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The Sniper/Gunslinger Issues Thread

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
The Sniper/Gunslinger Issues Thread

stealthrider's Avatar


stealthrider
12.30.2011 , 03:57 PM | #1
The purpose of this thread is to highlight and detail the numerous issues with the Sniper and Gunslinger classes, with the conclusion that these classes are badly designed and need to be reworked in order to be up-to-par with other classes in terms of playability, team utility, solo friendliness and PvP viability (both solo and in premade teams).

This thread will not offer direct solutions; this is not a buff/nerf X thread, only an issues list with reasoned explanations. As such, the list will begin with bugs and mechanics issues pertaining to the Sniper Advanced Class and the Agent class in general, continue on to specific PvE/PvP/Endgame PvE issues, and it will end with Quality of Life issues.

I recognize that a thread of this kind will be biased toward my experience as a Sniper. I will try to keep that bias in check, but I will not deny that it exists. That said, I do want this to be as objective as possible and as such I will not be directly comparing class abilities or playstyles save for the few areas where it is necessary to do so.


Bugs and Issues

Ability Delay

While this issue currently affects all classes, Snipers and Gunslingers are more devastatingly affected by this bug than others, due to their reliance on precise timing of instant-casts and long activation time abilities as well as the clunky Cover mechanic. The Sniper/Gunslinger is extremely dependent on their core abilities landing consistently, to the point that Accuracy is arguably the most important Sniper/Gunslinger stat, and the delay issue severely hampers the classes' damage and survivability.

Update: It appears the bug with Channeled Abiltiies and Natural Cover has been fixed, but several problems still remain, including the ability delay and "Cannot See Target" issue.

Entrench (and Gunsligner equivalent) Not Consistent

The Entrench ability, and its Gunsligner equivalent, is not consistent in stopping crowd control effects. Certain abilities like Electrocute and Force Pull ignore the skill completely, while others are only blocked sometimes. NPC knockbacks are the worst offenders, with a seemingly random chance to be stopped. Boss level NPC abilities' are never stopped, making the ability worthless in Flashpoint and Operation encounters (more on that later). This issue needs to be looked at immediately, as the Sniper/Gunslinger has little enough survivability when not CCed.

"Cannot See Target"

This is both a bug and a general issue. The bug seems to shwo itself in certain PvE maps, where even the slightest terrain difference can cause the sniper's skills not to fire, with the "Cannot See Target" error message. This is most devastating in certain Class Quest encounters, such as the battle with The Eagle. Aside from this issue, though, it is extremely easy for an NPC or Player to break Line of Sight against a Sniper, especially in the PvP maps. While not a make-or-break issue for the class, losing a target at the last millisecond of a would-be Ambush/Aimed Shot killshot is extremely frustrating, especially as the player needs to move and set up in Cover again to re-take the shot. More on Cover later.



Solo PvE Issues


Class/Planet Story Quests (30+); Post-Cutscene Battles

Snipers have an extremely difficult time with the many post-cutscene battles prominent in the Class and Planet storylines. Sniper and Gunslinger survivability and damage output relies heavily on positioning and getting the first shot, but after a cutscene the player is not given time to set up, get into proper range, set the right Companion, etc. For the Sniper specifically, the later Class/Planet storylines are nearly impossible to complete without at least one death. Kaliyo is extremely gear dependent after level 30, and Vector is hardly better. Doctor Lokin is far and away the best choice against Elite enemies, but against swarms he does not last long. Scorpio is extremely difficult to gear up, requiring Droid parts and the rarest of all weapon types, the Techstaff.

The lack of strong Companions to supplement the Sniper/Gunslinger's very limited survivability makes doing these post-cutscene battles an exercise in frustration at best.

Ground-Targeted AoEs, and the Elites that Love them

At later levels especially (45+), Elite enemies with the ground-targeted Fire Probe AoE are barely possible to solo as a Sniper/Gunslinger. The AoE is placed immediately upon the player entering Cover, forcing the player to either move or take half of his health in damage in the time it takes to fire off one Ambush/Aimed Shot or Snipe and Followthrough. This forces the Sniper/Gunslinger to move around, in which case he cannot put out enough damage to kill the Elite before he or his companion dies (and he dies shortly afterward). More on this issue later.

Base Defenses/Armor Level/Fragile CCs

Snipers/Gunslingers wear Medium armor, making them quite squishy. Most Elite or 2xStrong encounters end with the Sniper at dangerously low health levels, making the Sniper class inherently difficult to solo with by design. No other DPS class is as squishy without the means to heal or escape combat quickly.

Moreover, Snipers/Gunsligners have only one Hard CC. All other CCs break on damage, making them extremely situational and difficult to use in solo and group settings. Most importantly, though, the only 60-second CC Snipers get is Slice Droid, which must be compared to the other 60-second CCs. Unlike Whirlwind and its Jedi equivalent, Slice Droid is unusable in PvP, has a very subtle and easy-to-miss animation and, of course, can only be used on Droids. While it has no cooldown, it is so rarely useful that it seems to be more novelty than actual CC skill.

