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Topics I've Started
25 February 2011 - 08:59 AMThis is a basic outline on my observations as to how a two man sniper team could work together on the field. As a lot of you guys might have noticed I've had a renewed interest in playing the sniper role and I've got a feeling that the use of the First Strike round is going to bring this closer to a reality. As such, a lot of this is focused around the idea that the shooter would be utilizing this new technology. Let me know what you think.
A. Shooter Loadout
B. Spotter Loadout.
C. Shared Equipment
A. Sniper Role
B. Spotter Role
III. Psychological Warfare
V. Choosing Targets
A. Roleplayer Eliminations
B. Non-Specific Character Eliminations
VI. Choosing a "Hide"
VII. General Knowledge
Section I: Equipment
A. Shooter Loadout--By definition, a sniper uses specialized equipment to make eliminations at greater ranges then possible by regular equipment. Prior to the invention of the first strike round this was more or less impossible. That being said the shooter should be utilizing this new technology to maximize his effectiveness. A scope that can be sighted up to 300 feet is also recommended as it will maximize your ability to place a mark on a target. A bipod, while not required in all situations, will insure stability. The shooter should always carry enough paint for any given stay on the field.
Because the shooter cannot always rely on his rifle for eliminations s/he should also carry a reliable pistol for close encounters. In most situations this pistol will be used for short range surprise eliminations that cannot otherwise be avoided or in some cases for surpressive fire while relocating to a safe position.
B. Spotter Load-out--The spotter's role in paintball similar to that of his real world counter part, though subtle variations exist due to necessity and lack of true "danger." The spotter's marker is capable of higher rates of sustained fire and should generally be small enough to maneuver through thick brush. Low power optics are a welcome addition and should come down to player preference. A pistol side arm isn't always necessary.
C. Shared Equipment--For most situations the team should carry the least amount of equipment as possible. Anything that doesn't add to your load-out (in terms of increasing mission success) subtracts from it. There are however things vital for success that each member must have, such as a fully functioning communication system with headsets that won't come loose when moving through thick brush. When choosing a walkie talkie set up something that is vox enabled and has a whisper mode is ideal. This will allow hands free communication at low voice levels.
An area specific ghillie suit that has been properly dressed with the surrounding terrain is absolutely required for stealth operations. This will allow the team to find a position to hide in and make stealth eliminations as well as observe and report on enemy movement. There are many guides out there that detail the proper construction and employment of the ghillie suit, so it won't be covered in detail here.
Other miscellaneous items may come in handy, such as colored smoke grenades or additional ammo for use by either team member. Items such as pressure mines or home made props likely won't be recovered unless you're playing with honest players. Disposable trip mines that can be used to block off a point of access can be used as a method of detouring opposing players from going down a specific pathway. Enough can never be said for a good set of knee and elbow pads.
The team should generally be working under direct orders from their sides general. In some cases they'll be providing intelligence on enemy positions and other times they'll be called on to eliminate targets or deny fields of approach. This role is more about "the big picture" instead of your personal story.
A. Shooter Role--The shooter will take the front seat on specific eliminations which can include anything from assassinations on priority targets to psychological warfare. In most situations the shooter takes a back role to the spotter until it becomes time to use his equipment. That being said it's almost always more important to remain concealed over eliminating a target except in cases where your location will be compromised and a successful retreat will be easier with fewer operators. This becomes more relevant then closer the team comes to reaching the command center. The choice to retreat from an area should come down to the shooter, as he will know when he is no longer effective from given position.
B. Spotter Role--The spotter's primary job is to help the shooter reach his destination. Because his marker is equipped for handling short ranged engagements (comparatively) it will be his job to eliminate threats as they reveal themselves. His primary objective will be to keep the shooter intact, and should the shooter be eliminated in a direct firefight then both should respawn and try their mission again.
