Sniper and The Stealth Buff Nobody Spoke Of

Recently-ish on SPUF, having no more need to complain about the now bus-sized mini sentry, and arguing random crits to the death, we’ve come back to one of the classes that has been complained about throughout the ages, from the earliest days of first person shooting, all the way through the rail pad on q3dm17 (also known as the longest yard) to these modern days, where one will instant kill you with a quickscope, often through 8 walls: The marmite-like sniper. You either play sniper, or you hate them, and even if you’re in the first category, they’re still annoying.

Q3DM17
Bad memories for those who, like me, grew up being repeatedly railed in the IT class. #Just90sKidThings

It’s actually really odd. As a game, TF2 has one of what I’d say is the weakest sniper classes in the game. There’s no quickscoping, bodyshots do a lot less damage in comparison to games like CS:GO or CoD, and even landing a headshot doesn’t always net you a kill, but we still have a huge infestation of snipers, on a typical 12 man team, you can almost guarantee 1/3rd of the team will be sniper. Coincidentally, that’s also the chance of any one of them landing a kill during the entire game. (HEH.)

But although that’s a huge complaint, that’s not really what I’m addressing. Another complaint that a large amount of people have, is that sniper is imbalanced. The main reasoning behind this is very logical. Snipers use hitscan weapons, therefore damage is unavoidable. This means that a snipers sightline is pretty much what people call a ‘dead zone.’ This extends to the point where it’s said that even at close range, there’s potential that you’ll be instant killed. While I disagree with that, I’m not going to  talk about that either.

What I’m talking about is something that can’t be argued with, but something that people tend to not think about at all when discussing sniper, and something I can say is quite close to me in a way.

It’s the maps.

Let’s rewind back to 2007. Back then, I’d say that the map with the largest sightlines was probably cp_gravelpit.

 

This is one of the places snipers love to stand. Many a player has been shot though the crack between the house and the cliff.

The sightline from this spot to the rock area is around 2500 HMU. To the Tunnel, it’s closer to 2000. There’s also a huge sightline from spawn to AC short which is also 2500. Now, it’s important to note that these are extremely passive positions, if you kicked it there all game, you’d probably be a bit bored. Due to how passive these positions are, given that an aggressive sightline is much worse, it can be argued pretty well that these were at the time some form of soft limit in the game. For extreme uses only. 2Fort uses it for the balconies, at 2250. Dustbowl cp3s giant sightline into spawn is also 2500.

Honestly, since this time, sightlines have really just grown. In 2008, we got payload maps Goldrush and Badwater. Both of these maps use some sightlines which are absolutely atrocious, Badwater by far the worse offender, using a sightline which is 2500 and happens to cover essentially the entirety of the first area. Following up with yet another 2500 area one way, and another the other way. Then, to really go in, it then follows with the flank being a sightline of 3000.  It had already got to the point where what was once considered a massive sightline became just the norm for gameplay.

In 2009, there was a map released with the entire thing being what would be considered an extreme sightline – Nucleus. What’s worse, in the same year we got a map where the entire thing was more than double that. We also had pipeline, which had 2 2500 sightlines back to back, and a final stage made up of one huge area that’s 2500 by 3000.

 

Valve decided at one time that they’d like to texture an orange map, and so we ended up with this. Smh.

In 2010 we honestly really started to have our balls bust by this trend, 2010 brought about Thunder Mountain and Upward. Upward opens with a cheeky 3500 HMU sightline. The shorter, covered flank route? Just over 2500. And it basically continues with a load of ~3000HMU sightlines. Thunder Mountain isn’t quite as bad, but that first stage has 2x 3000+ sightlines.

Since I’m sure you don’t want me to continue, we’ve had a load of maps since then that carry on with these stupid sightlines that are probably half the reason sniper complaints have gone up over the years.

  • Hightower
  • Mountainlab
  • Lakeside
  • Foundry
  • Powerhouse
  • Borneo
  • Snowplough
  • Suijin (this one is almost even worse than the Unnamed One)

If you look at it, I think it’s fair to say a decent majority of maps that haven’t been added from competitive rotation, are sniper maps. This has absolutely wrecked the state I thought Sniper was in, if I’m honest. I don’t really pub that often anymore so I haven’t really been having the full tf2 sniper experience for a long time.

Maybe the numbers might change your mind too?

Either way, hope this was somewhat informative.

 

 

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