Laeon val Observis
Generally speaking, any guide in the forums that isn't the Chronicle of Releases is outdated. The Endgame wiki's Ranger page provides in-depth details for your inquired class. In a nutshell, there are two kinds of rangers: Hybrid (possess (near) equal STR and DEX) and DoT (DEX focused). The former has more power at the expense of MP stamina, while the latter pumps up DoTs while keeping safe behind Reflex. For starters, yes, swap from INT in order to maximize with either of the two Ranger styles.
With regards to your weapon choices, you won't really feel a thing in the direct damage department since Ranger's offensive kit sets damage type to either Melee or Pierce, thus allowing those direct damages to get the full benefits of STR and DEX. The only thing you'll miss out is some loss to strengthening DoTs as staves are not really known for reinforcing DEX.
Guests... realistically, we don't really factor those into risk assessments, so it'll be player's discretion. All you have to be willing is taking in the extra damage (for every guest present, the printed damage of an enemy is strengthened by 60%) and the exp/gold penalty (10% less of those per guest).
< Message edited by Laeon val Observis -- 4/11/2022 18:11:52 >