In this guide, you'll learn how to play well in multiplayer so that people will want to play with you again.
Guide to Multiplayer Mode
So you've learned how to play your perk and now you want to join multiplayer games! That's great, but there are a number of things that you need to be aware of. This guide will help you become an effective team member.
If you follow these guidelines, you'll generally be a good team member that people trust and want to play with. Some of these rules can be bent or broken, but you shouldn't do that until you have the experience to know when it's appropriate. You usually can't go wrong just following these guidelines.
Perk "Training" Maps
There are many perk "training" maps out there that can be used to powerlevel your perks. "Training" is a misnomer, because they don't actually train you in how to play your perk, and when you join a real multiplayer game later it will show. There's nothing more pathetic than a rank 5 level 25 player who can't even deal with basic scenarios.
Playing regular multiplayer games will give you all the on-the-job training you need in how to most effectively play your perk. It takes manually leveling up your perk at least twice on difficulty-appropriate multiplayer games to truly learn your craft.
There's a lot more to a perk than levels. Take the time to actually learn your perk.
Be of an Appropriate Level
- Don't join suicidal games when you're under level 15.
- Don't join hell on earth games when you're under level 20.
Yes, you may be super awesome, able to survive 6-player HOE at level 0, but the problem is that you're missing all of the perk skills that make you useful to the team. Most perks don't get their defining skills until level 15, and some not even until level 20.
One would expect this to be common sense, but all too often you end up with one or two cowboys in the group who go off on their own. I'm not talking about someone who has to retreat temporarily because he's being chased by something nasty; I mean people who habitually leave the group and play on their own.
The following happens when you go cowboy:
- You lose the protection of the group.
- The group loses anything you might have brought to the table.
- You destroy the cooperative group dynamics.
- You tempt less experienced medics to go looking for you when your health drops.
Cowboys tend to selfishly focus only on the first point, and, trusting their own survivability, decide that they can do better on their their own (at which point, why even play multiplayer?), or perhaps they just want to show off. But in reality, they're bringing the whole group down and contributing nothing. Groups are about cooperative strategy, and cowboys mess that up. Don't be selfish; stay with the group!
When someone goes cowboy in your multiplayer game, feel free to kick them out.
Get a Medic Pistol
It costs 200 dosh, takes 1 weight slot, and you can spam 3 heals off a full charge if you shoot the darts fast enough. Use the scope to lock healing dart targeting onto a player.
Share Your Dosh
In the early game, medics have a harder time doling out healing, so throw them some dosh!
In the later game, support has the most expensive ammo, and has a very hard time keeping up with the cost (plus he's giving you free ammo). Leaving him poor reduces your group's DPS and increases the chance he'll run out of ammo and die, taking the free ammo and armor with him.
Note: Berserkers in particular have very little need for dosh since most of their weapons don't use ammo.
Multiplayer games have a lot more zeds than solo games. You need to pick targets that are appropriate to your perk so that you don't waste ammo and run out mid-wave. Use short, controlled bursts.
Note: Many guns have single fire mode, which greatly conserves ammo!
Note: Flamethrower-type weapons (caulk 'n burn, flamethrower, healthrower, freezethrower, microwave gun) have afterburn, where they keep emitting for a short time after you've released the trigger, effectively resulting in "free" ammo if you shoot in short puffs.
Don't Weld Doors
There are very few cases where welding a door is a good idea. The most common result is that someone (or the entire party) gets blocked by the welded door and dies, and then hates you (for good reason).
Leapfrogging is the act of moving ahead of the forward-most guy in the camp so that you can bag a few extra kills. This kind of selfish behavior usually results in someone else getting frustrated and leapfrogging you, and then others leapfrogging him, until half of the group is out of position, leaving your flank vulnerable.
You get just as much xp and dosh for an assist as for a kill, so don't leapfrog. You actually get more xp and dosh by staying in camp because you'll hit more zeds before they die (and get full xp for each of them). Staying in position means that everyone gets more xp and dosh.
Don't Be a Beggar
Begging for dosh every round is bad form. It's fine to need a few dosh to get that next tier weapon or to get started when you've joined a game in progress, but if you never have enough dosh for ammo, you're not playing your perk properly.
Don't Camp Indoors
Camping indoors severely limits your avenues of escape. In multiplayer games you get a LOT more spawns, and it's surprisingly easy to get overrun. The disco in Monster Ball is particularly bad.
