Hi ... erm or ... Hello or Greetings if you will ... oh screw this type of socializing ... let me start over.
Welcome to Bootcamp, Sunshine! I'm not here to tell you to pick this and that over that or do whatever ... I'm here to help you get a better understanding of a Class that I've been playing for years.
Yes it's going to be a long journey, yes it could get a bit complicated at times, but if you're a dedicated Thief then I have no doubt that you'll make it.
Also depending on the Format I may or may not need to post each part of the Guide individually.
If I had to give a quick advice to any new Thieves it would be: Don't follow or do stuff just because they are what's popular at the moment or because someone says it's overpowered ... that is called Sheep herding. Instead discover what works for you and what you want out of the Class not for others.
I've split up my Guild into 5 parts each with it's own Title so you can have a go at it in whatever order you prioritize.
All set? Good. Fancy and Clichéd Speeches are Over. Let us begin.
Welcome to Part 1 - Talent Trees
Fighting Talent Tree
The Fighting Talent Tree is mostly associated with Damage Amplification on a Single Target. Ideal for Roaming-Pick off, Elite Farming and 1 on 1 Duel Advantage.
1 - I recommend this talent if you are using a Critical hit Build since a lot of skills listed are ones that work well with Critical strikes(Shadow Strike already has a high damage bonus if used to break out of Stealth and increased chance for a Critical strike if positioned correctly, Adder Strike is a Finisher which means it has great damage potential, not to mention Both it and Bloody Strike can deal Critical Hits with their Damage over Time effects). Downside is ... unless you're going to for a Raw Damage build or Critical Hit build, there aren't really any talent combinations with this one since the damage over time debuffs(Poison from Adder Strike and Bleeding from Bloody strike) are not effected by the Armor Penetration feature from this talent, only the initial damage is.
2 - I honestly have had a tough time deciding between this talent and the previous one. Simply because both of them restrict their damage bonuses to specific skills with medium long cooldowns. Meat Grinder tends to require a Condition for the bonus damage, but the skills with said damage have lower cooldowns than the ones from Penetrating Strikes.
On the basis of Armored Enemies(players are no exception to this basis) Penetrating strikes win in efficiency in the longer run but provides very little early on(decent at early levels good at higher levels), while Meat Grinder is more consistent in terms of damage scaling and it does offer slightly more PVE potential in quickly killing off mobs one at a time especially if combined with the Bloody Strike skill, the Thorny Net, Cruel Blows and Massacre talents from the ... Massacre talent tree.
What I would recommend is: If you have to choose between Meat Grinder and Penetrating strike, go for Meat Grinder and keep it until level 50 or higher then switch to Penetrating strikes if you are more interested in PVP but as far as PVE goes I would still stick with Meat Grinder.
3 - Very simple and effective damage buff for fighting under a very easy condition(Enemy must be bleeding). Works very well with Massacre, Cruel Blows and Thorny Net talents from the Massacre talent tree, the Bloody Strike skill, the Meat Grinder talent and Bashing from the Robbery talent tree. Don't forget you're not the only one who can apply the bleeding effect on an enemy and if you find yourself unable to spend points on any of the listed talents and are afraid to rely only on your Bloody Strike to make the most out of this talent, you can always make it easier with Bleeding Woulds, Feast of Blood talents ... or Crippled Mind and Explosive Shot talents, but those are more effective on Mage/Archer classes.
4 - A talent devoted to increasing Critical Strikes for accurate positioning. Mostly favored by those who play a Roaming type of Thief who picks off specific targets and/or Critical Damage builds.
Fun fact you still gain the bonus of this talent regardless of the distance between you and your target as long as they are not facing you - keep that in mind if you are going for damage over time build(Bleeding, Poison, Elemental damage etc.).
It does come with a slight downside though: It does deteriorate with every level up unless the player consistently adds Attribute points into Luck as your chances to land a critical strike decrease with each level up.
I did have a hard time deciding between this talent and the previous one on which is the better for Elite farming:
Elite Monsters don't really have a way of removing Bleeding, but if you don't have the talents or seals to continuously apply Bleeding then, you're not really making the most of the Butcher talent.
Aside from the downside mentioned above there is still a possibility that the Elite Monster will target you and if it does than you are drastically losing efficiency on the Secret Operations.
In the end Secret Operations is Great for PVP with an Okay benefit to PVE, while Butcher is Good in Both situations.
5 - It's Great, Raw damage for PVP and a boost to farming certain Elite/Boss types. Short, Sweet and to the point.
6 - ... this is the one talent that just ... simply put ... it is very situational and it can backfire spectacularly:
This talent has no Cooldown and the damage dealt from it equals your Attack Power. You have to be in Melee Range for it to proc, it counts Neutral Damage which means it is reduced by enemy Armor and it can not Crit.
So what's wrong with this talent? ... WHAT'S RIGHT WITH THIS TALENT!?! It simply can not outscale the Bonus damage from the Cutthroat talent. Unless you are full on committing to full Strength Damage instead of Elemental, Direct PVP or even Critical Damage the Average damage from this talent will equal a single tic of damage from debuffs that deal damage over time.
Let's theorize for a little bit, shall we?
Situation 1 - Enemy deals slow, but Heavy Damage:
The talent can proc from 1 Single Instance of damage - Let's say you are fighting an Elite Monster or a Player and you get Hit for 60% of your Health from a Critical Strike. You are going to proc only 1 instance of damage from the talent in return.
Situation 2 - Enemy is dealing not enough damage, but at a Very high Attack Rate:
In 1 second you take several hits from an Enemy Player in Melee Range with a Dexterity build or you get hit by Multiple Enemy units at the same time, unless one of that damage instances exceeds 7% of your Health the talent will not proc ... (Translation: You can lose 80% of your Health without the Parry talent procing once.)
