Dark or Light

Camelot Unstealthed

Tim Eisen Posted:
Columns 0

It’s been a few weeks since the CU stealth stretch goal update which equates to roughly 4 million e-years. Fortunately I’m always a little behind in life. I FINALLY got to read about how one of my favorite MMO classes might work in CU! The one shotting, stealth popping, ganking shanking wonder that is the assassin stealther! Wooo!

From the CU blog: “These classes would be closer to the concept of light-to-medium damage fighters, and bear little resemblance to one-shot-kill assassin types.” Hurm, I wonder how serious they are about this...“If one-shotting is a thing, we failed on the design side.”

Ok, so not the insta-kill sort of stealthier… that’s cool, I guess.  Kidding aside, invisibility is an INCREDIBLE tactical advantage! You pick the exact moment to strike, you have the entire situation in your control and you get the first turn! Even as a fan of stealth I always felt that having a big opener was simply too much frosting on an already sweet treat.

More from the blog, “We can allow them to emerge from the Veil with a strong opener. The Veil mechanic that they would use is designed so that VW/VS would be able to stay within the Veil for long periods of time, but the longer they do, the more damage they take when they emerge.” I’m interpreting this as a risk vs a reward which is everything CU has always aimed to be. I love this calculation and see it as a fair trade for an ability as powerful as stealth. I look forward to trying it out but wonder how long it will be before my fellow stealthers find “the sweet spot” for when to pop out. Then again I’m not even sure we can exactly pop out.

Entering the Veil sounds like it will be more of a cast than a vanishing act. I’ve always felt WOW style vanish was incredibly OP. Why should one class get an instant safe button? Don’t worry, stealthers we still get a cookie. When a stealther is in a high use magic area, like a big battle, they can get in and out of the veil easier. This tiny adjustment is very clever because it encourages stealthers to group up and participate in bigger battles while not preventing them from going solo. It’s a welcome nudge, and a warranted one.

It sounds like CSE is addressing things many MMOers have seen as tragic flaws in other stealth classes but without ruining the class for old gankers like myself. Speaking of, stealthers will need to be very quiet (no not because they like hunting wabbits) but because they don’t want to alarm people outside of the Veil! That means leather and loneliness. If you try to form a stealth group you anger the Veil and also make more noise while inside it which makes it easier for players on the outside to locate you. I’m not exactly sure how they will pull this off but I appreciate the practical use of audio. MMOs tend to do great work with sound tracks but often neglect other audio related features. Stealth gang group busting really doesn’t affect me because I’m more of a lone wolf, but I’m glad CSE is addressing it.

On a personal note, for me the most exciting aspect of stealth in CU is the war within the war! While everyone is battling on the outside, within the Veil another war rages on. Veil Walkers and Veil Stalkers are doing battle while in stealth! It should create some very tense and triumphant PVP experiences while also giving solo or small group players a fun combat option without the typical cherry picking solos-that I love, or battleground stuff-that I despise. I enjoy large scale battles as well but something about a versus match within an unseen realm is very appealing to me (note to self, reserve the name Highlander…).

“Their skills will revolve around disruption damage, and as such, they will be quite useful in groups. This class concept isn’t about removing any chance of these folks acting as lone wolves and assassins (they will be good at those roles), it is about giving them the opportunity to be more than that.”

Wait, so I can be a lone wolf walking the invisible plane or play nice-group up and make some chaos? It would be nice to see a stealther with some real utility beyond “stabby stab stab”. It would also be nice not having to beg my way into groups or log onto a more appealing alt “No problem I have a healer too, I’ll relog and msg you, sigh”.

Overall I like what I’m seeing which, as is often the case with CU, is some clever innovations with HUGE ramifications to make what I believe is a deeper more interesting combat experience. But, as is also typical with CU, every answer seems to create more questions! Is CU stealth (aka Veilth) a pillar of the class or just one of their combat options? What I mean is, do they expect us to use stealth most of the time, or just when the situation calls for it? Maybe it depends on how you build your class?

Are the Soul Walkers, Trap Builders, Pets, and camo Archers able to participate in the war within the war? If so to what degree and is that hidden conflict in danger of detracting from the main world’s conflict? I suppose the role reward system can be adjusted to prevent that from happening but that system has its own series of questions! So many questions, so few words I feel like I’m running out of time, and space, almost like I’m losing a battle, a fight, being ganked even! I better do something! (Clicks Vanish and starts the Enter Veil cast only to watch the portal slowly form, gets killed before it does, nods approvingly.)


Tim Eisen

I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry