22 December 2009

The Dad's Guide to Modern Warfare 2: Camping

This is part of a series of strategy guides for players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. If you haven't already done so, check out the first post in the series here. As always, keep in mind the audience for these guides is not hardcore gamers but rather the casual "dad" gamers trying to stay competitive.

Camping is the strategy of staying mostly in one area of the map over the course of game and taking what are perceived to be opportunistic kills of opponents as they pass the player's camping area. There is no more derided strategy in MW2 then camping, but it's not because it doesn't work. Quite the opposite. Camping can be a very effective strategy. However, those who prefer the strategy of a more wide open, fluid game will ultimately be frustrated by campers because camping is seen as a "noobish" strategy.

I think the negativity toward camping is based on a view that the wide open, fluid game is somehow a more correct or better way of playing the game. And because it takes considerable time to become proficient at a wide open style of play, newer players will often camp because, well, it's easier to do.

Either way, it is interesting to note that for all the negativity associated with camping, most everyone does it to some extent or another. People who are skilled at sniping over long distances are respected for this skill, but ultimately a sniper is probably camping to do it. Furthermore, the layout of some maps lend themselves to camping. Battles on the Estate map almost always revolve around taking, holding and defending the house, while the other team assaults it. Perhaps this is a more dignified version of camping because as a defender your impact is more concrete for the team and less opportunistic for yourself.

If it sounds as if I am defending camping, it's because I am. In fact, I'll defend whatever strategy you decide to play--you paid $60 for the game, you paid $50 for an Xbox Live account, so you can play whatever strategy you choose. Do you really care that some random, nameless opponent called you a "noob" and a "camper"?

Back to the topic at hand. The strategy that I'm advocating is called camp and go. It may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn't. Camp and go is a hybrid strategy which takes advantage of camping for short periods at different locations around a map, and then moving quickly to other locations for short durations.

The first part of the strategy is to select a handful of locations on each map and use them to your advantage. The ideal locations will have some or all of the following characteristics:
  • Higher in altitude than the surrounding terrain (I'll talk more in detail about altitude in a later post)
  • Provides a clear field of view of a high traffic area of the map
  • Sufficient defensive cover
  • Defensible approaches
Note that there are exceptions to every rule, so not every location will necessarily have all of these characteristics, and sometimes some of them may not even be desirable).

Typically these areas will be closer to the edges of the map rather than the middle, although this doesn't always apply (this brings up an idea another future post--using map boundaries as defensive measure).

So you think you've located the perfect place to camp. Great. Guess what? Most everyone also knows about that place. So don't surprised when someone comes hunting for you. And believe me, they will.

Camp and go takes into account that your success as a camper will draw the enemy toward your location. Believe me, if you start picking off opponents successfully from your location (and especially if you pick off the same person more than once), they'll come looking for you (note to self--yet another future post--using the killcam to gather intelligence).

So when to move? Sometimes it's easy. When you can physically see multiple enemies approaching your position and you feel as if you can't defend all the threats at once, you probably ought to consider moving. If multiple red dots are moving in your direction on the map, or spawning behind or close to you in areas that you can't easily defend, same considerations. More difficult is deciding when to move when it isn't always apparent that someone is definitely coming for you. Over the course of your games, sometimes you can just get a sense that it is time to move on. The threat to you may not be immediately evident, but you're calculating on the fly a combination of map dynamics (where other players are--both your teammates and the enemy--in relation to you) and a feel for the flow of the game to get a sense of when to stay or go.

In future posts I'll get into more detail on specific maps about some of my preferred camping locations and how I like to move around the map as I camp and go.

Check out my latest stats using camp and go here.
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