you once you've gone through this list, be they PLD or NIN. Fortunately, targets are usually either dead or very close to it after all this is put on them. Some RNG will even use EES on top of it all if the target isn't dead. This front-loading of job abilities is what RNG are known for, and we get asked to do it against lots of enemies in mission fights, etc. This combination is what makes RNG the game's top performer in spike damage.
You cannot use the TP gained from barrage to skillchain with yourself. The only weapons capable of gaining 100%TP from barrage are too slow delay-wise to allow the weapon skills to chain. It might be possible if rapid shot kicked in during the barrage, but I’ve personally never seen this happen, so don't depend on it or spend lots of time trying to put a build together for a self-skillchain.
The combination listed above (with or without EES included) is where guns shine. Weapon skills can be used instantly almost anytime, despite weapon delay. Barrage will fire up to 4-7 shots using only the delay of 1 ranged attack. The high base dmg of guns maximizes the use of this stacking of abilities, and even the higher delay of guns is an advantage, because the TP return of barrage is increased by the weapon delay.
If you've neglected to skill up 1 weapon type to favor the use of another, you can use barrage to build that low skill much faster. As RNG you can solo skill marksmanship or archery up to cap at any level after 30. Barrage a target, zone, wait for barrage to return, repeat.
Barrage does not work with throwing weapons or throwing ammunition (pebbles, tathlums, bomb arms, grenades, shuriken, boomerangs, etc.). Barrage is also lost if you use Shadowbind (Lv 40) when it is activated.

Job Trait:
Accuracy Bonus II (Lv 30)

EQUIPMENT 30-40

Noct gear (Lv 30) fulfilled a big need for rangers when it came out. Before Noct equipment, RNG had to keep kingdom headband (Lv 15) until Emperor's Hairpin (Lv 24) or Hunter's Beret (Lv 54). Noct body, hands, and legs are the only RACC gear available until Jaridah (Lv 55). Get Noct+1 body, head (those with no Emperor's hairpin), legs, and hands. If you're Hume or Taru, and the RACC loss doesn't affect you that much, you can keep the RSE 1 hands for STR+. Don't get Noct feet; RSE or leaping boots will serve you better.
Genin earring (Lv 30, rare) is a must for any RNG/NIN. The AGI+4 is the best you can get, sadly, in earrings outside of triumph earring (Lv 67), Bushinomimi (Lv 72), and Fenrir's earring (Lv 70) through Lv 75. Drone earrings (Lv 35) are a good option if you can't find or afford 1 Genin. Don't bother with Genin earring if you are /WAR.
Bastokan/Republic cuisses (Lv 34) are good when the RATK from nation's conquest is active, so keep a pair of those. You can probably just keep them on instead of Noct+1 legs for a while, since the agi+2 isn't a huge departure from the RACC+ of Noct. Horn rings +1 (Lv 35) will do well for a while. RSE legs don't serve any of the races well enough to replace Bastokan/Republic cuisses, Noct legs, or even Martial slacks.
Hawker's knife (Lv 30) is an upgrade from Archer's, and if you have the gil, Hawker's +1 is the best you can get for a long while. If you know people who enjoy hunting NMs in Phomiuna Aqueducts, Cheiroptera dagger (Lv 38) is another good option. If you exp inside nation's control a lot, there's also Garde pick (Lv 30) for some RATK+. You can also use Bowyer ring (Lv 29) for some RATK. Shikaree ring (Lv 30) gives some RACC, but it's not really worth the time to camp Stroper Chyme for it. Another ring option is Crossbowman's ring (Lv 30), which gives RATK+5 at the expense of some defense. This is the most ranged attack you can get in the ring slot without fighting Absolute Virtue or completing the Treasures of Aht Urghan missions. If you use sushi or ranged accuracy isn't a problem, look into Crossbowman's ring as a good way to boost damage output.
For ranged weapons, there is Great bow+1 (Lv 30), Serpentine gun (Lv 34), Zamburak +1 (Lv 29). Serpentine gun has a nice RACC+10 and RATK+10, but the delay of 660 is horrendous. 20-30 delay of that weapon sees no TP gain at all (since guns of about 620 or so already hit the TP/shot cap), and the 2-3% more TP than longbow gives isn't worth the massive delay penalty.
Crossbows will see holy bolts (Lv 30). The additional effect dmg of Holy bolts is quite a bit, and makes up for the low base dmg of crossbow at this level. The other bonus is that additional effect damage is not added to your hate total, which can allow those who use xbow to get out a bit more damage over time without pulling hate.

WEAPON SKILLS 30-40

Nothing new here. Last weapon skill was 70 skill, and next is 175.

SUBJOBS 30-40

/WAR outdamages anything else from here through 75. Unless you've got a power leveler in your party, /WAR is also going to die the most. /NIN allows you to actually use an otherwise empty slot in your equip screen by letting you dual wield an additional Hawker's/Archer's knife. See subjobs 40-50.

FOOD 30-40

Flounder Meuniere for the RACC+, RATK+, and Enmity- combo. See 10-20 section. Aside from that, Rice Dumplings work well for RATK after Lv 35.

Lv 40-50


Job Ability:
Shadowbind (5 minute recast, Lv 40)

An instant JA, this will be guaranteed to bind your target for 15-20 seconds, regardless of its shadows or any resist bind passive traits. You must have at least 1 shot of ammo equipped to use this ability, as it will consume a bolt/bullet/arrow. You cannot Shadowbind with a throwing weapon. Shadowbind will ignore unlimited shot, and will consume ammo anytime it's used.
Targets with immunity/high resistance to ice-based attacks (fire elementals, for example), cannot be bound this way. Statues in dynamis also cannot be bound this way. While a target is bound, the second it takes damage from anyone, it becomes unbound. Most rangers know this, but many other players do not. It used to allow the RNG who bound the target to continue to use ranged attacks without breaking the bind, but an update some time ago removed this. It was most likely the update that prevents anyone outside your alliance from getting hit by a target bound right next to them. If for some reason you need to bind a target, try to create a macro that gives 1-2 seconds of warning before using the JA. It can also be a good idea to put some form of <call> in the macro, but to be courteous, try to avoid the more annoying sounds.
This JA does generate a fair amount of hate. The speed of this JA allows it to be used to claim targets, since its range is about the same as provoke. This JA also ignores the restrictions on normal ranged attacks, as it will allow you to bind targets in range that you cannot normally shoot due to the "You cannot see the _" message. This is good for times where you need to zone and want to buy time for party members to run, or want to wait out a target's 2 hour, etc.

