The Shadowy Assassin

Life as a rogue, so solitary and bleeding edge. The exhilaration of stalking prey and striking with deadly precision for that one fateful moment is never short of glorious. What makes the gamer who prefers this class tick? Some would say they’re just childish gankers, other that they are loners with no friends. These might be true, but more often than not, they reflect certain important personality traits that can be utilized by an experienced group. Following the personality traits of a dedicated Assassin we also will also discuss the common skill sets that such a roguish figure provides in the PvP environment.

Cunning

Every experienced assassin knows to hit their target when they’re most vulnerable or least expecting it. What does that take? It takes learning your prey, studying their methods and patterns, and learning their responses to dangerous situations. Cunning is very underestimated in the fast paced world of PvP, but ultimately separates the good from the bad. While cunning is not necessarily a trait exclusive to assassins, it is probably most apparent.

Any person with more than five days experience in a game can figure out how to move behind someone. The Shadow Assassin understands from the type of gear the target is wearing and his guild tag what threatens him most and at what point to strike. Many engagements occur out of stealth without a fear of repercussion, but the assassin we all talk about, is the one who lives to fight over and over again.

A cunning gamer uses situational awareness and experience to maximize his or her ability to kill his target or targets to gain either a tactical advantage for his teammates or survivability for himself.

Patience

It can be said that sitting in one spot for hours is boring and tedious. I’m apt to agree, however, for those with hunting instincts, patience is key. While cunning provides greater opportunities for a clean kill, patience provides the time to enact said opportunities. The excitement of waiting for a perfect shot can often outweigh the time spent beforehand exponentially.

What else does Patience provide? What it provides is the ability to observe more things by virtue of seeing it longer than those with less patience. Not only is patience important in PvP it can also be important in PvE, especially fighting particularly difficult Boss Mobs. By investing time to study an opponent, virtual or not, certain tactics or weaknesses may be revealed.

Tactical Proficiencies

Besides resident personality traits, the obvious benefits of such a character are not to be outweighed. The following tactics are provided by the Shadowy Assassin and can give his guild or group mates the edge needed to defeat a foe soundly.

Scouting

While we’d like to think that standing toe-to-toe in plate armor, swinging zwie-handers and moving in formations ultimately leads to battle, good leaders use scouts to gain the upper hand. Where do you move your formations or charge your cavalry, the Shadow Assassin, using his cunning to move behind the lines and his patience to observe useful information can give his leadership a major advantage.

While scouting is largely considered something that occurs before battle, it shouldn’t be by a long shot. The mentality of kill counts and DPS can provide more skilled PvP units an advantage if they have a scout or scouts willing to continue duties without entering combat. It has been said that the greatest plans fail upon first contact with the enemy, this can be made up for by continuously shifting the plan using information from your scouts.

First-strike Capability

To most of us, scouting sounds about as fun as watching water boil, luckily the Shadowy Assassin also provides another tactic useful to battle, First-strike. A first-strike is the ability to cause damage or at least initiate a battle at the time and place of your choosing, thereby enhancing your tactical position. First-strike means you have caused your opponent to react, hopefully in a way you expect.

Role-Playing

Ah, that dreaded Role-Playing thing, hated by so many, despite the fact that most of us play Role-Playing Games. I’m not here to argue semantics, what is important here is that there are those that like partaking in the Thees and Thous and the late night messaging to supposed real life females in game.

Sadly, the most people think about when the word Assassin jumps into their heads is, killer. While this is mostly true, killers have so much more to them, just go Ask a Ninja.

The truth is that everyone has their own vision of the loner assassin, stealthy and agile, cunning and quick. What this archetype does offer, is an air of mystery. Not mystery in a magical sense, but in a personal and martial one. Certain elements of human nature cause us to have some bit of curiosity about these figures and what their motivations are.

Fictional Representatives

Sam Fisher
Leon the Professional
Solid Snake

Wrap-Up

The Shadow Assassin provide tactical utility to our games with a great emphasis on either solo or group play. In my next column we’ll talk about their polar opposites, the Benevolent Healer.

Until then, fight the good fight and I’ll see you there.

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