Sniping On Black Ops: Bite The Bullet

Way back a month or so ago, when sites such as ours were ranting and raving about Black Ops, and all the cool and questionable changes Treyarch were making for the franchise, info emerged that the popular indulgence ‘quickscoping’ was going to be patched out. The CoD audience were cleanly split into two trains of thought; those who thought this was fantastic news because they now stood a chance on the game once again (notice how I said “the game”…it’s just an update….), and those who unashamedly burst into tears or blew up inside, because they had just lost their best friend on Call Of Duty.

Just to recap really quickly for those who aren’t aware; quickscoping was the semi-skillfull-bug-move with sniper rifles, that allowed you to rapidly pull up your scope and flick your analogue stick (or equivalent) in the direction of your target, fire a bullet, and let an in-built aiming assist mechanic do the tricky bit. It took some getting used to, but once you had the hang of it you could punch through the enemy team like they were using water pistols and bed sheets.

The main benefits were: it was a very clean and snappy way to win a gun fight, and you could create a class so your sniper was a one shot kill weapon. But in Black Ops that all got scrapped and thrown onto a pile of rotting leftovers, and players from the previous Call Of Duty games weren’t quite sure how to approach sniping in the new game.

Basically what we have discovered after a rather painful learning curve, is that you can snipe on Black Ops, and you can pick people off quickly…with practise. While to some of you this means very little at all because it isn’t quickscoping, and rather a streamlined compromise, the rest of you will hopefully take a look at the sniper class once more.

So first up: If you’re expecting to get lazy with the snipers, and let an auto-aim do the monkey work for you, then forget it, you might as well stop reading now. But if you’re willing to actually put the time into developing an old school sniper playstyle with some added tricks, then we’re here to try to help start things off.

The way we recommend setting your sniper class up is as follows:

-Primary weapon: Sniper….duh….L96A1 with variable zoom is our top choice.

-Perks: Lightweight pro (not scout….we’ll explain in a minute), Sleight of hand pro, Ninja Pro.

Your secondary weapon is a personal choice, but basically this is going to be your main defence/attack for closer sandbox gunfights. We all currently prefer pistols because they are reliable. We urge you to avoid scout if you want to be getting high kill counts, because the scout perk only really benefits a camping mindset (sorry). Instead, lightweight is going to let you dart about from one sniping spot to another far quicker, and flee a bit more effectively if you miss your shot. Ninja is in there because you want to have that stealthy edge over other players, and sleight of hand because you can’t afford any down time due to your time-windows for shots being far more narrow than with other weapon classes.

The sniper rifles are barely a split second behind MW2 in terms of how quickly you can pull up your scope to take a shot through, and this isn’t the main boundary that people have been encountering online. The main issue for those looking to become a sniper on BO from MW2, is the absence of a delay and, (I hate to be cruel) the fact the majority of them were not actually sniper players.

It sounds so small and stupid, but on MW2 there was a noticeable gap between when you pulled the trigger, and when the bullet got there. It wasn’t very much when you separate it from the in game scenario, but when you are trying to pick someone off; it’s a subtle and important nuance.

And when we say that a lot of players don’t actually know how to snipe, we mean it. The understanding that ‘sniper pros had on MW2, of being good with the sniper rifle, boiled down to running around like (everyone else normally does), and that you simply had an overpowered assault rifle with an impressive range and zoom function. That’s not sniping, I’m sorry but if you look back at the FPS genre, it’ll tell you the same thing.

Anyway enough grumbling. On Black Ops, the snipes handle more like those on Unreal Tournament, with instant impact shots and a very responsive feel to them. You want to be un-learning any accounting for bullet delays and concentrate on just lining up your reticle with the target as easily as possible. The only gun that can give one hit kill body shots is the L96A1 (hence recommendation), and anything but torso or head shots will require at least two hits. If you aren’t that great a shot at the beginning then you are probably better off with one of the semi-automatic sniper rifles, so you can quickly round off a few shots.

The next thing we advice is getting in the habit of looking for your targets WITHOUT using the scope, identifying who you need to take down, swinging your gun at them, THEN scoping in and holding your breath (in game lol…did I have to explain that?) in one move before firing. Some players just stand there with the zoom fully extended, hopelessly searching the pattern of the brickwork on the other side of the map, before someone walks up to them and kills them. It sounds obvious again but, the field of vision is TINY when you are scoped in, so you should know who you are aiming for before you do it. You should click “hold breath” in simultaneously with iron sights/scope because there is a small but frustrating delay in between pressing the button and when your dude has inhaled in a whole lungful of air. If you do, it minimizes how much the pause will interfere.

