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Guild Wars 2 Previews: The Thief Preview

By David North on March 08, 2012

The Thief: Trickster of the Battlefield

I usually don’t choose the sneaky path, but I decided to give the thief a go anyways.  I’m not sorry I did.  The thief was very interesting as I felt that it was the most adaptive profession in the game.  I felt like I could get in, deal some serious damage, then fall back and hit the enemy forces from afar.  I could move the enemy around a bit, giving everyone a chance to strike the enemy at their backs.  Yep, I didn’t wear the heaviest of armor, but I could do some good crowd control.  The only thing I didn’t like about the Thief was playing alone, because it shines so much more when you’re in a group.

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Let’s give you a few details from the official site:

SPECIAL SKILLS

  • Stealth—Thieves can disappear into the shadows. This allows them to become invisible to enemy players and to ignore aggro. When in Stealth mode, the thief can still be damaged, which temporarily reveals them. When a thief is hidden, attacking will break the deception.
  • Shadow Stepping—Thieves can get in and out of battle quickly by using a technique called Shadow Stepping. This skill allows them to disappear from one location and then instantly appear at a different location by traveling through the shadows.
  • Traps—Thieves use traps to ambush unsuspecting enemies and control areas. For example, Shadow Trap is a trap that puts the thief into Stealth and Shadow Steps them back to the trap's location.

WEAPON OPTIONS

  • Main Hand: Sword, Dagger, and Pistol
  • Off Hand: Dagger and Pistol
  • Two-Handed: Shortbow

MECHANICS

Initiative: Initiative is the thief's resource mechanic. A thief has ten points of Initiative that refill at a rate of one point per second both in and out of combat. 

Stealing: Above their skill bar, all thieves have a special skill called Steal that can be used on enemies. It does not actually steal a real item from an opponent, but rather generates an appropriate environmental weapon based on the target. 

Dual Skills: Dual Skills are special skills that thieves acquire in slot 3 of their weapon bar that are based on both weapons they are wielding.

Stealth: Stealth has a limited duration and can be broken in various ways. Most stealth is lost when a player attacks through it.

Shadow Stepping: Shadow Stepping is a teleport mechanic used by the thief profession to get in and out of battle. A thief may only shadow step where normal movement is possible and may not use it to teleport through a gate or other blocking area.

MY IMPRESSIONS

The Thief can take a few hits, but I was unlucky enough to be adventuring only to run into a group too big for me to handle myself.  I felt like my Necromancer could take a hit better.  I know that the beta was a very early build of the game and balancing the professions out is still a task needed to be done, so I don’t think this will be a huge issue come the final build.  I also felt that the Thief wasn’t a supportive player unless it was spreading out damage and doing some crowd control.

Visually I think a lot of players will see the Thief as being the most exciting to watch.  The Thief wears light armor that has a decorative feel like what I saw with the Necromancer.  The main difference was that rather than going with a fashionable look, I felt like the style was more geared towards feeling like an adventurer.  With the layers of clothing, you wouldn’t be surprised to see hidden pockets in the coats, and the way it all fit together felt like it could cater to the Thief’s flexibility.  That brings us to the way the Thief fights.  The Thief just looks really cool while in combat.  There’s lots of jumping and spinning around.  You don’t want the Thief to get hit, and the way they fight it is hard for the enemy to get their hands on them.

Things do get a little less exciting when the Thief pulls out the guns.  It would make sense that they would need to keep a steady hand when using the fire arms, other wise they’d miss.  When you mix the two fighting styles together, it does mesh well.  First the Thief is slicing and jumping over enemies, ten the next second they do a dodge roll out of harms way and switch over to guns.  They fire off a few shots to weaken the enemy a bit more, than switch back to daggers and leap on top of them, delivering the final blow.  It’s like all the heroes you see in the action movies, and it’s sweet!

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