A thief starts out with a base amount of 12 initiative

A Thief in Guild Wars 2 is a dangerous entity. They can dish out tremendous damage with their various weapon sets and are maddeningly mobile. Whether it be sword, dagger, pistol, or shortbow, a thief can open up a can of massive damage, disappear into the shadows, and re-emerge to shiv you some more. They have some unique abilities, such as the ability to steal or using stealth, but the main focus a thief can do in Guild Wars 2 is drop an enemy quickly. To do that, they have to rely upon a little something called Initiative.

Starting at level 11, players can begin to spend points on the various trait lines. A thief has a total of five trait lines to pick from. For more information on traits, read our handy guide. Below are the various traits that will impact your initiative.

Critical Strikes

  • Opportunist – Minor trait – 10% increased damage when initiative is over 6
  • First Strikes – Minor trait – Critical hits have a 20% chance to restore one initiative (1 second cooldown)
  • Signet Use – Major trait – Gain 2 initiative when activating a signet. Reduces signet recharge by 20%

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.


  • Kleptomaniac – Minor trait – Stealing gives you 3 initiative
  • Preparedness – Minor trait – Increases maximum initiative by 3
  • Lead Attacks – Minor trait – Increases damage by 1% per initiative
  • Initial Strike – Major trait – Attacks with the first weapon skill slot have a 7% change to regain 1 initiative
  • Hastened Replenishment – Major trait – You receive 4 initiative when using a heal skill

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