Skill can divert clumsy raw power, and precisely applied force can solve many problems. As a Stalker, this is the core of your specialty. You do your best work when attacking from ambush, and can even hide in plain sight to escape foes. Deadly attacks and good defenses make you a dangerous combatant and assassin, but you can be overwhelmed if you're not careful.
The Stalker's power sets are:
The Stalker has Low Hit Points and High Damage.
Primary Power Sets
A Stalker's primary power sets are designed for melee. They are:
- Dark Melee
- Dual Blades (Issue 11)
- Electrical Melee (Issue 12)
- Energy Melee
- Martial Arts
- Ninja Blade
Secondary Power Sets
A Stalker's secondary power sets are designed for defense. They are:
- Dark Armor
- Electric Armor (Issue 12)
- Energy Aura
- Super Reflexes
- Willpower (Issue 11)
Patron Power Pools
Criticals and Hiding
Stalkers cause a great deal of additional damage through critical hits. The exact chances of a critical vary greatly with the situation and the power used. Stalker criticals do double damage except in one case which we'll get to in a moment.
Most Stalker single-target attacks automatically critical against any target if the Stalker is Hidden. If the Stalker isn't Hidden and he's attacking a PvE enemy, his chance of critting is 10% + 3% per teammate within 30'. In PvP, most un-Hidden Stalker single-target attacks can only crit if the target is Held or Slept, and do so 20% of the time, but a few get criticals 10%-15% of the time regardless of whether the target is mezzed.
Stalker AoE attacks work similarly, though the crit chances for Hidden AoEs and for un-Hidden PvP AoEs are half the typical single-target chances. Un-Hidden PvE AoEs use the full 10% + 3%/teammate formula without halving. Crits are checked separately for each target hit.
A Stalker's Assassin's Strike stands out from his other attacks. If the Stalker isn't Hidden, his Assassin's Strike has the normal crit chance and damage bonus in PvE, and it will never crit in PvP. But if the Stalker is Hidden, this attack is extremely potent. First of all, if it misses, the Stalker stays Hidden. If it hits, it crits automatically, for almost triple normal damage instead of double. If the target is another player, this bonus damage ignores his resistances. If the target survives, all nearby non-player enemies (which may include the target itself!) are Demoralized and suffer a small but irresistable ToHit penalty, and occasionally Fear as well, for eight seconds.
Despite the rather misleading name, the Hidden status only means that the Stalker is poised to deliver stronger or more reliable critical hits. Hidden mode and Stealth aren't directly linked, although they often occur together. A Stalker can be Hidden even if an enemy has enough Perception to see him.
Stalkers have two ways to become Hidden. The Hide power continually grants Hidden status, though that status suppresses for eight seconds each time the Stalker uses an attack power (except for missed Assassin's Strikes), suffers damage from an enemy (falling doesn't count), or clicks a mission object. Using the Placate power on any target also puts the Stalker in Hidden mode, no matter who he attacks, for a fixed period of ten seconds.
Hidden: This, and the extra Defense and Stealth it provides, is suppressed when you attack (including Placate, but not including a missed Assassin's Strike), or when you are *damaged* by an enemy. A lucky (or Lucky) Stalker can perform their Assassination strike while the victim is shooting at them.
For most of your attacks, if you hit while hidden, you'll score a Critical Hit for double damage. You might start with the slower, higher-damage attack to take advantage of this. Your Assassination power, when attacking from Hidden, will do even more bonus damage. No matter what power pool you were thinking of at Threat Level 6, take your Assassination power; it'll make 8 come much quicker. =)
Combine Build Up (Focus Chi, ...) with your Assassination power to take out non-resistant yellow Lieutenants in one shot.
Against a small group of tougher enemies in a mission, you can take one out, run away, wait for them to lose interest (target one of the survivors and wait for the box elbows to run the other way), then come back and take out another. Repeat until you feel comfortable scrapping with who's left.
Placate is useful and good fun, if slightly random. If it works, it lets you get an Assassination critical against a lone enemy that was attacking you, without having to run away and wait for Hidden to come back.
Placate cannot miss (Smoke Flash being an exception). It also modifies the behaviour of the victim enemy, causing them to give up on attacking you. However, if you take damage from another source, they will go right back to attacking you. They may also have another attack queued up, which may also knock you back into scrapping.
Against a pair, Assassin's Strike one, then Placate, Build Up and hit the other one for an extra-strong critical. Against three, Assasin's Strike the first one, Build Up and scrap with the second, then Placate and AS the third. (Against four or more, consider using the "run away!" technique given above.) Placate's also useful for not having to cross fifty yards of mission to stop that last minion from following you before your next Assassin Strike.
In many missions, you'll find a group of enemies run up to somewhere you were, intent on stopping you; they may run right past you then do nothing, thanks to your Hide. Take them out at your leisure. In bank heists, such 'ambush' squads attack you regardless of your Hide; charge in and get your critical while you can. Placate still works on members of those squads, thankfully.
Unless the mission requires you to click multiple objects or escort someone out, you can generally skip straight to the end of the mission thanks to Hide to complete the objective. You may also look for small groups or easy kills (such as a lone lieutenant or minions who are spread out). Because mission completions and bosses are worth so much experience, it's a good idea to stick to simple defeat missions and only take out groups that you're comfortable with.