The Problems of Stealth – Part 3

Posted: June 14, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Complaining, Metagame

In the last two installments of The Problems of Stealth, I discussed the problematic aspects of stealth,demonstrating how on some characters (Twitch and Eve) stealth becomes unfun for the player and the opponent. However, in many ways, stealth is not a failed mechanic. Some other characters use stealth with great success and manage to be quite fun despite their use of stealth.

Akali: Akali’s stealth move puts down a large circle where she is stealthed until the circle runs out. The circle slows down enemies and allows Akali to chase very well. Combined with her other abilities it is great, but when she is on cooldown, it can only really be used as an escape mechanism. Overall a very balanced stealth skill.

Shaco: Like Akali, Shaco has a nice short flash’n’stealth. While annoying, it is counterable, doesn’t do too much additional damage, has a long cooldown, and is temporary. A perfect blend of power and precision without being overpowered.

Teemo: Mushrooms aside, Teemo has a great stealth mechanic. If he sits in one spot for long enough, he becomes stealthed. This was originally one of the attempts Riot made at stealth, but was scrapped because it encouraged players not to do anything. However, with the mushroom mechanic, Teemo is forced to move, making his stealth ability a risk-reward scenario: do I wait for a gank, or do I put down mushrooms? Of course, any good Teemo player is putting down mushrooms because of how ridiculously good they are, so I think Teemo needs a bit of a revamp in order to make him synergize with his stealth ability.

Vayne: Let’s set aside Vayne’s damage for a second and just look at her stealth mechanic. It’s very well done; use your ultimate to get some bonus damage and better chasing speed. Use another ability and suddenly you can stealth for a short time. It’s not super useful as an escape mechanism, but it epitomizes what a fun stealth mechanic is: requires a large amount of the player’s resources, telegraphs itself just before the stealth, and is temporary.

Vladimir: Like Teemo, Vladimir is a perfect example of Riot’s first few attempts at stealth. When they were designing the stealth mechanic, they decided to try to implement a stealth where you could see the stealth character but couldn’t attack them until they did something. This wasn’t very fun for the opposing player, as they literally could see the enemy but couldn’t attack them. I’m sure it was a confusing concept to grasp. Riot scrapped the idea, but still essentially kept it in the game: Vladimir’s Sanguine Pool. As any number of characters can attest, it is annoying, but manageable.

Nocturne, Pantheon, Shen, and Twisted Fate: Like Vladimir, these characters don’t truly have “stealth” as it exists within the game. However, their ability to teleport just about anywhere anytime at level 6 is enormously frustrating. It’s like having stealth plus a mapwide flash. That being said, these abilities all telegraph themselves very very well, so you won’t get caught off guard unless you really don’t pay attention. Three of these characters are often banned, so perhaps they’re not as fun and balanced as everyone thinks, and perhaps this suggests something about the idea of “global” stealth-like abilities.

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