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Suggestion--Thief Overhaul

Noko Anon.9154

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Deadly Arts:

Slather (M)-Periodically gain stacks of Skale Venom while in combat. (10sec CD)
Harrying (1A)-Shortbow skills cost 1 less initiative.
Toxic Respite (2A)-When you use a healing or elite skill, gain stacks of Skale Venom. (2 PvE / 1 PvP/WvW)
Deadly Coating (3A)-Dual wield attacks inflict poison. (2 stacks, 5 seconds PvE / 1 stack, 5 seconds  PvP/WvW, 5 second CD)

Desperate Measures (M)-When you're downed, your attacks inflict poison (1 stack, 1 second) and siphon health.
Lead Poisoning (1B)-Interrupting a target inflicts torment (2 stacks, 8 second duration, 3sec CD on a given target).
Toxicology (2B)-Your Venom skills have reduced recharge (20%). When you cast a Venom skill, you drop a vial of Skale Venom, inflicting vulnerability and torment on nearby enemies. (1 use of Skale Venom's effect in an area)
Sudden Death (3B)-Stealth attacks inflict poison (2 stacks, 10 seconds). Striking targets from behind with a stealth attack also inflicts fear. (1 second)

Poison Mastery (M)-Your poison damage and duration is increased. (15%)
Toxic Invigoration (1C)-When you inflict stacks of poison above the threshold (10), gain initiative (+1, 10sec CD).
Schadenfreude (2C)-Heal yourself for a portion of your outgoing condition damage. (10%)
Venom Touch (3C)-Stealing inflicts poison (2 stacks, 10 seconds). Using a stolen skill transfers damaging conditions on you (up to 3) to your target.

Critical Strikes:
Cold Fury (M)-Fury on you is stronger. (+10% critical chance)
Assassination (1A)-Dagger skills cost 1 less initiative.
Might Makes Right (2A)-When you inflict vulnerability, you gain might (2 stacks, 2 seconds PvE / 1 stack, 2 seconds PvP/WvW, 4 second cooldown on both). Might on you grants more power and less condition damage (+10 / -10, respectively).
Enrage (3A)-Dual wield attacks grant you fury (2 seconds, 4 second CD).

Expose Weakness (M)-While you have fury, your attacks inflict vulnerability (1 stack, 1 second duration).
Predation (1B)-Striking a foe below the health threshold (50%) grants you fury (1 second, 2 second CD). Deal increased strike damage to targets based on their remaining health (75%, +5% damage; 50%, +10% damage; 25%, +15% damage).
Bounty Hunting (2B)-Your Preparation skills are stronger and have a reduced arm times (1/2 second arm time, to prevent double-tapping on accident). Activating a Preparation grants you swiftness, resolution, and protection (2 seconds each).
Murder (3B)-Stealth attacks deal increased strike damage (+10%). Striking targets from behind with a stealth attack deals even more strike damage (+20%).

Mug (M)-Stealing inflicts damage on your target and grants you health. This damage can be a critical hit.
Brutality (1C)-Gain initiative (+1) when you critically strike a foe (10sec CD).
Waylay (2C)-Disabling a foe cripples them (4 second duration, 8 second CD). Apply vulnerability to targets you cripple (5 stacks, 8 second CD).
Grim Focus (3C)-Gain stability (1 stack, 1 second) while you have fury (4sec CD). Gain ferocity (+250) while you have stability.

Shadow Arts:
Merciful Ambush (M)-When you begin reviving an ally, grant both you and your target gain stealth (2 seconds, 10sec CD).
Sharpshooting (1A)-Your pistol skills cost 1 less initiative.
Soothing Shadows (2A)-Using a healing or elite skill removes a damaging condition on you (1).
Warding Attacks (3A)-Dual wield attacks grant you and nearby allies barrier (2 second CD).

Shadow Snap (M)-Grant stability (1 stack, 2 seconds) to you and nearby allies when you gain stealth.
Between the Eyes (1B)-Interrupting a target causes blind (2 seconds PvE / 1 second PvP/WvW).
Shadow Mastery (2B)-Your Deception skills have reduced recharge (20%).
Cover of Shadow (3B)-Stealth attacks grant you and nearby allies barrier. Striking targets from behind with a stealth attack grants regeneration to nearby allies (3 seconds).

