Hawken SharpShooter Tips and Tricks
Hawken SharpShooter Tips and Tricks by Guiotine
I am hoping to make it easier for people new the SS to try it out and see if they can perform well.
A few disclaimers:
- I am by no means a SS pro, nor have I invested a lot of time in this game. Like many others, I started with open beta.
- This thread is to help me as much as everyone else.
- I will not cover basic things like running away or stick with a buddy, as there are many other threads on that topic that can be searched for. I will only be giving tips specific to the SS.
- I don’t want to hear any of the C-class bs I hear from other people, like AJK
- This guide is meant to compile people’s observations, and as such it gives a lot of conflicting or different information.
Lets get started:
My own observations:
- Positioning:This is very important for an SS. There are spots on every map where an SS can get a good view of the map, while remaining hidden from enemies. USE THEM. There are many of these spots in every map, it’s just a matter of finding them. Look for places with high elevation and lots of cover, or corridors where the enemy has little escape opportunities. These places exist all over the place, just keep an eye out.
- Movement: I mean this in a slightly different sense than what is usually meant in this game. Typically when movement is mentioned in this game, it means side dashing, boosting, running away. What I mean is that the longer you stay in your sniping spot, the quicker it takes for your enemy to identify your position and hunt you down. You want to avoid this as much as possible, so use your items and look for other spots to avoid this. That brings me to my next point.
- Use your hologram: this is an amazing item when used properly, it can be used as a decoy to distract an enemy so you can snipe him from a different angle. A popular tactic is to use the hologram and putting a turret inside, adding to the authenticity.
- Use your ability:using the SS ability in conjunction with the slug rifle and the SABOT give the SS some of its best burst, and will always do a significant portion of your target’s health.
- Avoid CQC as much as possible: CQC (Close-quarters combat) is NEVER a good idea for an SS. the closer the enemy is to you, the less of an advantage to have against them. This makes the fast moving, close quarters scout and infiltrators our natural counters, if the SS fails to notice/take them out at range. Another point to remember is that CQC means you can’t zoom, and zooming increases the damage of the SABOT.
- Ditch the Hawkins ASAP: This is more of an opinion on my side, but the Slug rifle pulls off far more DPS and is much more suited to long range sniping than the Hawkins is. That being said, that Hawkins is much more suited to mid-close range combat than the slug is. It’s not perfect, but in most cases it’s better than the Slug.
- REMEMBER YOUR ROLE: I can’t stress this enough. You are not Fred. You are not a scout. You are not a brawler, or any other mech. You are a SS, and that means you have a drastically different play style than any other mech. Stay in back as much as possible, you should always be as far back as you can, while still providing a good LOS to support your allies. That is the SS, a support class. Do not expect to get a lot of kills as an SS, expect to get a lot of assists. That is fine, since there is little difference in EXP between an assist and a kill, because experience is calculated by damage. (there is another thread on this). SS has some of the best burst in the game with SABOT + Slug, but expect to not do much damage (relatively, of course, slug still does pretty good damage) to the enemy.
- The slug is 100% accurate while moving. It has a vertical offset. I don’t have access to the game atm so no screenshots
- All your points should go into mobility.
- So I tried playing on a computer who’s mouse doesn’t have a thumb button, and its impossible to play SS well. Tried a bunch of keys, R, Alt, Z, Q. None of them quite compare to how quickly you can quickscope with a thumb button, especially if you have to move. Moral of the story: get a mouse with thumb buttons if you intend to play SS.
- If you bind it to E you literally cannot overlap your scoping and strafing to the right. It is worth getting used to a thumb button, it is much, much better.
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW’s tips for CQC (awesome name )
- If you get into a CQC situation, first see if you can get out. If you are against a C type, you can probably dodge around corners and get away. B, not so much. A, you are probably dead.
- In case you are completely caught out, your only options are to either run around for as long as you can to distract them, buying your team time to react, or to get out as much damage as possible. In both cases, you want to prolong yout life as much as possible. Time alive = time that can be spent shooting = outputting damage = assists.
- I would think this is relevant in all game modes, even in FFA DM, since it is possible to catch any chasers in a crossfire and make it out alive. In team games, this is even more important, since there is a good chance your team will help you (unless you are in the middle of nowhere – in which case, distract anyway, and let as many people chase you, buying time for your team to capture points).
