Left 4dead Strategies and advice

Here are some strategies and tricks you can use in your playthroughs of the new popular zombie/viral outbreak game “Left4 Dead”

Playing as Survivors

Your health and your possession of a medkit counts towards your score. And with all the game’s multipliers, it’s a word of wisdom worth heeding. Pills, however, have no effect on this, as the health boost is temporary. #

Your score is a function of several things, including health. The difference of 1 or 80 health may not seem like a lot when versus games are several thousand points, but take that 79 extra health, multiply it by a map’s difficulty multiplier (say 1.4 for No Mercy 2) and by 4 for survivor total and that makes a difference of more than 400 points. And so forth.

Survivors grabbed by Smokers and Hunters don’t take Friendly Fire: So let loose your shotgun and meleeing – and consider plain shooting your friend in need, as hitting the tongue will be much easier that way.

Molotovs on Tanks: One molotov kan kill a Tank singlehandedly; when hitting the Tank, it starts a countdown timer, which varies depending on the difficulty. On Expert, the number’s 2.5 points of damage a second out of the Tank’s total health of 100, meaning that, at full health, the Tank will die 40 seconds after impact. The molotov doesn’t do any actual damage.

Turning on your flashlight allows your fellow Survivors to see your silhouette through walls and other objects.

Things you definitely can do:

* Melee (no idea if other weapons are allowed for melee, though. I didn’t risk it.)
* Switch to/pick up other weapons.
* Shoot exploding things like propane tanks
* Use the single handgun – still counts for the achievement
* Environmental damage
* Pipebombs and molotovs #

Here’s the damage chart for regular infected on all the difficulties. Feel free to use it to boast about your skills to other, inferior, players.

* Easy – 1hp
* Normal – 2hp
* Advanced – 5hp
* Expert – 20hp

“He who does not pay attention to the sounds around him might as well play without a monitor” – Chinese proverb.

Every type of Infected has a sound (and music) cue, as they approach, or just before spawning:

* The Horde: Music intensity increases.
* The Tank: 1) Prior to spawning: Grunting/Nostril flaring 2)Ground shaking – special noticeable music ensues (at least when spotted).
* The Witch: Sobbing – high pitch piano notes being hammered, and subtle wailing in the music.
* The Boomer: Gurgling sound, burps, and shouts “BOOM!” – a few very low piano notes.
* The Smoker: Coughing fits
* The Hunter: Screaming/shrieking and growling – but only when it’s crouched!

The Infected can see your silhouettes, when you are …

* Shooting
* Running
* Chatting – voice commands and voice chat – don’t know about text chat(?)

* NOT when you are walking
* NOT when you are jumping
* NOT when you are reloading
* NOT when you are using your flashlight

The Witch is, like any other woman inflicted by PMS, aggravated by people …

* Staring at her for too long
* Pointing the flashlight at her
* Getting too close to her
* Shooting nearby or at her

* NOT by people using the flashlight and not pointing it at her.
* NOT by people talking (text/voice commands/voice chat)(?)

… she presumably builds up anger (imagine a pissed-o-meter), and will at some point be startled.

Hiding in her nearby vicinity out of her line of sight doesn’t seem to calm her down.

This is far from confirmed, but based on observations it looks like the Witch has three states: idle (crying), alert (turns around to look at you), and disturbed (leaps at you and starts slashing away). She might return to idle after becoming alert, assuming whatever triggered her alert state is removed.

When the Witch is startled, it will go after the person who startled her, or, if that person is out of reach, whomsoever within it; if she manages to kill the person, she’ll go back to her idle state, if no one else ticks her off. She’s programmed to leave the map entirely after killing the startler.

Killing the Witch in one hit: The Witch can be killed with one shot of the shotgun, if all the pellets hit, earning you the Cr0wnd Achievement. However, some players report that she has to get up from sitting down, before it works, so wait until she’s started standing up.

