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Thus far I've been playing a thief/mage hybrid class in KoA, but I rarely find it advantageous to sneak or go for sneak attacks. Moving while sneaking is extremely slow, and most of the time I find I can resolve battles quickly by just jumping right in with my daggers and chakrams. Enemies also seem to notice me quickly.

This all combines together, so that when facing off against a group of enemies, I might sneak for 30 seconds and perhaps, if I'm lucky, I'll surprise one and do a bit of extra damage compared to my normal attack. Then the rest tend to immediately notice me, and I must dispatch them in "normal" combat.

I believe through a combination of Skill and Ability points, I could eliminate many of the drawbacks and disadvantages to sneaking and sneak attacking, but this has a significant opportunity cost. Is there really much of a benefit to these skills and abilities? Does it ever make more sense to sneak than to just rush in, weapons blazing?

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Are you casting spells for your attacks? I know with daggers if I am swinging them and doing say, 15 damage a hit, a sneak attack has been doing around 750 damage. –  James Feb 9 '12 at 23:51
    
I'm approaching them and hitting the "X" button which performs some sort of "sneak attack" with my weapon (faeblades or daggers) that seems to not always kill them. –  agent86 Feb 9 '12 at 23:58
    
Maybe I am just not far enough into the game as of yet I guess. –  James Feb 10 '12 at 0:20
    
I've found the game's combat, even on Hard, to be too easy so far to justify the time it takes to get a sneak attack in. –  Sterno Feb 10 '12 at 2:01
    
@agent86 I believe it's a chance to backstab. I've had it fail too. –  Raven Dreamer Feb 10 '12 at 3:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Does it make sense to sneak? Not until you've thrown 35 points into the Finesse tree and unlock Smoke Bomb.

You're right about the early levels - you have no way to regain hidden status once you've lost it, so your best bet is to sneak in (you can dodge/roll while sneaking to give you a little bit extra speed), stab one or two enemies if you can, then fight the rest of them in normal combat.

Even with heavy investment into the Stealth skill, it's still likely you'll have trouble sneaking up on every mob.

But Smoke Bomb gives the potential for so much more. Every time you use it, you re-enter the "hidden" state. This means you can backstab enemies mid combat. Suddenly, all those points investing in +backstab damage are relevant outside the first second!

Bottom line?

Stealth is underwhelming at low levels. It doesn't make sense to focus on it until you have the levels to support it.

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For earlier levels, it would be a good idea to focus on something like finesse/might so you don't get too engrained in a fighting style too dissimilar from pure finesse chars. –  Tarkenfire Feb 10 '12 at 7:43
2  
+1 for smoke bomb –  viktor Feb 13 '12 at 13:39

I'm only level 7 and have a Finesse/Sorcery build and sneaking has worked well for me. You need to be more aware of your approach and the pathing of your enemies but it is very doable. I've snuck up on creatures that were a complete pain and taken them out with a backstab attack.

I'd say it's a play style choice; it doesn't always pay off, but when it does it works out nicely. Took out a group of 4 Red Blades, etc. just a matter of finding your way in cleanly.

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It really does not worth, if you preffer effect and straightforward gameplay. Even with smoke bomb, it is really a veeery big pain in the a**. You are supposed to sneak each mob and your stealth goes away as soon as you hit. So if you are facing a group of mobs you either have to "smoke bomb -> normal battle (while waiting cooldown end) -> smoke bomb" or use normal attack and don't bother with useless sneak. On the other hand, stealth may be helpful for thievery, but in most cases it does not worth - loot from most chests are much below average and picpocketing tens of gold coins (or even 150-200) is a waste of time. I have level 28 char with 1.5 mil. I made it without picpocketing at all. So, in my opinion, it simply does not worth. If game had different mechanic, if it was not so casual, if monsters would not attack in groups etc. - it might be a good investment, but now it is just a waste of time. Have in mind, that most case you will have to deal groups of monsters (in some cases, large groups) and sneaking at them just to kill one mob is useless... and pathetic. If this game had mechanic, like morrowind, it would be quite different matter.

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You guys are overlooking a few key components. For one, no, if you are not going to invest heavily in Finesse, then sneaking is probably not going to work out for you.

BUT.

I personally like playing a sneaky character, and in this game it is still very much viable--albeit more so at the later levels, as stated.

With sufficient skill in Stealth, at least 3 points in Detect Hidden, you can manage enemies' sight lines pretty well. Now, sometimes you WILL run into those groups where the devs were specifically messing with rogues by putting 2-3 mobs sitting gazing soulfully into each others' eyes (so if you're sneaking on one you're walking right in front and center to the other), but even these can usually be dealt with by using the terrain, rolling, and good timing--you stab one guy right as his boyfriend is realizing there's a problem.

Then there's Smoke Bomb. This adds another element. Now you can sneak one, wait until the rest circle up around you, and bomb. It stuns them, makes you invisible, and puts you straight into sneakcrouch. With good target picking, this can be an opportunity for another stab--or even two. Since it clears all awareness in the first half-second or so (not just makes you invisible while leaving all threat/aggro/awareness on the target, like many games do, so that when you're no longer invisible they're jumping your face again), sometimes you can even work it like thus: Stab one, piss off others, bomb, stab one, stab two, roll out (usually helps if there's a corner or obstacle to dive around), and the rest wake up, shrug, look at the bodies, and go about their merry way. By then if you've picked your targets well, you've eliminated all the sneak-impossible combinations, and can chain-kill more or less at your leisure.

And if push comes to shove and you can't sneak everyone, hey, Finesse builds are far from helpless. Wade in with Faeblades and make them pay.

And if it's someone big and burly (like a crowd of Jottun), you always have the option, if you've cleared your approach, of killing one and bailing. Sneak, slit throat, desneak, sprint out, get around a corner, and resume sneak. If you know the right distance/sight lines, oftentimes you can clear threat this way--even work back around and kill more while they're all strung out in a line walking back to reset.

And finally, if you even mildly like alchemy, I have 3 words for you: Minor Phasewalk Potion. It will give you the same undetectable status, for about 6 seconds, with a 10-second cooldown. So they won't give you permanent invis, but 60% uptime is pretty respectable. Theoretically you could even time a Phasewalk, Bomb, Phasewalk, to stay stealthed for 18 seconds (though I've never actually had to do so)--and if that's not enough time for you to get out of anything that isn't an arena-style boss fight, then maybe sneaky isn't the playstyle for you. It's made with reasonably common mats, too, no Essences of Fate or anything crazy like that required.

And in closing:

100k sneak crits (with a prismere dagger, sure, but pretty lackluster components otherwise) are pretty hard to argue with.

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