I really hope that you and the other Infinity Ward employees read this. I'm writing on behalf of the whole CoD sniping community, since I've watched a lot of videos and read a lot of tweets on the topic over the last few years, and have become a pretty good sniper myself but nobody else seems to be able to put all our points in one place, so I'm doing it here. I really hope that you the devs will give the sniping community, a pretty loyal group of CoD fans, a fair hearing and take the five or so minutes required to read this with an open mind.
My personal feelings on the sniper patch
Suffice it to say I was pretty horrified when I tried out sniping with the new patch (23/12/13) today. I've been an avid CoD player since CoD4 and have been sniping since MW2. I really cannot understand why my style of play, which is the hardest to pull off effectively, needed a nerf. The idea that snipers were running around totally dominating Ghosts is totally alien to me and I've seen no evidence of that happening in the 2 or so days of time I've put into Ghosts so far. If anything the majority of snipers I've seen (with the exception of rare players) get absolutely dominated by assault rifle users. Most snipers are easy pickings for any half decent player using a reg gun.
Why sniping isn't overpowered (collated arguments from across the sniping community)
There are many reasons that snipers have always given for sniping not being overpowered. Here are some of them:
1. Snipers only have one shot to get the kill. A reg gunner can miss his first shot and multiple others afterwards, but as long as he drags the right thumbstick over the enemy player at some point he will likely score the kill. He doesn't have the time delay of reloading between individual bullets that a sniper does. If a sniper misses a shot on an enemy, especially in a 1 to 1 gunfight, he is almost certainly dead and this is especially true in CoD Ghosts where the damage of regular guns was so high already. So reg gun users have this in their advantage.
2. Reg gun users are also able to take advantage of not having to be fully aimed down sight in order to score hits on the enemy. A reg gunner can start to fire before he is fully aimed (pre-fire) which is a huge advantage in a gunfight. Getting damage on the other player first +/- making the enemy player flinch first is a huge part of winning gunfights. A sniper has to wait until his scope is fully scoped in to take a shot and have a chance of landing the kill. So reg gunners also have the advantage or pre-fire, while snipers do not.
3. Reg gunners also have a big advantage when faced with multiple enemies. A player using an AR/SMG/LMG can deal with multiple enemies in view by keeping the right trigger pressed and moving the right thumbstick over the multiple enemies (spray). A sniper on the other hand, cannot spray and has to take it one kill at a time, waiting for his scope to zoom out from the previous kill, centring his aim on the next enemy, zooming all the way in and then taking the next shot. Due to the increased zoom of sniper scopes relative to iron sights or red dot sights in CoD, it's also harder for the sniper to trail a moving enemy in this situation. He has to anticipate where the enemy is going to be when his scope is fully zoomed in and make sure it meets the enemy player at that point on the screen. This is something that takes a long time to learn. So the ability to spray is also something that reg gunners have over snipers.
4. Another huge advantage that reg gunners have over snipers is the ability to strafe whilst shooting. Perks like Stalker make this even more powerful. Reg gunners can stay aimed down sight, keep firing and strafe at the same time without having a loss of their weapon's accuracy. For snipers, on the other hand it's the total opposite. A sniper has to be absolutely still at the moment of taking the shot. Every decent sniper in the CoD series will tell you that even slightly touching the left thumbstick to move at the moment of taking the shot massively increases the spread of the weapon and will likely make you miss the shot, even when fully zoomed in. So snipers have to be absolutely still when taking the shot compared to reg gunners who can be a fast moving target. This is another big advantage that reg gunners have over snipers.
5. Another thing to keep in mind is that snipers (with the exception of the VKS) are generally not able to use silencers and remain anywhere near as effective. On the other hand reg gunners can use silencers on some of the stronger weapons (SC-2010, AK-12, Remington R5, Mtar) and be able to play just as aggressively. The vast majority of reg gunners that I meet in game use silencers. Have you guys ever tried playing without a silencer? You will notice how much faster you generally die because you show up on the enemy mini map. Well that is something that snipers have to deal with regularly, in most CoD games we don't have the option of using a silenced weapon.
The bottom line from the points above is that sniping IS harder to do than reg gunning. Snipers do not have the benefit of entire magazines between reloads, we can't pre-fire, we can't spray, we can't strafe and for the most part we have to use our weapons unsilenced. I really struggle to understand how despite ALL of these advantages reg gunners still complain when a sniper beats them in a 1 to 1 gunfight and what amazes me even more is that the devs have bought into this?! People really need to realise that regular guns already have a massive advantage over snipers for all these reasons. Nerfing snipers to make them even worse makes the game less balanced, not more balanced.
Maybe the sniper is a better player than you are?
The vast majority of time, when I use reg guns I absolutely dominate snipers. On the few occasions when a sniper beats me in a fair fight its because he was either faster than me or he read the spawns and was expecting that flow of enemy players. Either way, instead of ******** about it and assuming its because he has an unfair advantage, I simply take my hat off to him.
