Issues with specialing as a sniper

The sniping experience

There is a lot to enjoy about this game for a sniper specialisation. The skill tree works well-ish, there are a reasonable selection of weapons and equipment with reasonable scopes and imagers. Selectable ammo, traps, decoys etc. The ability to move prone, hide and get around the map, make it
a good sniping experience. Creeping up on a pack of dogs and picking them off is fun. We will ignore climbing ladders and structures because that’s horrifically broken in this game.

Ticks however are frustrating. You can hit them but killing them is unreasonably hard. Drones are also unreasonably bullet resistant. Trying to pick off their siren with any predictability is pointless.

Now let’s move onto the bigger prey. Hunters, tanks and harvester. Hunters are pretty pointless to engage with sniping. You can certainly pick apart their components (high marks for this feature) but there is little you can reasonably do to them to cripple them quickly. After the second shot, they have identified your position and charge in… still effectively 100% combat ready… at which point, sniping is no longer any value. You have to run or melee.

Tanks are a bit more interesting, in that its reasonable to be able to chip away at their components. Let’s be honest, its a tank, you should not be able to one-shot-kill it with a single bullet. Harvester are pretty similar to tanks from the “sniping experience” point of view. Big and slow and if you choose to pick a sniping fight with them, you need to be prepared to spend hours chipping away at them.

However, let me recap the “sniping experience” elements…

Stealth, movement, cover, concealment, picking your moment to deal precision damage. Then running like hell… to a new position.

The key point being “precision damage”. Even though the game has a great component damage system for the bots, (again, I can’t give high enough praise for implementing this so well) there is a very confusing chance for disabling or degrading the capacity of the bot. knocking off the tanks and weapons is done well, but the issues are movement and targeting capacity.

Every so often I seem to damage a bots ability to move… a tank may become stuck in place or just wave its head around while not moving its feet… but its always hard to know if this is a glitch or a feature because it happens unpredictably and there is no visual cues. I suspect its driven by randomisation in the code rather than predictable interaction by the player.

The point is that I can try to do precision damage to a bots leg joints or head… but there is no visual feedback. The joint doesn’t seem to visually decay or put out smoke or even show a bullet hole. I can pump .50 cal rounds into a hunters leg joints and … nothing seems to happen. Ditto for tanks and harvester. I can shoot their heads/sensors repeatedly and after the first bit of armour fly’s off (nice) their heads never show any further damage.

I know the blue spark, yellow spark rule about component damage vs armour, but… the point of sniping at them is to be able to do something high risk for high reward.

What I would like to happen is for the bots leg/head to be visibly damaged or disabled or to fly off/apart. I just crept through the snow and weeds for half an hour, evaded detection, got into a perfect position and fired an .50 cal anti-tank rifle at a robots leg joint. That leg should be toast. Ticks should cease to exist immediately, drones should be insta-kill, dogs already have a weak point(fuel tank. Thank you.) but their legs are indestructible, hunters should be disabled by head or leg shots, Tanks and harvestes should take a bit more work to get the armour off, but the same principle applies, once you have stripped the armour off the joint, find a weak point, do the work to put a bullet exactly where it does the most damage… run like hell. Then circle back and exploit the next opportunity.

I recognize that adding a whole heap of content to the game to model precision damage is a pile of work, but the point of this game is hunting robots while being hunted back. This is the bit that needs polishing for the sniping experience. The ability to disable bots will suddenly make sniping a real viable part of the team. Currently, its just not useful to specialise as a sniper when playing with a team. You can irritate the bots but you cannot do much more than pick off the dogs, ticks and drones.

If you do choose to improve this aspect of the game, I would recommend the following:

Leg damage and disablement and sensor/head disablement. With clear visual signal that its disabled and a change in the bots behavior. When a bot is blind is should start thrashing/ circling/ falling over and firing blindly. If a bot has a damaged leg, it could walk in circles, fall over or try to balance on an undamaged leg, but still be firing. Having them interact with other bots or draw attention from other bots would also be useful and interesting behavior. Audio signals, calling for help, signalling their condition to other bots etc would all be useful and exploitable behavior cues for the players.

Thanks for considering this feedback.

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Welcome to the community btw.

Not sure how far you’ve gotten in the game but once you get a 3 or 4 crown + .50 cal, you’ll start to notice it do some solid damage. Especially if you get the experimental .50 cal because it’s considered to be in the top 2 best guns in the game.

I agree that there should be more done with damaging the legs on hunters. That would be make things more interesting and add some more strategic options when attacking a group of robots. Adding a slow or limping effect with sparks would be really cool.

I mentioned somewhere some time ago exactly the same thing - a totally redone damage model, because right now a machine with 1% health is just as deadly as another with 100% health.

Specializing as a sniper is a no go. Versatility is the key :wink:
My “sniper” character always carry AG5 and Kpist along side the PVG90… for close encounters.

Seekers can be destroyed (most of the time) with one precise shot to one of its engines.

If you want to snipe Tanks and Harvesters then do it either from a cover (barns are great for that) or be constantly on the move (to avoid rockets) and hide behind anything (rocks, trees) to avoid MG fire.

Hunters… well… they are best delt with a MG, AR, or SMG :wink:

Well, Avalanche Studios do have experience with hunting games. Your suggestions are solid.
Weakest point in game is machines’ AI, which is most sophisticated part. With how their perception works it’s impractical to play hunter/sniper, because robots won’t give a chance if you don’t one-shot them. Stealth is incredibly crude, if I may say. Like, most jarring example is hunter will ignore smoke in combat, but won’t see a crap in it if it’s calm. Or how good they are to track you when they alerted and how blind/deaf they are when calm and so on.
I also agree on part that certain component damages should be more crippling, as @0L0 stated

Currently implemented gunplay favors rapid-fire skirmishes over high-skill trickshots (I mean latter one isn’t as rewarding), especially on higher difficuties, where they are plainly got a lot more health.
It’s possible to one-shot a hunter (achievement is evidence for that), but question is what conditions.