Over the turkey holiday I had the chance to play several pick-up games of Left 4 Dead’s versus mode. While I had a blast playing with the developers at Valve, my experience with public games on Live was less than stellar. Why? I think some players are still trying to get the hang of it which is completely understandable. Versus mode plays very differently than the co-op campaign or any other adversarial multiplayer game. So here’s a few quick tips to make your versus matches more enjoyable.
Don’t hog the infected slots: It may sound stupid, but I’ve waited in lobbies for more than 10 minutes waiting for a game to start simply because all four infected slots are taken. It doesn’t seem to matter that everybody gets a chance to play as the infected. Some players will join, see the infected slots are taken, then disconnect. So consider leaving some infected slots open as an incentive to keep impatient players in your lobby so you can finally start the match.
Don’t just plug in your mic, use it: I’ve played several public matches where my teammates simply don’t talk. Sure, they have mics attached, but there’s no communication. This just doesn’t work in Left 4 Dead. Communication is vital whether playing as the survivors or the infected. So get over your shyness and talk to your teammates. And don’t antagonize the 12-year-olds on your team because they will shoot you.
Speed is the key: Too often I’ve been stuck on teams of survivors that want to explore every nook and cranny of each map at a grandmotherly pace. While this may be fun in the co-op campaign, it’s stupid and dangerous in versus mode. The more time you waste exploring, the more chances you give the other team to kill you. As the survivors your goal is to reach the safe house at the end of the map as quickly as possible. Anyone who intentionally lags behind should be left behind.
Infected teamwork: The infected have a tremendous advantage if they work together and coordinate ambushes. One of the best ways to start out an attack is with a Boomer. Vomit or explode on as many survivors as possible to trigger a swarm of common infected. In addition to attracting zombies, the viscous bile also temporarily blinds all affected survivors. This allows the Hunters and Smoker on your team to take advantage of the chaos and attack, sometimes without being noticed until it’s too late.
Watch your fire: I’d say more than 50% of the damage I’ve incurred is caused by my own teammates. Friendly fire is a huge threat in versus mode so go easy on the trigger cowboy. If a teammate is pinned by a Hunter or ensnared by a Smoker, don’t shoot! Instead, melee the attacker to free your teammate, then open fire on the infected. Also, be careful when using molotovs and igniting the red fuel cans. Fire is extremely deadly, especially if your teammates are incapacitated within the flames.