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I often hear people talking about "quickscoping" in the context of First Persion Shooter games. My understanding is that it means looking down the barrel of a sniper rifle quickly in order to get a damage bonus for "scoping", then immediately going back out of the scope mode.

I also heard this does not work in Team Fortress 2 - and while I know you can't get the full damage off of such a maneuver, I know you can still get a headshot without scoping.

What exactly is quickscoping? Why is it such a common term? Why does it not work in TF2?

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Did you spend time researching this before asking the question? Or is this another one of your "rep grab" questions again? –  lumbricus lubricant Jun 26 at 17:19
@thinlyveiledquestionmark Some. But I was hoping for a much more definitive answer. I had an idea of what it meant before asking. –  Zibbobz Jun 26 at 17:20
If the question is acceptable, there's nothing wrong with a user posting it even if he wants to answer it too. Stack Exchange promotes this through their question interface! There's no reason to be negative toward a user for posting a question that he / she knows the answer to! "Rep grabbing" as you refer to it is actually contributing to the site!! :) @thinlyveiledquestionmark –  user77124 Jun 28 at 0:55
@jt0dd While I agree wholeheartedly with what you said in general, there are guidelines against asking easily answered questions that a quick google search or whatever would answer. This, along with the other questions of "What is Griefing/metagame/easter eggs/etc" where simply googling the word gives the definition aren't particularly useful. –  Doc Jun 29 at 5:48
@Doc You're officially right, but I personally wish we could document summary requests of big topics and the simple but valid topics in Q&A format. Both of those are not liked here usually, this case an exception. –  user77124 Jun 29 at 16:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Quick scope is the act of zooming in or "aiming down the sights" with a sniper rifle and firing almost immediately after.

The term became really famous/infamous with the Call of Duty series, but the action itself goes way back to early FPS like CounterStrike. Sniper rifles do full damage, but were terribly inaccurate unless scoped. As soon as you hit the "aim" button the accuracy immediately became perfect, so staying in scope (known as "hardscoping") wasn't needed.

games like TF2 attempt to nerf quick scoping by making sniper rifles weaker unless scoped (which doesn't really work as it can still one-hit many classes on headshots when it's not "charged"). others make it so there is a "ready time" where the gun is still pretty inaccurate while first scoped.

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Isn't that started with Counter-Strike? –  Fabián Jun 26 at 13:33
It is entirely likely that the first game with Sniper ADS was the first game with Quickscope. –  eyeofthehawks Jun 26 at 13:36
@Philipp yeah that's why I mentioned it becoming famous/infamous with CoD. It was a common tactic way before CoD was a thing, it just wasn't known as quickscoping as far as I know. –  Rapitor Jun 27 at 14:17
@Philipp Edited it a bit, hows that. –  Rapitor Jun 27 at 14:40
sorry, this term was famous long before CoD. Playing CALeague back in the day, this was a well known term in CS1.6 –  Sam Creamer Jun 27 at 17:17

Quickscoping is older than the Call of Duty series, but it's a bigger problem in that game than elsewhere.

The literal definition of quickscoping is exactly what you'd think - aiming down the sights of a sniper rifle for a short period before firing. This is in contrast to "hard scoping" where you spend most of your time aimed down the sights and lining up a shot before firing.

Sniper rifles generally trade situational awareness for accuracy over long range (ie, I'm staring down this scope and lose my peripheral vision, but I can take a headshot from across the map). Quickscoping is a method of maintaining both, by only looking down the sights and quickly aiming when a target is available. In that way, it could be viewed as a mark of skill, a risky endeavor, or a potentially cheap strategy.

However, in CoD parlance, especially on consoles, there is a more insidious use for this technique. The game features an aim assist that will tend to pull your crosshairs towards an enemy as you start to aim. This is intended to offset the inaccuracy of using thumbsticks for aiming.

However, when using a sniper rifle, it means if you roughly line up a shot, then aim down the scope and quickly fire, there is an increased chance that you will get a hit/headshot without having to really "aim" for one. Once you get the timing right, it's incredibly easy to pull off, and thus is viewed as more of an exploit than a legitimate strategy.

Especially in CoD: Modern Warfare 2, it wasn't unusual to find folks running around the map at top speed in a ghillie suit while carrying a massive sniper rifle, and killing you in close quarters despite the fact that the balance of the game should favor other weapons in this kind of engagement.

This isn't nearly as big a problem in TF2 because there isn't aim assist (or at least, not nearly as strong as console CoD titles) and also because all of the sniper weapons require a charge time before firing at full damage. It's still possible to "quick scope" with the meaning of "spending little time aiming before firing" but the tactical advantages of doing so are far less.

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Altrough that's only a issue on games with auto-aim/aim assist. The originary games, from the CS era, did have quickscope, but required a much greater precision. –  Kroltan Jun 27 at 2:16
@Kroltan, yeah, it's gotten better in the years since MW2 as well. That game was just riddled with unbalanced weapons and downright obvious exploits. –  agent86 Jul 1 at 21:19

Quickscoping is exactly what you just said. Being ready to take a shot, zooming in, then immediately firing. However, your bit about TF2 is wrong.

A sniper rifle (stock) can do between 50-150 damage without hitting someone's head, usually. It does such a wide range of damage because it charges while you are scoped in, if you look to the right side of the screen while scoped you'll see an indicator. When this indicator is full you will get maximum shot damage, be it headshot or body shot. The damage for a headshot is also similarily spread out between 150-450, based on charge percentage. You can kill a fully overhealed heavy with one headshot if you have a fully charged sniper rifle, for example. You can also kill a scout with a fully charged bodyshot. A good sniper in TF2 can take full advantage of quickscoping and put out a larger spread of damage than a single fully-charged shot will.

Imagine a medic, an engie, and a pyro all coming at you from far enough away. If you are able to zoom in and click their heads, effectively killing all of them but the pyro in one shot each, you've done better than you would have if you waited the couple of seconds it takes to fully charge then waste a huge damage headshot on someone who doesn't even have that much health. Using a fully charged body shot is similarily ineffective if you can actually hit their heads anyway. There is absolutely a reason to quickscope in TF2.

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You're quite correct in your definition. While I am not sure of the origin of the therm, it is used to describe the action of quickly "looking trough" the scope. In itself it is nothing but a "gimmick" to show ones skills off, it (as far as I know) grant you no extra score to quick-scope. Of course, using the scope will let you zoom in on the enemy to get better chance to hit (larger target, larger chance of hit). But once you learn how a gun behaves both scoped and un-scoped, a player can usually get kill-shots regardless.

For TF2 it doesn't work, you need to be either fully scoped or un-scoped to fire the gun.

In short, it's a gimmick for "entertainment" purposes.

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It's not just a gimmick - the shorter the sniper waits before firing, the higher their chance to frag the enemy before they frag them. In a game where a sniper rifle is in some way better while zoomed and that advantage kicks in in the game-tick where the player presses the zoom-button, a sniper which always zooms before firing, even when just for a splitsecond, has a huge advantage over those which fire without zooming. –  Philipp Jun 27 at 14:07

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