Stolen Pixels #97: Left 4 Dumb, Part 15

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jun 9, 2009

Filed under: Column 19 comments

What?!?! ANOTHER ONE!?

Louis’ line in panel #4 is actually something I say from time to time. Whenever I get foggy or tired and I can’t concentrate well enough to code I say this, and I never get anything but strange looks from people. (Except for my wife, who probably assumes this is simply the default state for me.)

Question for those who play: What is your preferred approach for dealing with the tank?


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19 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #97: Left 4 Dumb, Part 15

  1. Duffy says:

    Group circle strafing; this works particularly well if you are playing VS mode. Whoever hes chasing runs away while the rest fill him with bullets, switch places if he starts to chase someone else.

    In campaign and survival the computer is a little better at quickly swatting players that are too close to him, so combo fire and circle strafe to bring him down quickly. If in a narrow area, set him on fire and run like hell instead; taking backpedaling potshots if you can.

  2. corwin says:

    I prefer to use the rest of the team as meat shields while I plunk away at the tank with the hunting rifle. Someone else usually handles setting him on fire, as most people won’t let me have molotov cocktails anymore. Something about friendly fire, they say.

  3. Colonel Slate says:

    Combined assault rifle and shotgun blasts plus a molotov, me and group I play with can usually kill it outright about five seconds after contact with it.

    We’re really organized though too…

  4. Factoid says:

    On expert my team has gotten pretty good at reverse running. If you don’t light it on fire, it can’t catch you as long as you don’t get hung up on map objects or backing through doorways.

    Just run backwards, shoot like hell and you’ll do fine.

    Since they turned down the damage that the auto-shotty does to Tanks, we’ll usually switch to assault rifles if we pass a weapon cache.

  5. RedClyde says:

    Well, I usually cloak in a corner and backstab him as he runs by. Oh wait, wrong game.

    On Expert, I prefer the molly-and-run method. Unless the area is very well-suited to dodging the tank, it’s tricky to not get hit with a punch or a rock; get stuck for just half a second on some stupid static prop and that’s it for you.

    On the other difficulties, well, just improvise. Molly, shoot and dodge.

  6. Factoid says:

    Oh, my favorite Survival map is No Mercy. Before you trigger the horde, you can bust down the door at the end of the hallway with melee attacks. Get all four survivors in there, and you can take down a rushing tank in less than 5 seconds as long as everyone concentrates fire. You can get through the first 5 hordes and the first 3 tanks without wasting a single molotov.

    And from that room you can rush out two at a time and get ammo. Always bring a buddy, though, because the smokers are nasty.

  7. MadTinkerer says:

    I try to make sure I have ten shells in my autoshotgun at all times as much as possible. Then I just try to keep the tank in the center of the screen and hold down mouse1. This usually has the result of the tank charging me and knocking me far back so that (the fool! the silly fool!) I have plenty of time to reload!

    I often have the proud distinction of “most damage to the tank”, though usually at the cost of needing more health packs. Still, it’s less damage done to my teammates, so it all balances out.

  8. Run into the barn, up the ladder, out of the front, into the barn, up the ladder, out of the front. Or run around in circles screaming ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH TANKY TANK TANK TANKY TANK!!’

  9. Joe Cool says:

    Run, hide, and cry like a little girl.

    BTW, are you still enjoying this game Shamus? When we were playing Blood Harvest the other night, you sounded like you were getting really ticked off at the game.

    Playing L4D for an achievement when you don’t enjoy it is only one step above grinding raids or battlegrounds in WoW for loot, even though you stopped enjoying them months ago. There lies a dark, dark path.

    1. Shamus says:

      Joe Cool: I really do enjoy expert-level L4D, but you’re right: The game gets on my nerves.

      It’s really fun up until the finale, where the game usually falls apart. On the previous maps, failure feels like the result of a mistake or a bad roll of the dice. On the finale, it feels like the AI Director just isn’t playing fair.

      The finale requires explosives, yet sometimes you’ll get to the last level and it won’t give you ANY. Unlike other levels, this doesn’t seem to get re-rolled when you die. If you don’t get any on the first trip, that won’t change on subsequent attempts.

      The difficulty seems to ramp UP when you fail. The first try, you simply make it to the final stand and fail. On the next one, you have to fight a bonus tank first. On the NEXT one, you have to fight a bonus tank right out of the door (so you don’t have room to run.). On the NEXT NEXT one, you must do so, only there’s a witch nearby.

      Most of the problems I’m describing apply to blood harvest. I’ve now reached the finale on expert four times (and once on advanced) and so I’ve observed this behavior enough times that I don’t think it’s a fluke. I think there is actually some auto-balancing code that’s inverted in there. It’s possible I’m wrong and I’ve just been extremely unlucky, but in any case the expert-level finale often takes a tense and fun experience and kills it with cheating and frustration.

      Which is why I get grouchy at the end.

      EDIT: Changed some wording for clarity.

  10. Shadow2336 says:

    I usually light it on fire, then beat a retreat to the safe room or some other area where me and my three teammates can sit in the corners and unload.

    On expert, it’s a good idea to have 1 M4 and 3 shotguns. The m4 is the only thing that can slow the tank down when it’s on fire.

  11. Nick says:

    I never noticed that the tank moves faster when aflame. I always wondered, though, why he is sometimes able to catch me when running, and sometimes not.

    Still, shotguns are still weapon of choice. 4 people unloading them seems to still do more damage than 4 assault rifles.

    Anyone know if he has location damage? I’m tempted to aim for his puny head when firing, but I don’t know if it really does something more.

  12. Rutskarn says:

    Typically, I find the best strategy is to get ahead of the pack and hope it throws out its shoulder tenderizing you lot.

  13. This series is raising an interesting ethical question: if somebody provides me with a steady stream of very good content for free for a while, do I get to complain if they suddenly switch to bad content?

    Just kidding, of course not. I love you, man. (that said, if this series ends next strip with a total party kill, um, you won’t have to use an extra bit to represent the strip number! Yay!)

    I usually deal with tanks by ducking out from behind cover and firing AVRiL rockets. Or at close range, hammering them with the minigun while circlestrafing (they can’t rotate their turret fast enough)

  14. Kronski says:

    All your L4D comics have been funny, Shamus. Just don’t get stuck in a rut.

  15. LanceWithAbee says:

    I’m not a gamer, but I enjoy these comics. I’ve even been tempted to buy a couple based on these comics (esp city of heroes), and I really don’t have time. Keep up the good work.

  16. Otters34 says:

    Sirs, before I ask this question, let me clear up any misunderstanding on the subject:

    1) Mr. Young is more intelligent than I shall ever be.
    2)Stolen Pixels is hilarious.

    That said, I have little love for L4D, or indeed Valve in general, so I was wondering: how many more parts are there to this series, if any plan is in place?

    Not that I want to cut short a winning streak, it just seems a tad unfair to find over fifteen jokes (things!) in L4D alone, and only three for Assassin’s Creed.

  17. Shadow2336 says:


    A flaming tank only runs faster in Expert mode.

    In *all* modes, the M4 slows down a tank.

    The auto-shotgun has been nerfed to deal less damage because it was getting rather ludicrous.

  18. DaveMc says:

    For added entertainment, go view the troll over the comments at The Escapist. Whatever you do, don’t feed him by replying, the way . . . I . . . just did. Drat.

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