Stealth, what is it good for?

Something Smakendahead wrote about Witch Elves reminded me about stealth classes. I’ll make a bold statement that probably has many exceptions, but we have to start somewhere:

Any class that gets stealth will get gypped, to some extent or other, in almost all other areas.

It’s been a long time since I’ve played EQ2, WoW or LOTRO, so maybe things have changed there. But I remember in Vanguard, rogues had lovely stealth and utterly crappy survivability, and less damage than some supposedly lower-DPS classes. Now, in WAR, Witch Elves and Witch Hunters get a variant of stealth and ka-pow, their damage is occasionally less than impressive for mDPS types, not to mention the giant “Kill me, I’m easy!” neon signs above their heads. I don’t see Chosen losing a bunch of armor or anything just because they have 5 zillion auras they can twist about.

I get that in order to have a “special” ability, you usually have to give up something else. My opinion now, however, is that I’d rather NOT have incognito on my Witch Hunter and have some of my old, long-gone beta damage back, especially for the executions. Those were somewhat overpowered when I first joined the beta (making the WH a crazy-fun class to play, sadly), but I think they went too far with the damage-smackdown bat.

I guess if I had a choice, I’d make stealth a part of one of the mastery trees — let the folks who want to use it have it, give them some nifty extras they can do with it (like, er, special siege-engine destroying moves or something), and let those who *don’t* want it avoid paying the price for a “special” ability they may neither want nor very often use.

Losing damage output all round while still being made out of spun glass is not, in my view, adequate payment for being able to occasionally go almost-invisible. Half the time when I come out of it I *still* get killed, because I’m so squishy. Which is okay, because if stealth were an “I win!” button, then that would suck too. But right now, we have a dicey, very situational special ability, for which we pay a huge price in terms of overall damage, and even if we use that ability chances are that magus we’re aiming at will get off a big spell in our faces and kill us anyway. If you’re a witch elf, just sub bright wizard for magus.

Incognito schmincognito, I say. At least we look good.

10 thoughts on “Stealth, what is it good for?

  1. I think one of the big issues is healer neglect and I’m not sure if healers can target you while stealthed.

    Either way, the role of being the class that sneaks behind the lines can be a suicidal one depending on who you’re playing with and what they’re doing.

    Yeah, a lot of it is you, the player, deciding to time your strikes while the healers are distracted or the DPS is busy working on your side. But it is pretty sad to have the healers turn on you and burn you down in short order.

    I actually had a hard time killing a Rune Priest the other day who was a lower level. Something is out of whack with the damage output.

    Bah, meeting time. 🙁

  2. I was rushed posting that, but the point was you’re often behind enemy lines without tanks or healers there. If there were more than one of you, it would make a difference, but more often than not, I’m the lone Witch Elf. Times when I’m not the lone Witch Elf work REALLY well.

    When I am alone, I should stick with the tank (the failing here is that the healers tend to focus on the tanks and leave me hanging or the enemy switches to the squishy DPS because they can’t take the tank down) or hang back with the healers to protect them.

    Open RVR it’s easier to get away with flitting around the field attacking people in the mass of bodies because you don’t tend to get singled out.

    Ah well. I guess that means working as with other WEs or hanging back to help the casters out. In the

  3. EDIT – heh, I think we just said the same thing 😀 Jinx!

    I’m not sure if out of whack is really the problem. This post is sort of mild polemic, because that occasionally amuses me and because I like debate for its own sake.

    However, to be honest, I’m starting to think that WAR isn’t balanced in the traditional sense. A supported mDPS (either with a healer or a tank or even just another mDPS) will do a LOT better than if you just do a GeroniMOOO run by yourself. The same goes for almost any other class. Knowing how to play your class is one thing — knowing how to fit in with the rest of your side and the other classes seems to be another, and equally if not more important.

    Which should be fun!

  4. All that said, I have a feeling that the WE didn’t scale damage output correctly through the levels. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, play a Shaman or other class through the first few levels and notice the DoT increases, the DD increases, the concentrated DoT increases, etc. Play the WE and notice that after 10 the increase dips to a point where I’m not sure I can call it an increase.

    There is no reason why *I* shouldn’t be able to kill a Rune Priest that is 3 levels below me one on one. I think the failing is that the WE damage didn’t scale up enough so the heals and such kept up.

    I emphasized “I” above because I’m awesome 🙂 Seriously, though, I’m no slouch when it comes to gaming or PVR.

    I had my Kiss of Death going (which reduces the effectiveness of heals on the target so his Heals should have been at reduced effectiveness!), I had RR green con daggers (about 20 DPS each, same speed), I drank a STR potion, I even burned my morale bonus ability that dumps 500-600 damage into the target. I could be wrong, but I think I had Slit Throat at that point and fired it when it was up (it does some damage and silences casters for a short time). Stack that on top of reduced heal effectiveness and he should have been toast!

    Something was wrong there. The Rune Priest was overcoming my heal debuff, silence and damage output even with all my buffs. I chased the bloody Rune Priest around for a good 5 minutes and died when others came to back the priest up.

    Snare off the dagger throw sucks too… that needs to be also moved to a melee ability.