Don't Dogpile on the Boss
Wipes on the bosses are usually caused from getting swamped by secondary spawns, which happen at specific boss health points. This gets particularly brutal with the Matriarch's EDARs.
When trash spawns, leave the boss on one or two players for the medic to keep alive, go deal with the trash, then rejoin the main fight.
It's fine to rely on team members to cover certain things, but you should also keep an eye out for anything that's going wrong, and be ready to take action:
- A zed is in the camp and is harassing a vulnerable perk (demolitionists are especially vulnerable because their trash killing ability is very weak).
- An EDAR or husk is blasting the group.
- The berserker is about to be overrun, which will likely be followed by the group.
- The medic can't keep up with the healing for some reason.
- The exit path is not clear.
- A big zed has made it into the camp.
- A player has died, and his flank is now wide open.
Pro tip: Always know where your medic is.
Call Out to the Group
- FP or scrake coming from your flank? Tell the group!
- Switching strategy? Tell the group!
- Need help? Tell the group!
- Getting swamped? Tell the group!
- Time to run? Tell the group!
Communication makes a strategy succeed or fail.
Learn to Knife Block
Blocking with your knife reduces damage by 20%. When a fleshpound is on you, that often means the difference between survival and death.
Learn to Knife Attack
The knife takes some practice, but is effective at clearing trash. If you get surrounded by trash, don't waste your time bashing; take out your knife and slash.
Learn How Incaps Work
- Strategic use of incapacitation effects can turn the tide in any battle. Here's what you need to know:
- Many incaps don't stack. Be careful not to block another's incap (for example, stumbling a scrake when you know that a swat is there using his flashbangs).
- Incaps have cooldown timers.
- Incaps don't work on raged fleshpounds, or Volter in his final stage.
- Pushback: Causes the zed to stumble backwards and interrupts its attack.
- Stumble: Causes the zed to stumble in a semi-random direction and interrupts its attack.
- Knockdown: Causes the zed to fall to the ground and remain there for awhile. Only 5 zeds can be knocked down at any given time.
- Stun: Causes the zed to stand there, stars whirling around his head for awhile.
- Freeze: Freezes the zed solid.
- Hit: Interrupts the zed's attack.
- Confusion: Causes the zed to flail around, making it incredibly difficult to head shot them. Poison, burn, and EMP cause confusion.
- Snare: Slows the zed's movement.
- Bleed: Causes the zed to move slower, attack slower, and has a DOT component.
Affliction priority: Knockdown - Stun - Stumble - Freeze - Snare - Melee hit - Gun hit - EMP - Burn - Poison - Microwave.
Specific weapon notes:
- The demolitionist's grenade (dynamite) explodes on impact if it hits a zed, and has a big stun component.
- Medic healing darts, healing grenades and the hemoclobber do poison damage (causing confusion).
- Fire weapons cause confusion.
- Microwave weapons cause confusion and hit interruption to all zeds. Note: This works especially well against Abomination!
- The crossbow has a huge stun component.
- The bonecrusher has a huge knockdown component, and can block husk attacks/flamethrower and even Volter's machine gun.
- Confusion incaps and the problems they cause
- Confusion causes the zeds to jerk around randomly, making it very hard to land a head-shot. Only use confusion effects when they won't interfere with other players. This includes poison, fire, and EMP.
Learn to Use Your Grenades
Grenades are the last weapon that players learn to use, and that's a shame because they're so damn useful! For example, a commando can easily turn the tide of an unexpected fleshpound in the camp by dropping a bunch of grenades on it.
- Demolitionist grenades have a very long fuse, but will explode on impact if they hit a zed, and cause stun.
- Berserker EMP grenades cause confusion, and do minimal damage to the player.
- Swat flashbang grenades stun, and cannot harm the player.
- Sharpshooter freeze grenades do minimal damage to the player. 2-3 grenades can even freeze bosses (hint: use it on the Patriarch when he tries to run)!
- Firebug molotov cocktails cause burn (confusion) and have a huge DOT component.
- Medic grenades heal players and cause poison (confusion) damage to zeds (enough to clear trash and almost kill gorefiends). Medic grenades are the only grenades that can affect things through closed doors.
- Commando grenades have a short fuse.