Witches and Tanks don’t take extra damage from headshots. #

Playing as Infected
Infected don’t take fall damage

Landing on Survivors from high altitude damages them up to 25 points: Think about using this to your advantage.

Hunters can wall-jump: Keep crouching and use pounce aimed at your destination – and make sure to piss off those Survivors in the elevator.

But, Hunters! Don’t crouch all the time, as your character will make a growling sound, alerting Survivors to your presence.

Boomers can self-detonate: But you have to bind the command explode to a key (do so by “bind [key] explode”. Doesn’t work after Dec 4 update.

Also, you can use yourself as a bomb, if you jump from a building onto a group of unsuspecting Survivors.

Note for “Barf Bagged” Achievement: Exploding on all four survivors doesn’t count, according to personal accounts. It has to be vomit.


Pills: Only use them during or right before battle, as their boost to your health is only temporary.

Melee!: It’s very effective (some believe it to be too effective). It’s great as a panic reaction (rather than shooting in 8 directions), if you meet a Boomer around the corner, or if you get swarmed by the Horde.

Need to reload at a bad time? Use melee to buy yourself the time to reload.

Pistols: Aside from melee, your pistols aren’t to be underestimated. After all, infinite ammo.

Crouch: To avoid drawing friendly fire and to increase your accuracy.

Escaping the Smoker tongue: You have a few seconds to shoot the Smoker, allowing you to escape. Some say that you can escape by turning around yourself in the first few seconds to – regard it only as speculation at this point, though.

Shooting the Smoker’s tongue also works.

Crowd control against the Horde:

* Close the doors – if you hear the Infected behind a door, you can create a hole in it and shoot or throw explosives through it.
* Bottlenecks and chokepoints – it worked for Leonidas. When inside, see if you can make the Horde pass through a narrow passage, lessening the burden and speed of the buggers.
* Make good use of your slimed teammates – so you’re slimed; congratulations, you just became the group’s bait. Use it to your advantage. See the other points about making obstacles and chokepoint bottlenecks, and remember that the Infected will usually if not always go after the bile-covered teammate, even though the other Survivors are nearby; therefore, place the slimed Survivor at the position most difficult to reach – such as behind the rest of the group. You might shoot the Infected passing, while the slimed Survivor melee punches those who manage to reach him. Time to put the long hours of TD to good use!
* 180>360 – having your back against the wall and facing one (180 – sorta) side of Infected is often better than being completely surrounded (360). This also makes it easier to use melee effectively.
* Take cover – like with bottlenecks, any kind of obstacle makes it more ardous for the Horde to reach you, making it all the more easy to deal with them.
* Duck! – Duh! Maximize your damage potential and minimize friendly fire and the number of things you and your teammates have to think about. If you’re slimed, you can’t shoot for shit anyway.
* Run! – the Horde doesn’t care if you have to take a leak at the house you’re in; they’ll keep pressing on. Avoid using too much of your precious time searching for pick-ups, when you could have used the time to advance. Helping teammates in dire need is another thing, though.
* Teamwork – the nobrainer that some people still seem to forget. The team that fights together lives together. Four people working together is way more than four times as effective as four people going Rambo.
On Expert you won’t make it without teamwork.
* Look around you – use your surroundings: Propane tanks, gas tanks, miniguns. Place the tanks to fit your every whim against the Horde.

