I believe it's about time we see a MMO with "next generation" stealth.
In a MMO, there is no way you could do stealth like Splinter Cell or Riddick... you simply can't have that level of lighting technology in a MMO at this point. At least, from what I understand, it is way to intensive of an operation for the engine/lighting system to work in a MMO environment.
But you CAN control the distance at which the game client renders near by objects into a player view. In many/most MMOs, controlling the distance at which the game client renders near by objects is a graphical option.. used to give better performance or visual quality.
But what if it could be used to create a realistic stealth system for a MMO? How?
Let me explain my idea.
Make a stealth system where your character's skill/level of stealthiness determines the distance at which the game client renders that player to others. Make this affected by the day/night cycle (distance is much shorter at night and much longer during the day)
Make it so moving increases the range in which you are rendered to others, the faster you are moving the more likely to be detected.
Make it so if you are in the frontal 180 degree arc of another player the rendering distance goes up, and of course if you are in the rear 180 degree arc of another player the rendering distance drops off very sharply.
If the stealther has already been targetting/spotted, you have no magical vanishing back into thin air.
Make a "Vanish" ability work realistically. You throw a small bit of flash powder at the ground, blinding your opponents to your presence for a few seconds. I.E. 2-3 seconds where no one can see you, where no nearby player's game client renders your character as part of the scene... after that time is up, you reappear... just enough time to start running away, maybe dash around a corner, jump off a ledge.. etc. but NOT disappear completely.
Give stealth characters the ability to "gather" material from their environment to construct a camo suit (much like real life snipers do, but I can't remember what they call it) Make this camo suit effect the distance at which the game client renders them to others. If the player moves while in the suit, this as an effect on their render distance as well. If they stay low and move slowly, their chance to be detected is much lower.
This way, a stealthy player can hide and lie in waiting much easier, and would also be very useful for scouting.. but sneaking up and ambushing another player/NPC would be difficult to do and require a great deal of skill and luck on the part of the player.
No magic stealth. Realistic stealth.
Like the camouflage system, a player who dresses in very dark clothing at night has a lower chance of being detected....
You have to think outside the box a bit.
I'm not talking about turning invisible. You'd NEVER turn invisable to the naked eye. It's just that through a combination of these factors, the distance at which the other player's game client rendered your character on their screen would change. From far away to not at all.
For NPC's and mob's it'd be much easier. Instead of changing the rendering distance, it changes the aggro distance.
If you are running full speed wearing shiny silver plate mail directly at an NPC in broad daylight and the NPC is looking directly at you, the aggro distance will be very, very large.
If you are slowly crawling along the grass wearing a camo suit made of leaves and grass and trees from local vegatation and doing so approaching the NPC/mob from behind at night time... the aggro distance will be so small they won't aggro you until your blade is already in them.
What do you think?
1. Is it possible to control rendering / aggro distance in that way?
2. If it IS possible, would you like to see a stealth system like this?