- Gunslinger nail bombs can stun (sometimes), and shoot out nails (piercing damage) that bounce off walls. They're most effective in enclosed spaces.
- Support's grenades have longer fuses, which makes them much more difficult to use effectively.
Take Stumble and Knockdown Skills
- Berserker: Smash vs massacre is an ongoing debate
- Commando: Impact rounds
- Demolitionist: Shock trooper
- Firebug: Heatwave
- Gunslinger: Knock 'em down
- Sharpshooter: You're better off with stability unless you're counting on crossbow stuns
- Support: Concussion rounds
- Swat: Suppression rounds
ABM: Always be Moving
When you're standing still, a zed can tee off on you. In the case of crawlers or gorefiends, they'll be able to execute a combo attack and hit with every part before you can react. If you're moving around, that's far less likely to happen.
Jump often! If you're in the air when you get hit by a zed, it will push you farther away than if you were on the ground. This is especially important when dealing with fleshpounds and scrakes! Jump-knife-block is your friend.
Protect Non-CC Perks
Perks like demolitionist and sharpshooter have poor crowd control skills, and get swamped quickly when trash gets into the camp. Keep an eye out for players in trouble, even if you're not the designated CC. Medics, firebugs, sharpshooters, swats and survivalists can easily drop grenades to neutralize trash threats if necessary.
Keep Visual Spam to a Minimum
Explosions and fire effects look pretty, but they also interfere with the vision of anyone trying to make a head-shot. Many groups refuse to allow firebugs because they are most commonly the worst offenders. Flamethrowers, freezethrowers, microwave guns, etc should be shot downwards at the legs, feet, and ground.
Give Sharpshooters a Clear Shot
The sharpshooter is most effective when picking off distant threats, but this is hard to do when people keep getting in the way, or visual effects block his view. And since sharpshooters only get maximum dps while crouching, and the problem gets even worse.
- Don't stand in front of sharpshooters.
- Don't spam fire or explosive or other visual effects in front of sharpshooters.
- Don't use confusion incaps on distant targets.
Leave Trash for the Commando During Zed Time
- High level commandos can extend zed time up to 6 times, but only if they have trash zeds to pop. Medium zeds like sirens, husks, rioters etc take too many bullets to kill.
- Leave trash for berserkers to parry
- Good berserkers take the parry skill, but that skill requires them to actually parry a zed in order to trigger the 10 second buff. Without it, they are highly vulnerable to bloats, sirens, husks, and EDARs (whose elemental/shooting attacks they can't parry). Leave 1-2 trash zeds near them so that they can parry for the buff.
Camp, or Run and Gun
In some cases, it's better for the group to move around the map rather than camp. Make sure you're all following the same strategy, and know which way the group is moving!
Keep the Exit Path Clear
There's nothing worse than being caught in a pincer attack. Always monitor your flank, and keep your exit path clear.
Also, expect that just as things go bad, something big like a bloat or fleshpound will suddenly be in the exit path because of Murphy's Law. Be ready to deal with it.
Keep the Camp Clean
Get rid of bile puddles in camp when there's some breathing room. Otherwise they'll just add to the damage at a bad time. Also, don't hang around near bile puddles, because someone might want to shoot them to clean up the camp.
When fighting the Abomination, take some time to clear puddles. The group will likely end up treading the same ground many times during the fight, and people will die running into an endless stream of puddles.
Zeds can't spawn in a location that's being watched by a player (but they can spawn behind you!) Use your team's visibility strategically to limit where zeds can come from.
Play All Perks
The only way to truly understand each perk's strengths and weaknesses is to play each one for awhile. Once you know how they all work, you'll make a far better group member because you'll know everyone's needs and abilities.
Certain weapons can greatly benefit from reload canceling. Learn how this works and practice it.
To reload cancel (only useful on certain weapons):
- Hold the fire button during a reload.
- Do a melee bash as soon as your ammo counter resets.
- When it works, you'll fire a shot immediately as soon as you hit the bash button.
- The rest
The husk will ruin your day. Their fire bolt will hurt the entire party, and their flamethrower will quickly kill the entire party. Husks have the highest priority on the kill list.
- Bashing a husk interrupts his flamethrower.
- Hitting a husk's backpack causes him to explode, damaging all zeds nearby.
- A berserker can hit the husk's backpack from the front with a jump-slash.
