I Can’t Blame Anyone For Playing To Win — Even When It Comes To Campers

I Can’t Blame Anyone For Playing To Win — Even When It Comes To Campers

They hide in the shadows, in the corners. They’re waiting with a high power weapon out, waiting for you. The plan is to gun you down before you have a chance to react. I’m talking about the most hated player in a game, next to a cheater: the camper.

Campers play multiplayer games, typically shooters, by staying in one spot and waiting for enemies to come to them. Ideally, campers want to find a place where nobody can come up behind them, or in locations that are well-fortified. These things make killing opponents easier.

Today I watched the video above by YouTube user 402THUNDER402, showcasing the handiwork of a vicious Call of Duty: Black Ops II camper. Personally, I find it difficult to watch this guy’s elaborate set up and not be downright amazed that he can pull it off. He sets up all sorts of turrets, claymores and a shield up in a small room that nobody can go through. He dies once in the entire match, despite other player’s constant attempts to try to gun him down.

If I was playing, I’d see it differently I’m sure. I’d rationally be able to tell that he has a good set up that stops me from being able to kill him, but the admiration wouldn’t come until after the rage subsided.

Even so, I wouldn’t be mad at the player. I don’t blame anyone for using what is in their power to win, within reason (i.e. something like cheating wouldn’t be OK — though admittedly, there is a glitch at work in the video above.)

We play games to win, right? Winning is the entire point. I may not use the same tactics as a camper, but I aim for the same thing. As long as that’s true, and as long as the player follows the rules of the game, then I don’t feel I’m justified in getting angry at how they’re playing.

And it’s not that player’s fault that a developer created levels that lend themselves to camping, or that players refuse to stop going through the area after they know that a camper is there, or that the game is not balanced to stop heavy camping from happening. Sometimes, camping happens even because players just aren’t good enough to stop it.

Is it in the spirit of the game to stay in one place waiting for other players?

The issue, arguably, is sportsmanship. Is it in the spirit of the game to stay in one place waiting for other players? Some would say no. Personally, I think that’s hogwash and camping is an acceptable thing to do — I just wouldn’t find it interesting myself. I’m more of a run and gun type player. That type of playstyle keeps things interesting for me, but it’s a self-imposed rule.

Thankfully games have gotten better over the years about map layout and, overall, I’ve experienced fewer campers than I have before. It’s not completely unavoidable though. Name a game, we can probably find a spot on the map where people like to camp.

Halo 4’s Abandon map, for instance, has a cylindrical structure in the centre that people like to hang out in. There are multiple ways to get into the building, but with a good team-setup, it’s sometimes difficult to penetrate.

Every game will have places like that — high traffic areas that are easy to defend. These tend to be small, claustrophobic spaces, lifts and elevators, power weapon locations, or objectives. If it’s a capture-the-point/flag type deal, camping is a necessary tactic to win.

Camping is unavoidable, basically, though the degree to which it happens varies depending on map layout and game balance. So not only have I gotten used to it, I’m of that whole ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game’ mentality. It keeps things in perspective.


  • Camping happens because of short killtimes. That’s why you see it all the time in CoD, where the killtime is as short as 0.2 seconds. It’s also a problem in Halo where people only ever want to use the OP weapon and write down how bad weapons are if their killtimes goes beyond 1.5 seconds.

    Frankly they need to encourage other forms of playstyles, even create playlists with more health to encourage teamwork and other forms of combat. I’m getting real tired of the “I-Spy” most games are turning into.

    • It’s not just killtimes. Map design and game mechanics play a part as well.

      I tend to play battlefield 3 a lot on hard core servers where it normally takes 2 bullets to kill someone center mass. I very rarely run into camping of the kind described. The fact that each class has at least 1 grenade probably is the biggest factor. Suspect someone’s camping in the next room? toss a grenade in and laugh.

      Sniping is probably the closest you get to entrenched campers but if your team has any decent snipers on it they’ll punish the other teams ones for staying in the same spot. There is also the humiliating dogtag stealing knife kill for snipers that camp too much.

      • I’d have to agree with you there.

        Although, I can accept snipers because it’s part of their class (although they should move from time to time), and because even when camping, there’s usually an equal opportunity to kill them. Not only that, but they can actually benefit the team by spotting like there’s no tomorrow.

        I can’t accept shotgunners and other one shot killers hiding in a dark corner in a random small room. There’s no team spirit there at all. But hey, I guess if it’s not breaking game rules, there’s not much you can do about it.

      • Ahh, I’ve been knifed in the back so many times. I thought it was funny.

        And sniper wars. Going for that headshot from 900km. Dodging bullets and whatnot. That was pretty hot.

        Though if you were trying to snipe from within the battlefield, it wasn’t uncommon to run into a building straight into a guy proned with a bipod machine gun.

        I’m still stuck in Tribes:Ascend. The only campers are the often stationary snipers. Or bombarding heavies. The former being the most annoyin. And I like gliding in the sky at 250kph.

  • Sometimes I feel I have to resort to camping because it seems to be more effective against lagging assholes.

  • I can understand it in games without regenerative health, but if you can regen health I generally camp until I’m good to go.

    • Also, I can’t believe this article made no mention of Counter Strike, the game that turned camping into an artform.

      • She’s probably never heard of it, she seems to think Geralt and Max Payne are generic bald space marines after all.

  • In a number of instances, camping is entirely justified and a valid tactic especially if your objective involves forming a defence in a small area.

  • Personally I can’t agree with any underhanded tactics for the sake of “winning” since as far as I’m concerned these are games and not sports. Wanting to win and playing well to achieve it is fine but if winning is the sole reason for playing/enjoying then I can’t sympathise.

  • So using proper tactics like, sitting and defending a location by yourself or with team mates is against the rules? Why? Because I have to aimlessly and endlessly sprint around the map just to get shot ever second! FUCK THAT! The mechanics behind nearly every FPS game these days have been destroyed and dumbed down to such a basic level that no enjoyment can come from it. ^.^ The only way I can see competitive multiplayer working is if, team play and tactics are in forced! Or just focus on co-op ^.^

  • It’s funny. Camp in a game, everyone complains and hates you for it. Camp in real life though, and it’s a sound tactic that can often mean you live to go home.

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