Velocity Shot (5 minute recast, lasts 5 minutes, Lv 45)

A recent update added this ability to seemingly close the gap between rangers and the standard melee jobs in damage output. Previous adjustments to other melee had been made and ranger hadn't seen anything in updates over the last 2-3 years aside from senseless damage restrictions. To level things out a bit, and simultaneously encourage rangers to rely on shooting from a distance, this ability was implemented.
The 5 minute recast and 5 minute duration mean it can be active all the time, but it also prevents the ability from being used only for WS. When active, ranged attack and ranged delay are improved. This, however, is at the expense of the same amount of standard melee attack and standard melee speed. At the time of this writing, estimates are about a 15% increase in ranged attack, and an 15% reduction in standard melee attack. The benefit to ranged delay seems to be very similar, at the cost of standard melee slow+%.
While this ability will still be used in experience parties because the sacrifices on standard melee output are relatively minimal for the benefits, this really makes its impact when rangers are at events (BCNM, Limbus, Dynamis, etc.). This ability should be active at all times once it is available. The effect can be dispelled. Even those who rely on multi-hit weapons will likely use this ability, as it will enhance the main source of their total damage: Slug shot (Lv 55).

Job Trait:
Resist Poison II (Lv 40)

EQUIPMENT 40-50

Longbows see Battle bow+1 and Scorpion arrows (Lv 40). There are also fire/ice/lightning arrows (Lv 45), which provide a small amount of additional effect: elemental damage, but are mainly used due to their higher base dmg. Usually it's better to go with the higher base dmg ammo, but if accuracy is an issue, use Scorpions. If you can't find a Battle bow+1, you can use a Shikar bow (Lv 40) until you do. The lower base dmg of Shikar, and lower RATK+ make it a less effective alternative, but still an option anyway.
Crossbow users will have mythril bolts (Lv 40) to swap in for weapon skills. At this point, if crossbow is your main ranged weapon, you'll be getting into the habit of swapping ammo all the time. Put some /echo lines in your equipment swap macros for ammunition so you know what bolts you've got equipped. Once targets get to the party, open with acid bolt for defense down, then use holy bolts for TP, then swap to mythril for your weapon skill. This can get draining after a while in exp sessions, and causes you to carry 3 types of ammo instead of just 1, but is about the best combination possible to increase total party damage output.
Guns see nothing new worth mentioning in this range. No guns 40-50 give any RACC+ or RATK+, and bullets remain stagnant in base dmg.
If you've done the RNG AF1 quest, you'll get your artifact weapon, the Sniping bow (Lv 41). This bow is essentially worthless in exp situations, and even farming you're better off with a longbow or crossbow. This weapon only serves to tell you that AGI is a good stat to increase for your job. Put this in storage or throw it away; just get it once so you have the ability to do the other artifact (AF) quests when you hit Lv 50.
Another available weapon in this stretch is Junior Musketeer's Tuck +1/+2 (Lv 43). When outside nation's control, this gives RACC+5 RATK+5. Since joining your first party as RNG, hopefully you've been meleeing with main and sub weapons (if you changed to /NIN in the 20s) while you shoot for additional TP. RNG have a D in sword, and at the level these swords become available, the difference in skill (even when capped) compared to axe/dagger is pretty large. Meleeing with axe/dagger even in the 40s is a difference of 10~12 accuracy. At the same time, vs. Archer's knives (Lv 28) there is a tradeoff of 5 RACC and 1 AGI for 5 RATK. The only time these will help more than the alternatives available in melee weapons is: when partying in areas outside nation's control (non-ToAU areas), and the RACC lost is not noticed in ranged attacks, and the TP gain rate from using a D rated weapon isn't much worse than dagger. If the last 2 situations are true, chances are you're eating sushi. If you're eating sushi, you'd still be better off going with daggers for RACC+ and changing to meat food.
New neckwear is available for those who are completists. Jagd gorget (Lv 40), gives 1 RATK and 2 defense more than Ranger's necklace (Lv 14). Carapace rings+1 (Lv 45) replace Horn+1 (Lv 35), but some may be tempted by the shiny Marksman's ring (Lv 40), for its RACC+6 and 2 def without any ACC-. Just go Horn to Carapace. Brigandine (Lv 45) used to be an option for RNG, but with Noct, there is no reason to put it on. Vision earring (Lv 49, rare) is a good idea to combine with a Genin or drone earring for some RACC+.
Sniper's rings (lv 40) might be considered an option because they give RACC+, but the DEF- and expense make these a poor choice. These also don't provide as much ranged accuracy as Carapace rings (lv 45) or even Marksman's ring (lv 40). The only time sniper rings benefit the most is when using a multi-hit weapon in main or sub for the majority of your TP gain (kraken club, etc.).

WEAPON SKILLS 40-50

Nothing new here. Last weapon skill was 70 skill, and next is 175.

SUBJOBS 40-50

If you've continued as /WAR, you'll notice here that pulls are getting increasingly difficult to perform. Exp enemies start hitting much harder, and your defense hasn't increased since the 30s. I personally had started as RNG/WAR through Lv 46, but was coming back to camps in red HP. This itself was an MP drain on party mages, but on top of that, the need to get a large cure from healers was creating massive hate problems for tanks even before they engaged. Shadowbind does not help this problem very much, as the extra distance between you and the target is only available once per 5 minutes. It is also not wise to bind targets and run back to camp without knowing if that target will link anything on its way to you. Shadowbind does also generate a fair amount of hate.
To put it simply, /WAR can outdamage /NIN at any level from 30-75. /WAR is also not party friendly. /NIN might provide less possible max damage, but hate control is much less of an issue, and party mages will be able to conserve a lot of mp by not having to heal you. On top of that, pulls will become much less of a problem because you won't risk dying on long distances between target spawn points and camps. Nothing is more embarassing than failing to return to camp because a target has killed you on a pull; especially if the party knows your target didn't link with anything.
Even though /WAR has the ability to outdamage /NIN at any Lv from 30-75, the total amount of dmg you can do is still limited by the enmity of your party tank. /WAR has the ability to push the hate threshold (the amt of dmg you can do before pulling hate) much faster, but also can't handle the hits taken once the target turns. /NIN have the 3-6 shadows from Utsusemi to avoid enemy attacks, and can either use the extra time to try to finish that target off, let someone else pull hate back through a provoke or weapon skill, or to shed some hate through the shadows being eaten. /WAR and /NIN can both push the hate threshold, but /NIN has the ability to raise that threshold slightly, by being able to take target attention for a small bit. In perfect situations, yes, /WAR is the way to go for damage.
If you have the setup to throw a lot of damage at a target, ideally you'd always have tanks capable of holding more hate than you can generate. This is almost never the case, however. I’ve played both the tank and damage dealer (DD) sides of this hate threshold, and tanks in exp get increasingly annoyed at DD who know what the hate limit is, and purposely cross it anyway. Even I had stopped using Cover as PLD; not because I'd forgotten about it, but because I'd wanted to spite the RNGs who seemed to have a death wish (and made things more difficult on a tank that already has to manage alot). As a DD, you want to be at the very edge of the hate threshold at all times. Let your tank do their job, and you can do yours. If you try to do too much, you'll end up stepping on other peoples' toes, and you might also be face down on the ground shortly afterward.
For the price of shihei and berserk, you gain survivability. The survivability you get is more important to some than others. If you want big numbers, use /WAR. However, if you go /WAR, don't complain about eating 2-5x as many deaths as anyone else in your exp parties, or about your lower exp/hr due to mp conservation issues and the time you spend waiting until you think it's safe to WS/JA. My opinion is you're no good to your party/alliance/linkshell when dead.
If you don't want to party unless it allows you to be /WAR and force you to hold back, that's your decision. If you want to be a team player, use /NIN. Either way, use whatever you have more fun with, but my recommendation is to use /NIN through 75, with /WAR only in limited situations. The rest of the sub job sections will refer to this area; the situations where /WAR is more beneficial will be addressed in the Lv 70-75 section.

