Team play

By: Craig Lager

Published: January 5, 2009 Posted in: PC Gaming Nonsense

Every game I seem to have of Left 4 Dead on expert is a bit of a farce. I have only ever managed to see an escape vehicle once, and I died getting to it. There are a few common problems that we always tend to run into. None of this is anybodies fault per-se, and I’m often guilty of the same things. Maybe not as guilty as I’m an uber l33t who pwns n00bs, but still.

Left 4 Dead: dead

Bear with me as I splurge my general thinkings onto this page about how Left 4 Dead teams should work and note that I’m not having a go at anyone here. Like I said, I’m quite guilty of any of the fings people do rong here and a theory lesson is far different from a practical. Tom Francis also wrote a little list of things to think about on his blog ‘James


A team of four people with guns always needs some sort of plan and team dynamic. TV and Films have taught us that the best way to handle this would be to have one person lead the other three. If the person is good at leading it should mean for a close knitt team with a definite sense of purpose. Left 4 Dead though, is on the Internet. It is also a game. This means for a couple of things straight away:

  • Ego
  • Anonymity
  • Competition

For the most part, a team with a leader on L4D isn’t going to work. Even without the argument about who is going to lead you have the damaged egos from people who aren’t leading, the fact that nothing bad can happen if someone ‘disobeys’ orders, then lastly everyone wants to be in charge and will probably go a little out of their way to make the leader look like a complete twat.

How do you still create a “close knit team with a definite sense of purpose” without someone in charge then? All of you be in charge. A mini democracy. Talk to each other and more importantly listen to each other. Discuss plans – don’t take too long about it but get a rough idea in that everyone agrees on. You should all be talking to pretty much all of the time. If you see anything that any member of the team might find remotely useful, tell them. Notify people of gas canisters, extra pistols, weapons, ammo, everything. Just because you thought it was obvious doesn’t mean that somebody did. If you are about to throw an explosive, tell everyone. This will mean no one else will do it at the same time – wasting precious ammo.

Communication is the most important thing I can think of, it is the key to a good team.

Fields of Fire

Running around like metals will get you killed by friendly fire before you are killed by Zombies. Establish ‘kill zones’ where possible and stick to them. In a horde situation, stay the fuck still. You moving to a forward position might bag you a few more kills than someone else, but who cares? I’m sure your team would rather you be more alive than have more kills than someone else. It will probably mean you crossing in everyones firing line as well, if you die here, it is your fault.

If you need to move for whatever reason – make sure no one is firing and it’s not mid attack.


When some one goes down, rescue them immediately where possible. Until they are up they are losing life and your team is practically a gun down. Don’t necessarily go on a ‘Rambo’ mission through a horde to save them though, this will probably just mean two people down instead of one.

Where possible melee hunters and smokers off. This means 0 friendly fire damage. A hunter is the least of someones worries if you are pumping shotgun shells into their head.


Witches deserve a special mention as they dramatically change play. If you can, avoid the witch. You can push them pretty far before they attack. Turn torches off, don’t look at her and don’t touch her, and you will probably get past fine. She can stand up at start screaming, but until she starts running – leave her alone.

If you 100% need to take her out, make sure your whole team is ready and have all weapons pointing at her head. What you so then obviously depends on the situation but as long as you have planned ahead you should be ok. There is always the lure of the one hit with a shotgun, but it can easily go wrong.

Also note that once a witch kills whoever startled her, she won’t attack any one else unless they attack her or re-startle her. If you can just leave her alone and avoid the fight.

Finally – Don’t take it too seriously

When all said and done, if it all goes terribly wrong, it all goes terribly wrong. There was probably nothing anyone could do. It might of been someones fault, but who really cares? It’s just a game after all. You might be a bit frustrated but everyone makes mistakes. It could well be you next time. Keep your chin up and keep on laughing. It’s meant to be fun, keep it fun.

Craig Lager
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