Brouhaha: Sniping versus camping versus everyone else

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Brouhaha: Sniping versus camping versus everyone else
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This is what happens when gaming journos hang out - we argue a lot. This time, it's on the merits - or the evils - of so-called camping in FPS games...

 

Perhaps the greatest thing about industry drinks is how easily the gloves come off and how quickly true feelings boil to the surface. Such was the case not so long ago when outspoken freelancer Dave Kozicki clashed with Atomic’s David Hollingworth on the topic of camping. To make matters more interesting, FPS-loving freelancer Nathan Lawrence entered the fray, throwing fists at both sides of the argument. Suffice it to say, things got interesting.

What you’re about to read is the slightly more composed follow-up to this epic showdown between three highly opinionated gamers.

It was up to Dave Kozicki to fire the first shot. And shoot it he did:

I hate snipers. Scratch that. I detest them.

They are the embodiment of everything wrong with online first-person shooters. The class perpetuates cheap kills by skill-less, no talent gamers who can’t hack it in the front lines so they revert to exploits and take the easiest way out. I usually reply to this type of online behaviour gracefully: shouting through the headset that I’ll track down the offender, knife him in the back of his head and skull-frak his eye socket. When was the last time you rage quit a match due to an engineer’s turret or a shotgun to the face? The answer to that riddle is never. Only spawn camping, tent pitching, root-growing gamers illicit this type of response.

A late joiner to the whole competitive gaming side of first-person shooters, I can remember with pinpoint clarity my first encounter with a sniper, as it was also my first time ever venturing online. After attending the Xbox 360 Perfect Dark Zero launch event at Bondi Beach and receiving a goodie bag that included the game, I decided to get online and see what the fuss was about. In my first match I was pitted against an adversary in a one on one, mano-e-mano duel.

It went something like this.

I entered the game. He had already lined up one of the two possible spawn points with his scope. Boom, headshot, respawn. This happened nine times in a row. I would take maybe a step and a half and die. Each and every time. Getting jack of it, I quit and later in the day found this little bitch of a gamer had registered a complaint against me via Xbox LIVE. So I guess I’m the asshole for not bending over and taking it, right?

Since then I have invested over a thousand hours into various titles such as Warhawk, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Killzone 3, and in all that time across those countless hours I’ve come across one, count it, ONE actual sniper. As part of a two-man squad in Bad Company 2 with the gamer in question, let’s call him Sniper X, he would spot the enemy religiously, call out their positions to confirm, stay in constant radio contact, pick off advancing soldiers as I completed objectives, reposition himself and call down mortar strikes over M-Com stations to secure detonation. The guy was one in a million. Literally. It was no surprise to either of us that our two-man squad took out ‘best squad’ honours (over four-man teams) the entire night; but this was an anomaly. A freak random occurrence rarely repeated.

Given the nature of XP-based, weapon and perk unlock-driven multiplayer it should be of no surprise that gamers take the easiest way out to get that shiny new toy, gadget or perk. I’d like to think there would be some code of honour on the digital battlefield and some semblance of teamwork, but it appears I’m in the minority by putting the needs of the many before the needs of the few.

I long for the day where I meet another gamer the calibre of Sniper X, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Till then, I’ll steer clear of titles such as Bad Company 2, Black Ops and Killzone 3 where this behaviour is beyond rampant and look forward to titles like Brink that favour fluid movement, objective and team-based play but, most importantly, have only a single sniper rifle in the armoury and gameplay that doesn’t really support or encourage its use.

Oh, thems be fighting words alright. David Hollingworth was quick to come back, though...

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