Tarkov's Sniper Skill Should Level up Easier
Or faster... I'll take either at this point.
Soft skills are really interesting in Tarkov. They provide a large variety of benefits for your PMC, whether that is more stamina, strength, perception, and alongside physical skills, there are plenty of skills related to mechanics and weapons. Every class of weapons has an associated soft skill that provides benefits when handling the weapon. But out of all the weapons to level up, bolt-action snipers are by far the worst to level up in the game.
Bolt-actions are some of the most enjoyable and satisfying weapons in Tarkov because they require an elevated level of both patience and accuracy. They are not full auto rifles that can make up for bad aim with magazines of ammo to spew in a direction. If you miss, there is a decent chance depending on your location, you might be dead. You only have anywhere on average from 5-10 rounds to make the shot. And you need to manually cycle each round after you fire. So, shot placement is key. What is not so enjoyable about them, is leveling up their related weapon skill. Sniper skill at least out of all the different weapon skills, is easily the most annoying and tedious to level up. Even just getting it to 3 takes a lot of time. But going for 7, or even 9, well, you might be a bit of a psycho to get to it that high. But let me ask you a question: does reloading a Mosin or any other sniper non-stop for an entire raid to optimize how many points you get towards your sniper skill sound fun? It should not, because it is not. And yet, that is the best way to level up the skill? What?! Ugh... it blows so much that this skill levels up the way it does. I have some ideas as to how I might adjust the skill so it is not as boring and tedious. For one, landing headshots on enemies would yield more points that they already do. And the points you earn scales with distance from the target; the further you are, the more points you earn. It is silly that I can hit a 350m headshot on anything; scav, player, raider, rogue; and it does not take into consideration the distance between me and the enemy I shot. I do not get rewarded for hitting a nasty shot; which just feels wrong. So, I would try and rectify that if possible. Now obviously, there would be measure put in place so you cannot farm your friends for the skill points. It would check if the person you killed partied up with you and even if they were on your friends list, maybe? Might be going too far but still, it would be nice to have that potentially.
Overall, I would just try and adjust some of the values so that actually shooting a sniper rifle feels good and rewarding. You can land really clean shots, get some loot, and you get a bunch of sniper skill on top of that. It is a win-win. Now diminishing returns would also kick it really hard if you got a crazy far headshot, and get a shit ton of skill points, but on paper it at the very least sounds better to me, than just spamming reload on a Mosin or M700 or whatever sniper you like to use. Because right now, besides the tasks that give you a bunch of sniper skill, there are only three ways to earn points towards the skill: Landing hits with the weapon, reloading the weapon, or removing the round from the chamber. It would be nice if these values were just increased when you interacted with them. Because besides leveling them up for their respective quests, the actual benefits from the skill itself are not that impactful. Improved recoil for a bolt-action is almost useless because you need to cycle the round after you fire, weapon switch speed can be a potential life saver, but it is only 0.8% per level up to a maximum of 40%, so you will not feel it until much later down the line. And who is going to go past level 9 sniper skill to see those benefits in full? Reload speed is nice, but again, if you have 5-10 rounds and you are at a safe distance, reloading kind of a non-factor. And probably the most beneficial aspect from the skill is increased ergonomics. This is actually especially useful, because it means faster ADS speeds, as well as being able to hold your weapon longer before you run out of stamina. Unfortunately, this is only 0.2% per level up to 10% at max level, so again, a nice bonus, but unless you sink an exorbitant amount of time into snipers, you will not really feel those benefits much. The elite benefits are interesting. Well, one of the two benefits are. For the first three seconds of scoping in with a bolt-action you have perfectly steady aim, meaning no matter how much or how little stamina you have left, you will always be able to have a couple seconds of accurate shot placement. The second elite skill is having your mastery points with the gun be earned twice as fast. Which, eh, mastery from my limited knowledge with how it works, is more for the animations of the weapons and showing that your PMC is more proficient with them and can maneuver the weapons more efficiently. One example of this is the M4 and how you when you fully empty a mag, if your mastery is 0, he will use his thumb to press the button on the side and cycle the next round. But at level 1, he uses his palm to quickly press the button, making it feel like your PMC is more comfortable with the gun. As someone who geeks out over small animations like that, it is awesome to see them in the game. Too bad with guns like bolt-actions you most likely won’t ever really see the fruits of those labors.
I think in reality, it’s just how slow the skill levels up in the game that bothers me. The methods to level it up make sense; you are handling the weapon and landing either hits or kills with it. Makes plenty of sense. But it certainly feels arbitrarily high for no reason than to slow down the quest progression associated with the skill. Which sucks, because imagine how cool it would be to have a really high sniper skill and to be able to swap weapons on the fly if you think someone is creeping a little too close for comfort. Or to naturally have snipers with better ergonomics so they can be generally handled better. It is something that is on the table for adjustments at least. Not something particularly challenging to adjust or balance in general. Just some overall number changes and tweaks which is nice.
Bolt-action snipers are a fairly balanced weapon class. Their high damage is marred by a slow output of rounds, and the need to be accurate with every shot you take. I feel as though people have the least to complain with bolt-actions in terms of them being potentially overpowered. But, if there was one aspect to them that I think the community would all rejoice over, is having their skill level up faster than it does currently in the game. Now, it doesn’t have to be by a crazy amount. But make it so that reloading the whole raid isn’t perhaps the most efficient way to level it up. Give some of the interest in the weapon class back to it, by making the skill scale with shots landed, where, and how far. That’s all I’m asking. But who knows? Maybe one day we might be able to meet in the middle and figure something out. But until then, just keep pressing R on that Mosin. You’ll get level 9 eventually.
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