Pro Sniper Guide
Sniper Pro Guides
Clan: [NSA] National Sniping Association
Real name: Marc N.
Check out the board topic for questions and other suggestions.
Table of Contents
Getting the mouse settings right is utmost important for a Sniper player. A 360° turn must always require the same amount of movement with your mouse. This is crucial for perfecting your aiming while zoomed in. If your performance varies, then you'll need to fix it. There are several reasons for varying mouse perfomance:
Mouse acceleration has been activated. This can cause troubles and sometimes override the game's mouse settings. Deactivate mouse acceleration under "system settings" -> "mouse control". In some cases, you need to re- and deactivate and click on "apply" while TF2 is still running.
Your mouse pad isn't suitable for the mouse you're using. Be sure to use a mouse pad with a good grip for a mouse ball-mouse and a plain, smooth and non-reflective mousepad for a laser/optical mouse.
The mouse cable may be in the way. Take an obstacle and put it on the cable so it can neither move away nor hinder your mouse control.
Many people are frustrated about their bad performance in the game, screaming "I CAN'T HIT ANYTHING! WHY!!!" all over the place. Since you're a pro, it must be your computer, right?
First off, check out how many frames per second (fps) you have while playing the game. To do so, type "net_graph 3" into the developer console. This command will shop your fps in real time. Anything below 30 fps is unacceptable. 60 fps are way much better, don't you agree?
"My computer is fine, but the game slows down lately. Why now?". The answer: it's summer!
Believe it or not, but even a computer generates heat inside its computer chassis. If you happen to run a game at high details while it's summer, you may experience slowdowns or even a busted computer. To prevent this, use Speedfan to keep an eye on your fan(s). Anything hotter then 50°C while running a game or 40°C while not running any game is not good!
In most cases, the issue can be solved by simply vacuum-clean your fan as well as the interior of your chassis. Don't forget to turn off your computer and pull the plug before doing so!
Optimum: Arms and legs in a right angle. Sounds simple? Thing again! Often your desk is too low for your bodysize. Most people lower their chairs to compensate this. But as a result it won't work with their legs.
This position not only allows you to keep a steady aiming performance, but even is healthy for you too!
More infos from (who would have thought) Microsoft.
For most players, a charged bodyshot, and sometimes even a headshot, may be the way of successful sniping. But since you wanna be pro, you need to know the differences between each sniping style.
"Wall sniping" is the most basic way of sniping. You take cover behind a wall, zoom, charge your shot, leave your cover (usually a wall), aim at an enemy player, shoot, rinse, repeat. The first thing you should train is to aim while standing behind your cover. If you leave your cover and you already aim at an enemy sniper, you'll be in advantage. This also prevents to search around for enemies, and in the process, doesn't reveal your position because your dot isn't visible for alerted players.
"Speed sniping" is a rather aggressive style. You move around all the time. You only stand still while performing the shot and move on after the hit. It is essential to do everything fast, really fast! The faster you can do this, the lower are the chances that you get hit by an enemy player.
"Blind shots" depends on your luck, but also on your intuition. Basically, you take cover, aim at a specific point where you think that enemies will pass, and shoot all the time. You only move back and forth from your cover, but never change the direction of your scope. You only concentrate on the procedure itself, but not on your targets, hence the "blind" shots. This way you can cover a specific spot without any big risk, but the success rate is only above average.
"Camping" is, as the name implies, a style for patient players. You take cover behind a save spot, wait for an enemy player to show up and pull the trigger. Beware of enemy speed Snipers, they'll most probably try to kill you while you try to aim at them.
Sniping without using the scope is fast and effective - if you can master it that is. An uncharged shot may be weak, but better then nothing if an enemy player stands in front of you. Depending on the situation, you need to switch to your SMG to take out the enemy.
Believe it or not, but some enemies can actually thing. They will figure out that a Sniper is most vulnerable after firing a shot. Why? Because he stands still for a second, and a second is more than enough for a skilled player to take out a Sniper. "So what should I do if I ever face a Sniper who figured out my weak point?" you may ask. The answer: Pretend you're about to fire and stand still for a split second, just to move on shortly thereafter. If you're lucky, the enemy will try to shoot you and may even pull the trigger, causing him to stand still for a second. This is your chance to take him out!
"...and what should I do if my enemy just read this article as well?". In this case, it's all about when one of you will make a mistake. Should your opponent make the mistake, use the opportunity! Should you make the mistake, better luck next time! Hopefully your enemy will soon be frustated as a result, allowing you to concentrate at other targets.
