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Thief - A basic Guide

thief guide shortbow pve

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#1 The Shadow

The Shadow

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:07 PM

Table of contents:

ia. Introduction
iib. Weapon Sets
iiic. Shortbow
iiid. How to use the Shortbow effectively
iiie. Ok, Shortbow, now what?
ivf. Pistol/ Dagger
ivg. Sword/ Pistol
ivh. Dagger/ Dagger
ivi. Pistol/ Pistol
ivj. Sword/ Dagger
ivk. Dagger/ Pistol
vl. How to gear up
vm. Runes and Insignias
vn. Weapon Sigils
vio. Utility Skills
viip. Healing Skills
viiiq. Elite Skills
ixr. Trait trees
xs. Steal
xit. Example Build
xiiu. Leveling Up
xiiiv. Conclusion

For those of you that don't want to read the whole guide and would rather read a section or two press Ctrl + F and search "ii." for example, then hit enter, it should take you directly to that section. Not sure how convenient this is to use, but I tried!

ia. Introduction

Many people have private messaged me on Guru asking me things such as; "What build should I use?" "why is x weapon set so good?" I also see a lot and I mean a lot of rubbish in this Section. I'd like to offer you guys my interpretation of the Thief's role. I'd also like to share my view on various weapon sets, how to gear up and share an example build as well. Feel free to correct me if you see any errors. Hopefully this will help somewhat.

First things first. I view a Thief's main strength as being mobility. NOT "Spam Heartseeker GG". No other class can parallel our ability to both move around the map and evade the majority, if not all, incoming threats via a multitude of different ways. I.e. Withdraw, Shadow Refuge and more.

We've been given the tools to be evasive. Now we need to exploit this. "Our time is now!" Sorry, I really felt like it.

I wrote this thread a long time ago. In the past I dismissed certain trait-lines and weapon-sets. I was very wrong to do so. My opinions have changed quite a lot since I initially wrote this post. As such I'm slowly updating every section to better reflect my current beliefs.

Recently people have been using this thread as a "Hey! I'll post my current build on Shadow's thread such that he can critique it and give me pointers!" or a "I'm trying to achieve this certain thing, how can I build/ gear towards that goal?" and posts like that are absolutely fine by me and I will quote you and reply (though sometimes it might take some time for me to do so).

iib. Weapon Sets

We don't have access to very many weapons. It's a bit of a shame, but y'know what. It's fine. Quality over quantity anyway! We have some really great weapons to choose from, most of which are incredibly useful. My whole perspective about Thief weapons is shaped around the Shortbow, keep reading to find out why.

iiic. Shortbow = EPIC!

Shortbow is our best weapon! The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will notice just how amazing this class can be.

1 - Auto attack, ricochets and hits multiple foes. It is the 2nd most damaging AoE auto attack in the game after ele. It's very handy to have an AoE basic attack when dealing with a resource, just in case it gets depleted. It's also very handy because it heals you for the first arrow and all subsequent hits after that when paired with Signet of Malice.

2 - Cluster bomb, seriously, the AoE DPS you can get out of this one skill is absolutely phenomenal. Not to mention the fact that you can stack some bleeds! And most importantly... SPAMMABLE BLAST FINISHER.

3 - Woohoo! A built in evade! "No you stupid Ettin, you won't bash my face to the ground with you're ludicrously large club, I'll evade it!" Seriously though, incredibly useful for when you're out of Endurance/ Utility,

4 - Choking Gas - Yep. A Combo Field. What's not incredibly useful about this? I almost always, without exception, initiate a battle with this skill.

5 - Infiltrator's Arrow - This really is our shining grace in GW2. Not only does map travel (a lot of time in PvE) go a lot faster, it can also be used in combat to attain a strategic advantage via blind, general mobility and most importantly, turn around and run if the situation gets just a little too sticky and there is no shame in that!

In my opinion, the Shortbow is simply too strong a force to ignore. It should be a staple on every Thief's build both in PvE, PvP and especially WvW. It's extremely satisfying to use!

iiid. How to use the Shortbow effectively

Please note: It's very important to know when to detonate when using Cluster Bomb, not only will you hit more foes, you'll also deal significantly more damage and apply bleeds, additionally this is what triggers Signet of Malice to heal you for many more hits. HOWEVER. If you leave it un-combusted, it becomes a BLAST FINISHER. You can finish any combo field for a vast amount of party wide buffs and healing. Water/ Fire fields are particularly awesome.

It is also important to consider the range at which you use the Shortbow. You can use the Shortbow from quite a distance away. It's not always optimal to do so however as the arc of the shot becomes somewhat ridiculous. Also, you can detonate the cluster whenever you choose. Detonate it higher up and the spread is larger (has it's advantages), detonate it closer to the target and the harder you'll hit the foes directly in that area of effect. So in essence; use the arc/ detonate in a way that makes sense to you depending on mob positioning and environment. Almost every encounter will be different.

