I’d have to say that the BF3 sniping experience is similar to all BF games. However there are some changes that can really affect your accuracy.
1. 4X SCOPE WOBBLE
Firstly, the scoped-in view now has more wobble, alot more wobble. I would say this is a more realistic version, as the cross hairs seems to float around in a large and lazy figure eight motion. You can try to fight it, but its always there. Once you unlock the Bi-pod you can have steady sights once mounted, but all off hand shooting through a 4X or greater scope has wobble.
DICE finally included a breathing control, which allows you to hold your breathe for several seconds to steady the rifle. Default is holding shift while scoped in. If you hold it too long, the marksman gasps for air and your sights really fly around. With this in mind, you quickly figure out that there are three options when shooting:
- Fight the wobble
- Wait for your sights to align
- hold breath and then shoot
Each method can work depending on the situation you are dealing with.
Fighting the wobble is best used when you are presented with an situation that requires instant action. The target is about to leave your field of view, or you are about to die and its time critical that the shot is released ASAP. The key to this style of shooting is knowing that the second you release control, the wobble will come back. so you basically need to shoot while moving the mouse to get the best effect. This is similar to drag shooting, and it takes alot of practice to master.
Waiting for the sights to naturally align is something target shooters do in real life. It allows you to remain relaxed and take your time. This method is best used for long shots when the target is stationary. Timing the release of the shot is very simple, but sometimes the random motion does not get you where you want. The key is to predict the path of the motion. Watching the rhythm, you will notice that the cross-hairs follow the same path over and over. So If you are on an up swing, then move the sights low and wait for the wobble to bring the sights into alignment. Easier said than done, but this is why you only really use this on easy targets where time is not a factor.
Holding your breath has some pros and cons. It will steady the sights to make the shot easier, however you do not get perfectly steady sights. There is still some minimal movement. Plus if you hold too long you will get an unusable amount of wobble when he gasps for air. he key here is to only hold your breath when the shot is almost ready. Get the cross hairs close, hold your breath, make the small correction, take the shot, and then release your breath. This is the method that has the highest potential for making your shot connect.
You can hold your breath multiple times, but there is a short pause between each hold. This means you can hold and release hold and release indefinitely with no noticeable drawback. You just need to develop a habit of pressing shift for 3 seconds, release for 1, then hold again and repeat. This allows for steady sights most of the time.
2. RANGE FINDING
Unlike BF2, you cannot place attack markers for your squad to follow which give range information. This means we need to find a new way to range our targets. With practice, you can tell how far a target is based on the size, but that takes alot of time to master. The flags and M-Com’s have range data under their HUD icons, but this is only useful if you are shooting into that zone. So to help us on the way we will need to lower our accuracy stats a bit.
The method I find works best is to take practice shots.
Once you have found your sniper hide and have setup / checked to make sure no one is going to knife your ass, look into your potential target area. Give it a guess as to how far you think it is and how much drop your bullet will have from center line. Next, find a tall vertical object in the area that will report you bullet impact. I prefer telephone poles and the sides of buildings.
Line up your cross hairs on an identifying mark with enough room that the bullet can drop and strike the pole/building below your point of aim. Watch closely as you take a shot. You should be able to see the bullet impact mark as a hot red spot on the object that glows for a second and then turns dark into the bullet hole.
Before you reload, realign your sights with your marker and figure out how high you have to hold over the target. This should give you a very good point to start with on live targets. The beauty of this system, is that you have only wasted one shot, and you now know where to aim when a target walks into view. Plus, you have not alerted anyone to the fact that a sniper is watching the area.
Now you should be able to take down targets at will with precision fire.
Click on the image for full size, These six screen shots were captured in less than 20 seconds. One ranging shot, one kill shot, thanks to a target who stopped moving.
- Line up where you think the shot will land on target. Here I estimate one and a half lines and hold over the shipping crate.
- Take the shot and watch it go down range (hold the trigger down), re-align your cross-hairs to the side as this happens.
- Watch for the Impact, which is the glowing spot on the crate. I now have my correction.
- Target walks into view and stops, so I take the shot using my hold over of about 1.6 lines.
- Watching for any minor correction that may be needed, BOOM! Head-shot!
3. OPTIMAL RANGE FOR SNIPING
I have been trying to figure out the zone that newbies should use when trying to rank up and get their unlocks. Although it can be a ton of fun to snipe at extremely long range, the chances of making hits goes down really fast. The following graph was created to demonstrate my point:
I created some numbers that I feel represent my sniping experience. Obviously your experience may vary, and it really depends on the scenario and map you are playing. So I set these numbers up based on a sort of average experience. Here is my reasoning behind the graph :
- As distance increases, so does the reward for making a head-shot. This is seen in the upward slanted blue and purple lines.
- As distance increases, the probability that you will find a target goes down. Seen in the green line.
- As distance increases, your ability to make a head-shot goes down. Seen in the lower blue line.
- When we multiply the point bonus by the probability and by the accuracy (divided by 1000 to make the graph show up nicely), we find a really nice curve. Light blue line.
I think the curve demonstrates my experience perfectly. Up close and personal, you get many kills that are not worth very many points. You also die more. Once you move out to the 300-400 meter range, you find lots of kills worth good points and you survive longer. As you push the distance out to 1000 meters, you get even more points, but its much harder to make kills IF you can find them. Beyond 1000 meters is really just for bragging rights, you are not helping your team at this distance and waste alot of time waiting for targets.