In short, this "provoke speed sniping" strategy only works for a while. As soon as everyone is familiar with that style, good teamplay and very good aiming is important to win.
Here we have a screenshot from a Sniper's point of view. Tell me, at which point do you need to aim to get a headshot?
This subject is important for any class since it deals with the hitbox, the thing you must hit in order to inflict damage to an enemy. While most classes need to pay attention for the body hitbox, the Sniper (and since 05.12.09 the Spy as well) need to fully understand the small hitbox which represents the head.
Older games like the original Half-Life or Quake III Arena didn't have any kind of lag compensation. As a result, player models were "moving rather arkwardly" and the hitbox couldn't keep up with the player model in real time (It was ahead of the model). The only way to guarantee a hit was to aim at the point where the player was supposed to appear in a second or so. While this issue has been solved due to increasing network speed and faster computer hardware, newer games aren't completely free of lags as well. The only difference is that games like Team Fortress 2 does feature a lag compensation system.
The Source engine features 3 systems called "Entity Interpolation", "Extrapolation" and "Lag Compensation". The combined effort of these systems allows smoother gameplay, even if you play with players who have highly varying pings.
The Interpolation part calculates positions from all players by using data pakets. If one data paket is missing due to a client-side lag, the system will calculate the missing position by using information saved in the history buffer. In case that the data loss is too big to fill it up with information from the butter, the extrapolation part kicks in. All missing information is being calculated by using the existing data pakets.
Since the two systems above cause a constant view lag of 100 miliseconds. The lag compensation prevents this lag by saving information for 1 second and use it for rendering the player models correctly. Even if the player model is already out of range, you may have hit the box after all.
For more specific information regarding the "Source Multiplayer Networking", read the article in the Valve Developer Community Wiki as well as the news article regarding the hitbox issue with the Huntsman.
Even though all of this effort does increase the performance of the game, it's not always perfect. It happens that the hitbox is placed slightly behind the player model.
Back to the subject: What exactly does that mean for a Sniper player?
Simple, it means that even if you're very carefull and react fast enough, it can happen that you'll die because the "slower" hitbox was hit by the enemy. No matter how fast you take cover or how fast you duck, you still die by a headshot.
And now for the solution to the question before: Point A is correct.
Remember, the hitbox, if ever, is following the player model, causing it to move behind or, in the case of the picture, above the soldier in case he's falling down to the ground. In case the Soldier is moving up, you need to aim at Point B or C, because the head hixbox is placed in the model's chest. Basically, it's all about "aiming in advance".
The difference between the model's position and the position of the hitbox depends on the pings of each player as well as the speed of the individual's target.
Here we have a Scout model moving left and right and it's hitbox following the model. As you can see, the hitbox keeps a rather large distance to the model. Let's say that you, as a Sniper, were trying to perform a headshot on a Scout who were moving to the left, and aimed at the head of the model, you would still miss because the hitbox was already moving to the left. It isn't that much of an issue for some classes becasue their weapons deal splash damage (Soldier) or have a widespread attack (Heavy), but a Sniper (and sometimes even a Spy) is screwed if they don't aim in advance.
However, the lag compensation isn't always that forgiving. If an enemy player is just moving straightforward and doesn't try to dodge, the system will work rather fine and you can perform a headshot by aiming at the head. Any fast movements, however, are potential hitbox movers, so beware.
Since the Scout is the class with the lowest amount of health, it's rather easy to take him out. An headshot will always kill a Scout, no matter if the shot is charged or not. In case you're planning a bodyshot, a 25% charged shot is enough for the Scout.
In case a Scout is buffed by the Medic's Medigun, the doubled amount of damage should be sufficient. In other words: Two uncharged headshots will always kill a Scout, and a 50% charged shot (2 * 25%) is enough for a bodyshot.
In case of a close combat with a Scout, use either the Kukri or the SMG. Should you play on a server where crits are allowed, use the Kukri for a possible crit. In case you play on a server where crits are disabled, use the SMG.
See Chapter 4: "[NSA]Manji's 11 Pearls of Wisdom".
You'll need to fully charged headshot your shot to kill a Soldier (in some cases, 20% will work as well). If a Soldier performs a rocket jump, try to hit him in the air. Since the player has lost some health due to the rocket jump, a fully charged bodyshot will be enough to take him out.
In case you must fight a Soldier in close combat, follow the same strategy as explained in the Scout part.
A 10% to 40% charged headshot is needed to take out the Pyro, and a fully charged one if the Pyro is Medigun-buffed. Bodyshots are not recommended. In case the Pyro uses the Flare Gun against you, use uncharged shots and try to dodge the flares. Since the Pyro is a rather slow class, use the SMG to weak him from a safe distance and use the Kukri for the final blow.
