World of Warcraft: Stealth Runs 101
Editorial by Stephen Kovalcik
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
The idea behind a stealth run is to get up to and kill bosses faster than the normal group composition of one warrior, one healer, and three damage dealers. Also, since it is only a few short fights, it can usually be done with a smaller party rather than the average five-person party. Stealthing instance runs has the potential to be the shortest run to many bosses, however if done incorrectly or carelessly they can take longer than even a normal run. This short editorial guide will help show how to properly set up a stealth run for speed and fun.
Why would anyone want to do a stealth run? Well, as a rogue it is often hard to find a group, since most realms in Warcraft are over populated with our class. With running in stealth, you save time by only going after the targets that the group needs. You do not waste any time on trash that does not need to be killed… But what makes up a good stealth group?
Generally, a good stealth run group consists of at least four people. The classes you choose definitely matter as the group must adapt its strategy to take down the boss based on what classes you have with you. For instance, an all rogue group would use a combination of high damage, stuns, and evasion tanking (vanishing to pass agro to the next “tank” when evasion goes down) to take the boss down. On the other hand, a group with a single feral druid would let the druid tank while the rogues use high damage to kill the boss before the druid dies. A restoration druid in the group would heal the tank while the others damage the boss. Of course since there may be rogues using the evasion tanking tactic, the druid has to be ready to switch heals to the next tank when ever they see a rogue vanish. If the group is lucky enough to have multiple druids, it can treat any fight as it would with a normal non-stealth group with a tank, a healer, and damage dealers.
As far as talent make-up on a character goes, no specific talents are required to do a stealth run, but some talents do make the run easier and quicker. For example, a rogue having improved sap makes sapping multiple targets much easier. Also, improved sap can be used to get a druid without improved stealth past mobs that would normally see it. Other talents like master of deception help rogues get by the tight spots where they would normally be spotted. Preparation serves two purposes, it allows the rogue an extra chance to mess up because they have an extra vanish, also it allows the rogue to use the evasion tank tactic longer making the healers job easier since they only have to watch one target’s health for most of the fight. In the assassination tree, two talents will help; the first is improved expose armor. By having one rogue sacrifice their combo points, all the members in the party greatly increase their damage. Another way to increase overall party damage is by using improved kidney shot, making a mob stunned not only deals no damage but also allows players to inflict more damage.
When it comes to druids, useful talents include feral instinct, which serves the same purpose as a rogue’s master of deception. Obviously, if the druid plans on healing, a restoration spec will help (especially in keeping up those low hit point, low armor rogues). If the druid plans on tanking then using a feral spec will help to keep threat level even, despite the high damage out put of rogues. Talents are not the only thing that will make a stealth group run smoother; there are a few items that also help.
Consumables like mongoose potions help speed up the take down time of any boss. Health potions and mana potions will help if a fight goes on longer then expected. Most importantly, poisons can be used to cripple the mobs that run, add a deadly increase to damage, and mind numb those caster types to give you more time to get that critical kick off. Finally, wounding poison can be used to stop those pesky mobs from healing. It is always a good idea for each rogue to have full stack of poisons on them. Although each poison has limited uses, being able to change to the one most needed in a particular situation is very helpful.
Other useful items include jumper cables for an engineer to resurrect a player, although if a person dies in the middle of a group of mobs, only a druid can resurrect them. The insignia of the horde is great for rogues, since some bosses have fear and polymorph effects which cause aimless wandering. Unfortunately the aimless wondering can run your stealth group right into another band of monsters.
Okay fellow rogues, everything we talked about here is important to a stealth run but not needed. There is however one thing that is required for any stealth run to succeed, patience. Patience, in any situation will help when a group has to wait for the patrol to go by. That patrol can either see through stealth or will path right through where the group has to walk. Patience is the key in those situations since often if timed wrong, the patrol can walk right through your party and unstealth them. Wiping at this point is common since the group was unprepared to fight. So remember waiting five minutes could save you fifteen minutes or more on your run time!
Without going into any specific strategy here are a few tips to help on any stealth run:
- As of 2.0.3 any mob that can see through stealth has a blue eyeball over its head but only while the player is in stealth mode.
- Pickpocket is for the brave and those with vanish, all it takes is one resist in the wrong spot and the entire group is wiped.
- Protect your druids; remember druids cannot vanish so if they get caught they are dead. So be prepared to sacrifice yourself for the druid since he is the only one who can cast rebirth on you later.
- Many bosses are able to be stunned. Stunning has several good purposes. It helps the healer save mana, since the tank is taking less damage, and it allows the tanking rogue to increase damage by getting backstabs off much quicker. Just remember, there is a diminishing return timer on stuns back to back, so that six second stun may only last four or less.
- After each fight, make sure there are no damage over time effects on any players since one tick in the middle of a group of monsters can mean wiping the whole party.
- And most importantly be PATIENT!
With the Burning Crusade around the corner, perhaps this weekend is a great time for us rogues to get those last stealth runs in. Good luck next week when jumping through the Dark Portal. If you have any more tips or thoughts, feel free to post them on the forums.