- What I really wanted to say about CQC: time your dodges, your opponents dodges, and your weapon cooldowns. More than any other class in this situation, SS has to land every shot, which is VERY difficult (CQC after all). The cooldown on your enemy’s dodge and secondary weapon are the most important: when they are both on cooldown is your best time to land a good shot, then dodge away when they are about to launch a counterattack.
- PATIENCE. This is the key! muy importante and all that jazz. be patient or die. It’s that simple. Don’t panic shoot, don’t burn dodges early, and DO NOT chase an almost dead enemy into a swarm of enemies. Unless you have a pre planned escape route. PRO TIP: always have an escape route in your mind.PHILOSOPHY. getting deep early right? You are a support class. You are not a kill fuzzy bunny like snipers in every other game. You burn enemies down so they are easy for your team to kill. Don’t get me wrong this class gets a ton of kills but don’t shift from the full hp target entering the fray to burn a Sabot round on a guy with 20 HP. That’s doing your team dirty. Aim for assists, the kills will come, trust me.
- SHOOTING. sounds simple enough. My old range buddy had a great saying “Aim small miss small” in plain english this means don’t just aim for the mech aim for a joint or camo pattern intersection. This will increase your focus and limit your wild shots instantly. It basically tricks your brain, because you will still probably miss that spot alot, but you will hit the overall target alot more.
- AIM LOW. should I have put this in shooting? Do we get a damage bonus for shooting the mech in the tippy top of its head? NO. so why aim high and limit the backdrop for missed shots? Aim low. A mechs groin, for lack of a better term, is the best aimpoint. PRO TIP: when on the move aim at a foot because your gun shoots high when on the move.
- STAY MOBILE. “a mobile sniper you say?? bah humbug!” It’s true! I can’t count how many times I’ve seen immobile snipers get wrecked in a heartbeat while the enemy team couldn’t hit me if you promised them a real life mech for doing it. I know from personal experience a stationary target a mile away is easier to hit than a 5 D mech at close range! 5 D(dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge) Also I lick my chops when I see a stationary sniper in my SS I can guarantee 3/4 of his health gone in under a second. PRO TIP: Stutter stepping and weaving can save your life. Going in a straight line at a steady speed is a pretty easy shot for an enemy.
- STAY LOW. “pshhhaw! a sniper must be on high to snipe the puny ant’s with his god cannon!” Maybe so but it makes you an easy target. In my progression as a Sniper I find taking a few shots from a high perch is nice but that perch is usually exposed and leads to you getting flanked and spanked. Certain maps provide good high points that are safe E.G. the bridge in that one map (>.< brain cramp sorry.) But staying close to the ground and lots of escape routes is a much better idea. Also your team can help you alot more from an enemy rounding a corner on you than they can if your on high getting pounded from 4 corners away. PRO TIP: jumping high spotting the enemy and relaying the info to your team is great but don’t get greedy and feed the enemy team a kill because you got immobile.
- STICK WITH THE TEAM! obvious right? Sometimes I even get caught by the, I am god on high mentality and don’t notice my team drifting away. I then get promptly smashed by three enemy mechs at close range while I’m screaming “Fuzzy Bunnies” no PRO TIP for this one… just do it.
- CQB. yes it’s possible. This takes alot of twitch shooting, never staying still, and awareness. You are at the disadvantage in CQB what should that tell you? It tells me every shot must count and I better not stand still. Basic tips for this, Wait for the enemy to dodge to burn your sabot. Wait for the enemy to launch his TOW/hellfires or big special to burn your dodge. I say this because as a sniper you can see that round coming and if you’re fast enough you can escape it. PRO TIP: Figure out the enemies gun, know the weaknesses of the gun and use them to save your tail.
- 2 V YOU. “bend over and kiss your bum goodbye” yeah you’re probably dead if you decide to stay and fight. Never be afraid to run like a little girl screaming “SAYV MEH” to your team. That being your smart option let me take you through the dumb option.(this is my preferred method) Pick one and burn him down. Don’t alternate shots between the two. STEP ONE: pick a guy, call him T1, and charge him hug him circle him land on his head anything but put him between you and the other enemy. STEP TWO: Shoot the other one,T2. You would be amazed how hard it is for T1 to hit you and T2 will obviously be having trouble shooting around T1. I’ve survived multiple 2 v 1 fights doing this, but usually the guy I’m face hugging ends up killing me after I roast his buddy. PRO TIP: When running away don’t be afraid to spin and put a sabot into your pursuers here and there. It makes them wary and can buy time for your team to come and support.
