“Recon is not all about sniping”
Matt and VelocityGirl @ gamereplays.org
Be sure to check out our Sniper Rifle Breakdown
From the time we were small, our parents and loved ones have led us to believe that we are special. That we, as individuals, can accomplish or become anything we set our minds to. And because I like feeling unique myself, these things my parents told me are particularly evident to me when I play Bad Company 2.
As soon I get into a server, I think to myself, “how can I be special?” So of course I choose to be a sniper. Not a recon soldier, no no. I am speaking of the a sniper, a badass master of the long range kill. “I am awesome” I think to myself, as I run for the best vantage point in which to exercise my god complex. “I am unique and surely one of a kind” I remind myself as I crouch into a kneeling position… right next to six other snipers all doing the same exact thing.
Looking over at these other snipers my fantasy screeches to a halt like the sound of a record skipping. Then I remember that I often look at hillsides that are populated by what appears to be bushes that strafe back and forth two to three feet. “Who planted all those strafing bushes?” I ask myself, before it dawns on me that maybe I’m not that special.
But hold on kids! That isn’t to say that we snipers can’t be special. And I’m not knocking people who like to play as a sniper either. What I am saying is that if you want to be unique, all you have to do is something different – don’t just be another strafing bush. So for all you snipers out there, here are a few tips that may help set you apart from the rest of the hillside foliage.
Just because you look like a bush, does not mean you have roots. Staying in the same spot for prolonged periods of time is not only a good way to increase the latter part of your kill to death ratio, but makes it harder to use that spot in the future. If you consistently camp one spot, then people on the other team will consistently check that spot. So, in order to avoid this you should make a point of moving to a different spot every two to three kills.
Displacement is especially in order if your last kill was a sniper on the other team. Because let me tell you, the last thing going through that guys head was not your bullet, it was thoughts of revenge while he watches you on the kill cam. Oh, don’t be mad, you do it too. As soon as you get shot by another sniper you look at the kill cam and think of the best way to win this prideful “biggest rifle in the room” competition you’ve just been engaged in.
A surefire way to know that its time to move is the not-so-sweet sound of a bullet snapping past your head. “Well,” you think, “its time to be running along because I’m obviously not wanted here.” At least that’s what you should think, because I’ve seen plenty of action to the contrary when snipers get shot at. I am of course speaking of trying snipe the sniper who just took a shot at you, (i.e. biggest rifle in the room competition) and you may win. But most of the time you’ll get your head hollowed out like a canoe, because the guy trying to shoot you already had a couple of advantages.
- He already knows where you are.
- He already has you spotted and sighted, and is making an adjustment off his first shot
So if you want to be one of the smart kids, move when you know that another sniper is gunning for you, and take your time. That is to say don’t go sprinting off like a fat kid after the Twinkie truck. Before you run off to your new position, you should take cover, and count to five, reload, and perhaps contemplate the meaning of the universe. That’s because, if whoever was shooting at you was smart enough to spot you, there is probably a huge orange triangle over your head, and getting a new position may be in vain if they were able to see the direction you were headed. “But BloodAngel,” you ask with those big doe eyes, “where am I going when I displace?”
“Well,” says I, “you see all those other snipers on that hill over there?”
“Yes,” you nod adorably.
“Any place but there.”
You should have some spots that work well for you, and you should be cycling through them. You could have, say, three positions per phase of a rush map that you run between. But as stated above, the criteria for any of these sniper spots should not, and I repeat, NOT be popularity. Which brings me to my next tip.
Finding the right sniper position, for you
You know hill that overlooks the base on Arica Harbor during the first stage? This is an example of what I mean by a “popular” sniping position. That hill has more bush than a 1970’s adult film. If anyone on the defensive team has a scope on their rifle, they look up there about every ten seconds. What are they looking for? You. So don’t be there! When defending, I myself call for mortar fire on that hill even when I can’t see anyone up there. I do this because I know the popularity of the spot, and I usually get more than a few kills per game for my efforts.
