The Stealth Remake: An Explanation of What it is
Stealth has always been an interesting mechanic in video games. In most, it acts as a way to get by without using brute force, perhaps rewarding guile over strength. In some, it's a method of dispatching foes through surprise attacks, or as an escape method.
In League of Legends, it mostly serves the latter. However, one thing that Riot has realized is that stealth is a little awkward in their game in its current state. It's discouraging and annoying to new players who have not yet understood how it works and how to counter it. Even for experienced players, it is equally disdained, although for different reasons.
Regardless of the debate, changes are on the way. Actually, they have been in the works for a rather long time, but that should not come as a surprise since this is a fairly sensitive process.
So here's what it's all about.
- Laying the Groundwork
In early 2011, it was hinted that a rehaul of stealth mechanics was in the works.
Later that year, Kuo-Yen 'Xypherous' Lo, who was in charge of the basic foundation of the mechanic, revealed major details:
There were 3 problems they wanted to address with long term stealth:
- Players couldn't gauge how clever a stealth player really was, or how they operated
- The claustrophobic nature of stealth
- Stealth gave powerful scouting information while hiding that information/knowledge from opponents
The foundation he came upon is something that I find is similar to stealth used in other video games.
- Stealth vs Invisibility
There will now be a difference among our cloak-and-dagger champions.
'Stealth' will refer to long term stealth, which at the moment only applies to Twitch and Evelynn, whom are receiving the rework.
'Invisibility', or short term stealth refers to, well, everyone else that is not Twitch or Evelynn. This does include Shaco, Teemo, etc. They will remain unchanged.
To prevent confusion, I'm just going to refer to them as long or short term stealth.
- The New Stealth and Detection
Twitch and Evelynn will receive remakes to go along with the stealth change, as it only makes sense to adapt their kits to the new mechanics. How long term stealth will work follows:
- Once they acquire one level of their stealth ability, they will be permanently stealthed.
- Stealth is broken after attacking, and reacquired shortly after not attacking for a few moments.
- All champions will be able to detect any long term stealthers within a short range. This range will be shorter than the sight radius champions have currently.
- Twitch and Evelynn players will see a detection interface above enemy champions. This will serve to notify them of enemy detection (just like other video games). The 'gem' will be green for "undetected", yellow for "caution, getting close to being detected", and red for "detected". Note that they will likely have a solution for colour blind users. When detected, the stealthed player is revealed to all enemy champions.
As for the remakes to the two champions, you can check out the posted links for more information, courtesy of Miyuki 'Shurelia' Mitsuhashi. Keep in mind those are prototypes and likely has changed massively since it was posted. Overall though, you can expect Eve to have a very short gap closer as part of a stun ability. Twitch was being prototyped with an 'ammo' resource tied to an ability, but now that may be scrapped. Again, lots of things are changing!
The hope is that this will result in better gameplay by having an easy to understand mechanic while also promoting player gameplay over things like items dictating everything. Anyone can detect a stealthed champion if they're close enough. This means it'll be possible to, say, zone a stealth player out of getting into a good ambush position by spreading out your team. However, it addresses problem 1 by giving stealth players the ability to find ways to circumvent detection, thus giving players a way to gauge how they operate. The other problems are addressed by preventing a stealthed player from literally sitting on top of players for the perfect ambush, or from providing the maximum amount of scouting information without the opponents ever knowing.
Smaller issues, like face checking bushes, are also solved. Now, you can't just walk up to a bush when stealthed since they'd be able to see you coming. Essentially, long term stealth players will now have to be wary of positioning, but enjoy the benefits of permanent cloaks. Enemy teams now have reliable ways to countering, but that too depends on positioning and awareness. This puts more emphasis on the players rather than abilities or items.
Plus, players will likely be more satisfied than frustrated. New players will not be so easily overcome by stealth, while experienced players can learn to exploit detection ranges to prevent or execute ambushes.
What about current detection methods?
That's a problem they're still working on, and have not given out too many details yet. They are thinking of replacing Oracle's elixir and changing wards somehow. This is all we know so far, and I would not be surprised if they are testing many different ideas. Oracles is such a big deal it was declared that 'ward sweeping' was detrimental to gameplay.
- 2012 - What's up now?
All of the above was from last year. The stealth remake still has yet to have an official announcement. So what's the latest update? Well, Xypherous finally answered the hundreds of calls for updates at the end of January 2012.
Twitch needs work.
Wards needs work.
I'm not actually allowed to work on it with a 10 foot pole after I finished the basic mechanics - and I can't get on live to shepherd the process - so... yeah.
Although, the rework is on PTR at the moment I believe.
Xypherous has already done his job and can't do anymore. Further posts reveal that Twitch is in a pickle (the 'ammo' resource tied to an ability idea was scrapped).
February 2012 Update: More Xypherous posts on the stealth remake. Nothing actually new however, just a misunderstanding and Xyph accepting blame. Check it out.
Massive changes are on the way so it's no surprise it's taking a very long time to complete. Hopefully I've covered everything just fine and informed League players what's going on. Personally, I'm highly interested in the stealth rework as I love the idea of short ranged detection and reliance on positioning.