I wanted to do a real infographic on stealth and vision this time.
I was thinking about including:
No. of brush on SR. (36. And talking about how they give every champion access to invisibility by their functionality.)
No. of champions with invisibility. (14 of them, going by my own definition and not Riot's. Ivern, Quinn, Graves, & Nocturne are all champions who can go invisible, even though people don't traditionally thing of it as invis.)
No. of posts on the Boards and Reddit about a vision-centric support champ. (It's a lot.)
No. of posts on the Boards and Reddit about a Watcher champion.
Pointing out how neither Evelynn nor Twitch have unique SFX / audio cues that herald their approach / reveal their prescence. (Going to call it 'The Sound of Silence'.)
Origin of True Sight (as a call-back to my previous 'infographic'.)
Champion with the most vision-manipulation abilities. (Shaco!)
Quotes from the developers of Thief Trilogy, Dishonored, Mark of the Ninja, and other stealth games about their systems and approach.
Champion with the most tells and clues inherent to their stealth. (Rengar with 3 total: his unique warning indicator, unique SFX, and his reveal by proximity.)
Champion with the longest lasting sight reveal. (Which I believe is Orianna since her Ball can remain a fair distance away indefinitely, its like having an ever-lasting ward and highlights her supportive nature.)
Pointing out that the icons floating above a ward is the ward, not the body / model of the object itself.
Maybe highlighting Ashe, Kalista, and Quinn as having powerful vision tools built into their kit.
Talk about detection effects like Rek'SaiTremor Sense as being super awesome and hint / imply that Warwick'sBlood Scent gets a similar treatment.
Talk about how 'stealth' wards have very little inherent counterplay. (They don't become visible at close range, there is no cone of sight to outmaneuver, they don't have any sort of audio cue or warning indicator that would give them away. Basically, the crux of your Another Look At Vision post. How wards limit organic gameplay because Riot's design necessitates the need for a specific item in order to interact with the ward.)
These are all the ones that immediately come to mind, is there anything I'm missing? What do you think I should add? How can I draw attention to the info war and stealth aspects of League?
I also wanted to look at other RTS games and see what kind of vision / info / stealth / invis elements they incorporate and how they play out. Things like Warcraft, Starcraft, Age of Empires, Civilization, etc. etc. but (surprisingly?) virtually no RTS that I've looked up (I haven't really dug deep, and I can't get my hands on these games to test them) has explored vision / invis like League has. (There was an old game called Demigod that came out a year before League released and it has no vision-manipulation gameplay elements, IIRC. Just an example.)
Which is to say, I think League is the most advanced stealth-action MOBA / RTS game in existence right now. None of its competitors / clones comes close to it. Even DotA2, which many will say does invis and sight better than League, has less instances of both and less varied iterations of both from what I've seen.
I feel the need to point this out to Riot, because their game fundamentally has stealth as a core component. And I mean stealth in the true sense of the word - you don't want to be seen, or give away unnecessary info of your presence and whereabouts to hostiles, just like in Thief, Dishonored, and Mark of the Ninja.
If you want to make an infographic about stealth, vision and invisibility in League, that looks like a pretty complete list of factors relating to the subjects, and I'd love to work with you on the writing if you'd like. To my knowledge, most RTSes are pretty light on vision mechanics, and the most advanced I can recall of those are a couple of stealth units from Starcraft/C&C, plus a hero in Rise of Legends being able to reveal terrain from afar.
I also completely agree with your idea of stealth as a playstyle, rather than a mechanic, and I think Riot would agree as well, since they added a few mechanics to assassins that are all conditional on not being seen by the enemy, which can occur from activating invisibility, but also striking from brush for the perfect ambush (or both). Stealth as a playstyle should be crucial to redesigning Evelynn, who is most unhealthy when she uses her invisibility purely as a mechanic, and not to enable actual stealth gameplay. Elaborating on stealth playstyles means elaborating on the various types of information in League, which, as you know, not only includes direct sight of a target, but also indicators of their position and sounds, whether it be global soundbites when activating some ults, or the sound of an ability connecting with an enemy out of view.
I'd appreciate the help - in retrospect my previous two graphics have been kinda muddled in what I was trying to say (partly because there was so much I was trying to say in a limited space). An editor would be great.