Same as the Soldier: Try to hit him in the air. A fully-charged shot isn't necessary all the time, but since he's one of the most healed classes in clan wars, you should go for 100% just to be sure.
Always go for a fully-charged headshot on the Heavy. If the enemy has spotted you, hide behind a wall, zoom to charge, leave your cover and take down the Heavy. Never engage the Heavy in close combat, run away from him instead. Since he's the slowest class in the game, you can escape from him rather easily.
An uncharged headshot is enough to take out an Engineer. The real challenge in killing an Engineer is to lurk him out of his little fortress called "Sentry Gun-Dispenser". Try to destroy the Dispenser first - even if you can't destroy it right away, it will ultimately deplete all of it's metal. Should the Engineer leave its post and walk to an ammo box in order to pick up some metal, kill him while he's off-guard. Talking about off-guard, the most important part about the whole thing is to not let the enemy see your position.
When you've finally killed the Engineer, you can try to destroy his Sentry Gun. Whike a Level 1 and Level 2 Sentry Gun are destroyed after one fully-charged shot, a Level 3 Gun requires one additional 30% to 50% charged shot.
The Medic is no thread on long distances, but his Blutsauger makes him rather dangerous. Try to keep a distance to him while firing your SMG, or go for a surprise attack with your Kukri.
See 4.11 "Medic vs Heavy, which one should I kill first?" for more detailed information.
If the Spy cloaked himself just a second ago, try to shoot at the pathway where he may walk - chances are rather good that you might hit him. If he cloaked or disguised close to you, switch to your SMG and watch out for his silhouette. If he gets away, try to remember the name of the player he's mimicking, and remember when he died so you can guess when he'll show up again.
See 3.3 Razorback for more detailed information regarding the use of the Razorback.
The Huntsman is a replacement for the sniper rifle. In a nutshell, this weapon is a sniper rifle for mid- to short range fire. You can charge your shot without the need to zoom in which is a great advantage in close combat. The reload time is jsut one second, and if a Pyro uses his flame thrower to ignite an arrow, this newly created fire arrow will ignite enemies on impact.
The downside of the Huntsman is the lower amount of ammo you can carry (13 opposed to 25). Also, since it's not a long range weapon, the Sniper needs to stand on the battlefield instead of a few hundred miles away from the enemy. The "surprise attack" as a whole isn't possible at all since you can't fire the weapon from a save distance all the time. On the other hand, since you have a more suitable weapon for close combat, you can use Jarate more efficient then throwing it like a football several feet away.
In conclusion, the Huntsman is a good choice in combination with Jarate. The Jarate+Huntsman combination is most useful on places where enemies can't walk freely, allowing you to "piss off" as many enemies as possible (since they can't separate that easily) and finishing them off with some arrows.
A good situation for using Jarate+Huntsman is the central Control Point on cp_badlands:
The two wagons as well as the gaps are limiting the enemies' movements, forcing them to stand close to each other if they plan to capture the point. This is the perfect opportunity to use Jarate to hit as many enemies as possible.
Jarate, the jar-based Karate, works like a grenade: You throw the glass at enemies. Each enemy who is hit by the jar will be affected by the mini crit buff: Each attack will inflict 35% more damage for 10 seconds. Just like BONK! and the Sandvich, this item recharges infinitively, but has a cooldown of 20 seconds.
The big disadvantage of Jarate is the fact that it replaces your SMG. Ironically, the SMG is the most effective weapon against jarateed enemies while fighting alone. Speaking of fighting alone, Jarate is next to useless if you fight alone on a public server. The Huntsman may increase your changes to survive, but it's still not enough to guarantee your success on the battlefield. Jarate is most effective when cooperating with teammates.
Theoretically, since the Sniper is a support class, Jarate whold be a great addition in public teamplay or even a clan war, right? WRONG! The combination Sniper Rifle+Jarate isn't always effective since the player needs to stand close to the enemy to actually hit them properly. No matter how skilled you are with the rifle in close combat, chances are that you may not survive after throwing Jarate. Should you really consider using Jarate, switch to the Huntsman to be more useful in close combat.
In any case, the very fact that you use Jarate will reveal that you are on the battlefield, and not standing far far away with your Sniper Rifle. In such a case, the enemy team instantly knows that there is at least one less Sniper attacking from a distance, encouraging them to walk over wide, open places. If you don't want to reveal yourself to the enemy, don't use Jarate at all.
