This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide.
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.

Job Overview

Specializing in covert actions, Thieves aim for the perfect opportunity to attack from behind. By usage of their signature abilities Sneak Attack and Trick Attack, Thieves are able to inflict massive amounts of damage without the enemy's notice. In a party, Thieves are expected to control the party's hate levels and trick enemies into thinking that the party's tank is the primary threat.

Thieves also have many tools at their disposal to get out of sticky situations in the game. Not only do they possess the highest evasion rating in the game, but they also have abilities such as Flee and Hide, which allow them to brave even the most perilous areas without fear of death. Additional abilities such as Steal, Gilfinder, and Treasure Hunter make Thief the optimal choice for acquiring gil and items. Thieves also have the unique ability to pick Treasure Chests and Treasure Coffers without the use of real keys.

Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Sneak Attack is an explosively powerful ability when used behind an enemy.
  • Trick Attack keeps aggro on the tank and keeps the Thief from getting attacked.
  • Access to the most powerful Dagger weaponskills.
  • Gilfinder and Treasure Hunter abilities allow Thieves to acquire money more easily than other jobs.
  • Able to open treasure chests and coffers without spending time finding real keys.
  • Able to escape from almost any situation with super high evasion, flee, and hide.
  • Master of the Distortion skillchain.


  • Must compete with other melee characters for party slots, leading to slow invites.
  • Requires more skill and party cooperation than other jobs to be effective.
  • Other than Sneak Attack and Trick Attack, melee attacks are weaker than other Damage Dealers'.
  • Solo leveling to Lv.10 is more difficult than many other jobs, due to the lack of offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • Hard to get party invites before Lv.15, due to lack of damage output.

Stats That Should Be Obtained

  • Agility - AGI does a lot of things for Thief. One of the big things it does is powers Trick Attack (Job ability obtained at level 30). Each point of AGI adds 1 to your weapon damage for the Trick Attack hit. It also improves your evasion, parry, shield, and ranged accuracy stats. It's good if you have your Pulling macro that equips all of your AGI+ gear before you Ranged Attack it. It will help for the best results of you actually hitting the monster you are pulling and it will give you extra Evasion as you run back to your party. For every two points of Agility a character has, these stats are raised by one point.
  • Dexterity - DEX also does quite a few things, one of the most important thing is that it powers Sneak Attack (Job ability obtained at level 15). Each point of DEX adds 1 to your weapon damage for the Sneak attack hit. It is said that each point of Dexterity raises critical hit rate by 0.125%. Dexterity also has a direct impact on a character's accuracy stat. For every two points of DEX a character has, his/her accuracy is raised by one point. DEX is also the driving factor in almost every THF weapon skill.
  • Strength - STR is generally avoided by Thieves. Because Thief has naturally low Strength, overcoming an enemies' Vitality and thus raising the STR variable is more difficult for them than other jobs. In addition, all of Thief's weapon skills use mostly DEX mods, especially Shark Bite at 66, which has a 50_%DEX mod attached to it. Because of this, DEX generally adds more damage to weapon skills than Strength will. However, strength can also raise your Attack, which is beneficial. Strength also raises your Ranged Attack, so gaining Strength and Agility for Ranger isn't such a bad idea. Every two points of Strength raises your characters Attack and Ranged Attack by 1 point.
  • Intelligence - INT is not really for much. Gust Slash and Cyclone have INT mods and will gain damage from additional Int, but aside from that THF has little use for this stat. There are rumors that higher INT raises chances of successfully picking locks, but so far those rumors are unproven.

Probably the most overlooked part of the job is the use of status bolts with Marksmanship. Starting at level 15, it is very important to keep marksmanship skill current so you can land acid bolts on mobs. Acid bolt effects, when they land, will lower the defense of the mob and dispel any defense boost buff that the mob has. They are very important against pugils or crawlers you will face between now through the 30s as the spells Dispel and Magic Finale are not available. Starting at 20, you will get Sleep Bolts, which can briefly help in crowd control (the effect lasts shorter than sleep but they can buy some time as the Sleep spell itself has a long cooldown time), and at 25 you will gain Bloody Bolts that can help in keeping yourself alive. At some point of time, you should make every effort into investing in Ranged Accuracy+ gear that you can.

Race Selection

Final Fantasy XI allows players to choose between five different races, each with its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of stats. While certain races' stats are better matched to some jobs more than others, the differences are never so profound as to prevent any race from playing any particular job (except for Elvaans and Black Mage). All players can excel at any job they so choose, provided they have the skill and the equipment; the race selection is mostly an aesthetic decision.

Starting Stats
Hume 28 0 6 8 6 7 7 5 5
Elvaan 30 0 7 8 7 6 6 6 5
Tarutaru 24 0 5 8 6 8 9 5 5
Galka 33 0 7 8 8 7 7 5 4
Mithra 28 0 6 10 6 8 7 5 4

Mithra -
Mithra enjoys a significant lead in dexterity over other races as well as a smaller advantage in agility. These stats are helpful because the Sneak Attack damage is influenced most directly by the DEX stat and the Trick Attack is influenced most directly by the AGI stat. The low strength leads to lower damage per hit, but Mithra makes up for it with stronger Sneak and Trick Attack.
Hume -
Hume is the closest in stats to Mithra of races, and thus perform similarly as Thief. Hume's slightly higher strength helps to balance the lower dexterity and agility.
Galka -
Second highest strength of all races, matches Hume and Tarutaru in dexterity, but lower in agility. It is about as well balanced as Hume for playing Thief, with the best survivability at lower levels due to their high HP.
Tarutaru -
Same dexterity as Hume and Galka, better agility, but the worst strength of all races. Tarutaru suffers from lower melee damage potential like Mithra. The high agility helps, but the low HP can sometimes be worrisome when pulling or using Sneak Attack at low levels.
Elvaan -
Lowest dexterity and agility in relation to other races. Elvaan, however, has the highest strength, and can produce the highest non SA or TA damage, with durability second only to Galka.

