Scorched Earth
Don’t think they’re gonna get out any time soon…

Spawn-camping. Some love it, some hate it. Spam. Some love that too. Some hate that too. Everyone though hates it when they can’t even get out of their own spawn room! Today, we’ll discuss whether spam and spawn-camping are something to be encouraged or whether they should be wiped off the face of the planet.

We’ll tackle spam first. It’s always been a part of Team Fortress. In Team Fortress Classic, grenades were thrown around like confetti at the president’s wedding, during which a truck full of doves was stolen. Dustbowl was even worse then, and BLU team would be stuck within their spawn for a good 10 minutes before a sneaky Spy would manage to get out and get to work. Things are certainly better now in Team Fortress 2, but spam is still an issue. Dustbowl is still an issue too, what with all its tight corners and choke points.

But the question here is whether spam is the problem, or is it something else? Grenades will rain down on you no matter what you do if there are 6 Demomen on the other team, the same way syringes will blot out the sun with enough Medics. Numbers will always increase the amount of spam. But this can be multiplied by the design of a map. Compare Badlands to Dustbowl and you can see why Dustbowl is considered a spam fest. Badlands has a nice combination of open space and cover, along with the odd tight corridor. Any narrow spaces can be avoided by taking alternate routes. Dustbowl though, most routes require you traipsing through tunnel after corridor after tunnel, then finding yourself in a heavily defended and quite small area.

Spam is amplified by bad map design. But what about spawn camping? You need spam and bad map design to be able to spawn camp efficiently. Is it really that hellish a thing though? It depends on the context. Let’s look at some different scenarios. Imagine we’re on CP_Badlands and BLU have managed to push right up until last and are spawn-camping the RED team. You’d probably say that’s a bit cruel. Well, you’d be right, because there’s no need to spawn-camp here, the game is already won, BLU just need to spend 3 seconds to cap the last point. Spawn-camping here is pointless.

But what about other game modes? King of the Hill only has one control point, and both spawn areas are generally quite close. Some spawn-camping is needed to be able to hold down the control point for the entire three minutes. A degree of spawn camping is needed to stop the BLU team from pushing the cart in Payload and it helps if half a team keeps the other pinned down in Payload Race. The biggest offender though is Attack/Defend, where RED is required to keep BLU at bay for as long as possible.

So while relentlessly keeping one team inside their spawn room does seem a bit unfair, spawn-camping is needed to make sure your team wins. And what’s the best way to keep a team trapped? Spam.

It’s a vicious circle, really.