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New Thief (and player) - Need some help with the basics


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#1 laserbot

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:42 AM

I'm looking for an effective early build as a thief just leveling through solo PVE. I see D/D seems to be popular, but I'm mostly fighting 1v1, so the death blossom build doesn't seem appropriate yet. Any thoughts on that--and how to get through the first 20 levels quickly and effectively?

(I have a guardian that is 16 but it's already boring as I don't feel like my character is growing at all...)

Also, I'm new to GW2 and am curious about the general "L2P" strategy.

I'm used to WoW where you stand still (mostly) and try to focus on a perfect rotation. I'm finding that doing that in GW, even at super low levels, is deadly. Can someone explain the basics of combat and maneuvering, especially as a thief since they seem super fragile?

#2 brokerib

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:00 AM

Apologies, wall of text incoming...

Best bet at low levels is to try out the different weapon sets and see what works best for your play style.

If you're not use to the movement system, then sword/pistol may be a good choice.  You get alot of manuverability from the no.2 skill, the no.3 skill drops mobs fast and gives you limited evasion, and the no.5 skill drops a field blindness, so even if you're standing right in front of a mob you won't get hit.  And most of the sword strikes hit multiple foes, so you can take down several mobs at once.

As for the others, dagger/dagger is as you've noticed quite popular, but requires a bit more skill when it comes to positioning.  Pistol/pistol is quite reasonable for single target damage, and you can keep a bit of distance which increases your survivability, but it isn't quite as manuverable as s/p or d/d.  Dagger/pistol or pistol/dagger take a bit more practice, so may be best to avoid until you've got the hand of things.

That said, your secondary should always be shortbow.  Learn how to use it and you'll do well.  Lots of manuverability from skills 3 and 5, good AOE damage from skill 2, which you can shotgun spam at close range for big damage, and the auto attack will hit multiple foes.

As for combat and movement, don't stand still unless you've got some sort of protection up (evasion or blind).  Even if the best you can manage is a slow circle strafe, that will help you out alot, and you can also use it to round up multiple mobs into a tight little bundle for you to drop a cluster bomb into.  If anything gets to close or you see something lining you up for a big hit, use your dodge to get out of the line of fire, and don't be afraid to disengage and come back for another try once you've had a change to compose your self.  Theives come built in with alot of ways to move and change their position, so take the hint and use them :) With s/p, jumping in with skill 2, inturrupt and evade with skill 3, drop skill 5 and auto attack for a couple of this then hit skill 3 again, hit skill 2 to return to your original position then swap to sb to finish them off, you'll find that you can come out of 1 on 1 mob fights with no damage at all.

No doubt there's a lot of other opinions on how to do it, but hopefully that helps out.

#3 Ojikes

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:12 AM

Sword / Pistol, Pistol/pistol or Pistol / dagger would be my bet for best leveling.

I played some of all 3 when i leveled my thief to 80, but i also played Dagger/dagger, mostly to try it when leveling.. Not really that good since you dont have the crit to kill fast. Pistol / dagger is great, just get some cond damage gear and see the mobs melt before you! :)

C&D + 1 pistol attacks stacks 5 bleeds so its awesome.

Sword/Pistol for the Shadowsteps, blind and Pistol Whip of c.

Pistol / Pistol for range with blind.

Edited by Ojikes, 25 October 2012 - 09:14 AM.


#4 Capn_Crass

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

Combat in GW2 is all about positioning, awareness, and knowing what your enemy is capable of. You can toss the concept of a rotation straight out the window; your skill choice is dictated by the needs of the moment, and will change frequently.
  • Bind Dodge to an easy-to-reach key and use it. If you're standing in a red circle or the mob you're fighting is doing an obvious "I'm going to knock your head out of the park" baseball animation, you're about to get flattened. Find some ettins or trolls to play with; their attacks are super-slow and very easy to spot, so they're good mobs to practice dodging on.
  • Once you've done that, think about other keybinds that'll make it easier to do play. For example, I have my movement on ESDF, dodge on A, heal on Q, utility skills on ZXCV, and F1 skill on G. Makes it much easier to reach them in the thick of combat.
  • All of the mobs in this game have a type- or class-specific skillset that they use (all drakes use similar moves, humanoids with a greatsword use either Guardian or Warrior GS skills, etc.), and once you learn what their strengths and weaknesses you can exploit them. Drakes, for example, have a nasty breath attack, but it has a long wind-up and is easily sidestepped.
Thief can be a bit tricky at low levels. As a class it's very dependent on trait/skill synergy, and you're lacking both the skills and the traits to take advantage of them. Weapon choice is up to you, but dagger/dagger (stealth + avoidance = rarely getting hit), sword/pistol (stand in an AoE blind field and murderface things), and pistol/dagger (stealth => bleed => kite to death) cover the vast majority of Thief gameplay. S/D and D/P are basically hybrids of the "big three", and shortbow is more of a specialty tool than a primary weapon choice. I have almost no experience with P/P so I can't comment on that.