Side Question: What do you think about uniquely colored shields? This kinda started with Tahm Kench's Grey Health (which would then become a normal shield upon activation). We saw the idea developed further with Kled's mount Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard functioning as a very unique 'shield'. I was working on Imoen and I've been entertaining the thought of making her shield from Spelljack! gold in color to communicate that it functions both as a spell-shield (like Morgana'sBlack Shield) and a standard damage shield (like Riven'sValor) as well as emphasize that, as a thief, she's got an affinity for gold.
Also, not to derail this further and make it about Imoen, but I concede that much of your feedback about her was correct and that I'm going to be updating her to reflect that. My (2nd) question for you is: how to convey the mini-game of lockpicking found in other stealth games in LoL? Examples: Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, THIEF. Other games such as the OG Thief trilogy had their own lock-picking mini-game. Games liike Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 had 'stat check' lock-picking, as did Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines.
I really want her passive to incorporate her basic attacks as the lock-picking mini-game, and her R would be her passively finding randomized Treasure! on the enemy side of the map, and the active would be her hiding Secrets! (like healable versions of Teemo Shrooms. Yes, I'm hard-headed, but I'm asking for your insight all the same. (Again.)
Re: different colored shields, and different health bar indicators, I think they should be used sparingly: Grey Health is a mechanic of its own, and displays lost health that can be recovered in some form, and Kled's double health bar is a mechanic that will likely forever be confined to him, unless we end up with another mounted-unmounted champion. It's technically just a big shield, and as such should normally be colored gray, but since it's tied to a lot of unique effects, it's likely colored differently from normal shields to provide better indication.
For other shields, though, the color is a reflection of what damage types it blocks: gray is for universal shields, and technically mirrors true damage, and purple is for shields that only block magic damage, e.g. Black Shield or Maw of Malmortius, which is also the color of magic resistance, so physical damage-only shields should technically be the color of armor, i.e. yellow/gold. Because of this, I'd avoid a gold color for Spelljack!, unless you intend on also making the shield block only physical damage. Indicating spell immunity is trickier, and there is currently no standard for persistent immunity (Black Shield just has its own graphic, Ragnarok just turns Olaf red, etc.). If you plan on making the shield work as an actual spell shield, though, the standard is to have a blue bubble on your champion, as per Spell Shield and Banshee's Veil.
As for implementing stealth game lockpicking, that is definitely an interesting idea, and one I think could be implemented. One thing to note, though, is that all of the games you bring up are singleplayer, which have their own rules: the player can take as much time as they want, they can reload a save if they fail, and they're usually trying to unlock an inanimate object, rather than a moving, aware entity.
A possible way of going about this could be to implement a mini-game similar to Fiora's: for example, enemies would have a "tumbler" on one of their sides that Imoen could trigger with a basic attack, which would reveal another "tumbler" on a random side of theirs that Imoen could then trigger again, until the final tumbler "locks" the target. Another possible implementation could be something more akin to rotating a lockpick: for example, Imoen's first basic attack would insert her key into her opponent's lock, and would reveal a dial around the target that she'd have to move around in order to lock them, so Imoen running a circle around her target would be like turning the pick in a lock.
Let me know how Imoen goes! I really like her, and I look forward to seeing how you'll evolve her kit.
I recieved your message on the LoL Client. I'm still working on this infographic. I've mostly been doing research so far, and interestingly...
You know I want to emphasize stealth and invisibility as being two distinct things, related but not synonymous. In my research about stealth and invisibility in the history of RTSs I discovered that WoW, back in 2004, had the rogue spell 'Stealth ' which made the user functionally invisible. Fortunately, all units seemed to have a 'perception' attribute (called 'detection') that seemed to influence at what distance the 'stealthed' unit became visible, and rudimentary sight cones as well (the 'stealthed' unit was more likely to become visible if they were in front of their prey, as opposed to behind.)
I believe this was the beginning of creating the confusion between the two terms as WoW was huge back in the day and a number of League's creators and designers played WoW. Oddly, Warcraft 1, 2, & 3, all had 'Invisibility' as a spell that made the target, well, invisible. 'Stealth' as a term doesn't appear in the Warcraft trilogy. DotA 1 & 2, as you know, emerged from Warcraft 3, BUT they actually kept the terminology accurate: 'stealth' doesn't seem to be part of DotA 1 & 2's game vocabulary - stealth gameplay is possible, but invisibility is the mechanic (untargetability, can't be seen on screen or via the minimap) that players use to achieve stealth gameplay.
