(WARNING; Stealth is a sensitive MMO subject. The blog below is based upon self reflection of my experiences both as and against stealthers. I will now put on my flame suit while you read beyond.)
How could Camelot Unchained have stealth without the hate, fear, and balance issues that tend to accompany it? I’m not sure, I hate stealth in my MMORPGs because if it’s in I HAVE to play it and as an alt fiend playing one class is simply not ideal. But how could I not play it? Stealth allows me enough tactical advantages to make not paying a stealther seem gimpish.
I have 100% control over who, what, where, when, why, how! So much control! So much win! Did I mention I personally view victory in combat to be based on how many elements of a battle I am able to control? You see! I HAVE to play a stealther if they are in! Not to mention it’s fun being a sneaker! So many fond memories of ganking at flight masters, inside of inns, inside of towns, while people sat in raid groups, in lowb zones...you get the idea.
But how can we have a respectable stealther without borking the game by turning it into world of WTFPWNEDBYASTEALTHER Unchained. I don’t know for sure, but I will dare to ask. It’s time for another round of Question Everything, this time, Stealth in Camelot Unchained!
To solve the riddle we must identify the problems.
#1 The seemingly unfair advantage of living in a hidden realm. Ok, that isn’t gonna change! Moving on...OK they could use terrain and camo and be sneaky but that is really only applicable in a 1 v1 isolated scenario and I don’t think most players pick a stealther to solo, I think they pick them to ASSASSINATE! #1 HAS to exist in CU. Stealthers need a stealth realm to be stealth, but making it less comfortable and a bit of a risk to them helps justify it in the mind of the non stealther. Add some risk to stealth via stat decrease, health decrease, or mechanics like X time in stealth means X time out of stealth-but with wounds. Maybe being in stealth gives you special mind or body wounds that need special healing. Anything along those lines works for me.
#2 The stun. I HATE being stun locked simply because it is 100% in direct contrast to actually fighting in a game. You have 0 options, it is not fun in any way, and you have 0 response to the stealther. As a stealther I love it! It’s 100% CONTROL! Solution? Keep it short or remove it. Solved! The stun can exist but it HAS to be short, very short. The stun hate comes from the over extended frozen state. Keep it short and non stealthers won't feel as though the battle is pointless and they won't hate the stun...as much...
#3 The High Damage Opener!!! Vaporizing players before they can click is simply BS. Not even Superman could do that (without using his laser vision) so it’s obviously OP. Once again I’ll go back to fighting. PVP is about fighting. Getting hit twice in a fraction of a second and falling over dead is not fighting, it’s lame, just lame (unless you are the stealther). We can’t have that and have players be ok with stealth. Solution? The opener can be damaging, but only if your rogue is wearing nothing but a cape and a smile (boon and bane baby). A better solution is allowing rogues to (GASP) wear heavier armor increasing survivability while giving up some opener damage.
“But Tierless I’m a ninja assassin” You still can be, as long as you pick a wounded target. Act like a real assassin and attack at the most opportune time. Lets be honest assassins don’t go in looking for a fair fight, they wait for the most opportune time to make a kill, like a wolf on a sick baby moose. You should not be going in lone wolf to one-shot a strong healthy bull moose in his prime. The young, the old, the sick, those are the targets you are looking for (slowly waves hand in-front of your face). Wanna take down that bull moose? Then form a pack! But be careful...the more stealthers near one another the less stealthy they might become...more people, more steps, more noise, less stealthy...You didn’t think it would be THAT easy did you?
#4 Vanish. So you overcome the BS lock, and the BS opener, and they poof and disappear with their get out of jail free card...BS! Yet again, this breaks the game for the victims and promotes a join em or lose to em mindset. How do we fix it? See #3. Pick your target, pop out, and live with the consequences of your choice. Vanish is a cop out. If you find yourself needing a vainsh it means you weren’t patient enough. Had you been you would have waited for the baby moose to stray away from the herd. Instead you jumped the gun and now you have a giant moose herd about to trample sneak off your face! Human up, accept your fate, kill and run or be killed but always remember opportunity rewards those with patience.
I don’t think I have all the answers but I think moving toward a version of stealth that utilizes mechanics similar to what I have mentioned would create a form of stealth that would please both the stealthers and the non stealthers while working well in the CU RVR environment. (ok it would probably just make both the stealthers and non stealthers angy, which IMO is the best way to know I’m onto something)
All that might sound anti stealth to some people, but I’m not. I love em’ but I’m the most introspectively critical of the things I love. What I’m saying here is you have hella advantages stealthers, it’s about dang time you accepted the consequences that those advantages provide you. Wanna be an assassin, act like it! If you expect other players to accept your super magic plane of invisibility then you must accept the risks that your chosen profession comes with. Boon meet bane. Stealth is a great power, perhaps one of the greatest, with it comes great risk, but also the access to great gains. Use it well and victory will almost always be yours. Use it poorly and you will get stomped by a moose herd!