I just got back into the game recently and been playing a lot of soulbeast and remain merged most the time for the DPS increase. Personally, a generous portion of the reason I play ranger though is because I like the idea of having an animal companion (the other portion being the aesthetics and combat style of the profession). If I didn't like the idea of a pet I would play something like warrior or theif. I find their AI as frustrating as the next guy but I miss being able to micro manage my pet, it was kind of like playing two characters at once. I really hope if they release a new elite spec it'll have an emphasis around the pet. Not just passive buffs but a spec that actually increases the number of skills a pet has and utility skills that might command your pet to do a special move, idk.
No longer playing the game due to PvP being abandon.