FOOD 40-50

For RATK use Rice Dumplings. For RACC Flounder Meuniere is still a good option, but Sole Sushi will give slightly more RACC.

Lv 50-60


Job Ability:
Unlimited Shot (3 minute recast, lasts for 1 shot or 60 seconds, Lv 51)

At the level you get this ability, you'll probably consider it useless. For 1 shot (or 60 seconds if you don't take the shot), your ranged attack will not consume any ammunition. This applies to thrown ammo (pebbles, grenades, etc.) as well as bullets, arrows, bolts. There isn't any ammo considered valuable enough at Lv 51 to warrant using this ability, but at 60 it can really make a difference in your weapon skill damage. Combine this ability with the ammunition you can obtain through conquest points in Bastok (Gold Musketeer's bolt) or Windurst (Patriarch Protector's arrow), and you can get about 1/3 of all your weapon skills an extra 100-200 dmg. The most important use of this ability is for throwing winds at gods in sky (see Lv 70-75 section).
Barrage will overwrite unlimited shot if you used unlimited shot first, and unlimited shot will overwrite barrage if you used barrage first.

Job Trait:
Accuracy Bonus III (Lv 50)

EQUIPMENT 50-60

Archery holds on well for a while here, with War bow+1 (Lv 50). If you can afford it, Eurytos' bow (Lv 55) is the best overall archery weapon RNG can get outside of full relic bow. High base dmg, RATK+, RACC+, STR+, AGI+. Bodkin arrows (Lv 50) give RACC+, and if you want elemental dmg, use water/earth/wind arrows (Lv 55). The highest base dmg arrows you'll get are still the Lv 45 fire/lightning/ice, though. Despite the higher damage on Sarnga (Lv 59, rare), the huge delay does not make this a good weapon to exp with. The real advantage of Eurytos' bow is the 490 delay. This makes it the best overall bow for exp and many endgame events. Only full relic bow can outperform this weapon in archery. If you can afford it, get one, but if you can't, you can still put up solid damage with some other bows later on.
Crossbows start to suffer in this stretch. With a high powered weapon skill available at Lv 55, the focus of overall damage output shifts a bit from normal shots to weapon skill and TP gain rate. Crossbows from 50-60 remain relatively underpowered, but darksteel bolts become available (Lv 52).
Guns will put up decent damage, but as previously mentioned, TP gain is relatively poor. Higher weapon skill damage won't completely make up for it, either. Musketeer gun (Lv 50) and Musketeer gun+1 (Lv 52) are available, as well as silver bullets (Lv 50).
Here is where you start to get options and select a path of sorts with your setup. If you can get one, Shikaree Aketon (Lv 50, rare/ex) is an excellent piece to replace Noct body until at least Hunter's Jerkin (Lv 58, rare/ex). The aketon is RATK+7 and Enmity-1, and Hunter's Jerkin is RACC+10. If you plan to eat sushi, use the Aketon until you decide to use meat (or through Lv 71 if you still eat sushi at that point, and have Archer's Jupon). If you can't get the Shikaree Aketon, Jaridah body (Lv 55) is good until artifact (AF1) body.
Rings get changed with Scorpion +1s (Lv 55). However, if you have completed the missions for Treasures of Aht Urghan, and chosen Jalzahn’s Ring (Lv 50), this will stay with you for quite some time. The combination of RACC and RATK are unique, and this ring should definitely be worn full time as ranger anytime you do assault. Only Bellona’s Ring (Lv 75) outperforms this ring in both the RACC+ and RATK+ benefits.
Belts get to be useful finally, as Royal Knight's (Lv 50) and Royal Knight's +1 (Lv 52) give STR+, AGI+, and the +1 gives RATK outside nation's control.
Headpiece gets a huge upgrade in Hunter's Beret (Lv 54, rare/ex). Enhancement to Rapid shot, RATK+5, HP+, more defense, and a hat that finally sets you apart from low Lv players is really nice. If you go with the RATK/STR+ and sushi route, wear this hat through Lv 75, or until you can get AF1+1 (Lv 74, rare/ex).
Hands see a new piece here, but Jaridah (Lv 55) don't necessarily replace Noct. The RACC of the NQ Jaridah is the same as Noct, but Noct don't also give -HP. The HQ Jaridah can replace Noct, as the RATK+ can be more valuable than the 2 RACC. Hunter's Bracers (Lv 52, rare/ex) give absolutely nothing that will benefit RNG in an exp situation. The only reason not to keep these at mog full time is to macro in for Shadowbind.
Completists will want Sniper mantle (Lv 50) for the RATK+1. If you have CP to spend, you can replace Nomad's mantle with Royal Army mantle (Lv 55, rare/ex) or Federation Army mantle (Lv 55, rare/ex).
Jaridah salvars (Lv 55) also serve RNG very well. The RACC and RATK combo can't be found in any other leg piece. Like AF1 hands, Hunter's braccae (Lv 56) do not serve RNG well in an exp situation. Holy bolt spammers might keep them for the MND+5, but even they should use salvars to keep base dmg consistent on shots. Otherwise, the only other time AF1 leg could be worn is when activating sharpshot.
Hunter's Socks (Lv 60, rare/ex) are the best you can find in feet for quite some time, depending on race. AGI+4 and HP+ are both your friend when no RATK+, RACC+, or STR+ are available.
Some people will recommend Fire staff (Lv 51). This gives STR+4, RATK+10. If you are using sushi, you may consider this as an option. However, with the recent updates, you can stand directly on top of targets and melee with the normal hand weapons between shots (daggers, axes, etc.) for more TP gain, and only back up for weapon skills as needed. Rangers have 0 staff skill without sub job, so any melee hits you get will likely miss or do 0 dmg; effectively removing that option for additional TP gain. At the same time, Fire staff also takes the place of an RACC option like Hawker's knife. If you are /NIN, the trade turns into AGI+4, RACC+22 <-> STR+4 RATK+10. Not many standard melee will be willing to trade ACC+11 or ACC+22 to get 5 STR and 10 attack. Even if you are using sushi, you still won't be guaranteed to connect at 100% TP vs. IT targets on slug shot/sidewinder without some amount of RACC+, so you may notice the RACC loss combined with the weaker TP gain.
My recommendation: DON'T USE FIRE STAFF AS RNG. The alternatives provide better TP gain, and ranged accuracy on top of that.