Slice Droid is a small problem, though. In the scheme of things, Sniper/Gunsligner jsut does not have enough survivability to justify its marginal damage advantage over other classes, if that advantage even exists (impossible to say right now).


Group PvE: Flashpoints and Operations

Cover

This deserves a section of its own, really. Cover is an extremely user-unfriendly mechanic that currently makes the Sniper/Gunslinger the least valuable Flashpoint/Operation DPS character.

As explained above, Entrench does not work against Flashpoint/Operation boss abilities. Most bosses have at least one control mechanic that takes the Sniper out of cover for at least a few seconds. If a Sniper cannot enter and stay in cover for long enough to use at least a few abilities (Ballistic Shield is rarely usable for its full duration, and it is even rarer to *want* to be in Cover for the full 15 seconds thanks to needing to use "entering cover" mechanics often for full effectiveness), he is at a distinct DPS disadvantage compared to every other class. Moreover, Sniper rotations are very tight and rely on precise timing, which these Boss control abilites screw up; Entrench is meant to alleviate this problem, but it currently does not.

In addition, certain buffs (Sniper/Burst Volley, Reactive Shot) are almsot guaranteed to expire before the Sniper/Gunslinger returns to cover, especially consdiering the Ability delay, wasting these buffs entirely.


See above section for CC issues and survivability vs damage "advantage" issues.


PvP


Huttball

This map is a Sniper nightmare. Yes, one or two Snipers will help your team thanks to the relatively hard-to-get-to scaffolding areas and overall openness of the map, but any more and your team is severely hindered. Snipers make terrible ball carriers and rarely survive long enough to pass the ball, if they didnt throw it away the instant they received it. Their lack of utility otuside of Ballistic Shield (more on that soon) makes them awful escorts for the ball carrier, too. Their main duty on this map is to stay 35m away from the ball and unload everything onto enemy ball carriers, put pressure on those chasing allied ball carriers and *try* to Flash Bang a group ontop of a flame pit. Throwing in Leg Shot helps, as well. Every other class can do all of that and more, though.

Voidstar

This is easily the worst of all possible maps for the Sniper/Gunslinger. Close quarters all around, hardly any high ground/sniper's nests/ledges of any kind, extremely easy to lose line of sight. This map was not designed with Snipers in mind and it shows. I can't fathom how this map could possibly be rectified, or how Snipers could be rectified for this map, though more survivability would of course be helpful.

Alderaan

This map is a lot friendlier for Snipers, however most of the Sniper advantage exists in the middle portion of the map, with the twin balconies overlooking the center capture point. The same Line of Sight problems exist all around, with Snipers being forced to get up-close-and-personal in fights over the side capture points, or they will lose line of sight extremely easily. A Sniper/Gunslinger in the midst of battle is an extremely easy kill, even with healer/tank support. Some high ground on the sides of the map would be nice--or, of course, more survivability.

General PvP Issues

Cover Pulse is devastated by the ability delay, but it is almost impossible to use reliably in PvP anyway. As the Sniper needs to be in cover to use this skill, it cannot be used to knock players off of ledges: the enemy will see the sniper set up for a pulse and move away, causing the knockback to be wasted. Or, worse, the enemy will use his instant knockback first (see, Inquisitors/Troopers).

Kiting as a Sniper/Gunslinger is very difficult if you are Marksman/Sharpshooter tree. The other trees have slows on their important skills, making their kiting much easier. The Marksman/Sharpshooter must rely on fragile CCs to kite, which rarely works in a group PvP setting. Add to that the Sniper's need to be in Cover to do any damage, and kiting effectively is even more difficult.

As mentioned before, Electrocute and Force Pull ignore Entrench. This is not acceptable and should be a high priority fix.

Ballistic Shield, the only team utiltiy skill Snipers have, is useless in pvP. Staying in cover for 15 seconds is not only difficult but unwise in PvP (or group PvE), making this skill not only extremely situational but not worth risking being stationary to use.


Quality of Life Issues

All Agent PvP and PvE armor looks the same, save for a swapped color palette. Most other classes have at least two different looks for their PvP and PvE endgame armor sets, but Agents have only one look for PvP and one look for PvE. Not only is this depressing from a customization standpoint, but it makes identifying an Agent's Advanced Class by look that much harder (wasn't it a goal to have classes identified by looks?)

Shield Proble absorbs a "moderate" amount of damage. How much damage is this? Since Shield Probe is the Sniper's main survivability skill, it is extremely important that the Sniper is notified of exactly how much damage is absorbed.


Scorpio is incredibly difficult to gear up, which makes the last few levels of the game VERY difficult. Scorpio should be able to use other weapons than just Techstaves, and there should be more and better Droid armor rewards at that stage of the game. The Techstaff issue is extremely important; it is nearly impossible to find a Techstaff outside of one or two quest rewards.


Conclusion

Snipers and Gunslingers have a myriad of issues that need to be resolved. Many of these are bugs, but several point to a major design flaw in the Cover mechanic and its use in PvP and group PvE, as well as late-game solo PvE. The key class issues can be summed up as follows.

1) Damage Advantage (if it exists) does not make up for the massive hit to survivability this class suffers compared to others.

