I’m hiding in a small shack on a lonely hill surrounded by a deadly storm of energy that will destroy me in seconds if I touch it. There’s no escaping the situation. Around me, I can hear other players shooting and breaking walls. I know it’s now or never if I want to win this match of Fortnite. I sprint and slam through the door of the shack. In the distance, I see a tree… another tree… a sign….and then…A PLAYER! I ready my assault rifle with a short-distance scope, take aim an–BOOM. One shotted. The player I spotted had a long-range sniper. I’d be more frustrated if I wasn’t used to losing over and over to people who can snipe a thousand times better than me.
If you’ve played Fortnite, Epic’s popular battle royal and one of the biggest games in the world, you’ll have likely been involved in a similar story, either as the sniper or the victim. In battle royale games, this is just how it works. Big maps and large open areas are prime hunting grounds for snipers as you are often in the middle of nowhere with little cover. You can be an easy target for anybody packing a long-range rifle. So of course, in games like Fortnite or Warzone 2—which boast big, open maps—snipers are king. They can help you take out your foes from a distance, saving you from hectic close combat or dangerous ambushes.
However, if like me, you can’t snipe very well, then the power of the sniper in battle royale games becomes one more obstacle between you and victory over your 99 competitors.
In most shooters, I’m at the top of the leaderboard when a match wraps up. In Halo or Call of Duty or Counter-Strike, I can hold my own against most players. I’d say that on a scale of skill where most pro players are at a 10 and your uncle who has never played a game since Pac-Man is a 1, I’m a solid 6 or 7 most days of the week. I’ve even won my fair share of Fortnite matches.
But put a sniper into my hands in a big battle royale like Fortnite and I’m just garbage. On PC, with the help of a mouse, I improve a little. But not enough to make me feel any better. It doesn’t matter what battle royale game I play. I just suck at sniping.
In a game like Halo, I can work around this. I can stay mobile, avoid open areas, use vehicles, grab a sword, etc. But in Fortnite or PUBG, sniping is such a big part of the game that I often feel like I have a hand tied behind my back when playing against 99 other players. I still win, but usually, those wins come from matches that end in urban areas of the map, where the power of the sniper is less useful. Or because I hide really well and someone walks into my little hidden spot and I destroy them with a shotgun.
I’ve tried practicing my sniper skills over the years. I’ve spent nights only picking up snipers in Fortnite or other games, hoping that if I force myself to use the damn things then I’ll get better. But seven paragraphs into a post about how awful I am at sniping probably makes it clear that none of it has helped much.
At this point, I’ve just given up hope that I’ll get better. Instead, I just get jealous watching other players destroy their enemies from far away.