WEAPON SKILLS 50-60

Slug Shot (marksmanship), Sidewinder (archery) at 175 skill; Lv 55 if you don't have merits in the combat skills mentioned. This is another major increase in overall dmg for RNG. The single most powerful weapon skill in the game at 100TP, it does about 8x a single shot worth of dmg to your target, and will out damage Eagle Eye Shot anytime it connects. This weapon skill is inherently very inaccurate, but updates over the last 2 years in food and gear have made this a weapon skill that can be spammed. The accuracy of these weapon skills increase with the more TP you have, but it seems to be highly inaccurate at 300%. Once you get this weapon skill, delete all your other weapon skill macros. This weapon skill can open distortion, open/close reverberation, and close fragmentation. RNGs live and die on Slug shot / Sidewinder from the time they get it until the time they put down the job. RACC+ first to make sure you can connect with this weapon skill reliably at a minimal amount of TP, then RATK+ to increase dmg, then STR+ where you can't get RATK. As a general rule, if you can get an equal amount of STR+ in a slot as you could otherwise get in RATK+, take the STR+. If you can get 1.5~2x as much RATK+ in a slot compared to STR+, take RATK.
Slug shot / Sidewinder skillchains fairly well, and it is powerful enough to practically guarantee a target will turn to you so a THF in your party can use their SATA + weapon skill to close a SC onto your tank. Very potent skillchains at Lv 55->60 are: Slug/Sidewinder > Dancing Edge (distortion), Slug/Sidewinder > Rampage (distortion), Guillotine > Slug/Sidewinder (fragmentation), Tachi: Yukikaze > Slug/Sidewinder (fragmentation). Beware of closing skillchains, however, as an unresisted fragmentation will throw a lot of hate your way. I have seen fragmentation do as much as 50% of Slug-Side damage, and if Slug-Side is pushing 1000 or more, you won't be able to get targets off you until they die.

SUBJOBS 50-60

Use /NIN if fighting raptors. If you're asked to pull them, not only do they hit hard, they also hit fast. On top of that, they run quite a bit faster than you do. See subjobs 40-50.

FOOD 50-60

From here on out, if you go with RATK/STR+ in gear, use sole sushi. If you stack on RACC+ in gear, it's Dhalmel Pies or Wild Stew to Lv 55. After 55 you can switch to Boiled Cocatrice.

Lv 60-70


Job Trait:
Resist Poison III (Lv 60)

EQUIPMENT 60-70

If you can get some friends together who are Lv 70+, and don't mind a low drop rate, there is Selene's Bow (Lv 60, rare/ex). Slightly higher base dmg than Eurytos' Bow, with no AGI+ and 1 less STR. RACC and RATK vary based on phase of the moon. New moon = higher RATK, full moon = higher RACC. For more on this weapon, see the FFXI item databases around the web. This is a very solid alternative to E-Bow, and performs fairly well as an endgame weapon. DoT won't be as high as E-Bow, but it will either be more accurate or hit slightly harder per shot. You can use this with Demon arrows (Lv 60). These produce an attack down effect on targets, and are very nice for exp due to RACC+, good base dmg, and slightly less dmg taken by your PLD tank. If you are from Windurst, or have the CP to spend from another nation who is first in conquest, get a Patriarch Protector's arrow (Lv 60, ex). The highest base dmg arrow available, the RATK+ and RACC+ make it a good bonus to weapon skills every time Unlimited shot is up. Be careful to make sure your macro gives some form of notice that Unlimited shot is active before you fire weapon skills with this equipped, as these are not easy arrows to replace.
Crossbow users will have Heavy crossbow+1 (Lv 60), and Othinus' bow (Lv 67, rare/ex). If you can get a party of 70+ to camp this NM, Othinus' is the highest base dmg crossbow in the game. It also has the highest delay, but allows anyone using it to put up some very competitive Slug Shots, while also keeping the ability to switch ammo based on need. You can continue to use acid bolts, holy bolts for TP, and then darksteel for your weapon skills. Like longbow users, crossbow users can spend CP with Bastok to get a Gold Musketeer's bolt (Lv 60, ex). A large amount of RACC+ and RATK+, along with being the highest base dmg bolt available, make this another great option to combine with unlimited shot for an extra 100+ dmg on slug shots. In my personal opinion, the versatility allowed by changing ammunition, the high base dmg, and the RATK+ make Othinus' the best overall ranged weapon for exp in the game, outside of a full relic.
Crossbow users who want to maximize the advantage of holy bolt
additional effect damage can go with a repeating crossbow or machine crossbow (Lv 69). The delay of < 150 makes this fire very quickly, and can put up quite a bit of damage just on additional effect. This is at the sacrifice of Slug Shot, however. One option with this weapon is to, instead, put the TP to use with Rampage (axe skill 175). This would possibly require a large amount of equip swapping to get some standard acc+ and attack+ for weapon skills, then a gear setup with lots of MND+ to increase holy bolt damage. You might be forced to go with sushi for this to work.
Gun users will see shark gun (Lv 60, rare/ex) and Fourth Division gun (Lv 60), if you can get an assault group to finish enough missions to hit Corporal rank. This is a very good gun considering its level, despite the lack of RATK+. The moderate RACC and good base dmg almost allow it to become an exp weapon. The higher base dmg will offset the slow TP gain somewhat, but the ratio of delay/TP gain is still low when compared to the alternatives.
If you can get a pair from ISNM60 or through AH, Deadeye gloves (Lv 60) are a nice piece of hand gear. The slow % will not hurt ranged attack TP gain speed, and the RACC can't be matched by anything else for a while.
If you've managed to win the solo ENM60 "Pulling the Strings", a Deadeye earring (Lv 61, rare/ex) will provide a nice boost to ranged attack damage. If you use the enchantment, however, you must keep the earring on or the RATK+ will be lost.
Belts will see a moderately expensive upgrade, either in Precise belt (Lv 60), or Hurling belt (Lv 60). Precise gives 1 more RACC+, but if you're ever in a group that fights gods in sky, the Hurling belt will be very beneficial for throwing skill+.
Another set of race-specific gear is available at Lv 62. If the STR+ can replace a slot that doesn't otherwise give RACC+ or RATK+, then feel free to use it.
If a friend or 2 can help you, Fransisca (Lv 63, rare/ex) is an excellent weapon. RATK+, RACC+, high base dmg make this a well rounded weapon for RNG to exp or solo with.
Another available option is Trailer's Kukri (Lv 61). With RACC+14, many RNG will pick one or two of these up. However, if you have a Hawker's knife, the AGI+2 and RACC+11 don't necessarily mean Trailer's will replace it. AGI does help weapon skill dmg increase slightly, and for those with limited gil or inventory space, you might keep Hawker's knives in case you ever take ranger into a level capped area.
If you can get into the upper tiers of assault, a good neckpiece is Sniper's Collar (Lv 69, rare/ex). The enmity-1 isn't going to make a massive difference, but the subtle blow+, RATK+, RACC+ combined with it make a very solid addition to almost any setup.
Once backpiece gets replaced, you're set through Lv 75. Bullseye cape (Lv 60) is nice for the RATK and AGI+1, especially for level capped areas, but you're going to want an Amemet mantle +1 (Lv 61). The RATK+15 and STR+2 are unmatched by anything else you'll find in a mantle.
Anytime you have a choice in RATK+ or STR+, go with RATK. Humes will have RSE2 feet (Lv 62), but it's up to you if the HP+, STR+, and slight AGI+ are worth the massive cost. Rutter Sabatons (Lv 67, rare/ex) also give some STR+, at the cost of some slow %. Sabatons will provide a small boost to ranged attack damage, but marksmanship weapon skills won't see a big damage difference with these on.

