CaptainPatch wrote:It doesn't actually take that much to make a sniper "capable: Good vision, decent weapon, steady grip, patience, good focus, etc. My father's family got by during the Depression by poaching deer. My uncle was THE hunter in the family and his specialty was bringing down deer with a single shot from a .22-caliber rifle. (It was necessary to do so because a second shot would allow Forest Rangers and County Sheriffs the opportunity to triangulate the source point of the shots.) [He was the first thing I thought of when I saw the 1000-yard video.] Off-hand, I would say that any practiced hunter has the basic credentials to make a credible sniper.
Yeah, hunter's skills are very close to those of sniper, unless of course he specializes at duck hunting.
He's still going to need to fire a truckload of practice ammo, have good tactical vision, and be an outright brave man, doing all he needs to do calmly and providently, to become a good sniper though.
Elandryl wrote:All right, let's discuss about that.
What makes a sniper (I mean a real, professional one) a real threat?
1) He's hidden. A sniper is a permanent ambush: he's waiting in a spot where he can't be seen, but can see quite well. He's patient, he's in position, he's ready to shoot. He already knows of other spots he can use - cause, contrary as what we see in war movies, a sniper never stays in place after he has shot. What it means is that his first shot always hits an unaware target. That alone makes him quite deadly, cause it's problematic to shoot someone when you don't even have a clue where he is. So you might actually loose several team members before even beginning to guess where he is.
2)He's got a precise, long-range rifle. And he knows how to use it. That means shooting an ennemy in the head 900 yards away is no miracle for him. That also makes him all the more harder to find: guessing where an ennemy could be hidden in a 200 yards radius may be hard, guessing where he is in a 1000 yards radius is even harder.
3)As long as he's hidden, he's virtually invincible (unless, of course, some artillery is involved). He might even take down one or two squad members and run away, as long as no one has seen him, he can't be shot.
What are his weaknesses?
1)He's alone. When facing ennemies who knows where it is, he's in trouble. If they are in range and knows how to shoot, he's in big trouble. If there's a way to lure him out of his cover (grenade, mortar, RPG...), he's dead meat.
(Of course, if he's in your team, he's not exactly alone. So someone who wants to come near him might actually face an angry squad member with a machinegun and an urge to kill, but that's a different problem)
2)He needs to see. That may sound silly, but then again, a smoke grenade is a real bugger to him. No target, no shoot. (But then again, they're always some way to see: thermal vision and/or any futuristic way you can thing of)
3)As soon as he's exposed, he's just a soldier with a good rifle. Dangerous, but that's the exact moment where emptying a clip on him will be extremely efficient.
So no, snipers ain't invincible, but hell is it a shear luck matter to deny them of their first kill.
Absolutely. This is quite a good sum up actually.
Now, moving on, one important detail here is that in order to achieve all that, sniper needs a permanent and well prepared position
. During WWII a sniper would spend many hours preparing his nest, putting all the necessary camouflage, setting up equipment, and even placing dolls as decoy targets. Better yet - making several of those connected with safe passages.
Now let's try to apply that to your own example with rangers being caught in the middle of a desert. What the hell does well prepared sniper nest do in the middle of the desert? You don't just randomly set it up somewhere. During war snipers would find a spot near enemy positions, sometimes sneaking up fairly close to the opposing trench, but that doesn't work against a loose group of rangers wandering who knows where.
Let's imagine another scenario - a sniper protected somewhere behind a thick wall, guarding something important. In this case he knows where he needs to be and has all the time in the world to prepare properly. But then the question is, how is that any different from say a machine gun in a pill box or firing through a narrow loophole in a concrete wall? If you caught in the open against such an enemy, you're dead regardless of whether he's sniper or not. You might as well be facing a 150 mm gun in a turret.
Same goes in case of natural surroundings providing good cover like a thick rain forest with a plot of open area in front of it. This kind of situation is deadly dangerous against any opposition - sniper, machine gunner, or even just a random AK shooter. This isn't really about snipers.
So to sum it up, a "proper" sniper is going to be a bizarre find in the open, and putting military grade fortifications and realistic spotting in natural surrounding is going to break the game regardless of snipers. War-time snipers really belong to war, not Wasteland, so no wonders here.
Which leaves us with the "other" kind of sniper - the one you actually might see in a the kind world like Wasteland - a designated marksman or sharpshooter. He's a part of a squad, not a loner. He isn't going to be invisible to the enemy, and he doesn't depend on a permanent position with a lot of equipment. His role is to take out specific targets while his teammates can compensate him for the lack of firepower up close. I can see no problem with "sniper" of this kind both in your team or as an enemy. What you get is basically light recon type of character that sacrifices firepower for accuracy. With proper balancing I'd expect it to only add to the tactical depth of gameplay, at least preventing it from becoming a simple slugfest.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the thread, I really liked the way snipers/sharpshooters were implemented in Silent Storm. By no mean they were game breaking and they couldn't mow down enemy squads on sight. But they were very useful in positional combat against enemies obscured behind obstacles. Plus I liked the tactical decision behind spending all you AP for a very precise shot. It's a high risk/high reward kind of move, since you going to leave your sniper exposed after the shot, and I liked the dynamic behind it.