EDIT: And we’re back. Changed all links to fav site, Massively.
So much Guild Wars news today, but first I will start with the unexpected bomb so I can spend more time working on a post for the Guild Wars update later today. It seems that Massively received a pretty good demo at GDC, where they filmed it entirely. We know about the first part being the norn starting area, which was expected for the new demo coming out. And then at Massively’s demo the presenter casually drops that “oh yeah, the sixth profession is the thief. Play it.” I have to say I was not expecting another profession reveal before PAX, and I definitely was not expecting it in the updated demo/presentation.
So the Thief. A little more fantasy core than the Guild Wars assassin, and slightly less misspelled than the rogue (you know, than the theif). This profession appears to take it’s ancestry directly from the old assassin as the thief profession keeps dual-wielding light weapons, like daggers and pistols, as main attack tools. The thief also retains high mobility in the form of shadow-steps and what-to-looks-to-be very long range rolls. Finally, the thief gains a controversial stealth ability. Stealth will have a duration, and it is unknown how it will affect PvP. Finally, true to it’s name the thief can steal items from enemies and use those weapons against the foe. For example, the thief can steal some feathers from a moa and then fling the feathers back into the moa’s face for great blindness.
The thief’s mechanic is Initiative, which let’s the thief chain skills really quickly. Instead of a weapon skill having cooldown, that skill takes Initiative dots and recharges instantly. Once the thief drains the Initiative pool, the thief will become much more vulnerable as the weapon skills will not have Initiative to use. (EDIT: See Vulturion’s explanation in the comments for a better… well, explanation.)
I like that the thief is the follow-up to the guardian profession. Both professions seem to rely more heavily on battlefield positioning and awareness than the base four. Whereas the guardian seeks to control large pieces of the battlefield, the thief has to slip into the cracks and be able to slip back out. The new demo shows that the game has been through many iterations. The stats have been distilled down to four from the original six, a wurm-like necromancer minion, and more! I think that between the playable thief, playable guardian, new zones, and new mechanics there will be tons to talk about after PAX East!