You choose to make a few basic classes, defined by their weapons.
- A rifleman - jack of all ranges, master of none. A rifleman is never really stumped in any situation, but a specialist will take them down.
- A support using some sort of machinegun - amazing defensive class uncaring for distance, but is miles slower at achieving the same outcome than the rifleman (assuming they don't take unnecessary risks that may be high reward, but also higher risk than a rifleman).
- A breacher - using fully automatic shotguns/SMGs with, for sake of game balance, unrealistically high bullet spread. They excel at entering a room and taking down everyone within without dying. However, should the distances be too high, you become useless.
- A sniper - using a high caliber rifle that instantly kills anyone it hits, a high power scope balanced very long barrel, a low-capacity internal magazine that needs to be hand-fed due to the scope, and bolt-action cycling. The sniper rifle excels at long range engagement, but its balancing aspects MAY allow it to breach a room and kill a single guy, but they will either run out of bullets or get killed between cycling the bolt.
Everyone has fun, everyone player has a job to do and they do that job well. The rifleman is a bit of a weak choice, but a mandatory one. Should the sniper be incompetent or die, the rifleman can take his job with less deadliness by using field modifications on his trusty gun. Should the squad need support fire, the rifleman provides, if less effectively. The rifleman can also breach, but he needs to invest in better body armour or perhaps consumables that temporarily blind the room - consumables that are free for the breacher to buy, but not for him. (they can't trade gear because class restricted for balance reasons).
Over the years, your game becomes more and more popular and people decide to port it over to other media. Nothing bad happens, the media remain true to the intended structure of the game and the well separated classes work well.
Over time, the intended structure muddles.
Due to various reasons, rather than long campaigns with clear end goals, enemies start respawning. No problem, the sniper just has to stick close as he can no longer safely take his shot perched from his spot.
Someone decided that Pride and Accomplishment would be best achieved if every player had separate progression from their team. We're not talking small boosts here and there to reward excellence, but every basic action rewarding everyone differently. Some players realise they are able to progress faster solo by grinding the same enemies over and over again. By virtue of being a jack of all trades, the rifleman starts to dominate the meta.
The support stays close, by virtue of his defensive play tilting the gameplay in his favour whatever happens. The Breacher suffers from the current design, forced to stay in specific areas due to their low range and inability to take down the bosses. The sniper? Well, we can speak of 2 kinds of snipers.
The ones that hunt high value targets and those who don't.
Those who don't are fighting an uphill battle. We call them designated marksmen due to their focus on low value targets using marskamnship. Their guns are not made to hunt like riflemen do. They cannot maintain that rate of room clears without running out of ammo and dying, or even just a single room because of their sniper rifles being way too unwieldy (remember, no crosshairs, only sights and the gun is bolt action with low capacity). To keep up, these people start using side arms rather than their intended weapons, ending up not playing the game as their class should be used but as a weird mutation of it.
At least the map design still has opportunities for sniping - there are areas where our common mob hunting snipers can excel by virtue of having a scope, even if their kill rate (despite much, much, much higher single target damage) is lower than the rifleman's (by virtue of more ammo cap and faster reload - in fact, with consumables, they have effectively infinite ammo).
Those who hunt high value targets have surprisingly decent progression. Let's call them assassins. It's not as good as our jack of all trades rifleman who mixes the kits of everyone, but it's better than the breacher. It takes fairly unorthodox play to execute - the sniper needs to sneak through droves of enemies, only killing a few here and there with a suppressed sub-sonic side arm to open new pathways to progress. They might even invest in a breacher's tools to better progress through rooms, not making a sound or even sign they are there. They then work to expose their high value target, essentially debuffing them of their cover and concealment so that when they hide at a vantage point, they only need a single shot to take the thing down. Any more shots than a single is impossible to execute - a failure will result in death after all, by virtue of being alone.. Done with their job, they use their sniper specific tools used to get a better vantage to extract without having to deal with the mobs behind them.
Someone rightly decides they shouldn't be able to extract from the boss room, since it means they can extract into it with no risk sneaking through the enemy lines.
After numerous complaints by the breacher players, the entire map was restructured to eliminate all these long distance vantage points that snipers previously used, be it long or short distance. There are still a few of them left, usually near the boss rooms, but over all the non-assassin style sniper gameplay is now extinct. Breachers rejoice on the other hand from becoming dominant at killing enemies indefinitely, clearing rooms with little risk to themselves. With a few consumables, they can continue doing this even better than a rifleman would.
Riflemen remain cream of the crop still, if less effective than breachers due to needing more consumables without their range advantage. No problem, they can also keep extracting to get a new set of body armour and refill their magazines.
A breacher sees a assassin-style sniper get through a map without clearing rooms and taking down the boss in 1 shot. Because boss fights are difficult for them due to lacking the range to properly counter the survivability of the thing, they find this unfair and petition the sniper rifle to be nerfed so it can no longer be used to assassinate targets.
Assassinating targets is literally the only thing the sniper rifle can do.
The developers oblige, and the sniper rifle becomes a less wieldy rifleman's assault rifle. Snipers survive, more or less. More crafty players are still able to exploit the uniqueness of encounters to win them, or simply forsake the entire sniper gameplay for sitting back and hiring others to do their job while being near enough to get rewards. Or some other attempts.
Whatever they do, the only thing snipers were good at AND were made to do no longer exists.