WEAPON SKILLS 60-70

At 200 skill, Lv 60, there are Blast Shot (marksmanship) and Blast Arrow (archery). Square really destroyed these weapon skills (not that they were all that great to begin with). These are supposed to be 2 hit; you hit the target up close with the ranged weapon equipped, then shoot at it with the same weapon. If you are eating meat, this weapon skills' accuracy will suffer from the distance penalty. You must ONLY use this weapon skill if you are within normal melee distance of your target. Even though these are 2 hit skills, if you are outside normal melee range, you will lose TP, and be told "_ is too far away". Yes, this makes no sense, and will likely never get fixed because nobody uses these weapon skills anyway, but keep it in mind. Square didn't realize the impact on these weapon skills when installing the distance penalty on ranged attacks. Also, from what I’ve seen, even though these are 2 hit weapon skills, you will not gain more TP than you do from any other ranged weapon skill. Again, makes no sense.
At 225 skill, Lv 67, there are Heavy Shot and Arching Arrow. These can be used to open or close light skillchains, which can be very destructive to targets at this level (goblins, dhalmels). Against dhalmels, light can do as much if not more damage than the weapon skill that closed the chain. Depending on the melee in your party, it can still be more beneficial at this point to keep skillchaining. Test it out for yourself and see what your party prefers.
If you are in a party with a samurai, I recommend this to anyone after Lv 66, just for fun. Tachi: Yukikaze > Slug-Side, and while you weapon skill as RNG, the SAM uses meditate. After fragmentation dmg goes off, SAM uses Tachi: Gekko and gets another skillchain, distortion. If a PLD is in the same party, and the target isn't dead yet, they can use swift blade for darkness. 4 person chain, with 2 LV 2 and 1 LV 3. Lots of fun to team up with only 1-2 other DD and incinerate targets this way. Depending on the target, the SC dmg gets pretty nasty. You can challenge your party's BLM to burst all the skillchains for some friendly competition.

SUBJOBS 60-70

See section on subjobs 40-50.

FOOD 60-70

Start using endgame food. If you've gone RATK+ and sushi, you'll be eating sushi until you change jobs. If you've stacked RACC+ and are eating meat, coeurl subs do well, as does coeurl sautee, yellow curry, boiled cockatrice, ic pilav. Don't go into the more expensive foods like dragon steak, red curry, Cerberus steak, or even bison steak. Only look at these foods after Lv 70, and only if you are /WAR, or with a BRD giving double minuet, or both.

Lv 70-75


Job Trait:
Accuracy Bonus IV (Lv 70)

EQUIPMENT 70-75

Lots of gear options here. Weapons first.
Longbow has 2 options here, 1 being Master Caster's bow (Lv 71), and the other being Shigeto bow+1 (Lv 71). Shigeto bow is a decent longbow, but does not necessarily replace Selene's (Lv 60, rare/ex). No RACC+, some RATK+, no STR+, and a much longer delay make it worth skipping if you have Selene’s or Eurytos'.
If you are from Windurst, the Master Caster's bow is a very solid endgame bow. Often overlooked due to its lack of RATK+ or STR+, the delay of 540 is comparable to Selene’s, and the RACC+7 is a good thing. The major advantage is the 77 base dmg, which can't be bettered anywhere outside of the upper stages of relic bow, or Gendawa +1 (Lv 70). If you can make up for the lack of RATK+, this is as good of a longbow as you can get with the RACC+ active. It's also really ugly to look at; it looks like RNG AF1.
Yet another bow that many RNG will look at is Gendawa +1 (Lv 70). Gendawa has very poor stats when looking at it; a small amount of AGI+, small RACC+, and delay of near 600. Gendawa supposedly has a hidden effect of uncapped ranged attack damage, however. The issue is, even though it may or may not have this hidden effect, the lack of RATK, high delay, and only small amounts of RACC or AGI make this a less than perfect weapon. You're going to need a large amount of RATK+, even if you are eating meat, to push the limits of this bow. Master Caster's is similar, but the 60 less delay make it a better choice, despite the lack of RATK (of course, provided you are from Windurst). When you get into endgame, the entire rest of your equipment setup becomes focused on getting the most out of the weapon you've chosen to use full time. Kabura Arrows (Lv 70) will give a very occasional additional effect of silence, but the 38 base dmg and RACC+ are the best you can get.