Situation 3 - Health Management:
It's very simple - the less Maximum Health you have the higher the chances of Situation 1 ocuring become, the more Maximum Health you have the higher the chances of Situation 2 ocuring become.
Situation 4 - Armor and Race Resistance Management:
- Copy and Paste description of Situation 3 here, but replace "Maximum Health" with "Armor and Resistance" -
Situation 5 - Not paying attention to a Monster's Aggression:
You are in a Party fighting a Boss/Elite and you either have no Tank or his Provocative skills are on Cooldown. You outdamage your team and the Monster targets you, you get hit and you take heavy damage so you begin to run away hoping that someone in your party will deal enough damage to steal Aggro. The Monster catches up to you and hits you once again, but you proc talent dealing damage to the Monster thus prolonging it's Aggression towards you. Yes, this is a very rare situation that most players may or may not experience, but the fact that it is a possibility is just insultingly ridiculous.
Using the Talent in combination with a shield is ... questionable ... but mostly overcomplicated in the damage calculations, though it may be considered okay-ish for a semi-tank build(Shield Thief).
Perhaps if they made this an Active Aura similar to Buzzing Arrows(Hunter Active talent) and Heavy Ammunition(Sniper Active talent), gets changed into the Assassin version of the Parry talent or if it gets Reworked to "Every time the Thief takes damage in melee range there is a chance that he will delivers a retaliationary strike" then perhaps it could be considered decent but as of now this talent is too situational
7 - Hands down one of the Best talents for both Thieves and Assassins ... just ... just trust me on this. The fact that this talent give the ability to use Sip of Booze and Campfire twice back to back should be enough to convince you. This talent single-handedly makes other talents play off of one another a lot better and it can be use in every single talent build and play style.
Just keep in mind that this Talent doesn't work on the Skills such as Secret Lair, Teleport to Lair, Deadly Vigilance, Save Portal Point, Portal and Items such as Manual Totem Actives and Potion Cooldowns.
8 - The Fact that it gives Stats makes it amazing, but you want to know about the "every skill has a 10% chance of requiring no cooldown", don't you? Great for Burst Damage(Weapon Throw, Bashing and any other above average damage skill with a long cooldown - like the Kick skill for example ... cough* Deadly Vigilance manual active cough*), Great for Disables (Stunning, Ice bomb, Magic Bomb, Distraction and Net), and Instant recast of Sip of Booze can be incredible since it no longer requires cunning to make the most of it(it does not prolong the duration of the heal over time, instead it just resets it) and it definitely has potential for PVE since every area of effect has skill has a chance for no cooldown, not so good for Finishers(even if you can reuse them, you still need to build up cunning in order to make them effective).
And the downside is painfully obvious: Only 10% chance for the 0 Cooldown feature to proc. If it was 15% this would me a Must have talent but for 10%, I'd keep it as a PVE prioritized talent. In PVP it's not exactly a good idea to rely on a LOW chance of a talent proc and even if it happens there are still counter plays for it since a large portion of combo skills aren't so good on their own without something to build off of. Don't get me wrong it still has it's amazing moments ... but 80% of them are in PVE where relying on a little bit of luck is less punishable.
9 - Rewards you with Damage stacks for repeated use of skills with low Cooldown ... it can be combined with almost every other combo/talent/equipment build.
Caution: Direct damage means only the enemy you have highlighted(targeted) will take increased damage from all your attacks, any other enemies taking damage from you through damage over time or area of effect don't take increased damage. This is fantastic for PVP especially 1 on 1 Duels/Pick offs and even Elite/Boss slaying
The one downside is that it encourages Thieves to spend a lot of Energy to make the most of it and you do need some time to set up the full damage bonus(usually 2-3 Seconds to reach 3 Stacks).
10 - The talent struggles to retain use with levels unless the player consistently adds Attribute points into Luck as your chances to land a critical strike decrease with each level up.
Great talent from Critical Hit based Builds and with the help of the Gold Lust skill, the Master of Ambush talent from the Robbery talent tree and the Passive Bonus from Weapon throw skill/talent you can extend the duration of your Fury to ludacris lengths.
Also this talent can become an effective Cunning Rush mechanic is combines with the Cruel Blows talent from the Massacre talent tree and ... the Massacre Passive Bonus.
11 - It speaks for itself, just don't forget that this damage bonus applies to skills that are AOE(Area of Effect) not just Single Target skills. Also the Bonus damage can be applied to enemies under Stuns and Immobilization from allies.
It works very well with the Suddenness talent in the Massacre talent tree.
It works better for PVP than PVE simply because your PVE options are limited to only 4( Net skill, using the Chase skill while in Stealth, Stunning skill and the Suddenness talent - 3 of those are single target only) or relying on friends' skills to help you make the most out of the talent when it comes to fighting multiple enemies/grinding for experience.
It is a very useful talent but sadly an underrated one.
12 - Single Target Burst that reduces Enemy Mobility and Damage output. Sometimes it is best to hold on to it until the Enemy is under an effect that reduces their Dodge such as Cold from your Ice Bomb or your Stunning skill if you are afraid the you don't have high enough Hit points to match your Enemy's Dodge points.
Honorably Mentions: The Bonus to the Passive Bonus from Weapon Throw applies to any form of Fury(Master of Ambush talent, Gold Lust skill and Vortex of Strikes talent), Swiftness from Silent Run talent, the Dodge Bonus from the Slyboots talent, the Protection from Blade Dance and Deadly Vigilance, the Resilience from Deadly Vigilance Skill, the Nimbleness from the Sip of Booze skill activation and Trickster talent ... as well as any other buff from party members with a Green Outline around the icon.
The Bonus does not apply to the duration of Massacre, Sip of Booze, Robber's Fire timer for Spring reuse, Grass Chewing Gum, Elixirs and other buffs with a Silver/Iron Outline around the icon.