“How dare you BloodAngel,” says the nay saying naysayer, “you can see everything from up there!” Well that’s true, but that’s the funny thing about line of sight, if you can see them, they can see you. So why would you want to snipe from a place where you can see everything? Everyone can see you. You see?
The sniper should keep line of sight in mind when picking his position. Typically, the less exposure, the safer you are. A good example of reducing your exposure would be not “framing” yourself in windows, like you’re trying to show the world how good you would look in a fireplace mantle painting. If you are going to shoot from windows, stand back in the room; the closer you are to the window, the more people outside of it can see you. You can also approach the window from an angle using the wall as cover. You should still stand back a bit, because your rifle barrel may give your position away, but approaching a window from an angle is a good way to limit your exposure.
A good sniper position not only limits exposure, it has line of sight on an effective kill zone. Perhaps you know of an often travelled route, or a position you know for a fact the enemy is going to be, like an M-COM station. You know that the enemy will frequent this area, either in attack or defense, and you will get plenty of opportunity to take shots at them.
Of course, finding places to shoot from that meet these criteria does not always mean you will be shooting from long distances, and it does not always mean shooting from an elevated position. Sometimes the best sniper positions are at ground level and relatively close to the enemy. At times like these, you should consider your gear.
Know your environment and know your kit
The Recon class has a very versatile selection of weapons. I could go on about picking a shotgun, or a G3 rifle and sticking it to the enemy with C4 all over their M-COM stations. But to hell with all that, I’m talking about sniping here; the much hated profession of those who prefer to get down into combat. So as long as I’m talking about sniping, I’ll just stick to sniper rifles and my beloved mortar fire.
When picking your gear you should consider the map, or what phase of a map your fighting in. Sure, the aforementioned Arica Harbor has some opportunity for some very long range shooting at the start. However, once you get down into town you should consider getting rid of your bolt action rifle with 12x scope. In closer proximity you will not be firing at the ranges in which the the 12x scope excels, and you will not need the accuracy the bolt action rifles provide. However, semi automatic sniper rifles with 4x scope will preform well for sniping in medium ranges, and are better to have on hand than a bolt action rifle, in the event of a surprise close combat situation. To avoid these enemy surprise parties, you should throw a motion detector every time you stop. These handy devices will help you gather intel about enemy in your area, and possibly get you assist points.
For my final point on gear and kit selection, I want to address the mortar. First of all, if you’re not calling for mortar fire every time it is available, you’re wrong. There’s really no excuse for not using a magic “reign death down from the sky” button on your keyboard now is there? Secondly, if you see a group of enemies congregated so so closely together that they should be wearing condoms, for the sake of all that is holy, do not shoot at them! The n00b is a pack creature, and will be easily frightened by the sound of your bullet removing the brains from one of their number. You may kill or wound one, but the rest will most likely scatter, so stay your itchy trigger finger and call for mortar fire instead. This will probably be more fruitful and you can clean up whatever is left afterwards with your rifle, or get assist points from someone else killing them because you wounded them with the mortar fire.
Spot, spot, and spot again…
I could have included this tip along with kit selection above and made mention of the spotting scope. But I wanted to save this tip for the end, because I feel that by reading this last, it may remain fresh on my readers’ minds. I feel this is important, because many are the times when I have looked at all the snipers around me, strewn across the map like patches of crab grass, looking at the enemy positions from every conceivable angle. I see them and I think, “Well the whole map is pretty much covered, some orange triangles should be popping up anytime now. Yes sir…. Anytime now.” Yet, the triangles never come, and I am left wondering… “why?”
The bottom line is that spotting is your primary job, not kills. Oh, I know that we snipers are the unseen killers, and the masters of long range death. Sure we are slight sociopaths, yet we are very charming and great with kids and puppies and stuff. But lets be realistic here. Without ammo resupply, the typical Bad Company 2 sniper carries around 30 rounds of ammunition. Yet, I have never seen a sniper with a score of thirty kills in one life, and rarely in one game. And if there is such a sniper, that’s a bad man right there! Yet even with such a finite supply of ammo, most have no problem plugging away at the enemy. We all wish that we could score a headshot every time. But most of the time, you get a hit marker over your cross hairs, wounding the enemy just in time to see him run behind some cover. “Drat” you think “perhaps I will get an assist kill because I wounded him!” but instead that guy you wounded manages to find a medic before he finds a teammate’s bullet, and therefore wastes your time and effort.