I honestly think it's one of the hardest weapons to master in the game because each shot in a fight will be different because you have to keep moving/ kiting and your foes will too! It does require a lot of control and game-sense. Of course like with everything though, practice makes perfect. Once you get to grips with the weapon you can actually do some pretty amazing things that you probably wouldn't have thought possible.

So really, the question we should be asking next is; Which other weapon set works best with the Shortbow? Or, which weapon set offers something that the Shortbow does not?

iiie. Ok, Shortbow, now what?

The answer, really, is; Single target DPS. That is probably the only thing that the Shortbow doesn't offer. So which weapon set offers this? Well, all of them pretty much. Obviously some are better than others at different things. I find myself using all of them for different situations. Weapon switching is fairly easy, swapping out utilities is also fairly easy, it's not impossible to swap out certain traits in between battles either. So why not take advantage of this?

ivf. Pistol/ Dagger

This was my faveourite weapon set aside from Shortbow. There is a built in Evade on 3 just like there is with the Shortbow, again, this is incredibly handy. So too can you stack bleeds, when pressing 1 once you've popped into stealth (via Cloak and Dagger). This weapon set isn't the best for DPS. It's the best for SURVIVAL (a very important aspect since a dead Thief is a Thief that deals NO DPS). It also synergizes well with the Shortbow as a substantial amount of damage comes from bleeds.

This is the set I use for general PvE, fighting veterans, champions, world bosses and more. It's just so easy to stay alive!

ivg. Sword/ Pistol

This set, probably deals the highest Single Target/ PBAoE DPS in the game, for short periods of time. The auto attack is damaging, the dual skill hits exceptionally hard, you have access to a PBAoE blind, can teleport in AND out of combat while cleansing one condition, can stun, immobilize and of course, interrupt using Pistol Whip.

This set however, mostly involves being stationary and spamming 3, repeatedly, a lot. That is what you'll find yourself doing. Honest. So naturally I don't find it much fun. On the other and, it's great for those massive boss fights in Dungeons. You can pretty much stun lock a boss (or as close as you can get to stun lock with the help of Haste) while dealing, quite frankly, ridiculous damage. 2 Thieves using S/P in a dungeon is extremely devastating.

There are issues with this set however. Mainly the lack of mobility, defensive utility and sustain. As such.. there are many scenarios in which you probably wouldn't want to opt for this particular weapon set.

ivh. Dagger/ Dagger

I use this weapon set a lot. Mostly because it's quite fun and extremely effective. The auto attack is really quite amazing, especially when you trait specifically to improve it. It's really quite a fast animation and can also do some serious damage. More importantly you can get some crazy back stab crits via Cloak and Dagger. As if that wasn't enough,,, LDB is a built-in evade as well and honestly, I use LDB as a defensive tool as opposed to a dps dealer. Yes it will stack lots of bleeds, but I don't believe it's superior, in terms of DPS, to simple 100% back stab crits with some flanking auto attacks inbetween. Heartseeker was nerfed, but honestly, that's fine. I didn't and still don't touch it much, I treat it as a gap closer as opposed to a finisher. Most of your damage with D/D will come from backstabs, but more about that later!

The greatest thing about Dagger/ Dagger, and indeed Dagger as an offhand is that 100% access to stealth and almost more importantly that AoE cripple. Dancing Dagger is an AMAZING skill that has saved my hind, my team's hind and everyone else's hind, A LOT. It ricochets, deals damage, and cripples. It's amazing and hugely under-rated. USE IT!

/D offhand was severely nerfed relatively recently. As such, I've stopped using /D so much. It's still effective, but Dancing Dagger was just so good.. and now it's not as good. I use D/P mostly now.

It also works extremely well with the Shortbow as the cripple offers you enough time to dodge, regroup and launch a counter of clusters back and with any luck, finish them off.

All that being said... This is probably the safest set to use. You can't go wrong really. Not a single skill wont be useful.

ivi. Pistol/ Pistol

I use this set mainly for World Boss events since being a few feet away from the boss is very advantageous. The DPS on unload is amazing and you can practically kite eternally (depending on how you build).

The only problem with this set is, for me anyway, just like Sword/ Pistol, it's rather boring and involves for the most part, pressing 3. The other issue is the fact that's it never really that good. The auto attack stacks bleeds and does little physical damage. The dual skill doesn't stack bleeds and does relatively good physical damage. It doesn't really synergize well with itself.

However this set can work extremely well in certain situations.. Mainly the Asura fractal where almost every single foe is ranged. So... Don't let me put you off it.

ivi. Sword/ Dagger

To my surprise this set actually became one of my favorite sets. I fell in love with the built-in mobility you could access simply by pressing 2. The stealth skill is pretty useful too, daze + blind. It shares all the great things of having dagger as an off-hand as well.

I use this set a lot in Fractals. Particularly the Ice and Dredge maps as the immobilize/ interrupt becomes invaluable. But also because it allows you to return to the fire once you've been teleported away.

ivj. Dagger/ Pistol

Honestly this is my favorite weapon set currently. I used to hate D/P. I used to think it was made redundant by other mechanics we had access to naturally. I also thought it was too expensive to manage. I was partly wrong.

