The 3rd level class feature of the ranger, Primeval Awareness, says:
Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.
Of all the rangers I’ve played myself or seen played by others, I have never seen this feature get used. One of the things that stops me (at least) from using it is that last line (“This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.“), which seems to make the feature overall pretty useless.
It seems that at least someone else agrees with me enough to level this criticism at Crawford:
@JeremyECrawford Also Primeval Awareness is arguably the worst class feature in the game. It’s so not worth a spell slot.
@pukunui81 It’s definitely situational. In my recent Ravenloft game—heavy on investigation, light on combat—Primeval Awareness was pivotal.
@JeremyECrawford The fact that it covers a large area and doesn’t even give you a direction is the main issue for me.
Whilst I’m curious to know if anyone thinks this feature isn’t useless as-is and can explain why it’s actually useful, that’s not what I’m going to ask here (people can always link me to forum posts about such things in the comments below, if such forum posts exist).
Instead, my question is, assuming that I continue to believe that this feature is useless because of that last line, what are the balance implications of removing that last line from the class feature’s description? So the feature would read the same but excluding “This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.”
My main concern is that it might end up being basically a better version of locate creature, which is a 4th level spell and therefore a RAW ranger wouldn’t be able to do this until level 13. On the other hand, this would only last a few minutes at most rather than up to an hour like locate creature.
Would allowing this feature to specify numbers and directions (bearing in mind that it only lasts a few minutes at most) make it overpowered, or would it merely increase its power enough to make it actually useful?