Some easy kills are won by waiting for players to run through popular routes, but don’t sit there for too long, most of us will run around behind you fairly quickly. Sniping is a cheeky, stealthy, and safe way to play, it’s invaluable to learn the maps properly for both sniping points (spots with good cover and visibility) and most used routes in them.

Another common situation that is rich for sniping opportunities is providing cover for players on your team. If you find some high ground, or some suitably innocent looking cover, you should watch your teammates move through the map, and you won’t be able to help but see where all the enemy shots are coming from. You will probably find you can pick off a large number from the other team fairly rapidly like this. It is playing like a coward, we know, but that’s what sniping is actually all about…partly.

The final tip for traditional long distance sniping is, keep moving. It is ridiculously dull just WAITING for players to walk into your crosshair every once in a while. If you keep sprinting with the crowd, sort of parallel to where the action is the hottest, you’ll never see a moment with no one to shoot at, and you shouldn’t get stabbed in the back by anyone looking for you because you aren’t camping in one place. Understand the need for space and move AROUND other players.

As for close up stuff, usually this is where that pistol comes in (which makes sense), but you CAN actually be ambitious and try to pull off some real quickscoping. The idea is this: if you can mentally burn into your head, an image where the centre of the hip-fire crosshair is, you will stand a chance of puling this off. One of the best ways to learn this, is a private match populated by friends all exclusively hip-firing snipers, on a FFA (if you can set it up).

From there, the hardest bit is behind you because the zoom on the snipe is so good. If you estimate the position of the imaginary crosshair correctly, you can fix it on whoever you want to shoot and then scope in, and nearly the entire reticle will be taken up by his body, guaranteeing a hit. Depending on how far away they are, this will vary a bit, but in most ‘round the corner’ encounters of about 5-10 metres you can wipe the floor with them 9/10 times because you only need ONE shot.

I don’t know how helpful you will find all that, but if you only take one thing from this, let it be to giving the sniper a go. Hardly anyone I’ve played is actually using one, and I find that hugely disappointing. If you don’t try to play with a sniper once in a while, you’ll be losing a massive chunk of gameplay potential and part of that all important variety.

Any sniper sharpshooters amongst you? Share your tips in the comments section.

Comments (26)

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  1. Batesie7says:

    When you scope in, even if your cross hair is on someone, it won’t be accurate for the first second I think, which is total BS. Treyarch did a great job of destroying the fun of sniping (should’ve made it like CoD4) yet they make knifing like commando, sub machine guns unbelievably powerful, and so many other problems.

    1. Jon Ranasays:

      We did a scoping trial match with about 8 of us. Never found anything like that, the main problem is you can’t quickscope in the sense of ‘flicking and hoping’.

      It doesn’t put the shot where the cross-hair is until the scope is fully open.

      I know what you mean though, but honestly i think the interent lag has alot to do with it. (like in the way that people can shoot you round a corner)

      1. Woottangsays:

        I’m with Batesie7 on this, I don’t really quickscope, but have noticed this lag when standing behind stationary targets and firing too soon even when fully ADS. It seems you need to give it a second or so before you hit where you aim.

        On another note I would actually recommend scout pro, as the doubled switch and weapon pickup speed I have found to be invaluable when the enemy gets close, I find myself now largely roaming the map from vantage point to vantage point using stolen weapons and maintaing quite a good K/D this way. Some may say this isn’t actual sniping, but it seems to work 🙂

      2. Jon Ranasays:

        Scout is in perk slot two right? I can’t remember and i haven’t got my copy atm.

        I can’t bring myself to ditch sleight of hand.

        p.s. sniping video’s will be coming soon hopefully, watch this space. 🙂

  2. Jaybenosays:

    how can u say that there was not much skill in qs? not that im a qser just i know there was more skill than ur saying

  3. Regyxsays:

    I like how “noob-tubing” is considered a skill less way of playing (It takes skill.. calculating to actually kill off a few people) but quick scoping in MW2 was pretty crappy (easy). Now I’m a “Hard” scoper, point is that I snipe in BO, and these are crappy tips that they are giving you. First off, you want scout pro, if they say take out a pistol in close quarters and you have some useless reloading (You have 5 shots atleast it’s fair), your going to get killed off with a knife, probably by a guy a mile away from you with lightweight pro and marathon. , lightweight pro is unrecommened, your not going to be sprinting your going to be walking and standing behind objects ( I prefer flatjacket kuz its fun, but i recommened scavenger youll see why). and the green perk (aka 3rd) is a personal choice but I prefer something like hacker. You do want a pistol though. If you have scout pro, there shouldnt be a problem with your tactical grenade, but I prefer a tomahawk, since you will spot a guy, scope in, shoot, miss, and scope out. You are either dead, your hide, unless you got a tomahawk, since he is already in your sight, just throw it and let the monkey aim do its buisness. But since you have scout pro, semtex will get to him pretty fast. scavenger is helpful with this, it will alow you to avoid picking up tomahawk or have an endless supply of semtex 😀 . the equipment is up to you, I like c4 , pretty easy to get those guys that camp or to take sure kill. The other flash and concussion is up 2 you as well.