I can only assume that most snipers are not using the spotting feature out of greed. “If I don’t spot them,” they say, “then no one can steal my precious kills, then I will get all the points!” This is invariably followed by some evil mad-scientist laughter “Mwahaha!” But if this same sniper who wounds an enemy spots him first, then he’s looking at making some good points not only for a kill assist, but for a spot assist as well. Also, unlike your finite supply of ammo, you can spot an unlimited number of times. So there’s no reason to be pulling your trigger more that your spotting. Communication in combat is the number one element of any successful team. Spotting is a form of communication, and by not utilizing it you will be denying your team a valuable resource, and missing out on a lot of points.
These are just a few things to think about, that may help set you apart from the masses of snipers we all see camping popular spots.
Snipers. We’ve all seen them. They spawn, climb onto a high perch, and start picking off enemies (or at least trying to). They die, they go right back up there. They get involved in low-stakes sniper duels. They occasionally score a lucky hit from miles back, and scream into the headset. They suck.
Recon is not necessarily about sniping. Not really. The clue’s in the name. Recon. Not sniper. Recon means spotting, it means movement, it means action, it means helping the team. More than any other class, Recon players are gamechangers, shifting the balance in their team’s favour with simple, sometimes explosive actions.
Armament: Weapons, Gadgets & Specialisations
First, the basics: Weapons. Recon starts with the M24 sniper rifle, and gets the Type 88, then the SV98, but those are all pretty much the same: cool to ping shots at your enemies from halfway across the map, useless at short range.
More promisingly, they’ve got two awesome pieces of equipment; C4 remote-detonation explosives and deployable proximity sensors. Stuff that’s great up close, but completely useless from that sniper’s nest way back in the spawn. Stuff that’s way better for changing the game than any other class.
So let’s use it. Lose the sniper rifle, pick up your new best friend: The Saiga S20K semi-automatic shotgun. This weapon is a beast at close range, and when combined with the Expanded Shotgun Magazine, has enough ammunition to take down three or four without reloading. With the Saiga, you have the firepower necessary to survive close range encounters, which you’ll surely face if you play aggressively.
Let’s have a look at the rest of your kit. For a pistol, you’ll probably want the superior stopping power of the M1911. As for specialisations, you should take either Lightweight Combat Equipment (increased speed) or Explosives Leg Pouch (doubles the amount of C4 carried). In slot two, you’ll be needing the Expanded Shotgun Magazine, as mentioned before. The vehicle spec doesn’t really matter, but the Active Armor Upgrade is always a good bet.
Your Role As Recon
Now that you’re properly equipped, what is it you should actively doing anyway? Well, as Recon, you have three primary tasks:
- Destroy Enemy Objectives
- Destroy Enemy Armor
- Confuse the Enemy
An oft-forgotten secondary task is:
- Provide spotting for your team, through motion mines and manual spots
Destroying Enemy M-Com Stations
Let’s go through these one by one. First, destroying enemy objectives. This is the entire point of playing the game, at least if you’re playing to win, but it seems to be almost an afterthought for most Recon players. Make it your top priority, as it’ll give your attacks direction and meaning.
So how do you attack? You could charge in, guns blazing, and sometimes that does work. Usually though, it’s best to remain stealthy as long as possible. That means exploiting the geometry of the terrain to keep out of your enemy’s line of sight, moving in from directions unexpected, and generally being properly James Bond about it.
Don’t bother engaging enemies that haven’t seen you, and try to take out the ones that have as soon as possible. Your goal is just to get to the M-Com Station and blow it sky high with the minimum amount of noise.
