For the last few days I've been changing up my tactics, seeing how different combination's work and some of the best ways to take out certain classes. While this may be old information for some people, you mind find some of it interesting.
Friendly: Theres not much I could do with a friendly solider to help work as a team. I've tried to cooperate and hit a sentry with a fully charged shot while he rockets it, I think it's been successful once.
Enemy: Keep your distance. I've actually found that constantly running back, dodging, scoping and attempting quick headshots is the best way to go. Their rockets are simply too slow and most of the time they don't bother going to shotgun. If they do go to shotgun, you'll have to SMG.
Friendly: I found this is a really nice combination. The heavy murders everything at close range (which is a snipers weakness), and you murder everything at long range (which is the heavies weakness). This combined with a medic that constant keeps both of you healthy is a force to be reckoned with.
Enemy: A fully charged shot (if buffed) or a 75% charged shot (unbuffed) is enough to take out. You'll likely have to charge around the corner because if they see you scoping they'll run. You can also do 2-4 quick headshots, but that gives him more of a chance to run. On the medic/heavy teams, most people would say to take out the medic first. I find that the heavy is the target thats most threatening and more reliable to take out apposed to a medic that is all over the place. If my team is in immediate danger I take out the heavy first, then the medic usually runs and I usually can follow up and kill the medic too, or at least my teammates can now that the heavy is gone.
Friendly: Not a real good combination. I do help them out though by targetting soldiers, demos and so on on purpose so they can live longer.
Enemy: Kindof like the Solider, except they close in faster so scoping may not be the best idea. More likely to use their shotgun while running towards you. I find they can actually be far more threatening than the solider in some cases, but at long range they can't do very much, but any good pyro wouldn't let you snipe them.
Friendly: They can keep enemies distracted, keep enemy snipers busy, but other than the scout is usually all over the place for you both to effectively work together for extended periods of time.
Enemy: The scout is unfortunately a good counter to the sniper. When up close, you can sometimes machette them if they aren't a good scout, but most of the time you'll have to rely on your SMG. From afar, they're difficult to hit due to their unpredictable patterns but I've been getting pretty good at taking them out from range. You just need to snipe fast.
Friendly: They can use their mines to prevent the apposing team from moving up close range. You can give them a hand with some of the classes they're not so great against, but other than that theres not much I can think of here.
Enemy: I've found they're more of a problem on some maps. On certain choke points they can grenade spam and mine making it difficult for you and your team to get in there (they typically hide around corners like in stage 3, point 2 in dustbowl). They can also nade up your sniper spots. I sometimes prioritize them to get rid of their stickies. It really depends on the map. At close range they'll sticky (which is likely to kill you) or nade.
Friendly: Good Engineers are paranoid of spies, which is good for you since they can give you an early warning. I also like sniping around their sentries, since spies are less likely to stab me in the presence of a sentry, but some spies have cloaked and made it away after stabbing, but if its level 3 then they're less likely to survive, but at the very least the "beep" noise from the sentry and me getting stabbed is enough for the teammates to start looking for the spy. Dispensers are nice for the times I run out of sniper ammo and for the health when no medics are around.
Enemy: If you don't have a fully upgraded turret, it won't protect you against a headshot if you're tanking behind it. One of my favorite strategies is sniping an engy from a vulnerable angle and then taking out his sentry (either myself through charged shots or telling my teammates to bomb it). I'll sometimes go after his dispenser/teleporter, but only if there are no targets around. You cannot snipe a level 2/3 sentry that is being tanked by a engy without help, period. If they're out in the open, I will prioritize killing them. Simply because they're likely to be running back to a turret to save/tank it, or they're going to build a turret which will cause headaches for the team later. At close range both their weapons probably meet around the effectiveness of yours but I've rarely delt with engies that would engage me.
Friendly: Another good combination surprisingly. Around corners that are under a lot of fire, I can peak around corners and pick a few enemies off even though im taking hits, but with the medic there i have more of an opportunity. It's not to say that the medic should be dedicated to healing me, but if the other guy you're healing is already fully buffed or hes screwing around, take like 3 seconds out to heal me. Under situations with a choke point its invaluable since I can stay there longer.
Enemy: I sometimes prefer to go for them, they're sometimes difficult to hit because they're constantly dodging. It really depends on the medic. I'll go for the patient if the medic appears to be a more difficult to hit target. Many snipers say to always go for the medic first, but if you're constantly missing then you're not being very helpful. If you're against a medic at close range, ever since the new achievement pack medics are more likely to go on a suicidal rampage killing everything they can, so be careful.
Friendly: Only a good combination if he snipes from another angle (like him on the floor and you on the elevated platform, or you on left with him on right). Snipers going for the same targets are absolutely useless since you're just sharing the kills one class with make and making two people do it. If theres a LOT of targets then that may be the only exception.