Once the team has reached their location the spotter will be in charge of area defense by informing the shooter of threats that fall within a predetermined danger zone (IE targets 25 feet away or approaching become danger targets and fall to the spotter to eliminate or let pass.) If multiple comm channels are being run the spotter will often communicate with them and relay information back to the shooter.
III. Psychological Warfare
The most unique job the the sniper team brings to the field is the role of psychological warfare. In many situations a sniper team doesn't have any practical use and they can still provide forward information, realistically, it won't always be acted upon. That leaves the sniper team to act as a force multiplier. By taking a hidden position along frequented avenues of approach and eliminating the occasional targets they force a majority of players to either keep their head down as they move up the path or stop movement all together and choose another avenue of approach.
To be effective here the team has to know how to stay hidden while still letting the opposition that they're actively making player eliminations. If they get eliminated then the op-for will only use that as a morale boost and push harder up the area the team was trying to block. The smartest sniper teams will hit an area for a time long enough to slow movement and then transition to another area to repeat the process. The most important aspect of psychological warfare is to keep the enemy guessing and never be eliminated. If you can manage that you've already done better then most.
It will, inevitably, come time to pull out of a position and move to safer ground. There are a few ways to go about this and will depend mostly on the current situation. A retreat doesn't always mean that the sniper team's position has been compromised. In many cases your job is done and now it's just time to get the hell out of dodge. In those situations leave by the same means that you entered, making sure to scout as much of the opfors position as you go.
In the event that your pull isn't easily laid out in front of you (IE the team has been compromised) then it becomes the shooter's call when to retreat. The shooter makes the decision because he knows when he is no longer effective from his current location. Accept that the deeper in you are the harder it is to pull out. The best course of action is to use a staggered retreat and find another position to hide in until they get bored of looking for you. This is a five step process:
1. The shooter calls for a retreat.
2. The spotter confirms and lays down covering fire if needed.
3. The shooter gets up and moves to a safe position (usually behind the current position) He uses his sidearm to cover fire.
4. The spotter gets up and moves a distance behind the shooter.
5. If the team can break contact, then find another position to conceal yourself in and either eliminate your attackers or evade them.
V. Choosing Targets
In most scenario games you'll know the teams, or at least have some idea who the major players are. If you've predetermined the oppositions general and high priority role players then your eliminations can be strategically planed. There are other minor roles you should look for such as medics, engineers or demolitions experts. Eliminating these units away from their command post can drastically assist your main force. If the scenario has spies in it calling them in to your general can be game breaking. It can be tempting to go for that random elimination but a good rule of thumb is this: if it won't make a huge difference don't pull the trigger. Alternatively, if someone else can do it with relative ease, let them.
A: Roleplayer Eliminations--General kills are almost always rewarding. Most events will offer points for general kills and in some cases the general has to leave the field for a short period of time. This can stops his missions from going out and stop their points from accumulating. A good point of reference for finding the general is picking out the guy without a gun or pods. He'll usually have a radio or might be handing out props. It is important however to never take a shot at the general unless he's fully outside of his command post as most don't wear safety equipment in the CP. Do not blind a player because you think you're a badass.
Some scenarios use permanent eliminations when done on roleplayers. If that's the case then it's usually worth it to take the shot.
B: Non-Specific Character Eliminations--Every time you take a shot you risk giving away your position. It doesn't pay to eliminate the non card carrying player. Always keep an eye out of players dressed as medics or those with satchels and the like. Eliminating these players will usually cause the rest of their squad to hold up or it'll give your main force a chance to clear out remaining troops.
Engineers can be hard to spot. Most don't have any specific markings. If the game involves tanks then look for the individual closest to the tanks. For the sake of argument, anyone with an RPG or grenade launcher set up has become a priority target if your team is employing mechs or playing with "destructible buildings." If you're near the opfors command post it may be useful to watch for players who have your color tape on them. They may be spies and calling them out to your general will typically earn your team points. In some extreme situations the opfor will have a mission to capture one of your teams roleplayers. If you see this happen it may be prudent to eliminate your own player to deny the opposition that capture.
