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Thief Commander (WvW)


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#1 The Shadow

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:28 AM

So lately I've been commanding often in WvW on my Thief.

I love the Thief. I enjoy commanding. I find it very difficult to do both at the same time.

It's not easy charging through a wave of culling opponents and shouting "PUUUUUUSH!" on TS when you find yourself lagging and dying in quite literally 2 seconds. And it's not cause I'm an awful player who can't dodge, it's not because I'm in full berserker gear. It's because to stay alive, for the most part, you have to rely on stealth or blindness or Daggerstorm/ Signet of Malice to stay alive as a thief.. and while that stuff works amazing in small-skirmishes.. it doesn't work very well in large scale situations.

And I'm sure someone will say; "herp derp.. A warrior or guardian can die just as fast in a mindless zerg as a thief" to which I will simply reply; "No."

So what does a Thief-commander do? Never wear the tag? Surely being a commander shouldn't be limited to certain classes?

Honestly, I don't care about damage output in a zerg. As a commander I don't need to deal damage, I need to stay alive, assess the situation and then physically guide my zerg where it needs to go to flank or whatever else. How can I go about achieving this? I don't expect to be the tankiest mofo ever, that would be ludicrous, but I'd certainly like to be able to survive.

Any advice in terms of gear/ utility/ build/ playstyle is welcome. But I wont use venoms cause they're  gimmicky and suck.

Many thanks :D

Edited by The Shadow, 29 November 2012 - 12:29 AM.


#2 Leonadid

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

I'm actually in the same spot, love my thief and don't care to level another alt through the grind that is PvE just to have a char that can command

#3 Linfang

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:17 PM

Perhaps it's your placement in the group. You don't have to be the one up front commanding the charge. This not the Calvary in the Revolutionary War. I would place myself just behind the front line and center of the group. Use the short bow to catch up if you are falling behind. It would not hurt to go all toughness and vitality gear, traits and stats to get some meat on your bones so you can take more of a beating while either typing in chat, looking at the map, etc where you cant actively evade or fight.

#4 Vexd

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:54 PM

I dunno why anyone would chose any other class than Mesmer to be commander, their utility in WvW is insane.

You can portal your zerg all over the place, portal down cliffs to revive allies, portal squads of golems right to the enemys front door, use portals to make a faster 'supply run' by portaling up and down cliffs, you can portal bomb whilst invisible. You can give a group of friends invisibility. You can use time warp for faster revives, time warp siege weapons to take down gates in seconds, offer defensive AoE to your allies. Your personal survivability is very high because of your clones and tanky build, you're commander you don't need to be dealing loads of damage.

Since portal bombing is basically the current WvW meta you might as well set it up yourself (presumably if you are commander, you're in charge).

Mesmer is the king of WvW.

I'm a thief, and I know that if I was a commander, I'd just be telling Mesmers what to do all the time.
(Can't be bothered to level up an alt either :lol: )

Edited by Vexd, 30 November 2012 - 08:57 PM.


#5 The Shadow

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:49 AM

View PostVexd, on 30 November 2012 - 08:54 PM, said:

I dunno why anyone would chose any other class than Mesmer to be commander, their utility in WvW is insane.

You can portal your zerg all over the place, portal down cliffs to revive allies, portal squads of golems right to the enemys front door, use portals to make a faster 'supply run' by portaling up and down cliffs, you can portal bomb whilst invisible. You can give a group of friends invisibility. You can use time warp for faster revives, time warp siege weapons to take down gates in seconds, offer defensive AoE to your allies. Your personal survivability is very high because of your clones and tanky build, you're commander you don't need to be dealing loads of damage.

Since portal bombing is basically the current WvW meta you might as well set it up yourself (presumably if you are commander, you're in charge).

Mesmer is the king of WvW.

I'm a thief, and I know that if I was a commander, I'd just be telling Mesmers what to do all the time.
(Can't be bothered to level up an alt either :lol: )

This thread isn't about what class to play as a commander and why. It's about how to maximize the Thief's potential in relation to commanding in WvW.

Since you brought the topic up however, I feel the need to say that I disagree entirely.