Before that, the only other instance (that I've found) of calling (what amounts to) functional invisibility 'stealth' was Command & Conquerer's 'Stealth Tank' unit. (The unit being invisible until it attacked.)
That's the thing: multiplayer games, especially RTSes and MMORPGs, tend to have difficulty with stealth gameplay, because their third-person or top-down perspectives, coupled with the immense potential variation in environments and positioning of enemies, makes it difficult to implement "typical" stealth playstyles a la Thief or Dishonored, which use tightly controlled environments, blind spots and relatively predictable AI to create hand-crafted puzzles for the player to sneak through. The latter games often make stealth a matter of memorizing predictable movement patterns, visualizing how enemies cover each other and elaborating long-term plans on how to navigate levels that, while full of NPCs in motion, are actually fairly static, in that there is a limited number of states they can be in. By contrast, multiplayer tends to be extremely fast-paced and full of targets that are inherently dynamic and unpredictable, which is why so many games have resorted to invisibility as a means of giving the player the feeling of stealth, instead of implementing true stealth gameplay.
So far, the only multiplayer game I have seen come close to implementing stealth successfully is Warframe: the game does have several player characters with invisibility, but any of them can sneak around and play stealthily, in levels whose layouts and enemy distributions are procedurally generated. It's not entirely "true" multiplayer stealth, in that the targets are still NPCs, but I think it gives a pretty good idea of what it could be like: the game gives player characters tremendous movement across spacious rooms, with lots of places to sneak across and get an overview of how to approach the next few areas. It's not perfect, but it still manages to bring stealth gameplay to a level of speed and dynamism that you'd find in League.
Bringing this back to LoL, a big advantage the game has compared to, say, Dota or Warcraft, is its brush, which creates blind spots in the environment for players to exploit. I think when you're going to elaborate on stealth gameplay, you're also really going to have to discuss the environment players operate in, and I think there's likely a lot more opportunities for enabling that: a lot of thick walls, for example, could have crevices implemented that would allow players to hide there for an ambush, or use them as a shortcut to dash over those large gaps. Brush could also be made more dynamic, as shown by Ivern, and you could also implement periodic growths of brush across the map that would open up more stealth routes. Invisibility would likely still be a fixture in the game, but it should just be one potential tool for stealth, rather than shorthand for it (especially since the playstyles it encourages often run counter to actual stealth gameplay).
I do plan on talking about the environment players occupy in (both Summoner's Rift and the vision and stealth systems we're given to work with) and I've got a number of good quotes lined up from prominent game designers of stealth games that address issues of Clarity when it comes to making stealth games. Basically, to support stealth gameplay players need good feedback about the state of the AI and the world. Things like "Can I be seen?" and "Am I being heard?" are very important questions, and a lot of stealth games make this information ambiguous or 'opaque' leaving the player to experiment with trail-and-error as the parse out the games systems. (I'm paraphrasing a lot of this from Nels Anderson, Lead Designer of Mark of the Ninja, an amazing game.)
I think having real players instead of AI NPCs does make reworking the vision / stealth game a bit more challenging, but all the pieces are already there. You mention how League has brush which enables stealthy gameplay, whereas DotA doesn't. However, DotA2 has trees (not brush) that block line-of-sight the same way terrain in League does, letting players hide amongst them which functionally turns them invisible (can't be seen on screen or the mini-map, and hence can't be targeted). DotA2 also has elevation, letting those on higher ground see farther while those on lower ground can't see them.
I'd be more hesitant to see brush growing around the map, but maybe a plant variation would be fun. I also wouldn't mind seeing some of the thicker pieces of terrain have 'secret' nooks that champions can hide in, but I don't see Riot doing that any time soon. I really look forward to day when a game incorporates all of these various elements for the ultimate isometric stealth game. Maybe League of Legends 2?
The key to highlighting stealth gameplay is, IMO, the vision options Riot gives us. They've got to rethink wards, and taking another look at trinkets wouldn't hurt either. For example, using walls (terrain) as cover that conceals our movements is much more practical when player's can't drop a ward across it at instant speed. Likewise, if wards had some innate means of being avoided (such as all being visible, as you suggest in your Another Look At Vision) then players would likely avoid them, engaging in stealth gameplay whether or not they realized that's what they're doing. Again, highlighting that stealth gameplay is apart of their game, and that the stealth mindset is what separates pros from casuals.