- HOLOGRAM. “You hacker I can’t do any damage to you and you killed me from behind when you were obviously in front of me!!!” that’s a direct quote from an anonymous player. This little toy is amazing! and has so many uses! A decoy for enemies to expose their position by shooting at it or, my favorite, as a split second decoy. Getting chased by two or more enemies? drop this puppy at a junction and haul around the next building. The few seconds they spend shooting it can save your tail. OR (more fun) let you flank around their blind side and load em up with 2 slugs and a sabot and keep on running, or stay and kill them if you can.
- MechPilot6666’s signature strategy: THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE: No mech that goes in is ever heard from again…. until he respawns… There are a ton of great spots on every map for this tactic and the level of rage/WTF just happened/man i hate you messages after finally getting it right are amazing!!!
- Step 1: find a cozy spot to deploy your MG Turret. (Try to set it up where it wont shoot until someone is looking at your hologram)
- Step 2: place your hologram across a gap from your turret.
- Step 3: start sniping some people to bring them into the trap.
- Step 4: grab some cover
- step 5: wait for the MG turret to start firing
- step 6: jump out of cover and smoke the poor guy
- step 7: clean up the scrap metal
- love this trick so much! I was having trouble with 2 on 1’s 3 on 1’s etc but with this trick the level of confusion for the enemy player is awesome! This also works great with a buddy to help out, you can pretty much tear an enemy team apart in a few seconds with a buddy.
- Basic theory behind the strat you smack the enemy a couple times with the slug rifle he and a buddy come over to “take out the annoying sniper” you bait them past the hologram and find a cover area they come around fire a snap shot at the hologram. “Oh wait it’s a damn holo!” the turret is shooting them in the back. That is your que. Once that turret spins up pop out of cover and start blasting. 9 times out of 10 you can work 2 or 3 enemies with this.
- There are plenty of spots on every map to do this some much better than others but man is it effective. Guys I have been playing with and against for a while that are very good had a few WTF moments chasing me down because of this today.
- Honestly this tactic is for when you’re on that team that wouldn’t know teamwork if it walked up and saved their lives repeatedly but can be plugged and played in smart teams to devastating effects.
The SS motto according to mechpilot6666: Cassius Clay said it best: “Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a bee!”
Cymatic’s Lure strategy:
- It requires a specific environment, but is gratifying when it works. Find an alley with full cover midway through it. Place a turret midway and a hologram in partial cover at the end. Instigate a mid range chase, retreat down the hallway and hide behind the full cover. Start repairing. Between the distraction of the turret and a repairing enemy down the way, the enemy almost always rushes right past you. Shoot ’em in the back! Bonus points if you have a friend/friends at the end of the alley. Once took down over half a team with this before they wised up.
Redvan’s lesson on CQC:
- Quickly dodge around corners and take the shots as you can. You’ll basically need to hit 100% of your shots to win, but, nobody said SS was easy. You’ll get used to it.
- Why should you learn to CQC SS? Because 90% of the game is CQC, and even if you’re at some “pro sniper spot yo”, it doesn’t take any more than a mediocre player to get up to you and take you out. You will be CQC eventually. This is especially true in Siege mode. Every player not on the point is essentially worthless to the team.
- Obviously in TDM you can set up somewhere to snipe, just know you’ll need to CQC someone eventually once they find you, which won’t take long.
- Missile: While you don’t necessarily need your entire team on point, you’re still not very beneficial to your team if you aren’t able to CQC and help out when needed.
- TBH, snipers that sit in the back and just snipe are the last thing I worry about while playing.
- You’ll need to quick scope to CQC. You can try w/o, but like I said before, you need to hit 100% to be successful. If you’re not scoped, your sabot isn’t going to hit 100%.
- CQC SS is what I do 99% of the time.
