As of late, the exasperating topic of “Ghosting” has been brought to my attention once again.
Many of you will probably wonder what it even is so I’ll try to explain the best I can:
Pertaining to games (Sauer), “Ghosting” describes the act of spectators helping their clan/team by floating around the map and giving away important information (e.g. enemy location/health, item spawn times etc.).
Ghosting has a long tradition in Sauer. When I started to play the game in 2009 and got into TC, one of the game’s most reputable / skilled clan at that time, it was already being practised systematically.
Just like we had our fixed lineup for 3v3 or 4v4 games, we also had designated “callers“.
Trained people who would connect to the server, sit in spec and give us valuable shouts like “incoming right”, “one in our base” etc on Mumble/Teamspeak. I know for a fact that this was in no way exclusively a TC thing; basically any clan who was capable of doing it also did it.
(I got that confirmed by numerous sources).
Considering how well-established this system already seemed to me back then I am tempted to assume that it had already existed for a long time.
At some point in late 2009, the uproar got too big to simply shrug it off any longer.
As far as I recall, the PSL league (classic case of RAS syndrome btw) was the first to react to the scores of complaints and introduced a server-side spec delay feature. The server would hold back all data for specs for a certain amount of time (~10-30 seconds) so that they would see the game with a delay, thus being unable to “ghost”.
This feature was successfully adopted by various league successors such as SDMC and SWL.
However, 99.9% of the action in Sauer happens outside of leagues.
Outside of regulated servers with spec delay.
It’s up for debate whether ghosting should be considered cheating or not, naturally the opinions vary a lot.
Anyway, here’s a small list of pros and cons:
- It’s part of a clan’s skill as a team
- You can’t do much about it unless you have special servers or want to shut out specs
- It brings the teamplay to a higher level
- It is highly unfair towards smaller, more casual clans who can’t / don’t want to use voicecom
- It takes away many elements of the game, such as surprise attacks, sneaking in and out etc.
- It creates an atmosphere of distrust among clans
- It’s somewhat cheating; similar to playing with a wallhack if you have a good caller
Ultimately it’s up to the clans to decide whether they want to put up with ghosting or not.
You can always ask to go to a server where you can set mastermode 3 and shut out the callers.
Or you could simply stop ghosting and just enjoy the game. You really could.