Left 4 Dead - Survivors Playing Guide
A little while ago I wrote a playing guide to help the admins who had only just got L4D in versus games where they were playing against people who had it from day one and struggling.
If you are already experienced in the game and in particular vs then you wont really learn anything new.
With any game you will always get different tactics and styles of play so again dont take this as you must play like this or else, I just hope this will be of use to people who have just got the game or found it a little tough or havent tried it out.
Survivors Guide (please read the infected guide for playing as infected)
Always stick together as a team, when moving forward or fighting.
A lone survivor is a target, he can be incapped with just one infected alone and this causes a risk to team members who have to go and save you.
Infected often hunt in groups and will use opertunties like a lone survivors to mass attack and cause maximum damage.
L4D1 versus is all about progression, the further you get the more points your team will gain at round end. You wont get many points if just one of you make it so you need to progress as a team.
Don't hunt around for items you dont need, in co-op play you get more time to search and hunt and slowly work your way through but not so in versus.
In versus the infected spawn on a time delay, the longer you take as a team to progress the more attacks they can get in.
Only take what you need and only search for items if you have no choice.
It's all about common sense, most important stuff like health and ammo spawn in the same locations or on your path, sometimes in more remote locations but you have to weigh up the options.
The risk of attack, how badly you need the items and what will happpen if you dont find anything.
For me, if it's not on the path then it's not worth the risk especially as you are liable to invite another full infected team attack by the time wasted.
1.2 Need something
If you do need to find something then hunt as a team but dont spend all your time looking, if you dont find it within 30seconds you will be waying out the advantage of finding it by incouraging further attacks and damage.
Examples of needing to find something would be if a Tank event is about to come up and you need to find a moli but no one has one.
1.3 Save health
In L4D you get health from 0 to 100 and then it drops off to an emergency bar up to 255.
This means you can drop to 0 and then fall into emergency.
Now the lower the health the slower you move and you also become a target.
A good infected team will target weak and injured players looking for an easier kill. They know if they take one of the team out the rest will quickly follow so you have to be confident your team will back you up and stick close as possible to them.
Save it until you really need it, if you dont neeed it and a team mate does then share it.
Obvious times to heal up if you know a sequenced horde is coming or a Tank then the last thing you want is to be incapped during such moments.
If you dont need health but a team mate does then it's better to heal them or give them pills rather than save it for yourself.
In L4D a hunter or smoker can easily pin or choke you and you will be unable to free yourself, likewise if you get nocked down if there is no one around to pick you up then it gets wasted.
Left 4 Dead is heavily team based and its not about being the individual with the highest score or most health, if you lose your team mates your team will quickly fail.
2.0 Dealing with hordes
Hordes are really not that hard to deal with providing you dont get caught out in the open and of course its a bit harder when a boomer vomits on you as well.
First thing always stick together, a horde is a good time for the infected to attack as the hordes of zombies will not only distract your team mates but also make it harder for them to come and help you.
Next thing is run for cover, if you cant get inside a room then at the very least cover your back so your not being attacked from 360 degrees. If you get your back against a wall you can melee and easily shoot off an advancing horde, especially if your team mates are with you.
2.1 Helping the team
Sounds easy enough but sometimes who you help and when will save you and your team from trouble.
If someone gets attacked by a special infected, the time taken to save them is crucial. This is why sometimes its better to melee the attacker rather than shoot.
With shooting you risk not only hitting the survivor but it also can take longer to free the person, especially if you run out of bullets midway.
When you are close melee the attacker off and then finish them off.
If you are in a horde wait until you have cleared it to pick someone up or as a team work around the person down and the person assisting to buy them time to get up.
Even if needed drop the person you are helping until it is safe.
Check quickly to make sure the coast is clear then get your team mate keeping an ear out for any special infected spawning close bye.
When assisting with more than one survivor down it will increase your chances if you prioritise who needs help first.
If there are no special infected around and there's 2 people down, assist the weakest player first because it wont take much for an attack to finish this player off.
The last thing you want is to be a player down so make sure you keep your survivors alive.
If 2/3 survivors are down then the best thing I find you can do is grab the nearest person no matter what as you need to get help up quick or it's all over.
In those situations it takes one special to take you out so you need backup quick.
2.3 Surviving Boomer vomit
How I handle this depends on the situation in which you can look at two ways.
If you get vomit on you then you are virtually blind, cant really tell if your team is under attack and if so who and where, whilst at the same time under attack from a horde.
You need to apply standard horde tactics for the best chance of survival getting as close as you can to your team mates or breaking for a safe spot where you can limit the attack angles of the horde (room, shop etc).
If you look carefully you can tell where your team mates are by their names on screen and if you keep an eye on the hitstats you should be able to tell if someone has a hunter or smoker on them.
