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Stealth

Kitsune
Okay, seriously now, Stealth. In two words: nearly useless. I know there's been discussion at length somewhere strewn across the Paizo forums, but I'd like to have a real conversation about it.

PvE:
  • I have 110 Stealth, which is fairly expensive to get to (I'm a Rogue lvl 10, which won't be happening again for probably a year?), and I'm finding Stealth to be only now, at such high level, barely useful against NPCs. I can barely get into range to use my shortbow (20m) to line up that carefully-planned first attack, opening combat, and having the rest of the group charge at me. But one extra step, and the whole setup was for nothing.
  • Other uses in PvE: attempting to skirt around groups of NPCs. At high enough level (80+) this is feasible, if the groups are spread decently enough.
  • At lower levels, Stealth seems 100% useless in PvE situations. I would imagine that once we have things like dungeons (instead of purely overworld content), we'll see that the threshold between "uesless" & "almost useless" will be even higher in terms of what level of Stealth is required.

PvP:
  • 100% useless, even at 110 Stealth so far. The best I could hope for is hiding in a bush out in the middle of the woods while I go change the baby's diaper. Even still, it would not take much effort to stumble upon me, and kill me unattended if desired.
  • I don't know if there's much more to be said about it. Players can see stealthed players for hundreds of meters. Have a small amount of Perception? Well, plan on seeing practically every stealthed character within your client's draw distance.

Summary:
  • Against NPCs, Stealth is barely useful at higher levels, but it will be half a year or so before we see this sort of benefit. Maybe longer, depending on prerequisites and such.
  • Against players, Stealth is a joke.

Now, I'm not wanting Stealth to look like World of Warcraft rogues; I think that would be taking things certainly too far. I don't expect PFO Rogues to be the super-ninja stun-lock absurdities that we see in WoW. But I would like something that's actually useful. I want to be able to legitimately sneak up on my enemies. I would like to potentially slip past the guards at the gate. I'd like to bypass the enemies in that medium-sized room by slipping around the outskirts of the room. I think these are all well within reason.

And then the argument: "Well this is modeled after the tabletop game, not your typical mainstream MMO." My response: This is an MMO. In the tabletop, there are unlimited ways that a Rogue can explicitly enhance his ability to sneak about (think: slip between hiding places swiftly, or paying attention to exactly what the enemies are doing at the moment, etc.). We don't get those things in MMOs, I'm sorry.

Should I be completely invisible? Probably not - that would be for Wizards. But without the ability to legitimately duck around corners, objects, bushes, etc., there is no practical way to make stealth useful without just making the player invisible and otherwise untargetable. The only way to make Stealth legitimately like the tabletop would be to take some designs from a game like Assassin's Creed or some game that is completely designed around stealthing about. Not going to happen in an MMO.

Currently, I feel that the rogue is just a weaker fighter. Period. Especially when we take away things like running speed penalties from heavier armor (which sounds like it is still up for debate, so hard to include here). Tell me, with something so defining as Stealth being so broken, what other purposes will the Rogue serve? Of course, maybe trapfinding (what's to prevent a fighter from picking up a bit of trapfinding? not a whole lot… ), sneak-attack (which is still far weaker than typical fighter abilities, it seems), and …. wait, is there much anything else to the rogue?

TL;DR:
Stealth is completely useless at lower levels, and only barely useful when trained halfway to maximum. This makes me feel that the Rogue is just a weak fighter, and nothing remotely close to a rogue you might see in a typical MMO.



Okay, now let's see some healthy discussion. How can we make Stealth better?
Wyspr
I totally agree. I tested stealth vs player, I have 92 stealth and was only able to mask my position on the radar for around 5-8 meters from maximum range.