Avoiding friendly fire:

* If everybody’s squeezed together, and a zombie is approaching, melee him. It’ll knock the zombie back and set you up for a shot; and if it doesn’t, just keep meleeing him until you can shoot him or until he’s dead. Firing wildly in tight corridors and trying to nail a zombie near your teammates is just generally a bad idea. (Melee in general should be used frequently; I see people all the time trying to back up and shoot when they could easily just take a swing and give themselves some breathing room.)
* Try not to shoot at stuff when there’s a teammate behind it. Try to maneuver until you have a clean shot.
* If you absolutely have to shoot at something with a teammate directly behind it, aim low. Let your bullets hit the ground in front of your teammate, and not the teammate himself.
* As for maneuvering, don’t jump around too much. This isn’t Counter-Strike, and the zombies don’t have their own guns. You’ll be doing your teammates a favor by staying in one place and not dashing into their line of fire.
* Crouching when you’re in front is good to let teammates get a shot over your head, but don’t suddenly get up or move around until you’re sure they’re not going to fire again for a few seconds.
* When zombies are surrounding a teammate, shoot the zombies to his side. You won’t get them all, but you won’t be hitting your teammate either.
* Likewise, once a teammate is downed, make sure you actually aim above their body. You can still do a lot of accidental damage even though they’re on the ground.
* When in doubt, don’t try to play the hero and blast a zombie about to take a swing at a teammate from behind. In all likelihood, you may mess up and end up doing more damage to your teammate than the zombie would have.
* Don’t ever get in front of a shotgun. They are the front line of any encounter.
* Switch to pistols when you are behind someone. I got mad and killed a survivor who shot me twice with his shotgun and didn’t bother to pick me up.

All sorts of Survivor advice:

* In a finale, if you stay close to the weapons table, quickly picking up the same/another weapon from the table with a full mag is instant reload – very good for tanks on Expert if you want to keep the autoshotty going without reloading.
* Don’t forget about your explosives! And dont be afraid to use them either. If a boomer hits 3 or 4 of you and theres still other bosses around, throwing a (one) pipebomb is not a waste!
* If you are using a shotgun and run out of ammo, take the time to press the reload button before starting to block mobs with melee. It only takes a second until the animation starts, but being able to thin out the mob 6 seconds later is worth it. AKA Melee Reload.
* When using the automatic rifle, aim for the heads – thats instant kill and rewards you with head explosions! If you hit the body instead it will usually take around 6 bullets to slow down a common infected. If you cant aim that well, the autoshotty is probably more effective against common infected.
* When using the autoshotty, shoot slowly. Its tempting just to pump 10 rounds into a rushing mob as fast as you can, but those 10 shells can do double the damage if you wait a bit between shots for them to come closer and catch more pellets.
* Autoshotty vs. crying Witch: Go for it; if you’re lucky you’ll do over 1400 damage in 2 shells. If everybody has tier 2 weapons and lines up correctly, you can kill her without even letting her get up.
* If the tank has brought a teammate down and you have enough health to not be slowed down, quickly go in and melee the tank from behind. If you did it quick enough the tank is likely to loose interest in the incapitated guy and will chase you without delivering the finishing blow. Be sure to have a route to run away from him though, because hes chasing you now and at least one of your teammates should help the incapitated guy up. Being able to navigate through the levels while running backwards helps too.
* In case you want to know how the Director works, start a local singleplayer game, enable sv_cheats 1 and set director_debug 1 – this should also explain why wasting time is not a good idea. #

* If you have any weapon aside from the shotgun, you can afford to shoot from far off. 90% of the time there is no excuse for you to be closer to the zombies than the guy with the shotgun. #

* It’s best to let your teammates take care of themselves, for regular infected. It’s great that you are embracing the team aspect, but too often I see people dashing in front a shotgun blast, or putting half a burst of buckshot into my back, to kill a zombie I’m facing. Learn the shotgun’s spread, and you can easily shoot things running up to teammates without risk. Of course, on Expert’s 20 dmg a hit, killing zombies heading for teammates is much more important.
* Also, while melee is great to set up a shot, fucking shoot the thing! Too often do people just melee the same 3 zombies instead of blasting them and moving on. This also causes the above hero routine, and wastes time and possibly health. Not to mention having several zombies NOT dead, when you’ve assumed your teammate deal with it.
* Oftentimes, it’s best to shoot a pounced hunter instead of knocking him off the teammate. He might get an extra slash in, but it’s better than giving him the chance at NOT dying and pouncing away. It also runs the risk of blasting the teammate when they stand back up, trying to hit the hunter. Not so much an issue with tier 2 weapons, but it happens to me quite often. #

