Ah yes the Sniper Perch Groupies (SPG) we all know them we all love (hate) them. Now this may not be a term you're familiar with but you know the definition. Let's say you're playing a shooter online. It can be Halo, COD, even Gears of War. Really just any shooter with an online mode. You find yourself a nice sniper perch. You start racking up kills you're feeling good then all of a sudden you notice something on the side of the screen. You turn thinking it'a an enemy but no! It's a team mate. Not just any team mate mind you, another sniper! Now you would think it wouldn't be a really big deal said sniper may just be taking cover before moving on or may not notice you crouched behind cover smokin' dudes with your rifle. Most of the time it's someone that has come to steal your spot. They see you doing well with a nicely placed sniper perch and they want some of your kills. This isn't something that really happens wth the well known sniper spots on maps. Usually they always have a few snipers running around them no matter what. It always seems to happen when you find that perfect spot and you're dug in so well the enemy can't get to you. This is a phenomena I've witnessed from the beginning of sniping in online FPS games.
I remember when sniping in FPS wasn't sniping it was camping the first online FPS I played was the first Quake over a 56k modem and it was great. Yeah it had campers but it was fun. I liked to run around and rocket people to death and all that crazy stuff, I was never into the whole camping thing. But one thing I've always had a thing for was the idea of the hitman sniper either in movies, books or whatever. Golgo-13 was a favorite of mine. When I first heard about FPS getting real sniper rifles I was intrigued. I wanted to try them out to see if I could be like the assassins in the media I was consuming back then. Now I can't remember what was the first online FPS to have a sniper rifle but the first I got into was either Counter Strike or Unreal Tournament. But they weren't the pinacle of my idea of what a FPS sniper should be able to do. Counter Strike had some good sniping spots in maps but nothing that screamed sniper hiding spots. Unreal Tournament had a few maps with good perches but you could get rocketed out of them no problem. When Battlefield 1942 came out I thought it would be a snipers dream and to a point it was. You had huge maps to run around in and hide to do your work. I was really enjoying the freedom this game gave to the FPS sniper but then they came. This was the first game were I really saw the SPG in it's purest form. Sure the game had dedicated sniper spots watch towers and things of that nature. What I didn't care for is you'd spend a good chunk of time getting to a great spot. Jumping off a jeep to get somewhere higher up then you could go normally or how some people would try and snipe from the aircraft carrier on Wake Island. Okay you spent all this time to get to a perch and someone comes along to be your buddy and hang out with you. Then all they do is draw attention to your spot. You're crounched down or prone, hidden from view and this person may be standing up in full view just unloading in the direction of the enemy drawing all kinds of attention and then eventually grenades. What's worse is when other people you team come to your spot and it's like a party in sniper town that one well placed grenade can clear out. I'm not saying, "Hey this is my spot and my spot alone!" Far from it, I'm just saying if someone is in the sniper perch let them be at least until they die and if you're running around basicly waving a flag at the other side causing the well placed sniper to die vacate that spot and let the original squater have his or her spot.
Another thing I've noticed is the amount of times snipers will go back to a place to snipe no matter how many times they get killed in that exact same place. If you go to a spot only to get shot or grenaded the only people you're helping are the other team, just stop. One thing I've read and seen when it comes to real life snipers is you take your shot then you relocate, hit or miss. This can be applied to games as well. I understand that not every game and the amount of snipers in most games doesn't really allow for this but it's a useful tactic when used right. Especially in the Battlefield games and I could see it being useful in MAG.
Now that leads me into what made me want to write this blog entry. I've been playing MAG the last couple days and I've been having a lot of fun with it. But not with the sniping. I don't really snipe anymore in online FPS. I always try out the sniping class/weapons in any game but I just stay away from it mainly because of the reasons I've stated above and what I'll mention in a bit. I decided to try the sniper class out in MAG and it started out well. I had a really nice setup and I was tagging guys left and right on the Valor suppression map. Stay crouched, shoot someone to death then go prone to hide. They had no idea where I was at until some doofus decided to come stand right next me and fire into the crowd of enemies. Then another sniper comes up and tries to wedge himself between me and my sandbag barrier. I told them both in so many words to go away they were screwing up my for lack of a better word flow. No response but the enemy took care of that with a few rockets fired out way. The way these two were standing I couldn't get away and I was dead. Another thing I saw last night was almost just as dumb. We were playing Sabotage, attacking Raven on their map. For those who don't know sabotage is like a control point type game. Well our spawn was in an area where you couldn't really see the Raven base but we had seven snipers in and around the spawn and they weren't hitting anything because they couldnt see anything. Every now and then a Raven guy or two would come around and knife them all and we ended up loosing that match. Someone I was playing commented on the fact that a good chunk of our people were sniping in a forward attack game type, I had to agree with him it was crap.