A Sniper's Ruminations [Problems/Suggestions]

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by BetaGuru, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. BetaGuru

    I love sniping. I'm not sure if sniping loves me back. Or, more to the point, I'm not entirely sure if SOE loves me back.

    They offer a brace of sniper rifles for the enterprising marksman, sure, but right off the bat you can see the tell-tale signs of not really caring; all of the weapons are palette swaps. This is unique among empire specific weapon variants (to my knowledge). Even if it were not it would put them in a rather exclusive fraternity. But this is not terrible in and of itself; it might make things somewhat less interesting, but at least they're flavored, unlike PS1 where we went every single year all using the same muzzle-loader across all three empires.

    However, as the game has evolved, sniping has remained untouched and stagnant. Shuffled off to the "Infiltrator" class (though in what way sniping helps you infiltrate anything is rather beyond me) the general gameplay around sniping has been left utterly untouched and unmentioned. Which is strange because SOE seems to have pumped a lot of love and care into just about every other playstyle.

    As a result we are stuck with a playstyle that tends to attract only two types of players, low BRs expecting more, or the dedicated like myself.

    Sniping does serve a purpose. I will occasionally string together 10-30 killstreaks in a row at a given front line battle, picking off AV-wielding HAs, targeting enemy snipers, or preventing the enemy from setting up a base of fire. Granted, this is about all its good for in a practical sense. It's so difficult to get headshots on moving targets that it's unreliable, and no matter how many enemy soldiers you kill, without pushing forward, nothing changes; you're just supplementing the assault, something that maybe could be done with a medic or engineer closer to the front. I'd be less effective, sure, but that's just me.

    One thing I have noticed is that very few of the "serious" player base - those with eyes on the leaderboard or outfits with serious-minded tactics and strategy in mind - ever really bother with snipers (or infils in general, for that matter). It could be because infils as a class are rather useless in the grand scheme (something the devs have all but admitted, what with the upcoming infil pass coming... eventually), but also because there isn't much for them to do. Infils, for example, cannot effect vehicles except to spot them. They can hack enemy resources, but this is limited to turrets (generally useless base fixtures as they are) and terminals, which are almost useless to an attacking force with the notable exception of the V term, on the off chance you're with a small team that's forgotten its sunderer. Bases without a link can't be 'prepped' or sabotaged in any meaningful sense and, bizarrely, infils don't get C-4.

    Snipers can do even less; relegated to elevated positions well out of the crossfire, all snipers can do is spot and kill; and here is where we run into a significant problem with the class. They're not even optimized for THAT.

    Wonky Hitboxes

    When firing at any harsh angle either up or down, the hitboxes for the enemy turn out all "wonky". You'll see your shots pass right through their bodies because the hitbox of the avatar doesn't match what is displayed on your screen. This is almost certainly due to where the bullet it discharged from and the angle it travels at being at odds with what the shooter sees through his or her scope. This means they you have to compensate in a way that feels very unnatural; shooting at someone's neck, or shoulder, or even midsection to get a "headshot".

    Additionally, engineer turrets offer up a strange puzzle. At closer ranges, everything seems normal; but the further out you are from the target, the target's "head" and the hitbox of the turret may not be where you think they are. I've watched many times in dismay a shot land on the targets head on my screen, only to get the "you shot the turret, moron" indicator and sound. I've learned that you have to imagine the engineer as being displaced out of his body at certain distances at certain ranges. Very odd, annoying, and in need of improvement.


    I'm not sure if nanoweave is bugged or not, but I am going to operate under the assumption that it is not. The latest word I have is that it is, but that update is as old as GU9... surely it's been fixed by now?

    Even still, it is a routine and regular occurrence for rounds fired from bolt-action sniper rifles to land on a target's head but to award the shooter nothing but the disheartening "plunk" sound of the target shrugging it off. Nanoweave is a powerful cert branch, for certain; it can help you survive longer in a fight than you might otherwise, buying precious moments. But for a sniper, it is utterly demoralizing. Getting that headshot, sometimes at extreme ranges and under difficult circumstances, is literally the best I can do. I can't have more skill and somehow land a super headshot. That's all I have. It's my one tool, my one trick. To so often have someone handwave it away because they tossed some certs into a "Snipers-B-Gone" cert branch is terribly sad.