In conclusion, Jarate is a good choice if used in combination with the Huntsman. However, there are some exceptions: If the enemy tends to stay close to each other and your teammates keep attacking rather effectively, Jarate can be very effective. This is the case when either attacking or defending a Control Point. The Sniper Rifle is useless if most enemies aren't far away, which is the case in buildings.
Here we have a good example for using Jarate:
The last Control Point on cp_badlands. The whole interior is rather small and the Control Point can only be entered from one side.
And here is a BAD example for using Jarate:
The 2nd / 4th Control Point on cp_badlands. Since this is a wide, open area, you rarely see a group of enemies walking in a close position. Your teammates won't group together as well since they focus on the Control Point instead of the enemy players. On top of that, the area offers some cover, rendering both primary weapons of the Sniper useless.
The Razorback is a replacement for the SMG. It's a shield that the Sniper wears at its back, protecting him from the Spy in a special way: Each Spy who tries to backstab the Sniper will be paralyzed for 2 seconds, preventing the enemy Spy from stabbing him for that period of time. However, the shield breaks apart after successfully preventing one backstap attempt.
The disadvantage of the Razorback is to sacrifice your SMG in order to wear it. It's not recommend to wear the Razorback while playing on a rather empty server (< 16 players). Normally, there aren't too many Spies walking around on such a low number of players, allowing you to react to a Spy's attack without the safety of the Razorback.
If you play on a full server (full house), it's a completely different story. Keeping attention to your surroundings will be more difficult. Since you'll need to concentrate in eliminating the enemies,it's a good thing to have the shield just in case a Spy tries to backstab you. However, the enemy Spy can see your shield as well, which can cause him to switch to his gun and take you out from a distance. To prevent such a scenario, stay close to your teammates so they can take out the Spy as soon as he reveals himself upon firing his gun.
Since you can't carry your SMG while using the Razorback, you NEED a proper weapon for close combat. The Kukri isn't the best choice since enemies can dodge it easily - so use the Hutsman instead. The Huntsman isn't very effective against a Spy who just cloaked (since you need to prepare the arrow to shoot it). In such a case, the SMG would be better - but you can't carry it.
In conclusion, the Razorback isn't perfect, but isn't completely useless either. It really depends on the situation you face.
A good Sniper needs to master 3 crucial elements to survive on the battlefield: Tactical movement, good sniping skills and a doctor degree in psychology. You need to know the enemy - his/her position to be specific. You can determine the enemies' location by checking these 5 criteria:
a) Does the map layout allows an enemy to go to a point without being seen?
b) Are other places already reserved by other Sniper players? (In case you're playing on a public server, some places like the main entrance to a base on ctf_2fort is filled with enemies, which makes it a less attractive sniping position).
c) Does have the enemy a favorite sniping position? Or does he stand at the same place at the beginning of the round?
d) Does the enemy change his/her position after he/she died, no matter what happened before?
e) What is your position when you killed the enemy, and what as the enemy's position when you hit him? (Some player tend to go back to the same place due to training issues or out of frustration. Some other players will keep the position, but change the height of their position i.e. 2nd floor instead of 1st floor. There may even be some players who think about killing you at your position and go to a different place where they can aim at your with more safety.)
As you can see, it's all about to know the enemies' behavior. It isn't that important on a small map since you can check all positions in 2 seconds, but it's crucial on a big map. The bigger the map, the more important your foreseeing of the enemy's movements will become.
The Spy class is one of the biggest threats for the Sniper player. To prevent an attack from behind, you need to keep an eye on the number of Spies walking around. It's best to remember whose of your teammates a Spy is mimicking. It's also important to know when exactly a Spy died so you can guess when the Spy leaves the spawn room and arrives at your position. Also keep attention to the decloaking sound - turn around immediately of you hear it and kill the Spy. Most Spies are most probably disguised as a teammate and won't cloak themselves that often, so beware!
A high ping isn't necessarily a bad thing, all information your client sent will arrive at your enemies' client sooner or later anyway. However, you still need to watch out since an enemy with a high ping can still pose a threat to you. Since the enemy doesn't receive the information of our movement in real-time, but the game still counts each delay, he/she can shoot your even if you dodged fast enough. In such a situation, you better avoid camping and change your play style to speed sniping.
It's never a good thing if a teammate dies, but at least he reveals the enemy's position. For instance, a teammate died in a right corner, but you couldn't see any enemy at the other side. The enemy is most probably standing behind a wall from a place where he not only could see your teammate, but also could hide from your vision.
