By BraindeadRacr 3 Comments
Thinking alot 'bout this one recently...
How can you demotivate players from using a sniper rifle/sniper class in shooters, without trying to break the rifle/class?
Think of a shooter game here, or think Call of Duty/Battlefield if you must. And try to imagine a way of preventing players from using the recon class, or sniper rifles in general. Many games have a class or a playstyle where sniper rifles come in insanely handy.
Modern Warfare 2 had three distinctive problems that only worked as a magnet in this case; aim-assist that 'searches' for the target upon scoping, later coined 'quickscoping'.
So the quickscoping made them one-hit-kill beasts up close, defeating the rifles' supposed inability to preform at close range. Thermal scopes eliminated searching for targets, or trying to even hide from a sniper in the case of the player trying to get away. And half of the rifles were capable of taking out players with one shot. Gotta ask yourself the question, why skip on it?
With that example I mean to show why the class is so damn attractive in the game, which makes complete sense given most objectives include killing the other players.
A counter example would be Battlefield Bad Company 2. Doesn't really suffer the same issues as MW2's, leading targets and taking range in effect made sniping a lil' bit more difficult. Sure there's still a good chance of being gunned down in one shot, but they only had clean shots and a spotter scope to assist. In a sense, a challenging but rewarding class. However, BFBC2 is a team-based game.
And here's the issue with that, sniping obviously has you hidden from the enemy. Stationary mostly. The point of most objectives is to raid the enemy/defend the friendly objective. Alot of moving on, alot of base watch. Stuff like that. Alot of issues came with that, snipers usually sit in the same spot for long times and not trying to advance with the team(objective wise), other times it would be impossible to counter a team of defending snipers due to the fact that infantry vs. sniper usually has infantry lying dead in a ditch. Whereas vehicles(the logical solution) were quickly taken out by their mortar strikes, as one mortar strike direct-on kills off a vehicle.
A examples of games that try to mend this idea, like Call of Duty Black Ops. There's still sniper rifles, potent ones even. The entire ideal behind them? Shot down in flames. Treyarch admittedly 'broke' quickscoping, not alot of people were happy with that decision. Most of the new snipers have a designated marksman rifle feel to 'em, think a single-shot assault rifle with a 12x zoom scope, rather than a high caliber machine of bolt action death.
The new thermal variant, the Infrared Scope still lights targets up from the background but is difficult to use. It does not record alot of distance and alot of the background will turn dark blue making effective targeting difficult with it. All in all, they somewhat killed the rifle's potential due to 'overuse' in previous games.
This makes me wonder... As a developer, is it even possible to get it right? The balance lies with mobility, reward and the one shot, one kill mentality. And every time they try either one or all of those, somehow it ends up being hideously overpowered or underwhelmingly weak. Is it at all possible to get the balance so that players are urged to stay mobile without losing the power of their rifle? Ramble up their weaknesses some more? Or simply don't give them the right tools for the job, e.g. large caliber sniper rifles? Or take out the one shot, one kill idea and light them up on the minimap like a red atom bomb?
Killing the class off is never a option, but it sure seems logical.