    I wouldn't even mind it if Nanoweave stayed the same on body shots (which in some cases can mean up to three or FOUR shots to bring down someone, depending on class and circumstance; a herculean effort against all but the AFK). But whereas other classes may see their TTK affected in the tenths-of-a-second due to nanoweave, ours are DOUBLED. And the target in almost all cases is quick to make themselves scarce and heal up. It feels very disappointing when I successfully land a difficult shot on an ADADing medic healing his squad, having my one glorious moment of actually making a significant effect on the battlefield countered by something as passive as "Spent certs, got more HP, lol ur gun".

    Bolt actions should kill on headshots. Full stop. It's their one job. It's the only thing they can do. Why should they be handicapped still further?

    Cert Branches

    Notably, there aren't any.

    Oh, sure, you can cert up your cloak, you can pump certs into the recon tool, but all that stuff works just fine or even better if you're running around with an SMG. But where are the certs to assist with sniping? Certs for breath-holding, certs to see health bars, certs to steady the scope sway... there's plenty of cert sinks there and it's rather baffling that the devs would program in things like scope sway and breath holding and then just leave them there, inconveniences and obstacles, with no options to mitigate them through certs, unlike just about everything else in the game.

    Reward Skill

    Yes, yes. The kill is its own reward. Unless they have nanoweave, in which case you get nothing. Good day sir. Hope they die before being healed for that assist xp, the "honorable mention" of rewards the game has to offer.

    But in other games, there are motivators for skilled sniping. In Battlefield, for example, snipers are rewarded for shots of distances exceeding a certain threshold. I forget the game, but I once played a shooter where the sniper's bullet did more damage the further is traveled, meaning that point-blank no-scoping was a waste of time, but 300m shots were golden. A distance multiplier to exp, an exp bonus for simultaneous headshots in a row without missing, a cert where targets seen through the scope are automatically tagged; many of these things can be found in other games that did care that there are some people for whom the pleasure of the game comes from the cool, patient hunting found through the scope, less so through the meat grinder of the run-and-gun.

    Conclusion and Tl;Dr

    If you're going to provide gameplay for snipers, don't half-*** it. There are players out there like myself who really do enjoy that aspect of the game, and the massive and constant nature of this one provides a truly unique experience currently underutilized, ignored, and somewhat shoddily designed. The sniping gameplay is hindered by lazy implementation. It would be nice to see some consideration given for this aspect of the game; it might not be the most popular, or the most effective, but it can be better.
    • Up x 25
  2. Kimble

    Right now is it better to be an infiltrator with a PDW or a sniper with a longshot? Who racks up more kills?

    If you play a sniper and a soldier has nanoweave..that means you do not get a kill right?

    Also, are there rifles that you can fire 2 quick shots with and try to kill nanoweave targets or is that fruitless?
  3. LowTechKiller

    You lost me at "ruminations".:p
  4. Blarg20011

    A well written and in depth look at the problems facing snipers, unfortunately you're going to be flamed into oblivion by people saying that sniping is for no skill scrubs, lone wolves, and CoD kiddies. I wish you luck.
    • Up x 8
  5. LT_Latency

    The only thing i would like to see is maybe the reload time being reduced on bolt actions, The reload time seems like 6 seconds on the high powered. Which seems like a long time

    Everything else is fine, You can stealth and aim and no one can even see you at longer ranges. People just focus on head shots too much, If you can see a good head shot target fire of a body shot, you will get an assist for sure and if they are damage you will get a kill
  6. BetaGuru

    In my experience, bolt action rifles grant you the best chance at the kill. There are semi-auto sniper rifles, but they're not usually worth the effort.

