Class:Sniper/Strategy

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  • Staying in one spot as a Sniper is not a good tactic most of the time. Any experienced Fortress Forever player takes care to alert his team if he spots a Sniper and gives away his location: if an enemy fires at you, you have likely been discovered. That means it is high time to move to another position to avoid the inevitable enemy grenades.
  • Sniping in the open is possible, but it is risky - many snipers move a few steps after every shot to prevent enemy Snipers from getting a good shot at them.
  • The less room the enemy has to move around, the better. If you are going to take up a sniping position indoors, long corridors work best - it gives the enemy very little room to move around and avoid your shots.
  • Snipers are most useful versus the slower classes. Unless you are a very good shot, hitting medics and scouts will be very hard, particularly if they use the concussion jump. Sometimes it is much more useful to incapacitate an enemy than to kill them outright. Any hit will flag the enemy through the walls for the rest of your team to finish off, and shooting the enemy in the leg will slow them down by a fair bit. Snipers are also good against sentry guns--provided they have the time and range to get set up properly. A fully charged sniper rifle shot will instantly destroy a level 3 sentry (and its engineer if he is next to it).
  • Don't forget that you can use your Nailgun as a personal defense weapon. This is very useful when sniping an enemy from inside his own base, as you can't restock Shells, the ammo that the Sniper and Auto Rifle use.
  • Remember to have your Auto Rifle out while traveling to a sniping spot, as it's very good as a self-defense weapon.
  • Remember: your laser can give away your position. As your beam gets closer to an enemy, they can see the full beam which leads back to your position. Careless Snipers who aim their laser before turning around a corner are liable to be ambushed by the enemy.
  • If you see a target that you want to kill, but don't have enough time to charge up the Sniper Rifle, shoot him anyway. He'll be tagged, allowing all of your teammates to see him. This works best against enemy Spies, as they'll show up on your teammates' HUDs as an enemy, regardless of the disguise he's wearing.
  • A Sniper's Frag Grenades can be used to Grenade Jump and reach areas normally though to be inaccessible to Sniper, such as rafters inside the enemy's base.
  • In Capture The Flag style gameplay, a Sniper might need to try and defend a flag out in the open. Keeping your laser pinned on the flag works best, as an enemy has to touch the flag to pick it up, and that means that they will inevitably walk right into your line of fire.
  • When Friendly Fire is off, a Sniper can use his rifle to shoot a teammate and send them flying a great distance.
  • Snipers can be useful as an attacker if they have somebody supporting them. The Sniper Rifle's range is a great asset when trying to take out targets (such as a HWGuy in a tight corner). However, you have to surprise the enemy, or he'll slaughter you. In addition, you can kill enemies by having a teammate serve as bait, then killing the enemy while the two are fighting.

Advanced Sniping Tactics

Despite the lack of depth to the class that is perceived by many, the Sniper is one of the most difficult classes to play effectively. This is partly due to the fact that Source engine hitboxes are the most finicky things ever, and also because of the "one shot, one kill, one target" style of play that is the Sniper. The style of gameplay required to be an effective Sniper is drastically different (and usually goes against) the normal type of gameplay required to be an effective member of a different class. In order to take your sniping to the next level, there are several skills that you must develop:

  • The first, and most important skill, is reaction time. This is closely followed by aim, but your reaction time will often determine if your and/or your target lives or dies. The faster you can move your dot over the enemy sniper and pop his head off, the quicker you can get back to important things like picking off the incoming enemy offense. A quick reaction gives you that much more time to line up your shot and get everything just right for the kill.
  • The second important skill is aim. It's not far at all behind reaction time. Obviously if you want to hit something, you have to be able to aim at it. Your aim and accuracy are paramount as you will often only get one chance to hit a target (such as a concing Medic or Scout). The easiest targets to hit are those coming straight at you. There isn't any prediction required; just point and click. Things get more tricky when people begin strafing back and forth, bunnyhopping, and the like. You will need to learn to lead your targets. Even though the sniper rifle is hitscan (hits instantly), it is far easier to hit a target as they cross over your crosshair rather than trying to follow their movements exactly. Figure out the enemy's method of movement and then set your crosshair where he'll go next. Just release the mouse button as he moves over it. Bingo. Another one down.
  • You need to develop a good sense of awareness. This is true of all classes, but is especially necessary for Snipers. You need to know where that annoying Spy is who has no other mission but to kill you repeatedly. You need to know when the next wave of enemy offense will come, and you ESPECIALLY need to know where the enemy snipers are. Pay attention to kill and death messages. This gives you an easy reference point. If that Scout just died to a soldier in the flag room, he's obviously going to be coming out of the enemy base shortly. If a defender near your sniping spot just died, unscope and watch for people trying to sneak up on you. Also pay attention to where enemies are going. Once you know the layout of a map and get accustomed to the time it takes for an enemy to get from point A to point B, you can often surprise them by tossing grenades at them as they round corners and such. Memorize the common sniping positions in a map and keep an eye on them. Don't need an enemy Snipers ruining your killing spree.
  • Minimize Sniper vs Sniper conflict. At first this sounds counter-intuitive, but in reality it's the smart thing to do. You are more beneficial to your team killing, tagging, and disabling enemy offense (or defense) than getting involved in a sniper war with the enemy sniper(s). Getting stuck in an endless sniper war basically makes you dead weight and easy fodder for enemy offense that sneak up on you. This advice shouldn't be taken as to never attack enemy Snipers, however. It is your job to make sure enemy Snipers don't slow your own team down (unless they're so bad that they don't pose a threat anyway). Balance your target priority. Enemy Snipers are a high priority target, but don't let them dominate your game.
  • Prioritize your targets and stay on the move. Flag carriers and enemy Snipers are the highest priority targets you have. Flag carriers are an obvious target because flags are what win the game (in CTF, at least). Enemy Snipers are the ones best equipped to kill you, so make sure they're dead before you are. Switch up positions a lot. When you kill someone, it's likely that they know where you are. Move around to different positions a lot. It keeps the element of surprise up and allows you more time to get a shot off before being noticed. This is especially important when fighting against other Snipers.
  • Killing isn't always the answer. If three enemies are approaching your base and you have a clean shot against all of them, it is more prudent to tag each enemy and leg shot them if possible, instead of killing one and letting two through unscathed. This makes them move slowly and projects their location to your whole team. A single shot can take out a large chunk of health. Remember that when you kill an enemy in the yard, they get back to that point a lot faster than if they die in your flag room.
  • Zoom in only when necessary. You can charge your shot without scoping the sniper rifle. This is important because it allows you to retain awareness of your immediate surroundings. Get used to using your peripheral vision and keep an eye on the whole screen at once. This will save your life often. Spies can't sneak up on you if you're watching that ladder while you're watching the yard, now can they?

As your sniping ability increases, you will find it possible to hit extremely fast-moving targets, such as conc jumping scouts. These tips are meant as guidelines, but are not a substitute for practice. Sniper is one of the classes that requires a lot of "physical skill" rather than mental. You must have good twitch reflexes and good accuracy. The only way to develop those is to, of course, play as a Sniper a lot.