- A severely damaged husk will try to self-destruct on the nearest player, likely killing him and anyone else near (falloff damage for a husk suicide is very sharp).
- Microwave damage will confuse husks and prevent them from attacking.
Sirens need to be killed while they're still far from the party. The siren's scream can decimate the party very quickly, and destroys grenades if they haven't activated, which really sucks when the medic is trying to drop healing grenades!
- Sirens switch to a lower damage bite attack when they're next to the player they're aggoed against. You can use this to keep them from screaming if you have other things to take care of first.
- Bashing a siren interrupts her scream.
- Siren screams destroy explosive projectiles, grenades, and unexploded c4 (unless laid by a demolitionist with sonic resistant rounds).
- Microwave damage will confuse sirens and prevent them from attacking.
The fleshpound picks a target and walks slowly toward it. If he doesn't hit a player (any player) within a timeout period, he enrages, and charges his target. Also, after he takes a certain amount of damage, he will automatically enrage. Once he's hit a player, he de-rages, and the timer and damage counter resets.
When in a group situation, be careful about re-raging the fleshpound. In particular, don't dog-pile on the fleshpound as he's smashing a player, because he'll instantly re-rage and hit the player again, and again, and again, and then you'll have a dead player and an angry medic. When a FP hits a player, leave him alone for a short period so that the player can get clear, someone can stun, demolitionists and sharpshooters can line up a shot, etc. Bash if you must to get some breathing room, but don't re-rage until your team is ready.
- The fleshpound cannot be incaped while he's raged. Time your incaps to hit when he's not raged.
- The fleshpound will re-rage immediately if you damage him after de-raging. Don't re-rage without good reason.
- The fleshpound can be bashed if he's not currently enraged. Bash will interrupt whatever attack he's doing (even his jump attack).
Scrakes move slowly until enraged, after which they remain enraged until they die.
At higher difficulty levels, the amount of damage required to enrage a scrake goes WAY down. Be very careful about your damage!
Don't rage scrakes before the party is ready to deal with them.
There are many strategies for taking down scrakes depending on your party make-up, and it's a good idea to decide on your strat before the chaos begins.
Notes: You can bash a scrake at any time, even if he's raged. Bash a scrake to run past him unscathed, to give a little breathing room when he's raged, to save another player, or to give your team time to line up a killing blow. EMP will cause scrakes to momentarily de-rage, but they'll still attack anyone close to them as they normally would (same thing that happens when you get too close to an unraged scrake). Once the EMP wears off, they'll enrage again.
Hit them in the head, or burn them.
Try not to destroy bloat bodies. They can harm other players when they burst, and leave bile puddles on the floor which can also damage the party.
Notes: Microwave damage will confuse bloats and prevent them from attacking.
Hit the red spot in their chest. Destroying their heads will not stop them.
Notes: Microwave and EMP damage will confuse EDARs and prevent them from attacking.
It's not enough to know your own perk. You need to know how all perks work in multiplayer so that you can develop strategies that take advantage of their strengths.
Your job is to stop medium and big zeds from getting into the camp.
You are a meat shield. When big things have gotten into the camp, your job is to interrupt whatever is beating on the other players, and make them beat on you instead.
When the party is moving, your job is to clear the path forward, and to keep big zeds away from everyone.
You must take the parry skill to play effectively in a high difficulty multiplayer game. A skilled berserker with parry and medic buffs active can easily tank multiple fps/scrakes/whatever.
Take dreadnaught and butcher if you trust the medic with your life, skirmisher and vampire if you don't.
Don't pick up ammo boxes. Every other perk needs them far more than you do.
Learn how and when to melee tank each boss type.
Make friends with a skilled medic and practice grouping together. A highly skilled medic/berserker combo is virtually unkillable.
Your job is to refresh zed time. Learn to do it well. You can also benefit the group by calling out health on big zeds.
Make sure your party understands to leave trash alone during zed time so that you have things to refresh on.
The rest of the time, prioritize husks, sirens, and bloats. Don't initiate combat against scrakes and FPs (they take too much ammo to kill), but feel free to finish them off when they're low health.
Your target priority is (in this order): Fleshpound, siren, husk, bloat, whatever else.
You should have sonic resistant rounds.
Your grenades explode immediately and stun if they hit a zed before touching the ground.
Grenades, C4, and the flare gun are the only explosive weapons that can activate at any distance.
