In Guild Wars 2, Thieves are the masters of stealth and surprise. They share ideas of deception and trickery with the Mesmer class, but as they are an Adventurer Profession, whereas the Mesmer is a Scholar, they are more adept at fighting and are less likely to pack tricks to get out of a fight, and more likely to have things up their sleeve to tilt the battle in their favor. They go unnoticed as much as possible, and hope to either dispatch or severely damage their foes before they have any idea as to what has happened.
In keeping with the thieving idea, a Thief’s main unique ability is the fact that they can Steal equipment from others. The Thief will “shadow step” to their target, essentially teleporting them instantly within range, and will then pick pocket something from their unfortunate foe. The stolen item will then occupy the slot where the Steal Skill initially was. The Steal Skill begins to recharge immediately, but it can only be used again once the initially stolen items is activated. Items that can be stolen range hugely, from Healing Items to Rifles or Scepters in Player versus Player modes.
The Player is then able to use the stolen item for their own benefit. It is important to note that stolen items, such as weapons, do not actually go missing from the target’s inventory. It is better to think of it as the Thief stealing the ability to use an associated Skill, as is the case, rather than actually stealing the Weapon. This means that the Thief can tap into their opponent’s advantage, for example a Ranger who would have the edge in long distance combat, and use their own Skills against them. This makes the Thief adaptable and versatile, and a very interesting Profession to play. It allows the Player to toe the line into other Professions, and catch glimpses of their Skills and abilities, which can be especially useful in sussing out one’s competition in Player versus Player or World versus World modes.
Thieves also possess powerful “Sneak Attacks,” which, as the name indicates, must be conducted when the target is unaware of the Thief. To insure that they go unnoticed, the Thief has many Skills that evoke Stealth, which makes them invisible to their enemies and prevents them from being attacked. One of these is the Healing Skill Hide in Shadows, which cloaks the Thief as well as Regenerating them and curing the Conditions of Burning, Poison and Bleeding. It is from this “cloaked” state the Stealth attacks can be used.
Generally, Stealth Attacks are upgraded versions of normal attacks, usually adding a Condition such as Bleeding, Weakness or Poison, to the power of the attack. As such, it is a good idea when Playing as the Thief to invest some of your Attribute points into both Condition Duration and Condition Damage when leveling up, in order to maximize the effectiveness of Stealth Attacks. Since these are a staple part of any Thief’s combat strategy, the Player should give them the due amount of attention.
Thieves, being an Adventurer Profession, can handle themselves relatively well in melee combat though, so if the Stealth fails the battle is far from over. Their Medium Armor, crafted from tough materials, usually animal hide, provides them with added durability meaning that they can take more hits than the Scholar Profession of the Mesmer, which shares some traits and tactics with the Thief. As such, the Thief would be wise to look into the Leatherworking Craft Discipline, in order to assemble Armor for their own use in battle.
Finally, Thieves can use Traps. These are combat tricks that damage any foe that comes across them, such as Tripwires or Ambushes, that damage a Foe and sometimes inflict a Condition at the same time. A Trap will become disarmed if the Player strays too far from it, however, which is important to remember. If an enemy hasn’t noticed the Thief, the Player can lay a swathe of Traps between themselves and the foe, then get the enemy’s attention, and draw them through the path of Traps for plenty of damage, all while attacking with a ranged weapon such as a Bow.
This makes Traps very tactical, though it is important to note that each Trap Skill can only be used once, until it is triggered. In other words, the Player cannot put down a second Tripwire until the first is either disarmed or activated. Also, Traps are available to the Ranger Profession too, and one Trap is available to the Charr as a race specific Skill.
All in all, Thieves will suit tactical Players who enjoy the tension of stealth, the mirth of mischief and the satisfaction of cunning. They are clever, wily and often troublesome, and can be a very formidable foe; so much so that one can find themselves bested before the battle has even begun.