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Thief - A basic Guide

thief guide shortbow pve

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#211 Rachmani

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:23 AM

With 6 pieces Soldier I'm at 1200 toughness too, seems a pretty good spot to be... I can post my complete stats when I log in next time.
Usual build is: http://intothemists....128;2INV4;9;1Fe
this is with P/P, SB traits, I switch for other weapon sets. I keep crit -> vit, 50% damage on downed, quick recovery & executioner, though.

#212 leongrado

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:24 AM

I'm dying so much using the example build lol

#213 Tiweh

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

hi
i wanna say that this guide made me wannea start a thief character, but since i'm kinda new i die alot xD
I was wondering if u have some video footage of how u handle different fights (1 enemie, lots of enemies, bosses,...) i think it might help not only me but also others.
also do u use differnt build in dungeons and or fractals?

#214 Jan Roman

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

I would like to share my experience with my thief. Please note all this comes from my PERSONAL experience and other people may (or will) tell you different things.

If you decided to create a Thief and you seem to die a lot, don't worry about it. You have to know that thief is heavily about mobility. Run around, dodge, use various abilities that teleport you (Shadowstep, Infilatrator's Arrow). Mobility is what thief is about, not high damage. Remeber that you have to move in order to confuse the enemy and be able to deal some damage. You are very squishy (unless running a bunker build) and you will NOT sustain damage, so try to avoid it. Don't try to deal massive damage - it might work against bad players, but you won't succeed against more skilled opponents. You deal NO damage when you are dead.

Don't get me wrong however. As a thief, you are capable of deaing massive amounts of damage, both in PvE and PvP. You can take the crit build path (high damage bursts - with a proper build you can take down cloth characters in two seconds) or the condition damage path (high condition damage combined with high mobility is a great way to bring anyone down). In PvE, you are very valuable in dealing AoE damage with your shortbow. I don't find thief so much viable in a close range combat for the reasons above - we are very squishy and you have to be very very careful not to get hit by a boss. I find condition builds slightly better in PvE, as you don't have to be so durable and you will not worry about your position (with a crit/backstab build, you have to position yourself behind your enemy, which sometimes gets tricky while in a large group of players).

I am mostly a PvP (WvW) player. I am currently running D/D/SB combo. First, I would like to talk about shortbow. In my opinion, it is the best ranged weapon for a thief. While P/P will deal significantly more single target DPS, I like the shortbow for its versatility and AoE damage. I believe shortbow is a must for WvW as you want to deal AoE damage while defending your walls and gates). In sPvP, it a great tools as well. You can get faster to capture points with Infiltrator's Arrow, you can get away form four enemies with Disabling Shot and when you have the opportunity, you can use AoE poison and deal lots of AoE damage. A great tool.

As for D/D as my primary weapon set, I absolutely adore it. Yes, people run various builds and every one of them is a viable one. D/D is great for backstab build or condition damage build, your choice. I run crit/backstab build, but it's not entirely burst build. It's based especially on stealth (trait for regen in stealth, initiative gains in stealth, condition removal in stealth and for higer damage while in stealth). I run some support abilities as well (Shadow refuge, Smoke screen). As for Elite skills, I don't find the Basilisk Venom so useful. Even though it is quite powerful 1vs1 and has a relatively short cooldown, in PvP I find Thiefs Guild and Dagger Storm more useful).

To sum it up, I believe thief offers lots of fun. It is a very dynamic class involving lots of movement and tricking your enemy. Just notice how desperate you get when fighitng a skilled thief. Thiefs are Swiss knifes - we are very versatile, capable of roaming, massive AoE and single target damage. There are downsides as well - we are very squishy by nature, when we run out of Initiative we are almost useless, and in certain situations we can be quite cooldown dependent. However, many of these can be maintained by learning how to manage CD and initiative properly.

And the last thing - don't get frustrated by all teh QQ you hear ingame or at official forums. Thiefs are not overpowered, they are just hard to counter by bad players. While playing a thief, you can tell immediately what is your opponent capable of. Thief is a wonderful class and I have never regreted playing it.

#215 arch beau

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

so i've been reading this forums board alot and keep hearing two different things, at one point i hear condition builds are not good for pve and that the crit builds are better.. then i hear opposite.. i was wondering could someone clarify that for me as to date, what ones more for pve and what ones not? i havent played the game ina a while and when i got back my build seemed completely lame and weak (kinda).