Robbery Talent Tree
The Robbery Talent Tree offers Survivability through Defensive such as Evasion, Mobility, Impuissance and Increase in Healing.
1 - It's okay as a stand alone talent ... but Unholy Mother of N'aix is it incredible if combined with Robber's Fire, Blinding, Red Hot Weapon talents(from the Massacre talent tree) and Fortune's Favor(from the Fighting talent tree). Helps with taking down enemies regardless if they are players or elites, it stacks quickly and it costs very little energy.
But I must remind that it is essential that you have at least Robber's Fire talent(from the Massacre talent tree) in order to make this talent effective.
2 - Incredibly limited to PVP for Roaming/Critical strike builds, but highly effective at that. It is mostly associated with Cunning Rush more than anything.
It can be useful in PVE ... but only once per fight unless you disengage from the fight and restart it ... because that's what a PVE player needs right? A talent that can only be used once for fight.
3 - Useful at all stages of the game for recovering health and energy ... as long as you know the difference between Food and Drinks.
Don't forget it can be interrupted by disables(yes, silence is a disable and it will interrupt you from eating), skills that possess the "turmoil" feature and taking a lot of hits(regardless of damage) in a short amount of time.
Might I recommend some "food for thought"?: Eltane Stem or Cotton Candy for health and Holiday Cake or Maple Syrup for energy ... cough* Ambrosia cough*.
4 - Strictly for Cunning Rush. A quick way to build and sustain Cunning during combat while forcing you to spend energy that increases based on your energy pool.
Works surprisingly well in combination with the Saboteur and Shadow Lurker talents(from Thievish Tricks talent tree) - You enter Stealth, get near an enemy use the Sabotage skill and you will enter combat for 1-2 seconds(without you having to leave Stealth) during which you use the Leap skill to gain 1 Cunning point and the Shadow Lurker talent prevents you from losing that point while out of combat - a small out of combat trick to help you build full damage on your skills with a finishing feature before you even enter the fight.
The same trick applies to using Sip of Booze with the Knock-Down Booze talent(from the Massacre talent tree) while in Stealth.
5 - A talent so amazing that it's worth having for even the rarest moments of unplanned fights. In combination with Robber's Fire(from the Massacre talent tree) or Fortune's Favor(from the Robbery talent tree) it really makes it difficult for certain classes to lock you down.
Of course it has it's limits. It can't really save you from every single disable(cough* that's what Deadly Vigilance's manual activation is for cough*).
A rather important note - Using the Spring skill to dispel Immobilization and Silence will cause the skill to be normally cast, however using the Spring to remove the "Cold" disable will NOT allow you to deal damage with Spring - it will simply move you in the desired direction similarly to the Leap skill for all classes.
And always consider the distance between your current location and the cast point for your Spring skill - if you are immobilized or frozen you can't dispel the disable if your cast point is outside of your reach(10 meters).
Do we even have to mention the Energy Consumption and Cooldown reduction to the Spring skill when you're low on health? Spamming the Leap skill with the Chase skill and the Springs skill while on low health is a great way to create distance between you and an Enemy.
6 - Useful in only 3 Situations:
Situation 1: Farming loot ... probably goes very well with Premium's increased drop rate.
Situation 2: Raw Damage gain ... I mean ... it's okay but if you're really just looking for damage boosting talents there are far better ones in other talent trees that provide more than just a small boost to a single skill.
Situation 3: Using this talent in combination with a few other talents to create a "Superior Sudden Strike" ... basically replacing 1 skill with another(continue reading down more for further details).
7 - Think of this as your 4th heal(First Aid, Sip of Booze and Campfire are the other 3 heals). It's based on half the damage dealt meaning it's even more effective if you land a critical strike with Robbery. I will always proc on Enemy players.
The first use of Robbery on an enemy will be RNG(A chance to Lifesteal from half the damage of the Robbery skill), HOWEVER any repeated use of the Robbery skill on an enemy already hit by the skill will always proc the Lifesteal.
The chance to Lifesteal from Robbery is NOT based off of whether or not the skill successfully plundered.
It may not provide damage but the amazing sustain this talent provides more than makes up it.
8 - ... it is a rather weak talent. It basically adds the Vulnerability feature from Sudden Strike skill and applies it to the Robbery skill.
Yes, in Combination with the Marauder talent, Stand and deliver talent and the Red Hot Weapon talent(from the Massacre talent tree) it turns the Robbery skill into a superior version of the Sudden Strike skill(except for the fact that you can not proc stacks of the Swasher talent from the Fighting talent tree) that provides slightly higher sustain in battle.
Unless you are using a Shield may I ask: Is it worth Sacrificing 4 talent points just to replace 1 skill and provide a very, very, very tiny heal bonus from the Original Stand and deliver talent heal?
If it's damage increase, Fire Elemental damage and quickly stacking vulnerability that you want then I have a better option for you - the Frantic Spring + Red Hot Weapon + Robber's Fire talent combination(we'll talk about this combo later) - it deals more damage, stacks multiple instances of burning damage over time, stacks far more overall vulnerability, it takes only 3 talent points instead of 4 and get this ... you can actually hit more than 1 enemy with the combo ... wow.
As far as talents go ... this one is very lacking and it's not even that good on it's own.
9 - It's as basic as it gets and while the initial heal of Sip of Booze is based off of your attack damage ... why not go all out and just amplify it more, even if it already heals you for more than half your health upon use ... and besides it's not like your other option is any good.
10 - Good for a Dexterity build. It also can be combined with the Nimbleness gained from the Sip of Booze skill and the combination between the two can extend the duration of Nimbleness. It's a lone wolf sort of talent ... but ... I don't know, I think I'm just biased against this talent because I prefer the Old Trickster talent(gain Nimbleness when dealing a critical hit - because why would you want to get hit by a critical strike in order to gain a defensive perk).