I decided to give this weapon-set another go as a result of the dagger-offhand nerfs. It became a debate of; what can I do with D/P that I can't do with D/D and vice versa. I came to the conclusion that D/P is more versatile. Said versatility comes at the cost of needing more initiative. Thanks to Trickery and Shadow Arts this becomes possible.

What this means is, D/P isn't too good. Until you build around it. That means investing fairly heavily into trait trees that you might not necessarily want to invest in. The outcome is extreme survivability while still dealing amazing DPS.

Main tip while using this set, don't just spam 5, time it properly, heartseeker through it to get into stealth and then backstab only when appropriate, please note, this doesn't work if another combo field is on top of the black powder field. The interrupt and daze we have access to is simply amazing, you can effectively kill a mob by pressing nothing other than 4. This however requires good timing and latency, you also need to be able to read enemy animations. The problem with this is that most of the time it simply wont work on bosses/ legendaries/ champions.

Either way, I'm greaty enjoying this set in both PvE, PvP and Dub Vee Dub.

vl. How to gear up

So, a constantly asked question is; "How should I build? What gear should I save up for?"

The answer is simple. What needs to be considered is *how* a thief deals damage.

A thief deals damage through 2 main ways;

1) Critical Hits

2) Conditions

So decide which route you want to go down. Or be like me and do them all. Mind you this will probably make you bankrupt and force you to run many dungeons many times :)

vm. Runes and insignias

It will always whittle down to "how much survival do I need in this particular situation?" There's no point sacrificing DPS for survival if you have no issues surviving.

That being said, it is possible to gain a lot of survivability without sacrificing too much DPS. So this is why I use:

Weapons - Zerker - Accuracy/ Force/ Fire

Head - Zerker - Divinity
Shoulders - Zerker - Divinity
Chest - Zerker - Divinity
Gloves - Zerker - Divinity
Legs - Zerker - Divinity
Feet - Zerker - Divinity

As for runes there is much debate between Scholar Vs Divinity Vs Eagle. Check them out, make an informed decision for yourself. I prefer Divinity.

Amulet - Distinguished Circle of Logic
Ring 1 - Red Ring of Death
Ring 2 - Bagh Nakh
Earring 1 - Warmaster's Family Heirloom
Earring 2 - Appleseller's Lucky Cog
Backpiece - Quiver of Swift Flight

The reason for this, what my come across as being sporadic, ascended gear choice is:

I used a build calculator and used it to come up with what suits me and my needs. I suggest you do the same,  it's easy to use!

http://gw2buildcraft...lculator/thief/

For condition builds I usualy use Runes of the Undead for the added toughness, but mainly the 5% extra condition damage which is pretty damn nice. The x3 trinity for bleed duration is quite nice too. Decide for yourself based on weapon set + how much toughness you have and whether or not it's enough to make Undead runes worth it.

vn. Weapon Sigils

As for weapon Sigils, there are plenty of good ones. Fire, Critical Chance 5%, Damage 5%, 60% on crit to bleed, bleeds last 10% longer are just a few that should be considered.

The sigil I use on my Shortbow. Well I honestly have like 5 Shortbows with different sigils. My favorites would be the one with Bloodlust/ Perception/ Energy/ Air.

By the way Fire > Air because AoE > single-target.

I generally use Fire + Force on one weapon set and Bloodlust on Shortbow. If my build has less relatively low crit chance I'd use Fire + Accuracy. For Surv/ cond builds I'd use Geomancy + Corruption and Energy on Shortbow or if going Crit/ cond I'd go for Earth.

vo. Utility Skills

We, as Thieves, have access to many absolutely great Utility skills. In this section, instead of giving you a rundown and long explanation including various situations and uses I will simply highlight some of the ones that I find to be most deserving of a place on my bar, in no particular order.

Shadow Refuge
Haste
Shadow Trap
Ambush Trap
Blinding Powder
Caltrops (very very scarcely)
All of the signets
Smoke Screen

None of the venoms make it onto my list. I think they are all very gimmicky and more importantly just... pretty useless unless speccing into Shadow Arts for leeching venoms (which I don't find particularly rewarding in any case). I reserve these views on venoms for PvE. Obviously in PvP they have a place, but beings as this is a guide for PvE, I won't be touching on that.

viip. Healing Skills

This is a tricky subject. All of the heals have their uses, all of them are pretty obvious. I don't feel that I need to elaborate here as I really think it is largely down to preference and circumstance. What I will say though is this;

Signet of Malice very rarely leaves my bar simply because the vast majority of fights will involve AoE. That and it works extremely well with my weapon selection and choice in Elite (look below for more info).

viiiq. Elite Skills

Basilisk Venom

See views on venoms above.

Thieves Guild

Honestly more of a PvP skill. The 180 cooldown isn't so great in PvE. It can be nice at times because the Pistol thief will blind foes and the Dagger thief will deal significant damage.. but still. Not to mention both of them will draw aggro away from you. But still, I maintain that this is more of a PvP skill.