Starting off I'd say either S/P (just watch out for dredge; they're immune to blind) or P/D are your best bets. Both function well with no utility skills or traits to back them up. Once you get to L20 (and gain access to Infusion of Shadow), D/D backstab becomes a lot more viable.

A few points:
  • Caltrops (the utility skill, not the Uncatchable trait) are awesome for leveling. Easily one of our best early utilities.
  • Shadow Arts 10 gets you Infusion of Shadow, which gives you 2 Initiative any time you stealth, and it makes stealth builds' worlds go 'round.
  • Acrobatics 15 lets you dodge way more frequently, and is invaluable for not getting flattened. It's not available until L40, though.
  • Deadly Arts 15 gives the dagger autoattack (effectively) permanent Weakness, which is a pretty significant amount of damage mitigation. Again, not available until L40.
  • Signet of Shadow's passive 25% run speed boost is addictive. Use with caution.
  • All three heal skills have their advantages. Don't be afraid to swap them around depending on what you're doing.


#5 Soylent

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:49 AM

I found D/P or S/P the most effective at low levels, mainly thanks to the combo field blind which lets you effortlessly tank anything in a 1v1 or even a bigger pack if they're all melee.

The basics of maneuvering in GW2 are pretty straight forward - don't get hit. Use your dodge to evade attacks, or even simply circle your enemies if they're slow attackers.

Also as for the feeling of your character not growing and being boring because of it (your guardian) that's a problem with every class. In GW2 you unlock all your weapon skills early, and then there's pretty much nothing else to look forward to. Most trait lines for most classes are rubbish when it comes to making your character change in a noticeable way.

Edited by Soylent, 25 October 2012 - 09:55 AM.


#6 Capn_Crass

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:29 PM

View PostSoylent, on 25 October 2012 - 09:49 AM, said:

Also as for the feeling of your character not growing and being boring because of it (your guardian) that's a problem with every class. In GW2 you unlock all your weapon skills early, and then there's pretty much nothing else to look forward to.

Agreed... Sort of. Your "nothing else to look forward to" is my "don't need to waste time making my character playable, so I can just kick back and enjoy the game". Personally I think they should have done away with levels entirely (they're effectively meaningless other than as a content gate) and focused on making other forms of character advancement the focus, but I'm one of those weirdos that doesn't give a rat's ass about the progression treadmill. They probably had to have some form of numerical "I'm better than I was/I'm better than you" mechanic in the game to keep the masses happy.

#7 Asha2012

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:46 PM

View PostCapn_Crass, on 25 October 2012 - 05:29 PM, said:

Personally I think they should have done away with levels entirely (they're effectively meaningless other than as a content gate) and focused on making other forms of character advancement the focus, but I'm one of those weirdos that doesn't give a rat's ass about the progression treadmill. They probably had to have some form of numerical "I'm better than I was/I'm better than you" mechanic in the game to keep the masses happy.

Wow.  Exactly.  I suddenly thought of Sam in Splinter Cell. In that game Sam does not level.  He has skills and equipment and it is up to the PLAYER to figure out which tools to use for which jobs/tasks.  I do not have a lvl 80 character yet.  Lvl 80 is not a goal.  At lvl 69, my mesmer has all but two elite skills so she is pretty complete.

I'm now focusing on exploring and actually playing and interacting with the game.

I made a thief during the beta and really enjoyed playing one.  My GW1 primary was a mesmer so I'm sticking with one for now.  I'll move into alts when I really need a break from her play style.  I have a thief and a nec (level ones) on deck and waiting.

#8 Sheffyeld

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:50 PM

Well, but for leveling on PVE is better D/D or S/P? :o

#9 NutellaCrepe

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:53 PM

Leveling I would say either S/P or D/P, as long as you have pistol in offhand, just press the #5 skill and never get hit by melee mobs around you.

#10 Capn_Crass

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:20 PM

View PostSheffyeld, on 25 October 2012 - 05:50 PM, said:

Well, but for leveling on PVE is better D/D or S/P? :o

"Better" is sort of a matter of opinion. Both S/P and D/D work well, and are pretty inarguably "the best" at what they do. Personally I prefer D/P to both of them, though.

#11 laserbot

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:10 PM

Thanks guys! These are great tips.

#12 iluvthis3

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 03:37 AM

View Postlaserbot, on 27 October 2012 - 04:10 PM, said:

Thanks guys! These are great tips.
i dont know what playstyle suites you but if u have a thing for dagger/dagger , read this
http://www.guildwars...le-thief-build/
its a great topic abt dagger/dagger
hope that helped you :D

#13 Rachmani

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:52 AM

View PostSheffyeld, on 25 October 2012 - 05:50 PM, said:

Well, but for leveling on PVE is better D/D or S/P? :o

Better is what works best for you. I leveled as P/P and still use it most of the time, not because it's the numerical "best" set, but because I'm best with it - you'll notice the difference when you try out & test different sets - take your time until you've got the feeling for all of them. From there on, just trust your instincts.
Before you ask, the same goes for explorermodes - I've done them all, without cheesy tactics, with & without tanks and/or support characters, in my case as P/P.




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