#216 Rachmani

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

It's rather simple actually.
Each mob can have up to 25 bleed stacks. As long as that cap doesn't block of additional bleeds conditions are fine, no, they're actually really good. Things get hairy whenever you have a bunch of players that all stack conditions and therefore block each other out.
A necromancer for example can stack from 10 to like 16-18 bleeds on a target without any effort.
As you see, they'll reach the bleed cap easily and therefore kind of lower each others damage.

So rule of thumb: Whenever you're alone or the only condition build in your group conditions are mighty fine. Other than that, not so much!

#217 unspunreality

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:42 PM

Ok, I had to log in to ask my question. Ive been juggling masmer and thief. New player, mesmer is 30, thief is 17. I love thief but Im finding it hard to do stuff like troll/wasp with DD. Ill constantly switch to shortbow (Because I hate P/P)

However, while leveling I tried S/D and I absolutely loved it. But it doesn't seem to deal damage in PvE stuff. I can solo just fine with it but when it comes to doing stuff like troll/wasp/boar Im finding I can only get silver medals. D/D gets me gold but I die a lot more because only 3 really helps me evade as compared to having almost every skill help with evasion as S/D.

Is this just a case of learning how to dodge/read enemies as D/D more? Or suck it up and go P/P for world events?

#218 Jan Roman

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

unspunreality: Read what I wrote above (the long post). D/D (and actually the whole thief) is about mobility. You have to run, dodge, think about your movement. This is especially important when using D/D, which is usually very squishy by nature.

#219 Kuskah

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

Need some help with a build. I want it to work in both Dungeons (mainly fractals) and WvW. I'm willing to switch utility skills and Major traits, but want to be using the same gear stats, weapons and trait point distribution (say 30/30/0/10/0).

Here's what I THINK would work: http://gw2skills.net...wxijDHJOLCGjMjA

But I'm fairly new to Thief and not sure what to focus, what traits are worth it, so the link above most likely sucks. Could I get some feedback from experienced thieves?

#220 Rachmani

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:19 AM

25/30/0/15/0 is probably what you want. Basically the build stays the same, but you get an additional dodge, almost in a row.
With 15 actrobatics the whole class plays much more fluenty.
As for traits... you can switch around most of them, although some are probably rather clear (5% dagger damage for example).
Gearwise what your traits point in the glass cannon direction. Though you could also buy valkyrie stuff & spec hidden killer. Your choice.

#221 JDogg126

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

Thank you for creating this thread.  I was having a hard time feeling a connection with my thief the way I have connected with my guardian and engineer but something about the way you worded your guide has resonated with me and I am finding my thief to be quite enjoyable now.  :)

#222 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:01 AM

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this guide.  I just started a thief and I found this really helpful.

#223 malevolence

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

Quote

Khilborn armor + Carrion/ Rampager Jewelry mix

isn't this armor a light armor ? and the name is Khilbron ;)

What type of armor is best for the example build? I got an exotic armor set with condition damage (stats as Khilbron) and high precision, should this armor do the job?

Edited by malevolence, 13 February 2013 - 12:28 AM.


#224 The Shadow

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:37 PM

View Postmalevolence, on 13 February 2013 - 12:13 AM, said:

isn't this armor a light armor ? and the name is Khilbron ;)

What type of armor is best for the example build? I got an exotic armor set with condition damage (stats as Khilbron) and high precision, should this armor do the job?

Khilbron is Rabid which is Precision, Toughness and Condition Damage so yeah :P And it works well for Crit/ Condition builds. Condition builds.

It works quite well, the only issue is receiving too much Aggro when there are no Heavies in the party. Necromancers have the same problem too.


View PostDoctor Overlord, on 12 February 2013 - 05:01 AM, said:

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this guide.  I just started a thief and I found this really helpful.

Glad it helps!


View PostJDogg126, on 11 February 2013 - 10:23 PM, said:

Thank you for creating this thread.  I was having a hard time feeling a connection with my thief the way I have connected with my guardian and engineer but something about the way you worded your guide has resonated with me and I am finding my thief to be quite enjoyable now.  

Awesome, stick with it! Thief, imo, becomes the most active/ enjoyable class in harder content.

#225 malevolence

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:08 AM

Oh no, sorry for my mistake, the armor I have is the set from CoF, with Power, Cond Damage and Precision, so no Toughness or Vitality, and is not the highest condition damage either :( , still, I was playing with your example build last night in CoF, but it seems I cannot pull much damage, either with short bow or daggers. Short bow is very slow, is there a way you can post a picture of the damage you managed to pull with a short bow? and of course, any tips for the armor I have ? Thank you.

By the way, the exotic named armor for medium class is called Vatlaaw (Rabid) :)

Edited by malevolence, 14 February 2013 - 12:11 AM.