2) Cover is unreliable in tough encounters, making the class extremely frustrating to solo and the least viable Flashpoint/Operation DPS.

3) Line of Sight and Ability Delay bugs make the class unplayable in certain instances and extremely frustrating in others.

The Sniper/Gunslinger classes need to be looked at, as they are underperforming in all areas of the game.
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ZakMorgan's Avatar


ZakMorgan
12.30.2011 , 06:59 PM | #2
Bump for justice.

Thanks for taking the time to highlight these problems that NEED addressing.

I'd also like to add that annoying bug where Ambush/Aimed shot gets automatically cancelled just as you cast it...real pain in the *** that.
Founder, and proud Agent since day one

swagnificent's Avatar


swagnificent
12.31.2011 , 01:06 AM | #3
I agree, a lot of the abilities are buggy as hell and that combined with the clunkness of cover just makes it worse. I kind of regret choosing gunslinger but hopefully in time all the bugs and mishaps will be fixed.

Like flash points for example, usually you're always on the move and don't really get a chance to stay in cover. Hutt ball, it's kind of hard stoping the carrier when you have to always stay stationary.

BW tried to make a unique different kind of class which is cool, but the reality is MMO games and games in general mobility is very important in every aspect (pvp,pve). In my opinion snipers and gunslingers shouldn't be all revolved around cover. Make it so the player wants to use it, but not where the player is restricted to it.

I maybe thinking to hard but this is just the facts. The lack of snares and lesser cool downs only make it worse for pvp. Time will tell though

cheers

kvelwulf's Avatar


kvelwulf
12.31.2011 , 01:18 AM | #4
There is a reason why there are so few snipers/gunslingers. At least in my neck of the woods.

Rawr_Bomb's Avatar


Rawr_Bomb
12.31.2011 , 02:11 AM | #5
I've just started playing the game, and I must say I really don't like the cover mechanic at all. It feels really clunky and hard to control. I think it needs to go away to make this a far funner class.

Or at least, let us take cover for defensive purposes, but dont' require our abilities to have cover to operate.

Dreyar's Avatar


Dreyar
12.31.2011 , 02:25 AM | #6
Good post, as a 47 gunslinger, I can say that leveling have been very frustrating for me. Experienced all the issues/bug mentionned above. Still I will wait for the changes and will stick to my class, anyway my guild need the 5% crit buff.

Locke's Avatar


Locke
12.31.2011 , 02:33 AM | #7
Good post. But I'd like to see all the bugs with cover fixed before any class changes are put in.

Roste's Avatar


Roste
12.31.2011 , 10:45 PM | #8
Well I appreciate the post as it does highlight a few issues especially the cover system which annoys me to no end with natural cover at least. The normal anywhere cover works just fine. Still aside from that, most of these issues really aren't issues, just general complaints, and mostly unfounded at that. As a gunslinger myself I havent had any of these issues except in one or two very rare occasions. In pvp I consistently do the most dps on my team despite being a sharpshooter and confined to one spot. The rare trooper will beat me, but that's about it. People seem to underestimate our class and seem to be attracted to the shiny sticks rather than me. In addition I consistently win solo fights when they happen. I know as a gunslinger this shouldnt happen as we need team support, but whatever. People don't seem to realize that if you stay put in cover and just go right back in as soon as you can if pulled you can still easily win. You have plenty of skills to do damage with and enough to get away briefly even in the sharpshooter tree. Everyone underestimates the class. The lack of good positioning in maps is regrettable but hardly game breaking. I can easily sit 20 meters or so away from all the force users and do great, if someone notices me its unfortunate, but it happens and you either kill the interloper or get killed.

As for pve, it can be annoying at times, but hardly a problem. As long as you time your skills and judge the mob correctly you can take down anything short of a champion. Heck I can kill some golds with the fish with barely any damage if I do things perfectly. Medium armor is just right with the additional 20% gained from cover. As I said before, I've only had trouble with mobs rarely. As for flashpoints and the like, the solution seems simple to me. Stay away from the boss. If your group is doing it right your tank should be getting beat up, not you. I can't recall the last time a boss pulled me and when it happens its usually the tanks fault for not keeping aggro and I suppose mine for doing so much damage >.>

All in all the class seems fine to me. It's just the technical issues like cover not working right that need fixing. People just need to learn how to play the class and move on. The system is perfectly balanced and heck o enjoy both pvp and pve immensly, the former of which I have never enjoyed in any other game. As a sharpshooter I do just fine in the most groped about glass and talent tree. If I can do fine, most others can too if they put some effort into learning the class.

That's about all I've got. Good job bioware for making a balanced game. Fix the technical issues and you can take my cash with my blessing.
"Who I am is not importantómy message is."-Darth Revan
Roste- Guild Master of Kinetic

BizzibleLol's Avatar


BizzibleLol
12.31.2011 , 11:22 PM | #9
+1 this needs to be fixed.

stealthrider's Avatar


stealthrider
01.01.2012 , 04:34 PM | #10
Bump for great justice, thanks for the support!
 /l、
(゚、 。 7 - Adorable cat is adorable.
 l、 ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