ShackTac’s usage of ironsights/unmagnified optics

I’m sure a lot of folk have noticed that ShackTac avoids optics beyond red-dot / reflex sights. I’m sure an equal number of folk are wondering what the reasoning is behind this choice. Is it poor modeling of optics in the game engine? (no back-up irons, no shooting with both eyes open, no immersion due to the way it just zooms the FOV and slaps a black filter over the screen) Is it that ranged engagements get too easy? Is it that a scope beat you up and stole your lunch money?

There are a number of reasons why I prefer to avoid magnified optics as infantry in ArmA.

The main ones are as follows:

  1. ArmA does a poor job of showing concealment at a distance. The ‘grass layer’ is supposed to achieve this but generally is unsuccessful. It’s pretty easy to spot people without a magnified optic, and adding one just makes it that much easier. Finding a person in camo in a forest from a distance is not a trivial thing in reality – whereas in ArmA, it’s cake.
  2. ArmA does not render shadows past 80m. Same general idea as the above point – you can too easily see people to start with, so adding magnification just makes it worse.
  3. Magnified weapons increase the ranges of combat and tend to result in less interesting engagements. The increased accuracy and spotting abilities they bring removes a lot of the fun that otherwise exists in the infantry combat of the game. Too much sitting at a distance plinking, too little closing with and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver.
  4. Magnified optics are far too stable and easy to use. ArmA does not have a simulation-level depiction of the real-world issues that come with weapon accuracy in general. Breathing cycle, aerobic/anaerobic fatigue, weapon support, recoil and the myriad things that come into play there, stance influence – the list goes on and on, and ArmA doesn’t do much of it, and when it does, it does it kind of awkwardly. People can throw themselves prone and blast away accurately without pause, or stand unsupported and plink off targets with relative ease. It’s just not how it works in reality, and when you combine that with the above points, it cheapens the experience.

Aside from the technical and gameplay reasons, there is a mentality I see throughout The Internet’s Gamers where people over-glorify “long range” shooting, snipers, and similar. In the case of ArmA at least, too often the people who are doing this overglorification are using these weapons and their overpowered nature as a gameplay crutch that allows them to take advantage of imperfect aspects of ArmA’s simulation to be more successful with less risk. I can’t count the number of people who think they’re Billy Badass because they can sit on a hill in Domi/Insurgency/similar missions and plink off AI with impunity thanks to their awesome-o sniper rifle/scope. I find that to be a cheap, empty thrill, and it’s part of why you’ll see me ribbing these types of players with videos of me shanking my own group’s snipers from time to time.

Those who love their magnified optics, hey, whatever – to each his own. Personally, I’m on the other end of the spectrum, where I find myself wishing I had a ka-bar/bayonet at times. The closer the fight, the greater the tension, the higher the thrill. Plinking people from extreme ranges doesn’t float my boat. Easymode optics don’t, either.


Skip to comment form

    • Dave on August 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm
    • Reply

    I feel the same way. All the points you made were spot on in my opinion and it makes me happy that you have influence on ArmA 3. Every time we engage at long ranges and have plink fights I feel like I’m robbing myself of what the game could be.

    However, if the issues you mentioned above were corrected I wouldn’t have a problem with it, the way it is now, it’s way too easy and takes the fun away

    • Ferrard on August 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm
    • Reply

    I can agree on the first three points, and I’ll defer on the fourth since I have virtually no working knowledge about real-life marksmanship. Point #3 in particular stands out to me because it is like pulling teeth to get randoms or even some friends to quit sniping (or carpet-bombing, on Domi servers) and take a rifle into MOUT.

    • Cannon on September 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    • Reply

    I couldn’t agree more with your statements on Arma small arms optics. If only we could get more players to use iron sight/aimdot. That would be awsome. ppl would acually play the game in a more cooperative style instead of pearching on a hill top. I find that a good Arma Realism unit with heavy infasis on cqc tactics & proper training eliminates alot of the afore mention style play. just my thoughts. btw this goes without saying but i’ll say it anyway dslyecxi your work in Arma is second to none thank for everything you do.


    • Bearded McGee on November 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm
    • Reply

    I mostly agree.
    Still, I think having a designated marksman team, especially in pvp, make for better engagements.
    As long as effectiveness is limited to a point under the actual effectiveness of an equally manned squad, I think having a small group of player sporting magnified optic weapons adds a great deal of tension. Especially in asymmetrical scenarios.
    Limiters such as giving a (one) bolt-action per side with a very limited ammo supply (say, 15 rounds) can make adversary encounters much frantic.
    Especially when each teams are limited in their information regarding the equipment against which they are going.

    The power of a marksman is not so much as how many adversaries he can bring down but in the psychological print he puts on the battlefield.

    • milo on March 10, 2013 at 1:42 am
    • Reply

    I can see where you are coming from. I really love a sniper roll, always have. Objectively though, in many game mods like domination, wasteland and such it really is easy mode. I going to give it a go and move away from it for all the reasons you have mentions. Cheers .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.