    I'm not so sure such flaming is in my future. I hope not, in any case. Even so, the only thing I as a player can do is make noise. Noise grabs attention. Maybe a dev will read my post and maybe they'll think about it over lunch. That is literally the best I can hope for.

    Reload is pretty brutal. And yes, being able to cloak and remain hidden is nice. Though if you think about it, if you couldn't, how long would you realistically last? There'd be no way to set up a position. You'd be spotted and dropped in moments. The only class that could make sniping work without cloaking are LA's who could possibly get to hard-to-reach vantage points. Everyone else would be food.
  7. Greenfrog

    first off - Kudos for making a critique without going into a flaming rage

    second - while I don't *quite* agree that infiltrators are useless as a separate class, I will admit that the two qualities they do seem to be designed around don't work as well as they should

    *actual* infiltration - truth is, in many cases, the infiltrator does this reasonably well - before SMG's, the infiltrator *could* sneak behind enemy lines but couldn't really do anything with it - the addition of the SMG was really a *necessity* for those people that were imagining an actual *infiltration* role from a tactical sense

    don't discount the importance of hacking terminals and cannons - these are *fantastic* ways for a small team (no heavy vehicle support) to really undermine the defenses of a lightly defended base, while also hacking terminals allows the similar small force to deny the enemy resupplies and give the attackers a surprising advantage in switching classes on the fly, pulling tanks and esf's from the defenders own base, and so forth

    problem is, this *particular* utility only seems to really apply to small teams taking on lightly defended locations - even most cqc infiltrators seem to lose any overall effectiveness in zerg situations, I'll admit

    Sniping is *also* useful as you've described, but is quickly invalidated in large number battles. Respawn timers combined with nano-weave defense and so many people rendering and healing and rezzing - snipers as spotters AND as key unit killers are rendered mostly irrelevant, which is too bad, because, in modest numbers (say 12 on 12 or so) they can be absolutely devastating - kill key units that are causing you problems, or force them under cover - spotting for the occasional unit headed to a key location...etc

    like many things with PS2, the utility of snipers seems to depend heavily on the size of the battle they're engaged in - small battles (up to 12v12, which I would consider small to modest battles) they can still be quite useful - get moderately beyond that point, and their utility plummets in the face of sheer numbers

    I'm not *sure* this is a problem with the class, though - PS2 has a problem on EVERY front - AA, Air power, Vehicle, AV, AI, Harassers, lock-on rocket launchers, etc, etc, etc, that are all balanced when you consider moderate numbers, but when the population of any one field surges in the 20-40 range, things get...broken

    or, in another sense...4 AA maxes vs 4 esf's with moderate skill is about right - 6 esf's vs 12 AA and suddenly the ESF's are getting shot to **** and scream NEEERRRFFF... 6 tanks bombarding a base with 12 guys inside is a fairly even battle, if somewhat annoying - 6 tanks bombarding a base with 20 guys inside with lock on launchers, and watch the QQ begin.

    I think I may have wandered from my point - in any event, yes, I'd agree that Snipers get invalidated when battles get beyond a certain size, infiltrators in general have the same problem, but aren't *quite* as hamstrung as you seem to imply, and many of the overall balance problems with PS2 stem not from any particular weapon or class design, but from the basic game design that doesn't have controls on population.
    • Up x 2
  8. Hobo Jack

    the best solution i can offer for nanoweve vs BASR is randomized headshot damage multipliers most of the time you do the damage currently sometimes (rarely) you get a rediculous multiplayer and can take half the health off a max. so maybe 1/3 to 3/8 of the time your headshots will OHK a player with nanoweave 5 at maximum range.

    this will also provide incentive for snipers to go after maxes because theres no reason to fire at a max with a sniper even headshots it still takes more than a full clip.

    i think that random headshot multipliers should be on ALL weapons but talking to some of the people i play with they are against the idea but most people ive talked to have agreed about it agreed it would be a benefit for the game to add it for infiltrators.