Once you’ve gotten to the objective, you’ve got two options, depending on your specialisations. If you’ve picked the Explosives Leg Pouch, you’ll be able to destroy the entire objective in a single strike.
If you haven’t got it, then you’ll have to arm the bomb then defend it while it’s counting down. Luckily your shotgun will leave you well prepared in this eventuality, as most objectives are inside buildings and you’ll be able to hit your enemy at full force.
If you’re still alive after having taken down the objective, you can attempt to take the next one while the opposing side is flustered, or you could try to destroy the topic of the next section, vehicles.
Destroying and Denying Vehicles
Taking out vehicles is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things that Recon players are capable of. Whereas the Medic and the Assault classes despair when a tank appears, you can do something about it!
There’s definitely a knack to destroying enemy vehicles. A big part of it is map knowledge — if you know that tanks usually shell your team’s position from a given point, then you can apply your knowledge of the surroundings to approach from an unseen angle and take them out.
However, even just running around on your way to your other objectives you’re bound to run into a few vehicles. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to destroy every vehicle right away — don’t force it. Too many times you’ll see Recon players running head-on into a stream of bullets because they’re just a little too eager. Instead, sit back in a relatively secure position, and get ready to strike.
You’ll want to wait until you can be assured of one of two things:
- The vehicle (and all passengers) can’t see you, because you’re out of their field of view
- The vehicle (and all passengers) are busy responding to a perceived greater threat
The first condition can be achieved in a few different ways. The most obvious is attacking from the sides or the rear, where most guns won’t be pointing. You can use your map knowledge (like good places to hide and wait while the vehicle passes, or hill routes to come down behind enemy lines) to great advantage here.
A second way is less obvious — all guns have limited arcs of fire. They cannot aim past a certain plane downward, so if you approach from below, while crouching, you can’t be shot even if you are spotted.
The second condition is largely a case of luck, but you can often coordinate with a teammate to provide a distraction for you. Voice communication makes this very easy.
Once you’re approaching a vehicle, you’ll want to be mindful of a few things. Most importantly, you’ll want to kill anyone in the area who notices you, particularly engineers repairing vehicles. This means keeping the shotgun out as you approach, and only switching to C4 once you’re safe.
It takes two pieces of C4 to destroy a tank at full health. Small vehicles like ATVs are destroyed with one piece of C4. Once you’ve laid the C4, retreat about five meters and detonate it. If you’re being shot at, detonate immediately, as it’s better to destroy the vehicle and commit suicide than be shot and killed.
Sometimes, enemy soldiers will leave their vehicle rather than be blown up by your C4. If this happens, simply jump into the vehicle and drive away. A friendly engineer will be able to repair and reuse the vehicle you’ve acquired, and as long as it stays alive you’ve denied use of that vehicle to the enemy.
Even if you die immediately after getting in the vehicle, you’ve still denied your enemy use of that vehicle until it respawns. If you’re lucky, you can keep it alive and deprive them for even longer. This confuses the enemy, another worthy Recon goal.
Confusing the Enemy
Confusing the enemy is one of the most amusing and useful goals that ‘In Your Face’ Recon play can perform. Equipped as you are with loads of short-range firepower, you can destroy entire squads quickly and stealthily. This is highly confusing and frustrating to the other team.
Using your shotgun while attacking the flanks or rear of a small group of enemies is an obvious but effective tactic. You can augment this tactic with motion sensors, so as to be sure that you’re attacking a flatfooted enemy. C4 can also be used for ambushes and the like, with predictable results.
More than anything else, confusing your enemy is a fun way to let off steam. You’ll probably die a lot, particularly if your team is taking a more relaxed role, and confusing the enemy is a fun way to lighten it up a bit while enraging your opponent.
Be creative, and enjoy yourself. If you’re destroying objectives and vehicles, you definitely deserve a little fun.
With good knowledge of your map and weapons, ‘In Your Face Recon’ is a viable and invigorating way of playing the Recon class. It’s also a great way to get points, as killing a single vehicle or objective can often net you upwards of 300 points. So try it out today, and let us know what you think