Why like them
Sniper rifles suck
There, I said it. Deal with it. Let me say it again – sniper rifles suck. Don’t like it? Tough, because odds are that if you’re annoyed, you don’t have the skills to use any other weapon. So go back to humping the dirt in Call of Duty or camping the bridge on de_aztec with all your l33t skill.
That sniper rifles are the bane of first-person shooters is an indisputable fact, yet people choose to dispute it anyway. Why? Because everyone has the little fantasy of being the lone wolf, the deadly, stalking sniper who hits without being seen, goes 10-0 every round and by the time the map is over he’ll be hailed as living god by the peons he’s slain or saved from certain death. Sniper rifles exist in games because they appeal to the Munchkin inside all of us, because we all want to run around with the BFG 9000 and lay waste to earth, heaven and hell. And make no mistake about it, if there is a BFG 9000 in a game, odds are it fires one shot at a time and has a big huge zoom on it.
Every other ‘reason’ for the existence of sniper rifles – realism, historical accuracy, weapon diversity, giving players identifiable roles – is a lie. There’s nothing realistic about sniper rifles as they appear in games, nothing historically accurate, they not only don’t improve weapon diversity they make it worse, there is NO skill involved, but yes, scoped weapons do give a new role to players – the dirt-humping camper.
So let me dispatch these myths and send them to hell before we tackle the reasons why sniper rifles should never, ever be implemented in any other game again.
1. Realism. No, sorry, there’s nothing realistic about taking a shot every second with your scoped Mosin-Nagant or Springfield. They’re bolt-action rifles and need to manually load the next bullet, meaning losing sight of the target. The guns also aren’t one-shot kills. If they are, so would be the MP44 Sturmgewehr or AK-47 at shorter distances, which use similarly sized ammunition. As it is, most games set sniper rifles to be the Finger of God – simply look at your target, twitch your finger and boom, he’s dead. Forget that it’s called “sniper rifle” and imagine it’s called “Finger of God” – would you implement a weapon with that name, as a designer?
2. Historical Accuracy. Sorry son, the battlefield just isn’t comprised of 50% snipers. Yes, limiting their use to 1 or 2 people per team is possible, but that has other drawbacks, like making 1 or 2 people on each team 5:1 kill ratio gods, while everyone else suffers.
3. Weapon Diversity. No, when a sniper rifle makes it into a game, everyone wants to use it. All other weapons lose a tremendous amount of appeal. Who wants to rush with the MP40 or AK when you know you’re going to run into a veritable wall of lead – why not just snipe back?
4. Skill. Yeah, right. Sorry buddy, but poking your head out every few seconds to take a cheap shot before moving to a new location isn’t skill. All you need is the most basic semblance of aim and reflexes to get a sniping kill. In a sniper duel, it’s just a matter of who’s faster and more accurate – just TWO basic, basic abilities get exaggerated in importance.
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