This reconstruction of the enemy's position is important if you plan to track the enemy down. Keep in mind that the enemy could've already switched places. In such a case, you need to remember how much time has passed since your teammate dies. With the exact time in mind, you can guess which points the enemy could've moved to during the elapsed time. Check the possible positions and prepare for the enemy to show up.
Imagine you face a group of enemies in the battlefield, and you you must fight against them all by yourself. You may be able to kill at least 1 or 2 enemies, but a Medic in the group makes any serious attempt pointless. The Sniper class may be versatile, but doesn't stand a chance in such a situation.
However, if we're talking about a group of Snipers, the situation will be completely different. Both sides keep a moderate distance to each other, and no one will bother to run to you under any circumstances. In other words: We have a Sniper duel, most probably on maps like ctf_2fort.
The key of success in such a situation is teamplay. A teammate can intimidate enemy Snipers, forcing them to take cover and interrupt their charged shots. Or they can distract the enemy Snipers, forcing them to aim at them instead of you. In any case, it makes your task a lot easier because you're not the only person the enemy team needs to deal with.
Should you even know where exactly your teammate stands, both of you can work together and backup each other. This may not guarantee a 100% safety measure while at work, but is quite efficient none the less. Let's say that on the map ctf_2fort, you and another Sniper are standing at the usual place, and there are two enemy Snipers at the other side as well. Under normal circumstances, each Sniper will only keep an eye for the enemy player at the opposite corner. This situation allows you to focus on just one Sniper at the time. However, both enemy Snipers may come up with the crazy idea to aim at the same Sniper, increasing the risk of being taken down. On the other hand, they're forced to ignore you, (or your teamamte, whoever the unlucky one might be) allowing you to aim with almost no pressure at all.
Here we have a screenshot from said usual place on ctf_2fort, showing the priority of which corner you should concentrate.
Red is important (WICHTIG) , green is unimportant (UNWICHTIG)
A Sniper will get used to your attack pattern and time his shots according to this pattern. If you stop your pattern and take a break for chatting or whatever else, the enemy will become nervous. He may even start to aim at other possible targets and even change his point of view, making him an easy target if you finally get back to work. You could also try to change your position to confuse the enemy even more.
Of course, it could be the other way around as well. That's why you need to keep attention to what the enemy is doing, or rather, what the enemy is not doing.
It's true that several good Sniper player are better then just one, but that doesn't mean that a whole group of Snipers is better then just one player. Sure, several Snipers may increase the chances to hit a target, and enemy Snipers may not kill you because you're lucky and may choose one of the other group members first.
HOWEVER, a group of Snipers standing next to each other represents an easy target for everyone else. Just imagine a Jarate, a Rocket, a Grenade, a Sticky, a Minigun or just a Shotgun firing at your group. Unless you have a teammate who can cover you, chances are that some of the group, if not the whole group, will be wiped out. On top of that, as soon as you're under fire, you can't concentrate on the enemy Snipers who tries to kill your or your teammates.
If you're playing with one or more Snipers together and have some good communication tools like Teamspeak or Ventrilo, you can cooperate with them to outsmart the enemy Sniper team. One of you will play the role of the mouse to attract the enemies' attention. The best way to do this is to adopt the play style of speed sniping. As soon as all cats have left their cover, the mouse gives the other Sniper a signal to attack. Since all enemy Snipers available are aiming at the mouse, the other player can take them out without a problem.
However, don't push your luck with too many Snipers: If more then 2 Snipers are aiming at the mouse, chances are that they will hit the mouse player sooner or later. Also, don't forget that the enemy Snipers will figure out that cat-and-mouse play sooner or later. They will mimick you and play this game as well. The enemies' play is to reveal the position of the non-mouse player. Don't show up! Instead, screw up the enemies' plans and let the mouse kill some Snipers for a chance.
If you're playing on a public server, you should switch roles to confuse the enemies even more. Additionally, even if you haven't discussed that strategy with your teammates on a public game, just play your part as the predator and take out the enemies as soon as they start aiming at your teammate(s):
A good sniping positions is essential for your success as Sniper. But since there are quite a few places you can choose from, which should I choose?
First off, you can't crouch like in other First-Person Shooter like Battlefield. You can still duck, but it doesn't make that much of a difference. The important criteria are your cover and your position from a "special" point of view.
Take this cute kitten for example.
She is on a high position and only her head is visible - that is a good position since you have a good overview of the battlefield and only your head-hitbox can be damaged.
Besides a good cover that not only allows you to hide, but also covers your body efficiently, the height of your position is important. Each position has its individual advantages and disadvantages.