Support Job Options

Experience Point Parties

The most common subs used in XP parties, and the reasons for using them.

Warrior -
Often the Support Job selected by those who have not yet unlocked Ninja, Warrior is one of the most common support jobs used by Thief. This support job offers a number of useful job abilities and traits.
Berserk is gained at 30, Double Attack at 50, Attack Bonus at 60, and finally Warcry at 70. Each of these increases the attack power of a Thief, especially on Weapon Skills.
Ninja -
The most common Support Job for Thief. While this combination offers nothing before level 20, little before level 24, it complements THF's role nicely from level 24 to 75.
At level 20 you gain the ability to Dual Wield. At low levels, it allows a Thief to equip two different types of weapons (commonly Sword and Dagger) in order to utilize Sword's stronger WS Fast Blade while off handing dagger to compensate lower TP gain rate from lower innate Sword skill. (This is typically done until Dagger's Viper Bite WS becomes available. The offhand weapon can be used to increase desirable stats, such as dexterity, agility, or accuracy. Also, Dual Wield adds an extra hit on Weapon Skills, increasing the damage dealt on those.
When selecting weapons and gears, it may be worthwhile not to create a setup where integer number of attack swings add to 96-99%TP, forcing a THF to make one extra swing in order to reach 100% TP. (The formula for calculating TP gain can be found on the Tactical Points page.)
With Haste gear and spells, 150-190 delay daggers, and Dual Wield, a Thief attacks very fast. However, even with the Subtle Blow trait granted by /NIN, the increased attacks will give monsters more TP per damage dealt compared to other jobs which use higher delay weapons due the TP gain for monster differ from TP gain for players.
Utsusemi: Ichi is gained at level 24 and makes a wonderful addition to a Thief's bag of tricks. Thieves are commonly used as the puller in parties, and the ability to negate three attacks makes this job much less stressful. Utsusemi: Ni becomes available at level 74, giving another three copy images with which to avoid attacks, at a faster cast speed. With A+ rated evasion, both the Utsusemi Ninjutsu, and status bolts, a Thief has amazing survivability, making this an ideal Support Job for soloing a variety of monsters as well.
Monk -
A Monk Support Job can be beneficial to a thief, especially before Viper Bite. When used with Sneak Attack, Combo can be devastating at lower levels, despite an E rating in Hand-to-Hand. This also offers the job abilities Boost at level 10 and Focus at 50, increasing a thief's attack and accuracy respectively. Dodge, gained at level 30, can also be used effectively with a thief's already impressive evasion to help with pulling.
Somewhat more situational and less versatile than either a Warrior and Ninja Support Jobs, this is nevertheless an effective combination in some levels/situations.
Ranger -
Whilst a thief's ranged attack skills are not very high ranked (C- in archery and C+ in marksmanship), they are nonetheless extremely useful. A ranger sub capitalizes on this fact, and can actually be even more damaging than a warrior sub in certain level ranges.
Until a thief gets Sneak Attack at level 15, they lack any way to do any serious damage to a mob. By subbing ranger, a thief can use ranged attacks to greatly increase their damage output in the low levels.
A ranger sub also complements a thief's common role as puller in a party. Wide Scan can be of use in certain circumstances, although it must be used correctly. Alertness can also make the difference between aggro and strolling right past a mob or potential link.
Access to ranged weapon skills is gained from a ranger sub, although in parties a thief should generally be using their dagger weapon skills. Sharpshot allows a thief to exploit the high TP gain per attack of ranged attacks, and the Accuracy Bonus traits gained at levels 20 and 60 also help increase a thief's TP gain nicely.
Another sub that works very well at low levels, and can be used very effictively even after that point.

Specialized/Niche Situations

White Mage -
This is a good choice for getting around in dangerous areas. Being able to cast Sneak and Invisible on oneself instead of relying on medicines or Shinobi-Tabi helps to save money and inventory space. Also a good choice for when coffer hunting for Artifact Armor or for profit.
Black Mage -
Quite honestly everyone should consider leveling Black Mage to least Lv.17 for use as a support job for transportation purposes. Warp allows players to return to Home Point without having to waste Conquest Points or Gil on Instant Warp scroll or Warp Cudgel.
Samurai -
This is mainly for HNM, Gods and Dynamis. The ability to skillchain on demand with Meditate is the most important use of this as a support job.
Dark Knight -
This is mainly for HNM, Gods, and Dynamis. Stun is one reason for subbing DRK. Last Resort and Souleater, coupled with Sneak Attack, Trick Attack, and later Assassin's Charge, can lead to enormous damage hits and powerful Weapon Skills for piling enmity onto the tank.
Dancer -
Like most classes, this is great for soloing purposes and farming effeciently. Trading NIN sub for DNC sub while farming is a great idea if you are fighting mobs that don't neccesarily require Utsusemi in that Drain Samba's works phenomenally with THF evasion to keep your health capped at all times on anything EP or lower at just about every level range.
Beastmaster -
Might sound odd . but well gear With Apollo's Staff ans some CHR+ gear (macro switch) allow you to have a "Tank" and to freely Sneak Attack + WS your Prey , having a Tatami Shield help alot to intimidate in case you get hate , and if Pets resist charm , high Eva allow you to wait the 10 sec require to recharm w/o taking too much dmg