Dagger Storm

I find this to be the most useful elite skill purely because.. It's more useful in more situations than the other two. The cool down is fairly short in comparison too,  but most importantly, when paired with Signet of Malice, providing enough foes are around, it will heal you practically to full health while maintaining Stability and dealing relatively good damage. It's my "Oh Shi-" button. It is fairly epic when paired with Haste (must be said).

It kinda bums me out that we have so few elite skills, but that is a qualm I have with elites in GW2 in general across all the classes. I guess I'm just blinded by the amount that we had access to in GW1.

ixr. Trait Trees

In this section I'm going to list the traits that I find particularly useful in each individual line and I will also briefly explain the main reasons I either do or don't spec into a line.

It is very important to remember which trait tree offers which stats when putting a build together. There is not much point in building for a 100% Crit build and then investing 30 points in Trickery, that is simply counter-productive.

Deadly Arts - (+ Power, + Condition duration)

Sundering Strikes, Mug, Back Fighting, Dagger Training.

I generally don't ever put 30 points into it, only ever 25 for Exposed Weaknesses. This line for me, isn't a staple, however, when I want to deal the most possible damage with a Power build, it's a must as there is no other way to compensate fully, sometimes however, survival trumps DPS. This trait line has a lot of synergy within itself.

Critical Strikes - (+ Precision, + Critical damage)

Furious Retaliation, Side Strikes, Pistol Mastery, Practiced Tolerance, Hidden Killer, Executioner.

This is our most important trait-line for Power or Cond/ Crit builds. It drastically increases your damage output and arguably survival via stat points as well as by trait-choice.

Shadow Arts - (+ Toughness, + Healing power)

Master of Deception, Infusion of Shadow, Shadow's Rejuvination.

This line offers a lot of survivability via stats as well as minor traits. It also allows you to manage initiative far better. I generally don't like putting more than 20-25 points into this trait-line, unless I'm going for a full out survival/ condition build.

Acrobatics - (+ Vitality, + Boon duration)

Descent of Shadows, Power of Inertia, Vigorous Recovery, Fleet Shadow, Quick Recovery, Quick Pockets.

As a general rule 15-20 points in Acrobatics are a staple for all my builds. This is due to quite frankly; awesomeness from both minor and major traits. Initiative recovery, passive might building, extra vigor, extra dodge as well as extra Vitality. This line is probably my favorite. That being said, I never find myself investing 30 points into this line.

Trickery - (+ Condition damage, + Steal recharge rate)

Flanking Strikes, Thrill of the Crime, Long Reach, Bountiful Theft, Hastened Replenishment.

Honestly, I pretty much hate this line. I do see the merits of using this line and understand why some people like it, for me though (for any kind of build) I simply find it to be severely sub-par in comparison to all of our other options.

xs. Steal

During the Beta Events I was highly disappointed by our class-mechanic. I honestly thought; "It's only useful when you trait for it and why would anyone want to do that?" Upon playing the game I've actually found Steal to be exceptionally useful.. It can serve many purposes even if we don't sink any trait points into the mechanic.

A lot of people keep posting "I try to use Steal as often as possible" as though it's some kind of good habit all Thieves need to get into - That is absolutely NOT how it should be used. It's not a spammy spammy skill at all.

Firstly, Steal is a stun-break. There are a lot of mobs in PvE that enjoy knocking you down (see above, Ettin w/ club) and keeping you down in stun-lock (Spiders in CoF). Steal enables us to break-stun absolutely freely. No wasted utility slots, no wasted initiative. Get out of Jail free card. Wonderful.

Another great thing about Steal is the fact that the cooldown initiates the second you activate Steal. So you press F1, you acquire an item, you can keep this item for the whole duration of the cooldown, use said item and then use Steal again straight after. Obviously this has it's advantages, specifically when dealing with a tricky set of mobs.

Whenever I acquire an item from Steal I don't use it directly. If it's a good one like Feathers or Cyclone Axe, I'll treat like a cookie and save it for later as opposed to wasting it. It's happened before, I'd click F1 twice and bam, I lose my feathers.. And they don't do jack all because of the internal cool down on stealth.. So be patient with it. Cause I can assure you, one day, you'll find yourself in a situation and you'll be saying; "If only I kept that stolen item... It would have been handy now!"

So don't spam it. Try to learn all the effects and pictures to make the whole process easier and more efficient.

xit. Example Build

The Build I'd like to share with you all is just an example.

http://gw2.luna-atra...0f0858c8n8p8ujp

Let me just explain my reasoning here.

Signet of Malice + Clusterbomb = Godly.

Haste + Dagger storm + Signet of Malice = Godly.

Shadow refuge = Simply a really great support skill.

Signet = Improves our critical chance, it's active use is also quite nice. Especially with 15 in acrobatics.

Other utilities that should be considered;

Roll for initiative - Stun break, re-flll resources, brilliant skill.
Signet of Shadows - 25% move speed, great for map travel. Blinding nearby foes is nice too.
Ambush Trap - great for solo PvE. Slightly less lonely :D
Blinding Powder - it's just a great skill!

