The boards are often littered with questions on Tick Attack and Sneak Attack, how to macro them, and how they are applied in different party situations, using different weapon skills.
This guide is meant to answer the questions surrounding the thief abilities of Sneak Attack and Trick Attack.
The guide is also designed to inform the budding thief and players of other classes, so they might come away with an understanding of what thieves do, how it is applied, and how it benefits a party.
I will be demonstrating party formation. Here are some conventions that I will use.
mob means: monster
Main jobs will be signified by their capitalized abbreviations: THF WHM NIN etc.
I will also use role abbreviations such as: TANK1, TANK2 etc.
mob or player facing (direction) will be shown with an arrow head type character such as > or < or ^ .
For example, a thief facing east is shown like so: THF>
I will supply a few macro examples, but this guide is not a macro tutorial. Refer to a macro tutorial or guide for macroing information.
What is Sneak Attack?
Sneak Attack is a thief ability gained at level 15. It allows a thief to deal big damage to a mob (monster). The catch is that you must be behind the mob in order for it to work. There are theories about how far off of dead center you can be, but I am not aware of any confirmed numbers. Just be sure to line your center up with the center of the mob and it will work.
If you are in position behind the mob within tolerable limits, Sneak Attack is guaranteed to hit.
Stats which effect Sneak Attack are Strength and Dexterity. Sneak attack damage is calculated as a normal critical attack with a bonus determined by the character's dexterity. The more dexterity you have, the higher the bonus. All other regular melee damage factors also apply, such as weapon base damage, strength, attack, mob defense and mob vitality. These are all applied using a formula (which I will not discuss here) to determine sneak attack damage.
Sneak Attack is an instant ability, in that a Sneak Attack is an event, and has no duration beyond point of impact. When Sneak Attack is "readied", an icon will appear at the top of your screen. Your next attack will be an attempted Sneak Attack.
You don't have to be engaged to ready Sneak Attack. It can be readied at any time. This is an important point, and will factor heavily in successful Thief battle tactics. Basically, when Sneak Attack is readied, the next melee hit (within the one minute timer) will be an attempted Sneak Attack. After one minute, if not used, Sneak Attack will expire, and must be readied again.
The 1 minute timer begins the moment Sneak Attack is readied, not on the subsequent melee attack. This is critically important. If Sneak Attack is readied, and your next melee attack is 55 seconds later, Sneak Attack can be readied 5 seconds after that attack, or 1 minute after sneak attack was last readied. This means that, theoretically, 3 Sneak Attacks are possible within a 1 minute, and ten second window....
1. Ready Sneak Attack
2. At 56 seconds (of the Sneak Attack Timer), a mob is engaged by the party. Being in correct position, a Sneak Attack lands.
3. After 5 seconds, Sneak Attack is readied.
4. 1 second later, the second Sneak Attack lands.
5. One minute later, Sneak Attack is readied and landed.
Result: 3 Sneak Attacks in ~1:10
By timing ability use strategically, the thief can maximize their contribution to a party. I'll touch on this more later...
What is Trick Attack?
Trick Attack is a thief ability gained at level 30. It allows a thief to deal damage to a mob, but transfer the resulting "hate" or enmity to someone else in the party. This means that the hate generated by the Trick Attack is not accounted to the thief, but rather the "Trick Partner"
Trick attack requires special positioning in that there must be a party member (trick partner, or partner) directly between the thief and the mob. The positions shown below will both work for Trick Attack if used alone (without Sneak Attack).
THF> TANK > mob>
Notice, trick attack when used alone does not require that you are behind the mob, only that there is someone directly between you and the mob.
Unlike Sneak Attack, Trick Attack is not guaranteed to hit. Even though your positioning is perfect, Trick Attack still can and will miss at times.
Trick attack is on a one minute timer which works exactly like the Sneak Attack timer described above.
Hate, or Enmity, are generated by all actions which adversely effect a mob. During combat, the mob will face the person in the party it hates most at that point in time.
