Recently I was in a match with a team that had 1 Spec (me), 1 Assault (also experienced) and 6 Recon, none higher than level 4 with most being lvl 1 or 2. The title of this is a quote of a teammember playing as a Recon and echoed by the other Recon wannabes. Needless to say, we were used as brooms to sweep the floor. It inspired me to put together this primer (based on a response I posted in another thread about recon overload in matches) for new players who have that flawed mindset.
A good Recon is an invaluable asset to the team. A poor Recon is an invaluable asset to the opponent.
The most important thing to remember as a Recon in GRO is that the goal is to CAPTURE AND HOLD points. This requires bodies physically on the point to accomplish the mission; a minimum of two with more speeding up the process. This game is about using TEAMWORK to achieve a goal, not individual glory.
The ability to communicate with your team is far more important than what firearm or devices you use. INTRATEAM COMMUNICATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WEAPON YOU HAVE AVAILABLE, regardless of class. While not a necessity, if you don't have or use a mic, your usefulness to the team is extremely limited.
Ideally, a team will only have one or two Recon, three at the very most. If there are more that a single Recon, only 1 of those, at most, should be carrying a sniper rifle and there should be more Oracles than cloaks. A team that consists primarily of Recon using cloaks and sniper rifles will get its' caboose kicked 99% of the time, especially if they insist on hiding behind cover away from the combat and only take pot shots when their cloaks are charged. If you are one of those then please either use your pistol and move up or just sit at the spawn point and give the spawn campers practice because you are useless to the team.
There is far more to Recon in GRO than just sniping from long range. Most of the combat is at close range. A Recon working as a ranged sniper should carry Oracle and Vector or Gunfire Detector (highlights enemy movement or gunfire near the recon). As a sniper you should normally get as close to the action as possible while still being able to view the entire field or as much of it as possible, dueling with opposing snipers, providing suppression fire, reporting enemy movements, device use and, of utmost importance, USE ORACLE REGULARLY to help teammates identify enemy positions, all while keeping one eye on the map to help identify problem areas. At times when Oracle doesn't reach far enough, direct fire at a hidden target to identify it for others. You can even stand in the open to cause an opponent to come out of cover to fire at you, thereby exposing him/herself. If you won't sacrifice yourself for the team, why should they sacrifice for you? The more opponents you can injure and force to take cover or identify for your teammates, the easier it is for the team as a whole to accomplish the mission. If necessary, leave your post and move in, using your pistol for close range combat.
A benefit I try provide for my teammates whenever I am in a match as a Recon sniper is that I do all I can to draw a lot of attention to myself, often dueling with three opposing snipers at a time as well as dealing with a person tasked solely with flanking and taking me out. Think about it. That is half a team focusing on a single target and gives my teammates up front a distinct numerical advantage that they can make use of.
With its' short duration and long recharge time as well as being so easily detected and countered, a cloak is virtually useless to a long range sniper. The best use of cloaking is a Recon with a smg and a vector detector or gunfire detector squad device infiltrating for surprise attacks and preventing flanking attempts. And again, there should only be 1 or 2 on the team. Bodies on the point, remember?
Rifle vs. SMG
Primary weapon is a personal choice that should be based on what team role you intend to fill and what weapon you are most comfortable with. I prefer the sniper rifle over the smg simply because I am a much better shooter at long range than at short range. A smg on semi can be effectively used for sniping, although the range is much less and the damage dealt is as well. For close in work, the smg is the only choice. A sniper rifle is useless in close combat.
One more tip. If you are working as a Recon and a teammate forward of you uses Aegis, take advantage of it. Get behind the shield and use it as cover while you advance to another position. Move quick; like all devices, it doesn't last long. Remember, in GRO you don't win by retreating or sitting on your duff behind cover, you win by moving forward.
In a sense, Recon are the eyes, ears and brain of the team, coordinating attacks and defenses and doing everything possible to make things easier for the frontline team members. Anyone who thinks Recon is an 'easy' class where you just sit back and snipe simply doesn't have a clue what Recon is about and needs to switch classes.
Recon is a very versatile class, with the opportunity to really make a difference in a match, if people utilize all of the options it offers. Sitting at the back, doing nothing but sniping from a cloak is the least effective option. At least get on the horn and let others know what it is you are hiding from.
New players seem to forget that this is a game, not real life, and dying is just a temporary thing. Changes the dynamics of battle completely. My First Sgt was a three tour 'Nam vet with 4 Purple Hearts and enough decorations and awards to cover a 8 x 10 wall and when asked why he kept going back to 'Nam he replied, "If you are afraid to die, then that is all you and your team will do." A warriors' credo.
They also don't seem to understand that this is a beta test and you can't test thoroughly if you just do the same thing over and over. As testers our job isn't to just test the gameplay, it is to try to break the game and let the devs know when we succeed.
Mankind has spent tens of thousands of years developing and refining methods to make it easier to kill other people and take what they have and isn't that what this game is about? Why not use that knowledge to advantage? Clausewitz's theories on mass and maneuver apply directly to the game. The Blitz and Aegis capabilities represent armor and the methods devised by Rommel, Patton and others can be applied to good effect by the Assault and Specialist classes.
Ditto for the Recon class. The methods of Joseph T. Ward (top USMC sniper in 'Nam) and others like him are a perfect guide to be a successful Recon.