I haven't seen it discussed on here yet so I thought it would be interesting to hear people's thoughts!
Obviously with Ranger being my favourite class I am all up for it being buffed. I especially like that the Beast Companion is ALOT better and can be brought back by the Ranger instead of oops it died better get a new one. It definitely was frustrating when you had to choose between them being basically character flavour or purely a disposable resource.
I took a quick peak at it and there are a LOT of changes. It looks like they retooled the entire specialization portion of Ranger. They also added the +2 back to the favored enemy bonus . I love my +2s. Looked at the beast companion as well and it looks so much better. I haven't been able to compare changes past that. I will for sure weigh in more when I have.
I am not sure if I like it or not. It is definitely more powerful, the animal companion isn't just a mortal familiar and the new conclave is pretty cool. However most of it just feels like a hot-pot of features from other classes, kind of like a warlock with a focus on bows with some fighter and rouge thrown in for good measure.
Maybe it's just the narrative changes that just don't jive for me. I don't doubt it will be more fun to play though. Haven't got a ranger yet in any of my ongoing parties however, so won't really know what I feel one way or the other until someone plays it.
Experience: Limited Enthusiasm: Great Knowledge: Mediocre
I have a ranger who I talked into using the Deep Stalker option from a past UA, and luckily that's been included in this revision with few changes. We're going to roll with this new version in our game and see how it goes, the only change being that he's already picked aberrations as his favored enemy at level 5 and I don't want to make him switch to a lesser enemy type (it's important to his backstory).
I'm reserving opinion until I see it in action but I like how it looks on paper. It's definitely an overhaul and one I'd agree was warranted. Just making Favored Enemy relevant in combat should go a good way to closing the gap with other classes.
So we finally had a combat using the new Ranger rules (we don't get around to combat very much in our game). At level 5, she gets an extra attack, and as a Deep Stalker she gets an additional extra attack on the first round of combat, AND she took Two-Weapon fighting style so there's that off-hand bonus attack, for a total of 4 attacks in the first round.
Which, in this case, was a surprise round.
Moral of the story, if you're worried about not having a rogue in your party, get a sneaky Deep Stalker in there. She positively exploded with damage in the first round, taking out the bulk of the main monster's HP, but retreated into the background to cast some spells after that. I'm definitely going to need to keep a few extra combatants up my sleeve with her on the team, but I think the player is enjoying it.
My group discussed the class and decided to test it out. So far it hasn't felt overpowered, but they hit level 6 at the end of last sessions. He went into Beast Master and it is going well. Having the beast be able to take its own turn with attacks without my player having to sacrifice actions is nice. The things that we had feared being potentially overpowered (favored enemy - broad categories) and the new natural explorer has proving to not be gamebreaking at all. Going to see how it progresses up to at least 15th level to get a good feel for it.