Actions which generate hate include:
- engaging the mob
- inflicting damage on the mob (through melee, magic or songs)
- provoking the mob
- enhancing (buffing) a character the mob hates
- healing a character the mob hates
- debuffing the mob
- some character abilities generate hate such as:
THF: stealing, mugging
PLD: invincibility, shield bash
As combat progresses, the mob has a hate pecking order that it keeps. As party members do their jobs, the mob will turn to face the party member who currently has the most hate.
For party efficiency, hate control is critical. Being able to successfully manage hate placement in a party is an integral part of the successful party, and is required if you want to stay alive. Having the mob pound on a mage results in a dead mage. If the mages die, everyone else might die, including the elusive thief. Death aside, an important key to party efficiency and maximum experience/time ratio lies in hate management.
Through the use of thief abilities, thieves are the only class in the game which can actively divert hate to another party member, ideally a tanking class such as PLD, NIN or WAR.
What is "Stacking" and what "stacks" with what?
Stacking is a term used to describe the complimentary combination of abilities and weapon skills. Not all abilities can be combined, and not all weapon skills stack with all abilities. There are a few important combinations that do work extremely well. I will give you the general rule, and the most practical applications.
Weapon skills can only be used one at a time, when the player has 100+ TP. Stacking of weapon skills is not possible. Some weapon skills can be stacked with abilities, however. This is described blow, read on.
It is possible to use more than one ability at a time. For example, a thief could use Perfect Dodge and Flee at the same time. The net result is a very fast thief who cannot be physically hit for 30 seconds. This is an example of ability stacking.
Abilities + Weapon Skills
Some weapon skills can be stacked with abilities. In the case of the Thief, a weapon skill can be stacked with Sneak attack. Not all Weapon skills stack, mind you, so understanding the stacking rules is important:
Weapons skills which inflict physical damage can be stacked with Sneak Attack. Elemental weapon skills will not stack.
For example, let's look at an attempt to stack Gust Slash (a dagger weapon skill) with Sneak Attack.
Sneak + Gust Slash
/ja "Sneak Attack" <me>
/ws "Gust Slash" <bt>
A successful stacking would have Sneak Attack and Gust Slash attacks both "stacking" (being applied) to a single melee attack.
The result would be a single combined damage total for both a Sneak Attack and Gust Slash landing in a single blow. This is stacking.
Wait! If you were to try the example above, it would fail to stack every single time! Why? Because Gust Slash is a wind based elemental attack, and elemental attacks do not stack with Sneak attack.
So which Weapon Skills DO stack with Sneak Attack?
The rule again is that any weapon skill which inflicts physical, non elemental damage, will stack with Sneak Attack. Here is a list of Weapon Skills which are known to stack with Sneak Attack. Thanks to Deadgye for his additions to this list:
** NOTE **
I have not confirmed many of these, and I am not interested in researching and maintaining a concise list of stackable weaponskills. Test them for yourself.
** NOTE **
H2H: Combo, Shoulder tackle, One inch Punch, Raging Fists, Spinning attack. Howling Fist, Dragon Kick, Asuran Fists.
Dagger: Wasp Sting, Shaodwstitch, Viper Bite, Energy steal, Energy Drain, Dancing Edge, Shark Bite, Ecisceration.
Sword: Fast Blade, Circle Blade, Vorpal Blade, Swift Blade, Savage Blade.
Great Sword: Hard Slash, Power Slash, Shockwave, Crescent moon, Sickle Moon, Spin Slash, Ground Strike.
Club: Brainshaker, Skullbreaker, True strike, Judgement, Hexa Strike, Black Halo.
Staff: Heavy Swing, Shell Crusher, Full Swing, Spirit Taker, Retribution.
Axe: Raging Axe, Smash Axe, Galka Axe, Avalanche Axe, Spinning Axe, Rampage, Clamity, Mistral Axe, Decimination.