Knowing the map however really is a plus, just knowing where you was before you get attacked you can usually quickly run to a safe spot before the horde comes in.
Now on the other situation, if say your team mates get puked on and you dont then you become the primary target for the specials.
The infected know the others cant see what is going on so they will move in on you knowing they can do good damage before being discovered.
Likewise attacking the blind players with you being able to see will limit what damage they can cause to them so it makes sense to ignore the players dealing with a horde and target the ones that didnt get hit.
The simpliest and safest thing I find is to run in and melee for your life, the horde will mostly attack the ones with puke on so you are pretty safe from them + if you do get pounced your team mates will be close enough to help and in the shortest possible time.
3.0 Dealing with .... Boomer!
Boomers can be quite tricky to deal with, they are the slowest of the special infected classes and only have a limited range of attack but if they get you they can cause massive disruption and expose everyone to attack.
First thing with any of the special infected is listen out for them, they make tell tail noises so you know one is close.
Sometimes you can work out roughly where they are or predict where they will attack you so its a good idea to take pot shots even if they are behind thin walls, fences etc.
Whatever you do however don't panic. Unlike in co-op where if you just deal with the horde and the odd special attacker usually in versus this is an invite for the rest of the specials to attack.
If one walks out and they are within melee distance, melee them away until they are safe to shoot.
Also make sure you don't splatter team mates or you will be exposed and watch out for the blast radius which generates a push, so if you are close to an edge you could end up falling!
3.1 Dealing with .... Smoker!
Smokers are fairly easy to deal with when they attack on their own, usually your team will be able to break the tongue before any damage is caused.
They are most useful however when used in surprise and to pull you off edges or when used in an attack with other specials.
A boomer attack for example you could go 10-20 seconds un-noticed during a boomer attack which is why you need to be close to the victims of the vomit!
If a smoker is grabbing a team mate I find there's a couple of things you can do to minimise damage.
For example if the attack is very close to you, simply melee the tongue, this is the quickest method of freeing your team mate and causes no damage to him.
If the survivor is being dragged horizontally across screen then shoot at the tongue, a lot of people dont realise you can shoot the tongue.
If he is being pulled vertically then shoot at the smooker, aim towards the smoke until he is gone.
3.2 Dealing with .... Hunters!
These pesky critters are tough to deal with, one on one can pin you and kill you within seconds if your team doesn't spot it!
I find head on with a hunter you have a good chance of meleeing the pounce but from heights unless you can move out of the way you dont stand much chance.
I don't really have a perfect method for dealing with these but I find moving around makes it harder for him to get a lock and hopefully when the team fully notices the danger you can group up against him and finish him off quick.
It's also a good idea whilst moving to keep shooting, they are weak but fast, often you can kill them before they can pounce you.
If they are attacking a team mate and again if close melee them off but remember to finish him off or he will pounce you or your team mate.
Sometimes it is better to shoot him off if its further away or you are on your own. When 2/3 of your team mates are down you dont want to take risks you just want to kill the attacker and bring your team mates back into play.
3.3 Dealing with .... Tanks!
Ok well its important not to panic, a lone tank cant do much to 4 survivors on his own.
You want to be within eye shot of your team and fairly close but not on your own or miles away from the action.
Often infected use a couple of common tactics during tank attacks.
One being they pick off people who are on their own or too far away from help.
The other being they will wait for a boomer to blind a couple of players to allow the tank enough time to get close enough to cause damage.
So make sure you all know what you are doing before you take him on.
Now fire is your best friend here, a burning tank will quickly be out of action so its wise for at least one team mate to have a moli to hand.
Set him on fire and then retreat firing off automatic gun fire when possible.
Another trick is on certain levels where rails and large objects (Such as the plane for example) you can just run around in circles and the tank although quicker than you wont be able to turn fast enough to keep up and will quickly die.
I liken him to a big muscle car with 500 bhp but being done by a lotus in the corners!
Things to avoid:
- Being seperated from your team
- Getting trapped in a corner or room
I see a lot of people on level 5 blood harvest finale who go mad at you when you leave the house when the tank is coming.
Simply put if you stay in the house you will get trapped and the tank will take all 4 of you out in no time.
Run outside, stick together and keep moving. Yes you are more at risk from zombies and special infected attacks but if you stay together and alert they wont be able to do anything unless they get a lucky boomer attack in or someone gets trapped by a tank.
Nothing beats experimenting of course but for me I have much better luck outside than in during the tank attack.
3.4 Dealing with .... Witches!
I dont think there is need for too much information here. The same tactics apply from single player and co-op.
Turn off your light when you hear one coming up and approach with caution.
Avoid and track around where possible, only engaging if the witch is blocking your path.
If you do need to engage then you need really some fire as this slows her down or all 4 of you ready with high powered guns with someone setting her off.
