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Proposed Change to the Stealth Support Traits


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Note: this post is primarily from the perspective of endgame PvE (raids/strikes)

Back in June of last year, Anet changed a bunch of the supportive traits in Shadow Arts to also apply when you grant stealth to an ally, citing that it was an attempt to shore up thief's supportive capabilities. And while granting stealth is a unique and thematic way for thief to support their allies, it unfortunately has several issues holding it back in endgame PvE.

1. Stealthing an ally interrupts their autoattack

Many players leave their autoattack on autocast instead of mashing the 1 key over and over. However, when a player gains stealth, the autocast will pause to prevent them from immediately breaking stealth. And while this behavior is useful when you're using stealth for its intended purpose of hiding from enemies, when you're granting stealth to only give boons/support this unfortunately has the side effect of stopping the player from doing DPS until they manually input another skill. This means that a support thief blasting stealth can actually lower the squad's overall DPS depending on their ally's inputs.

2. Fixate mechanics applying Revealed prevents you from giving your stealth-related boons/support to the fixated player

Often, the tanks in raids/strikes are targeted with a fixate that prevents them from gaining stealth. If that tank happens to be in the subgroup of a support thief, then the thief is completely locked out of applying the effects of their stealth support traits to the tank. This is a limitation that no other support build in the game has to deal with.

3. Other thieves generally dislike being granted stealth randomly (especially Deadeye)

For Daredevil and Specter, being granted stealth is annoying but not dealbreaking. For Deadeye, it's quite literally rotation breaking. It's extremely tragic for support thief's capabilities to be hindered out of consideration for other thieves that may be in the squad.


All these issues combined has led to the general consensus of "it's not worth it to blast stealth on support thief" in the endgame community. However, there is a simple way to fix or greatly alleviate these issues while keeping to the spirit of the traits:

Instead of having the traits apply their effects when you grant an ally stealth, just make the traits grant their effects to you and nearby allies whenever you gain stealth. This approach would neatly solve nearly all of the above issues while still retaining the flavor of using stealth to support one's allies (the only remaining issue would be the thief themselves getting fixated but that has its own workarounds)

I do hope that Anet considers this proposed change. It's a shame that current support thief builds like heal Specter have so many "useless" traits in endgame PvE due to the above issues, and a change such as this could help further close the gap between thief's support builds and the support builds of other classes. 

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Those are valid points.  I think there should be some sort of minor stealth; lets call it cloak.  You can stealth yourself but cloak others. 

Cloak immediately drops you as a target and prevents you from being re-targeted  by enemies you are not targeting or enemies that are farther than 600 units away.  Visually, you don't go invisible but you do go transparent.  You still get revealed afterwards and it wouldn't mess with auto attack because attacking doesn't break cloak.  This probably wouldn't help the fixate issue you raised but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  

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The trait could be: instead of granting stealth, your stealth abilities grant heal and boons (prot and might for example) - additional stealth effect are granted when this effect procs (barrier for example). Briefly grant access to your stealth attack (3s icd).


This trait is used in PvE mostly anyways, so stealth removal should not be a problem, but could anyways add a new build flavour in PvP as support

Edited by TheThief.8475
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50 minutes ago, Darkglade.8419 said:

2. Fixate mechanics applying Revealed prevents you from giving your stealth-related boons/support to the fixated player

This issue has an existing solution: in raid wing 7, The Key of Ahdashim, all three bosses see players even if they are stealthed.

Unfortunately, this flag seems to have been forgotten with the layoff wave, and EoD strike bosses do not use it. Removing all Revealed on fixation and using this flag instead in raid/strike fights should be a good solution for this.

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in pve most of the times stealth isn’t even a benefit for others than thief.

in pvp/wvw it is troublesome and a symptom of hatred ever since.

I think making a new smoke field combo (smoke aura) is something anet could consider which than is the buff you provide as a thief for others with the likes of shadow refuge, blinding power etc.

An effect of that aura could be projectile block and blind on attack - which would be a nice support option regardless of the mode you are playing, but you may discuss other possible effects.


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/23/2023 at 11:58 AM, Darkglade.8419 said:

Instead of having the traits apply their effects when you grant an ally stealth, just make the traits grant their effects to you and nearby allies whenever you gain stealth. 

It's possible that could be a touch too powerful, as these traits are likely balanced around the more limited ways of granting stealth to allies. Perhaps a separate trait would be a sufficient cost for the desired effect? Suggestion: 

Shadow Weaving: "When you enter or exit stealth, nearby allies gain additional effects as though you had granted them stealth." 

I could see it being a specter trait as it's very on brand, and there are some redundant/unused traits there that could use replacing (shallow grave). Plus, it would synergize with Panaku's Ambition and actually make it relevant. Could add a stealth source to beef it up a little: stealth on siphon maybe? Could be an elegant solution to the stealth support trait issue, as well as some much needed class identity for heal specter. Of course that would exclude other thieves, but are any other builds really interested in these traits as aoe support? If so, you could keep it core by adding this same effect to Cover of Shadow or Shadow's Embrace, to at least create a contested option to enhance the other stealth support traits. Similar to Potent Poison in Deadly Arts: an option to double down on the trait theme.

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