I’ve taken a slightly different approach to gearing my thief, and have pretty much played with most trait specs. Before I get into the beef of my post, I’m thinking an elaboration of my gear choices would make the post clearer.
As of now, I’m wearing 5 pieces of Knight gear, 2 Valkryie, and 5 Berserker Jewels, and all my weapons are Berserker distributed (1 sword, 2 daggers, 2 pistols, and a shortbow) . I have an exotic Carrion set (for condition dmg) as well as a set of Carrion weapons (2 daggers).
As you can see, I have pretty much all the weapons I need to achieve all the combinations possible. I spec in 30 crit/20 Acro/20 Tricks distribution.
At 80, there’s probably a few things that a thief will be doing:
1. Farming Orr Events
2. Clearing maps for 100%
3. Running Dungeons
4. Orichalcum ore runs (?)
6. General arsing around J
7. SPvP (I don’t do this at all, so discount my opinion for SPvP)
What I do the most is 1, 3 and 4.
1. Farming Orr Events
Let’s face it. At this stage of the game, Dynamic Events are all about tagging as many mobs for loot as we can. I don’t usually ask for parties in a DE mob (although I recommend it), and I usually don’t have a problem tagging mobs with my shortbow in my current gear. The crit from my berserker and knight gear puts me near 55% crit, and my power resides around 1.9k, and although I recognize that my damage could be a lot higher if I went full berserker, I don’t find that damage all that beneficial. Others are trying to tag the mob, and I deal enough damage as it is. Berserker and Knight pieces synergize in precision, and Knight provides supplementary Power and Toughness (Toughness is hardly needed in DEs imo thought). Shortbow is pretty much all one needs for DEs, and a single target weapon set for Bosses (I use DD)
3. Running Dungeons
Now, this is kind of a pain for me. I believe that glass cannons can survive pretty well in dungeons given the ability to dodge properly. But I find that toughness does help when you get hit, and the little bit of extra vit from the Valkyrie pieces, I put in as a buffer for reaction time when I am afflicted with conditions. (I would love to try glass cannon, which I am working towards atm, but I didn’t think it was a good set to start out with).
Weapon choices for running dungeons are slightly more complicated.
Sword/Pistol – I’m not a fan of pistol whip. It gives high damage numbers, which I always like. But the immobility is something I am not good at dealing with. What really shines for me for the S/P set is the on-demand conditions remover using 2. It means I can free up one utility slot (I use shadowstep when I go D/P, or D/D)
Dagger/Pistol – By far my safest set in dungeons. First of all, blinds are insanely good in dungeons for normal pulls (this applies to S/P too). But what I like about this is the ability to stealth in a cycle (5, 2, 1) – Blind, Heartseeker into Stealth, Backstab. Repeat. The drawbacks of this are that you spend more initiative than D/D stealth/backstab situations, which imo lowers your damage. But it is the all around spec for me – (3) acts as a distance closer, (5) is defensive, (2) attacks and triggers most field combos, and (1), for its inherent backstab and autoattack. The main advantage of D/P over S/P is that D/P doesn’t lock you into the animation of Pistol Whip, and mobility imo is by far better in dungeon situations. (But this still means I gotta run Shadowstep for conditions removal)
Dagger/Dagger – my favorite set. I used to play a conditions build while leveling and when first hitting 80. Bleeds deal a lot of damage. But DB’s animations requires you to close in the boss, and lose control of your character for a few seconds, which I find somewhat deadly if I mistimed it. So I switched to a crit/backstab build. I hardly use DB anymore, but rather, I tend to focus on CnD, Backstab, Heartseeker and the snare from (4) is really useful. I also find that I use autoattack a lot more on this build than playing DB/conditions, which synergizes with certain trait choices I’ve made – mainly the 7% chance to recover init with autoattack from Trickery line. But the main problem I have with D/D is the lack of conditions removal, and possibly a higher skill curve (crippling at the right time, timing stealth/revealed gaps etc.
Pistol/Pistol – I actually like this for most of the bosses. Now, I haven’t ran every dungeon so far, in fact I did probably around half of them. But I found that closing with the boss for melee combat is by far, a dangerous thing to do. Pistol/Pistol is mainly used for (3), reasonable damage at range which works with my gear choices (focusing on power/precision/crit dmg with toughness thrown in), for only BOSS fights.