Could very likely be used as a possible talent for a Dexterity/Evasion built Thief(both for DPS and Semi-Tank play style) ... again this may be just me being biased but I would recommend the following talent more.
You can't have more than 10 stacks of Nimbleness(40 points of Dodge) any other attempt to add more will simply reset the max duration.
11 - Every team player's favorite support talent ... no really this is seriously one of the best talents in a Thief's arsenal. The Impuissance effect not only helps you and your party in terms of survivability, but can even potentially increase your critical damage(if you have the Sucker Punches talent from the Thievish Tricks talent tree) but also your team's damage ... provided that they have talents that grand additional damage based on negative effects on a target.
I still highly recommend this talent to anyone ranging from solo players to party goers. Heck even if you are going for a Dexterity build you should still take this talent and keep it until you've gotten enough points in Dexterity(through Attributes, Seals, Cards, Equipment etc.) and then change it to Trickster.
The duration of Impuissance is only 3 seconds but it's reapplied in 1-2 seconds after the debuff wears out.
Combining this talent with the Kick skill(with or without the Dirty Fight talent from the Massacre talent tree) and the Deadly Dance talent(from the Fighting talent tree) allows you to keep an Enemy permanently under the effect of Impuissance by spamming the Blade Dance skill immediately after using the Campfire and Kick skills back to back.
12 - Yeah, yeah great Burst damage with very helpful damage over time debuff that can be combined with other talents(ones from the Massacre and Fighting talent trees) and to top it all off a small dose of counter healing in the form of an Ailment buff.
... and a Passive bonus that provides even more sustain.
If it wasn't so good, this talent description wouldn't have been so short.
Massacre Talent Tree
The Massacre Talent Tree favors Crowd Control, Farming Experience from Higher Level or Large groups of Mobs and Consistently Slow Damage that Ignores Evasion using Area of Effect Repetition, Applying Multiple Stacks of Debuffs onto several Targets.
I also need to give a small warning that the Massacre talent tree requires you to frequently put Attribute points in Stamina so that you may have enough energy for it's Combos(We'll get to that later ... believe me).
1 - Although the damage in the talent description gives a direct number, it's still a random number between one lower and one higher than the damage shown in the description. The Damage is Neutral so keep in mind that it can be decreased by enemy armor.
This talent does NOT have a "Mass Effect" Limitation meaning you can hit more than 5 enemies at once with it as long as they are in range. The damage can come in handy in a PVP fight, but we all use this talent for another purpose - Using it to increase overall Area of Effect damage to farm crowds of enemies faster ... and it's damn good at that.
Yes, it could attract unnecessary mobs to an already large group of enemies targeting you, it could potentially prolong a monster's aggression towards you, but you know what makes this talent far better to the Parry talent(from the Fighting talent tree)? - the fact that it's consistent and semi-manual since you yourself have to decide on when to use the skill that grants the effect of this talent.
2 - Mostly used for PVP since most of the features it provides are not exactly effective on mobs.
... Also it's worth mentioning the duration of the Distraction skill's disable for mobs is not effected by this talent(monsters will always be disabled for 5 seconds by the Distraction skill with or without this talent).
It only extends the Net skills Immobilization with 1 second, the Impuissance from the Kick skill by 2 seconds, Distraction skill's Slowdown by 1 second and it's Silence by also 1 second.
3 - Great for a Fire Elemental Build and in Combination with the Stronger Charge and Magic Bomb talents(from the Thievish Tricks talent tree), Frantic Spring and Bashing talents(from the Robbery talent tree), Blinding, Robber's Fire, Cruel Blows, Mass Intoxication and Massacre talents - you can keep and enemy permanently under 4 stacks of Bleeding, 4 stacks of Poion, 8-10 stacks of Vulnerability, 4 stacks of Burning and up to 16 seconds of Blinding ... and you want to know the best part? You don't need every single talent I just listed, you only need Magic Bomb, Bashing or even the Massacre skills/talents to make it happen. So why did I list them? - just to show how many Amazing talent combinations are possible with this one.
Though ... as a stand alone talent ... it's Above Average, so hey why not give it a try?
4 - Strong Disable for Initiation. No really ... that's about it. The bleeding and poison debuffs prevent the enemy from immediately removing the Immobilization by your Net skill. It's also good for countering Invisible units with but damage over time debuff breaking their Stealth, however this may only work if you land the Net skill after the enemy has entered stealth due to the fact that some of them applying Purification upon entering stealth(hint-hint Assassins with their own version of the Escape talent).
Contrary to popular belief the Bleeding and Poison duration of this talent are not increased by the added bonus from the Dirty Fight talent.
You can also combine this talent with the Massacre passive bonus, the Meat Grinder and Butcher(talents from the Fighting talent tree), helps to prolong the use of the Cruel Blows talent and works well with the Sucker Punch talent(from Thievish Tricks talent tree) as the 3 instant negative buffs help reach the maximum critical damage bonus from the talent.
5 - A very shallow talent as a stand alone one, only useful for combining it the use of the Robbery skill or Dexterity/Evasion builds ... but Combine this talent with Robber's Fire and it becomes a tool for survival for you alone or your party.
Typically favored for PVE and Shield based play style.
Fun fact: The game treats this talent the same way it does the Assassin's version of it, so it counts as 2 talents in 1(I'm not joking about this, it's been in the game for a year and a half) except it's nothing really exciting about it - The Assassin's version is "When the Assassin enters stealth mode enemies withing range are affected by Blinding for 6 seconds", and that applies to you if you pick this talent despite the Thief's class version of it - entering Stealth will cause nearby go Blind(you have to be in melee range and they have to not be hostile so ... good luck trying to use this "clearly intended feature" when you have only 1 Stealth mode option and it's a Non-Combat type).
6 - A PVP talent for initial and secondary lockdown. Simple as that.
