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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | The Gauntlet: Of Camping and Sniping

The Gauntlet
Are you a sniper? Are you a camper? Do you hate one? Do you hate both? Read on, and then vote your opinion in our InstaPoll!
  — by Lee'Mon and Spyke

Welcome to the first edition of "The Gauntlet"! They say that there are two sides to every argument, and the debates within the Quake community are no exception. That's why we created "The Gauntlet".

Our top two PlanetQuake staff writers, Spyke and Lee'Mon, often find themselves on opposite sides of an argument. We could have them each post their own editorial, but PQ readers have let us know what they really want: bloody combat!

So, we squared the two off in a custom arena, and let them use whatever facts, opinions, arguments, and insults necessary to make their point. Then we let you, the readers, decide the outcome! So watch and read as these two enter the battle royal, and vote on which side you agree with!

This week's topic: Campers and Snipers. You love 'em. More likely, you hate 'em. Perhaps you love to hate them. But when it comes right down to it, which is the lesser of the two evils? spyke argues for the "art" of camping, while Lee'Mon stands for the "skill" of sniping.

Well, since this is the all-important first edition, there's certain bragging rights to being the one who goes first. [Examines Railgun in his hands.] I think it's easy to figure out who gets to start...

Spyke: [Points BFG at Lee'Mon's head.] Ahem...whoever holds the spork gets to speak.

Lee'Mon: [Frowns] Fine, go ahead. I'm not afraid of that llama weapon; I just don't want to have to readjust my bandanna.

Spyke: So this is Camping vs. Sniping, right? Well, I'm all for camping. But it depends on your definition of "camping". The way I see it, camping is simply staying in one place, in a strategic spot, during a game. Be it behind a pillar, in a secret room, or, for that matter, in the middle of a nice open area; if you're staying still, you're camping. And there's nothing wrong with it. People will bitch if you're beside a weapon or item, but that's their problem. They've got to come up with their own strategy.

Lee'Mon: Well, I can play that game as well. I define "sniping" as extensive and repetitive use of the railgun, usually from long distances, often while "camping", and typically by extreme LPBs and/or very good railers. However, the primary requirement is you're constantly using the railgun, even if you have the BFG and full ammo. Again, people hate it, but in sniping's case, it's typically because 90% of them can't do it.

Spyke: Can't do it? I suppose you're on to something there; not everyone has mad rail skillz. However, they could if they wanted to. Camping prevails over sniping because it's exponentially less annoying. It's better to have a guy sitting behind a pillar or next to the rocket launcher than to have a guy way out on a platform with the rail. It's easier to even out the situation; eliminating a camper takes ingenuity, where eliminating a sniper takes pure luck.

Lee'Mon: So go back in your tent and cry about it. As a sniper, I'm using a weapon that everyone else has equal access to; I'm just far better at it. Campers, on the other hand, typically do their work by denying everyone access to a crucial weapon or powerup. As for your looser definition, hiding anywhere is just unnatural. The lion doesn't wait for the prey to come to him; he goes to the prey.

Spyke: Okay, let's take a specific example, and this is the one where sniping hurts the most. Q3DM17, The Longest Yard. If sniping on that map, you're out on the far platform, where the railgun is conveniently located. You're denying access to a weapon. Granted, sniping doesn't cause that all the time, but we go back to my loose definition of camping. Provided you camp at a weapon, say the rail or the rocket launcher, people are going to go for it. They want that weapon, and if you're camping there, they'll gang up on you to get that weapon. However, if you're camping somewhere else, away from a weapon or item, you're simply staying still. There's nothing wrong with that. As for the lion stalking the prey, not vice versa, it's simply a defensive gameplan.

Lee'Mon: To paraphrase a famous line, defense means never having to say you're shot. Hide-and-go-seek is a cop-out. Granted, camp-sniping the rail on Q3DM17 is one of the lamest battle strategies in existence, but you call it sniping, while I call it camping. Who's to say who's right?

Spyke: Who's to say who's right? I'd like to say I am, but I'm not. But still, camping is definitely more fair than sniping. With sniping, you have the advantage of being able to survey a large area and pick off anyone who enters it. When you camp, you're usually in a small area, and have to get the jump quickly on anyone who's not smart enough to fire in a rocket or grenade just in case. Therein lies my argument...camping is fairer.

Lee'Mon: The converse is true, as well. When you snipe, you're visible to a huge area of people, and you have a slow-firing, extremely precise weapon. If you have more than one randomly moving target, you're in serious trouble. A camper, however, can often take on all comers, simply because he plants himself on the high ground.

One of my first experiences with camping was on one of ztn's Quake 2 maps. Someone had procured the grenade launcher and a load of grenades, and proceeded to grapple to the top platform of the main arena and grenade spam the level. No one could get close enough to remove him, and everyone was getting frustrated fast. How did we remove him? I sniped him. In that case, the players were far more appreciative of sniping than camping.

Spyke: I suppose it all depends on the situation, looking at it. I still maintain that, on a server with a player base of mixed experience (i.e., some newbies, some veterans, and some intermediate), camping is infinitely more fair than sniping. It keeps the game fun by not requiring that a sniper be taken out by unwarranted teamwork or pure chance, and is easier to deal with.

Lee'Mon: [laughs] Had to be the first one to back down, eh? Oh, well, since I value your worth as future "Gauntlet" fragbait, I'll try to bring a consensus to this. So stop me if I have this wrong:

I feel I have a right to use the railgun as much as I want. You think it's not fair to the other players. Personally, I think that it may not be fair to less skilled players, but it probably isn't bad in its purest sense. You only get good by playing against someone better than you.

You feel it's alright to play hide-and-go-boom in the Quake levels. I think it goes against everything DeathMatch stands for, but I suppose times are changing. So I suppose that nowadays, hiding/camping/standing still/whatever is a viable -- although still chickenhearted -- method of combat.

However, we both seem to lash out against those whose primary goal is not combat, but the control of a specific point in the level, usually (but not always) with a crucial powerup. It's a zone that only the crudest campers and snipers delve into. Since I refuse to call them snipers, and you refuse to call them campers, what are they?

Spyke: I suppose now is the time for me to wrap things up as well, although I hardly propose a consensus. I believe this debate is a lot like pi; it is irrational and thus can never be truly solved.

You can never get gamers to agree on anything. Small groups will agree on little issues, and on a rare occasion, big issues. However, Camping vs. Sniping is not one of them. I've been playing for a while now, and when I first started, camping and sniping were big deals. I even recall a mod that wouldn't let you stay in one place for 10 seconds, or you'd get booted from the server. Not too much fun for us stealthy types. So I suppose that neither is the lesser of two evils, and that both should be socially acceptable, if that is possible in online gaming. Even though I'm right. And Lee'Mon's defense has more holes in it than John Carmack's door after Paul Steed has been on a methamphetamine rampage.

Lee'Mon: Okay, that's it. You, me, Q3Tourney6, right after we finish this article. Feel free to camp the BFG all you want...

Spyke: You got it, sucka! [silence] Hey...wait....6? Uh oh...I can't camp on that one!

Lee'Mon: Sure you can...[grins]...and I can snipe.

Spyke has strategically placed a rocket launcher under Lee'Mon's kitchen sink and is gleefully awaiting the day when it's his turn to do the dishes.

Lee'Mon was last seen loading his railgun and heading for a location eight blocks from spyke's house.

What's Your Opinion?

Which is the lesser evil: Camping or Sniping?

Camping! I am stoic. I am one with the statues.
Sniping! I am unseen. My opponent's brains will soon be one with the walls.

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