Elusive (M)-Take reduced damage from damaging area effects (25%). Damage reduction is higher while you have stealth (50%).
Blindsiding (1C)-When you blind a foe, gain initiative (+1, 10sec CD).
Shadow Savior (2C)-When you give stealth, you also grant protection, resolution, and swiftness (3 seconds each).
Healing Touch (3C)-Stealing grants you and nearby allies barrier and regeneration (4 seconds). Regeneration you grant is stronger (+20%), and lasts longer (+10%).

Don't Stop (M)-When you gain swiftness, remove a movement-impairing condition on you.
Dueling (1A)-Your sword skills cost 1 less initiative.
Quick Escape (2A)-When you use a healing skill, gain superspeed (2 seconds).
Ensnare (3A)-Dual wield attacks inflict cripple (1 second, 2 second CD).

Limber (M)-Movement-impairing conditions on you have reduced duration (-33%).
Speed of Shadows (2A)-Gain superspeed (2 seconds) when you shadowstep. Remove a damaging condition (1) when you gain superspeed (2 second CD).
Duelist's Insignias (2B)-Signet skills have reduced recharge time (20%) and grant swiftness (3 seconds) on use.
Lock Down (2C)-Stealth attacks inflict cripple (2 seconds). Striking targets from behind with a stealth attack also inflicts immobilize (1 second).

Hard to Catch (M)-Gain swiftness when you dodge (4 second duration). When you gain swiftness, gain resistance (1 second, 2 second CD).
Running Free (3A)-Gain initiative when you gain swiftness (+1, 10sec CD).
Escape Artist (3B)-Dodging grants you superspeed (2 seconds). You can dodge while immobilized.
Bag and Tag (3C)-Stealing inflicts immobilize (1 second). Deal increased damage to movement-impaired foes (+10%).

Lay in Wait (M)-Your attacks deal more damage for each point of initiative you have (1% per each).
Gift of Grenth (1A)-When you inflict poison, you also inflict chill (1 second, 10 second cooldown). Your expertise is increased (+150).
Overstimulate (2A)-When you use a healing or elite skill, cast Lesser Haste.
Advantage (3A)-While your health is above the threshold (50%), you gain power and ferocity (+100 each).

Infiltrator's Rejuvenation (M)-Regain initiative while in combat (+1, 10sec CD).
Mercy Killing (1B)-Deal more damage to targets based on how many conditions they have (+1% damage per condition).
Trickster (2B)-Your Tricks remove conditions (2) when used and gain reduced recharge (20%).
Mob Mentality (3B)-Periodically grant might, fury, and swiftness to nearby allies (1 second each, 3 second CD)

Swindler (M)-Reduces the cooldown on Steal (20%).
Arterial Spray (1C)-Bleeding you inflict is stronger (+20%) and lasts for a longer duration (+10%). Stealing applies bleeding (3 stacks, 10 seconds).
Quick Hands (2C)-Your concentration is increased (+240), and you deal more damage for each boon on you (+1% per boon). Swapping weapons grants initiative (+2).
Improvisation (3C)-Stealing dazes foes (1/2 second). Use stolen skills twice, and partially recharge (by 20%) a random utility skill when you Steal.

Physical Supremacy (M)-Replaces Steal with Swipe. Gain increased endurance (+50). Gain access to Staves and Physical skills.
Lightning Reflexes (1A)-Completing a whirl combo finisher causes you to inflict slow (1 second) on your next attack (4 second window).
Staff Mastery (2A)-Your staff skills cost 1 less initiative.
Stick the Landing (3A)-Completing a leap combo finisher grants you stability (1 stack, 1 second).

Weakening Strikes (M)-Your next attack after dodging (4 second window) causes weakness (3 seconds) to foes struck. Weakened enemies deal less damage to you, and you deal increased damage to them (10% each).
Pressure Striking (1B)-Interrupting a foe inflicts slow (1 second, 5 second cooldown). Periodically inflict slow when striking a foe with a defiance bar (1 second, 10 second CD).
Brawler's Tenacity (2B)-Your Physical skills have reduced cooldown (20%). Gain endurance (10) when you use a Physical skill.
Fists of Fury (3B)-Interrupting a foe grants you quickness (2 seconds, 4 second CD). Periodically gain quickness when striking a foe with a defiance bar. (2 seconds, 4 second CD)

Breathing Techniques (M)-Gain endurance (50) when you successfully steal from an enemy. Gain endurance for each point of initiative spent (2 endurance per initiative).
Lotus Training (1C)-Your dodge ability now uses Impaling Lotus, firing daggers at nearby enemies. Gain increased condition damage (+15%) for a period of time after you dodge.
Rapid Striking (2C)-Gain initiative when you gain quickness (+1, 10 second CD).
Bounding Dodger (3C)-Your dodge ability is replaced by Bound, dealing damage to the area after you dodge. Gain increased strike damage (+15%) for a period of time after you dodge.

