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The "activity" of staying in one location of a game world for extended periods of time waiting for opportunities to appear there.

Some areas in games are so advantageous to players that they can form the game tactics on being in these areas and letting players and game events come to them. This Camping is usually done in a combination of performing a small range of actions and waiting for the opportunity to do these actions.


Many multiplayer First-Person Shooters have Camping as part of their gameplay regardless of if this is explicitly design for or not. Especially the presence of sniping weapons and locations that are difficult to reach but provide good overviews can make Camping common. To counter this, Battlefield 2 and later games in the Battlefield series allows commanders to locate players on overview maps and can effectively direct airstrikes against those Camping. While Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory have levels designed for Camping, e.g. seawall battery, the game also has mortars which can be used for dislodging "campers".

Camping occurs in World of Warcraft and other Massively Multiplayer Online Games when they contain Quests or instances that only can be accessed at certain intervals or when enough players are co-located.

Using the pattern

Camping can take two main forms in games: being related to Combat or being related to Collecting. Both require players to be able to do No-Ops without strong direct negative gameplay effects since otherwise players would prefer performing other activities.

For Combat aspects, creating the possibility of Camping consists of designing weapons and locations that support the activity. The weapons typically need to be powerful and able to work at a long range but do not have to be fast as "campers" are usual well-prepared. The locations should be difficult to reach, e.g. Galleries, Sniper Locations, or Strongholds. However, Camping can also be interesting to do because of the nature of the areas observed. This may make areas near any Strategic Locations potential areas for Camping, but Spawn Points are probably extra interesting since they give a chance at attacking newly inserted Avatars. This form of Spawn Camping can however be disliked since it can give rise to Repeated Domination (sometimes this is called base raping). However, some games (e.g. Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory) require Teams to camp at Spawn Points to change ownership of Territories. Combat-related Camping can be discouraged by making otherwise nice areas to watch into Safe Havens. Another way to counter Camping, this time based upon the nature of the Camping locations, is to provide Flanking Routes.

Camping related to Collecting is mainly regulated by how often Spawn Points produce the game elements that are to be collected. It can be made more difficult by the presence of Enemies.

Camping often requires the same kind of actions that are required to succeed with Stealth goals and can easily be designed to be part of such goals. When related to Combat it can also be designed as being part of Guard goals when the guarding does not require movement.

Interface Aspects

One of the prerequisites for countering Camping is knowing where the "campers" are. This can be supported through giving players means of having Game State Overviews. If giving all players this does work too greatly against the pattern, it can be given only to some players as privileged abilities (as is done for commanders in Battlefield 2).


Camping encourages or even requires players to perform No-Ops. It can provide both Anticipation and Tension since players are waiting for game events they believe will happen but if players also have sufficiently good Game State Overview it may instead be Downtime. In Multiplayer Games, this can in turn lead to Social Interaction as players try to entertain themselves (this is found for example when waiting for Instances to open in World of Warcraft or waiting for Boss Monsters to spawn in Everquest).

Camping is done better if players have Strategic Knowledge of suitable locations, so the possibility of Camping in games encourages players to gain this type of knowledge and then engage in Strategic Planning for how to do it best.

The possibility for Camping in games lessen the incentives for Varied Gameplay and may disrupt Player Balance, e.g. from Repeated Domination, if other players have no or little chance of disrupting the Camping activity. Camping is especially prone to disrupt game balance when the areas watched are Spawn Points as Spawning players have little possibilities to organize.

While Safe Havens can encourage Camping in those locations since one is protected from harmful events, Safe Havens for the same reason discourage others to camp in proximity of these.


Can Instantiate

Anticipation, Downtime, Repeated Domination, Strategic Planning, Tension

with Multiplayer Games

Social Interaction

Can Modulate

Combat, Collecting, Guard, Stealth, Territories

Can Be Instantiated By

No-Ops, Galleries, Safe Havens, Sniper Locations, Spawn Points, Strategic Locations, Strongholds

Can Be Modulated By

Enemies, Flanking Routes, Game State Overviews, Strategic Knowledge

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Enemies, Player Balance, Safe Havens, Varied Gameplay


An updated version of the pattern Camping that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].


  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.