* I’m glad there are folks talking strategy like “don’t strafe and/or jump around” but I take it a step further. When I shoot, I pretty much always stop and always crouch. If I had my dream team of Survivors they would all do this. In fact, the only time anyone would move is when no one is shooting. The only time anyone would shoot is when no one is moving.
* “This isn’t Counter-Strike and the zombies don’t have their own guns.” That’s a very important thing to realize. Even in Versus, standing still (or rather, ducking still) while you are shooting stuff is the best strategy.
* The Hunter’s ability to pounce on people is so lax in its collision detection that no amount of dodging about is going to prevent it. In fact, I believe this is why melee was made to be as powerful as it is: Because dodging is simply not in the skill set required for a good Survivor. You need to have pinpoint accuracy and lightning reflexes, and the ability to keep moving so long as your three teammates are still with you.
* The only exception to the rule of not running AND shooting simultaneously is when a Tank is running right for you. In that case you should probably have your teammates a bit more spread out and thus your shots aren’t nearly as at risk of hitting a teammate in the first place.

* More tips: When Tanks come during finales, switch to shotgun, if you have the chance to get to the weapon pile. You can switch back after it’s done but nothing takes apart a tank like a team of shotguns.

* You can hand off grenade weapons just like you can hand off pills.

* ALWAYS announce before you intend to throw something, and what you’re throwing: Not doing this can gimp your entire campaign on Expert.
* ALWAYS say your relative location and the mob’s type before you start talking details:
Whether the mob pounced/strangled/vomited on you, or you’ve got a witty self-aggrandizing explanation, save it until the important stuff is known.

“Smoker above us, help!” – Good
“Fuck guys, melee this shit off me! Hunter on me! Look behind you, idiots!!!” – Bad
* Learn your role, and play it well: Some players are just better at landing 10 consecutive headshots with an AR, or never incurring friendly fire with their shotgun. Your group’s strength increases dramatically the more versatile you become. While the shotgun is amazing, having three people with shotguns isn’t, unless it’s temporary (for killing a tank, cr0wning, etc).
* Don’t be afraid to restart: If you’re trying your hardest to finish a tough campaign, nothing can hinder you more than beginning the 2nd chapter with no health packs or health.

The discussion on versus “speediness vs. exploring every nook-n’-cranny” mentality reminded me about how I decide whether or not to explore for extra stuff in Versus:

1. Are you ahead of the group/someone is catching up? If not, keep fucking moving. If yes, go to 2.

2. You have some time to spare, check out that shack/closet/room! But wait, use your ears for a moment and listen; do you hear beyond the door:

-a shit-load of horde infected chattering
-the distinct idle babbling of a boss infected
-Masculine growling and grunting

If yes, ignore that fucking area or scream for you buddies to get over there faster, cause’ you’re in deep shit. If you don’t hear anything beyond a couple shamblers, then by all means, take a peek and go to 3!

3. Door’s open, so with your flashlight out, make a quick sweep across your field of view. See anything that clearly looks like some freebies, or something highlighted in blue? Congratulations, you’ve done something productive! Grab that shit and yell to your friends about your amazing discovery of painkillers on a bedroom nightstand.

On the other hand, did you find jack shit, but you’ve got a hunch there might be something further into the room, possibly in that closet? Fuck that shit, in the time you spent towards wasting a couple of infected and scanning the room, you’re buddies have already caught up by now, and are probably ahead of you. Whatever you can’t see beyond your flashlight range is dead to you now and any more time spent oggling the scenery is more time for b00merM@ster69 to spawn behind a telephone poll and vomit up Bill’s ass. Keep fucking moving.

Lastly, no more than 2 players should be actively searching for goodies. More eyes on ceramic bathroom counter #58 is less eyes on that Smoker that’s been following you for the past five minutes.

