As I’m slightly above average at best when it comes to playing Factions, I have spent a significant amount of time mortally wounded on my hands and knees. I’ve also made more than enough bad decisions on how to engage an opposing player. These unique qualities have given me ample opportunity to be a pain in the ass for the other team, and these are some of the best lessons I’ve learned along the way.
the LOST of us
I will be documenting my horrific tale of Naughty Dog’s servers eating my entire Factions profile that had roughly 7000 supplies in an upcoming post. It will be heart-breaking.
Things to do in Bill’s Town 1 When You’re Dead
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On consoles in the living room I routinely avoid multiplayer when it is player-versus-player because I am not very well coordinated at using a controller versus a keyboard and mouse. Pairing this with games that have 30+ participants that know the content and I’m quickly outmatched and spending most of my time being frustrated. In contrast to the usual vidya gamer fare, the Last of Us has an online multiplayer mode called Factions which has broken this streak of me hating online play on the Playstation 3 for several reasons.
Factions in the Last of Us is more tactical than most types of online play, and the suspense of hunting and being hunted is pretty amazing. One of the contributing factors to this is that the groups are smaller (up to 4v4) and the resources are more constrained 2. What really hooked me fast however was the addition of the third Factions playmode added recently: Interrogation.
Interrogation is everything I liked about Survival and Supply Run but it manages to also reward defensive strategy as much as offensive, easily making it my favorite choice between the three types of matches. It has also given me a reason to think about ways to make my death less rewarding.
Crawling towards victory
This is going a few steps beyond the usual advice of “crawling towards your teammates for a Revive will reveal their location to the opposition force that just smoked you,” but I would like to suggest that if I’m not in the immeadiate vicinity of an enemy player I try to crawl behind cover so stray shots or intentional fire doesn’t end my timer early.
If it isn’t looking good for my teammates I try to get something between me and the line-of-sight of active shooters and crawl away as best I can. This is especially helpful in games of Interrogation versus Supply Run and Survival, though denying a special execution will deny the other player bonus parts for pulling it off so I don’t like to make it easy.
In those circumstances where I’m all alone and overrun (oops) I try to drag my carcass into the open or into line of sight with the path of my teammates if they’re moving towards me on the radar. The objective is to leave the opposing player(s) exposed and vulnerable while they’re putting a revolver in my mouth giving my team an opportunity to exact sweet vengence and possibly some easy interrogations.
In situations where the opposing team is not likely to risk a special execution because it leaves them open to counter-attack while they’re vulnerable, or a heavy firefight with a lot of melee one-shots being doled out, I like to crawl into the path of the opposing players so that I’m underfoot and in their way. This sounds kind of absurd but since they can’t jump over my still-warm and crawling corpse to swing a two-by-four at a member of my team, they are at risk of being gunned down before they can get into melee range even if they have to move around me, making their path longer and further slowing their attack.
The enemy player may just switch to a firearm and shoot me a few times to execute me, but they’re open to shots during that manuver unless they move into cover. If they go to do an interrogation or special execution (surprisingly common) they’re really wide open to being gunned down while doing it and being denied an Interrogation that they need in the process.
I will also crawl into the path of enemy players who are down and also crawling on all fours to prevent them from getting to a Revive, and there is an added bonus that someone coming to revive them will perform an execution on me instead, leaving them down a player due to the timer running out on their teammate while they’re pummeling me. If I’m going to be removed from the game for a spell while I wait for a respawn, at least they will be shorthanded for the same amount of time. Being that close to an enemy also means that if someone decides to hurl a molotov at me they’re going to also burn their teammate up.
I love being hit with a molotov in Interrogation matches and I actively do things to encourage them. Being burned up in fire means you can’t be Interrogated, so I use that to my advantage.
The art and science of eating molotovs
Some of the challenges involve performing executions with a molotov and there is no way for me to know that an enemy player has that challenge active or anything, but I can’t sweat potentially helping one person fullfill their challenge for the week when ultimately I’m going for a team victory.
I have taken a non-trivial amount of joy in watching people trying to perform an interrogation on while standing in fire, only to go up in flames themselves.
If I’ve been downed and there is a pit of fire nearby from a molotov that didn’t deep-fry me, I will usually crawl towards it, or put it between myself and enemy players if I can’t reach it in time to increase the chances they’ll take damage getting to me. If I get there and lie down in it, I will quickly catch flame and be executed. This is helpful in Interrogation matches because I never want to be interrogated by the opposite side because it makes it harder for my team to claim victory.
Sometimes I am not paying attention and end up separated from my team, and in those moments where I think I’m being a cat burgler but really walking right into a trap, if I see a player holding a molotov I will run straight at them to get into melee range.
There are two reasons for this:
- I’m likely not as skilled as the other player and 1-to-1 finding cover and exchanging fire is usually putting me at a disadvantage.
- Running at them catches them off-guard, they often will panic, throw the molotov and incinerate both of us. If there is more than one of them, I may be able to get all three of us with the backdraft.
The other possible outcomes are that:
- I get close enough to melee them and kill them.
- I’m able to empty two blasts from my Shorty sawed-off while they’re switching weapons, or swinging their fists at me, leaving them dead or seriously injured.
- I eat a two-by-four in the head and I’m one-shot leaving me no worse off than I already was. I’m easily interrogated but I would have been just as easily interrogated hiding behind a barrel and taking a bullet to the forehead.
His death takes place in the shadow of new life!
As I play this game more and more I do show signs of improvement, though this depends a lot on the map and the composition of the teams. I am error-prone from time to time and do want to reduce the benefit to my mistakes for the opposing team and these are my techniques for doing that. I can appreciate that some of these are borderline griefing; C-blocking in particular is a remarkably frustrating thing to be the recipient of because for crying out loud he’s right there and I can’t get him is surely rage-inducing for the Chow Yun-Fats of The Last of Us that miraculously spend most of a match running and gunning as if they were straight outta’ the Matrix. Then again, if they are gettin’ all mad about it, they can thank the dweebs that like to “teabag” me while I lay bleeding on the ground for motivating me to find a way to hinder their victory from death’s door.
I suspect that if it were possible to throw myself on a bomb in order to protect others from the blast, I’d be the best bomb-hugger that The Last of Us has ever seen! I am also surprisingly adept at managing to be in the blast from a smoke grenade.3 If I have a moment to spare I do enjoy dropping a ticking bomb at my own feet in those circumstances to give a proper send-off for my assassin and I have on several occasions been able to finish off my attacker as they close on me with a shot from my Shorty if I regain composure in time. If the player mashes shiv and isn’t getting me they often just one-shot me with a modded two-by-four but there is something satisfying about taking a chunk or two of them with me.
As I continue to play I do have some matches where I do better than others. Cleaning up with 50 supplies is not a common occurrence for me but it has been known to happen. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with a Shorty build using First Aid and Reviver along with Crafter to get as many parts as possible for someone such as myself that can’t rack up as many downed opponents as more skilled players. I’m terrible with hunting rifles, but surprisingly OK with a Bow. I used to love the Covert perk (rank 2+) but lately Strategist 2 and 3 are really doing it for me because I lack situational awareness otherwise.
Ask my old WoW raid groups about that one if you doubt me. Nobody runs straight into Gruul’s shatter as well as I do.
- Or any other of the multiplayer maps in The Last of Us Factions ↩
- The low quantities of ammunition make a missed shot potentially life-threatening early in a match. Making items like bombs, smoke grenades and molotov cocktails take materials that must be gathered during the match. ↩
- Personally I think those front-facing shiv executions like that are a sign of poor gamesmanship but I don’t deny they’re effective. ↩