I work with an organized and tight knit unit before even entering a borderland. We put systems in place to ensure that we efficiently use the utility that Mesmers offer. I don't find myself telling Mesmers what to do, and if I do I merely say "portal at x location" and it gets done. I certainly don't find myself thinking, ever; "Oh I should re-roll to a Mesmer because I can portal a turtle".. Which arguably isn't even the meta anymore..

No matter how big our group is, we literally only ever use 1-3 Mesmers... and even then.. their utility is both situational and predetermined. I'm not saying that the Mesmer is a bad class in WvW.. I'm just pointing out that you don't need to be one to co-ordinate very very very basic strategy with minimal effort.. if any. Most of the things you mention though, are common sense things that will happen regardless of  whether or not you say "get golem here" or "supply run, need elevator".

Also, Mesmers are squishy as hell and clones certainly don't save them... this is even more true in dubveedub than in any other game mode actually.

As for stealth/ invisibility... it's entirely useless in most scenarios, specifically zerg v zerg as:

1) Enemy can see your portals.
2) Enemy will see you stack.
3) Culling.

Edited by The Shadow, 01 December 2012 - 03:10 AM.


#6 Reikou

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:37 AM

Play a thief commander like you would play a thief?  Don't engage zergs?  Don't lead zergs?

Another thing you can do as commander if you absolutely want to zerg is actually lead?  Stay in the back in stealth and actually call tactics for your group.  Will be much more useful than you trying to be a meat shield with a piece of tissuepaper.

Edited by Reikou, 01 December 2012 - 11:48 AM.


#7 Tellia

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:30 PM

i wouldnt command under any circumstances, but if i were for arguments sake, and did so on thief...id just try to support more, as much as a thief can.

i dont play thief much so i dunno the names of the traits. and i dont care to look up. you mentioned venoms though and how you dont want to use them. what about the trait that shares venoms with nearby allies?

theres i dont know how many ways to share stealth with teammates, with smoke combo fields or otherwise. the utility skill that makes a shelter is something i see a lot of wvw and when used correctly, it has a lot of tactical uses. use it to make an attack team or flanking team seem smaller to the enemy, or hide them completely if its a small group. use it to save some peoples asses. use it on downed people and the people rezzing them so that they arent instantly targeted by enemy aoe. dont forget the other fields you can drop either, and have your squad members actually try to use finishers in them as necessary.

and finally, id learn to love the shortbow. rain hell down on attackers when defending, or blast people on walls when attacking. then all you have to do is take a step back when you need to take a breather and reassess a situation, or communicate. you can contribute a lot to a battle with the shortbow and be relatively safe most of the time if you have awareness, which as a commander i would hope you have. plus there would always be circumstances for you to use your alternate weapon set, its not like you would have to run shortbow 100% of the time and forget about anything else. this is why we have weapon swap.

#8 Lachanche

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:21 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 29 November 2012 - 12:28 AM, said:

it's not because I'm in full berserker gear.

i wouldn' t be so sure about that, ding 3k armor and 20k hp and come back to say if you noticed the difference

#9 The Shadow

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

View PostReikou, on 01 December 2012 - 11:37 AM, said:

Play a thief commander like you would play a thief?  Don't engage zergs?  Don't lead zergs?

Another thing you can do as commander if you absolutely want to zerg is actually lead?  Stay in the back in stealth and actually call tactics for your group.  Will be much more useful than you trying to be a meat shield with a piece of tissuepaper.

Under certain circumstances I would agree. The only issue currently is the fact that I'm with IRON on Desolation. Currently we have been facing enemies like Seafarer's who constantly have 60+ players (most of which from semi-organized, WvW dedicated guilds) in each borderland while we only have around half their numbers during our prime time as a guild in a single borderland (Deso seems to be mostly a PvE server). So what we have to do and rely on to a certain extent is the use of friendlies (PUGs). They tend to follow the blue icon and not really listen to orders.

Also, say you need to flank and get behind a zerg while charging them head on in order to split up larger numbers. It's a lot easier to do so and stick together in pseudo-formation if everyone can follow the blue icon... also it's essentially impossible to do by just saying on TS "Flank them!"