Remember dont stand in her way to block her run, if she cant get to the person who startled her she will take the nearest person after a few seconds of them blocking the way.
4.0 I'm down, game over man game over....
Well no not really, you can still offer assistnace to your team giving them covering fire where possible.
In many cases when a team mate is trying to rescue you to help you will need to shoot off zombies, if you dont it will take longer to save you and in many cases he will have to drop you to clear the threat then starting again.
So use your gun when your down, especially as the team mate saving you is a target to the infected, if someone gets pounced you will usually be close enough to shoot the hunter off saving you both from death.
4.1 Alerting the horde
At some point during play you will eventually have to alert the horde in order to progress.
There are many different ways and tactics to dealing with these situatons but the one thing that is given that being out in the open and exposed to all directions of attack will result in a quick death.
In most cases you usually get more than one location to hold up and it's not always the most obvious one or faced with the choice in running further ahead after the path has cleared and then waiting for it to pass.
If you take the generator room for example which alerts the horde there is a room with a mounted gun with only two main attack points.
Whilst its ok to hold up here you are at risk especially from smokers. Most people now prefer to set the gas to the right of the generators near the door and hide behind the pipes to the right of the room.
This reduces the attack range to one entry point and keeps all 4 survivors in very close range so its nearly impossible for the infected to get throught.
Likewise another one which isnt always as obvious is the gas station. You can hide up in the room above the containers, in the lower room behind the lorry, near the door that unlocks from the other side or some people prefer to run it up the lift, across and then into the room which you eventually drop down (but not dropping down until the horde is gone or unless you badly need ammo).
I tend to favour either sticking put in the room above the containers as its hard for the infected to get in or legging it to the room up to before you drop down.
The later option however does come with a risk, its a given tactic now of any smoker that will try to pull a survivor down back into the horde during this moment.
On the plus side if you all make it you are pretty safe and perfectlly placed to proceed as soon as the horde finishes.
On the downside if a smoker gets you here and the rest of the infected is ready you wont generally make it.
The only thing you can do is one person drop down give this person extra cover whilst moving towards the door. If the other two drop down inside the building they can go down the stairs and open the door. However ive seen teams ambused at these points so the best thing is not to get smokered down :p
It is fairly easy to avoid the smoker here, run fast, chuck a pipebomb to clear the path and if possible a moli just ahead on the ground where the opening in the window is as this is the main point of attack, if you all keep shooting down there and if they havent got a smoker then your fine.
Anyway you just need to check your enviroment, see where you have to go and then when you decide what to do all stick together until its over!
if one tactic fails try another next time, eventually you will find the one that works for you.
4.2 General tips
- Do heal your team mates if they really need it, having full health wont save you if you get pounced but a team mate will.
- Share the pills and only heal up when you really are in trouble.
- Pipebombs will often save you at sequenced hordes and boomer attacks. Also try to save them for moments when you have to alert the horde or when making a break for the safe room.
- Dropping down levels, drains etc are serious trap points, when you have to all drop down to progress on will be key points for infected. If you are the last person on the upper level you are done for if you get attacked.
ITs important that you all are ready and you dont mess around, make sure the path behind is clear and then get it over with quick! :D
- Need the loo? Go in between rounds. Dont walk out on a game in progress as a survivor this is possible the worst thing anyone can do.
You will be under attack and your team will usually be split whilst the realise you have stopped progressing.
Then during this period they will be forced to sit still and defend taken damage and using up more ammo when they would usually be much further in the map.
Missions dont take that long and you will be doing your team a favour by waiting!
If you must go say in advance and ask everyone to wait but most people will be frustrated that you couldnt wait!
4.3 And Finally....
- Don't run off leaving your team mates
- Don't leg it to the end of the map and lock yourself in whilst your team is struggling, as this is a team game and without your help the other 3 players will not have much chance and quite rightly will end up kicking you out of the game :) Generally it will be considered that if you dont want to play with the team then you should be playing SP!
- Dont take health if you dont need it, or only if you will heal someone up, its pointless hording health because you wont get a chance to use it if your team isnt around!
- Do take ammo when you spot it, you never know when it will next come up!
- But dont go back too far or back track to get it, constantly going back is just inviting more damage and attacks and the point of the game is to progress!
Becomes very frustarting for those in the team waiting to go forward and then being subjected to attacks as a result of it!
Ok phew well that should just about cover everything. I need to tidying things up, check spelling and get the links working otherwise I hope this made for interesting reading or is of some use.
Remember this is just to help you if you need it or want it! Everyone develops their own style of play and tactics but due to how heavily balanced the game is on having 4 people who know what they are doing it is not very new user friendly.
Ive seen so much rage in this game I just wanted to offer some help on reducing this and hopefully helping people know enough to get into it better!
Feel free to add suggestions, this purely based on my own experiences and what I found to work best for me.