Happy Noodle Boy posted:

Playing expert with no Mic etiquette:

* Is there someone in front of you? No? CROUCH because chances are they’re behind you. This is especially important if you’re all in a closet/bathroom fighting the horde in the finales or elevator or whatever.
* Never, ever, fucking EVER cross ahead of them. Almost all FF incidents I’ve seen come from someone clearing zombies in a corner and some idiot trying to get to the other side by walking in front of them.
* Are you 100% sure of where you teammate are? No? MELEE first, then shoot. Especially in close/confined areas where a random shot might cost someone their health.
* Horde/scary music playing/Boomer incident? Two things:
1) FIND A CORNER/WALL, CROUCH AND MELEE until you know where your teammates are.
2) STAND FUCKING STILL. The zombies don’t shoot/snipe/rocket you. You don’t need to strafe/zig-zag your way. With everyone standing still you can shoot zombies sneaking up behind someone without being worried of shooting them.
* RUN FROM THE FUCK AWAY FROM TANKS. They WILL kill you if you get hit. Light them on fire and run, they will die from it in about a minute without needing to fill them with lead. The only instance where I’ve seen you need to fight/kill a tank is in No Mercy in the sewers where sewage seems to put out molotov fire.
* Take your time moving through. Unlike versus, it’s ok to take your time getting to the safe house. Move into a corner/new area, plop down and clear it without running like a maniac. Once it’s safe, move on. Keep and eye out for Special Infected coming from behind or the roof. speaking of special infected…
* If someone gets caught and you’re too far to melee free them… SHOOT. I’m not 100% sure on this, but they receive little to no damage from you when they’re tangled up by a smoker and you can free them that way.

It’s mostly common sense but for fuck’s sake people; be wary of where your teammates are. I would not be surprised, if there were a graph for damage received in Expert, and 70-80% of it came from friendly fire.

Take out the stray sheep: If a Survivor strays from the flock, be ready to grab him with a Smoker.

If the Survivor’s down, move on to the next one: Tanks pounding away on a Survivor already on the ground (alive or not) is aggravating to experienced players, because it’s a waste of precious clobberin’ time.

All sorts of Infected advice:

* As a Tank, punching cars/trees around is the fastest way to kill the survivors. Even better that on the first map of No Mercy you can punch the red car in their direction and there’s a good chance they’re going to shoot it, set off the car alarm and alert the horde.

* Also always drag your victim away from the direction they’re moving in, not towards it. I’ve seen a lot of pubbies not do this, and it’s just frustrating.

* As a Smoker in No Mercy is, consider pulling people OFF the roof by the gas station lift.

Most people spawn above them, where all the zombies come from, but by pulling one Survivor off the roof effectively, you either fuck him over or slow down his buddies, when they try to cover their friend, as they run all the way back to the ladder.

The counter to this is the ground level door you can open up from the inside. Get someone to hold out in front of it, while moving towards open it, so you won’t have to run all the way to the ladder.

* Wait for it!: Especially as a smoker, you’ll generally only make one final appearance before executing your plan against the survivor. Make sure you’re mounting your attack from the correct location, that you’ll inflict maximum damage, and if possible; let some other people know!
* Ride the rush: In order for an attack to be successful, with all four survivors sticking together, you need a distraction. Whether it’s the director or your team’s boomer, attacking during a rush is much more effective.
* Go for the kill(s): If the survivors have any chance of completing the mission, and you’ve got one of them down twice, finish them off. They’ve already proven one incap won’t slow them down. (Exception should be made when playing as a tank, unless near a safe house).
* Don’t sit there, they’re healing!: I’ve played in a lot of versus matches, and especially in higher difficulties, the team of survivors will go down without using a single health pack; they just didn’t have the time. If you have a chance to disrupt a team’s healing session, it’s possible you could make a game-changing move.