#226 TitianVecelli

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

This is probably a completely standard build but I want to make sure I'm on the right track and/or not missing out on something incredibly helpful. I've been experimenting with all the weapon sets and can say without a doubt that Dagger/ Pistol and Shortbow are my absolute favorites. I love the mobility and utility so much. I'm mostly running Berserker's armor (PvE) as I'm not finding I have any trouble dodging and reading enemies at all, probably all that practice with blinding and interuppting. Still working on my Jewelry and Weapons, those are the things I'm having trouble affording/picking up in exotic quality but they will probably be berserkers too.

So Power/Precision/Crit with this build.

http://gw2.luna-atra...08m8o8p969djpjr

Anything I could/should be doing differently?

#227 Vysander

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:29 PM

View PostTitianVecelli, on 14 February 2013 - 08:46 PM, said:

*snip*

It looks fine. Only thing i would comment on is that you might consider putting the points from shadow arts elsewhere. Not saying its a bad choice, as im guessing you use combo fields for stealth quite often, as well as having hide in shadows and refuge.

I ran with the shadow arts trait line for a while, and for my style in PvE 15 in trickery and 25 in acrobatics works better. (and gives a little more mobility then shadow arts in form of extra initiative for infiltrators arrow/disabling shot)

I would say keep at what you're doing, and only change something if it feels right to you.

Edited by Vysander, 14 February 2013 - 09:31 PM.


#228 The Shadow

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:47 AM

View Postmalevolence, on 14 February 2013 - 12:08 AM, said:

Oh no, sorry for my mistake, the armor I have is the set from CoF, with Power, Cond Damage and Precision, so no Toughness or Vitality, and is not the highest condition damage either :( , still, I was playing with your example build last night in CoF, but it seems I cannot pull much damage, either with short bow or daggers. Short bow is very slow, is there a way you can post a picture of the damage you managed to pull with a short bow? and of course, any tips for the armor I have ? Thank you.

By the way, the exotic named armor for medium class is called Vatlaaw (Rabid) :)

Well I don't suppose it would work very well. 25/30/0/15 is designed purely for a Power/ Crit build as opposed to a Condition build. You're using Rampager, which means you want to invest trait points in such a way that it will boost your Condition damage and survivability. So lines like Trickery suddenly become worth it.

Even then though, Condition builds are inferior to Crit builds in terms of DPS. The benefits lay in the extra survivability that you gain by slightly altering the way you'd conventionally play. It's about using LDB/ evasion/ stealth wisely as opposed to backstabbing and back/ flank stabby-stabby.


View PostTitianVecelli, on 14 February 2013 - 08:46 PM, said:

snip

Definitely along the right lines. It's somewhat similar to what I've been running except I trait differently. Also I don't know if Haste is worth it. I used to like it but found the complete waste of endurance... simply unacceptable. But I suppose that will depend entirely on the content


View PostVysander, on 14 February 2013 - 09:29 PM, said:

snip

Shadow Arts is a far wiser investment for the 15 points than Trickery.

Toughness > Condition damage in this context. But also none of the perks of traiting into Trickery become more attractive in comparison to those that can be attained via in Shadow arts entirely regardless of context.

#229 TitianVecelli

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:48 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 16 February 2013 - 04:47 AM, said:

snip

Thanks Shadow, I find myself continually playing around with traits and switching skills on the fly but it's good to know I'm on the right track. Haste is just something I've been throwing on my bars for standing on the leaf at the end of TA and shortbow-ing down the Nightmare Tree. Such a boring fight with that gimmick.

#230 Dannus

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

Hi,

I have been using your guide and some others to help me with my thief build, and am now at level 78 in game with my sylvari thief.

I have however had a bad weekend of it, and it has made me think about giving this character up really.

The reasoning is that from what I have been told in game, most of the thief's powerful abilities got nerfed due to other players complaining about them being op in pvp & wvw, so signet of malice, and offhand dagger, heart seeker are just not what they used to be.

I kinda got annoyed because i was told by the group i did my first dungeon with that thieves are just too soft for pve and dungeons, only good for spvp. 3 of my 4 teammate's had tried thieves and said they would not use them again.

I have been running a death blossom/con damage build with d/d and sb and my strategy up to this point seemed to work well for me,

when solo use the sb to engage, maybe hit 4 for poison & use auto attack and kite around to draw them in before switching up to d/d and hitting db 3 to 4 times (depends on luck of init on crit regen), then roll for ini out and then dodge back in and hit db again, then dodge out and switch back to sb and kite. this seemed to kill off most, but i was always doing low level maps.