Use them where and when you think they will be most useful!

As for traits, let me exlplain why I chose what.

25 Deadly Arts:

- Chance to cause vulnerability on critical hit.

This works really well with our Grandmaster trait which enables us to deal more damage when there is a condition on our target. There should be conditions on said target already, but this only helps.

- 5% dagger damage, pretty essential for dealing mahoosive backstabs.

30 Critical Strikes:

Firstly, precision, this boosts our critical chance. Staple on all my bulds.

- 5% crit chance above 90%. More crit chance, useful no?

- Returns initiative on critical hit, you'l be critting often, resource management is always important.

- +7% flanking, most of your day as a D/D thief, you'll be behind an opponent/ at their flank.

- 100% crit from stealth - Incredibly useful. if you scroll down below you'll see some discussion about Hidden killer versus executioner's. Both are good traits. I personally prefer the certainty hidden killer offers. That's not to say its statistically superior though. I reckon the difference in all actuality is pretty negligible. But I highly suggest trying out both and deciding which you prefer.

- 10% more damage over 6 initiative. Great, more free damage. I felt as though I was lacking! Seriously though, don't use Cloak and Dagger until you have 10 initiative, and don't backstab till at 6!

15 Acrobatics:

- You can dodge 3 times and gain might + swiftness on Dodge. Paired with built-in evasion with SB, you just have loads of mobility!

xiiu. Leveling up

This is just a step by step approach of how I'd build from 10-80 taking the example build into consideration.

I'd start with putting trait points into the following trait trees:

10 in Critical Strikes
10 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

Save up the points from 35-40 such then when you hit 40 you can put those 5 points into Acrobatics. So at 40 you should have;

10 in Critical Strikes
15 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

From 40-60 I'd put an additional 10 in Critical Strikes (being the priority since it enhances your crit chance) and then the other 10 in Deadly Arts. Bringing you to:

20 Critical Strikes
15 Acrobatics
15 Deadly Arts

I would then proceed from 60-80 to max Critical Strikes and then put the rest of the points into Deadly Arts.

xiiiv. Conclusion

Now guys, we have an amazing multi-faceted class here with a lot of potential. Pre-release I was very skeptical. I didn't think we had much to offer. Boy was I wrong!

It can be challenging at times but I do guarantee a lot of fun. It takes a lot more consideration than; "spam this skill, ???, profit" I hope this thread has to an extent at least, proved that.

Please remember that everything in this post is just my view, my interpretation, my preferences. Use this however you please. If it helps you, then I'm glad I posted. If it challenges you and makes you think; "Well, maybe I should give X weapon another go" or "I need to try trait Y the next time I login" then this thread has for me at least, proved worthwhile.

I hope to update this thread in the future with more builds, more information, more tips and tricks and specifically post some in-depth findings about our role in high-end dungeons.

I've been The Shadow, Happy Thieving!

Also, feel free to add me in-game if you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer providing I'm online. My IGN is Shadow.2069

Oh and feel free to post this anywhere you like so long as you don't neglect to give credit.

Terms and conditions apply.

Edited by The Shadow, 06 May 2013 - 02:27 AM.


#2 Jules L

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:44 PM

Thanks for the post! I have a few questions, thought you might be able to answer them.

1) What's the best way to use cluster bomb effectively? Should I detonate or let it land? In my experience, the thief is kind of slow with the shortbow -- do you have any tips for using cluster bomb against moving targets?

2) Does black powder stack? I mean, is there any difference if I use it three times in a row very quickly, or do I have to space it out for it to work? What about if I want to use another skill that blinds?

Edited by Jules L, 15 September 2012 - 10:45 PM.


#3 The Shadow

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:07 PM

View PostJules L, on 15 September 2012 - 10:44 PM, said:

Thanks for the post! I have a few questions, thought you might be able to answer them.

1) What's the best way to use cluster bomb effectively? Should I detonate or let it land? In my experience, the thief is kind of slow with the shortbow -- do you have any tips for using cluster bomb against moving targets?

2) Does black powder stack? I mean, is there any difference if I use it three times in a row very quickly, or do I have to space it out for it to work? What about if I want to use another skill that blinds?

1) What you have to consider is range. The longer the range, the larger the arc, the longer the travel time. Yes you should detonate always detonate as not only does this do more damage, it also synergizes well with signet of malice (more hits = more health). You should use this in relatively short range. Not too far away such that the travel time is as low as possible.

2) I'm not entirely sure, but if it's like cripple then it stacks, in a sense. Like cripple and vulnerability, if you use one skill, the duration (of which there is a cap) is brought back to full duration when you use another skill with the same effect. Although I'd never suggest using it that way, it's a situational/ support skill. More of an "OH Shi--" as opposed to something that needs to be maintained 24/7.

Hope this helps.

Edited by The Shadow, 15 September 2012 - 11:07 PM.


#4 Minion

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 06:19 AM

With such a high crit chance, I feel the 100% crit chance while cloaked a waste. The executioner trait skill will offer higher DPS in the long run.