- You need to put yourself into fuzzy bunny situations or you’ll never get better. I’ll frequently take on 3v1 just for practice. It will increase your situational awareness and reaction time if you practice that. Makes a 1v1 a cakewalk
- Don’t underestimate EMP either, and learn to use it well / strategically. With it you can disable chasers and get nice multikills in dogpile situations. Hell, it will even save your hide in CQC if you get hit with it (as long as the enemy gets it too). Run to your teammates or towards another dogpile. Sure you may die in DM situations, but you also just lured your primary enemy into a situation where crossfire will probably kill them too.
- Also, this doesn’t seem to be mentioned (and if it has, I apologize), learn to lead your shots. Yes, Slug and Sabot are practically instant hits, but in CQC and against fast moving targets, not missing that crucial shot helps you stay alive.
- And finally, WATCH YOUR HEAT. Slug and Sabot both build it up very quickly. Pace your slug shots, and use the lead time (above) to cool your weapon. Don’t fire every single time its up. And in CQC, only fire Sabot when you’re sure it will hit. Waste it and you’ll be stuck on a heat buildup that reduces the Slug shots you can make, and you’ve lost your burst for a significant amount of time. If you’re heating is way up high, consider EMPing the enemy and using the first second or two to cool off. It saves lives. Specifically, yours.
- The idea that you cannot pick a spot and own it is erroneous. All you need is a Radar Jammer and an MG Turret. MG turret is your spotter. Radar Jammer is your Camo. Personally I would favor a position that cannot be flanked without the enemy being spotted(Prosk and Bazaar have many, Origin a few). If someone is closing with you and you’ve hit them a few times take them on, you should win.
- If you have teammates near DON’T use your items… save them for CQB… dropping a turret and a radar jammer will annoy the daylights out of whomever comes up expecting to run you down. From there you dodge, loose them(no radar for them), re-engage. This is very effective on Origin.
- As to optimizations, putting all your points into mobility is a bad choice; weapon damage, heat reduction are good. However, RoF increase for all weapons is a must. A Sabot Slug combo will put a massive dent in anything with your damage ability active, the more you can do this the smaller the chance they will close to CQB. I’d divide between the dodge/boost buffs and heat/RoF buffs
- What has been said about staying mobile depends on your team… if they are Seagulls(flapping away after the first thing they see, running into ambush after ambush, etc…) then use them as bait and position accordingly. If they are a dangerous roving gank squad then acting like very dangerous bait can also be effective… people really seem to get cranky at Snipers and will come looking for you. If there’s more then one of them then you’ll probably need help to kill them and a swarm of angry gank squad is good to have close. Most importantly, don’t just wonder around the place looking for targets… you will get killed. Have a plan, move from firing position to firing position, this is best timed to ensure you have an MG Turret ready to deploy when you arrive.
- Also, what was said about a SS being sub-par in CQB is not true… it’s one of the best… no splash damage means you can fire both weapons point blank and not injure yourself take advantage of that and crowd your enemy. Make tracking hard for them and push them to overheat… autofire weapons are going to be fired non-stop in panicky CQB… push them to overheat then line them up and blast them
- Fake Retreat: If you get in trouble run away, but stop a short distance away if they’re not pursuing and keep an eye on your radar (or your team’s chat) to see if the enemies have engaged someone else. Don’t take the time to repair, but sneak back and try to get off a few long range shots. They’ll be distracted, so you’re fairly safe, and a couple of salvos can change the tide of the battle.
- Slug Rationing: Don’t always keep plinking away with the slug. You’ll run into a lot of opponents that will stand and fight and only take cover at the last second. The slug by itself will take them low enough they’ll duck without you being able to kill them. Instead, ease up on the slug shots so the target thinks it’s safe and will stay in the open until your sabot recharges, then blow them away with one volley.
- i have been noticing alot of ‘do this do that/stay hidden/stay moving’ that kindof implies you must keep doing it no matter what, I just wanted to add a tip or two about the hologram and how I use it often and to touch on behaviour and playstyles a bit that can be applied to the SS as well.
- exploit peoples tendencies to ‘expect behaviour’ or predict patterns in your playstyle.