Crossbows don't see anything new here really, since Othinus' bow doesn't get replaced, but Staurobow +1 (Lv 74) and Grosveneur's bow (Lv 70, rare) are alternatives if you can't get O-bow.

At endgame, guns get to be a bit more important. Hellfire +1 (Lv 70) is the standard that most RNG will use when a high powered weapon is necessary. God fights in sky, Jailers in sea are where this will get used, if at all. Any NM that requires a high powered weapon due to its high defense will be a good situation for a Hellfire +1, despite the fact that it has rather poor delay. The RATK and RACC make it an overall decent gun. Another option is Coffinmaker (Lv 72, rare/ex), obtained as a random drop from KSNM30. This gun does not have the RATK+ of HF+1, but it has slightly more RACC+. Instead of 42 base dmg like HF+1, Coffinmaker is only 40, but is also 40 less delay. Dmg/delay is slightly better on Coffinmaker, but the lack of RATK makes these 2 guns about even in overall output. Use whichever you enjoy more; Coffinmaker won't give 40 base dmg until 500 weapon skill points are obtained with it (like the trial weapons for Detonator or Empyreal arrow), so you may not consider it worth the time.

For situations where high spike dmg is required, like Dynamis Lord or any fights that should not last longer than 90 seconds, there is Culverin(+1) (Lv 73). This, as said earlier, is the highest base damage weapon in the game, and can only be used with Cannon shells or Heavy shells. This is THE weapon of choice for fights where all you do is spam weapon skills or JAs. Yes, the delay is obscene at 700+, and the RACC- is huge, but the RATK+ and base dmg of 50-51 give this gun an important place, and should be in every endgame RNG's mog house or inventory. Heavy shells only stack to 12, and cannot be used in any of the other guns mentioned in this guide. This weapon & ammo combo is for situations where a lot of dmg needs to be put out, and the cost is irrelevant.
For standard melee weapons, the last option you get is Kriegsbeil (Lv 70). Dropped from KSNM99, this is one of the few 1 handed weapons RNG get for some RATK+, and the RACC+ with some AGI+ make this a good weapon overall. Depending on your own setup, you may prefer to try for some RATK+ elsewhere and stick to pure RACC+ in main or sub.

One quick note: please avoid using trial weapons in an exp or event situation. Gun of trials (Lv 71, rare/ex) and Bow of trials (Lv 71, rare/ex) should be broken in parties where skill up is encouraged.