Pistol/Dagger – I never quite found a reason to use this at all. CnD/Auto attack is nice for the instant 5 stack of bleeds, but CnD requires you to melee hit the mob to go into stealth. Bleeds require condition gear to be effective. Now you see a problem, don’t you? CnD hits pretty hard if your power and crit is high enough, BUT, gearing for power/crit is not efficient for the bleeds that’s gonna come from stealth + (1). This applies vice versa. Another reason is that, if I’m willing to go in and CnD in melee range, I’d much rather just put a dagger in my mainhand as well for that huge backstab, which synergizes better in term of gear.
Shortbow is pretty much always equipped as an offset for sudden AOE requirements.
4. Ori ore runs – This mainly revolves around me running around in Orr past mobs that cripple/hits and all sorts of nasty things to you. To be honest, this is but a minute part of annoyance, but I found that wearing that extra 6 pieces of Knight Gear – increases my survivability a lot; whatever they hit me for, I could keep running on, and heal to full with one signet of malice trigger (all the while in combat). I did the same with full Carrion gear, which works out fine too, but with the difference that carrion gives you a larger HP pool to work with, and to recover, it meant you have to go out of combat (my HP is not always full when I do the runs, as compared to the Knight set up). I believe the glass cannon set up doesn’t do this very well – I do run around with a MF set, which doesn’t have toughness or vitality, which is pretty much the same as full Berserkers. Full Berserkers are awesome – when you are dealing damage. Not so much when what you want to do is run past the mobs (and there’s lots in Orr) to get to your precious Ori nodes. That 10k HP pool means there will be times when you’d be struggling survivability wise.
5. WvWvW – The thing about WvWvW is, if your side has the bigger zerg, it doesn’t matter what weapon set you’re using (lol). As it happens, I’m currently on a server where we’re getting dominated by the opposition. And my goal (for this month anyway) was to get enough kills to finish the monthly completion. Now, when you have the smaller zerg, you’d never ever want to MELEE. In fact, you’d never want to get close to the other group.
a. This means S/D, S/P, D/D, D/P is probably out. The Shortbow is alright, but due to the large distance you’d be (2)ing into, its relatively slow and easy to avoid. (4) doesn’t work well for the same reason.
b. What I did sometimes was to (5) into the crowd and start opening up Dagger Storm with Haste (which is pretty damaging to a lot of people, but leaves you in danger if the opposition is able to take the hits). Since then, I’ve improved on this tactic using Shadowstep (either from S/P, or the utility, Haste – Daggerstorm, Shadow Return back to safety). Which is good every 90 seconds or so. The rest of the time -
c. I go with P/P – spamming 3 with haste can net you a few kills here and there (when you’re getting outnumbered and your only goal is pretty much to get the kills) and like I said, if you have the numbers, you can pretty much use any combinations.
d. The toughness from Knight gear and some Vit from Valkyries means that you die slower, and in fact, I’ve been able to port out of danger several times after getting snared or poisoned. I do know that many think that going pure Vit is overrated and I agree. But having some Vit gives you breathing room against players who focus on conditions, which of course, isn’t an issue if you play swords. But I don’t.Traits
Trait combinations is a whole new can of worms to open up. There can be so many combinations, and so many pros and cons to consider. Instead of giving a holistic view, I’ll opt to just give a summary on what I’m running at the moment.
Crit – 5 stacks of might for 5 secs upon signet activation. Recovers 2 init upon activation. Executioner.
Acrobat - 20 secs of might when dodging. Recovers 2 init every 10 seconds.
Trickery - Grants might, swiftness and Fury when stealing for 10 secs. 7% chance to recover initiative from autoattack.
I’ve built my gear around one thing, Might stacks. I have moderate crit % at about 55%, and I do think that power scales the best (gut feeling, didn’t get sciency.)
My armor are slotted with Superior Runes of Strength:
(1) + power
(2) + 20% duration for Might buffs.
(3) + power
(4) 5% chance to get might upon getting hit
(5) + power
(6) +5% dmg when under the effects of might.
