As I mentioned in my last post, I have always played thieves. It isn't about the stealing. It is about the stealthy, sneaking, hiding in the dark, being clever and having a cunning plan. Oh and playing the ultimate femme fatale.
The first time I played D&D my step brother gave me my choices of character and I picked the thief. I must have been going on pure instinct and what sounded good as I was only 12 and this was my first introduction to any fantasy setting. I continued with a thief archetype until the early 90s when I stopped playing RPGs. When I started playing MMOs in 2004 the first character was obviously a thief.
Thieves in MMOs, while based loosely on D&D, are really nothing like them as the game world doesn't allow for thieves to be thieves really. By that I mean, minimal traps, lock picking, wall climbing, etc. Almost all of the MMOs that have a thief character incorporate the stealth mechanic but that is really it. Thieves have been relegated to just pure DPS.
Blizzard, it seems, was full of good intentions for the rogue in vanilla WoW. We had to level lock picking to open doors and chests but there was very little in the way of traps except for the rogue quest at about level 24. There was a poison quest at level 19-20 where you had to use your rogue abilities like stealth, sap and lock picking. The reward was the use of poisons on your weapons. At that time the rogue had to make their own poisons. Yes, vanilla WoW was on the right track. It was fun and exciting to play a rogue then. But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
When Age of Conan came out there were a couple of trailers released that featured a female assassin. These had me so excited for the game. Finally a femme fatale!
Sadly, the game doesn't even come close to that. Assassins are just another melee combat class. As they are in every game.
The only way to truly play a thief/assassin/rogue is going old school with some dice and an imagination.