I approached un stealthed until I appeared on the radar on my second PC, stealthed and continued forward. It was only a few steps until I appeared on the radar again. Complete waste of XP in its current state.
shhh…
TheGoodfellow
I am hoping that, as with several other systems, the stealth mechanic isn't fully implemented. From the blogs and talk on the forums, it is supposed to be a comparison vs perception as to how close you can get before you are in view on the minimap. Hopefully this is still on the table. I would be happy with that, some sort of equation where it is like a scale, for example:

100 meters is normal draw distance 0 stealth
stealth skill decreases this at double skill level (rank 1 or 10 skill means 80 meters before you show up on mini)
perception cuts the decrease by some factor.

I don't think a 1 for 1 to cancel would work as that would basically make perception a required skill to ensure you don't get snuck up on, and rogues still can't "invis up to" you without being very skilled.

Without sitting down and doing some math, I don't have exact numbers to throw out there, I just used simply math to give an idea of what I am suggesting. I hope the idea was clear enough.
Nightdrifter
The equation being used is based on relative skill. The better your stealth is relative to your opponent's perception the closer you can get before being spotted. That spotting distance is still pretty far.

Ref to the equation

The equation is spotting distance when stealthed relative to unstealthed spotting distance. That unstealthed spotting distance is never specified. To tune the distances to be much closer the 0.15% and 10% could be changed as appropriate.
Kitsune
Thanks for the numbers and evidence, Wyspr.

Goodfellow, I kinda get at what you're saying. I'd have to see it on paper to be sure, but in general, it sounds like you're saying:
- Training stealth should have a drastic decrease in draw distance of a stealthed character
- Training perception should help increase that distance again, but not at the same drastic ratio as the stealth skill lowers the distance.

Nightdrifter:
Ah yes, that thread. The discussion seemed to pretty much end with, "Well, in Pathfinder tabletop, stealth isn't written to work like it does in mainstream MMOs (even though common house rule suggests otherwise), so we have no plans to make it worthwhile in our game."

Of course, the above quote is an exaggeration, but it's sort of the way I took it. :/
Stephen Cheney
So we tested Stealth in the office today and determined:
  • Stealth is absolutely reducing the distance at which you can be perceived.
  • It's reducing it by significantly less than expected.

200 Stealth vs. 10 Perception should let you get to 26.5% of your normal visibility, and it's only letting you get to about 50%. Equal Stealth vs. Perception should let you get to 55% of your normal visibility, and it's only letting you get to about 80% or 90%.

So that's getting bugged presently.
Kitsune
Thank you for spending the time to test this. smile

As mentioned elsewhere, 55% is "still pretty far" - I'd be curious to see how that plays out in-game. As it is, 26.5% seems kinda far for demigod-vs-ant… But again, I'm only complaining because we can't really hide behind bushes/trees/walls when we have things like RADAR. And simply removing them from radar when stealthed will not stop cheaters/hackers from making their own stealth-sensitive radar, either. smile
Stephen Cheney
In theory it should stop minimap hacks. As far as I know, we're not actually sending your client any data about stealthed individuals nearby. So hacking is not as simple as telling your client to stop hiding people in stealth.

If you notice instances where you can't see someone due to stealth but you can see them on your minimap, let us know.
Wyspr
I realize I should have spent more time on my testing and also included perception of the observer, I knew the stealth worked as I had used it to gather nodes the week previously, but I did feel it didn't work very effective vs players. Anyway, thanks for looking into it Stephen, I'm glad to hear that there is a bug in system rather than "working as intended". I look forward to messing with it in another build, and maybe I'll do a better job of recording and reporting.
shhh…
Kitsune
Stephen Cheney
In theory it should stop minimap hacks. As far as I know, we're not actually sending your client any data about stealthed individuals nearby. So hacking is not as simple as telling your client to stop hiding people in stealth.

If you notice instances where you can't see someone due to stealth but you can see them on your minimap, let us know.

I was referring to the idea of removing stealthed characters from minimap when they are stealthed, regardless of whether they are within range of being detected or not. Specifically, I was getting at: we could try to use the terrain/bushes/trees to hide behind while stealthed, and even if we were in range of being detected, it would be up to the human observer to actually notice us. But with the minimap, that's not going to happen. And, again, even if removed from minimap and still loaded by the enemy's client, we're still at risk of haxxors.
 
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