Also, giving us more ways of earning / gaining information is super important. Things like Sweeping Lens and Scrying Orb (not their upgrades) are great because of their extreme range, letting players scope out the situation. You know I want to see more detection abilities like Rek'Sai's Tremor Sense and Warwick's Blood Hunt. Also, Kalista's Sentinels are a great example of getting vision while simultaneously allowing stealth gameplay. In my idea world, each team would be able to set up a 'network' of vision that demands stealthy movement and skilled timing / positioning from enemies trying to gank successfully, while not being so much or so powerful that it makes ganking impossible.
I'm just rambling at this point - still have lots of work to do.
EDIT: Anything you'd like to add or discuss or mention, feel free.
On the topic of vision, what would you think about completely removing wards from the game, and instead shifting all of vision onto plants?
A large ongoing issue with wards is that, despite their power, the items themselves just feel boring. As we've discussed before, sight wards are really terrible at conveying their power, especially at lower elos, and their own invisibility just makes things worse. Despite their free placement, in the end there are only a fixed amount of "optimal" ward spots, and as you mentioned, the universal, AoE sight of wards is just about the least interesting and engaging way to apply vision.
Alongside that, you also brought up the idea of wards as security measures and countermeasures, and we both discussed the possibility of vision tools as control points across the map to be contested. The advantage to a plant-based vision architecture is that it would a) make vision a more interesting and interactive tool for players of all experience levels, and b) allow vision to be tailored right down to every tiny area on the map, which could include your own ward types.
Off the top of my head, here are some vision plant examples, several of which come from your collection:
A "lantern" plant, which would project a beam of light that would provide vision through brush and walls. Would be permanent and indestructible, but would "turn off" after a few seconds. Autoattacking the plant would turn it on and cause it to swivel in the target direction, activating it for your team. At least one spawn location could involve the space in-between the Raptor camp and the river, allowing players to reveal the brush near Raptors, behind the Brambleback camp, in the river brush or in mid lane.
The snitch/Mandrake ward in plant form. Autoattacking it would activate it for your team, whereupon it'd have a lifespan of about 60 seconds, before dying and regenerating later (the respawn time would probably adjust over time, just like yellow trinket). Would deliver a ping whenever an enemy passes very close to it, audible to the team controlling it and the player who set it off, but would only ping the same champion if they leave the radius and come back. At least one spawn location could involve the tribrush near top and bot, and the plant would serve mainly to signal the arrival of a jungler, who could then also try to play mind games by waiting a bit before ganking. The plant could also potentially serve as protection against invaders and counterjunglers, and would help signal the presence of enemies trying to sneak a Drake or Herald/Baron.
"Artillery" ward plants, which would shoot a vision-granting pod across a long distance when autoattacked, which would then persistently reveal a small area around it, much like a ward. The plant would then be consumed and would respawn after a long-ish delay. This is basically meant to be a plant version of Scryer's Orb, so the pod could perhaps be made to last until destroyed, or alternatively the pod could be indestructible, but would have only a limited duration. At least one spawn location could involve the areas right outside the base gates, which would allow sieging teams to take a peek at the enemy's defenses (and perhaps even teleport to the plant for an Xpeke), and defending teams to project vision outwards into a jungle that's likely being controlled by their opponents.
There are likely a great deal many more possibilities to this, especially since the above would leave some pretty large gaps in Summoner's Rift, but that could at least be a start to a more varied and organic (heh) vision system. What do you think?
Your last line paragraph is exactly it. There are so many things Riot could do, if only they would do them. They would make this game so much richer, because the whole sight-stealth dynamic, this gameplay of getting intel and using it and preparing ambushes and psyching out the enemy is the least explored design space, right? And the gameplay around it thus far seems to be very... IDK how to put it. Minimal? I see the enemy with a ward in inventory, they wander off out of sight, the ward is no longer in their inventory - I know they've warded, but beyond relaying that info to my jungler, their is no way to avoid that ward beyond just choosing another gank path or using invis?
I don't think Riot would do away with wards. Ward skins, if only a tiny part, do profit Riot. The jungle would also feel cluttered (potentially, maybe) with all of these plants. It'd be one thing if Riot had made all the plants associated with vision at the start, but going back and adding new plants specifically for vision while we still have the Honey Fruit and Blast Cone (the non-vision plants) seems . . . wierd to me. (I have this thing about designs that I want them to be perfect from the start, if possible. I don't like ret-con'ing or errata'ing things.)