7 - ... Combine this talent with the Frantic Spring and Escape talents(from the Robbery talent tree), Red Hot Weapon, Blinding and Massacre talents and if you still can't see how amazing it is for farming large groups of mobs or even mobs higher level than you then I suggest re-reading the descriptions I gave for the talents listed in this one. This talent ... single-handedly(well ... almost there is one more honorable mention) turned the Massacre talent tree to one of the best builds for PVE.
... the extra Campfire range is ... okay but that's not really the main selling point.
And one more thing ... you don't even need your own Campfire in order to benefit from this Talent, you can use another Thief's Campfire(as long as they are in your party) since the talent is based on Aura not Skill activation.
8 - "... struggles to retain use with levels unless the player consistently adds Attribute points into Luck as your chances to land a critical strike decrease with each level up." But in combination with the Bashing talent(from the Robbery talent tree), Thorny Net and Massacre talents along with the skill Bloody strike skill it can really increase your overall damage per second.
But as a stand alone talent it is ... rather weak. Mostly due to it's long cooldown forcing you to either use one of the listed skills/talents listed above or rely on a lucky critical strike in the span of 1 second before the debuff runs out.
Even if we ignore the other talents and skills used to support this talent, it's still very flawed in design due to the long cooldown - Are you really going to wait up to 15 seconds just for one of your debuffs to deal decent damage? What if you get interrupted then what? Start all over?
Despite my complaining it's an Okay talent mostly because of the possible combinations listed above that can help prolong the damage over time infinitely.
Recommended that you use Dual Weapons as your auto attacks count for 2 with each of them having a chance to crit and thus apply the talent.
But what makes this talent better than the next one is that secretly this talent can be used as a Cunning rush.
9 - A talent very similar to the Meat Grinder talent(from the Fighting talent tree) where specific damage sources are increased while a single target is under a specific condition.
This talent is only useful if combined with the Adder Strike skill, the Magic Bomb talent(from the Thievish Tricks talent tree), Thorny Net and Mass Intoxication talents(from the Massacre talent tree) ... and in case you're not counting that's 1 less talent combination than the Meat Grinder talent and 1 less damage source(this talent provides 2, while the Meat Grinder talent provides 3).
While I can confirm the fact that keeping an Enemy permanently under the effect of Poison thanks to a single talent(Mass Intoxication ... no really ... we'll get to that amazing talent in a minute), keeping and Enemy permanently under the effect of bleeding is not as easy(granted it's not hard but it is more pattern restricted in comparison): Bloody Strike's cooldown is 10 sec and the bleeding duration is 6 sec, Massacre's cooldown is 35 sec and the bleeding duration is 5 sec(but the duration of the on hit bleeding buff is 15 seconds, so realistically it's cooldown is 20), The Net skill(if you have the Thorny Net talent)'s cooldown is 30 sec and the bleeding duration is 7 sec, Bashing's cooldown is 1 minute and the bleeding duration is 3 sec. The Bashing skill/talent is not necessary. However you need at least 2 talents(Thorny Net and Massacre), I would also recommend having the Deadly Dance talent(from the Fighting talent tree) to help you reuse the skills that apply Bleeding quicker. Timing the Bloody Strike skill and only 1 of the talents (Thorny Net or Massacre) will prolong the effect of bleeding, but not long enough to make it permanent(unless you have and use the Deadly Dance talent), thus making one of features of the Painful Wounds talent inconsistent.
And while theoretically possible for this talent to outdo the Cruel Blows talent in terms of overall damage, the fundamental difference between Cruel Blows and Painful Wounds is that Painful Wounds encourages you to constantly skills and depletes your Energy quicker, while Cruel Blows encourages a slower but more secure damage over time that is dependent on Luck Attribute points, doesn't force you to use up any energy(unless you have the Massacre talent and are using skills to gain double the Cunning points ... we'll get to that in a bit as well) and can be used a supporting talent for other combinations ... the Cruel Blows talent is more new player friendly, so there. Happy? Now get off my back about it.
10 - Amazing ... simply amazing. This talent alone makes you keep an Enemy permanently under the effect of Posion. Let me explain. The Adder Strike skill applies Poison on a target and it's duration is based off of the Cunning points used up for the skill(2 Seconds of Poison for each point of Cunning spent) - You build full Cunning, use Adder Strike and you apply 3 Stacks of Poison(1 stack from the skill itself + 2 stacks from the Mass Intoxication talent proc) for 12 seconds, but wait ... it gets even better - since adding another stack of Poison always resets the duration of the debuff to the longest it's ever been all you have to do is hit the your Enemy with another skill that has the Finishing Blow feature(regardless of how many points of Cunning were spent on that skill) and you instantly add 1/2 more stacks of Poison(you can not exceed 4 stacks of poison without the help of a friend) AND you reset the duration of all the Poison stacks back to 12 seconds.
Skills with the Finishing Blow feature are Sudden Strike, Adder Strike and Robbery - 3 ways to prolong maximum stacks of Poison infinitely, not to mention if you have the Magic Bomb skill/talent(from the Thievish talent tree) or the Thorny Net talent you can use them instead of your Finisher skills to reset the Poison duration.
Let's check that theory now, shall we? - The Maximum duration of Poison caused by Adder Strike is 12 Seconds(if the skill was used at Max Cunning), the Cooldown for Adder Strike is 12 sec, Sudden Strike's cooldown is 8 sec and Robbery's cooldown is also 8 sec(We're not even counting the Net and Magic Bomb cooldowns because they are unnecessary if your goal is to keep the Enemy permanently under Poison). As you can see ... the only way an Enemy can break free of your Poison debuff is if you're not paying attention.