It is HIGHLY recommended that if you take ranger past Lv 70, to join a linkshell that does sky (and finish Zilart Mission 12; see mission guides around the web for access to sky and details on Zilart Missions). Every ranger who is Lv 75 should have Crimson Finger Gauntlets (Lv 73, rare/ex) and/or Seiryu's kote (Lv 75, rare/ex). These are the two best pieces of hand equipment in the game. Crimson can't be matched for damage, but if you are seemingly hitting consistent damage on normal shots, Kote may benefit you more due to the AGI+ as a weapon skill damage modifier. Some will suggest that you use 1 of these 2 for normal shots, then switch to the other for weapon skills. This is a bad idea. Slug-Side is RACC based, so if you're able to land normal shots accurately, there's no reason to swap to kote for weapon skills. If you need the RACC+ given by the AGI bonus of Kote for your normal shots, there's no reason to swap to Crimson for weapon skills; this will make your weapon skills less accurate. If you don't need the AGI bonus of kote, then keep Crimson on full time. If you do need the AGI bonus of kote, keep kote on full time. If you can't get either of these 2 hand pieces, the Pahluwan hand gear (Lv 72) from assault works well, and if you can't get that, you can try to shoot for Scout's Bracers (Lv 71, rare/ex) from Dynamis-Windurst; though the AGI+ won't necessarily replace Deadeye gloves (Lv 60). If you have a group that can reliably win The Ashu Talif fight "Targeting the Captain", Barbarossa's Moufles (Lv 73) are another solid pair of gloves.
In headgear, there is War beret (Lv 70) and Optical hat (Lv 70, rare/ex). Optical hat requires about 16-25 Lv 70+ to help you, and War beret is buyable from AH. These both provide a nice amount of RACC+. Though War Beret+1 gives slightly less than Optical hat, it does give some HP+ and defense along with INT-. Pahluwan headgear (Lv 72, rare/ex) does the same as War beret, but War beret is much easier to get. You will see lots of RNG wearing Wyvern Helm (Lv 75). This helmet gives HP+ and STR+. Trying to stack on straight STR+ with this will not help your weapon skill or normal shot dmg without a fair amount of RATK+ to support it. Wyvern Helm will increase weapon skill damage a fair amount, but this will only be an option for those who can consistently land Slug Shot at 100% TP. It won't give you any RACC, and a very minimal by-product of RATK. Wyvern helm also won't boost Rapid shot activation rate the way Hunter’s Beret (Lv 54) does. Another overall option, if you have the RACC+ from the rest of your setup to allow it, is Hunter's Beret+1 (Lv 74), if you have access to Limbus. The Rapid Shot enhancement along with AGI+ and RATK+ is a nice combination, and unlike Optical hat, gives some defense and HP+. Use your own tests in the field with each of these pieces and use whichever benefits your damage the most.
For body pieces, an excellent piece is Kyudogi(+1) (Lv 70). The RACC+ and RATK+, combined with the slight magic dmg mitigation and resist blind trait make it an excellent overall piece. The majority of the ingredients for this synth are not that hard to get, but Cerberus leather is expensive and Yoichi's Sash is not a common item.
There is also Pahluwan Khazagand (Lv 72, rare/ex). Attained through assault missions, this is another piece that can replace Hunter's Jerkin. The RACC+, HP+, and slight bonus to critical hit rate make this marginally better than AF1. The largest reason to get this may be to allow you to put the rest of your AF1 in storage. Of course, AF1+1 (Lv 74, rare/ex) body also replaces AF1, and will also perform better than Pahluwan body if you can get it.
Then there is Kirin’s Osode (Lv 75, rare). STR+, AGI+, MND+, even INT+ can all help the traits of RNG. The higher defense and VIT+ don't hurt either for those times when you will be taking a hit. Osode isn't necessarily the end-all of equipment setups; RNG with AF1 can easily outperform Osode wearers, depending on overall setup. In fact, it's recommended that you not wear Osode until you know you have enough RACC+ to cover the loss of AF1 body. Your normal shot and weapon skill dmg won't go up by a huge amount with it on, but you will notice a difference. Sushi eaters are going to have to test Osode vs. Shikaree Aketon to determine which one hits harder. Most RNG who get this piece will be wearing it 24/7 (like many BRD do), unlike the majority of jobs that want to get one just to swap for weapon skill dmg or single JAs (SAM, MNK, WAR, NIN).
For Sushi eaters, there is Archer's Jupon (Lv 71 rare/ex). You'll need a few friends to help kill the Ambusher Antlion NM, but the RATK+ and STR+ combo will likely make this body piece outdamage Osode or Kyudogi. As long as your sushi covers the RACC loss, this will help you hit as hard as possible. Meat eaters won't be able to sacrifice the difference of 20 RACC by wearing this body piece over AF1 or Pahluwan.
Legwear doesn't see many options outside of Pahluwan Serawheels (Lv 72, rare/ex). I think this is because Square-Enix doesn't want to make anything better than Scout's Braccae (Lv 72, rare/ex). All AF2/Relic will be covered after buyable/questable items. However, there are Dusk Trousers (Lv 72) for those who have the gil to spend. The RACC+ won't be matched by anything else, but the decreased movement speed will annoy many players.
For feet, War boots +1 (Lv 70) are the best you can get outside Scout's Socks (Lv 74, rare/ex). The RATK+ in footwear isn't available in many other places. Even NQ War boots will outdamage RSE2 hume feet and Rutter Sabatons. Another pair of shoes worth looking at, for crossbow & holy bolt users, is Suzaku's Sune-ate (Lv 75, rare/ex). The MND+ will give a bit more added effect dmg from Holy bolts when compared to the RATK of War boots, but remember to switch to RATK+ for your weapon skills when you change ammo.
A less difficult piece of gear that will also help a fair amount of the time is Fenrir's Earring (Lv 70 rare/ex). The RATK+ at night will really do well for your DoT and weapon skills. Swap it for something else during the day if you can remember to do so.
For those who have gone through the majority of Chains of Promathia missions, there are the torques in sea. Faith torque and Hope Torque (Lv 72) are the best neckwear you can put on for DoT. Faith for gun / crossbow users, Hope for longbow. These will not only increase your RACC and RATK, they will more importantly increase the damage cap slightly. The single biggest thing to boost your output (outside of weapon damage) is to increase the skill with your equipped weapon. The AGI+ of Hope torque is also a great bonus, as well as the MND+ on Faith Torque for crossbow users and holy bolts. If you can afford the RACC-1 drop from Jagd gorget, Qiqirn Collar (Lv 74) is another nice boost for the RATK+.
There is also the AF1+1 set. The majority of RNG AF1+1 (Lv 74,
rare/ex) is basically AF1 with some AGI+ as an added bonus. However, one piece that has a noticable boost is Hunter's Bracers+1. These have an AGI+6 on them, but also enhance Barrage. The enhancement is a possible additional shot, which makes them useful for the Barrage macro. Just about everything else is skippable, but Hunter's Beret+1 will serve some very well.
There is also AF2, which was mentioned a bit already. Of the relic armor, the most beneficial pieces are legs (Lv 72, rare/ex) and feet (Lv 74, rare/ex). The legs can be worn full time for the RACC+ and Enmity-, and depending on your weapon choice, the feet can also be worn full time. I personally swap feet in for weapon skills only when using holy bolts for normal shots, but anytime longbow or gun is your main weapon, you'll want these on. The AF2 hands get replaced by Crimson or Seiryu's kote, and the head isn't really useful for much outside of Holy bolt + Machine crossbow for additional effect dmg spam. AF2 body has an enhancement to Rapid shot, but for most setups it would be difficult to determine if the racc+10 you'd get from AF1 or the STR+ and AGI+ from Osode would be more beneficial without a parser. Regardless, you won't want to wear AF2 body for weapon skills.
Venturer's belt (Lv 71) is a good option if you are going for the RATK+/STR+ route and eating sushi. Scout's belt (Lv 70, rare/ex) is the best belt you'll find anyplace, with the RACC+, RATK+, and AGI+ combination. If you have a group that can clear areas in Einherjar, the next best thing to Scout's Belt is Buccaneer's Belt (Lv 75). The STR+4, RACC+ and Enmity- are a very beneficial combination for RNG.

WEAPON SKILLS 70-75

Empyreal Arrow (archery) and Detonator (marksmanship) can be obtained if the quests are completed (Lv 72). The trial weapon says it is Lv 71 RNG, but your base skill with the weapon type has to be at least 250 to get these quests. Empyreal Arrow has a pretty animation, and so does Detonator, but these weapon skills are really more for fun than for practical use. They both fall under the same spot on the skillchain chart as Heavy Shot / Arching Arrow, so you won't gain the ability to open or close darkness, or even chain with 1 other ranger to create light.
These weapon skills will probably out damage Heavy Shot or Arching Arrow, but it is really personal preference if you want to spend the time to get them. They are not necessarily required endgame weapon skills like Asuran Fists, Tachi: Kasha, or Steel Cyclone. You're still going to spend the vast majority of your time firing Slug-Side.

SUBJOBS 70-75

If you haven't done so already, level warrior and ninja to 37. Endgame is where warrior subjob allows you to set yourself apart from most RNG. The warrior subjob is situational in endgame; most of the time using it will only serve to burn charges off your Reraise Gorget (Lv 55). Anytime you have a notorious monster or boss that needs to be killed quickly (requires RDM or someone to keep it stunned and either you kill it or it kills you all), you will want /WAR as an available option. Bosses in dynamis are the best example of /WAR importance. From all the RNG I've seen vs. Dynamis Lord or any other area boss, the most damage has been consistently put out by /WAR with Culverin(+1), using ranged attack food like bison steak.
For merit parties, you'll probably notice that almost every other melee DD is /NIN. RNG is even more pressured to go this route due to the job's ability to get 1 or 2 shotted fairly easily. Going /NIN also helps your party with MP conservation. If your mages never run out of MP, you can keep exp chains going until your party gets bored or has to quit for the day.
Some might consider /SAM a good idea, for the bonus that activates when using a 2-handed weapon like a Fire staff. As previously mentioned, 0 staff skill will hurt your TP gain compared to an axe or dagger (despite the 2 passive store TP traits from /SAM), and the RATK from Fransisca or RACC from Hawker's knife will do more to help your weapon skill accuracy and damage. Your weapon skills will hit only slightly harder with RATK+10 and STR+5 from fire staff than they will from Fransisca & Hawker's or Fransisca and Kriegsbeil. The SAM subjob ability gives STR+, accuracy+ (not ranged accuracy), and some haste %+. As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, haste does not effect ranged attacks. The STR+ while the ability is active won't help your overall damage output nearly as much as the added TP gain from melee with dagger or axe combined with the RACC or RATK bonus of those weapons.
The idea behind /SAM relies heavily on fire staff and using ranged attacks for TP gain exclusively. This combo will be hard pressed to provide more TP gain and damage output than /NIN and certainly won’t be capable of more than /WAR. The combination of store TP traits and meditate every 3 minutes for an additional 60 TP will likely bring the TP gain rate to be slightly better than, if not equal to /NIN. The damage output of /SAM vs /NIN seems about even, leaving the only other way to compare the 2 subjobs to be utsusemi vs. Third Eye. The damage mitigation of the /SAM job ability "third eye" is, at best, inconsistent. You won't be able to counter attack due to 0 staff skill, so that hurts the resiliency of third eye. Third eye is unavailable while under amnesia, but utsusemi is unusable while silenced. Of course, feel free to try it out both for yourself. For survivability and damage dealt/damage taken ratio: /NIN > /SAM > /WAR. For total damage output, it’s /WAR > /SAM > /NIN (on kited targets only).
See subjobs 40-50.