I do like the idea though, and your ideas specifically are fine. You bring up a point though: "sight wards are really terrible at conveying their power, especially at lower elos, and their own invisibility just makes things worse." Riot has to put emphasis on how their game is a stealth-action game, as stealth is a fundamental part of it. To quote Sven Bergström who wrote A 2014 Manifesto: Does The Stealth Genre Even Exist? :
There are almost no “pure” stealth games, but there are many many action games with stealth mechanics. Thus, the stealth genre does not exist. Stealth games were born in action, from which they grow – and still remain.
— Sven Berstrom
This goes back to something you mentioned earlier, about there being a limited number of states (I assume you mean alarm levels?) the level and NPCs could be in. That's what makes or breaks single-player stealth games. How advanced the AI is, how they respond to your actions and changes in the world, how they respond when your position is compromised are all really important things. The biggest one is probably this: the stealth failure state. Once the player has failed stealth, the NPCs will chase him until 1) he dies, 2) he kills or disables them, 3) he somehow resumes being stealthed. In most stealth games (I've been thinking about Thief: The Dark Project as I talk about this example) the world-state can eventually become 'solved'. You can KO all the guards and they'll never wake up. Resuming stealth is often as easy as ducking out of sight for a few seconds and then the guards forget all about you. Even if they don't forget, rarely do they alert / inform other guards (the reverse of this is all the guards operating with a hive-mind regardless of distance or proximity, which is not an enjoyable experience) or leave a predetermined area.
But the stealth failure state in League is combat which is the driving force behind the gameplay. Failing stealth (while probably not good for you or your team) doesn't result in the game-world progressing towards 'solved' status. And dying returns the player to the stealth state. And it works this way for both teams.
I guess I'm just rambling at this point - I'm not sure what my point was - but Riot needs to give us enough vision options that we can 1) create a multilayered defensive information system (I called this a 'network of vision' earlier, similar to an obstacle course that demands precise timing and careful cautious movements to avoid being seen / detected, i.e. stealth); 2) ways of gaining vision 'offensively' - scouting, gaining information, misleading enemies; 3) ways to avoid and preempt both 1 & 2, preferably by telegraphing and good clarity. All of your plant options meet these criteria, which is great. (The 'lantern' plant is the possible exception - it seems like you can only use it for no.2, as it can't be 'set up' to provide a defensive line of vision.)
I'm still very partial to trinkets, and I would love to see Riot trim the fat from the trinket system (remove the upgrades) and really focus on giving us specific and defined vision tools. For example, I think the Sweeping Lens is great for scouting and anti-invis detection purposes, but in my ideal world I'd have the 'disable wards and traps' be another trinket entirely. I don't like how the Scrying Orb upgrade places a ward - I'd much rather it hold more charges to allow multiple quick peeks of key locations (this also gives makes it useful during a chase, as dropping wards over walls and into brush during a chase would be replaced by multiple activations of the Orb.)
I feel like I'm just repeating myself, not that I don't enjoy talking about stealth and coming up with cool ideas that enable stealth gameplay. I've still got so much work to do in that regard, and I don't want to bore you. Again, sorry for the delayed response. X.X
P.S. I just remembered my point about the stealth failure state and League and multiplayer: there are several stealth game designers who've all said that multiplayer is the way of the future for stealth. :D
LivesByProxy wrote: And the gameplay around it thus far seems to be very... IDK how to put it. Minimal? I see the enemy with a ward in inventory, they wander off out of sight, the ward is no longer in their inventory - I know they've warded, but beyond relaying that info to my jungler, their is no way to avoid that ward beyond just choosing another gank path or using invis?
I agree, I'd say the issue with information-based gameplay in League is that it's not all that deep, on top of often being poorly conveyed. Ideally, if someone dropped a ward, that would offer gameplay to play with it, i.e. take time to destroy it, wait it out, or take another path, but often all of that just boils down to not going through a certain area for an extended period of time. It's both predictable and unpredictable for the wrong reasons (you generally know what's being warded and when, but don't have enough information to make nuanced plays around it).
LivesByProxy wrote: Ward skins, if only a tiny part, do profit Riot.
This is surprisingly a fairly large consideration I hadn't thought of, yeah. It frustrates me especially that Riot would tie priced cosmetics to items that have experienced massive variation over time, as it also hinders potential gameplay improvements in the above case. Perhaps there's room for compromise, though, and both the ward pods and Scuttle Crab shrines could keep the skin, though ultimately I think those cosmetics might just be worth abandoning in the end, even on Live, since wards are way too unstable to use as a monetary resource.