Deadeye's Gaze (M)-Replaces Steal with Deadeye's Mark. Gain malice when you strike a foe. Gain additional malice if that damage is a critical hit. Gain access to Rifles and Cantrip skills.
Silent Scope (1A)-Your rifle skills cost 1 less initiative.
Malicious Intent (2A)-Hitting a target from behind with a Stealth Attack grants you quickness (2 seconds).
Collateral Damage (3A)-Marking a target triggers a Burst of Shadows around your mark.

Renewing Gaze (M)-Deadeye's Mark recharges if your mark is defeated. Gain initiative (+1) when this effect triggers.
Sniper's Ward (2A)-While kneeling, you gain protection and resolution on an interval (2 seconds each, 4 second CD). Your critical hits periodically trigger a Burst of Flames around your target (5 second CD).
One in the Chamber (2B)-Cantrips gain reduced recharge (20%). Gain malice (+1) and quickness (1 second) when you use a cantrip.
Fall into Darkness (2C)-Gain stealth when you dodge. Your endurance is reduced (-50).

Iron Sight (M)-Damage dealt to your marked target is increased, and damage taken from your target is reduced (10% each).
Target Lock (3A)-While kneeling, you gain stability (1 stack, 1 second, 4 second CD) on an interval. Gain increased ferocity (+250) while you have stability.
Maleficent Seven (3B)-Increases the maximum malice-stack count (total 7). Gain initiative (3) and boons (as-is) upon reaching the maximum number of malice stacks.
Be Quick or Be Killed (3C)-When you mark a target, gain quickness (4 seconds). Gain additional power and precision (+200 each) while under the effect of quickness.

Specter I don't feel comfortable suggesting things for.

Edited by Noko Anon.9154
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20 minutes ago, Bunny.9834 said:


I agree mostly, access to reliable quickness would be nice. You’re also right that DD and DE are selfish DPS specs, since I was thinking of them more from a PvP perspective. My desire was to have them fill roles that complement how they should look play, thematically, to fill the roles of bunker, roamer, and DPS. I personally get skittish suggesting offering shareable quickness (or alacrity, for that matter) on any profession, and I’m even less eager to do that on a core specialization line as you’re suggesting. That being said, if more thieves want it, then let’s try and make it happen some day!

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Can you explain what the thief overall is to achieve please. It'd be nice that rather than just a list of traits, there's an overall picture of current thief, and what you wish the overhaul to achieve - and therefore why certain changes.

I mean, it's difficult to comment upon - i see some things in trait lines (only giving it a cursory glance) and think "what, why in that line?" - leading me to wonder if it's a desire to overstack certain builds with damage potential. 

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Sure, I would be glad to! Please understand that all of my perspective with thief comes from maining it in PvP and WvW, so if I have a PvE misunderstanding, I would appreciate being instructed in that.

For current thief, overall, there are three major problems I have with it. The first is the mishandling of initiative. The +3 initiative in Trickery offers is massive. For an unskilled player it’s a crutch, and offers more room for mistakes. For a skilled player, it’s a means of abusing (for lack of a better term) weapons that don’t have a typical cooldown.

Couple with that the only reliable means of gaining initiative back is Shadow Arts, and it’s clear why stealth builds are so popular and annoying. Stealth abuse is another issue thief has, and why wouldn’t a thief use stealth when it’s both powerful and easy?  I personally prefer S/D core, but pit me against a D/P DD or rifle DE, and I will get wiped. They will have better “evasion” (becoming untargetable), better initiative management (+3 initiative for setting up a backstab), and better cleansing, not to mention actual combat initiative in terms of choosing the flow of the fight. I don’t have a problem with using stealth attacks, but when they can be pulled off so often and so reliably with all the defenses SA provides, that’s an issue.

That leads to the third problem, which is also becoming present in willbenders, scrappers, rangers, and mesmers, is that the best way to play the profession is by not playing with anyone else at all. Interactivity is the name of the game with the best thief builds. Don’t get targeted, don’t take condition damage, and run away if your health dips below 75%; where’s the fun in that? Granted, I’m sure someone out there enjoys that play style, but I’m not one of them.