Also, who ever said "spam heartseeker gg"? I'm at a loss, there.

Edited by Minion, 16 September 2012 - 04:53 PM.


#5 The Shadow

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:01 PM

View PostMinion, on 16 September 2012 - 06:19 AM, said:

With such a high crit chance, I feel the 100% crit chance while cloaked a waste. The executioner trait skill will offer higher DPS in the long run.

Also, who ever said "spam heartseeker gg"? I'm at a loss, there.

I like the certainty of 100% better as the majority of you're damage will come from backstabs as opposed to auto-attack/ other skills while using D/D. Also, Hidden Killer works best in case you want to switch weapon sets to say; Pistol/ Dagger, on the fly, where the stealth skill is a series of shots as opposed to just one hit. Another benefit of the 100% crit chance from stealth is the almost guaranted 60% of 5s bleed (if you choose to use that particular sigil).

Also, it depends on your crit chance as you say, which is greatly down to Sigils/ Inscriptions. Which means you can afford to stack power as opposed to precision,.

Lots of players in-game/ on forums that constantly whine about Thieves say it frequently. Of course I'm para-phrasing though.

Edited by The Shadow, 16 September 2012 - 05:05 PM.


#6 Heineken

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:26 PM

I would also gladly take Executioner over Hidden Killer any day of the week. You can easily stack lots of % damage when their HP is under half. Backstab might have big numbers, but that's about it.

100% crit chance after stealth vs 20% damage when target below 50% health. I don't see why anybody would bother with Hidden Killer when Executioner is so much more useful.

It feels like just auto attacking will do more damage than CnD+Backstab.

#7 The Shadow

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 09:25 PM

View PostHeineken, on 16 September 2012 - 05:26 PM, said:

I would also gladly take Executioner over Hidden Killer any day of the week. You can easily stack lots of % damage when their HP is under half. Backstab might have big numbers, but that's about it.

100% crit chance after stealth vs 20% damage when target below 50% health. I don't see why anybody would bother with Hidden Killer when Executioner is so much more useful.

It feels like just auto attacking will do more damage than CnD+Backstab.

It may feel like auto attacking will do more damage than CnD crit Backstab, but.. It wont. Lol :P Even if you by magic have 100% crit chance and spam an auto attack chain, it will still do quite a lot less damage than a CnD crit Backstab. I'd say it takes around 2 - 4 auto chains while flanking (depending on how often you crit) to get to the same damage as a single crit backstab and that doesn't even include the possibility of CnD critting.

I use the two traits for different purposes I guess. When P/D or D/D I will take Hidden Killer. When using S/P I'd take Executioners simply because the sword stealth skill is rubbish and that extra damage on Pistol Whip is insanse, especially if most hits crit (and most hits should), whereas for P/P, D/D and P/D the stealth attacks are actually pretty amazing, so to me, it makes sense to capitalize on them.

Edited by The Shadow, 17 September 2012 - 12:46 AM.


#8 Minion

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:56 PM

The question is, how often must you slap a foe when cloaked to benefit more from 100% crit than +20% damage? The problem is, it's not +100% crit chance, it's +48-53%. I'll see what it's like in the playing field, however.

#9 The Shadow

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:40 PM

View PostMinion, on 16 September 2012 - 10:56 PM, said:

The question is, how often must you slap a foe when cloaked to benefit more from 100% crit than +20% damage? The problem is, it's not +100% crit chance, it's +48-53%. I'll see what it's like in the playing field, however.

Of course, it's very hard to measure DPS, especially in a game where there is no built in mechanic for finding out DPS, but let me know what you find either way.

I will say this though;

Cloak and Dagger (initiating attack on a single mob) crit or not will not put said mob to 50% or below. The resulting crit backstab is enough to 1 hit said mob (providing it's not a champion/ veteran) so in this context, the 100% crit chance is much more beneficial because on the off-chance that you don't crit, you may not finish off said mob, whereas with 100% crit chance, you will and that's a certainty.

For dungeon boss fights though, executioner's may well be the wisest choice. For veterans, I don't think it'd make too much of a difference as they die relatively quickly anyhow.. So then really it becomes a question of preference in that you either pick to save time against bosses or on single stray adds/ monsters.

Anyway, keep me posted ;D

#10 abzoluut

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:43 PM

"Returns initiative on critical hit"

Wait.. where, what?

#11 Tanith

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:51 PM

Upon reading this I've decided to experiment with the shortbow a bit more.  Good guide!

:)

#12 The Shadow

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:27 PM

View Postabzoluut, on 17 September 2012 - 12:43 PM, said:

"Returns initiative on critical hit"

Wait.. where, what?

Upon reflection, I'm not sure if I made this part up or the build tool was lying/ outdated. Anyway, I can't load it on my PC (being sent back tomorrow and replaced). Can't even play GW2 :C Don't suppose you could confirm this for me?

View PostTanith, on 17 September 2012 - 12:51 PM, said:

Upon reading this I've decided to experiment with the shortbow a bit more.  Good guide!

:)

Thanks, good luck :D

Edited by The Shadow, 17 September 2012 - 01:34 PM.