    1. Anonymoussays:

      Lol actually attemtping to say noob tubers have skill. You have quite a lot of audacity there my friend. Just no. “Calculating to actually kill off a few people” that ammounts to slapping that little joystick on the 360/ps3 controller so the little recticle is by someone. then you press the trigger bam 4 kills. If thats skill, then im Michel Jackson.

  4. YourMom541says:

    there was no skill in qs on mw2 trust me i owned whole games without even trying, it’s sad when it’s easier to qs everyone and get a nuke rather than use an assault or sub machine gun, and i was running around with everyone lol… that is not sniping, i agree. and noob tubes (omfg do i really have to point this out?) whoever said they take skill is obviously a troll because they don’t, no explosives in mw2 take skill they’re all fucking Over powered. they should have made sniping the same as mw1 imo, perfect fps game right there.

    1. remixsays:

      they claim that it is the same as mw1. and it could be. but the lag is so bad we cant feel that way. the ONLY way sniping works how it should is when your the host.

  5. Annoyedsays:

    For some i think they have totally destroyed sniping. Mind you i play on Hardcore only and i have to say that I find all snipers garbage. I have better luck getting a head shot across the map with a pistol than trying to pick someone one of while hard scoping. Hell i didn’t even know what quick scoping was until i went online to find out why sniping in black ops is terrible. I think everyone i find online who is using a sniper rifle is really just forcing them selves to use it instead of actually enjoying it.

    Maybe there is no more quickscoping or noob tubing, but now all it is for hardcore team death match is fully automatic corner camping.

    1. Dead Snipersays:

      “I think everyone i find online who is using a sniper rifle is really just forcing them selves to use it instead of actually enjoying it.”

      ^^^ that’s me exactly haha.

      1. remixsays:

        me 2, i like sniping normally in other games, but i feel like im forcing myself in BO then really enjoying it. they only way i can sort of enjoy it, is using the WA2000 in hardcore.

      2. GlassBoxsays:

        Meto xD

  6. Tomassays:

    I’ve been a sniper since the days of Cod 1
    I still am a sniper, except now I just use a FAMAS instead of a sniper rifle.
    AND WTF is with the sway. I use a sway. I use a sniper, and I may as well have Parkinsons disease.
    Finally, if you’re going to incorporate a bolt action sniper in this game it should be OHK. How many times I have shot some in the chest region and they didn’t die because there upper arm was in front of their chest. It’s a sniper….it should be balanced with the other guns. Otherwise I’ve always got my FAMAS and AK74U to snipe with.
    rant over.

    1. Aolemailsays:

      I find the reticules limit the choice of sniper rifle for me. The Dragonov has lines that are too thick, so scratch that gun. I prefer using the WA2000 because it has little recoil and a clean reticule. It will give one shot torso kills like the L96, but not as often.

      That is my gripe with sniping in BO. It is wayyyy too inconsistent. I line up a headshot on an unsuspecting person, shoot, and miss. Shoot again, and no headshot. Other times, I shoot thinking I miss, and I get the headshot! WTF? Also, the lack of truly knowing you get a collateral (like on the side yard choke points on Nuketown), and taking down only 1 person is pretty bad.

      I am finding use of Nova gas is useful for camping and making a quick get away. You don’t even need to use tactical mask, just throw and go.

      Also, how can you have a sniper article without even bringing up what to equip the gun with?? Variable zoom, or extended mag? The infrared might work, give it a try.

      Finally, Ghost Pro is the way to go. If you are going to snipe, equip something to take out enemy aircraft. I level up with an average of 3 to 5 kills a game, but I try to take out as much enemy care packages as possible. It’s like getting 4 kills.

      Sniping does pay for experience points in the game, it’s just as someone else said…not much fun.

      1. remixsays:

        “I line up a headshot on an unsuspecting person, shoot, and miss. Shoot again, and no headshot. Other times, I shoot thinking I miss, and I get the headshot! WTF?”


        “Also, how can you have a sniper article without even bringing up what to equip the gun with?? Variable zoom, or extended mag? The infrared might work, give it a try.”

        They did dude… they said “-Primary weapon: Sniper….duh….L96A1 with variable zoom is our top choice.”

