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The Recon is Global Agenda's assassin. Be it up close and personal or from halfway across the map, the job of the Recon class is to bring the kind of focused firepower which is required to take down a Medic quickly or snuff out the life of an Assault about ready to take a capture point.
There are two many ways which the Recon can do this - with weapons or with special abilities. This guide covers the weapons aspect of the Recon's catalog. The Recon doesn't have that many weapons, but picking the right one for the right situation is extremely important. More so than any other class in the game, the Recon's weapon is his primary way of dealing damage. While Assaults have special heavy weapons, and the Medic and Robotic classes can rely on other sources, the Recon just has his rifle.
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Refire: <.2 seconds
Unlocked at: Level 1
The standard rifle which all Recons have access to from level one, the Recon Rifle is more like a sub-machine gun than anything else. It fires extremely quickly, but does a small amount of damage with each shot. It is in this regard dramatically different than the other rifles and is for a much different style of play than the other rifles. The basic Recon Rifle's main advantage over the sniper rifles in the game is that it allows the player to do good, reliable damage at short-to-mid range. This allows the Recon the opportunity to fight on the point rather than around it.
This can be a big deal. Imagine, for example, that you've nearly taken an objective point, but the Assault capping the point is taken out by an enemy at the last second. A Recon with a sniper rifle would have a hard time taking and holding that point because the sniper rifles are terrible for short-range combat, but a Recon with the Recon Rifle would have no problem.
On the whole, the Recon Rifle tends to be the chosen weapon of Recons using a bomber strategy. There is a lot of debate about if, in terms of ranged damage, the Recon Rifle can hold a candle as an alternative to one of the sniper rifles. I think the answer is no. If you're bombing the enemies with mines however, the sniper rifles aren't really practical, so the Recon Rifle will be your weapon of choice.
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Ballista Sniper Rifle and Scorpia
Refire: 1 second
Unlocked at: Level 7 for Ballista, Level 23 for Scorpia
The Ballista and Scorpia open up an entire style of play for the Recon class. Recons who use the Ballista becomes experts at the ranged kill, yet the ability to stealth allows them to allows the sniper Recon to also be tactically diverse. Most sniper classes tend to be very vulnerable and easy to pin down, but a sniper Recon can simply use stealth to fade away once they enemy has found out who has been shooting at them.
There is no one, and I mean no one, who can do as much ranged damage as a sniper speced Recon with a Ballista or a Scorpia in hand. As expected, this allows the Recon to rack up a lot of kills, but in broader team strategy there is even more to it. A sniper spec Recon with his sniper sight trained on a medic can make that medic a non-factor in the battle by forcing the medic into hiding or killing the medic completely. Smart Recons with also realize that their ranged power makes them great at taking out enemy structures. Robotic's personal turret go you down? No problem. Just snipe it from out of the turret's range.
In terms of damage, both the Ballista and the Scorpia are identical. The difference between them lies in the effect they apply to the targets they hit. The Ballista slaps on a -10 to protection for a few seconds. This makes the next hit hurt even more. This is particularly good for when focusing on a particular target, such as enemy medics. The Scorpia, on the other hand, gives the target a 50% healing penalty for the next few seconds. This can be game-winner when slapped on an enemy Assault. With his healing reduced by half, the Assault is going to be in a world of hurt even if a medic is trying to keep him alive.
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The difference between the Recon Rifle and the sniper rifles couldn't be greater. The Recon Rifle doesn't really define the roll of the Recon, but it is used as a backup weapon for Recons who like to backstab opponents or use mines to bomb enemies. The sniper rifles, however, define the power of the ranged recon.
Choosing which to use, then, isn't difficult. Are you a sniper? Great! Use the Ballista or the Scorpia. Do you get up close in personal or use a lot of mines and bombs? Then use the Recon Rifle. It really is as simple as that.