“Well, you know what, ninjas are not just about killing people!...we’re about killing people really, really well.”
-From Ask a Ninja, question four
Armament: Twin daggers
Role: Stealth commando
Probably the class with the most universal appeal, the Assassin can very often get in one-hit kills on opponents with their backstab ability.
They have cloaking, which drains mana as it runs and loses effectiveness during movement. It can be improved with experience. They also sprint faster than all but the warrior.
Although at first they can only stealth, once they have their entire bag of tricks they can disguise themselves as opponents, feign death, and drop traps among other things.
The assassin dies quickly to a warrior in melee combat, but they can dispatch them with a backstab, if given the opportunity. Assassin invisibility, however, does not work on priests, who can also mark them to make them visible to their entire team.
In short, they have a diverse range of abilities available, and while they suffer in a fair fight, they are extremely powerful if they have the element of surprise.
+Stealth and trickery abilities
+Powerful backstab special
+Diverse skill selection
-Few ranged options
-Players can learn to sniff out some of his abilities
-Cannot match warrior’s melee prowess
-Loses effectiveness a fair amount when spotted
Cost: 0 / 1 / 2 / 3
Effect: Turns you invisible; the effect isn’t as powerful if you’re moving. Drains your mana while it is active, upgrades make it more efficient.
Commentary: While the effect doesn’t generally make you hard enough to see to want to run around in plain sight unmolested, it’s good for escaping notice and hiding your nametag if you’re not being looked for or are lying in wait. You will be pretty much invisible whilst standing still. Mana cost is high, but upgrades mitigate that. As an added bonus, cloaking breaks autolock.
Upgrade commentary: At least one or two points should be put in cloak if you want to use it for extended periods of time, since the base duration is a bit lacking.
Cost: 1 / 2 / 3
Effect: Makes your steps quieter proportional to skill level.
Commentary: This one’s a must-have. You may not think that people listen to footsteps, but even people that don’t consciously listen for them can be put on their guard when an unupgraded assassin is clumsily clomping toward them.
Upgrade commentary: The last rank makes you almost completely silent while running, and for that it takes three points total. Not a bad value.
Cost: 1 / 2
Effect: Your stamina bar refills faster, higher levels increase this effect.
Commentary: More stamina means more sprinting means you can get around more easily. Well worth the points, but not always a high priority- you sprint should be used sparingly in a potential combat situation, at least when you’re cloaked.
Upgrade commentary: It’s a good idea to get two points in here eventually.
Cost: 3 / 4
Effect: If you hit, this attack poisons [see 2.4] the opponent. Hitting with these drains mana.
Commentary: The mana cost on these can kill your mana pool pretty quickly, but if you’re in a situation where cloak isn’t helping you, there’s not much to use your mana on anyway. Very effective for evening the odds, especially v. a warrior. Just make sure to switch back to normal daggers when your mana runs dry.
Upgrade commentary: An extra point causes hallucination on top of the normal effect. If you already had the spare points to get this and make good use of the disorienting aspect of poison, consider upgrading.
Cost: 2 / 3
Effect: Changes your appearance to look like a member of the opposite team, and everything except your name is changed to reflect this. Unlike cloak, it doesn’t drain mana, although there is an initial cost.
Commentary: This only tends to work on big servers, and even then it’s hard to find a situation where you won’t get attacked by teammates or found out by someone who remembers your name.
Upgrade commentary: Makes you look like a random enemy class instead of just an assassin. Usefulness is debatable, since if you get a class like archer you might look even more suspicious.
Effect: You fall down and appear to die, and can get up when you want to.
Commentary: It’s not convincing unless used during an area attack, a big server/battle, or against a new player, since it doesn’t show as a death on the HUD. You also need to switch to it before you can use it, making it inconvenient.
Cost: 2 /
Effect: You throw down a proximity mine that sprays toxic gas on the first person to walk by. Can only have 1 placed at a time.
Commentary: There’s a delay before they arm, so chances are you won’t be using them during a fight in many cases.
Prereq: Poison daggers
Effect: A player damaged with this attack continually bleeds away health, all the way to 1 HP. Drains mana on hit.
Commentary: This one behaves similarly to poison daggers, and the damage isn’t much better. However, getting a hit with these can mix in well with poison, since while these things can’t bring an opponent below 1 health, poison can. Poison + Arterial strike often equals a kill... eventually. Not bad in a 1-on-1 situation.
Prereq: Poison Orbs
Effect: Allows a player to throw down poison gas pipebombs (one at a time). Secondary switches to activation mode to trigger explosions. (hence the name)
Commentary: High damage can be gotten out of these, and it’s a great way to poison your opponents and arguably your only legitimate ranged option. It is a bit pricey skill wise however, and the activation method is a bit awkward, but manageable.
Be patient! Don’t run in an open field and don’t try to smash everyone in your way – you aren’t a warrior! If you want to have lots of sword smashing and open battles, choose warrior class instead. Your job is to wait for a good chance to sneak behind someone and kill him with backstab. Sometimes it takes a while to get a good chance so be patient.
Learn your enemy! In each map observe which paths your opponents usually are using, find a nice corner and wait for them. When they run past you, backstab!
Simple clicks swing your daggers around, but the key to playing as an Assassin is making proper use of your Backstab ability. To use that, hold down the left mouse button near a target facing away from you, and approach them. It will automatically try stab them when you are positioned right. You need to be very close.
Invisibility is useful in a wide degree of situations, but it drains too much mana to be kept on for long periods of time. Turn it on a little before you think you’ll run into some enemies. Running and especially sprinting makes you much easier to see, so if someone’s looking in your direction and hasn’t noticed you yet, freeze until their attention is somewhere else.
The general rule with cloak is that you should never be cloaked directly in front of someone and expect favorable results. Always try to stay where you can only really be seen peripherally. Find little crevices and ambush spots where you can hide and then pop out to kill people who walk past. Be light on the sprint key when cloaked-- if you’re trying to stay hidden, only move if you’re pretty sure no one will see notice you doing it.
If you are spotted up close, lock on and try your best to line up a backstab, but until the enemy’s back is exposed just slash them repeatedly (unless you’re fighting a warrior). Poison daggers can help a bit here. Stance attacks aren’t bad if you can time them well, and do moderate-heavy damage to exposed backs or sides.
Warriors can sometimes be killed by a backstab if they’re concentrating on someone else, but if they’ve locked onto you there really isn’t much you can do except try to get around to their back, drop poison or desperately stance-stab them. Note that sometimes backstabs go through your targets, so be careful of TKs when backstabbing in the middle of a large melee.
In group engagements, you can really shine. Find a hiding spot near a heavily trafficed area or an ongoing fight, and prey on players that walk past or target your teammates. Run up cloaked, backstab, run back and repeat.
Poison daggers are pretty handy for when you can’t get backstabs in: once you get them disoriented, you can switch back to normal daggers for the kill.
One thing assassins aren’t bad at is rooting out people who have taken high ground. If a mage, archer or possibly a priest is up on a ledge or tower raining down death, cloak if you’re out of their sights, follow them up, and try and take them down. Even if you can’t get a backstab, you’ll still have a good chance of killing them.
Fight against a warrior – if you happen to run into a warrior, cloak immediately. He won’t be able to use lock-on anymore. If he has already locked you, cloaking won’t help.