So I hear an overhaul of the stealth mechanic is in the works. The forums are full of people saying "invis is borken" and "need moar stealth remake" on every topic that happens to mention Eve. First, disregarding QQers who don't know what Oracle's Elixir is, we should establish that the stealth mechanic does need to be changed somehow. This is necessary because stealth in its current incarnation is very difficult to balance properly. Twitch was once a powerhouse and is now widely considered unviable: Eve currently toes a thin line between useless and dangerously good. Eventually, if nothing about the mechanic changes, Riot will err on the side of caution and nerf these characters until there are no viable stealthers left. While some people consider that scenario "more fun" overall, there are also plenty of people who enjoy playing with or against stealth champions. Additionally, stealth is an additional strategic element, which adds valuable complexity to the game. It should be retained, but changed so that stealthers can share a balanced playing field with the rest of the champs.
The question on my mind, however, is this: what would such a proposed "stealth remake" actually look like?
There are several different ways to implement stealth in a game like LoL. However, many of them (like changing stealth to "blur" or "concealment" that gives you a miss chance) would fundamentally change the nature of all the stealth champions, because they rely on simply not being seen in order to escape or gank.
The most common suggestion is to change stealth so that it breaks on damage (from a skillshot or AoE) or CC. This solution to the problem is intuitive and allows players to "scout" for hidden enemies with shuriken or Anivia's Glacial Storm. However, this change makes stealth very, very fragile. Shaco trying to escape with Deceive? Nope, Lux put down a slow and you reappeared. Trying to sneak up on a team, Eve? Sorry, Blitz popped Static Field and basically nullified your presence. Even if you buffed stealthers' abilities accordingly, it would become a very hit-or-miss strategy, much less reliable than a viable champ requires.
What if, instead, stealthed characters work the same as they do now -- untargetable, don't break stealth on damage -- BUT their icon is still visible on the minimap (perhaps within a certain distance of an allied champion)? In this case, you can tell when they're close by, but not exactly where they are.
Benefits of this solution:
-Eliminates the main problem of stealth: those currently unavoidable OMGWTFBBQ moments. If an invisible Twitch or Eve shows up nearby, you have the option to make a strategic retreat. Of course, if you're overextended and Twitch jumps out of the bush, or if you get within visible range of him as his buddy runs up behind you, you're still boned. As you should be.
-Allows stealthers to intimidate the hell out of their opponents just by being around. This is what Eve already does -- sneaking around an enemy or a pair of enemies, waiting for an opening. But if you want to make an unexpected gank, you can still hide in the fog of war or the bush.
-Doesn't change much about characters with short-range stealths. When Akali jumps into her shroud, you already know roughly where she is, so seeing an icon on the map probably isn't going to be much additional help. Same thing goes for Shaco: Deceive's functionality as a quick juke is unimpaired. If your opponent goes to look at the minimap long enough to find out you ran left instead of right, you're already gone.
-Wards and Oracle remain vital counters.
-Promotes good map awareness.
-Opens up a bit of design space for the game developers. Right now, stealth is a very limited mechanic because being completely invisible and untargetable is just so powerful. But this change would balance stealth out to the point where Riot could implement, for instance, an item with an active that grants a second or two of stealth. You still know that champ is there, but it would give you an extra edge ganking or a better escape mechanism.
-Doesn't allow stealthers to switch lanes quite as easily. This mainly applies to Eve. However, this drawback is mitigated by judicious use of the fog of war. Yes, if you run right past mid on your way to gank bot, they will probably know where you're going. But with careful pathing, you can still switch lanes unnoticed. Plus, there's the potential to set up some epic bluffs by making the appearance of running through a lane, then doubling back through the fog.
-On a related note, gives an indirect buff to wards by allowing them to spot stealthers on the approach. Not sure this is such a bad thing. Wards should be important.
-Would have to do something about Teemo's passive. Maybe Camouflage also decreases the range within which he's visible on the radar?
There might be other hidden consequences. Nevertheless, I think this change has the potential to help balance out the stealth mechanic. Share your feedback!
TL;DR -- stealth requires a remake: keep stealthed champs' icons on the minimap. Discuss.
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