  7. Yaminsealsays:

    actually the psg1 is strong too just a little bit weaker still a 1 hit kill and it has a cooler scope but l96a1 is the best if you want reliability use it

  8. Just_Scuitosays:

    its not just the fact we have lost quickscoping which makes black ops virtually impossible to snipe, i have sniped since COD4 and i must say black ops is worst for it, i can line a shot up perfectly and take it and i’ll get a hit marker. When they said we’re getting rid of quickscoping they meant they were making black ops a game where if you did use a sniper you couldnt win the match at all. its unfair because treyarch are just hammering this point they see that if you dont use an assault rifle or a sub machine gun you cant win

  9. Wperry2101says:

    All4Pivot PS3,

    Personally sniping is fun for me, but not unless I know the map… Anyone wanting to snipe remember this tip: First go through with a scout class, like a FAMAS or AK47u. Yes, they indeed are noob guns but you’re not going to be using them much, know the map, the routes and the sniping spots. As for this guy saying lightweight is important, ignore him. Something is telling me he’s not the best sniper. Scavenger or Ghost are decent. In detail: Ghost is used for those campers out there. Don’t be afraid to camp, its a sniper tactic. Scavenger is for more of a tactical sniper. (Im a bit of both) Basically you run around the hotspots, not into them, taking shots only when you have them, dont take a shot with 8 people running 5 feet away from you. 1 youll give away your position and most surely die. 2 A shot saved is a shot made, now you know where they like running. Find a spot to hide out and see if they do it again, when you have a good shot, take it.

    Something to remember: Don’t forget the second to wait in-scope before the shot, your crosshair may be on them, but Treyarch doesn’t like noob snipers 😛

  10. Dane Fsays:

    MW2 didnt take any skill at all for sniping! I would see a guy spin around 20 times off something, shoot the ground and i got a headshot? Im not saying BO is fantastic as i would get a “hitmarker” from a few centimeters away even if i shot them in the head? thats just ridiculous. But i think we can all agree that CoD 4 is the best sniping game SO FAR. MW3 hopefully will be better.

  11. Herdies 88says:

    hey buddy, just read this yesterday, to start i wasn’t terrible but today after  fresh start and clear head it all pieces together and is actually really fun and not easy but completely do-able! Thanks Alot this really helped!

  12. Galefrogsays:

    ACTUALLY after these tips i went from getting 2-11 directly after to 11-18, zand i thought sniping wasnt for me cuz im a shotty pro but i gues its the same point and shoot consept, i like it alot

  13. Guestsays:

    i personally don’t agree with the no scout rule as aforementioned on this article, it is for campers who just hold breath and wait for their kill at the risk of someone coming from behind you and knifing you, but I feel it is very needed for those close quarter kill. you can have a sniper and your pistol but then find say a Famas on the ground and switch it, now you’re covered for long range sniping and close quarters combat. This is my opinion but I stand by it.

  14. Anonymoussays:

    As far as sniping goes, all I know is if you spawn with the sniper rifle, don’t have nasa internet connection or are jesus christ himself your F***ed. What will happen is you find your spot (eventually), possibly throw down a motion sensor ( a must btw for the camping sniper, most effectivly used with ACOG sight) and a dude with a assault rifle will dome you from across the map. they forgot to mention the maps are a LOT smaller in BO. Assault rifle can easily cover max distances. The same accuracy you put into that sniper shot can be put into about 30-50 assault rounds, of which can be about just as powerful depending on the individual rifle Not to mention burst fire, or the even deadlier single fire rifles.hell even some SMGs can take on snipers long range. most famously the AK74U even after it was nerfed.  And a lot more quickly with Slight of hand pro mixed with rifle aiming time compaired to sniper aiming time. and if the target you shoot at for some ungodly reason actually goes down, and your K/D rises from 0 to .01, players have the tendancy to look for snipers when they hear the trademark sniper rifle cannon shot noise and see a little skull pop up. So. Yeah. Just grab a galil, silence tht sh*t, and assimilate to the masses and pray that MW3 will bring us SNIPER RIFLE SALVATION!

  15. Voidfishysays:

    LOL at the “most people in MW arnt real snipers” then they reocmmend you run around engaging at 10 meters like thats what actual snipers do.

  16. awrig2says:

    Sniping in blck ops needs actual sniper knowlage you can’t expect for crosshairs = hit if they are running there are the little lines for a reason. I have done tests and learned that the lag is the shot flying and if you have downloaded tracer amunition you will know this. Also place c4 on gound by door to bedroom in nuketown and when they walk in since it is around wall on ground they won’t a warning red picture of it hide behind bed Boom only works if you know they are coming in

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