    Also in addition to the nanowave argument i think that there needs to be a bigger incentive to cert into something other than nanoweve. theres a lot the devs could do for instince on the extra magazine cert line they could make you carry larger magazines or reload faster. extra explosives reduce resource cost from auto resupply after you deploy them. just little things to make the other cert lines more enticing the buff to sheild capacitor was a step in the right direction now on my medic having my shields recharge faster keeps me alive way more than nanowave ever did.
  9. Kimble

    Does nanoweave make sniping obsolete? I just started messing around with infiltrator class.
    • Up x 1
  10. theholeyone

    I just hate the whole breath holding mechanic in general, and I'm not going to f*ck about with a class that uses it.
  11. TheFullCologne

    i get more kills with basr than with smgs. fact.
  12. MarkAntony

    no, it doesn't. There are a lot of people that don't use it. It will however cause you much frustration everytime you get a headshot, but no kill for it.
    My opinion is that bolt action sniper rifles should either always kill on a headshot or that the target should survive with max level nanoweave with like 50HP to spare so he will only live if he was uninjured.
  13. Hoki

    SOE don't allow short range optics on 4 of the sniper rifles, so that you're forced to buy a different rifle to use short range optics.
    Different rifles with mutually exclusive optics.

    It takes 6 seconds to reload a RAMS .50 and Longshot.

    Sprint and hold breath are hardcoded to the same key.

    Infs have 100 less shields than everyone else, for no reason at all. I would have loved to have sat in on the meeting where they decided that infs only get 400 shields, so that I could know which ******y **** is responsible for pre-nerfing everything.
    • Up x 2
  14. Dis

    Bushwookies have no place in objective based game modes. Only TDM.
    • Up x 3
  15. Xhaleon

    BetaGuru, the turrets do have a problem with their hitboxes, but aiming at someone's chest to get a headshot is not.
    That is simply known as ballistics. All weapons in this game have a very flat trajectory, but bullets still do travel in an upwards arc at first before gravity starts to pull them down, unlike many other games where bullets come straight out of the center of the screen and drops straight down from there.

    You were probably seeing this issue when sniping from very high places. That can cause the bullet to maintain an "upward" trajectory relative to your aiming point, especially with higher velocity rifles.
  16. Kunavi

    Exquisite presentation of a valid argument ^_^ Prepare to be roasted, people don't like Infiltrators much in these parts. The changes we've got coming are not exactly what you'd expect either; Straight Pull Bolt might be nice(Yet, scoring a follow up shot on a target's head won't be made any easier by not having to cancel ADS- And what will we sacrifice to use SPB in any case!? 2ndary weapon I think. Opt me out) but Drones? Motion Sensor? While I like variety and am excited I have serious concerns about these. C4 Drone tactics(The justified QQ will drown us but the way I see it though if we got Suicide LAs with C4 we might as well have Drones rigged) or even the Motion Sensor going in the Recon Dart slot(Assumption) could break or make this. The new Cloak sounds very NOT impressive too. Again there's a trade off(No rifle).

    In all it seems like a rushed, cliché list of additions to a class that can't decide what it is. I would prefer if they completely separated Infiltrator from Sniper, call one Saboteur and the other Assassin and be done with it. Let the Assassin Cert for lethality, let the Saboteur Cert all these gadgets and expand on them so they can affect various types of targets. Thinking of it they don't even need to split them up, just to add the appropriate Cert lines and make some mutually exclusive.

    Ah.. Just random thoughts any way. Good OP, keep it up.
    • Up x 2
  17. exLupo

    Re sniping: I think the perception of sniping's role is skewed. Every weapon and vehicle in PS 1 and 2 exists to do one thing, squeeze your enemy into their spawn point.

    CQ-Mid roles: HA [LMG/Dumbfire], LA, Med [heal/revive], Engi [ammo], Infil [radar/emp], MAX [AI] do it by flowing in and around obstructions.