- When you do something often enough, people catch on, you can use this to your advantage when changing it up or making it look like you’re not at all, the biggest one is when people habitually build expectations of others simply by looking at their scores or the overall score of their team, and these expectations are further built on as they play against you and start picking up on your habits. Rank and file you are categorized from the beginning and it is well worth understanding that and exploiting it to your opponents dismay.
- When you’re dropping holograms all the time, regular players will expect this tactic from you more often, while its risky, you can use yourself as a ‘hologram’ instead to change it up, note that a hologram mimics your torso movement but not your overall movement, staying still and simply turning in an odd direction ive managed to successfully fool a few people with even while directly looking at them. Like the trick with dropping your turret within your actual hologram you can confuse the hell out of people doing things like this by dropping it beneath yourself instead of the ‘actual’ hologram, making yourself the obvious target and your hologram the less-obvious one, some peeps are inclined to think the less obvious is the real target which is not always what happens.
- Opening fire paints you on the map pretty quickly, so some players are reluctant to immediately fire if they suspect a hologram if they’re in an awkward/open position, gives you a small but valuable window to line up a boosted sabot/slug shot nicely even in close quarters as they have a ‘second take’ moment walking toward you.
- Ofcourse, it wont work every time, but in short, i find that most people espescially the experienced ones are habitually looking for patterns in behaviour and playstyle and tends to work better against experienced players, and its well worth keeping this in mind, the ‘well i dodge left all the time, this time ill dodge right’ is a basic example of this, this particular way of using the hologram can be another trick in your repertoire to further to build on the confusion and add an element of trickery for any skill level player.
- Not one playstyle is going to work for every situation, so the idea of constantly moving may not always be suitable for a given situation like I outlined above, SOMETIMES, standing can still mess with peoples heads and gives you an opportunity, the tips and tricks offered though are still valuable and certainly worth considering, what im trying to say is ‘dont stop there’. They can be regarded as guides rather than rules, including what I say here, as you can take these guides and apply it to every situation of every type of skilled player and still fall into the usual debates of ‘well theyre newbs, wait till you play against a REAL team’ etc.
- Most people build expectations to predict playstyles and opponents descisions in those frantic moments of CQC or ranged duels so that what theyre thinking is decided within the few short seconds of a fight and doesnt turn into one of those terrible animes where theyre talking to themselves in a profound kind of way about how their opponent tricked them with some long-winded deeply rooted philosphical diareha, their decisions are already made up for them on the given situation, if they dont know the player(s), its russian roulette at that point, but they atleast still have strategies to fall back on that MAY work.
- Try to be creative with how you use the tools given to you, and be an opportunist even if someone on the opposition calls you a backdooring cloaking hacking dodging cowardly running two-faced fuzzy bunny for whatever reason.
- An example of that is deliberately leading persuers into other mechs that will engage them for you hopefully without them realizing or simply being forced to stop and engage the other mech, letting you recoupe and possibly net both kills (this is more for DM though). When you’re playing in a team though, dont let your team pick up your mess, keep in touch with em, the Z shortcut is great in a pinch for letting your teammates know you need help instead of just leading persuers right onto them, but you should be working with them regardless.
- on a side note; SamSlades example of actually getting in close to exploit the lack of splash damage is a great use of thinking outside the square as well, people dont expect snipers to be hugging you and its true that most players frequently push their mechs into overheat in the frantic tangle of CQC, ive done this before espescially with people using shields to repair in and the slug rifle is actually really reliable here.
- Effective use of the Sabot in CQC is an acquired skill. It just takes practice.
You need to learn decent target prediction, so you’re zoomed in on where your enemy will pretty much walk into your crosshairs, great positional awareness, so you can move/dash while zoomed without getting caught on walls/terrain and knowledge of when to zoom in and when to risk unscoped shots.
TwiceDead’s CQC sabot advice:
- Fire away while quick scoping.
- Things you can do to make the shot easier:
- Wait for the enemy’s dodge.
- Dodge around a corner, wait for the opponent to come around. Even better if they dodge around the corner because they’ll be a sitting duck for half a second.
- Never stop hammering slug rounds into the enemy, all it takes is two sabot rounds and the game is yours, he’ll go down easily after two rounds, the slug can handle the rest.
