First-Person Shooters have been around for a long time, but only in the last few years have they become one of the biggest genres in gaming, thanks in large part to online multiplayer. It’s no secret that some of these games are notorious for players arguing and even threatening one another over something that happened in the game. Sometimes players get so mad that they call the police on each other.
When you play online, you’re exposing yourself to players from all over the world who have their own strategies and ideas on how to best play the game. Sometimes people don’t agree with other player’s’ strategies, and they get really upset. However, there’s one strategy that’s the most anger-inducing of them all: Camping.
For those of you who don’t know, “camping” refers to a tactic where a player remains in one spot to watch an objective or wait for enemies to pass. It’s generally frowned upon because people feel like players should be moving around and engaging in combat, or trying to win the objective. Also, it’s often just a way for a player to be selfish and ensure that he gets a good kill-to-death ratio for a particular match. By hiding in cover, a player can rack up kills without exposing himself to much enemy fire. This pisses a lot of people off.
When I was playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, I got a lot of angry messages from players (most of them insinuating not-so-nicely that I was a homosexual, which is the go-to insult for some reason). I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it. I was a total camper. I once got the Nuke killstreak in free-for-all mode. The sheer amount of camping I did to pull that off would make a Boy Scout drool. I had to get twenty-five kills without dying, so I just alternated camping between two nearby spots until I got there. Towards the end of the match, the other players pretty much stopped fighting each other and came exclusively for me. It was actually pretty surreal to see a bunch of strangers form an unspoken alliance against a common threat. But that’s how angry I made them, and it just goes to show that people really, really don’t like campers.
Of course, every game is different. Camping might be more acceptable in slower-paced multiplayer like The Last of Us than it is in Call of Duty, which is a more arcade-style shooter. Also, The Last of Us doesn’t have a kill-cam, which is important to note. I don’t think people would be so mad at campers if they couldn’t watch the replay and see themselves walk right in front of a player who was hiding. It’s frustrating to be able to watch your own death and know that you just walked unsuspectingly into a trap. It’s completely justifiable to react with: “UGH, he was just waiting for me! Fucking Camper!!!!”
I understand the anger. I get mad at campers, too. But I still do it. And if I’m being honest, there is a certain level of fun that comes with knowing that you’ve pissed someone off to the point that they’re now going to devote the rest of the game solely to trying to kill you.
It’s actually a pretty legitimate strategy if done correctly, and if the camper moves his position slightly every now and then. By enraging other players, you set a trap for them. You know they’re coming right back to try to kill you, so you can be prepared.
Consider wartime strategy: If these games functioned as simulations for real wars, everybody would be a camper. In fact, camping is the best strategy for survival. Matches would take days instead of ten or twenty minutes. People would crawl through shadows and wait behind cover instead of sprinting through the middle of a combat zone hip-firing a rocket launcher.
I should clarify that in most games I generally do go for the objectives, and am pretty active in the matches. Camping gets boring in slower-paced games or games with small teams. But there’s just something about the Call of Duty franchise in particular that begs me to camp. I don’t know if it’s because I like being a contrast to the otherwise fast-paced action, or if I’m just a coward at heart, but I can’t play those games without getting a good camp on.
I fully acknowledge that my actions have ruined many players’ experiences; but I wouldn’t camp if it didn’t result in my success. Camping is an effective strategy. Someone has to guard the objective, OK? Having said that, there is a video of an extremely efficient camper, and it makes my blood boil. He takes camping to the extreme.
Is camping a legitimate strategy? Or is it just an annoying tactic that disrupts the intended game experience? The jury is still out; but in the meantime, you can find me camping proudly, hiding in a dark corner of your favorite map, waiting to ruin your day.
[Tim Hitpas is a writer for Continue Play. And a big, dirty camper. His views are his own and don’t necessarily represent the views of Continue Play.]