Posts Tagged ‘Versus

30
Nov
08

Left 4 Dead: Versus Mode Essentials

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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.

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16
Nov
08

left 4 dead: versus mode

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Now that you’ve had a chance to play the Left 4 Dead demo you have a good idea of how the co-op campaign plays. But what about versus mode? Versus is an adversarial game mode pitting the survivors against the infected. No Mercy and Blood Harvest can be played in this four-on-four mode, offering ten maps total. The gameplay is nearly identical to the other modes with the survivors tasked with making it from safe house to safe house and ultimately escaping after surviving the movie’s finale. It’s the job of the infected team to stop the survivors. Unlike the other game modes, in versus the survivors cannot respawn, but the infected team can. This provides a unique twist to the game mode, forcing the survivors to work together and watch each others’ backs.

While the survivors spawn as the main protagonists, the infected team take on the roles of the special infected. At any given time the infected team always has one Boomer, two Hunters, and one Smoker on the map. Who spawns as what is random, determined by the director. At some points in the map, one player on the infected team is given the chance to spawn as a Tank, providing the team with an extra boost in offense. The Witch is not playable by the infected team, but Witches do make appearances on occasion. Witch spawns are determined by the director and are never in fixed locations. Still, the infected team should use appearances by the Witch to bolster their numbers during coordinated ambushes.

During these matches, each team gets the chance to play as both the survivors and the infected on each map. So after the survivors have escaped or died in the first round, the same map is replayed and the two teams switch sides, with the former infected taking on the roles of survivors and vice versa. Playing as the survivors and infected are completely different and require different skills and tactics to win. But regardless of which side you’re playing, communication and teamwork are always essential.

So how do you determine who wins a match in versus mode? After playing a round as the survivors a score is calculated based on this formula:

Average Distance Traveled + Health Bonus x Survival Multiplier x Map Difficulty Modifier = Team Score

Average Distance Traveled: The points awarded in this category is based on how far your team traveled during the round. If your team made it all the way to the end of the map and reached the safe house, you’re awarded with the maximum 100 points. But if your team only made it through 37% of the map before being stopped by the opposing team’s infected, you only get 37 points. The percentage of the map your team completes determines this score.

Health Bonus: This bonus is determined by averaging the hit points of the survivors who made it to the safe house—survivors who were killed enroute are not part of this average. So if everyone makes it into the safe house with full health, the max 100 points are awarded.

Survival Multiplier: Once the average distance travelled and health bonus has been added, the score is multiplied by the number of survivors who made it into the safe house at the end. If all four survivors made it in, the score is multiplied by four. If only one survivor made it, the score is multiplied by one and thus has no impact. If nobody survived, the score is not multiplied by zero. Rather the score remains untouched, with no multiplier applied.

Map Difficulty Modifier: Each map is assigned a predetermined difficulty modifier. The easiest (or shortest) maps are given a modifier of 1, and the hardest (or longest) maps are given a modifier of 2. The rest of the maps fall somewhere in between, sometimes rated as a 1.50 or 1.60. Whatever the modifier is, it is then multiplied by the score, giving you your team’s final score for the round.

So what’s a good score? Usually posting a score close to 1,000 points per map is considered a praiseworthy achievement. But ultimately it all depends on how well the opposing performed in their turn as the survivors. While no points are awarded when playing as the infected, stopping the opposing team’s survivors is critical, preventing them from posting a high score. Even killing one survivor can have a dramatic impact on the final score, especially in close matches as it robs the opposing team of that vital survival multiplier. So don’t fool around while playing as the infected. Stopping the opposing team is just as important as reaching the safe house when you’re playing as the survivors.