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Are there any MMOs around that treat thieves like they are actually thieves?
In my experience, every single MMO out there treats the "thief" class(es) as a lightly armored fighter who usually inflicts extra damage against an opponent when he is attacking from behind. Sometimes these so-called thieves also know how to use poison, have some skill with throwing daggers or shooting bows/crossbows, can pick pockets (for very small change). But, basically, they are not a true thief class... they are just, like I said, a variation of a fighter.
Even in DDO, a game that you'd THINK would make a thief what it should be, the thief is less of a thief than he is a lightly armored fighter, who sacrifices some versatility the fighter has for being able to disarm traps and sneak around. Woohoo. Sneaking is so much fun, especially when there is virtually no reason to do any sneaking!
THIS is what I think of when I hear thief, rogue, or any similar thing: a skill-oriented character, who often relies upon luck as much as anything else, who does not fight unless absolutely forced to because he pretty much sucks at it, but who doesn't need to fight, because he has the skills necessary to avoid it and to reach his true objective... whatever it is he's going to steal.
Thieves, in my mind, scale walls in the rich part of town, quietly navigate a courtyard and stick to the shadows to avoid the notice of guards, scale the side of the building to gain access to an open, second-story window, etc. They then navigate the interior of a lavish mansion, obviously in search of valubles. Maybe they find a safe behind a painting and disarm a trap on the safe before skillfully cracking the safe. Of course, they're remaining quiet the whole time so as not to wake the master of the house, asleep with his wife in bed 10 feet away. And, of course, they are clever enough to realize that those steps coming down the hallway mean they'd better cover that safe back up and hide somewhere quick before the guard sticks his head in to check on his employer's safety.
Then, when the thief does crack the safe, he doesn't grab the +5 vorpal longsword of fiery wrath and the studded leather armor of +10 str and con... he grabs the jewels, the banknotes, the deeds, the secret documents that he could later use to blackmail this rich dude... maybe he leaves a calling card for style points. And then he sneaks out as carefully as he snuck in.
If he DOES get spotted, he probably doesn't fight first... he runs, or hides, or whatever. If he does have to fight, he relies, again, on skill. He dodges, moves constantly, attacks when it is safe to do so. He doesn't stand there taking hits while trying to cut the guard's throat... he's a thief, not a berserker.
But you get the picture. I would pay good money to play an MMO where thieves are THIEVES, or that is focused on thieves and their variations (brigands, burglars, pickpockets, spies, even the ever-popular assassin). There's a lot of potential here.