The challenge, the discipline, remaining calm enough to land that crucial shot when there’s an uncountable number of projectiles flying at you. Flickshots, quickscopes and, of course, headshots on airborne targets. Simply put, Sniper is a class only restricted by your own dedication and patience. It’s a nice change of pace from, quite frankly, the spammy nature of most TF2 classes.
When you single-handedly drop a team, save the point or take out the enemy’s MVP and his pockets with efficient shooting, you know it was down to you, and you alone. Things don’t fall into place as Sniper. There’s no splash damage or random crits to pray for, you simply make it happen. This alone makes Sniper incredibly rewarding to play simply for satisfaction, as well as being an invaluable asset to your team if played correctly.
One of the things I enjoy most about Sniper is the feeling of balance you have over the fight. You can take out anyone with a single shot, but the priority of kills falls down to your decision-making. Do you aim for the Scout who’s rushing the next point? You could buy your team time, but only if you make the shot, otherwise you’re a free kill. Perhaps the Heavy/Medic combo? You could obliterate their big push, but have you got the time to land a fully charged shot or have the confidence to land multiple in quick succession?
It keeps you on your toes to constantly be analysing and making judgements from your own situational awareness while also dealing devastating blows to the enemy attack. Mind games can come into play depending on your method. If you kill multiple enemies in the same area, there’s a good chance enemies will stop attempting to even push. Which can work wonders if you can fool them into believing you’re somewhere you’re not, only to attack them on the opposite flank alongside your team. Intentionally standing in open ground can also be surprisingly effective, considering the enemy will usually run auto-pilot checks on common sniper spots.
It’s time like these where taking your time lining up key targets with a charged shot can be far more effective than simply firing shots at head level into the crowd. Especially if the enemy team is already preoccupied with your team at close-quarters. This is why I think raw aim isn’t a straight measurement of how useful you can be as Sniper. Sure, it’s helpful against Scouts and enemy Snipers, but otherwise keeping your focus where it’s needed can yield greater results than being quick to the draw. I think the romantic “100% accuracy” image is what holds some players back from putting more time into playing (read: learning) Sniper.
On the other hand, if aim isn’t on your side, the class is flexible enough to offer a more support-oriented role of the Jarate Master. Simply dedicated to slathering the enemy team with dignity-destroying debuffs to further aid your team on the field like a polar opposite medic. Talking of the Medic, I feel Sniper shares one of the greatest elements of playing Medic. Gratitude.
Landing a headshot on an enemy pushing an ally who has overextended, or was an inch from being backstabbed. Slam dunking a giant golden bottle of Jarate on the enemy in a stalemate. Or simply chopping up (or hunting down) a spy with the Bushwacka. There’s nothing quite like having a teammate turn around to face you afterwards and hearing “Nice shot!” or “Thanks!” from across the battlefield. Granted, this can happen as ANY class, but I find it to happen most frequently as Sniper due to how fast you can start, and, more importantly, finish a fight.
So, basically, playing is Sniper is great as you’re essentially a guardian angel…
…With a high calibre sniper rifle.