The Problems of Stealth – Part 2

Posted: May 31, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Complaining, Metagame

In the last installment of The Problems of Stealth, I discussed the parts of stealth that turn a character from fun and interesting into annoying, not fun to play against, and generally overpowered. This installment, however will show that these unfun strengths are balanced out with unfun weaknesses that overall make stealth characters the most hated in the game.

When playing stealth characters, I always wonder to myself, “Do I take stealth at level 1?” The answer, I feel, for a true stealth character should be yes, or at least that it should be viable. The reality is that stealth isn’t quite powerful enough to justify it being taken at such a low level. This ties into the problem that stealth characters are always carries: the interesting dynamic that stealth can provide just doesn’t kick in soon enough to do justice for a stealth character. Likewise, without stealth, you are virtually useless in a lane.

The two stealth characters, Twitch and Eve, also suffer from escape mechanism issues. On the one hand, Eve can cloak herself after a few seconds by simply activating an ability. This means that barring any hard-CC or pro skillshots, you WILL escape. From anything. Ever. Like Tryndamere, this is extremely frustrating considering you were just smashing her face in a few seconds ago and now she just disappeared from view. This promotes bad gameplay habits, like running in carelessly without your team. Twitch has the opposite problem: his stealth only works if he’s not under attack, which means if he ever gets hit he is dead. This breeds another bad habit, which is not helping in teamfights until everyone is very low. Normally I’d be okay with this strategy on an assassin character, but Twitch doesn’t have any chase or CC to make him good at assassinating.

Along with these escape mechanism problems come item problems, specifically vision wards and oracle potions. Buying a single item outright counters a stealth character, making them completely worthless. I understand that there must be some way to counter stealth characters, but much like Malzahar, I believe that use of skills and strategy, NOT items, should be the counter to stealth characters. It simply isn’t fun to play a character who is countered by 400 gold.

Perhaps the most unfortunate part of playing a stealth character is that you don’t feel stealthy at all. Here you are walking right next to the enemy team and a million minions and they have no idea you’re there. You move at an enormous speed with Boots of Mobility and somehow can’t be seen. Then, as you run away in full sight of the enemy team, you simply disappear. You haven’t outrun or outwitted them; you simply can’t be seen because of your arbitrary skill mechanics.

Both playing against and as stealth characters is hardly enjoyable. However, we do know there are champions that use stealth mechanics that are quite fun. In Part 3, I will examine these champions who use stealth in a fun and interesting way, as well as suggest a few alternatives to the stealth mechanic which would make stealth characters more fun for all players.

  1. […] the last two installments of The Problems of Stealth, I discussed the problematic aspects of stealth,demonstrating how on […]

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