A stealth ganking class that has no place? Surely you jest!
It’s nearly everyone's first class. It has the highest population of created characters and presence in missions and PvP. It can hit for the highest single hit damage in the game and boost it on demand, and it can have a built-in Mortal Strike-like healing received debuff. This class is overpowered in many ways.
Yet, no one wants them in Agency vs. Agency warfare.
I'm talking about the Recon, my friends. Our stealth buddy that we all know and love. We've seen them swing from ledges, we've seen them snipe from our spawn points. Every time we die, we see one that is running in circles doing nothing productive. We've all encountered the ones that are worthless. The fact of the matter is, serious games don't involve them. Rather than further the hatred for them, let us delve into the reasons why this bias exists.
Is there a special hatred in our hearts for them? Is there a special stigma that prevents us from utilizing their unique skills to overwhelm our opponents a different way? Quite possibly, in any class-based shooter, the most popular class often gets labeled the noob class and the skill range varies greatly. Let us take a look at what a Recon brings to the battlefield with their unique weapons and the effectiveness of each in AvA conflict.
I got your effectiveness right here, buddy.
- Longest Range. This is only a real advantage when shooting static defenses and deployables. Due to the shot travel time, having all of the range increasing skills and a weapon with a massive 300m range really isn't that advantageous after all.
- Stealth, with added run speed or jump power. Getting around fast is what the jetpack is for. Ambushes are almost impossible due to every team typically using a Sensor which detects stealth in areas where it matters, such as behind the firing arc of allied turrets.
- The only real stun in the game, and other bombs. These have a bright red timer that says 'get away from me' and are much more noticeable and easy to escape. This would not be so bad if they had a larger radius or shorter cooldown than grenades for Assaults, but that is not the case. (Even fully specialized in the infiltration tree to blow stuff up, Recons will be hard pressed to hit anyone worth their salt with a bomb unless it's a stationary piece of metal. Throwing two or three spaced out is a way to clear out a point however.)
This leads to two primary roles for the Recon.
- Beacon Assassin. Your goal is simply to run around as fast as possible, find that beacon, and snipe the hell out of it. The problem is that beacons can be picked up and redeployed outside of your firing arc for sniping if a nearby player is attentive, and effectively acting as a full heal for the beacon at the same time.
- Point Clearer. You can toss 2 bombs spaced apart from each other and effectively send the other team off the point. The downside here is the amount of medics in AvA can overpower this damage in a second with 2 healing waves. It will also cleanse the debuffs as well, one of the big pluses of the Recon bombs. Still, if the other team hasn't hit critical mass on the point, or you think you can bomb a robotics camp into smithereens, it's worth a try. Unfortunately, it's a try on a 60 second cooldown.
The Recon does massive damage but unless the shots are back to back the health and protection of your skilled opponents will render it ineffective with medic healing. This may change as epic pieces of equipment begin to flow more freely and Recons begin sniping regularly for 1300+.
Unfortunately, in the mobile warfare of AvA with very little open areas to snipe effectively, the sniper has much less presence on the battlefield. The sword is laughable against anyone with a reaction time of less than 2 seconds, even specialized and stimmed up for it. Hopefully implants can give the Recon new life on the battlefield, but every class will have access to the same potency modifiers from the looks of things. So while the recon may gain a few hundred damage on a rifle shot, a medic might gain 30 ranged protection to tank any shots that come their way.
This writer has all the faith in the world that Hi-Rez Studios is listening and seeing how AvA is playing out at the moment, and changes it for the better. I can only hope it happens sooner rather than later. Until then, time to level up those assaults and medics boys and girls!