Stats can be deceiving
I'm reading that the devs are using 'stats' to justify their nerf of the snipers. Having been a hardcore CoD player since 2009 and played the game for countless hours I find this extremely hard to believe. The bottom line is that the kid who is running around with a sniper rifle is almost always at the bottom of the leaderboard by the time the game finishes. Snipers who can actually hold their own against other styles of play are EXTREMELY rare in the real world. As a result I find it hard to believe that the average sniper rifle user is out there dominating the average reg gun user and that the stats show this.
Have the devs considered that there may be confounding factors in their stats? Isn't it quite likely that guys who use sniper rifles have been playing the game for longer (few people start off sniping, most graduate to it after months - years of playing). Isn't it also possible that people who are into sniping are actually putting more hours into the game and are therefore better at the game than casual players who are more likely to use more conventional weapons like assault rifles and smgs? Couldn't these be just a few of the obvious causes for any perceived stats showing that snipers need to be nerfed?
Sniping has the steepest learning curve of any play style in Call of Duty
This is pretty much just a fact and is known to anyone who has started learning sniping after a period of using reg guns. Watch any commentary by any well known sniper and they ALL say the same thing. That they sucked at first and it tooks months / years to get really good at sniping. My own personal experience is the same - learning to snipe is a long process of becoming experienced with the weapon and developing muscle memory. This fact alone should inform the developers that nerfing sniping is ridiculous. Something that takes some of the best players out there years to master cannot be called easy or overpowered.
Our challenge to developers who still think sniping is overpowered
We would like to set a challenge to any developer out there who isn't already an experienced sniper and who still thinks sniping is overpowered. Take your KDR for your favourite regular weapon. Now spend a week using only a sniper rifle (any of them) and see if you can match your KDR to when you used the regular weapon. We guarantee that you will fail miserably, not because you are bad but because sniping is tough and takes a long time to get good at. Maybe this exercise will make you realise that.
If sniping really is OP and needs a nerf, why do professional players never use snipers in ranked tournaments?
Competitive gaming is where the best strategies to win gunfights need to be employed. These guys are playing for real world rewards like prestige, pro status and money so you can be sure that if a weapon is powerful they will use it. However, it is pretty much unheard of for a pro player, on console at least, (promod on PC is a different issue) to use a sniper in a ranked tournament. They ALWAYS use assault rifles or submachine guns. Don't you think that if sniping really was so OP as to require a nerf these guys, who are going to do anything they can to win matches and tournaments, would be using them? This pretty much proves that sniping does not need a patch.
The effect that this nerf will have on Ghosts
Those players who still want to use sniper rifles will be forced to play in a more and more defensive style. You are going to see more and more players hiding in parts of the map with stealth perks and sniping people who come into view. I can guarantee you that every single one of you who has patched sniping, or who wants sniping nerfed will find this way more frustrating than meeting a sniper out in the open where you have a decent chance of taking him out. Nothing is more frustrating than getting killed by some concealed camper and you are going to see a lot more of that after this patch, because playing aggressively with snipers is a lot less viable now. More camping is not what anyone wants or needs.
In addition to more camping, this nerf essentially limits the number of play styles that are viable. It decrease the variety of different styles and players that exists. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that less variety in a game like Call of Duty is not a good thing.
The effect that nerfs like this will have on the Call of Duty franchise
Infinity ward was always the pro sniping dev house, and Treyarch always had a problem with it. As much as many in the sniping community disliked Treyarch titles because of that - it worked out fairly well since it meant that both snipers and players who have their irrational hatred of snipers had Call of Duty games they could enjoy. Now that Infinity Ward has also gone over to the dark side, snipers will have to move back to older games.
It's really strange to me that you the developers are now squeezing some of your most hardcore fans. The sniping community is huge online and a big part of this is the skill that well known snipers have and the entertainment value that watching their gameplays and montages has. If sniping and getting gameplays/montage clips was so easy why would millions of people watch and like these montages? Clearly it's because people recognise just how special those kinds of clips are and admire the skill that it takes to pull of streaks like that. Clans like FaZeClan, OpTic Gaming, Darth, Obey, Soar etc and players like zzirGrizz, IReapZz, Pamaj, Spratty, FaZe Kross have many millions of subscribers between them and are a key part of creating the hype around these games prior to them coming out and maintaining that interest of players the world over. The reality is that many of these well known players are going to get fed up of their play style being squeezed out of the game and having to suffer worse and worse odds against casual players using way more powerful weapons. It boggles my mind as to why you as a company would want to lose this loyal and returning fan base by squeezing out the play style that they've adopted.
This is especially the case considering that Call of Duty is very soon going to be joined by other next gen FPS games which already pose a threat to its position at the top of the pile. The last thing that the developers need right now is to lose their hardcore loyal fan base to titles like Titanfall, Destiny and others. What you want to be doing at this point is making a game thats fun for ALL different play styles including snipers, not edging out snipers who generate millions of YouTube views in gameplay commentaries and montages and maintaining the enthusiasm around your game.
NERFING SNIPING IS A HORRIBLE DECISION EVEN FROM A BUSINESS POINT OF VIEW.
The Bottom Line
Sniping is a high risk, high reward strategy in Call of Duty. It is an essential part of the fast paced nature of the game and nerfing sniping makes the game less varied and ultimately hurts the game, the franchise and the fans. The nerf should be reversed.
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