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Stealth is an ability that allows players or mobs to sneak around undetected. Most notably a rogue's ability, it is also available (as Prowl) to druids when using their Cat Form, as well as hunter cat pets. Unlike invisibility, anybody has a chance to detect an enemy in stealth mode. The chance of detection increases as you get closer, but also depends on the viewing angle (stand right in front of an enemy and you can guarantee they'll see you), the relative levels, and any perception or subtlety modifiers.

Subtlety and Detection

The difference between subtlety and detection will determine the distance that a player will be seen at. The closer you are to your target, the higher the probability that you will be detected. The chance of detection is also increased if you anywhere in a 180° arc in front of the target; it is always best to approach a target from behind. Remaining stationary does not make you harder to detect.


Sutblety, like detection, increases 5 points with each level. It can also be increased by 5 points for each level in the Master of Deception talent (max 3 levels), frequently known as MoD. When maxed, MoD is equivalent to 3 extra character levels. Night elf rogues and druids additionally get the Elusiveness trait, which is the equivalent to one character level. Using the rogue ability Vanish brings a rogue into an improved stealth for 10 seconds, increasing subtlety by 170.

Subtlety can be increased in the following ways:

  • Talent: Master of Deception (+5 per skill point, up to +15, rogue)
  • Talent: Feral Instinct (+5 per skill point, up to +15, druid)
  • Ability: Vanish (+170/+270/+370, rogue)
  • Racial: Night elf - Elusiveness (+5)
  • Enchant: Enchant Cloak - Stealth (+5)
  • Item: [Figurine - Black Pearl Panther] (+3)
  • Item: [Nightscape Boots] (+5)
  • Item: [Whisperwalk Boots] (+5)
  • Item: [The Master's Treads] (+5)
  • Item: [Silent-Strider Kneeboots] (+5)
  • Item: [Darkmantle Boots] (+8, rogue)
  • Item: [Boots of Displacement] (+8)
  • Consumable: [Sneaking Potion] (+30)
  • Consumable: [Stealth of the Stalker] (+8)


Detection is an innate skill that all players and mobs have, and this increases by 5 points per level. One of the Racial Traits which humans get is called Perception, as of WotLK, a passive skill which increases stealth detection by 5 points. There are also various items which grant a bonus to detection, along with certain class abilities. Additionally, various mobs (such as bloodhounds, mindslayers, and city guards) have a much higher level of detection, to dissuade characters from stealthing anywhere nearby.

Detection can be increased in the following ways:

  • Talent: Heightened Senses (+3 per skill point, up to +6, rogue)
  • Ability: Track Hidden (+30, hunter)
  • Racial: Human - Perception (+5 passive)
  • Item: [Deathblow X11 Goggles] (or any other epic Engineering goggles) (+5)
  • Item: [Catseye Ultra Goggles] (+18)
  • Item: [Bloodvine Lens] (+10)
  • Item: [Hyper-Vision Goggles] (+30)
  • Item: [Marshal's Dragonhide Gauntlets] (or any other druid PvP gloves) (+10, druid)
  • Item: [The Night Watchman] (+10)
  • Consumable: [Distilled Stalker Sight] (+15)
  • Consumable: [Elixir of the Searching Eye] (+15)
  • Consumable: [Catseye Elixir] (+10)

Stealth tips

Stealth has a number of uses:

  • Bypassing mobs to reach places without fighting
  • Catching the enemy unprepared by sneaking up on them
  • Escaping from a fight that's going bad
  • Many of a rogue's opening moves such as Ambush and Cheap Shot can only be used from Stealth.
  • Stealth is a way to remain relatively safe whilst AFK. If an enemy wanders too close, however, they will still detect you.
  • Stealth Run dungeons to kill specific bosses or obtain special treasures.


In PvE, monsters will normally react when you are close to being detected. Typically, they will look up and either say something or make a noise. If you have Distract (available at level 22), this can be a very useful ability to keep mobs looking the other way. Try to learn the range at which various mobs will aggro you - then move to just outside that range before using stealth. This will reduce the time you spend under Stealth's movement restriction.


In PvP, if you enter stealth mode near an enemy player they will likely see a message on their screen. Thus, try to stealth from a distance, loop around behind them in a wide circle, and approach from behind. Make good use of any vegetation or other cover - although does not help directly, it can make you somewhat harder to spot visually if you are detected. It takes a couple of seconds for a detected person to "phase in" on anyone's screen, so you can normally rush the last couple of yards. You can use Distract in PvP. The target will face the other way, but it will - of course - notice that a Rogue is approaching.

Stealth detection is also important to rogues, especially in PvP, or in areas with stealthed monsters (for instance, when scouting dungeons). Stealth detection enhancements give the rogue an advantage when going up against other stealthed opponents. A good balance of stealth-enhancing and stealth-detecting skills, items, and enchantments will make your life as a rogue an easier and more effective one.

Movement speed while stealthed can be improved with talent points spent on Fleet Footed or Camouflage - 8%/15% and 5%/10%/15% respectively, topping at 15%. You can also use Sprint while stealthed to increase your speed, not breaking your stealth. Any other items that increase your speed will break stealth upon use, but you can re-stealth or use the item prior to activating stealth.

With reduced speed, getting into combat range while stealthed can be tricky. Investing in speed increasing effects can be critical to a rogue. The Minor Speed or Cat's Swiftness boot enchantments, or the Fleet Footed talent (enchants and the talent do not stack) offer an extra 8% overall movement speed which works both in and out of stealth, and can be critical when trying to get in range of an opponent or when attempting to escape. Higher rogue talents address issues of range. Any rogue with 40 talent points in the Subtlety tree can use the Shadowstep skill at a range of 20 yards to instantly teleport behind a targeted opponent and gain a buff that allows a garrote, ambush or backstab attack to have a 20% damage increase; this is very effective against kiters (like hunters or spell-casters).

Patch changes

  • Stealth (mechanic)/Hotfix
  • Patch 1.6.0 (patch date:2005-07-12): Damage caused by environmental effects will now cancel stealth (e.g. swimming in lava). 
  • Patch 1.7.0 (patch date:2005-09-22): Fixed bug where self-inflicted damage, like Poisonous Blood, wouldn't break stealth.