LivesByProxy wrote: The jungle would also feel cluttered (potentially, maybe) with all of these plants. It'd be one thing if Riot had made all the plants associated with vision at the start, but going back and adding new plants specifically for vision while we still have the Honey Fruit and Blast Cone (the non-vision plants) seems . . . wierd to me.
The ideal I had in mind was that the jungle would feel like this alive place, with something interesting to do at most major locations, but wouldn't have, say, two plants right next to each other or the like. Currently, plants only take up a tiny portion of the jungle, and leave massive holes to be filled in, particularly around top and bot lanes. I also feel there might be room for more power-ups besides vision, but since sight is itself tremendously useful, powerful and potentially versatile, I think it deserves to be expressed in more ways than, say, a knockback or a heal.
The other part to this is that I think it would be acceptable for the jungle to be more complicated if it were merely a shift in complexity, as it would involve the removal of wards and trinkets. While it's understandable to want perfect systems from the very start (I definitely get the same feeling), League itself is a massive system constantly in evolution, and none of it has ever remained unchanged. Most systems also tend to play out very different in practice from what they would in theory, which is what opens up opportunities for improvements.
LivesByProxy wrote: This goes back to something you mentioned earlier, about there being a limited number of states (I assume you mean alarm levels?) the level and NPCs could be in.
What I meant was that singleplayer stealth games have a finite amount of action states: basically, at every state you're in, i.e. position, resources, time, there's a limited, predictable number of things you can do based on complete information, since the environment and AI around you is also fully predictable. Every singleplayer level therefore starts out with a limited amount of action states, which you then usually reduce (i.e. by taking out and hiding enemies) down to just one or a handful, which usually tends to be a "safe" set of states in which nothing you do will generate alerts or force you to redo anything.
To a degree, that last "safe" state is somewhat desirable to some -- you've beaten the level, and get to feel your achievement by switching from careful, restricted movement to much faster and more open mobility. Some of my favorite moments from Deus Ex and Dishonored came from being able to fully explore a level I could previously only tiptoe through. Because of this, though, singleplayer stealth games have run into a formula, one that manifesto points out, in that you end up with stealth games whose end objective ends up being to no longer be stealthy, and so through actions that violate "true" stealth, i.e. knocking out or killing enemies, and thereby leaving traces. Enemy AI needs to be predictable and forgetful in those games, and usually the default action upon failure is often to just reload a previous save point. This ends up creating a genre that is much shallower than it could be, one that is stuck in its own tropes.
Because of this, I agree that multiplayer and/or procedurally-generated stealth games are an evolution that needs to happen on a much larger scale, because those generate the kinds of environments where you don't have complete information at any given time, where you can't just reload a save or wait for the enemy to reset if you get detected, and where there may never be a solved status where stealth just doesn't matter thereafter. League fills all of these criteria, as you mentioned, so it's really a matter of implementing stealth, rather than just invisibility, in a manner that adds gameplay for everyone.
LivesByProxy wrote: I guess I'm just rambling at this point - I'm not sure what my point was - but Riot needs to give us enough vision options that we can 1) create a multilayered defensive information system (I called this a 'network of vision' earlier, similar to an obstacle course that demands precise timing and careful cautious movements to avoid being seen / detected, i.e. stealth); 2) ways of gaining vision 'offensively' - scouting, gaining information, misleading enemies; 3) ways to avoid and preempt both 1 & 2, preferably by telegraphing and good clarity. All of your plant options meet these criteria, which is great. (The 'lantern' plant is the possible exception - it seems like you can only use it for no.2, as it can't be 'set up' to provide a defensive line of vision.)
I'd say the lantern plant does both 1 and 2, since it's a static, permanent objective that can be used both defensively (you can use it to guard your own jungle for a limited duration) and offensively (it can see through nearby brush). Ideally, all of those plants should also fulfill criterion number 3, since they'd appear at set locations and respawn at predictable intervals once consumed (plus their growth would indicate how long until they reappear). I agree with the objectives you've set out, though I also think it's worth pointing out that vision, by nature, always has both an offensive and defensive component: revealing an area lets you know a path is safe to take, which both gives you more security when navigating the map, and an edge when trying to ambush your opponent.