#13 abzoluut

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:47 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 17 September 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

Upon reflection, I'm not sure if I made this part up or the build tool was lying/ outdated. Anyway, I can't load it on my PC (being sent back tomorrow and replaced). Can't even play GW2 :C Don't suppose you could confirm this for me?

Could not find it, sounds too good to be true. So if anyone can clear this one out?

I'm running points in Trickery atm to have that 3 extra initiative. Gaining ini from crits would be awesome, means I could put traits in Acro to have better mobility.

Btw, do you have any vit/toughness upgrades on you gear? I'm approaching Thief closely the way you do (great read btw), running 3/3 Berserker's/Rampager's. However, I'm a bit concerned about my healthpool being lower then Light armor professions :lol:. I haven't figured it out yet. One day I feel prec/pow/crit is the way to go in terms of upgrade components, the next day vit/toughness seem to be more necessary.

Everyone's thoughts are very much welcome!

#14 Bacon

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:57 PM

View Postabzoluut, on 17 September 2012 - 01:47 PM, said:

Could not find it, sounds too good to be true. So if anyone can clear this one out?

15 points in Critical Strikes gives you 20% chance to restore 1 initiative on critical hit

#15 The Shadow

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:04 PM

View Postabzoluut, on 17 September 2012 - 01:47 PM, said:

Could not find it, sounds too good to be true. So if anyone can clear this one out?

I'm running points in Trickery atm to have that 3 extra initiative. Gaining ini from crits would be awesome, means I could put traits in Acro to have better mobility.

Btw, do you have any vit/toughness upgrades on you gear? I'm approaching Thief closely the way you do (great read btw), running 3/3 Berserker's/Rampager's. However, I'm a bit concerned about my healthpool being lower then Light armor professions :lol:. I haven't figured it out yet. One day I feel prec/pow/crit is the way to go in terms of upgrade components, the next day vit/toughness seem to be more necessary.

Everyone's thoughts are very much welcome!

Called opportunist. 20% chance on crit to gain 1 ini.

Edit: posted above.

I personally, don't feel squishy, with all the built in evade, mobility facilitated by acro, passve healing from signet of Malice, stability in Dstorm, constant access to Stealth etc..

Maye that's just me though.

Pehaps consider swapping some gems on your jewelry to Knight's. As for me, I don't think it's worth forgoing damge output for survival when I'm already finding it relatively easy to stay alive in the first place :P Also I'm not entirely sure how much of a difference toughness makes. Certainly more useful than Vitality though.

I have full Berserker Jewelry, and x2 sets of full Berserker and full Rampager. I use both for different situations, but more often than not, find myself using both at the same time,

Edited by The Shadow, 17 September 2012 - 02:08 PM.


#16 broski

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:26 PM

Im going to agree with Executioner over Hidden Killer. If you have 50-60% crit its only a 40-50% upgrade. Doesnt seem as beneficial.

#17 abzoluut

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:55 PM

View Postbroski, on 17 September 2012 - 04:26 PM, said:

Im going to agree with Executioner over Hidden Killer. If you have 50-60% crit its only a 40-50% upgrade. Doesnt seem as beneficial.

Exactly. Hidden Killer is fun when you're farming/exploring content. However, on those long boss fights, a 20% dmg boost for half the fight is the way to go imo.

Then again, this game forces you swapping out abilities since almost every situation is different. On a short fight I'd go HK.

#18 The Shadow

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:49 PM

Well I'm sure none of you played a Force Shielder in Cabal Online (pretty obscure game). To win in 1v1 duels or in PvP or do good damage in PvE you HAD to crit fairly often and it was impossible to get your crit chance above 60% and even that was hard to obtain.

Different game, but to me, 100% crit chance (even though it only adds around 50%) for the majority of the skills I use is simply invaluable. And yes there is the argument of then not stacking Precision at all and simply going Power, but then you wont crit as often with the Shortbow. But hey, each to his own, I like my high crit chance and I like the certainty Hidden Killer offers when using D/D.

As for whether or not Hidden Killer is better/ worse than Execurioner's.. well I honestly think the difference is negligable and down to preference. Of course I could be entirely wrong about that though.

If anyone would like to do the math or measure DPS somehow on Golems or whathaveyou please do and let me know just how wrong/ right I am. Of course I'm not sure how accurate such tests would be.. but it would be interesting all the same.

I'd test it myself if it wasn't for my computer being a piece of shit that s being sent back to the manufacturer tomorrow :P

Edited by The Shadow, 17 September 2012 - 05:54 PM.


#19 Heineken

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:34 PM

I haven't played Cabal in 3-4 years now, but 1v1 duels on Cabal were always really bland. You crit with completer skill with your sFS you win. You don't crit, you lose. Force Shielders had the most crit rate too aside from Force Bladers. (I think?)

