So the aim of this build is to focus solely on your pet to deal damage instead of running either a hybrid or relying solely on your bow. Overall I find that Rangers have the worst implemented profession mechanic but maybe one day ArenaNet will wake up to the problem. Granted, it did take them quite a few years in the original Guild Wars but eventually Pets were automatically infused, dealt 30% more damage in PvE and could be taken for spin in PvE without having to dedicate two skills to the task. Until then we shall have to make do with the sub-par position we are in, which is behind Warriors in the damage department for both ranged and melee. Pets are a gimmick that massively disadvantage Rangers but trying to create "petless" builds is fruitless and gimps your Ranger even further.
The advantage to running a build focused on your pet is that your gear does not have as much of an impact on your damage as it would for other builds and for other classes. Furthermore this trait layout allows your pet to heal for considerable amounts and thus stay in the fight without having to be recalled or switched out. Much like the mantra for glass cannon, you aren't doing any DPS if you are lying face down in the dirt. By focusing on your pet you allow it to tank for you while dealing significant amounts of damage.
1) Axe (Sigil of Force) / Warhorn (Sigil of Battle)
2) Shortbow (Sigil of Perception)
Offensive trait setup:
Critical Healing trait setup:
I think the trait selection is fairly self-explanatory. They nerfed the Crossfire+QZ combination so I stopped investing in Marksmanship as a result. Focusing on your pet to deal the damage isn't ideal but you will be dealing more damage. Unlike PvP rangers you needn't worry too much about disables on your pet or kiting opponents which is a huge boon for pet users.
Once your Pet has 25 stacks of Master's Bond I would switch that trait for Rending Attacks or Speed Training (if you are in a Zerg then bleed will likely be capped which is when ST makes more sense). You could also use Shout Mastery for 20% off shout recharge, probably makes more sense if you are running a second shout. Yes, Master's Bond works like the stacking Sigils - once you reach the cap you can switch without losing the bonus. If you aren't doing this then you need to start now.
Healing Slot: Healing Spring or Troll Unguent
While Healing Spring is one of the best healing skills in the game with low recharge, allied condition removal and able to benefit from the Concentration Training trait; it does require you to be in proximity of your pet and in later zones this may be inadvisable due to the sheer damage that mobs can deal. Troll Unguent is good because it grants healing over time to your pet (which has synergy with the natural health regeneration your traits afford the animal companion and yourself) without having to be anywhere near your pet. I think your healing depends on your party composition (Healing Spring makes more sense if there are plenty of ranged characters who can stand in your healing field) and whether you think being near your pet is a wise idea.
- Signet of the Wild (this is should be a staple on nearly any Ranger bar for PvE)
- "Sick 'Em"
- Quickening Zephyr
Utility Skill Substitutes: Signet of the Hunt and Signet of Stone.
I would put SoH on my bar when running from A to B because the speed boost will save you invaluable amounts of time. Signet of Stone is an option in areas where you will take huge amounts of damage and it's sufficiently telegraphed. However SoS is only a temporary fix and I would honestly say that in levels where your pet is going to be dead a significant amount of the time it my be wise to play with your Rifle Warrior instead, no I am not even joking.
Elite Skill: Rampage As One
This is easily the best elite skill available to Rangers in PvE and it superlative synergism with your traits by granting both your pet and yourself Fury and the ability to feed each other Might. Stability and Swiftness help your pet close the gap to your target (Crippling Shot and Concussion Shot should be deployed to this effect too) and keep attacking through disables.
1) Jungle Stalker
2) Polar Bear
The Jungle Stalker is feline which means it has beautiful precision numbers and it can grant the party five stacks of might. I wouldn't use Might Roar in combat too much because the reaction speed is slow/clunky and it disables your pet while it goes through it's roar animation. The Polar Bear can be used in the areas where you think your pet will have to be tankier and in parties than aren't running to soak aggro up while still allowing for more damage than all the other bears.
- Full zerker's or barring that full Rampager's
You want to be critting as much as possible but you do have access to some conditions and so you could go condition damage if you want to. The condition damage on your gear doesn't really help your pet and so Rangers face the same issue as Necromancer's with their minions.
Most fights should open something like this: Mighty Roar -> Call of the Wild -> Quickening Zephyr -> Rampage As One ->"Sick 'Em"
You should switch between your weapon sets frequently to make the most of your Skirmishing traits and the Sigil of Battle on you Warhorn. Choosing which weaponset to use is a question of context and obviously comes with experience (if you need your disable you want the Shortbow and if you have just activated RaO the axe is more preferable because you can score more hits to trigger might for your pet). Broadly you want to be in the background flanking the opponent and throwing out cripples, daze, chilled, poison and bleeds to compliment your pet's damage output.
- "FGJ!" Warriors with a precision banner are ideal because boons on your pet last for quite a while. More Power and Precision for your pet is welcome to a build that is trying to stack as much of it as possible.
- Guardians are excellent because they give your pet Aegis and burning. Shout Guardians are awesome because boons on your pet last 50% longer due to traits. Shout Guardians that have Empowering Might and aren't afraid to use Empower are probably your best friend.
- Staff Elementalists are good because they provide area healing for your pet which is great because you do not want your pet to die, every little bit helps.