Destiny Sniping and Aiming Guide by Pwadigy
This is Pwadigy’s “Guide to gitting gud.” Well, actually, it’s just a walk-through for players wondering about gun skill.
Gun skill, to be specific, is essentially a player’s capability to aim, and perform difficult feats of accuracy and precision on the fly in a PvP match.
To clarify, Gun skill is the least important factor in your crucible performance. In general, if you can aim a gun decently, you can win with teamwork, communication, and smart decision-making.
However, despite the fact that gunskill is not the most important piece of crucible gameplay, it’s a large part. In more heated matches, your team may need you to perform the extremely difficult to win. Perhaps, the only thing between you and the other team’s heavy ammo are the last three sniper bullets in your magazine.
But gunskill is very difficult to develop. Some players have a knack for it, and other do not. Usually, we see the greatest displays of gunskill in montages, leaving the power of good aim a relative mystery for us.
Indeed, one might think that familiarity with aim is something that can only be attained with tons of PvP gameplay over years of time. It is not. As a player who only began FPS gameplay roughly two-and-a-half years ago, I can say that gunskill is something that can be attained in the same manner as many other things: with practice.
The Sniper Rifle – Aiming
Inevitably, the most elegant displays of gunskill are flaunted with the almighty sniper rifle. No weapon will challenge your aiming skills than a high-risk, high-reward gun with a half-millimeter targeting reticle.
Likewise, the fast track to aiming well is with the sniper rifle. Therefore, in building a training method, you’re going to be using a sniper rifle. But, not any sniper rifle (we’ll get into that in a minute.
But first, let’s go over what it means to aim well.
First of all, What is aiming? your aim is a series of player-inputs that run through a mathematical formula that the game-engine uses to determine whether or not you’ve made a hit.
To put it simply, your aiming inputs have to best match the game’s built-in aiming system to get the desired output, or a hit. Likewise, proper training with any gun is going to isolate various kinds of inputs so that you can practice them and apply them in the right circumstances.
A lot of players demonize FPS games for adding a ton of aim-assist over the years. I think that this is because most players don’t understand aim-assist. Let’s get this straight: without any aim-assist you would almost never be able to hit any target in a console-based FPS. This is due to a number of factors, ranging from lag/latency, to the fact that controller thumbsticks are just naturally bad for aiming.
what is aim-assist for the sake of this walkthrough, aim-assist is a term I will use to refer to a number of technical, composite pieces. I know that this is not completely accurate, but in general, I will use aim-assist to refer to a mix of the following
- Auto-aim: The thing that keeps your target-reticle sticking on a target. Most players say that this causes them numerous deaths, but 95 times out of 100, it’s helping you, no matter how good you are. You just don’t notice when it’s helping you, because it’s programmed to be like that almost all the time.
- Bullet-magnetism. This is by how much the game forgives you for being slightly off-target. feature causes bullets to veer ever-so-slightly off-target to hit a mark at the more extreme ends of a hit-scan calculation. In other words, without any bullet magnetism, your gun would have to hit the target exactly. With bullet magnetism, your aim would have to fulfill a minimum requirement out-put value through the game’s arbitrary accuracy formula.
- Reticle slow-down This one is a lot like the “auto-aim,” but it’s distinct. Auto-aim will actually cause your reticle to make corrections. Reticle slow-down simply causes your reticle to auto-matically (you guessed it) slow-down when moving over a target.
With all of this technical silliness in mind, let’s go over some techniques. For this walkthrough, I’ll be demonstrating with a sniper rifle, but the techniques are similar for all weapons. It’s just that the proper technique at the proper time is most important with the sniper rifle, so it is best for isolating these scenarios.
Strafe-aim, Put simply, this is the most common form of aiming you do at close to mid-range with your standard gun. It works almost solely when your gun is pre-held at target-level, on a flat surface. Unimaginatively, it involvesphysically moving your character from left to right to aim. It’s hard to find example of when you’d purely use strafing to aim. Likewise, strafing has a natural limit to how fast you can aim with it (your character’s built-in speed). Usually, strafing is used to remain around the area of a target while other forms of aiming are to make smaller adjustment from there.
