The S Word

Stealth. It’s a bad word among the avid ex and current DAOC fans who are eagerly waiting for Warhammer Online where stealthing is actually considered a very poor game mechanic. Mark Jacobs (Long time President and CEO of Mythic, now GM/VP EA Mythic) puts his thoughts on stealthing very plainly for all to see:

“My thoughts on stealthers (invisibility kind), as per other posts:

1) Love them in a PvE game. Can be a lot of fun to play, who cares about the feelings of the NPCs they butcher.

2) Hate them in a PvP game. Can be a lot of fun to play, generally hated by other players.

I see no way to reconcile the situation in a PvP/RvR. If we tone down stealthing, then stealthers are pissed and if we make them powerful, everyone else is pissed. I’m not saying it can’t be done but I’m yet to seen it done well in PvP/RvR. The same is true for archers who want to one-hit kill everything because they saw Orlando Boom do it in the movies and thought it was sooo cool.

And as usual, most players just want to be uber and when you combine the “Hunt for Uber Hood” with a stealthing class, bad things can happen.” – Mark Jacobs

Stealthing as it’s currently known in MMORPGs won’t be present in Warhammer Online. There are no stealth classes and from everything we know I don’t think stealthing of any kind will be in the game. As I said at the beginning of this entry, stealth is a bad word for WAR fans. It’s right up there with macro, exploit, buffbot, and WoW on the list of all great evils. I agree to an extent that stealth classes are overdone and I agree with Mark Jacobs that they can be a lot of fun but generally are hated by others. However, I want to be a bit more clear on why I personally don’t like them.

I used to be really into playing a caster and standing at the back nuking. I also liked playing a support roll. That was until I started getting 1 shot (or close to it) by stealth classes who could sneak past my team mates and take me out. It essentially made my playing a caster completely worthless. Others who share this unfortunate view of stealth classes then often times reroll as a stealth class thinking they are “uber”. This leads to design decisions being made erratically to compensate for the overplayed classes. Nothing good ever comes from this.
Since WAR won’t have stealth classes I’m excited to see how casters and healers take on new more involved rolls in RVR combat. Collision detection and line of site should also add to the new dynamic style of pvp we can expect. Maybe casters won’t be designed as glass cannons in WAR (maybe they are, I don’t know). One thing’s for sure though, they won’t have to constantly worry about the unseen.

Aside from WAR and DAOC, I’m getting tired of the stealth concept for both archers and rogue types overall. I’m happy to see change. If it works with WAR then maybe it will work with future fantasy models. Avoid the gameplay mechanics that comes with a stealth class and the stigma surrounding the “type of person” who plays a stealther. Kill two ‘S words’ with one stone. 😉

  • The decisions to make stuns rare and stealth nonexistent will certainly make both soloing and pvp interesting. As a disclaimer, I’ve played as both a caster (with stuns / roots) and a stealther in the past and I love pvp.

    In pvp one mechanic tends to balance out the other… the stealther may have a stun but casters typically have two roots and a stun available depending on their makeup. Casters also have other abilities to help them find stealthers if they’re aware of their presence beforehand…

    Meanwhile both mechanics help stealthers and casters solo effectively. How well will Marauders be able to solo, or Witches (what’s their name again? the DE DPS-type) without stealth, stuns, and immediate damage spikes?
    How well will casters be able to solo without roots?

    p.s. You can drop stealth but I think you’ll find it’s impossible to get rid of the “type of person” who plays a stealther 🙂

  • I like what they did with the Spy class in TF2. He’s the only stealth class in the game, however, I don’t find it overly powerful because his cloak is on a timer. You get about 30 seconds of stealth before it wears off and it takes about 30 seconds to recharge.

    I wonder if they’d consider timered stealth in WAR. I know I’d love to see a Night Goblin assassin-type class. It would fill my little black heart with joy! Another roleplayish concept is to allow NGs to only stealth at night since they are generally fearful of daylight.

  • Personally, I would be happy if no more stealthers were ever put into a MMO with PvP.

    The best way I have seen an assassin class done without stealth is the assassin class in Guild Wars. They still have the ability to get up close and get away, but without the “I am invisible and can attack who I want when I want without ever being noticed.”

    I have always been a fan of the rogue type classes, but never a fan of invisibility…. err, I mean stealth

  • I was just looking around on google for some RvR videos and came up on this site… Warhammer Online RvR

    It seems like a great idea to get a community based around the people who want to run set 6 mans and look for competitive group fights. Should be pretty popular with the skullthrone community, I hear thats THE server to be on for pvp.