Enemy: One of the least desirable matchups. Pretty much the only class that can beat the long range effectiveness of a sniper is, well, a sniper. Everybody misses, everybody fires a millisecond too late, its really nothing special at all. Most snipers will prioritize you over any other target, so in which case you'll want to take them out first as well. Many snipers will come around corners slowly with a fully charged shot, but you can see them coming most of the time. You're really slow when you're scoping so only scope to do a headshot and then move around some more.
Friendly: Another useful combination. Although sometimes your kill interests can conflict (I've sometimes taken out enemies while a friendly spy is about to backstab), you can sometimes cover their retreat as most enemies run in a straight line towards a discovered spy making for easy kills. Another really great strategy is asking a spy to sap a sentry, and immediately hitting it with a fully charged shot. I haven't yet seen a sentry survive this combination.
Enemy: Spy is an effective counter against snipers. If you wear headphones you can sometimes hear footsteps or uncloaking to get the jump on spies, but in situations with a lot of teammates around or a lot of action this may not be the case. In situations with a lot of spies I scope less and resort to doing quicker headshots and instead watching the battlefield for suspicious allies while covering my back. You can always do fully charged shots on teammates with signs of being a spy, or better yet, try to headshot them, however the headshot spot on a spy impersonating a teammate is different, for example if he looks like a heavy, his head is not actually considered that large, the headshot spot is actually smaller and around the neck of the heavy. The SMG is not a match for a good spy with a revolver, but the only person I've found who can use it effectively is Magna. For the newbie spies you can a lot of the time machette and SMG them as their first reaction is to knife you in the face or run away.
No scopes do about 50 damage. If you think an enemy is near death, or they're soon going to take cover/get a medpac, I've found it more desirable to do a noscope. Its essentially sniping without using the scope, and just aiming as if a crosshair was in the middle of the screen. Switching to the SMG may be completely unnecessary in many cases. However in terms of damage output at a close range, the SMG is better to switch to.
While sometimes taking your time to make a fully charged shot is nice, in many situations it's desirable to keep moving. I'm still getting used to it but being as evasive as a medic works against snipers, spies, projectile weapons, and pretty much everything to some degree. You get to see the entire battlefield, but you can't deliver high damage shots the second you see something.
I've found that you're far more likely to get players angry and frustrated. People hate nothing more than sniper for some reason. In cases where you are dominating a player they will run after you and selectively try killing you out of rage, or the fact you have that big icon over your head. They also commonly switch to sniper or spy to take you out. I find it weird because heavies rack up the kill count twice as fast as I usually can but people for some reason don't get angry at him and instead get angry at me. Either way, raging players are actually no help to their team since I've seem them most of the time switch from something their team is benefiting from like medic or something and go to a spy that they aren't so good at for the sole purpose of getting back at me. You'll know when people are trying to get back at you, and all you can do is be careful.
DECIDING WHEN TO PLAY
Sniper is a support class. In games with less people, theres more likely to be scouts, players that get closer to you, and so on. You are less effective in these cases, as well as a team thats already missing key players like medics, engineers or combat classes. A team really only needs one or two snipers, if you have more than that then you're all going after the same kills which isn't much help. If your team is missing an engie on defense then its a good idea to see if someone will switch or if you can. Snipers aren't very effective at being a strong defense/offense for capping points/intel, they're more for softening up the opposition.
HOW TO HELP A SNIPER
If you're playing as another class, the best way to help a sniper on your team is to notify them of threats, such as apposing snipers or whatnot. Snipers sometimes can't see whats behind them or coming from a direction which they think is safe. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a teammate running after a spy trying to melee them and the spy just runs towards the sniper and gets an easy kill, but the sniper doesn't know any better because he wasn't warned.
BE NICE, HAVE FUN
Snipers for some reason have a notorious reputation (mostly from other FPS games) of being jerks, stuck up, and so on. This is sometimes the case with some snipers but that doesn't mean you have to be. Those same players you're being a jerk to may end up being on your team on the next map change, and you might need their help. So be nice, and most of all have fun.
Wow nice write up! I've never really seen any good guide about sniper because a lot of it is situational like maps, and how can you really teach how to aim? The only other thing I would want to know is how much you have to charge to kill with a headshot (approximations, of course).
Aiming takes practice. That's all there is to it. I really recommend disabling mouse acceleration, there is a very noticeable difference when you get used to it.
An uncharged headshot does about 150 damage, a fully charged headshot does 450. So you can guess whats in between, 50% is about 300 damage, 25% being 225, 75% being 375 and so on. Bodyshots are 1/3rd of headshot damage.