Would Highlander be Better Without Sniper?
From my perspective as a demo player, nothing ruins my enjoyment of the format more than dealing with a sniper that is hitting shots, and I would be ecstatic if sniper was no longer in HL. I understand that it is a biased opinion, and I am curious if my wishes for sniper to not be a thing would be destructive overall.
My main gripe about the class is that considering how powerful sniper is, the best way to kill him is to hope your sniper wins the SvS, as teams will devote lots of resources into protecting their sniper. There are many situations, such as during a fight, that you have to stand in the sniper sightline and hope he doesn’t hit the shot, which is completely noninteractive from the receiving end. You cant slow the game down to completely avoid the sightline, unlike 6’s, where I think sniper improves the format. I also think the skill of both team’s snipers matters too much. If your team’s sniper is not having a good day, then your team is likely to get demolished by the enemy sniper. In my opinion, it is much harder to mitigate having a weaker sniper than it is to mitigate weaknesses in other classes.
How would the meta change if there was no sniper? Would it be worse off? I have been told that the lack of a sniper would make demo and heavy too powerful. I agree that demo and heavy will be stronger, but I think its better to have those classes be stronger, than have sniper be strong, as there is more counter-play and interactions are more interesting than “hope you don’t get headshot.” I am completely open to discussion and I am curious about what other players think about sniper.
ive always wished we could just TRY 8v8 instead of prolander and nr6s and anything else rly
this isn’t the first time this has been brought up and it’s weird to me that rgl, which is pretty good about at least trying new things (experimental cups, changing map pools, new modes, etc) hasn’t TRIED a version of highlander with the only difference being the removal of sniper
the rgl discord pugs have been trying 7v7 no sniper no engi, which i think is really weird because it seems like the sniper class is far more controversial than the engineer, and removing more classes than necessary moves the mode farther away from what highlander is (although im pretty biased on that front, since i do main the class)
i think one of the reasons that i personally don’t like sniper is because he has a 0-ttk tool available to him, which is a game mechanic that’s universally frustrating (at least to me). the spy also has such a tool, but puts himself at far more risk to use it and has far more counterplay than just Don’t Peek Lol
that said, sniper obviously has his role in highlander as the only consistent long-range space denial class, as well as a phenomenal playmaker. that’s why i think rgl should consider at least trying straight 8v8 to see if and how the mode works without the class present
pushing without a sniper in highlander is unfun
An interesting proposal surely. I’m not sure how enjoyable or fun it’d be, but it’d be neat to see what extra freedom the typically protective classes would have, and how players of said classes develop play with that freedom.
For instance, we may see much more active and aggressive flank centric engineering on something such as ashville. Pyro could also take a much more proactive role during exchanges due to not having to protect sniper, ie on vigil second.
I think we’d see pyros being able to play much more oriented around spam and aggressive play. A lack of sniper equals to the demo having more reign and space, which I think would make proactive positioning more effective at spam denial. In addition to this, I think we would also see much more diverse spy play. Having a pyro or a heavy be flashed in during exchanges in general would also be more applicable.
With no sniper to focus on, the spy can shift his focus to whoever the other team’s individual best classes are more often. This puts an emphasis on smart target prioritization, as you will no longer have as easy of a go to target to win your team fights. I think that this would make pyro and spy play/counterplay much more dynamic.
All of this being said, I concur with wish’s assessment. I do not think it would be worth the tradeoff.
We could always just start updating maps to nerf sniper as hard as we can. Basically take what we did with ashville but apply it to sniper.
The hard part about this solution is that it requires map makers, which we have few of working on HL maps.
@wish How so? Is it because defending teams can take more aggressive positioning without a sniper?
Advertising a format to the wider audience of “Hey, we just removed a class from the game, come try out a season of it!” does not particularly bode well at all if you are trying to push the competitive scene forward. If people want to run a version of it in their own pickup games for their own enjoyment, etc., then they can. However, expecting a full-fledged season of this does not make ample sense – especially if the goal is to close the gap between the casual audience and the competitive scene, not widen it.
I believe some players brought up in another thread about banning all the sniper secondaries to make the class weaker, which could help. That would be a separate discussion though.
The sniper class being so dominant in Highlander is a symptom of the format. You can compare this to 6v6, where sniper helps improves the format and does not necessarily define the entire result of the game (map design also plays a significant role in this). As such, it would be of value to place more resources into having new maps that significantly decrease the impact of the class. That ultimately also takes time.
@exa that makes sense, thank you for the response
if u go down the road of removing all the unfun classes ur just gonna end up with 6s. the jank and cheese and aids is all part of highlanders charm, if you want a gamemode without that just play 6s
Highlander might be better without sniper, but it wouldn’t matter if it was true. One of the biggest appeals of highlander is that you can play any class you’d like full time. If we remove sniper based off balance/how they affect the flow of the game, then I could potentially see an argument for removing other classes from HL as well. At that point it’s not even HL anymore. Just play 6s if you don’t want to deal with sniper.
Also, I understand why most demo players don’t like playing against decent pick classes, but I honestly don’t mind it at all. Decent snipers punish bad players who are impatient/don’t understand the concept of sniper sight lines. All of your weapons arch on demo as well, you theoretically don’t even have to peak a sight line to apply damage if you just knew most of the spam angles. Obviously that’s just theoretical, but my point is that there are plenty workarounds to playing against a good sniper.