Easy to Play, Hard to Master

Once again developer Georg Zoeller has hacked the Imperial Agent network and compromised more of our best kept secrets. Let’s break down what he had to say about Snipers in PvP shall we?

A poster on this thread wrote.

A Warrior can still Force Leap onto a Sniper in cover right when they get within 30 yards but it does not have the same effect as players who are not in cover? I mean a Warrior should still be able to leap to close distance but the stuns etc that might follow may not be effective since the Sniper is in cover?

It would not be like the Sniper being in cover has some incredible ability to prevent the Warrior from leaping towards him, but a Sniper being fortified in cover would not suffer the same penalty as another type of toon being lept on who did not have cover?.

A Sniper being in cover should not have the ability to completely block a force leap. Protected from the after affects of the force leap sure, but to stymie it completely seems off. How could the Sniper in cover block the distant actions of a Warrior ability on a passive basis? Otherwise a Warrior is left having to run 35m to engage a Sniper? How is that balanced?

Georg responded to by saying,

It’s much worse than you think.

No, a Sniper in cover cannot be charged with Force Leap. Yes, your warrior will have to move into melee range to engage the Sniper (or use ranged abilities like saber throw).

Marksman specced snipers specifically are a very defensive class.

It doesn’t get much better than the phrase “It’s much worse than you think.” Seriously, if this guy isn’t your favorite Dev, then I don’t know what to say, but back to what he was saying.

You rarely see them leading the charge onto an objective, but they are masters of area denial. It’s not just that you have to bridge 35 meters to them, with them getting the alpha strike. 

So there you have it boys and girls. If you’re a Sniper and you rush into the fray like Anakin when he first faced Count Dooku, your going to end up dead, with some whiny Jedi t-bagging your corpse.

Our job is to stand back, setup a defensive area and blast players from as far, far away as we can. If you can manage to do this without drawing the enemy’s attention, Snipers will be deadly in PvP.

If the other players are smart, and decide to try and take us out, Zoeller points out that Snipers have an array of abilities to deal with this.

They got tools that will temporarily root you (Leg Shot), the force of impact from their Ambush ability pushes close range enemies back and their cover generator is fitted with the a pulse detonator that pushes attackers out of melee range (Cover Pulse). They can also become faster and faster the more they hit you (Sniper Volley). And did I mention that they can call down a powerful orbital satellite strike to protect the area around them?

You really don’t want to charge these guys head on. Just like what I said about a Sage going into close range combat with a Melee DPS class, charging a good sniper head on alone will likely result in you dead on the ground and the Sniper mildly irritated.

Georg then goes on to ruin the party by revealing some of our limitations in PvP. Seriously, if this guy isn’t your least favorite Dev, then I don’t know what to say, but back to raining on our parade.

How is it balanced? Carefully… We force you to be smart about moving into the area protected by these guys. If you’re not smart about it and think you can charge into the fray, that’s the wrong class to try that on. Their weakness is the fact that their most powerful abilities require them to be entirely static, that they have little ability to kite or establish range against a close range attacker.

You want to sneak up on them, distract them or eject them from cover (there’s a very limited number of abilities that can do that), utilize environmental features to avoid line of sight, hit them with long range DOTs and wear them down, or gang up on them. If you manage to catch them close range without having lost too much of your health, they are in a lot of trouble and without Stealth generator or any kind of active escape ability, they are likely dead.

The key to Snipers being successful in PvP is cover, cover, cover. If you can knock us out of cover, then you win. To sum up what Georg is saying,

  • Snipers are highly dependent on being in cover and not moving.
  • Some classes will have the ability to knock us out of cover.
  • We are vulnerable to LoS issues.
  • We are vulnerable to long-range DOTS.
  • If we lose our cover we can’t kite, and don’t have much in the way of escapability.

As a Sniper you’ll have to be smart  in PvP. Pay attention to your surroundings. Identify obstacles players can use to LoS us. Find places where you can take advantage of your 35 meter range. Know your enemy. Which classes have long range DOTS? Which classes can knock us out of cover?

Will Snipers be invincible in PvP? Hardly. Will cover be the huge liability that everyone thinks it will be? Probably not. Will Snipers have the tools to stand their ground and be competitive? Absolutely.

I think of all the classes Snipers, and their Gunslinger counterparts, will have the steepest learning curve of any Advanced Class in PvP. The cover system is BioWare’s contribution to MMO combat mechanics. It’s new, and not something players are used to working with. As a result we may see more players struggling at playing a Sniper than we might with other classes.

We may find that Snipers are easy to play, but ultimately hard to master.

Until next time, this is Agent Darkbrew signing off.