FOOD 70-75

Meat eaters will be able to take advantage of coeurl sub+1, yellow curry, or sis kebabi to exp if /NIN. If you can get subs+1, and have no BRD, use those. After that, its yellow curry, then sis kebabi as a 3rd option. If /WAR or with a BRD: bison steak, red curry, dragon steak, porcupine/hedgehog pie, or cerberus steak will give about the best boost possible. The higher-end ranged attack foods really should only be used in situations where you are expected to put as much damage as possible on targets (aka when you're able to sub warrior, or when party/alliance gives you a BRD because they want you to be a primary DD).

a. RNG RESPONSIBILITIES IN SKY


RNG are asked to do two things when they enter sky, outside of their standard DD responsibility. One is to have throwing skill leveled up to cap (at Lv 75, RNG throwing caps at 210). This is so special ammunition can be thrown at gods (winds). Items like Arctic wind (Lv 72, rare) are thrown at gods to dispel them and to do a fair amount of damage at the same time. RNG are often asked to do this even though they have only moderate throwing skill because of Unlimited Shot. Winds are only obtained by defeating a god, so you want to avoid losing the ammo if possible. When getting ready to fight any god, make sure you are setup to throw your wind and land it first; your tanks and other DD will appreciate the buffs being gone. Sharpshot, unlimited shot, throw the wind, then activate barrage and switch to your highest damage ranged weapon. If unlimited shot becomes available during god fights and you don't have much TP, switch back to the wind you threw and toss it again. The additional effect damage is worth the time taken to switch weapons. You'll want to ask your sky linkshell which winds to throw at which gods, and you'll also want to determine what you'll do if you miss before you start fighting. Since RNG throwing max is 210, you can cap it off of exp targets for about Lv 63.
RNG are also expected to have shadowbind ready when some gods use
their 2-hour. Seiryu and Suzaku can essentially have their 2 hour abilities nullified with 2 well timed shadowbinds back to back. Avoiding hundred fists or clearing the area to avoid chainspell will help your alliance's/linkshell's chances of success.

b. GEAR SETUP FOR ENDGAME (73-75)


Two things should determine your gear choices in each slot. One should be the type of weapon you will be using, and the other will be the type of food you plan to eat.
Once those are determined, the rest of your setup can be focused on what enhances your strengths as much as possible. Meat food and RACC+ gear, or sushi and RATK+ / STR+ gear. While doing that, however, you need to take into consideration what type of situation you expect to be entering. Does the fight require spike damage? Is the target kited? Are you fighting multiple targets? Will attacks be directed at you? Are you expecting not to get hit at all? Is TP gain rate important? Will you have to solo anything, or at least hold off a target alone for a while? Are sleep arrows/bolts going to be a benefit? Can acid bolts provide defense down to help the group? Can demon or kabura arrows give attack down or silence? How high is the target's evasion? Will anything need to be bound?
Most of the time, many of these types of questions can be ignored. The level of preparation you have for the situations you expect to see is what makes not just a good RNG, but a good player.

C. WHAT TO MERIT


Combat skill first, everything else second. Whichever weapon type you choose (marksmanship or archery), spend all your merits in that combat skill first, and don't stop spending merit points on that skill until it hits Lv 8. Combat skill has the biggest influence on your overall damage, and will make the biggest difference in both endgame and level capped situations. Having marksmanship or archery skill+6 is nice for promyvions, but having marksmanship skill +12 is a major benefit for areas capped at Lv 60. You WILL notice a difference if you switch weapon types from fully merited to unmerited. Each combat skill point increases your RACC and RATK with that weapon by 1. More importantly, however, is that the cap on your dmg gets lifted a bit. Merited combat skill enhances not just your normal shots, but also your JA and weapon skill dmg for those situations where spike damage is required.
After maxing out either archery or marksmanship, many people will go after critical hit rate. What better serves RNG, however, is increased Rapid shot activation rate. You will start going through more ammo, but your TP gain and overall DoT will increase by up to 5% with full merits in Rapid shot. For that reason, Rapid shot and Snapshot are both categories you'll want to max out the best you can. RNG don't get the benefits of haste, so Rapid shot+ and Snapshot+ are the best you can do. These categories, when fully merited, will also provide a noticable difference in your DoT and overall dmg. Snapshot, while decreasing ranged attack delay, also seems to slightly increase your TP gain. Personally I’ve noticed that with snapshot merited, there is a 1-2% TP gain extra when trying to get to 100%. It's a very small amount, but if you use a gun with 600 delay, that turns into 1 less shot required to land between weapon skills, which means a lot. Ninja would jump at the chance to merit Dual Wield, and Warriors merit Double Attack almost as soon as they hit 75. Snapshot and Rapid shot are the closest things RNG get to those job traits.
Beyond Rapid shot and Snapshot, there is Flashy shot. This ability allows your next RATK to ignore any level difference penalties. This ability is a must if you intend to do any uncapped missions/boss fights/hnm/gods etc. This is best used with Slug-Side or barrage. Be careful if you use this ability early in boss fights, etc. as you will be more likely to pull hate due to increased damage and the ranged attack having an enmity+ bonus.
After that, it's your call. STR or AGI or HP+, or even Enmity- if you don't plan to level a tanking job at any point. If that's the case, go for Enmity-.

New gear and abilities become available all the time. Try to keep your equipment setup consistent, and use food to supply what your setup lacks.

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