I'm hosting a Dungeons and Dragons session for some of my colleagues in a few weeks. None of them have ever played before, so I'm also making their characters based on the tropes they vaguely described their characters as. To keep things simple, I'm going to run the game at level 2, which to me gives each class at least a few interesting features to work with, but keeps things manageable for beginners.
One of the players would like to play a ranger. She's especially very excited about having a beast companion. Since rangers normally only receive a companion at level 3, I thought I would drop the ranger's spellcasting ability and add the companion at level 2. This also has the added benefit that she would not have to think about spells at all. Would this make the ranger stronger/weaker/approximately equally balanced?
I'm using the original ranger as given in the PHB, not one of the updated versions published later on.
The group both insists on playing D&D and not having to read the rules themselves. I understand that a different game system would fit better for this group, but it's a no go. As such answers that only suggest a different system will not be accepted.