Dude, you know we totally see you, right?
It all started innocently enough, with a developer thread titled Rogue – Assassin Changes, where Severlin provided the changes they are planning to make to the Rogue Assassin enhancement tree.
Which, by the way, is awesome! I love that the developers are involving the community so early in the process, before coding, before things become hard to change.
At one point in the thread, Severlin mentioned:
~ Changes to stealth require tech work and affect lots of game systems and are prone to side effects so we have to be careful there. Anything that involves significant changes to monster AI is out of scope for this update and this hampers any global revamp to Stealth.
(We are still going through feedback.)
(We are still working on Mechanic.)
Which I found quite disconcerting. To me, the biggest issue with rogues, and especially Assassins, is not the enhancement tree. It is the fact that stealth does not work in DDO.
Now before you go all “yes it does” on me, let’s be clear. I am not stating that stealth is bugged (although sometimes it is) nor am I saying that there are no situations where stealth is helpful (although there aren’t very many).
But it is not a viable play style for anyone except the dedicated, flower-sniffing soloer, and not even always then.
But I digress. Back to the thread. I posted a comment:
I don’t think there is any point to a rogue revamp that does not include fixes to stealth.
Put your efforts into fighters or something that is not dependent on a special ability that is inherently broken.
Which, surprisingly, to me anyway, got called out:
We get concerned when players make blanket statements about stealth being “broken” without really outlining what they mean. While we love player feedback and welcome specific suggestions about stealth, I just don’t want to set up false expectations about things stealth should allow. We wouldn’t want players, as an example, to have the expectation that characters should be opening doors and pulling levers while remaining in stealth. This type of behavior would threaten too many types of content. Without specifics we can do nothing to address people’s concerns.
Severlin left me dumbfounded. Not because I didn’t have things to say, but because I had too many things to say. I couldn’t get them organized and set down in time. Not at that moment at least, and by the time I was able to devote appropriate attention to the question, the thread had moved on.
Fortunately others jumped in; there are now multiple pages of how stealth is broken. The rest of this blog post is what I would have said if I’d had a couple of hours to devote to the topic.
There are style problems with sneak that have always been present:
- Many encounters contain unsneakable monsters. Sometimes it seems like most of them do
- No one will wait for the sneaky guy to catch up
- No one will wait for the sneaky guy to power up anything that requires being in sneak
- So many places where a quest will not advance until you have killed all the monsters
- The fear of “threatening too many types of content” hobbles stealth play. The pendulum is swung too far. Swing it back a little.
There are style problems with sneak that are the result of game changes:
- More stop points added to previously sneakable quests prevent most sneak-only completions
- Dungeon alert
There are issues with the implementation of Assassinate
- A successful Assassinate should not break one out of sneaking
- Assassination requires sneak but you cannot sneak while already in melee
And there are some specific technical issues with sneak
- The bad guys inerrantly hit you with ranged at the first sign of finding you
- It is supposed to be possible to shake off pursuit if one is able to retain sneak but that does not work *
- Monsters that hear you inerrantly follow your path when sneaking
- Monsters that do not show indicators of being able to see you are still able to hit you with single-target spells. Which breaks sneak and now everyone sees you.
* This does not work for me, ever. I assume it is bugged. But maybe I am just inadequately skilled.
Here is a paragraph from the Shadowfell Conspiracy release notes that describes how the stealth rework is supposed to determine when you are detected:
- You are invisible but the monster has True Seeing, See Invisibility, tremor-sense, or is within 2 meters and facing you.
- You are hiding, but the monster’s spot plus all modifiers is sufficient to beat your hiding skill plus all modifiers, or you are within 2 meters and it is facing you.
- You are hiding AND invisible, but some combination of both 1 and 2 are true.
- If they are swinging and hitting you but don’t have the icon over their head, they are making blind attacks where they hear you making noise, and you’re making so much running around and getting hit that they can figure out where you are.
Except they do not swing and hit blindly. They go to precisely where you were and always hit you.
It has never been possible to use sneak effectively in a group
It has rarely been possible to use sneak effectively when soloing
And that is why stealth is broken. Or at least, that is my opinion on the matter. What do you think?
🙂 😀 🙂