View PostLachanche, on 01 December 2012 - 02:21 PM, said:

i wouldn' t be so sure about that, ding 3k armor and 20k hp and come back to say if you noticed the difference

I said that because I don't actually wear Berserker in WvW :P

View PostTellia, on 01 December 2012 - 12:30 PM, said:

i wouldnt command under any circumstances, but if i were for arguments sake, and did so on thief...id just try to support more, as much as a thief can.

i dont play thief much so i dunno the names of the traits. and i dont care to look up. you mentioned venoms though and how you dont want to use them. what about the trait that shares venoms with nearby allies?

theres i dont know how many ways to share stealth with teammates, with smoke combo fields or otherwise. the utility skill that makes a shelter is something i see a lot of wvw and when used correctly, it has a lot of tactical uses. use it to make an attack team or flanking team seem smaller to the enemy, or hide them

completely if its a small group. use it to save some peoples asses. use it on downed people and the people rezzing them so that they arent instantly targeted by enemy aoe. dont forget the other fields you can drop either, and have your squad members actually try to use finishers in them as necessary.

and finally, id learn to love the shortbow. rain hell down on attackers when defending, or blast people on walls when attacking. then all you have to do is take a step back when you need to take a breather and reassess a situation, or communicate. you can contribute a lot to a battle with the shortbow and be relatively safe most of the time if you have awareness, which as a commander i would hope you have. plus there would always be circumstances for you to use your alternate weapon set, its not like you would have to run shortbow 100% of the time and forget about anything else. this is why we have weapon swap.

Yeah I agree with most of what you're saying. I do occasionally run ven-share builds, I just don't like it.

The massive issue with Shadow Refuge is that your enemy can see you use it just like the enemy would notice your portal. Said tactics get worked out fairly easily. Of course SR is great, so is Blinding Powder, that's why I use them both.

As for Shortbow, easily the best weapon in WvW, only major issues with it are the fact that the auto-attack range is pathetic. And cluster-bomb is extremely slow to hit. Additionally you can't really hit most defensive siege on a keep/ tower with it whereas an Ele or Engie or Ranger could with extreme ease.

And finally, I do as you say; "take a breather and re-asses the situation" the main problem with this is some people will mistake this for a retreat when in fact it's not. You only need to look like you're retreating for a single second for an enemy zerg to jump down and engage.

Edited by The Shadow, 01 December 2012 - 03:05 PM.


#10 The Shadow

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

mistake, double post, please delete.

Edited by The Shadow, 01 December 2012 - 03:05 PM.


#11 Reikou

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:55 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 01 December 2012 - 02:54 PM, said:

Under certain circumstances I would agree. The only issue currently is the fact that I'm with IRON on Desolation. Currently we have been facing enemies like Seafarer's who constantly have 60+ players (most of which from semi-organized, WvW dedicated guilds) in each borderland while we only have around half their numbers during our prime time as a guild in a single borderland (Deso seems to be mostly a PvE server). So what we have to do and rely on to a certain extent is the use of friendlies (PUGs). They tend to follow the blue icon and not really listen to orders.

Also, say you need to flank and get behind a zerg while charging them head on in order to split up larger numbers. It's a lot easier to do so and stick together in pseudo-formation if everyone can follow the blue icon... also it's essentially impossible to do by just saying on TS "Flank them!"

What guild you're in really means nothing.  I've told you how to be an effective commander as a thief.  Its your call whether to follow said advice or not.  It is also your "friendlies" call to listen to you.  This is irrelevant of profession.

You could be a guardian, if said "friendlies" don't want to listen to you, they won't follow you if you rush in etc.

#12 lujate

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

I have never been a commander, but almost every commander I see is a Thief, so it must be doable.

#13 The Shadow

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:54 PM

View Postlujate, on 01 December 2012 - 04:25 PM, said:

I have never been a commander, but almost every commander I see is a Thief, so it must be doable.

There are a lot of PvE commanders who just buy the tag for e-peen :P

#14 Korra

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

I honestly fail to understand this post.

i play thief and i LOVE commanding.

From my experience going melee while commanding is a big risk. I normally tend to cluster bomb and back away, it provides enough dps and give me the time to think and command.

Try it! Sometimes switching to sB*p/p works fine too but i just love the d/d dps.