VI. Choosing a "Hide"
When choosing a location to hide there are a few things that make some locations more ideal then others. The color of your suit should match your surroundings and the brush should be greater than your silhouette (in other words if you're laying down any grass or bush should be taller than you.) It's never a good idea to lay down next to or underneath a tree. Generally the shooter should choose where the team will set up, but if there aren't plans for any active shooting then the spotter may choose the location as he'll be defending from it. In enclosed "forested" area the shooter should look for long straight aways where you can see the op-for approaching. Wherever you choose to set up it's important to decide where you'll retreat to if your posistion is compromised. So don't choose a location that you can't get away from.
VII. General Knowledge
There are several things that every sniper team should learn to do to be effective. This goes beyond learning to shoot accurately and how to stay hidden. It's important that each member of the team knows how the other will react. Working consistently with the same partner will teach you how to interact with one another without thinking too much about what you're doing.
A. Silence is key. Even when you think no one is around it's always better to not give away your position by talking. In paintball your mouth will be covered by a mask, so trying to lip read won't work. To circumnavigate this, try learning basic hand signals and go over them before you get onto the field.
B. If you play constantly with the same team member you may both find it useful to switch roles from time to time. This teaches your team mate the limitations of each role and just what is required to be effective in every situation. It's very similar to cross training for athletes. It also helps to alleviate the feeling that one role is more important than the other, as both are necessary for the TEAM to be effective.
C. For the shooter it's important to sight in your scope at least once before playing, especially if using the first strike round. In an ideal situation you'd sight in your scope before every game, but realistically you're probably over doing it. You can read an owners manual to learn the specifics of sighting in your scope however it's important to remember to start closer to your target and then move away gradually.
D. If you can spare the addition travel time it's always a better idea to take the point of least resistance. This will generally mean walking the tape line or taking the long road. Be advised however, enemy snipers or solo operators will almost always do the same and getting bogged down in a firefight at the ass end of the field doesn't do you any good.
E. When it all comes down to it, both members of the team worked their asses off to get to their position. Don't compromise it with faulty equipment. Check everything before taking it out onto the field. This is standard for any player, but the difference is that you might not take your first shot until an hour and a half after getting onto the field. To learn your equipment doesn't work then just makes you look like an amateur. And nothing does that better then standing up near the enemies CP and calling yourself out because you forgot to oil your o-rings.
25 February 2011 - 12:13 AMBare bones: I've grown really tired of the constant bashing that paintball snipers receive simply due to a disagreement over ballistics. I'm tired of walking onto a field in my ghillie suit and getting barked at about how I'm just going to cheat and not call hits, or how useless I'll be when I'm passed out in the bush, so on and so forth ad infinitum. In the same way I'm tired of having to listen to inexperienced players educate the body politic on what makes them a great sniper. What I want is a place where the true paintball snipers out there can come together and have an honest to god flame-less community. When two members meet on the field they know they're meeting with an actual (dare I say?) paintball sniper.
Now I know what you're probably thinking at this point: What about the various sniper blogs and forums out there? Yes, I've taken that into consideration. Our group would function as much as a community as it would a mark of ability. The one thing I won't argue with the primary force on is that there are A LOT of people who just want to call themselves "sniper." I've met them and I'm sure you have as well. I admire the enthusiasm but this type of player is just hard to deal with. The idea is not to put others down who want to be snipers but instead acknowledge that certain members of the paintball world who call themselves snipers actually fit the moniker.
I've put a lot of planing into this idea, and a lot of it is still in the development process. The one thing I want to put across is that this is a community by snipers, for snipers. That's plural, snipers. I need your help. If you're interested in helping move this idea forward please send me a PM and I'll send you a link to a message board where the major development will be going on.
Also I'd like you to be honest. If you're reading this and you think that this is a horrible idea that will do more damage to the sniper world then it would good, let me know.
Thanks for your time everyone. Feel free to ask away. I'd welcome a general discussion on this subject.