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Guild Wars 2 – Balance Preview Thoughts On Thief


Now, as many of you know, Thief is my main profession in Guild Wars 2. Right now, Thief is in a sore spot having damage and mobility but not having enough survivability to use said damage in drawn out fights, troubles with condition damage and not enough sufficient party utility for raiding. I’m not saying as a Thief I should look at an opponent and they fall into down state. I’m saying after landing a decent burst combo and some auto attacks, my opponent better question fighting me for the next 15 seconds.

A step in the right direction for Thief was taken as ArenaNet gave us a preview of the January 26th balance changes for each profession.

Updated Skills

Alright where to start… how about Basilisk Venom (elite) gaining unblockable? This is pretty big for me as it will pierce through the assortment of blocks used these days. You can start a burst combo and can land it now. What’s good is that there is counter play to Basilisk Venom such as evading and I believe invulnerability as well.

Withdraw (heal) FINALLY got it’s 10% healing increase which was promised so long ago and took forever for some reason.

Bandit’s Defense (Daredevil utility skill) will block for the full duration & the kick knock down will be a flip over skill you can activate. I’ve been asking for this since HoT beta weekend 2. I assume it wasn’t in at HoT launch due to time constraints but it was a skill that just killed you more often than not due to the plethora of AoE you wanted to block but an enemy was in range so you auto kicked and ate damage. I know mace 4 on warrior has a similar block/flip over setup so I couldn’t see why ArenaNet couldn’t do it eventually. I’m just glad that it’s going to be in now and it could definitely can have a place on my utility bar.

Black Powder (Pistol 5) aftercast removal is huge! D/P stealthing will be a lot smoother which will help for maxing stealth duration or when getting caught out. It helps with speeding up blinding bolt combos when combined with unload or whirling axe. On the flip side it does promote the use of D/P even more as it’s arguably the best weapon set for a thief.

Auto Attack Speed

Thieves got some autoattack speed increases for Dagger and Sword for better sustain damage. Dagger I wasn’t so worried about but Sword is insanely better than it was. The Sword auto attack speed is one of the reason I didn’t use it. Now, I’m considering retrying it. The speed increase for sword results in about a 30% damage increase which is great. Both speed increases will help with sustain damage after bursting.

Also, for some reason, staff is getting some damage increases. Not sure why or where to be quite honest; staff is pretty strong as a damage weapon as it is. I think the increases will be minimal at best.

X Factor: New Acrobatics

Acrobatics is also getting a revamp. The goal is to provide a regenerative feel; endurance regen and remove conditions more frequently. I’m worried about the traits or even the trait line not being worth picking due to really long cooldowns. An example is a new trait called Instant Reflex which used to be Fleet Shadow. Instant Reflex allows you to gain evasion for 2s when struck below the 50% health threshold on a 40s CD. I feel 40 CD is way too long. However I haven’t seen the all of the traits and the new Acrobatics line is still in development so I’ll wait to make a final say.

I feel there still some things to look over on thief. Some of those are that I’d personally like preparedness (which is a Trickery minor trait that grants thieves +3 extra initiative) to be base line in order to allow Thieves to take something other than Trickery without losing out on the extra 3 initiative. I’d also like the Signet of Agility active to work as described which is “remove a condition FOR each ally near you”. Right now it removes a conditon ON each ally around you.

Overall I am happy about the buffs and we’ll definitely see Thieves come back into play somewhat. I’m hoping that Thief doesn’t become a staple pick everyone feels like they need to go for to win in PvP. I do hope that these buffs brings the people who main thief back.