Beginner's Guide to Killing Floor (pt 1)

So you just got the Killing Floor and you want to go right online and try it out. You're badass, join a server in Hard mode. No, Suicide. No, screw it, Hell on Earth.


Seriously. Nothing screams "n00b!" like a level 0 player...except a level 0 player on high difficulty. Some servers won't even accept players if they're not level 5 or above. Even if you really are as good as you think, the lower level perks don't have the sheer power required to survive. The server will adjust for the number of players -- and you'll die early and end up killing the rest of your team.

My advice: play solo and level all your perks at least to level 1 (except Medic). I got mine all to level 2 (except Medic). Now, I'm an old guy and it takes me longer to learn stuff, so maybe you don't need level 2, but it won't hurt. By the end of level 2 in solo I was able to reach the Patriarch wave on a Long game before I died, and I had a pretty good idea how the game worked. Still lots to learn, but I was obviously no longer a n00b.

The reason not to bother playing Medic in solo mode is because the only way to level Medic is to heal other players. So you simply can't do it. That's OK, healing your teammates will level your Medic perk even if you're not playing Medic.

Now, here's some more specific advice, even when you're playing Solo.

First, start out as a Sharpshooter for the first wave. When you get a perk to level 5 that will change but for now, do it, no matter what you're leveling. See, you start with a pistol and a knife. The Sharp levels by getting headshots with pistol, handcannon, either sniper rifle, and crossbow. Since Sharp is the only perk that can level with a pistol, it makes sense. He also gets a headshot bonus, which no other perk gets, so even at level 0 he can kill more easily.

Exception: If you want to level your Berserker you can use the knife. I recommend the Sharpshooter but starting with Zerk works too.

Once you reach level 5 on a perk you'll spawn with a weapon, except Medic, which spawns with armor. If you want to level a different perk, that's OK. Spawn as your level 5 or 6, then switch perks at the end of the wave and sell the weapon. Or wait a few waves until you've gained more money, whatever works for you.

When you do that, switch perks first and then sell; buying a perk-appropriate weapon gets you a discount, but it also lowers the return when you sell. If you sell as another perk you should get the base value. Of course, you get less for selling a gun than it'll cost you to buy. But get the best price by selling it off-perk.

If you have several level 5 and level 6 perks you should probably start with the one that has the most expensive weapon. Check weapons prices at the Killing Floor Wiki. Of course, balance that against other needs of the moment.

While you're at the Wiki, read a lot. There's a lot of good information there. Some of it contradicts some of what I've learned, but it's good information. And it's possible some of what I've learned is wrong.

Now you've leveled some or most of your perks and you're ready to go live. I find using the mic better than stopping to type, but it's not everybody's cup of tea. Still, if you have a microphone, consider using it.

Here are some things to know that will help keep you and your squad alive.

Rule #1: Don't get trapped! It's easy to let yourself get cornered and suddenly find there are more specimens in your face than you thought. No time to reload, you empty one gun... then another... and suddenly you either need to switch to the knife or reload, and there's no time. Boom, your squad is wiped out.

As you play the maps you'll learn what the best and worst places are, but in general, you want everything to come at you in one direction as much as possible. You also don't want to get trapped by your own cleverly welded door; try to keep an escape route.

Rule #2: aim for the head on every shot you can. There are exceptions (e.g. explosives) but most weapons give a headshot bonus. Hitting the head means a fast kill with less ammo, and a successful headshot is instantly disabling for most specimens even if you don't kill them outright. Even the Scrake and the Husk can be stunned sometimes.

Welding. There are exceptions, and even more if you have a good team that knows how to handle things, but generally speaking you shouldn't weld without a specific strategy. "Stuff will come through and I don't want it to" isn't a strategy. Let the experienced players make those decisions, see what works and what gets you killed, and remember -- the more that backs up behind a door, the more you'll have to kill all at once when it breaks down. Also remember: if you're running from the Patriarch and try to duck through a building, just to discover that the far door is welded and he's right on top of you... you are not going to be happy. You're going to be dead. The irony will be especially delicious if you're the one who welded the door that got you killed.

While your perk is at a low level, avoid Hard and above.

Scrakes are nasty fellows. There are two ways of dealing with them generally:
1) If you're by yourself (and you're not a Zerk with an axe or katana, or a level 5 Sharp with a crossbow): first, kill the other stuff around him as much as possible, while keeping your distance. Second, start shooting him a bit at a time, but not enough to rage him. Try to do it with a weaker weapon. Again, continue to keep your distance. Third... eventually he will rage. At that point switch to your most powerful weapon and let loose.

If you don't have that luxury -- say, a firebug with only a flamethrower -- then try to reload just before he's ready to rage so you can empty the thing on him.

2) You're with a group. There's either a Berserker or a high-level Sharpshooter with a crossbow, or both.