This talent works well with ... obviously the Magic Bomb, Spider Poison, Sucker Punches and Poisoned Wounds(from the Thievish talent tree), the Deadly Dance and Penetrating Strikes talents(from the Fighting talent tree) though the cooldown reduction is a tad unnecessary, the Thorny Net and Painful Wounds talents ... and if you wanna go nuts the Master of Ambush(from the Robbery talent tree) talent, the Secret Operations and Vortex of Strikes(from the Fighting talent tree) talents because oh right damage over time debuffs cough* Burning, Posion and Bleeding cough* can crit ... and it also hurts a lot when it's at max stacks.
Also worth mentioning is that this helps out when clearing groups of monsters and the fact that the talent proc and the damage over time can NOT miss is just the Cherry on the Cake.
... okay there may or may not be a bug where the talents of other players may or may not drop the maximum duration(because you know it's a bug when a timer goes from 11 seconds to 6 seconds in the blink of eye) but this bug is very rare and most of the time it's from Warlocks and Assassins ... so try to communicate with them.
11 - A mediocre talent that is overshadowed by literally every other talent in terms of damage sources or every other damage over time/perk based off of Bleeding and Poison. I'm sorry there is nothing more to say about this talent ... it was shallow when it first came out(even when Thief's talent tree was different) and it's arguably in worse state today.
12 - It's as simple as it gets in terms of description. It is a good talent combo for Robber's Fire, Thorny Net, Cruel Blows, Painful Wounds , Dissection(... congratulations ... I guess that talent has small purpose after all), Sucker Punches(from the Thievish talent tree), Meat Grinder, Butcher and Vortex of Strikes talents(from the Fighting talent tree), Master of Ambush and Bashing(from the Robbery talent tree) ... you think that's enough? Now obviously you can't combine Massacre with all of the listed talents - we will discuss this in the Next part of the Talents Topic so be sure to read that as well.
The Massacre active also affects all your Area of effect abilities and since AOE skills can't miss(unless you are off target), all AOE skills with the active buff from Massacre can apply Bleeding to Multiple enemies not just one and all the skills used have a high chance of applying damage over time, it makes the Massacre a great tool for consistent damage and for farming monsters higher level than you.
The Massacre passive bonus for adding 1 point of Cunning if you land a Critical strike on a bleeding enemy also applies to damage over time abilities allowing you to build Cunning from an already bleeding enemy without even being near them.
While we're still on the Subject of the Massacre passive bonus the Cunning gained from hitting a bleeding enemy with a Critical strike is predetermined ... okay, so what does that mean? Let's use this combination of talents as an example: You have the Massacre and Cruel blows talents, you are about to engage an enemy and your first attack on them has a 100% chance of being a Critical(...just go with it, this is an exaggeration just for you to understand it better), you hit the enemy with a single basic skill like Lunge for example and boom ... you just gained 2 points of cunning instead of 1. Due to the way damage calculations work having the Cruel blows talent combined with the Massacre passive means that every time you land a critical strike with a skill you are guaranteed 2 points of Cunning(except for when the Massacre passive bonus is on cooldown ... dude, seriously 1.5 seconds can barely be considered a cooldown).
You can not exceed more than 4 stacks of Bleeding without the help of a friend.
Oh right, quick update: It's also worth nothing that the Bleeding over time is not affected by damage decrease - if the Skill/Attack/Passive Talent applied Bleeding to a target before the damage decrease takes effect then you still deal full damage over time. And the same goes for the opposite effect - if you apply Bleeding to a target before you gain bonus damage then the damage over time caused by Bleeding will not increase.
Thievish Tricks Talent Tree
Now I know what you're thinking: "Why would you put this talent tree at the Bottom. Shouldn't this be the first talent tree be the first to be discussed since it's the only available talent tree to Rogues when they start out?" to which I would say yes, to an extent you have a valid point but as you level up and the course of the game progresses this talent tree slowly becomes a Support talent tree ... No, you fool! Not the heal and babysit you type of Support. I mean as a Support tree for your other talent trees and play style.
The truth of the matter is that the Thievish Tricks talent tree is a Jack of all trades ... no really it can provide you with almost anything - Need talents for gaining and sustaining Cunning? - it has it, need damage Raw and/or Critical? - it's there last time I checked, need Elemental damage? - oh got those as well, need some Area of Effect damage? - oh what a surprise there is some, need Survivability and/or Initiation options through Disables? - you already know the answer to that. But a Jack of all trades always means that it's individual mechanics are not strong enough to carry a play style on their own ... let me give you an example:
Are you really telling that an Assassin who goes for a Poison build play style would max out Thievish Tricks just to get 2 Poison talents and completely ignore his "POISON" talent tree? Because if the Thievish Tricks talent tree was strong enough to carry a build on it's own without the need to combine with another talent tree that's offering the same build. No, instead the Assassin would simply combine the Thievish Tricks talent tree with the Poison talent tree at which point the Thievish Tricks talent tree is considered a Support to the Poison talent tree with only a few features to increase it's potential, it's purpose and expand upon it while also providing other non poison features to help boost alternative methods to provide a backup in case said play style falters. That is called Root Supporting and that's what the Thievish Tricks talent tree excels at.
... want me to flip the coin?
Are you really telling that a Thief wants a build with more Survival would just max out Thievish Tricks just to get 2 or 3 talents based on a small amount of Dodge points and 2 Disables while ignoring the Robbery talent tree that provides Mid Combat Health/Energy recovery, an Escape from 3 commonly used disables for Initiation, Lifesteal, Increase in Healing, Decrease in enemy damage or even a Evasion/Dodge boost? ... see what I mean? You don't go for one, you combine the two by making one of them Root Support the other(I call it Root Support Simply as a Pun on Trees).
... you get the idea. With all said and done you can completely ignore the Thievish talent tree, yes it's effective in almost every situation but it's not a necessity since it can't really excel on it's own and you may be sacrificing talent points to talents that don't fit your play style just to boost something that is in your playstyle.
Simply put this is the talent tree that has both pros and cons.
