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Game Types: Free for All versus Capture the Flag
FFA: A free for all is every man for him or herself. Shoot anyone else, and anyone can shoot at you. You try not to get killed while getting as many kills as possible. Usually the first one to 20 or 30 kills wins. Or it could be timed, like whoever gets the most kills in 10 minutes of play. In this type of game, you are on your own, so take cover and shoot everything that moves.
Team Deathmatch is still based strictly around killing, but at least there are two approximately even teams so not everyone will be out to kill you, and some astute teammates might be nice enough to heal you or provide cover fire if someone is sneaking up behind you.
Contrast this with capture the flag or CTF. It's another game type that requires teamwork and cooperation, and can be a lot of fun, especially with vehicles and skilled players that are operating as an organized team, unlike free-for-alls that quickly become mindless run-and-gun frag-fests. “Capture the flag," I know it may sound lame. But you might be surprised once you try it, it has lots of action, suspense and thrilling moments, especially when vehicles and high-skilled players are involved. This is one of the most enjoyable types of matches for the seasoned player. Here you will get a chance to assemble and organize and operate as a team for a common goal of capturing the enemy flag while defending your own. It’s very similar to all those classic invasion sports. Like soccer, football or even chess—it’s built upon the principle of invading the enemy space and preventing said enemy from invading your own. Classic. It also has elements of good old hide-and-go seek. Furthermore, on well-designed large multiplayer maps with lots of online players it can be epic fun.
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Caps and Frags
Caps-Caps are captures, as with Capture the flag. You might see it in usage like your teammate may say, "Someone go get caps while I defend," which would mean to go capture flags by attacking the enemy base while your teammate guards your base. Caps are the usual scoring method which is the number of times you have successfully captured the enemy flag and brought it back to the home base. Halo and Call of Duty both have a lively CTF game following.
Frags- A frag is a kill. This term is based on the number of kills one can accumulate, such as FFA (free for alls) and death matches. In other types of games, kills are important, but teamwork and cooperation might effectively win the game, such as with CTF.
So there you have some of the basic differences between team-based CTF and run-and-gun frag-fests or FFA's. Next, we will talk about running and gunning versus camping and sniping. It's mostly a stylistic difference, but it sheds light on the dynamics of the game also.
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Game Playing Styles: Camping and Sniping
Camping: Ah, yes the camper. “Camper," “noob camper," “quit camping, noob," your opponents cry. What does this mean? Is it just a different playing style, just a different strategy of play, to stay close to base, guard the flag, and protect your team mates? Or maybe you’re just hiding in some building, or out in the wilderness somewhere, laying down in the bushes, laying in wait, patiently waiting for your enemy to show. Are you a scout on an outpost, waiting to alert your teammates of an approaching enemy? Camper. Because this can pay dividends when you are looking to ambush the enemy.
You can call it camping, but that just means the enemy isn’t going to attack in the most obvious way. Camping, ha! Is it like some are almost unaware that there is a war going on?—roasting marshmallows, assembling s'mores? See, it’s no fun for the other players who are counting on you to attack their base; there's not much action; they want you to come out with guns blazing, loud, preferably while running in full upright sprint, to where they can just mow you down easily with heavy machine gun fire. See, they are also camping.
They’ve got snipers in the hills and behind the houses. So they are hypocrites if they call you a camper. It’s almost like they’re saying, come on out, you cowards, and fight like a real man, with guns blazing, and preferably in a jeep that we can easily destroy with a well-placed RPG. It’s just more smack talk, really. So keep camping, campers, just remember to attack when the enemy finally shows up. It actually makes for suspenseful, more thrilling play. It’s more fun when you can’t predict where the enemy will attack from. You are not camping, you are orchestrating a well-timed ambush, a surprise attack. This is all camping, you could say, but camping is okay, as long as you remember that there is a war going on. Try to make it fun for others and mix it up by doing something different, and camping from the same spot for too long will make you an easy target.
There is one place you shouldn't be camping though. Camping where you can attack an enemy spawn point before a player has a chance to take a step is considered bad form. We explain this further on the next page.
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Play Styles: Run and Gun
Run and Gun: This different style of play is common in close-quarters maps where players run around spraying bullets, accumulating kills. Popular and effective, these fraggings and aggressions--yield dynamic faster-paced action with bullets and explosions. Nothing wrong with it, just a different style. Also notable is that certain weapons lend themselves to this style of play. Shotguns, small machine guns, pistols and well-timed grenades can be useful in these close quarters.The Thompson in Call of Duty is a notably effective in close-quarters. In larger maps with vehicles and armour, you'll have to bring the according weapons like bazookas, RPG's and have a sniper that can provide long-range support. (I'm thinking of Call of Duty and Ghost Recon here.) Contrast this with the sprawling epic multiplayer missions, where you and your squad have a target and a set of objectives--it's just more challenging and intense. You have to have the cooperation and team support there. This is just my opinion though--I’m biased towards bigger maps, bigger games and more teamwork. There’s more of an art to it, okay?
The Versatile Player--One could also argue though that one should be versed in both styles to make for a versatile player- running and gunning, and doing it well may be harder than camping: you have to plan things out, pop out of cover and drop people on the move, land in cover while stabbing a guy, reload, pop out and shoot another guy, drop a nade on your way out of the room so the two guys chasing you can either slow down or get blown up. I also think it is worth pointing out that the expert player can not only both camp and run and gun, but knows when to do each. Camping your flag if you are down a few caps with the clock running down isn't all that helpful: you need people who will go for those daring caps. Or camp for a kill or two, then run and gun to another good campsite before their snipers can line you up. What if your enemy likes to camp? Then flank and run and gun (or stab) while they are still sighting down field. They want to run at you, find a good place to camp and thin them on the way in, and when they get close, run and gun to somewhere safer.
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Game Concepts: Spawn Points, Spawn Camping, and Spawn Killing
Note: Most of this relates to FPS games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Ghost Recon.
Spawn point: nearly every FPS has some type of spawn point. This is the area of the map where after you die, you are magically re-incarnated into a brand new human being: a new soldier, usually fully-stocked up with weapons, health and ammo. At this point you have re-spawned. This is important to winning player strategy, because some players memorize maps and spawn points so they can “spawn-camp" and “spawn-kill" See next two entries.
Spawn-camping: this is someone who stakes out a location near the enemy spawn-zone so they can have line-of-sight access to easy kills. Some games offer protection at spawn zones until you move out of them. (COD multiplayer does this.) Someone who camps out near a spawn-zone so they can pick off easy spawners. Also, called spawn-sniping or spawn-killing. See also spawn-killer, next entry.
Spawn-killer: this is the de facto word for a spawn-camping, someone who hangs out near the enemy spawn zones and lobs repeated grenades and generally is too lazy to get a legitimate hard-won kill via the usual stalking, hunting and hiding method so they take they easy route and become the much-reviled and lazy “spawn-killers." It's cheap and it generally degrades the quality of the game.
Snipers will often focus in on a spawn point and repeatedly pick off opponents as they are most vulnerable and will predictably spawn in the same area. This can be frustrating for other players, but seen from another angle is an easy way to rack up kills. Just remember there is always someone out there that knows the maps better than you, and spawn killers are priority targets.