This is such an interesting perspective, since it is completely opposite of mine. :D So I love hearing about your take on the ranger (and how you've come to have this opinion based on past experiences). I can completely see how you want to emphasize your pet as a long time companion who helps you through everything. :) Basically, I personally see the two sides as such:
This side looks as pets as a long-term ally. They are, more or less, your partner in what you do. From this perspective, the ranger is often also looked at as one who has learned wilderness survival skills (whether with a bow, a musket, a blade, etc). Often the pets are looked at as partners who have grown with you or been with you (at least, in roleplay).
"Pokemon meets Nature"
This side tends to view the ranger pets not necessarily as pets so much, but rather as animal companions who come in and go out at a whim. To these people (myself included) the ranger doesn't seem to be so much a "survivalist", but rather an extension of nature itself. He commands the creatures of nature, and as such the animals that accompany him come and go.
I think this has come about mostly because GW2 doesn't have "Hunters and Druids", but rather has both styles pushed together into the single Ranger. For this reason, you have someone who can set up traps but can also summon nature and its spirits. I think the biggest question at the moment is "Where do pets fit into this?" Are they animal companions summoned at a whim, or are they longtime partners assisting their survivalist?
LoL i like this analysis of pets.
pets now really seem to have this Pokemon-esque feel too it.
But I look at it this way, instead of having a personalized attachment to a single pet, you have attachments to a group of pets. So it started out as a Starsky and Hutch sorta deal when Rangers were first revealed.
Now it comes across more like the A-Team :P
My issue with this when i first read it was that it seemed too convenient. "OOopps pet is dead, SWAP"
Didn't like the sound of that.
But then again Im sure ArenaNet has tried other solutions, and I think I would have to agree with them on this one.
Definitely fits the Guild Wars 2 combat style. Too put things in perspective, these remind of the old days when I played Pokemon on the game boy "Charizard I choose you!"
"Dammit charizard, you dyin...retreat, Go Squirtle xD!" And ofcourse necessary balancing would be made
So at first I was torn about the idea, but now im lovin it, GJ anet
As for the Engineers and Cross-combos, I love em.
Im still waitin on Underwater Weapon/Backpack kits though...