--Position on high ground (1st floor, a hill i.e.)--
+ Your own body is covered and not visible in most cases.
+ Your enemies can't predict your movements that easily.
+ You have a good vision over the whole battlefield.
- You can only see the legs if the enemy stands at the entrance or under a ceiling.
- You can't see anything right below you (like a Demoman who throws some Stickys at your position).
--Position on low ground (main entrance i.e.)--
+ You have a good vision on the low grounds...
+ ...which allows you to take out enemies you couldn't have seen on a high position.
+ The enemy can only see your legs if you're standing under a ceiling.
- If there is no ceiling or any other kind of cover around, you're an easy target for the enemy.
- You can't predict the movements of enemies that easily since you don't have the whole battlefield in your range of view.
--A sideways Position (standing at the left or right wall i.e.)--
+ You can see enemies behind their cover due to your position...
+ ...which allows you to launch a surprise attack: The enemy won't expect to be attacked behind their "save" cover.
- As soon as the enemy has spotted you, you'll be on your own since your position is off-track in most cases.
- It may be dangerous to approach such a sideways position.
- You can't see all Sniper positions from your standpoint.
- other classes like the Scout or the Medic are difficult to hit if they're running from left to right or vice versa.
Everyone of us has experienced such a situation at least once: You couldn't decide where to go, and after you've finally found your favorite sniping position, the enemy team is already too near to snipe at them. You must fight them at close combat, but miserably fail and die.
=> You can prevent this kind of situation if you keep attention to the game situation as a whole, especially on public servers.
Here are some situation in which you can predict the enemies' movements:
Situation No.1: A teammember is running ahead of you and walks around a corner. 1 second later, you see in the kill history that he just died => somethings coming!
Do you know which class the attackers have? You better should. Even if you don't know each class of each enemy player, you should at least keep yourself updated with the enemies' range of classes.
Situation No.2: You haven't seen any teammate lately, even though your team features at least +10 players. The team list doesn't show any or just a few players who're dead and wait to respawn, but the kill history shows one kill after another => The enemy is coming!
Situation No.3: You're in a defensive team on a Control Point map or Payload map. You see that some player walk around a corner and are killed by a Sentry gun. A Sentry gun means that there is an Engineer around, and an Engineer means that there is a Teleporter around. => Don't change your position, the Teleporter will bring you more than enough enemies.
Situation No.4: You're on team RED on a Payload map. Most of your team is gone, not even a Sentry Gun is left to defend the point. Meanwhile, the enemy team is advancing and push the cart to the checkpoint. => Get away from there! Playload maps doesn't offer more than one way to the goal in most cases, which means that all enemies, ALL enemies, will advance through that way. If you're alone and need to shoot at 4 or more enemies at once, you're dead.
Situation No.5: You're playing on a Control Point map like cp_well or cp_granary. A Control Point has just been captured. If the symbols says "x2", it's most probably a Scout. This assumption helps you to prepare for the Scout if he should move to the next Control Point. You can either wait behind a corner and surprise him with your Kukri or charge your shot and aim at the Scout as soon as he shows up.
If the incoming player is a Pyro or a Soldier, a close attack would prove difficult if not impossible to survive => That's why it's important to know which class the enemy has.
Situation No.6: You're playing in a clan war. Your clanmates are good players and communication between each other is rather good. You have at least a vague idea of where each clan member is currently walking around on the map. Also, you know exactly what the currently strategy is (attack phase, pre-defend phase, point defend phase).
In such a case, you need to think about some important points first:
Point No.1: What are the sniping points available in the current area?
Point No.2: How long does it take to arrive at a sniping point?
Point No.3: When and where will enemies arrive who might prove dangerous for me? When did they die? How long is their respawn time?
Point No.4: Is it possible for my clanmates to protect me from these enemies?
Point No.5: What about the second wave of enemies? Are there some clanmates available who can fight against them?
If everything has been sorted out, you should try to act according to these 4 possibilities:
a) All other sniping positions are too far away and the enemies are coming soon, so I stay where I am.
b) My clanmates can defend the sniping position what is closer to the battlefield, but there is no second wave yet, so I stay where I am.
c) My clanmates can defend the sniping position what is closer to the battlefield and a second wave is coming, so I change my position.
d) There is a sniping position which I can use in case the enemy is attacking me, and a clanmate (Medic?!) is waiting for me, so I change my position in case a Scout or someone else is attacking me.
Everyone would say that the Medic should die first - so should the Sniper try to kill the Medic first as well?