Never the less. I highly recommend maxing this talent tree and keeping it so, until you reach level 40. Why? Because until then you lack the total amount of talent points to form a play style, possibly lacking enough attributes to support said play style and by then you will have unlocked all the Thief class' skills(except for Deadly Vigilance). ... What ... you're telling me you'd rather instantly max Massacre at level 20 instead of Thievish Tricks while half the skills needed to proc the talents from Massacre talent tree are still locked? ... same question goes for the Robbery talent tree.
Stick with the Thievish talent tree until level 40, then on your way to level 50 start experimenting with different build though talent and Attribute changes and when you reach level 50 it will be time to start refining your play style.
Every play style has it's ups and downs but we'll get to that in another part of this topic.
... and to make it clear I'm not forcing anyone to forever stick with the Thievish Tricks talent tree or forcing anyone to abandon said talent tree ... okay, we good? Right, then let's wrap this up.
1 - Great for Fire Elemental damage(both initial and over time) which means it could be used in a Fire damage build ... obviously and it's fantastic for farming mobs(both equal or higher level than you). Works very well with the Saboteur talent and the Deadly Dance(from the Fighting talent tree) + Red Hot Weapon + Robber's Fire talent combination(from the Massacre talent tree) for keeping an Enemy permanently under the effect of Burning.
Fun fact/exploit: The "Targets caught in the blast suffer from Burning for ..." is a LIE, the radius of this talent is slightly larger than the damage blast radius from the Sabotage skill ... translation - you can ignite Enemies with this talent even if they do not take damage from the Sabotage skill as long as they are nearby. Not an easy to showcase exploit, but it can be noticed fairly easily often when it happens ... good luck finding more than a handful of people using this talent ... thanks Edgelords.
It is a rather underrated talent because it's not restricted to just PVE, it is useful in PVP as well.
2 - Bonus damage for 2 Single target skills, lucky for the Rogues that those are the Most if not Two of the Most used skills in their arsenal. Whether or not the damage increase to Lunge and Sudden Strike is enough to match or exceed the damage from the Stronger Charge talent on a basis level is debatable, but it is undeniable that this talent outperform the Stronger Charge talent IF the user is going for a High Critical Chance or Critical Damage build(...or both ... you never know ... actually you can if you just inspect them).
It tends to be more associated with Elite/Boss farming and PVP since the longer the fight drags on the more damage you'll output with these skills.
Talents for combining with this one are mostly ones that provide critical chance and/or damage ... because got to get that crit damage boosted, am I right? ... please laugh ... Master of Ambush(from the Robbery talent tree), Vortex of Strikes(from the Fighting talent tree) and Sucker Punches if you're going for a build to burst down a Single Target with Critical Strikes and the only other talents that go well with Fencing that are not associated with Critical Strikes are Swasher and Cold Blood(from the Fighting talent tree) ... I'm not counting the talents Butcher and Cutthroat(both also from the Fighting talent tree) because those apply to all damage skills not just Lunge and Sudden Strike, but if you're using all 4 Noncritical talents just prove that Fencing is better than Stronger Charge, then congratulations you are making the Fencing talent seem weaker in comparison for needing so many talents to help it achieve maximum benefit.
Ever felt Deja vu? Well you're about to. Similar to a previous talent comparison - Fencing encourages frequent use of Energy, while Stronger Charge only requires it once in a while and in certain situations. In short the Stronger Charge talent is more newcomer friendly.
3 - Cunning Rush mostly used in Critical Strike or spam heavy Finisher skill builds ... no really that's about it, why are you still reading this?
4 - Well ... it um ... works ... well with the ... Stronger Charge talent ... yeah ... I got nothing on this.
The Stealth feature is almost useless unless in combination with the Shadow Lurker and Feinting(from the Robbery talent tree) talent in order to start building Cunning from the ground up without losing it or leaving Stealth ... and even then this talent is overshadowed by the Knock-Down Booze talent(from the Massacre talent tree) which does the combo better, helps build Cunning faster and can provide extra damage to fighting swarms of enemies. Not to mention that unless you engage a Monster in Combat(aka leave Stealth) they will just regain their health like it was nothing. If it's a player ... well you either have to be right in their face to make use of the Stealthy action of this talent(in which case you will be fully visible to them) or ... you can wait for 5 hours for them to walk over your trap(which does have a rather small radius), or ... use the Sabotage skill, reposition, exit Stealth mode and bait your enemy into walking into your trap when they run towards you ... you still have the element of surprise ... but not as big as it could have been if you just engaged with other skills that sync better with Stealth.
Still ... it is ... Okay when it comes to stacking Vulnerability onto multiple Enemies ... unless you have the Frantic Spring(from the Robbery talent tree) + Robber's Fire(from the Massacre talent tree) talent combination which does overall more damage, can apply more than just Vulnerability, stacks even more Vulnerability and provides movement while also allowing you to chose your place of damage ... and if all you want is to quickly stack Vulnerability onto just 1 target(... I don't know why you would want that) but you still have better alternatives - the Sudden Strike skill and the Robber(from the talent tree) talent.
How do you choose between a 1 talent that is half-useless and another that may or may not fit your play style? ... Well if you're not going for a Critical chance/damage build then pick this talent to help with clearing up Enemies.
I do believe that Assassins prefer the Insatiable Thirst since most of them go from Critical Strike builds by default ... but also the Gold Lust into Shadow Leap skill combination probably sealed the deal for them.
5 - Okay let's be honest, you don't really have much of a choice when it comes to this talent and the next one. Both of them support a Roaming/Pick off play style but one of them is for aggressive preference and the other is for defensive.
... this is the aggressive one mostly associated with build full Cunning before entering or while in Stealth mode(Building Cunning without leaving Stealth can be accomplished by frequent use of the Chase skill, the Gold Lust skill(if you have the Insatiable Thirst talent) and the Leap skill(if you have the Feinting + Knock-Down Booze/Saboteur talent combination)) and just go all in on a target with the idea to burst them down before they have a chance to react. But in comparison with the next talent that's up to come, this one tends to be more favorable towards Thieves than Assassins(I'm not saying that it's useless on Assassins) due to the fact that Thief's default unique class skills favor Disabling and Sustain allowing you to stand your ground upon leaving stealth.
