The nature counters buff gift of renewal which is a big part of our survivability for both melee and ranged rangers. The higher the counters the more health we and our pets steal.
I pretty much tried the same thing, and felt the same way
I want to add the tree or roots is pretty dang cool, one of my favorite looking trees
, here are my observations
1) If there are a lot of enemies on the screen and that thing fires..... oh the lag hahaha
. I have pretty good rig too and I've toned down the gfx settings but sometimes will hit lag
2) With my current setup just one point is enough to use against bosses just to get poison on them. Of course with gear, etc I can apply poison that way and just use the skill point elsewhere. Of course I haven't tested this with a focus build, but if its a pet/minion then your focus shouldn't matter in the end.
In the end, this is a really really good class. I love it. I'd have to say for me its better then the warlock and necromancer (both are also amazing classes).
I started looking at the idea of incorporating some of the ranged skills into a melee ranger and vice versa. For example, instead of using bramble wall to build up nature counters for a melee ranger, you could easily use thorns w/ 1 point of old growth and swap to a bow. Quickly build up the counters then swap to the melee weapons and dive in. OR you could be a ranged based ranger, and use melee weapons as a means to pull back with bladeweaving. Not sure if this is viable, but it seemed kinda neat in concept