Initiative is the lifeblood of the thief in Guild Wars 2. Unlike most other MMOs, the various attacks that the thief has to use in combat in Guild Wars 2 do not have any cooldown timers. Instead, a thief can use any weapon set attack as much as they wish as long as they have the sufficient initiative to do so. Every attack requires a certain amount of initiative to use, with the better (and cooler) attacks requiring the most initiative. The most basic attack (in the first weapon skill slot) for each weapon set does not require any initiative to use so you can use them to your heart’s content. The amount of initiative used in an attack is shown if you mouse over the attack on your hotbar.
A thief starts out with a base amount of 12 initiative in Guild Wars 2, which is shown on your hotbar as a row of diamonds directly above your weapon skills. This can be expanded to a total of 15 initiative if you pursue the Trickery trait line. Once you start using your initiative, the used initiative will be represented by those diamonds going dark. They will light up again when it regenerates. A thief’s initiative refreshes itself at a rate of roughly 1 per 1.6 seconds. However, there are other skills and traits that can help you replenish your initiative on a faster scale. The quicker you can replenish your initiative, the more quickly you can rain down damaging blows upon your enemy. Below is a breakdown of the skills and traits that impact your initiative.
Use Line of Sight to Your Advantage
Along with actively dodging to avoid larger attacks, before you even begin any boss encounters take note of your surroundings. Many spaces will have multiple ways for you to break line of sight (LoS) which can be just as effective as knowing when to dodge to avoid larger attacks. While not all professions and roles will be able to hang back out of melee range to take advantage of breaking LoS, those that can should consider doing so as much as possible.
Don’t Neglect Your Underwater Build
While you won’t necessarily encounter underwater areas in every dungeon, certain dungeons will contain one or more paths that may require you to bust out your aquatic gear and go for a swim. If you haven’t done a lot of underwater content in the explorable maps, it can be easy to forget to keep your aquatic build up to snuff, and realizing you’ve neglected it in the middle of a dungeon isn’t exactly optimal.
Factor Team Support into Your Build
By the time you can enter the first dungeon – Ascalonian Catacombs – at level 30, all professions will have enough trait and skill points to factor in different forms of team support into your overall build. For dungeons, area heals or even condition removal via combo fields can be a huge help, but you’ll also want to find ways of making revives much easier.
Before entering a dungeon, take a few minutes to review your current build and swap out any utility skills that offer solid group support, adjust your major traits, and think about which weapon sets will function best in a group setting. As a general rule, even for more melee focused professions it can still be a good idea to consider bringing a mid- or long-range weapon set which can keep you a lot more mobile during more difficult encounters.
Monitor Boons and Conditions, and React Accordingly
At the start of any given boss fight, the first thing you’ll want to take note of are any specific boons they might have active. For example, many will have a stacking boon that negates the effectiveness of any crowd control skills used against them, but those stacks can be reduced by applying things like cripples and chills. If you don’t negate the boon early in the fight, it can continue stacking making the encounter much more difficult than it needs to be.