Stayin' alive! Stayin' alive!

Five Tips To Stay Alive Longer In Back 4 Blood’s Swarm Mode

The Back 4 Blood open beta is finally underway and players are flocking in to give Turtle Rock’s zombie shooter a try. While a lot of players will head straight to the Campaign story mode, the open beta also includes access to the online PvP mode known as ‘Swarm’. This mode pits a team of Cleaners against the Ridden in a fight to see who can stay alive the longest.

It’s sort of similar to the Versus mode found in Left 4 Dead, but some key differences mean that there’s still a learning curve for returning players. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get to grips with the Back 4 Blood Swarm Mode.

Back 4 Blood
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Stick together, but not too close!

What’s the number one rule in any horror movie? Don’t split up! That’s advice you should take while playing as the Cleaners. All four members of your team should stick close to each other so that you can cover each other’s backs or revive in a pinch. Any player found wandering alone will be easy pickings for the Ridden team.

That said, you don’t want to bunch up so closely that one well aimed attack can wipe you all out in one go. It’s useful to always have at least one player out of the action so that someone can perform a revive while another distracts the Ridden away.

A general rule of thumb is that you should try and keep all of your teammates within sight as much as possible. Don’t be huddling round for warmth, but be wary of straying too far from the pack, too.

Back 4 Blood
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Down but not out!

The clue is in the name with this one, but don’t give up on the match just because you’ve been downed! Back 4 Blood features a ‘down but not out’ state in which you can be revived after taking too much damage from a Ridden.

Of course, it can be discouraging, and frankly humiliating, to have to writhe around on the floor while your teammates try to resuscitate you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be helpful. While downed, you still have access to your secondary pistol weapon. 

Even if only dealing minor damage, it can salvage your team a few extra precious seconds for the timer. You might be able to use your last few bullets to distract a portion of the horde away from your fellow survivors.

image from back 4 blood
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Know when to attack and defend

This tip is particularly important towards the end of rounds. It’s a tempting habit to always try and deal as much damage as possible. However, in Swarm mode, the number of Ridden kills is not going to get you the win – it’s staying alive the longest.

As such, if it gets down to the last 20 seconds of the round, you should be looking to switch your tactics to be more defensive. Turning to attack the growing horde nipping at your heels might only put you in harm’s way. Instead, look to move around the map tactically so that you can put a few additional seconds onto your timer. It could be the difference between winning and losing a round.

Back 4 Blood Bruiser
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Divide and conquer

For the Ridden, you’re going to want to look for Cleaners that aren’t following our handy list of tips. While stalking your prey, keep an eye out for clumsy Cleaners who peel off from the rest of the group. 

As discussed earlier, it’s much harder to take out a Ridden when by yourself. Ridden players can use this to their advantage, picking off human players one by one instead of attacking the whole group head on.

It makes sense to group up as the Ridden where you can. Each monster has their own unique abilities, so a large brute can be supported by another player who’s better at range. Use your abilities tactically to hunt down each of the Cleaners one by one to achieve the quickest time possible.

Back 4 Blood
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

I have the high ground!

Where possible, try and locate some high ground to perch on. Scattered around several of the maps are climbable walls. Use these to get a birds eye view of your surroundings and plan your attacks on the Cleaners accordingly. It’ll be harder for the Cleaners to attack you directly from up there, especially when they’re being run down by the invading horde. 

From there, you can find useful angles to take out the Cleaners while on the ground. Running in blind and burning through your active abilities won’t be enough in most cases to take out a Cleaner, especially if they’re all bunched up. Make the most of the play space you’ve got to work with, doubly so when the circle closes in and the Cleaners have nowhere left to run.

Hopefully these tips will have you well on your way to winning big in the Back 4 Blood Swarm mode. If you’re interested in more of GameByte Back 4 Blood coverage, you can read more of our thoughts on the beta here.

We also had the opportunity to sit down with the lead designer of Back 4 Blood for an extensive interview. You can read more about the lessons the team learned from its previous game ‘Evolve’ here.

Are you going to check out the Back 4 Blood Swarm Mode beta this week? Let us know if these tips helped you across our social channels!

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Featured Image Credit: Turtle Rock Studios/WB Games