My ideal thief is one that does use stealth defensively, not offensively. That being said, stealth shouldn’t be the automatic solution to every problem. One should not get initiative going in to stealth. Going into stealth should not provide condition cleansing. Stealth should not be used “offensively” by blinding. Just some damage reduction, and the stability to try and get away during the short stealth time. One thief should not be able to kite three players with stealth abuse.

With all that said, Deadly Arts is about making AoE viable for thief. The short bow should do more than make a thief mobile. The poison makes it an excellent duelist, and better AoE and better Venoms makes it a stronger team fighter.

Critical Strikes is about stronger spike damage, making it an excellent roamer, or else better at spiking key targets in a mob.

Shadow Arts chooses between blinding, using stealth defensively, or granting barrier and regeneration. Enhancing blind encourages the use of smoke fields on a point, but there’s disadvantages to remaining stationary that prevents it from being overpowered. Defensively using stealth to reposition or help revive someone pushes stealth away from a selfish action. Gaining barrier and regeneration requires the thief to be active in a fight.

Acrobatics is all about the movement. Swiftness has its distinct advantages, and you can compare the differences between it and super speed, or choosing to be on the offense with crippling. With Acrobatics, one becomes a better roamer either offensively or defensively, or a better duelist by getting around immobilizations. It’s no longer a worse daredevil.

Trickery changes thief on a fundamental level. It’s no longer about how much initiative can be spent, it’s about how to smartly use initiative to stay in a fight. It’s about choosing selfish benefits, or choosing to better cooperate with others. Even then, it’s also about choosing how that cooperation happens.

Daredevil chooses between being a defensive duelist that wears everyone down, or going in hard and fast and spiking players with the quickness. It fits DD thematically too. Think of your least-favorite ninja cartoon, and think of a rapid strike verses precision striking. Daredevil is no longer taken for a long dodge, it’s for fighting and winning in close-quarters.

Deadeye hasn’t had any real options of traits in years. It’s basically always been four of nine choices, and that’s not fun. By encouraging kneeling and making kneeling more sturdy, that should bring some flavor to the profession (though there are of course benefits for non-rifle users). The choice is between working great in a group, or honing in on burst damage. Most notably I think is that dodging to go into stealth is no longer weapon-bound, but it reduces the player to one dodge. There might be a better way, like an internal cooldown, but again, stealth should be a defensive tool, and dodging is a defensive action; why not have them work together?

What problems did you notice? I’d like to make changes if possible by hearing other people’s feedback.

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First concern - stealth builds have always been the main of thief. That's not something that's suddenly arisen due to freebie init return on gaining/losing stealth in shadow arts. It's always been the game.

Also, trickery is a crutch by supplying a max cap of 3 init? You'd need to examine this a bit more. It doesn't affect regen of 1 per second, it does affect the max amount available - fair dos. 

To put it into perspective, most classes can use 8 different (2-5) weapon skills in succession before running out of those due to cooldowns and having to rely upon auto attacks or utilities (which thief has precious few directly damaging utilities - or useable ones anyway, don't get me started with preparations and micromanaging your battle). Some even have "ammo" on those weapon skills, meaning they *can* ... sort of spam them. Others have class mechanics that enable them to do dmg as if they've got yet more weapon skills! They may have up to 10, or even 15 attacks (i've not gone through counting). Some... change attunements and end up with, well, lots.

Thief would, given your desire for 12 init cap (and depending upon weapon set) have 2 weapon skills to use instead of 8... before they've got short cooldowns - aka init regen. Init management is already important. 

The reason I highlight this is the confusion that then arises over "but you can take traits that reduce cost by 1 init on weapon skills" Confusing why? Well, apparently +3 init is a real crutch. Meanwhile, making heartseeker cost 2 init only is going to somehow solve something? Contrast - 15 init pool, 3 init heartseeker = 5 spams. 12 init pool 2 init heartseeker = 6 spams. Shadow shot = 5 init, or 4 if traited in your scenario? How does it change from 3 uses under current/your proposal? Can spam 3 headshots currently, could do 4 with your proposal.

So i'm not saying it's not a good idea, just unconvinced that what you're saying matches with the proposal. That's before the init give backs in the trait lines (be aware i've not tried a build with your changes to see what it'd look like!).