    Mid-Long roles: HA [LMG/Lockon], Med [AR], Engi [Ammo/Turret], Infil [Sniper], MAX [AV/AA] do it by keeping the enemy from spreading, flanking and encircling.

    Snipers have the widest effective engagement area for which they trade frequency of kills. However, being able to suppress AV camps or to flank from angles that would, at closer ranges, be suicidal, can't be undervalued. They provide a vital support role for vehicles who are getting bombarded by HA/Engi AV. And that's the key thing to remember, snipers are a support role. It's not about being the lone hero who takes out the enemy general or a critical asset, it's about having a unique niche in shaping enemy movements. The more of them there are, the less a single sniper means but, again, that's always how it has been. There will only ever be so many valid targets for snipers and, after that, you're better off picking a different role.

    I do agree that NW removes some of the visceral thrill from sniping. That choice headshot, lined up from max view range. When it plops cleanly on someone's face and they don't die, it's a letdown. In response to NW3+ proliferation, I've gone back to the SASR and do not regret it in any way. The play is different and the lack of OHKs provides less ****** waxing. However, I feel more effective. I can suppress better and, while my overall kill-to-damage-out numbers are down by about 15%, my non-infil kills are up. Playing Spy vs Spy is fun and all but, as I can more reliably kill NW5 HAs, the tradeoff is one I can live with.

    While I don't think the general lack of OHK is really an issue these days, I wouldn't feel bad about the random modifier -or- upping SR headshots to a 2.5x mod. BASRs would all OHK at any range. SASRs, at 10m and beyond, would still require at least 2 shots but would be able to head+body NW3 and below as opposed to NW0.


    Re useless Infils: Folks have got to re-think their role as infiltrators. Yes, there is the cloak and that's nice but you've got to expand your view of the class's capabilities. With SMGs, Scouts and low-optics B/SASR, there is a generally untapped wealth of potential with in-squad support. Radar darts are -huge- intel factories and tossing a single EMP into a defended room makes for a ludicrously easy clear. And, of course, term hacking. It's still a case of not needing a ton of infils but the in-base game is HA-centric in most cases anyway so everyone's got the same problem. Especially now with the PDW effectively being a carbine, more outfits should look into adding an infil to their in-base standard squads (ex: 2 med, 1 engi, 1 infil, 8 HA).


    The future of infils: Stalker camo will give rise to a horde of pistol-assassins that, frankly, will be annoying but not much more. PS1 all over again. Low threat. In-optic bolt cycling will be a huge quality-of-life improvement to BASR users and will make the foregrip have actual meaning (if not much, still) on those weapons. Drones? Eh... Either they'll take resources and other players will just shoot them down for xp or they won't take resources and infils using them will, more often than not, play rigger and only drone.. ineffectually. However, the true purpose of a tool makes itself evident through use and experimentation so we'll have to see how things go. I remain wary.
    • Up x 1
  18. Hobo Jack

    How about making assist xp for infils 75% instead of 50% and rewarding asists done with BASR headshots reward 100% kill xp as long as the target that recieved the sniper shot did not take any healing? that way the only thing the infil got "robbed" of is the kill number.

    like the OP posted theres more stuff that infils could have available to help infiltrate i have another suggestion: make spotted enemys by infils stay spotted for a very long period of time with a special doritto over their head to get teamate's attention. (only one special doritto may be used at first rank certable to up to 2 dorritos at max rank with aditional time for each rank inbetween.) so not only are you sniping easy kills you are spotting medics, maxes, AV turrets, enemy squad leaders. enemy snipers. and it is meeningfull to be an infiltrator because although anyone can spot only the infiltrator can spot targets for long periods of time.
    • Up x 1
  19. BetaGuru

    Also, something that I failed to point out in my OP: The VS get screwed a tiny bit with their BASR as the cycling animation obscures out view of the target. The rifle comes up in front of our faces and forces us to have to re-acquire the target each and every time.
  20. exLupo

    VS get kinda hit in the SASR, too, with a feeble 250 max range hit. No double tap headshot kills against anyone in nano.