Why People Don’t Camp in King’s Canyon
“Shit. There’s a guy in the corner at B-point.”
“Guy at B got me again. He’s got a shotty.”
“This dude at B is starting to piss me off!”
“Dammit! I fucking hate shotguns! Fucking camper!”[*]
Last week I wrote about not getting as tilted while playing battle royales as I do while playing other online shooters. In talking with f1avorous, another point came up: camping. It just doesn’t seem to exist in Apex Legends. What follows are some reasons why I think that camping isn’t a particularly viable strategy:[†]
The most obvious reason is the Circle.[‡] The fact that the map is shrinking throughout the game makes camping a difficult proposition. The main reason to camp is to take advantage of a defensible position, but if that position ends up outside of the Circle, then obviously that position holds no real advantage.
With the obvious out of the way, let’s take a look at some other reasons why camping may not be prevalent in Apex Legends.
Sniping is Hard
One of the main ways to camp is to find a defensible position and then snipe from that position. Usually this means getting your back up against a wall and looking out from high ground. Where would you find such a place in Apex? There are certainly positions that can provide you with a great view of things in front of you (think of the overlooks outside of Artillery and Repulsor or the shacks above the valley), but it isn’t all that difficult to flank someone in those positions.
So, in order to be really effective as a sniper you are going to need someone watching your back, as you don’t have claymores or bouncing betties to protect you.[§] This means at least one of your teammates is relegated to covering you instead of shooting with you, and, as has been discussed in the podcast, this is a team shooter, and you are going to win more fights if, you know, your team is shooting.
Okay, so the heading above may be a little misleading… Sniping isn’t really that difficult in Apex; the Triple Take and the Longbow are both perfectly respectable (and maybe even great) guns, and the Kraber can ruin someone’s day quickly. That said, sniping full teams from range is extremely difficult.
The Longbow and Triple Take shine at much closer ranges than sniper rifles in typical shooters, particularly with the bullet drop you see with the Longbow. The Kraber is better than either at really long ranges, but even if you knock someone at 300 metres, who is cleaning up your knock?
This is the biggest difficulty with sniping in Apex: downing someone isn’t enough; you have to get two other people who almost certainly aren’t standing around waiting for you to snipe them, and since a headshot (which is difficult at range anyway) isn’t enough to kill with a sniper rifle, you likely aren’t going to knock three people anyway. Your odds increase if one of your teammates is sniping alongside you, but even then, getting those knocks is tricky given how much cover the game provides and how quickly players can move.
Movement is Easy
The advantages provided by quick movement are another reason why camping isn’t a particularly viable strategy. One of the most common methods of camping is corner camping. Essentially, the name says it all. I feel like I elevated this to an art by camping in bathrooms and closets in Black Ops IV’s Blackout mode,[**] but in that game movement isn’t what it is in Apex.
In Apex, even the sluggish heroes can strafe fairly quickly, and the bigger heroes have other ways of dealing with people sitting in a corner (shields, grapples and poison canisters). So, if you are sitting in a corner waiting for someone, you had better do a lot of damage quickly because you are in a spot that affords little room to move, making you an easy target. If you sit in corners and you miss your shots, you are in trouble.
In fact, I find that people camping in buildings are far easier to kill than the ones taking advantage of stairs and openings in roofs because engaging a moving target is just harder. Their movements can be difficult to predict, and they can easily disengage when injured. A camper’s sole advantage is the element of surprise; after the initial volley, their advantage is gone, and your ability to move means the advantage has shifted in your direction, as long as you haven’t taken too much damage. So, by all means, check those corners, but remember that sitting in one is a very dangerous tactic.
So, there are no spawn points in Apex (save the initial dropship); there are only Respawn (ha!) points. This immediately eliminates spawn camping as a strategy. “But you could camp the respawn points,” you say. Sure. Good luck with that.
Which one are you going to camp? It seems to me the most viable ones to camp would be in the early game outside of a high-traffic area like Skull Town. But how do you know which one to camp? Respawn was smart and included several different options for respawning near high-traffic areas. What if you choose the wrong one?
Alternatively, you could camp a respawn point in the middle of nowhere. Do that, though, and the Circle is an issue. And do you really want to sit around hoping for someone to show up at that respawn point? It may not be entirely terrible as a strategy in the end game, as you may be able to pick off a team going for that last-minute respawn, but usually decent players would rather not get their teammate up in the final circle than alert the other squad(s) to their presence. This just seems like a completely random strategy that would rarely pay dividends.
To me, this seems the only potentially viable camping strategy, and even so, it isn’t that great. Move to one of the drops, and just wait at some high ground. Some team is likely to show up. The loot is enticing if a team needs shields.[††] I will say, though, that f1avorous and I tried this outside of Thunderdome the other night, and it didn’t work all that well, as a team ended up coming from behind us, causing us to regroup while they got into a fight with another squad going for the drop.
This is the real problem with this strategy. The drops attract teams. If you camp one, you may pick off the team you were lying in wait for, but another team will be coming for the drop or will hear your gunfire, and then what advantage did you really gain? You may as well have just picked up the drop yourself.
Camping Isn’t Noticeable
Finally, you aren’t going to notice camping in Apex because camping only frustrates us when, as in the example at the beginning of this article, we keep going back for more and getting killed. When you get killed in this game, you aren’t going back for more. Either your team is disengaging and respawning you, or you are done and starting a new match. So, even if a team was camping, you would never really know it.
In this case, ignorance is bliss.
[*] Me. In every online shooter I have ever played.
[‡] I am going to capitalize “Circle” because it is so central to the battle royale genre that it is almost a character in its own right.
[§] Caustic has traps, but they are easily disarmed, and they don’t work well in more open positions.
[**] Oh. You thought that since I can’t stand campers that I am above doing it? Ha. It is a totally viable strategy in many games; the reason people hate it is because they see it as less fun to play a shooter so passively. I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with it. It’s just frustrating to play against.
[††] Bonus! If they need shields, you have an even greater advantage.