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Back 4 Blood: How to Play PvP

Back 4 Blood How to Play PvP
Image via Warner Bros./Turtle Rock Studios

While the main draw of the original Left 4 Dead games was its tight co-op focus, the secondary draw was its versus mode. In this mode, four players controlled the survivors like usual, but four other players controlled the special infected looking to take a bite out of them. To paraphrase someone smarter than me, it changed the game from a tense co-op shooter into a hilarious griefing simulator. The popularity of that feature basically ensured it would find its way into Back 4 Blood, and find its way it did. Here’s how to play PvP in Back 4 Blood.

Back 4 Blood How to Play PvP

Back 4 Blood’s PvP mode is called “Swarm” mode, as it exists outside of the regular Campaign run system. You can join a public Swarm matchmaking lobby from the game’s menu, though you can also launch a private lobby for you and your friends.

In this mode, four players take control of the Cleaners with one goal: survive. You’re on a large map that gradually shrinks over time, and all you need to do is survive as long as possible. Meanwhile, another team of four controls the mutant Ridden, with the goal of killing the Cleaners. When the Cleaners are finally killed, the teams switch roles. Whichever team ultimately holds out the longest as the Cleaners wins the round, and two round wins clinches the game.

While the Cleaners control the same way as they do in the regular campaign, the Ridden have a bit of nuance to them. There are three types of mutant Ridden you can control, each with three variations. The three overall types are:

  • Stinger: Lanky and quick, able to climb walls and launch projectiles. Variants can launch a binding harpoon attack or trade the ranged attack for melee abilities.
  • Reeker: Suicide bomber loaded with bile that alerts the Ridden Horde. Variants can self-detonate at will or gain a ranged vomit attack.
  • Tallboy: Massive and slow, pummels Cleaners at close range. Variants can use a small AoE slam attack or capture Cleaners in a squeeze.

As Ridden players spawn, die, and respawn, they’ll earn Mutation Points that can be funneled into upgrades. You can upgrade your mutant Ridden classes, though you can also power up the AI-controlled Ridden Horde that accompanies you. Allocating these points properly is the key to overwhelming Cleaners as quickly as possible.

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