Thief thrusts you into a perilous world filled with many potential pitfalls. One wrong move can spell your demise, but there are many ways to avoid dangers and overcome obstacles. Let’s take a look at some of the most basic early strategies for surviving and thriving in the dark world of Thief.
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Take it Slow
Firstly, understand that Thief is not a fast-paced action game like most first-person titles. Rushing headlong into the fray is almost always the worst plan, especially for areas that are under heavy guard. Instead, patience and forethought are your keys to survival. Study each area thoroughly before making your move, taking note of the placement of guards and their patrol patterns. Look for environmental exploits, such as shadowy areas and side passages that you can sneak through unseen, or perhaps ladders or crawl spaces that may provide useful shortcuts. If you must contend with guards, single out those that you can neutralize with minimal risk, such as guards that stand alone or foolishly move through the shadows. Plan out your strategies with care and always look for “safe places” to hide, such as rooftops and other heights, which you can flee to if things go awry.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
As a professional thief, remaining hidden is your primary concern. Shadows and darkness are your closest allies, while light is your most reviled foe. Always keep to the shadows to reduce your chances of being detected. If you remain crouched and motionless, you’ll be surprised at how close guards can approach without taking notice of you. During times when you must cross through lit areas, look for ways to create darkness, such as by dousing torches with water arrows, triggering light switches with blunt arrows, or neutralizing guards that carry lanterns. In a pinch, use the swoop maneuver to quickly lunge from shadow to shadow—it’s an invaluable technique. You appear as little more than a blur while swooping, so you’ll often go unnoticed even as you pass through the light. And whenever possible, look for alternate routes, such as overhead pipes and beams, narrow ledges, or secret crawl spaces that provide alternate methods of moving through areas unseen.
Rags to Riches
Thief features no experience system, for Garrett is already a seasoned and experienced veteran of his shady trade. Still, even the most gifted thief can benefit from professional gadgets and tools—but these are among the few items that you cannot steal. Instead, tools and upgrades must be purchased from shady merchants around the City, and they all cost coin to obtain. As luck would have it, gold is easy to come by, for the City in which Garrett resides is filled with countless goods to steal. Forks, knives, cups, saucers, vases, necklaces, earrings, bracelets—all of this and more can be stolen to increase your wealth. Garrett never runs out of room in his pockets, so grab every valuable you see. Between missions, spend your ill-gotten gold on resources and gear that will make you a more formidable thief. The wrench, razor, and wirecutter tools are among the most important early purchases.
Exploiting Garrett’s mysterious Focus abilities is another important strategy for beginners. By engaging Focus, all items of interest and value become highlighted in the environment, making them easy to spot. This includes all loot items that can be stolen for profit, as well as useful objects such as ropes, ladders, switches, levers, and so on. Even traps are highlighted when you use Focus, helping you avoid and even disable these potential hazards. As you progress through the game, you’ll have the option to purchase Focus points from the Queen of Beggars, which may then be spent to unlock even more Focus skills. Advanced Focus abilities can allow Garrett to sense threats through walls, pick locks and pockets with greater speed, and even knockout enemies in direct combat with a single blow. Focus can be a tremendous advantage, but it’s a limited resource that requires energy to use. Engage it sparingly.
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