Personally really dislike the "you can gain 12% bonus dmg for free by attacking with full init" - as this super benefits burst builds. i.e backstab far more than other builds. Which again, is funnelling (imo) down a particular path.

But be clear, I've not read thoroughly and tried to see what advantages/disadvantages a few builds would have compared to now - mainly as, if we did this for every suggestion there'd never be time to play - and worse still - suggestions never go anywhere (often, thankfully), so investing time doing so is (no offence to anyone who does) pointless; it's just wasted. 

I do, however, enjoy hearing people's takes/perspectives/thoughts around thief 😄

Edited by Chips.7968
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2 hours ago, Chips.7968 said:


All great concerns.

One of the things I do believe in is that, just because it’s “always been that way”, doesn’t automatically make it correct. While stealth builds have been a mainstay for thief since inception, I don’t believe that to necessarily be a good thing. Again, my ideal thief is S/D core. That being said, I don’t believe these changes take away from using stealth. As you point out, changing thief from how it currently is with Lead Attacks (where using more initiative means more damage) to the proposed Lay in Wait, if taken, means that a dagger user can absolutely front-load their damage with a backstab at full initiative. That is still fair to me, and good for thief, because in that specific instance, that heavy backstab punishes the opponent for lack of awareness.

Initiative management is very important, and we can agree on that. While the proposal does allow for spamming abilities, which, in a vacuum, seems overpowered, I would argue that this freedom heavily hurts the careless thief. Spamming six heartseekers on someone with low health when a thief +1’s a fight is a scary thought, as it should be. But, wouldn’t that also mean the thief isn’t using Infiltrator’s Arrow (8 initiative) to travel? Other roamers don’t need to burn initiative to quickly move; holosmith actually benefits from spamming superspeed from Holo Leap to have a better opening. Wouldn’t that also mean that to spam these abilities, the thief would have to rely solely on auto attacks until a window opens up for them? Rangers and willbenders don’t have this problem, because their escape tools are not dependent on their burst combos. Thieves, under this proposal, would need to play smarter.

Yes, HS spam would be easier with this suggestion, but stealth spam would be much, much harder. Even with both initiative-reducing traits, Black Powder->HS costs 7 initiative. A thief would not be able to move in with Infiltrator’s Arrow and set up the stealth combo without waiting 3 full seconds (2 seconds if a player gets the short bow trait, making their build Deadly Arts+CS+SA, with neither Trickery nor DD being used) of being totally obvious and easily focused before being able to set up. The point is to get thief out in the open more and asking thieves to play smarter with their resources, which current strong thief builds don’t do. That is also what some of the stability options account for, especially Grim Focus (which costs an opportunity to regen initiative) and Stick the Landing, so thieves don’t need to constantly burn stun breaks when bursting someone down, nor compel a thief to totally reset a fight if they can’t get said burst off.

Every change is from a standpoint of giving thief rewards for punishing unsuspecting enemies—the opportunity to spam, the opportunity to burst, the opportunity to land a solid interrupt on someone telegraphing a heal—while punishing the thief for spamming against aware foes. It’s about giving thief more security when fighting in a group and encouraging not falling into stealth during those hectic moments so they can use their own mobility to “kite” other players, rather than using stealth to just leave a fight and leave teammates to die. It’s about using stealth as a defensive tool, and not an offensive means to overwhelming opponents who quite literally can do nothing to answer stealth spam, apart from dodging at the right moment without being able to see an attack coming.

I’m all for using a stealth attacks, but they should be used for surprise, not as a bread-and-butter. I’ve had days where I go P/D condi and just use Dagger 5 and Stealth Pistol with Rending Shade, and it’s just embarrassing for everyone involved because of how much “nothing” is really going on. Stealth attacks will still be there. Stealth attacks do get huge benefits in terms of damage or utility because of the proposed interruption / disable traits. But a stealth attack should require forward thinking on the thief’s part, and not be easy to perform and have massive damage and feed into itself for another stealth attack.

You’re correct that suggestions don’t actually get taken into account by the dev team. Why would they? I know some jerk-off, if they say even a hint of one of their suggestions implemented, would demand money from Anet for “stealing their ideas” or some garbage. But, just as you enjoy hearing about people’s thoughts, I enjoy being able to get my thoughts out there. So, you and I are in the right place!

Edited by Noko Anon.9154
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