You have very limited CC ability. Learn to use your knife to get out of trouble.
The ballistic portion of the RPG does 4x damage to scrakes. This allows you to almost kill one in a single head shot at max difficulty.
Be careful about your fireworks show blocking the view of head-shot perks.
Learn how to reload interrupt.
Don't hug the trader pod. Stand as far back as you can so that other people can get at your free grenades.
You're either DPS or crowd control. If the party lacks CC, you're the logical first choice. Even if you're not the official CC guy, keep watch for stuff in the camp and help out.
Don't spam other players with your flamethrower-type weapons. Aim low.
Don't cause burn incap to distant targets that head-shot perks are aiming at.
Choose the heat wave perk skill. Your party will need the pushback ability.
If you're going to use flamethrowers or the microwave gun, take the ground fire perk skill and learn how to lay down the fire carpet.
The microwave gun doesn't do very much damage in and of itself; it's the ground fire that makes it a monster.
Your job is to take down big and medium zeds.
You have fast run speed, so use that mobility to get a better angle on the things you're killing. Don't stay in one spot. A gunslinger especially needs strong situational awareness.
Your job is to buff your team and keep them alive.
Repeat: Your job is to BUFF your team and keep them alive.
Medics can apply the following buffs to teammates:
- Movement speed (up to 30%)
- DPS (up to 20%)
- Damage resistance (up to 30%)
This. Is. Huge.
You should be choosing all left side skills.
Your medic buffs stack as follows: movement speed and damage resistance (10%, 20%, 30%). DPS (5%, 10%, 15%, 20%).
Medic buffs last for 5 seconds after the last application.
- You should never stop pumping drugs into your teammates. You're the Walter White of Killing Floor! You give them the juice they need to survive and kill things faster.
- You should be using your grenades. Medic grenades tick (and thus apply stacking buffs) once per second, and last 8 seconds.
- You should be running around the party whenever zed time occurs so that your medic farts buff everyone.
- You should be constantly applying buffs to everyone, but especially to the berserker to help him tank. A fully medic and parry buffed berserker barely even feels fleshpound and scrake hits.
- You should be launching grenades in front of the party when they need to evacuate an area so that everyone has the movement speed to get away.
- Use grenades to boost speed so that people can get to the trader faster. This is especially helpful on big maps like steam fortress.
The healthrower is a game changing weapon, because it's a cheap way to maintain maximum buffs on the whole party over the entire wave, and it also acts as a CC weapon. Use short bursts to take advantage of the "free" ammo. It also has healing darts.
Don't chase down cowboys. Cowboys deserve to die.
Your job is to take down big zeds and trigger zed time with head shots (level 25 skill).
Your CC is terrible, so learn to use the knife to get out of trouble, and don't think twice about dropping a freeze grenade (and then knifing your way out). It does very little damage to you, but saves a whole lot of pain if you get surrounded.
Use your freeze grenades to strategically stop things for the party.
Drop 2-3 freeze grenades when the Patriarch is about to run.
Learn how to reload cancel.
Your job is to take down medium zeds, and help on scrakes (and FPs if the heavy hitters are having trouble).
Support CC is pretty weak, but the vlad can be useful in this area.
The boomstick and doomstick launch you backwards if you're in the air and use your alt-fire to fire all shells at once. Moving backwards and jump-alt-shooting is faster than sprinting, and can get you out of ugly situations in a hurry.
You have welding proficiency, but don't use it in multiplayer. Don't weld doors in multiplayer games. Don't weld doors in multiplayer games! A welded door is a blocked escape path that gets people killed.
Your ammo is the most expensive, which means you'll probably be poor. Conserve ammo as best you can, and choose targets wisely. Line up zeds so that your penetrating shots kill multiples.
Don't hug the trader pod. Stand as far back as you can so that other people can get at your free ammo and armor.
Survivalists have traditionally been the useless perk that nobody wants in the group (they have versatility, but don't do anything as well as a dedicated class). The killerwatt changes that somewhat. Learn to use it effectively in a group. Learn how EMP and microwave damage work, and how to use them effectively.
The freezethrower is also situationally useful, but for skilled groups it's probably not that helpful.
Your job is to take down medium zeds and help with CC.
You can take down scrakes solo using your flashbang to stun, but you'll use up a lot of ammo in the process. Conserve your ammo unless things are going badly.