6 - Well, I already emphasized my view on both of this talent and the one before it, so let's keep this short. Yes, this is a defensive talent for Roaming/Pick off play style and while it can be used on Thieves quite well, it's more effective on Assassins in the longer run, because they can make use of the this talent up to 4 times(Every time you exit Stealth the duration of the Slyboots talent boost is reset to 10 seconds ... now multiply that duration by 3 or 4) since they can have 4 versions of Stealth( yes, the Shadow Dungeon skill/talent DOES count as Stealth since it does proc the Slyboots talent, but for the sake of an argument let's theorize if an Assassin didn't pick the Shadow Dungeon skill/talent ) - they still have 3 sure forms of Stealth - your Normal Out of Combat Stealth, their Mid Combat Stealth(which drains their Energy if they stay in it for too long) and their "Second life" type of Stealth, so yeah Assassins can make better use from this talent since they can proc is more often.
And while we're on the topic yes, the Shadow Lurker talent is also good on Assassins and it's honestly their own preference as to what they pick ... regarding a Thief such as you however is based on play style of what you pick. I would recommend staying with the Slyboots talent as backup plan if caught unprepared by other players or monsters high enough levels to see you. When you reach level 40 then you can decide on if you want to switch to the Shadow Lurker talent, keep this one or just start a new from another talent tree since by then you will have unlocked every Thief skill(with the exception of Deadly Vigilance that comes at level 65), you'll have more talent points to spend and you'll have enough attribute points to start defining your very own play style.
7 - Yeap ... this is a good one, though it does favor Critical Strike based builds and it is mostly directed at a single target thus making it a PVP/Elite farming oriented, it's still amazing it terms of damage.
Literally any skill or talent that provides a debuff/negative buff(any icon under an enemy's health that has it's outer lines in Red NOT Gray) is going to be a good combination with this talent: Bloody Strike, Gold Lust, Ice Bomb, Adder Strike, Stunning, Kick, Robbery, Net, Distraction, Magic Bomb, Weapon Throw, Bashing and Massacre in terms of skills that negative effects from skills, as far as talents go - Stronger Charge, Spider Poison, Caustic Smoke, Thorny Net, Red Hot Weapon, Blinding, Suddenness, Cruel Blows and Mass Intoxication.
... Don't forget you're not the only one who can afflict an Enemy with debuffs, when a lot of players contribute to attack the same target you benefit a lot.
And obviously this talent scales incredibly with every level up, making it more and more effective ... and only a little bit effective if you're low level.
8 - Survivability in the form of an extended disable. It's perfect for PVE and decently effective in PVP since half the classes possess a talent to help dispell the Cold duration entirely not just from themselves but from other targets as well. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great talent, but if you become overly dependent on it then you are just digging your own grave.
9 - Yeap, 95% PVP talent from Roaming/Pick off play styles, because every PVE Thief will tell you that you can use a Mount while in stealth to negate the movement speed penalty in Stealth. And yes, with active buffs a Thief with the Silent Run talent can go much faster than one with a Mount in stealth, it's ... not really necessary unless you're trying to do naughty and particular things cough* Speed Running through Solo Family Crypt mobs and using Summoning stones to teleport your party directly to the Bosses without having to clear the Dungeon cough* sorry, I've been coughing a lot in this article, I must be getting sick or something.
10 - These two talents are very simple and effective so let's go over them. They both require an Enemy to be under the effect of Poison, but the features these two talents provide are entirely different. First off we have the Spider Poison talent ... "... struggles to retain use with levels unless the player consistently adds Attribute points into Luck as your chances to land a critical strike decrease with each level up." I think you've heard this before somewhere, don't you? Offers great disabling potential and it's gets better in the longer run(if you're playing by a Critical Strike build). I should mention that 6 out 10 times you will only be able to apply this talent's effect only on 1 target - the other times you'll be able to apply the effect onto Multiple Enemies though a combination of Area of Effect Poison(Magic Bomb, Thorny Net and Mass Intoxication talents) and talents that let you apply damage over time onto multiple enemies at once(I'm referring to the talents Red Hot Weapon, Throny Net(hello again), Stronger Charge and Massacre(with a small boost from the Robber's Fire talent)) because oh right ... damage over time can crit.
11 - Literally the same condition as the Spider Poison talent but with another benefit ... increased damage. Very simple and easy to use at all stages of the game. You already know which talents go well with this one ... but in case you don't (Magic Bomb, Thorny Net and Mass Intoxication).
Both the Spider Poison and Poisoned Wounds talents are useful in PVP in different ways but the Poisoned Wounds talent tends to give a bigger advantage towards PVE than Spider Poison simply because it increases the damage of an Element(yes Poison is considered an element) which with the help of other talent combinations can easily spread onto Multiple Enemies.
12 - First of all let me remind you that the Passive Attribute stats this talent provides are absurd in the early game. It provides Survivability in the form of a short Disable(although the disable can drop to less than 3 seconds if an Enemy or all affected Enemies take too much damage, so don't overplay your cards), while providing raw damage, elemental damage(which we all should know what you can combine with by now), just like any other AOE skill it can be used to counter Evasion/Dodge and it gives Critical chance. It's a thing of beauty really, useful in both PVE and PVP both for the same reasons. The only thing inconsistent about this talent is the movement patterns on Enemies hit by this skill/talent.
Works great with the Spider Poison, Poisoned Wounds, Deadly Dance, Fortune's Favor, Thorny Net and Mass Intoxication talents.
Should be used with caution, something as simple as forced enemy repositioning can always backfire in many ways.