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Planetside 2 Sniping

How to up your sniping game in Planetside 2

July 8, 2017

This time, we'll take a break in programming and talk about Planetside 2.

If you don't know about Planetside 2, it's a semi-open-world game about humans split into 3 factions after travelling to the world of Auraxis. Terran Republic (TR) would be equivalent to the empire, New Conglomerate (NC) would be the rebellion, and the Vanu Sovereignty would be Star Trek. Character classes are like TF2, vehicles similar to BF1, graphics like CoD:MW1 in a world that's similar to Battlefront. I play all classes, but recently I've been wreaking havoc as a sniper. The usual advice for snipers is to 1) get a big-ass gun, 2) sit in the farthest corner of the region, 3) start shooting at things, and 4) don't get spotted. Pretty straight-forward. But! The devil is in the details.

The strongest isn't the best

Planetside 2's weapons are well balanced and they have specific uses. Not heeding to this, I went to get the biggest, most bad-ass sniper rifle... only to waste in-game money. The RAMS .50M is the strongest sniper rifle on the TR faction but it also has the worst reload times, chamber times, and scope sway. All that essentially neutralized the huge damage output. At long distances, it can't do a kill. All it will do is scare the enemy. By the time you'll have chambered the next round, the target is long gone.

Instead, I now use the semi-automatic 99SV. It comes with the Ballistic Computer attachment which eliminates scope sway. It can also reach distances way beyond the mil-dots of a 12x scope. Since it has a lower damage output, I compensate by shooting multiple rounds. With good cadence, multiple shots are effectively impossible to evade. Five body shots from extreme range is all that's needed to take down an opponent.

Look and listen

The fun thing about Planetside 2 is that each piece of equipment has its own unique characteristics. TR rounds glow fine red or orange, NC rounds glow thick yellow, VS rounds... they fire lasers, you can't miss it. Even sound is a dead giveaway. Infiltrator cloaking and decloaking sounds different between factions. Max units walking also sound differently per faction. TR weapons sound mechanical, NC weapons sound electronic or explosive, VS weapons... pew pew pew!

Visuals and sounds make good hints as to where your enemies are. Mastering it could take a while. But with these hints, you can tell shot patterns from snipers and where to look for them. You can tell which side is friendly and which side you should lob a grenade to. You can tell if a Max unit is in the room and whether or not you should charge in.

Stay as far away as possible

Hollywood has taught us the all the wrong ways on how to snipe. Sitting on a ledge, standing in front of the window, camping on top of the hill - these are effectively the most obvious places to look for a sniper making them the least favorable places. Also, if you do your estimates wrong, your cloaking device can rat out on you. You might run out of energy just as an enemy walks by.

Instead, camp as far away from the battle as possible. That way, even if you've been spotted, you're too far for anyone except another sniper. Distance also eliminates the need to cloak. You can easily scoot over and hide behind a rock. However, even with that distance, you should avoid unwanted attention. Shoot in irregular intervals and avoid being spotted. If someone gets a hint that you're there, they will find you and they will kill you.

Grind for survival

I was never a believer in carrying potions and buffs. I left that duty to party members. But in the case of a sniper, a lone sniper, you'll be alone in the woods for long periods of time doing your thing. You will not have an engineer with you to resupply ammo nor a medic to heal. You need to be self-sufficient.

So in the case of the sniper, I ended up grinding for medkits and ammo for survivability, the Recon Detection Device for early detection of players hunting me, and the Hunter Cloak for escape and positioning before shots. The other bad-ass guns in my inventory came in later.

My Loadout

To close the post off, I'll leave my loadout just in case you're curious. That should pretty much describe my play style.

  • Primary: SV99 + Ballistics Computer + 12x scope
  • Secondary: NS-44 Comissioner + 1x scope + Laser Sight
  • Ability: Hunter Cloak
  • Suit: Ammunition Belt
  • Tool: Recon Detection Device
  • Grenade: Frag Grenade
  • Utility: Medical Kit
  • Melee: Chainblade
  • Implants: Target Focus, Safeguard