Thief (2014) - A Guide to Shady Merchant Upgrades

In order to walk quieter, hit harder, and live longer, Garrett can choose from various upgrades for his weapons and armor; but which ones work best?

If you are looking for help with any other issues, please feel free to check out the Thief Guide Master List for more!

Playing through the bare minimum of the game's chapter requirements should arm you with the basic tools and weapons you need... but where's the fun in that? Chances are if you are playing Thief, you want more than just progression - you want loot!

The following are some of the extra upgrades you can pick up from the Shady Merchant that can help you steal faster, live longer, and fight harder.

There are actually two places that you can purchase upgrades for Garrett, unlike tools and trinkets.

  1. The Clock Tower: opening your chest in the Clock Tower will also bring up a separate tab for upgrade purchases
  2. The Shady Merchant: located just outside the door of the Crippled Burrick

The Shady Merchant and his location

It is mostly a matter of convenience which option you choose to purchase your upgrades from, but I prefer seeking out this shady fellow since I am often in the market for buying other things besides upgrades whenever I have enough gold to do so.

He is located just outside the door of The Crippled Burrick.

These upgrades can be very useful but extremely pricey. I highly recommend buying the Shady Merchant Tools first before seriously trying to purchase all of these.

If you do not overbuy arrows and other resources from merchants along the way in Chapters 1 and 2, you should have enough money (even if you are only casually looting) to buy a few of these upgrades as well as your tools.

Lockpick Quality

  • Tier I and Tier II both available after Chapter 1
  • Tier I costs 150 G and Tier II costs 420 G
  • Increases Garrett's lockpicking sensitivity - makes it easier and quicker to find the pins' sweet spots

Incredibly handy for all players regardless of whether you are Ghost, Opportunist, or Predator, Tier I is quite cheap when it first becomes available after Chapter 1 and I recommend purchasing it - after you purchase the wrench, that is. (See A Guide to Shady Merchant Tools.)

Leather Padding

  • Available after Chapter 1
  • Costs 500 G
  • Allows falling from greater heights without taking damage

This upgrade is also useful for all playstyles, particularly if you're fond of exploring (and what self-respecting thief isn't?). Many of the hanging ropes around the city lead to second- and third-story ledges, and jumping off of them may not always land you on the poles or outcroppings you expect to.

Bow Balancing

  • Tier I available after Chapter 1 and Tier II available after Chapter 3
  • Tier I costs 700 G, Tier II costs 1800 G
  • Reduces time it takes to aim your bow

This is handy for all styles of play, since Garrett's arrows are constantly used outside of combat and nearly all of them require a full draw before they are of any use. Of course, these upgrades will be most useful for Predators.

Leather Hardening

  • Tier I available after Chapter 1 and Tier II available after Chapter 3
  • Tier I costs 750 G, and Tier II costs 1450 G
  • Reduces all damage taken

This is useful for all styles of play since with it Garrett takes less damage from all sources - including from traps and falls, not just from combat or arrows, although it will be most handy for Predators who enjoy open combat.

Quiver Capacity

  • Tier I and Tier II both available after Chapter 1
  • Tier I costs 600 G and Tier II costs 2500 G
  • Increases the number of arrows that Garret can carry

This is most useful for Predators since they will be the ones expending more of their arrows in combat situations. However these upgrades can also come in handy for all stealthy explorers who do not enjoy making constant runs to a salesman for more arrows since they are not always in the immediate area and one get can easily turned around in the various sections of the city map. 

Leather Oil

  • Available after Chapter 2
  • Costs 1400 G
  • Allow Garrett to walk more quietly over noisy surfaces

This is most useful for Ghosts and Opportunists since it allows you to be much stealthier. Of course Predators may also find this upgrade handy particularly if are stealth Predators, and require some positioning before they start picking off their enemies.

Bow Shot Strength

  • Tier I available after Chapter 1, Tier II available after Chapter 3, and Tier III available after Chapter 5
  • Tier I costs 900 G, Tier II costs 1400 G, and Tier III costs 2600 G
  • Increases the damage of Garrett's arrows

This is best for Predators, since enemies will go down quicker and with fewer arrows. This combined with the Sawtooth Arrows (see A Guide to Arrows and Other Consumables) will be extremely useful in taking down armored opponents from a distance with a single shot.

Blackjack Damage

  • Tier I available after Chapter 1, Tier II after Chapter 3, and Tier III available after Chapter 5
  • Tier I costs 750 G, Tier II costs, 1750 G, and Tier III costs 2495 G
  • Increases damage of melee attacks in combat

This skill is also best for non-stealth Predators, who enjoy direct combat with the guards rather than by stealth kills. This upgrade should be paired with Leather Hardening in order to be effective as possible in combat.

For walkthroughs, FAQs, bug fixes, and other tips for Thief, please check out the Master List.

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.

Published Mar. 13th 2014

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