It depends on the situation. Normally, a dead Medic can't deploy an Ubercharge, so it would be the best for the entire team to kill him first. However, the Medic's "patient" is still a thread and not to be underestimated.
You need to check 3 criteria first:
a) Am I being attacked by the Medic+Whoever pair?
b) How big is the thread presented by the pair?
c) Can the Medic dodge my attack?
Let's assume that you're not in danger at all, has a fully charged shot and see a Medic. The answer: Kill the Medic. In such a case, a bodyshot is sufficient to take out the enemy Medic.
Should the Medic try to avoid your bullet, but his patient is an easy target (a Heavy who rotates his Minigun), then the answer is clear: Kill the Patient. The Medic, without a teammate to protect him, will most likely retreat.
In case that both enemies, the Medic and the patient, are aware of you and try to avoid a hit, kill the Medic. You can kill a Medic with a single fully charged bodyshot, so concentrate and hit the Medic for sure.
Some of you may say "bodyshots? In a clanwar? That's a noob strategy!". Believe it or not, but even gamers in a div1 team are just human beings. I'm not saying that a headshot is a bad thing, but should you miss for whatever reason, you might have lost because the enemy won't give you a second chance. Each shot counts, so even a bodyshot is good enough as long as you cause enough damage with such a shot. I'll take 4 "guaranteed" bodyshots over 2 "possible" headshots any day!
Everything changes as soon as the enemy pair has spotted you. In case that the patient poses too much of a thread for you (i.e. you wouldn't survive the enemy contact for 2 seconds) run away!
In case you have a real chance against the enemy pair, use uncharged shots (Speed sniping). A slightly charged headshot can kill an unbuffed Medic for sure, so try to at least kill the Medic.
In case you're being threatened by a Sniper, a real good Sniper, then you need to kill him first. Don't care about any Medics standing still and doing nothing - they're being killed soon anyway, so concentrate on the Sniper instead.
To further help you with the decision who to kill first, look at this charge sheet for the Sniper Rifle. (Source: tf2wiki.net)
The percentages shots how much your shot must be charged to kill a specific class. If a value is above 100%, it means that you'll need to shoot more than once to kill a class. The first value is for enemies with full health (100 %), the second value in parentheses is for enemies who has been buffed by an enemy Medic (150% health).
- Headshot - 0% (12%)
- Bodyshot - 75% (135%)
- Headshot - 17% (50%)
- Bodyshot - 150% (250%)
- Headshot - 9% (37%)
- Bodyshot - 125% (210%)
- Headshot - 9% (37%)
- Bodyshot - 125% (210%)
- Headshot - 50% (100%)
- Bodyshot - 250% (400%)
- Headshot - 0% (12%)
- Bodyshot - 75% (135%)
- Headshot - 0% (25%)
- Bodyshot - 100% (175%)
- Headshot - 0% (12%)
- Bodyshot - 75% (135%)
- Headshot - 0% (12%)
- Bodyshot - 75% (135%)
And here is the most important fact in a nutshell:
- You can kill an Engineer, a Scout, a Sniper, a Spy and even a Medic with just one fully charged bodyshot. Please keep in mind that the random damage calculator of the game might give you a low value, not killing them every sinlge time - but still at about 98% of all cases.
There exist 3 different kind of cheaters in this world:
a) The obvious cheater who wants to wreak havoc or just want to have fun.
b) The moderate cheater who wants to improve his performance by using not-so-obvious cheats.
c) The professional cheater who wants to dominate everyone, but keeps a low profile under any circumstances.
Let's skip type a) for now, since that's the "obvious" one. Type b) and c) are more tricky and therefore needs further explanation.
First off, you can't call someone a cheater just because he plays better then you. The ability to guess where you really stand, to survive as good as possible and to almost perform headshots belongs to a pro, not to a cheater.
The two most common cheat tools are the so-called "Aimbot" and "Wallhack". If combined, they allow you to not only see an enemy behind a wall, but also to aim at his head and perform a headshot no matter what you or your enemy does.There's also the issue with "Fakelags" - players who doesn't run smoothly, preventing any precise headshot in the process. However, there's always the possibility of a player having a real lag/bad computer/bad Internet connection/whatever, so don't ban someone just because he lags.
The only way to proof that someone is a cheater is to look from his/her perspective. Something like a wallhack or an aimbot may not be that obvious from another palyer's point of view, but becomes obvious in the eyes of the cheater. So if you really want to get sure, switch to spectator mode and watch the player in question. That's just for your own prupose, the cheater may still be around on the server. The only proper way to get rid of a cheater is to kick, or even ban, the cheater by asking an admin or mod. In case that there is no person with proper rights around, simply leave the server.
