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In multiplayer mode, it says in the key mappings that the 'Q' key spots. So I assume that it's like the older games and you have to target someone and hit 'Q' to spot them. This works most of the time, but there are plenty of times where it doesn't work well. Like when I'm spotting from a UAV, for instance.

Is there a distance limitation for spotting?

When I try to spot, usually I jam the button a lot, I wonder is there any penalty for spamming the spot button?

How does spotting work?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

When the game was first released there was no limitations on spotting and you were able to spot through some non-transparent objects (trees). This caused some major outcry and was fixed in a patch by adding spotting overheating and inability to spot through the objects (which now often makes spotting through the leaves problematic even at direct sight).

Spotting, like the repair tool, uses "overheat" to prevent excessive Socialize use. The player is capable of about five Socialize button presses in rapid succession before overheating and being inoperable for five seconds. With the cooldown, the fastest continuous rate that a player can spot without overheating is once every two seconds.

[source]

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There is definitely distance limit. Very often I can see campers much further, then I'm allowed to spot them. This is especially annoying on big, open maps like Heavy Metal or Harvest.

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I am not certain of this but I think the distance limit is variable based on your own view distance. For instance, I can spot people effectively much further away with a 12x sniper rifle than I can using the sights of my handgun. Under this assumptions, I would guess the UAV has a "short" view distance and therefor a short spot range because I can never spot anybody with a UAV unless I am hovering quite low. –  Jesse Webb Feb 28 '11 at 18:48
    
Yeah, that's probably the way it's trying to prevent ppl from 'blindly' spotting enemies that they didn't really see. But still it's very annoying when you actually do see them perfectly. –  vartec Feb 28 '11 at 21:48
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