In groups i mostly used sb and cluster/poison + auto to attack and cause aoe

As soon as i went in to the ac dungeon my thief was just super soft, i died in EVERY fight we had, and I started to feel really embarrassed. we had a level 35 warrior with us who only went down 2-3 times, and mostly during the boss fights. in many fights i went down 2-3 times in each fight, or more; i just felt like an hanger on, that was causing more of a hindrance than a help.

I did my first higher level map in party with an ele, and things went really well, but after they left and i soloed then my thief just seemed terrible there too. against certain enemy types i was OK, but against some zombies i would just go down like a sack of **** in a few seconds, no matter what approach i tried. I also found it particularly weak against multiple ranged targets as they just hit me before i can get in close. after all this I ended up feeling pretty demoralized about the thief.

maybe it is just my build, but at least to me it seems to be logical: http://intothemists....-28;21;02;9;7Fi

the theory being that i cause sustained con damage though bleeds from db, and crit almost all the time on all attacks.

On top of this build i had full rampage gear to support the crit chance and condition damage, so maybe i would live a bit longer with different gear.... but due to the way the gear stats are set up it means picking either precision or con damage + either toughness or vit.

#231 Jules L

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

I've been running 0/30/0/20/20 on my main and I love it, but I actually have an extra thief sitting around (don't ask). He's currently geared for bleeds, but I've been thinking about switching to a crit build and going 0/30/20/20/0 or 0/30/25/15/0 (or maybe even 0/30/15/15/10 for Thrill of the Crime). Has anyone tried traiting into both Shadow Arts and Acrobatics with any of those combinations? How do you like it?

Dannus, I rarely used my condition thief in dungeons because of the bleed cap (we have a ton of necromancers and an engineer or two in my guild), so I'm afraid I can't really help you much there. I can't get your link to work for me while I'm on a work computer, either. ): I did notice that my condition thief took more damage than my crit thief -- the one I usually run in dungeons -- because his best source of multi-target damage was through death blossom and things would still hit me in between death blossoms, hahaha. I don't have a problem in dungeons, though. Perhaps you should try another build and see if you find something that works better? c:

p.s. If your group thought that thieves are too soft in dungeons, then maybe they're the ones who sucked. :P

Edited by Jules L, 17 February 2013 - 09:50 PM.


#232 Minion

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:39 AM

View PostJules L, on 17 February 2013 - 09:42 PM, said:

Has anyone tried traiting into both Shadow Arts and Acrobatics with any of those combinations? How do you like it?


p.s. If your group thought that thieves are too soft in dungeons, then maybe they're the ones who sucked. :P

I specced 0/30/25/15/0 at one point, and the survivability and damage is good. 15 is the highest you ever need to spec in acrobatics, though. A staple thief crit/power build should always have 30 crit, 15 acrobatics. The other 25 can go anywhere, but I go 25 power or 25 shadow depending on ease of content. It's the most productive setup, with initiative on cloak and might, you compensate for the lack of Power with the ability to spam more heartseekers after getting the enemy to <50% with constant cnd/backstaps.

If what you were concerned about was speccing toughness and vitality, don't worry about that. It works out and you still deal more single-target DPS than any other professions (in full zerk).

Edited by Minion, 18 February 2013 - 08:40 AM.


#233 Djiin69

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:28 AM

New to the game, and I am going with thief, I must say that your guide looks great and it's gonna help me a lot. A big thanks to ya and Minion before you for this, hope you keep updating/adding stuff. Maybe some WvW? :)

#234 Pikile

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:37 PM

Hey! Im using D/D + SB as my wpns, and from what i understand its eather building for condition dmg or crit for D/D which means il ether focus on Backstabing, Heartseeker and ignoring Death Bloosom or other way around, and that kinda makes me sad, i want to be using all of them and knowing there is point in doing so, i mean its already just 4 buttons per weapon set as i count button 1 as autoattack only it cant rly count as ability. So if i count that on D/D 4 is very situational and 1 is just autoattack that leaves me with 1-2 abilities which is kinda sad.
Basicly is there build for D/D + SB that is valid dmg and makes u utilize Heartseeker when target is >25% hp, before that using C&D for Backstabs and Death Bloosom for some bleeds on target?
Thanks!

#235 Loperdos

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:52 PM

View PostPikile, on 14 March 2013 - 04:37 PM, said:

Hey! Im using D/D + SB as my wpns, and from what i understand its eather building for condition dmg or crit for D/D which means il ether focus on Backstabing, Heartseeker and ignoring Death Bloosom or other way around, and that kinda makes me sad, i want to be using all of them and knowing there is point in doing so, i mean its already just 4 buttons per weapon set as i count button 1 as autoattack only it cant rly count as ability. So if i count that on D/D 4 is very situational and 1 is just autoattack that leaves me with 1-2 abilities which is kinda sad.
Basicly is there build for D/D + SB that is valid dmg and makes u utilize Heartseeker when target is >25% hp, before that using C&D for Backstabs and Death Bloosom for some bleeds on target?
Thanks!