My weapons -
Dagger (1) : Superior sigil of strength (on crit 30% chance to gain might, tested ICD is 1 sec)
Dagger (2): Superior rune of accuracy 5% crit.
Sword : Major Rune of Fire
Pistol (1): Superior rune of accuracy
Pistol (2): Superior rune of rage (3 seconds haste on crit (10% chance) and ICD of 45 seconds).
As you can see, I’m almost always buffed with might stacks –
from signet activation,
from dodging (which I can do a lot with acrobatics + signet of precision),
from getting hit,
from one of my daggers
20% duration on all might buffs prolongs it, and while I’m under the effects, I get a constant 5% dmg increase.
I’m pretty much looking into synergy for weapon sigil choices –
Dagger/Dagger – going for huge hits, so I would find random applications of might stacks from the sigil would just increase my power more. Crit rune is to increase the chances of that proc, and largely because the first sigil would not work with any other rune with a cooldown (air, water, fire).
Sword/Pistol (1) – the thing that players go for when using S/P, is Pistol Whip. The damage is amazing. But you have to be in melee range. And used efficiently, you would be fighting 3 mobs at a time. Fire sounded good (aoe on crit). Rage would be really good in quickening the animation once in a while, but Fire cannot proc while rage is on cooldown (bit sucky to be honest).
Dagger (1)/ Pistol (1) – Same reason as Dagger/Dagger.
Pistol/Pistol – remember the only time I’d ever use P/P is on singular bosses where its dangerous to melee, and for WvWvW. This is where the random haste kicks in. (3) for P/P has an animation time, and when hasted, quite a large amount of damage in a short time. Granted I’d much rather go sigil of strength for the might stacks on one pistol but let’s face it. That sigil ain’t cheap J and I got my Rage sigil free (and I don't use P/P enough to justify replacing the Sigil). Besides, I could do Dagger (with crit chance)/ Pistol (with Rage) to do a hasted heartseeker spam
Here, I’ve got a reasonably tanky thief, able to deal high dmg backstabs for single targets (granted not as high as pure berserker), deal critting AOEs for tagging mobs in DEs, that can run through Orr ignoring mobs, all the while dodging (with swiftness) and at times, 20 stacks of mights that last 20% longer (depending on proc rate – 10 from 2 signet activations, a couple from procs and a couple from dodges – which in truth, I’ve only see up to 17 stacks self-buffed).
Initiative wise – To be honest, I do okay without the extra 3 init from Trickery. But it does help in terms of short fights – there are times when I get really lazy and just throw dancing daggers at 2 mobs standing next to each other, and the bounces pretty much kills them. That extra 3 init from the start lets you throw an extra dagger, which can end the fight before you even close in, which is always nice.
Another reason is thefact that I’m running a pretty high initiative recovery build. Signets give me 2 init every 12 seconds, and I have 3 of them on (Malice, Precision and the %25 run speed). Acrobatics gives me 2 init every 10 seconds. Steal gives 3 init every 40 seconds. And since I do use auto attack a lot, and with 50% odd crit, I trigger the 20% chance on crit to recover init a lot, and that 7% to recover init on autoattack. In short, my initiative recovery can come in bursts of 4-5 every now and then. Being traited in Critical Strikes would mean that you deal 10% more damage when your init is over 6, which is extreme hard to manage without capping initiative wastefully (without that extra 3 init cap from Trickery).
Much thanks to Minion and The Shadowed –
I’ve used Minion’s guide as a leveling build, and played as conditions D/D Shortbow, which was awesome, but didn’t quite cut it as an all-around build for my playstyle. Invincible is the right word to use for his build while leveling – I hardly died pulling 5-6 to bleed when I used it. The only reason I stopped using it was because how DEs worked in Orr – bleeding is just not as efficient for tagging mobs compared to outright damage from shortbows. And with the situation on my server, bleeds and burns are a no no given just how many players are camping certain events. You can find Minion’s guide here for a great leveling experience.
The Shadowed has a great writeup on the weapon choices, and I agree with most of his points, which is why I didn’t write general benefits of the different weapon combinations, but rather the specific situations that I use them in. Anyone looking for a introduction into the class should read it at
Edited by Larkenis, 29 September 2012 - 07:26 AM.