    Anyway, rant off for now. I need to go to lunch before lunch break is over. Bleh.

  5. Of course, from the other side of the equation the Rune Priest is probably thinking there is no good reason why he *shouldn’t* be able to out heal the damage you were laying into him 🙂 Although at 3 levels lower than you it’s pretty obvious something is out of kilter here. You should have been able to take him down eventually, even if it’s just a case of grinding down his action points to zero so he can’t heal.

    That said, I was in the GoE T1 scenario last night as my rank 6 Warrior Priest, getting smacked by an rank 6 Orc warrior type who 1-on-1 couldn’t out-damage my heals, even with a sneaky Squig Herder taking plinks at me until I hid round a corner out of sight. After 2 minutes I finally managed to bosh him down but I don’t think he appreciated it as seconds later he reappeared with three other mates and I went down like a sack of spuds. C’est la vie.

    I think I’ve finally gotten over my hang ups about being killed in RvR situations. I just take my knocks and run back into the fight. Well, except for Khaine’s Kablooie where I get ganked, run back in time for said Kablooie to send me right back to the spawn point again! Honestly, you think I’d learn to RUN the moment the flatulent elephant lets one drop (or at least that’s what the warning horn sounds like to me).

    One day I’ll get a character over level 11 and see what the T2 scenarios are like. Then it’ll be back to being n00b boy getting splatted by level 21 opponents.

  6. I’d have no complaints if a healer three levels below me was keeping a tank or medium armor type up while I was laying into said tank or medium armor wearer, but a cloth wearer? Sort of sad.

    A Warrior Priest against a tank, the Warrior Priest should win if all things are equal. Tanks aren’t meant for DPS. It’s almost on par with what a WP puts out. The difference is that a WP can focus on the bigger DPS weapons because they can heal themselves while a tank sort of needs stick and board to get some blocks in there.

    A Warrior Priest against a Witch Elf should probably favor the Warrior Priest for the most part. You have medium armor and melee capabilities on top of heals. Here’s the scary thing…

    I slay Warrior Priests easily. I’m not sure if they just don’t know how to play or if they panic or stop looking at their health, but generally. I kill them pretty quickly.

    I’m starting to wonder if maybe the RPs heal abilities aren’t flagged right as casting or healing so it gets around things like Slit Throat and Kiss of Death?

    I’d be playing a WP if I was Order. Big huge hammer.. smiting foes and healing friends… crap. I feel an alt coming on. 🙁

  7. /spreads the alt bug around

    It may be too early to call what we should or shouldn’t be able to do. I thought my Archmage wouldn’t be able to kill anything, but I’ve taken down most everything but other heavy healers so far. Witch Elf is my fave diet, because if they aren’t played really, really sharp, they can’t hurt me more than I can heal. I can even take DoKs down when it comes down to the AP-left game, and if I wind up my DOTs correctly. Tanks are hard, but if they make mistakes, they can be lunch too.

    I think it depends on who, what, etc. I do still think mDPS may be a little weak (especially WH and WE, the light armor mDPS), but I don’t wan to be categorical yet. Still.. WH vs Marauder, I know who wins every time. WE vs WL? I bet the WL wins.

    Dunno… I don’t think it’s 100% cut and dried. Bump up WH and WE and maybe they become TOO powerful too quickly. Whatever you do, stay away from profession forums where all anyone ever does is whine. I predict, without ever having gone there, that WarAlliance DoK and WP forums resemble the SOE Jedi forums. Lots of people yelling NERF! and a bunch of DoK/WP saying “man, leave us alone! We’re not THAT powerful!”

    I’m rambling. I have a cold, and my brain is made of really really distracting cotton candy.

  8. Okay I have to take everything I ever said back. Just the other day I grouped up with Cobra (Gobbie Shaman) from CoW to do PQs and scenarios. We went in and played hard. I think we won everyone of them and I believe I only died two or three times.

    I cleaned up on killing. It was brutally sick. I was back into the top 5 of DPS for the scenarios ><

    Man, what a difference healing the DPS classes can make!

    By the way, I did a double take and checked enemies levels, and most of them were higher or even so it wasn’t a matter of beating on lowbies.

    Thanks for the heals Cobra! (And thanks to Snowblind for queuing us up while we were in Barak Varr)

  9. mDPS + healer can be really, really sick. Just don’t get too used to it, because the healers have a gajillion other targets too. With Ama I heal all the mDPS I can find (if I can click on their bouncy selves). but I’m also watching the other healers AND the tanks. Sometimes mDPS slide down the list, depending on what the current crisis looks like.

  10. Between their ability to boost their armor, temporarily negate damage and a morale sitting in the wait; it’s very possible to understand why a Rune Priest 3 lvls lower than a WE would be able to survive the damage output. The circumstances have to be correct and that’s why you do not see it happen too often. We end up blowing our first AP round before they put a dent in their AP pool. Once that’s done they can continue to heal with little threat of us being able to out damage them. The chances are even more in their favor if you’re not able to pop them from stealth.

    Rune Priests and WP are tough cookies. Parry, Treacherous Assault and a well timed Throat Slitter is the key to WP’s. Lack of Morale, Enfeebling Strike, and a pre built blood lust is key to RP’s.


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