Square-aim: This is where you make two-composite adjustments of vertical and horizontal aiming. In other words, you place your reticle on the correct axis for one one vector, and then aim on the other vector. in simple terms, it’ll form a corner of a square. You will use this primarily in scenarios where your target is close to mid-range and are on a different height than you. It’s one of the few techniques you can use on-the-fly for quick, versatile aiming.
Straight “Swipe” this a sweeping motion, either horizontally or vertically. It can be used on any target, but proves less effective when the target is changing position both horizontally and vertically at the same time. It’s a great way to hit multiple targets consecutively on the same vertical level, as the first swipe can easily be used to set-up the next.
Diagonal Swipe. This is perhaps the most difficult to use, but it’s the most versatile. Use it on-the-fly, when a player is on both a different vertical and horizontal level from you. In the clip below, I knew that the first player was down in the hallway, but was caught-off guard by the second. Likewise, I made an initial error by making a horizontal swipe, when a diagonal swipe was needed. This is the kind of mistake that you’ll most frequently be correcting when training your aim.
Circular Swipe This is by far the most difficult to get right. Fortunately, it’s also the one that you don’t really need to know. Actually, it’s just a variation of the square-aim. Except, you’re doing both at the same time. This one will naturally develop as you get more familiar with a gun. It can be used for anything, especially for chaining shots at various heights, and hitting a target immediately after scoping/turning a corner. What’s funny is that with a keyboard and mouse, this motion becomes a lot easier (because thumbsticks have rigid vector motion), which is why KB&M will naturally feel better for aiming. But it’s still possible on a controller. The curving motion is generall used for making very small adjustments in aim. It takes more skill to curve a swipe over large distances.
These are a few “tricks.” They aren’t so much aiming techniques as they are practical tools that can be applied in specific gameplay scenarios.
Monkey grabbing banana aim/snipe. Also known as “leading your targets.” It works for projectile weapons (Vex-mythoclast) by aiming where the target is likely to be rather than where they actually are. With hitscans, you use it on a strafing target that is move towards your reticle. Essentially, you’re letting your target do the aiming for you.
Fade-away. When you’re taking fire, sometimes it’s best to plan to move out of sniping lane as fast as possible. With this trick, you move into the sniping lane (it also works with most semi-auto weapons), and then strafe back out, while making a swiping motion towards your cover.
When you train for a particular skill, you want to isolate that skill. Contrary to popular belief, actually running crucible is not the best way to evolve gun-skill. You only get so many encounters per game. Therefore, much like playing any sport, you can make fun little drills to make yourself better at a particular skill (in fact, most sports practices on competitive teams will largely focus on drills, and isolated plays.)
In Halo, we had “Octagon Training” which would put you in a small, enclosed environment to practice with another player. You could get far more encounters per match this way.
Without custom lobbies, it was difficult to put something together that would actually help you aim.
In the end, I chose a form of PvP training with everybody’s favorite gun as a special star.
What you’ll need
- No Land Beyond
- Your normal sniper rifle
Where to go
- Go to the ember caves on venus. It’s the area right outside the vex caves that you visit on the Archon Priest strike.
What to do
- Start at the base of the platform in front of the caves, strafe snipe the dregs with no land beyond. Take all the time you need. You’ll be really slow at first, but it’ll get faster. Make sure you get all headshots. Again, take your time.
- Next, switch to your other sniper rifle, and snipe down into the valley. Again, aim for headshots.
- Finally, walk up the ramp, and use a combination of NLB and normal sniper headshots to take out the enemies.
Once you get a full run, time yourself to see how quickly you can do this.
Why does this work?
- The location has multiple levels to practice multiple aiming techniques. Targets will be on the same height as you, below you and above you.
- You have to snipe while moving and while stationary. You have to snipe on moving and still targets
- You have to hit targets at multiple ranges.
- The No Land Beyond is used because it has all the unwieldiness of a sniper with a close-range sights. In other words, it’ll help you aim with other guns.
- Fallen are the most identical to players in size, shape, and headshot hitbox. Dregs mimic a crouching player while vandals mimic a standing player.
- The location has multiple possible public events.
- Fallen naturally move out of a sniper scopes, closely imitating how players will likely react. While their movement can never perfectly emulate player motion, with enough runs, you’ll have experienced enough variation in motion that you’ll be ready to apply it to players.
Bonus: practice for your chunin exams.
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