Great axe: Shield Break, Iron Tempest, Sturmwind, Armor Break, Keen Edge, Weapon Break, Raging Rush, Full Break, Steel Cyclone.
Scythe: Slice, Dark Harvest, Spinning Scythe, Vorpal Scythe, Guillotine, Cross Reaper, Spiral Hell.
Spear: Double Thrust, Leg Sweep, Penta Thrust, Vorpal Thrust, Skewer, Sheeling thrust, Impulse Drive.
Katana: Blade: Rin, Blade: Retsu, Blade: Jin, Blade: Ten, Blade: Ku
Great Katana: Tachi: Enpi, Tachi: Hobaku, Tachi: Yukikaze, Tachi: Gekko, Tachi: Kasya.
At level 33, a thief with a fully leveled dagger skill learns the Viper Bite weapon skill. This weapon skill is the thief's bread and butter until level 60, when they will learn Dancing Edge. Before level 33 however, dagger weapon skills are not particularly effective, and there are weapon skills available to hand-to-hand and sword wielding thieves which far outshine a dagger's performance.
So, if you are using a sword, the macro to "stack" Fast Blade with Sneak Attack is:
/ja "Sneak Attack" <me>
/ws "Fast Blade" <bt>
Using this macro, when in correct Sneak Attack position, results in a single blow for LARGE damage, and a LOT of hate for the thief.
What about the thief being able to divert hate to someone else?
Ah! Now we're talking about the big daddy of thief abilities:
Sneak Attack + Trick Attack Stacking
Stacking Sneak Attack and Trick Attack is a class defining ability combination.
We know how Sneak works, and we know how Trick works. Let's look at stacking these two abilities.
As we know, both Sneak and Trick use a one minute cool down timer and the that timer starts counting down from the time the ability is readied, NOT when it is used (a hit on the mob). Convenient that Sneak and Trick both have a 1 minute timer.. I wonder if its a coincidence? Nope!
/ja "Sneak Attack" <me>
/ja "Trick Attack" <me>
The macro above will stack Sneak and Trick, into something that has several names and references. Here are a few:
Fuidama: a Japanese (using English characters) term which incorporates forms of the words sneaky and tricky. So Fuidama means sneak/trick!
SATA: combined abbreviations for Sneak Attack and Trick Attack SA/TA
I've seen it called SANTA as well, but I prefer Fuidama.
OK so Sneak and Trick can be stacked to form something called Fuidama. How is it applied?
Positioning is key. Sneak requires that the thief is directly behind the mob. Trick requires that a party member be directly between the thief and the mob. Following this logic:
Fuidama requires that the thief be directly behind a party member, who is directly behind the mob.
Here is the the positioning:
THF> WAR> mob> PLD
When Fuidama is successfully landed, the result is truly massive damage, and all of the hate from the blow is added to the hate tally for the WAR "trick partner", not the thief!
So, if controlling hate is critical to party success, and Fuidama transfers massive hate to the tank, Fuidama is a valuable hate control tool which maximizes party efficiency? Yes!
Can Weapon Skills be combined with Fuidama?
Yes, they can, for even larger damage, and even more hate control potential. Just remember to stack Weapon Skills with physical damage, not elemental damage. Here is an example macro for Fuidama + Viper Bite
/ja "Sneak Attack" <me>
/ja "Trick Attack <me>
/ws "Viper Bite" <bt>
This guide is a "how to", not a combat tactics tutorial. There are many details that go into playing a thief effectively, and the use of Fuidama is most important.
For other great information, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to good topics in this forum, check this link out:
- changed wait times in macros to 1. Some people question the functionality of 1.5
- added Deadgye's list of "stackable" weapon skills -Thanks Deadgye!
- fixed a few typos and clarified a few sentences
- Inserted disclaimer regarding stackable WS
- Added link to "Good Stuff" Post
Edited, Fri Aug 20 09:45:28 2004 by Leachman