The biggest problem with doing this is that you are splitting your stats in order to be slightly above average at each type of damage.  Basically for a glass cannon crit build thief, you want to run power/prec/crit dmg for maximum damage and for a condition damage thief you want to run either condition damage/power or condition damage/prec (depending on if you want to run with on crit procing sigils or not).

These things you already know, which is evident from your post.  If you don't care as much about min/maxing your damage for either category, you could either go with Rampager's, which is power/prec/condition dmg (with prec as the dominant stat) or you could mix and match with either Beserker's and Carrion (for power/prec/crit dmg/cond dmg/vit) or Berserker's and Rabid (for power/prec/crit dmg/cond dmg/tough).  Either way, you are not going to be hitting as hard on your backstabs and heartseekers as someone who is full Beserker's (or even mix and match Beserker's + Valk/Knight) and your bleed ticks aren't going to be doing as much damage as someone who is full condition damage specced (either Carrion or Rabid, depending on their preference).

Another way to look at it is basically you have a limited amount of possible stat points, given the nature of how the stats are spread, with dominant stats and non-dominant stats, and if your goal is to min/max your damage, taking stats or using equips that don't benefit that particular damage type doesn't really benefit you all that much, given that you only have a limited number of possible stat points between stat distribution and the 6 armor slots, 6 trinket slots (including backpiece) and weapon slots.

TL;DR, you CAN run with both condition damage and crit backstab damage, but you won't do nearly as much of either damage type compared to someone who is specced for one or the other. If you are ok with that, go for it.

Hope this helps!

Edited by Loperdos, 14 March 2013 - 11:54 PM.


#236 Pikile

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

Thanks Loperdos for clearing that up for me!

#237 ShezuTsukai

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:32 PM

The up side to being a little more balanced thief is when you run into a warrior and a guardian in the same fight you can kite the warrior with your conditions and mobile SB while bursting down the guardian d/d (with tons of condition removal).

#238 Haggus

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

View PostDannus, on 17 February 2013 - 10:37 AM, said:



Hi Dannus.  From my own dungeon experience, I had the same trouble the first time playing thief.  I even tried going short bow, but was still having issues with the bosses.  

The epiphany hit when I started going back to P/P, and discovered the awesomeness of #4 skill.  Headshot is like D/shot was in GW1 for the ranger.  Never let it leave your bar. I use this, now, more than I use the combo skill.  With an average 3-4 sec recharge, it keeps the bosses, especially the Mesmer couple and Adelbairn, almost continually dazed. Just about every time you let it loose, you will see that "Interrupt" flash.  I died one time, once I started using this.  As was said above, also, stay away from condition builds in dungeons, as you will have others in your team stacking, and they will just make you even more squishy.

This, along with blinding and shadow refuge, will not only keep you alive, but help your team to win.  At the least, you will get a group that will no longer think thieves suck.

#239 Quack530

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

View PostHaggus, on 27 March 2013 - 03:45 PM, said:

Hi Dannus.  From my own dungeon experience, I had the same trouble the first time playing thief.  I even tried going short bow, but was still having issues with the bosses.  

The epiphany hit when I started going back to P/P, and discovered the awesomeness of #4 skill.  Headshot is like D/shot was in GW1 for the ranger.  Never let it leave your bar. I use this, now, more than I use the combo skill.  With an average 3-4 sec recharge, it keeps the bosses, especially the Mesmer couple and Adelbairn, almost continually dazed. Just about every time you let it loose, you will see that "Interrupt" flash.  I died one time, once I started using this.  As was said above, also, stay away from condition builds in dungeons, as you will have others in your team stacking, and they will just make you even more squishy.

This, along with blinding and shadow refuge, will not only keep you alive, but help your team to win.  At the least, you will get a group that will no longer think thieves suck.

Wow, this is one of the most positive comments on the way to be an effective dungeon thief that i've seen.  I imagine many pve thieves will begin making s/p their only melee set now.

#240 Phenn

Phenn

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:12 AM

View PostQuack530, on 27 March 2013 - 05:59 PM, said:

Wow, this is one of the most positive comments on the way to be an effective dungeon thief that i've seen.  I imagine many pve thieves will begin making s/p their only melee set now.

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