Take down that annoying shotgun smart-ass and get to know some of the best sniper rifles in Destiny.
“Sniper! Don’t go there! Nooo… he got me!” If this is you, it’s time to face the hard facts of Destiny in PvP. Besides, you’re more than capable of taking matters into your own hands.
Learn to snipe. You know it makes sense. You’ve just been putting it off, trusting your auto-rifle and shotgun combo to keep that K/D respectable. Learn to snipe, however, and those battlefields open right up for you. You’ll go from playing great, to godly (all in good time).
Expanding your horizons…
Destiny Year One was mainly about the infamous Gjallarhorn, brought to bear on major targets in PvE and a cheap trick in PvP. Sniping was handled pretty much by Ice Breaker in PvE and Praedyth’s Revenge in PvP, and only the real hardcore considered other options such as the (truly rare and exotic) Queen’s Wrath Legendary loot drop The Supremacy.
Within The Taken King, Guardians are marshalled toward sniping in order to vanquish the toughest PvE challenges; specifically boss encounters throughout the King’s Fall Raid. Now the discussion has shifted to Eirene RR4, Black Spindle and 1000 Yard Stare for taking down everyone from Warpriest through the Daughters of Oryx and the big man himself. Added to that, Hereafter and Weyloran’s March have become the new darlings of PvP.
Sniping has gone from fallback position to being at the forefront of any Guardian’s game.
…and setting new sights
As with all the gunplay in Destiny, the sniping game can be sublime. The reason that many of us avoided it until now is that the handling is so different, almost unwieldy. It’s truly a relief to earn your Touch of Malice for DPS on Oryx’s exposed belly, so that you never need to worry about lining up into a blinding glare ever again. Gradually, though, Raiders have become used to the instant-zoom and slight height adjustment while aiming at Warpriest and Light Eater Ogres. It’s no longer disconcerting, but maybe as far as you comfortably go.
As you venture into the Crucible though, especially Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner, you’ll be walking into sniper fire more and more. It’s the smart-ass Guardian’s answer to avoiding shotgun humiliation, and staying well out of reach of that damnable Doctrine of Passing. Equipping the sniper as your special is almost like having a veil lifted on maps that include Exodus Blue, Crossroads and Memento. Lines of sight give you so much more opportunity to drop idiots that rely upon their boom stick and melee.
The most important attributes for sniper rifles are impact, stability and rate of fire with aim assist as an added bonus. The latter three are the most important to PvP, where Guardians are happy to trade impact for stability, combined with snappy handling and a short scope, to settle upon a weapon that’s not too far removed from a scout rifle.
This is because cross-mapping (firing from one end of a map to the far distant other) is not very common in Destiny, owing to only a few maps allowing for such a thing; First Light and Bastion are good examples, in which there’s room to ride a Sparrow. You’re more likely to run into medium range kill zones of marksmen positioned around the outskirts of hotspots.
With Destiny being a space magic shoot ’em up, however, a sniper rifle’s basic attributes are only half the tale. Exotic examples have specific reasons to own, while legendary examples arrive with unpredictable roles. And so, without further ado, let’s take a look at the ideals.
Weapons of choice
For the ultimate sniper rifle, you’ll need to place an order with the Gunsmith for a lucky roll with Eirene RR4 or wait for a godly 1000 Yard Stare. Talk was mostly between these two legendary rifles until the Weyloran’s March showed up in Iron Banner. Shortly after the Taken King was released, the Gunsmith had Eirene RR4 with HOLO sights, Luck in the Chamber, Unflinching and Quickdraw. That’s low zoom, 25 per cent chance of a one-shot kill, and the ability to hold steady while somebody else tries to take you down.
While you’re praying to RNGesus for anything like that roll to around ever again (we’re talking Gjallarhorn levels of obsession here), you can save yourself some heartache and go ahead and just buy 1000 Yard Stare from the Vanguard Quartermaster. It’s useful for both PvE and PvP, with Triple Tap to keep the DPS going against Warpriest, plus the combination of Longview SLR10 and Perfect Balance for solid tours in PvP. Shortgaze and Hidden Hand for faster target acquisition at comfortable distance are among the ideals for 1KYS.
Which brings us to Weyloran’s March, the Iron Banner rifle, that has a much lower Impact than either Eirene RR4 or 1000 Yard Stare, but with Hand Laid Stock and Hidden Hand to keep the thing locked on a level, you can afford to use this like an OP scout rifle on a sub-class with high agility settings. But if aim-assisted headshots are your preferred method, the Hereafter exotic rifle is well worth considering. Finally, Year One celebrity Icebreaker has become favoured by Guardians to work around the limiting new Special Ammo rules of 3v3.
If you’re completely new to sniping, you’re frame of mind needs to adjust from reacting to predicting. You’ll need to be a Clarence Seedorf of sorts, reading the flow of the game to know where rivals are likely to appear and try sniping at you for starters. Don’t get too hung up on one-shot kills to the head, because a couple of body shots – even to somebody’s toes – can be enough to drop the unaware. Get used to searching for keyhole-like openings in the scenery to blast the ears off somebody rounding the corner ahead. Avoid aiming until you know, or strongly suspect, that there’s a Guardian waiting to eat your bullet because the glint will give your position away. Generally, don’t attempt to snipe the same guy that killed you more than once – he’s just better than you (for now anyway).
I’m going to leave you with a couple of inspiring YouTube clips from the Destiny community, flagged by my regular team as being helpful/outstanding. True Vanguard outlines the basics here, while Mesa Sean gives his advice for noobs here. Both of these guys have amazing showcase videos archived too. They do make it all look ‘easy’ but, as with anything, the only way you’re going to become good at something new is through practice!