Ah the good ol' days when people would bash you & call it unfair for messing up their combo with fade step.  :D

#20 The Shadow

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:39 PM

View PostHeineken, on 17 September 2012 - 06:34 PM, said:

I haven't played Cabal in 3-4 years now, but 1v1 duels on Cabal were always really bland. You crit with completer skill with your sFS you win. You don't crit, you lose. Force Shielders had the most crit rate too aside from Force Bladers. (I think?)

Ah the good ol' days when people would bash you & call it unfair for messing up their combo with fade step.  :D

Exactly how it was, I got bored of sFs very quickly and made my Wizard the 109 bringer :D cause the gear looked uber cool too. Ofcourse in such battles fade-blink in combo were common place among the good players.

Edited by The Shadow, 17 September 2012 - 06:39 PM.


#21 Lilitu

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:58 PM

Bugger, now everyone else will be using my beloved shortbow :P

#22 Bnonn

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:41 PM

Don't worry, I won't :P I just can't get SB to work with my playstyle. I have much more fun swapping around D/D, D/P and P/D.

#23 Mithlom

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:46 PM

One question I do have on a lot of these builds, and maybe I miss it in some cases...

Is there any specific order these should be purchased?  I read in another suggestion it doesn't matter until 40?

Even a simple suggestion as every 5 points should be used in this order... or maybe I'm just crazy... I'm taking a very slow pace to leveling :)

#24 The Shadow

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

View PostMithlom, on 18 September 2012 - 02:46 PM, said:

One question I do have on a lot of these builds, and maybe I miss it in some cases...

Is there any specific order these should be purchased?  I read in another suggestion it doesn't matter until 40?

Even a simple suggestion as every 5 points should be used in this order... or maybe I'm just crazy... I'm taking a very slow pace to leveling :)

Well, you can't put 15-20 points into a trait line before level 40. That's why I said it on another thread, so to me 1-40 really is about experimentation. From 10-40 if you'd like a step by step approach to build up to the build I listed in my post I suppose i'd do something along these lines:

10 in Critical Strikes
10 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

Save up the points from 35-40 such then when you hit 40 you can put those 5 points into Acrobatics. So at 40 you should have;

10 in Critical Strikes
15 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

From 40-60 I'd put an additional 10 in Critical Strikes (being the priority since it enhances you're crit chance) and then the other 10 in Deadly Arts. Bringing you to:

20 Critical Strikes
15 Acrobatics
15 Deadly Arts

I would then proceed from 60-80 to max Critical Strikes and then put the rest of the points into Deadly Arts.

#25 Gen0cid3

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:55 PM

Although i always been the Heavy Armor Class player, i was amazed how much fun i had with the thief in the BWE´s, resulting in being my main since then.

I love the idea of being that sneaky, hard hitting stabby stabby type of class, so did someone actually tried this in WvW. Right now im playing a Condition Damage specc with full Rampagers Armor, which works fine, but im still in the process of finding my playstyle. How viable is a backstab build in WvW?

Edited by Gen0cid3, 18 September 2012 - 03:55 PM.


#26 Oh No Dinosaur

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 04:48 PM

Love this build thank you very much, I am lvl 37 and when I am leveling hearts I use signet of shadows in place of shadow refuge. I feel incredibly powerful with this build, I don't know why but I was very hesitant on mixing gear stats at first but I must say I think its the way to go. Fantastic guide, thanks for helping me understand thief a lot better. I am doing a lot better in PvE now. :)

#27 The Shadow

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 05:20 PM

View PostOh No Dinosaur, on 18 September 2012 - 04:48 PM, said:

Love this build thank you very much, I am lvl 37 and when I am leveling hearts I use signet of shadows in place of shadow refuge. I feel incredibly powerful with this build, I don't know why but I was very hesitant on mixing gear stats at first but I must say I think its the way to go. Fantastic guide, thanks for helping me understand thief a lot better. I am doing a lot better in PvE now. :)

Thanks!

Glad I could help :D

#28 Mithlom

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 02:58 AM

Thanks The Shadow... I appreciate the help.. I never thought about that much until I hit 25 tonight and had full 5 more points to use ;)

really hoping to get some solid playtime soon, unfortunately I'm only get 45 minutes here and there and can't get a lot of levels in... can't wait to really try out your build though!

#29 The Shadow

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 03:27 AM

View PostMithlom, on 19 September 2012 - 02:58 AM, said:

Thanks The Shadow... I appreciate the help.. I never thought about that much until I hit 25 tonight and had full 5 more points to use ;)

really hoping to get some solid playtime soon, unfortunately I'm only get 45 minutes here and there and can't get a lot of levels in... can't wait to really try out your build though!

You'll get there soon enough!

Hope you like it :D

#30 jejaj

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:56 AM

Hi!
Imo ur guide is very good and helpful. Through this build a made my own:

http://gw2skills.net...eSo4J/DOoODc6lA
Gear and runes same like u.

What do u think about this?

Someone write

Quote

I don't know but isn't Flanking Strikes better over Instinctual Response in terms of DPS, same goes for Side Strikes is a better DPS trait over Furious Retaliation.
But i think Flanking Strikes and Side Strikes are worse than Instinctual Response and Furious Retaliation. What is ur opinion ?




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