Spamming, in the context of computer games, refers to the rapid, repeated use of the same item or action. For example, "grenade spamming" is the act of a player throwing a large amount of grenades in succession into an area. In fighting games, one form of spamming would be to execute the same offensive maneuver so many times in succession that one's opponent does not receive a chance to escape the series of blows.
In objective-based games like Counter-Strike, Team Fortress Classic or Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, grenade spamming is also used to keep the enemy from passing through a needed passage, or to spam the objective itself while teammates go another way to kill them while they can't reach the objective. This presents some problems in team-based maps, where one team may have a better position to spam grenades from, causing serious imbalances. In Starsiege: Tribes, a group of dedicated mortar spammers can confine an entire team within an enclosed area (such as their own base) indefinitely. Usually, players will leave the server once this begins to happen.
In addition to throwing fragmentation or explosive grenades, players can also spam smoke grenades, which obscures or completely eliminates vision and often lag the server.
Grenade spamming is often criticized as requiring little to no skill and often seen as "unfair" by some players, as it does not put the player in direct conflict. Nonetheless, the tactic is a highly effective one, and recommended by some developers, such as Infinity Ward in their game Call of Duty 2. Others see spamming as a valid tactic that prevents the opposition grouping together or camping and that it is reasonable for more grenades to have a greater chance of eliminating opponents than just using one.
The issue is most evident in games with light, fast automatic weapons and plenty of ammunition, allowing players to run around maps with the trigger held down and usually being able to score many points before being killed. While this style of gameplay exposes players to direct conflict, as the style is based purely on luck, players relying solely on spam tactics are often looked down upon for their apparent lack of skill, especially when they assert their dominance over precision weapons that require more concentration and ability to use.
Nonetheless, spamming is seen as an important skill to possess even in competitive gaming circles, and some weapons are designed for the sole purpose of sustained rapid fire. Some games provide weapon feedback (making the gun rise) or decrease the shot accuracy for each bullet in a burst, hence encouraging controlled fire. Limiting ammunition availability, or keeping the maximum amount a player can hold low, also encourages controlled firing.
Spamming certain weapons that require a large amount of game data to use or deploy, such as smoke grenades, is known to cause lag, mainly because the computer cannot easily render the effects. This can often be a problem, especially in a multiplayer setting. Many players look down on intentionally spamming data-intensive weapons with the goal of causing an unfair advantage.
Unit spamming can be used as a virtually impenetrable defense in games like Advance Wars because of the alarming numbers. As a result, it's particularly abusive when the spammer has ranged-attack units in his/her roster to destroy anything that even dares to strike. Fortunately, units that strategically counter both any easy-to-spam units and the ranged-attack units stop this; the spam requires resources to replace any units that get destroyed, and meanwhile, the spammer's opponent spends his/her own resources to increase his/her numbers.
Spamming units also has the effect of causing higher strain on player computers, making it more difficult to play the game or, in the worst scenarios, cause the game to crash entirely. An early example of this was in the real-time strategy game Total Annihilation, where players took to using very large numbers of Flash tanks and PeeWee mechs - both of which used a particular type of weapon whose programming caused the game engine to lag considerably. As a result of this some players outlawed the Flash altogether as a matter of etiquette.
To prevent this style of play, game developers do such things as designing the game to have increased unit strength through diversification, hence players are encouraged to build different types of units that support each other. Also, by having automatic initial base defenses, some games prevent the possibility of an early unit rush being easily successful.
There is significant overlap with skill spamming and the skill training in some MMORPGs which require a skill to be used to improve it. A player which uses the same skill over and over for this purpose is also often said to be skill spamming, although it's generally less frowned upon unless done in a highly populated area of the game where the accompanying graphical or sound effects will cause annoyance to others.
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