#15 Leoveo

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:03 AM

I command on my thief without the tag. Its completely feasible and i'm saving for the tag at the moment. I'm in full beserker setup and i'm lucky in the fact that my server doesn't expect us thieves to lead charges. We're allowed to command by seeing the big picture, be tactical and turn the tides of battle. We have far more success with thieves commanding than when other classes command simply because other classes tend to simply say 'Follow my blue dot' which gets us wiped most of the time. It pays to be one of the weakest classes defensively as a commander because we understand the perils of what we're asking to do. This pays off handsomely in many cases. I love commanding on my thief.

Edited by Leoveo, 02 December 2012 - 12:04 AM.


#16 Craywulf

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:16 AM

Every profession has it's limits, the Thief is no different, even as a commander. Simply play within the means of the profession. If that means not rushing into battle of frontlines, then so be it. There isn't some magical advice that's going fix the frailty of the Thief profession. Play within your means, you would be a better commander for doing so.

#17 PsycoPsymon

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

i say approach it like a game of chess g. ur a thief, and a commander at that...... so send in the pawns to distract them while u use ya smarts to pick off targets and so forth yo. remember sometimes to be a great leader u must first be a great follower.

#18 Coffey

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:32 AM

Mucho bull and bad advice. Disregard this

Edited by Coffey, 10 December 2012 - 09:36 PM.


#19 The Shadow

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:38 AM

ignore/ delete this or whateeevrr.

Edited by The Shadow, 10 December 2012 - 11:05 PM.


#20 Wraithpk

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:04 AM

As a Thief commander, I would recommend running with a smaller highly mobile group.  Coordinate with other commanders to lead your group for flanking attacks, or do quick strikes to enemy supply camps.

If you want to command the main zerg, I don't think surviving would necessarily be your issue, but getting separated might.  I find I sometimes get separated from the zerg when I'm doing my BP+heartseeker dance to avoid getting killed.  But maybe if you're the commander they won't leave you behind like always happens with me, lol.

#21 Coffey

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:42 PM

- Sorry about this. Mucho bull-

Edited by Coffey, 10 December 2012 - 09:36 PM.


#22 Quack530

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:23 PM

View PostKorra, on 01 December 2012 - 07:26 PM, said:

I honestly fail to understand this post.

i play thief and i LOVE commanding.

From my experience going melee while commanding is a big risk. I normally tend to cluster bomb and back away, it provides enough dps and give me the time to think and command.

Try it! Sometimes switching to sB*p/p works fine too but i just love the d/d dps.

Would you please consider taking a moment to tell me which armor (stats), traits, and rune set you run when you're commandering?  Thanks in advance!

#23 Korra

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:50 PM

View PostQuack530, on 03 May 2013 - 04:23 PM, said:

Would you please consider taking a moment to tell me which armor (stats), traits, and rune set you run when you're commandering?  Thanks in advance!

I use whatever build i am running at that moment, and mostly a mix of soldier's gear and bsk and shortbow, alwasy shortbow

#24 Quack530

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:59 PM

View PostKorra, on 03 May 2013 - 05:50 PM, said:

I use whatever build i am running at that moment, and mostly a mix of soldier's gear and bsk and shortbow, alwasy shortbow
I'm assuming traits are 0/0/30/30/10?

#25 Korra

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:08 PM

View PostQuack530, on 03 May 2013 - 05:59 PM, said:

I'm assuming traits are 0/0/30/30/10?

not quite, 0/30/25/15/0 or 10/30/0/15/15

#26 Quack530

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:29 PM

View PostKorra, on 03 May 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

not quite, 0/30/25/15/0 or 10/30/0/15/15
ok, ty.  HiS or Sig of Malice as heal?

View PostKorra, on 03 May 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

not quite, 0/30/25/15/0 or 10/30/0/15/15
I'm sorry, but I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is not every single little trait that you run, but I've heard that almost every PRX commander is a thief, and I just want to know why.  What does a thief commander do that makes them so effective?

#27 Dahk

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:00 PM

Why not just get a full soldier's set and run something like this?
http://gw2skills.net...FRjVvgpLJiqBA-w

You'll hit like a wet noodle, but if you're leading a huge zerg, what does it matter?




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