Q: What is the best race for an archer/ranger character build?
Though archers are generally considered underpowered in terms of DPS, it’s certainly no reason not to play them. And exactly because they don’t have as much DPS as most other builds it why picking the right race can be even more important, as you will want to squeeze out as much damage as possible.
Best races for archer builds are Khajiit and Wood Elf. Wood Elves have increased stamina and stamina recovery, which is a resource you will mainly be using as a Bow user. Khajiit on the other hand have weapon critical, a stat which is otherwise not easy to obtain on equipment and is therefore quite valuable.
Both of these races however don’t have any significant bonuses which would make them must-picks, so feel free to take a look at other races as well.
Redguards for example are usually played as tanks, but have increased stamina and stamina regeneration, bonuses which are nearly identical to those of Wood Elves. You won’t be loosing much (if anything) if you pick a Redguard. They also have a very useful stamina restore bonus which works only on melee attacks, but as archer it’s not uncommon to have a melee weapon set and abilities on weapon swap, so it’s not an entirely useless bonus.
Breton, Orc, Dark Elf and Imperial races have slightly useful bonuses for archers, but nothing to get excited about. Unfortunately Imperial’s Red Diamond passive doesn’t work with bows, only melee attacks. Lastly, Nords and Argonians have absolutely nothing that would directly benefit a ranger playstyle. All in all it does mean certain races are better or worse for archers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a particular race is very good or bad.
As I’ve said multiple times before though, I always recommend to players to pick a race which they enjoy playing. Don’t ignore vanity completely and just pick whichever race you think looks best, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the game regardless.
Be sure to read my guide for picking racial passives here for more details.