Whatever you may do, it's recommend to not say some is a cheater in the public chat. The cheater may read this and start to play a little bit more realistic/fair, making the proof process a lot more difficult.
Here are some suggestion what you should do if you switch to spectator mode to check the player in question:
1. Type "record whatevernameyoumaychoose.dem" in the developer console. This will start recording a demo. The demo will record everything you see, including everything the player in question sees if you switch to spectator mode and choose the player in first person.
2. Type "status" in the developer console. This will show you the IDs of every player connected to the server.
3. Type "condump" in the developer console. This create a condump.txt in your TF2 folder, containing all information shown in the developer console, including the Steam ID of all players.
4. Type "stop" in the developer console. This will stop the recording of the demo.
Now for the tricky part: If the cheater is a professional i.e. suggests that you plan to watch him, he will deactivate his cheats as soon as you or any other player switches to spectator mode. To prevent this, disconnect from the server, rename your username, rejoin the server, switch to spectator mode and watch the cheater. Since you just joined as a "new player", the cheater may think that you are new to the server or you still need to load the map. This will give your some time to observe the cheater.
After that's done, you can analyze the demo and see whether the player is a cheater or not.
Should there be only a few players on the server, but the player still knows where exactly each player is standing, then he's using a wallhack.
Let's say that the cheater aims at an enemy player right after he/she has left the spawn room. This is obviously a wallhack. More experienced cheaters don't use the wallhack that obviously, but still use it to prepare themselves for the incoming enemy. It's difficult to figure out whether the knowledge of the position of enemy teammembers is due to a cheat or. Other sources like Teamspeak, a fellow teammate or a laser dot from the Sniper Rifle could've revealed the enemies' position as well. After a while, however, one thing stands out from the cheater's behaviour: He points at enemies whole position is rather unusual to figure out for anyone.
For instance, look at this screenshot from ctf_2fort. The red arrow points at the primary target, the enemy you normally should aim at in the first place (ZIEL PRIMÄR). The green arrow points at the target with the secondary priority (ZIEL SEKUNDÄR).
Normally, the player would aim at the enemy Sniper in the red corner. This way the player can at least cover himself from the second Sniper. Now imagine that a player would aim at the other Sniper. In order to even see him, the player needs to expose himself to the other Sniper as well. The result: 2 vs 1. Why would anyone expose himself to 2 Snipers? Simple, he has a wallhack and can see when the second Sniper leaves its cover. There still exist the possibility that the player is simply not aware of the danger and aim at the wrong person without knowing it, so you really need to check the player in spectator mode just to get sure.
Aimbot users aren't easy to identify as well. If they use both aimbot and wallhack, it'll soon become obvious that it's a cheater. If the player only uses an aimbot, it's very hard to proof it. If the magnetic effect of the aimbot isn't too strong and the player aims rather fast at its target, it may or may not a cheater since pros are fast as well. If the magnetic effect is unusually strong and the player hits several players in a row, it may or may not be a pro as well. In such a case, you need to check if he acts like a pro as well. A pro would take cover most of the time and rarely dies, while a cheater isn't that good at tactical survival at all and makes some beginner mistakes.
In conclusion, there doesn't exist a perfect proof to determine whether someone is a cheater or not. Even with your assumptions and a recorded demo, the only thing you can do is to guess and warn an admin/mod about the situation.
On a final note: There doesn't exist a cheat to shoot through walls - the game engine isn't programmed that way. If you experience such a case, it will most probably a result of the Lag Compensation.
I'd like to thank the following person for their support:
My girlfriend for her patience and her understanding that I invested the same amount of time for this guide then for my coursework.
azureguy for his great translation into english.
schlurbi, futurezz, Greyback, [NSA]Lynx, Mister.@, Schuldig, phyll, Mitch, Nobleman, Plaxa, Relentless, Mingebag and hänsen from the TFPortal board for their contributions on this guide.
MeeB, Ron, Nova and everyone else of the TFPortal staff for this great website.
[STS]LoB for his help to write this guide with a proper HTML code.
[NSA] for their excellent Sniper player. Thanks to your sacrifices help I could test my strategies.
xenomorphs for reminding me that I'm just a Sniper player and not everyone's best boy XD
Dr. Ebertshäuser from Goethe University Frankfurt for his advice how to write on a professional level.
Valve and Robin Walker for this great game called Team Fortress 2.
[NSA]Manji & azureguy - 65123 handmade characters for the win!
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