- You won’t get away from having to zoom in to fire the sabot in CQC unless you want to utilize it’s full potential, and you don’t have to zoom in for long. Far as I know the slug is unaffected by zoom, so fire your sabot, zoom out, hammer him with the slug, zoom in, fire your sabot.
- DON’T MISS.
Sickdove’s combat info:
- One shot with both slug/sabot at the same time with damage increased engaged drops the enemey health an average of +/-50%~80% in a single shot.
- Move. Follow your team not the seagulls. Provide support from affar.
- Find that spot and snipe away, milk it. The enemy will find you there or on the way to a new spot anyways. Kill them to clear the way leaving no witnesses behind.
- Biggest problem I found is too find an enemy sniper with experience. They tend to sit on my spot. Great COC fights develop there. If you loose, don’t seek revenge. Support your team.
LG_Bongo’s Location tips:
- If you take SS to be a back row camper sitting on top of the bird’s nest and taking headshots (which I tried), then indeed it’s difficult to find a good spot. However if you adopt the midrange support strategy (mechpilot6666 gave us great tips), then you’ll find that maps are well designed. After playing DM for a while here are my observations:
- Bazaar (Brosos_65K): SS heaven, a lot of open areas to line up your shot. I stick to the outer edge, going downtown is risky: buildings blocking line of sight and possibility of getting flanked easily. Obviously in PvP it does not really matter.
- Origin (Crion): I stick to the upper level. It has a lot of long wide corridors and arenas, the platforms in the middle allow for ambush from above. I prefer to fight around corners and set a hologram on the other end, to stay aware of flankers.
- Prosk (Eugene_77): Excellent for midrange. Grid plan city allows for lining shots along the blocks and quickly hiding between buildings. Great map for escaping your foes: weave around the blocks, drop hologram at the corner. For longer range I hang in the middle of the bridge, dropping hologram on one end and keeping eye on the other, as soon as enemy appears take him out before he gets a chance to approach.
- Uptown (Trentik_54): The trickiest one. Lots of narrow corridors and pillars result in frequent CQC. So I stick to the big arenas, usually at the edge, next to escape route with a hologram at the other end of this route. Take couple of shots then relocate.
Talesin’s wise words on the SS (taken from another thread)
- Really the trick is that an SS is a force multiplier. Sit where you can get a good view and DON’T fire at just any targets you see. Spot them for your allies. Wait until they’re actively IN combat before you start adding some chip damage with your Slug, when it’s likely to go un-noticed in the damage being dealt by their opponent. Conserve your Sabot for a kill-shot, or to paste runners (same thing, really), or spook a repairing/hiding enemy out of cover for nearby teammates to take down.
- Firing on anything in sight makes you FAR more likely to be noticed and targetted. Being subtle and ignored is when you really shine… and with good teammates who draw enemies out into (one of) your sight-line(s), you can effectively be in multiple places at once, and turn the tide of combat all over the map.
- It’s not the one-shot-kill most CoD-kiddies expect. Yes, it takes finesse, and you are squarely unable to 1v1 at almost any range. But played correctly, it’s an incredibly valuable asset to a team. Played correctly, you’ll easily top the scoreboard almost every round.
- …oh, and maintain situational awareness, and know how to RUN LIKE A FUZZY BUNNY once the enemy does rumble you and start to move in to swat you down. Running instantly isn’t always the best idea, and the most direct path toward your team is less likely to be the one you want to take.
- Personally, my favored two items are the Radar Jammer and MG Turret. One is exceptional in assisting with getaways, and the other provides an excellent flanker alarm (though can draw attention to your position if placed incorrectly).
Azrael39’s number one pro tip:
- Number 1 pro tip with a SS is: to maximize your burst damage fire both the slug and sabot at the exact same time by clicking the left and right mouse buttons together.
Personally, I run with the Offensive optimization tree (Check out h0B0’s guide for optimizations, there is some good info there), with the thruster, repair kit, and Armor Piercing Munitions internals. I am thinking of making a gameplay video and adding it to this post to help give an idea to new SS players as well, not sure if I will though.
I would just like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. It really has become the helpful guide to the community I had hoped it would be. Everyone has contributed great tips, and it is really appreciated for all of us Sharpshooters. So thank you once again
A lot of bullshit as usual. The best SS players all use Hawkins SA, willingly engaging in close combat, too – and usually win, too.