Well, a level 5 or 6 Sharpshooter can kill a Scrake with a single headshot of the crossbow. But here's the trick: he needs a clean shot. Here's what you need to do:
- Don't rage the Scrake. That means, don't shoot him, and stay out of reach.
- Don't obscure him with a lot of smoke if you can help it. Though if there's time and a lot of smaller specimens a 'nade can clear them quickly. But keep the grenades to a minimum.
- Don't obscure him with fire. Again, use your judgement, but you need to give the Sharp room to work.
- Keep the little stuff off the Sharp. Don't focus on the Scrake, trust the Sharp: instead, make sure the Sharp isn't under attack.
Just keep the Sharp safe and stay out of the way.

A level 6 Sharpshooter with a level-action rifle can still kill a Scrake with three headshots. He just has to nail them. If he's sloppy it might take 5 or 6 but it's still a good bet.

If there's a Zerk the answer is pretty much the same. The difference is that the Zerk will need to go right into the Scrake's face and engage him directly, usually with a katana. Here's the thing: he can keep the Scrake stunned, but only if you don't rage the Scrake by shooting at him. If you aren't a class and level and equipped to take out the Scrake almost instantly, just don't even try. Instead, like for the Sharp, you need to keep him clear of other dangers. Even more so because unlike the Sharp, he can't turn and run -- if he stops hitting the Scrake for even a second the Scrake will attack. The best two things you can do are kill incoming specimens and give him health if he gets injured.

Even a low-level Zerk can take a Scrake with a katana, though it will take him longer.

Fleshpounds: same as above but even moreso. It takes multiple headshots but with good clean shots and a steady hand a level 6 Sharp can do it in two crossbow shots.

If you're unwilling to let somebody else get the glory of the kill (or leveling points, or the bounty) of the more dangerous specimens, by all means try to take them on yourself. But if you get yourself or your team killed, your teammates won't thank you. Remember that this is a co-operative game. Especially on higher difficulty settings, focus your efforts on your perk's strengths and support your teammates. You'll really appreciate this when you're the one with the crossbow.

If you're a low-level player on a server with a bunch of high-level players, listen to their suggestions and try to be helpful. Stay with the rest of the team. Pick off the little stuff and let them take on the big stuff. Try to heal them as much as you can without getting in the way. Unless they're total jerks they'll respect you more for rational behavior than for going "Rambo" and getting yourself killed. (And if they're total jerks, your best bet is to just leave the server. Don't bother with a parting comment, nobody will care. Just find another server with friendlier people.)

And if you run out of ammo, well, chances are it'll be at the end of a wave. Ask if anybody has a spare gun but otherwise just try to stay out of the way and heal people. If somebody drops a gun, great, you're back in the game; if not, try to survive, you get a cash bonus at the end of the wave. Wading in with a knife and a bad attitude is a last-resort ploy.
new hippy


My mother-in-law's '96 Ford Taurus, while still running pretty well, finally was not worth fixing to pass smog. So I picked up a 2005 Ford Focus from the nearest Carmax. The good news is that the local credit union was willing to front the money (as was Carmax, though at a higher rate). The bad news is that I had to pull $1600 out of my ass. (Though Carmax would have covered all of it, I'd pay less on the lower rate in the long run.)

Between that and the arm-through-the-window accident I had last year, plus catching up on my dental work, it's been a rough year for paying off my credit card.

Fortunately a) the dental work is about caught up, b) the hospital and ambulance and doctor (oh my!) bills are almost paid off.

Ah well. Here are some pictures, courtesy of Carmax:

Jeff's Ford Focus

Oh, the accident? Looks like I haven't talked about it here. During the move-out from Davis, I sat down in a wooden chair which collapsed under me. A few photos here. I got a cut in my right forearm, not very long and not very deep, but it obviously needed stitches. I wasn't going to drive myself because I knew I'd get halfway there and start getting woozy from the shock. Next time I'm going to call a cab... the ambulance drive alone was something like $1600. Total bill was around $4000 and my medical insurance has a $6000 deductible. Feh.

It cut a muscle, causing me to lose grip control of my right pinkie (I could open it but not close it very well). The orthopaedist said (after discussing the possibility of muscle vs. tendon and the operation required to find out) that while muscles won't take sutures, it may try to grow back. It wants to grow back.

Here it is a year later and... guess what? I have about 90% of the function back. It's a bit weak and has some trouble at a couple positions but it's more than recovered enough for my normal use.

I did NOT ask the doctor if I would be able to play the piano. Tempting though it was.

Laptop woes update

Previously I mentioned I'd dropped my MacBook and broken it. Currently it's supplementing my entertainment system, letting me play content I normally wouldn't be able to, though these days DVD players have gotten pretty clever.

I had an opportunity to get a 40% discount on a Lenovo, so I did. Triple-core Phenom 1.9 GHz, 4GB RAM, 500 GB hard drive, Wifi b/g/n, and I got the optional Bluetooth and webcam and upgraded to Windows 7 Pro x64. That includes promotional free upgrades from 2 GB and 250 GB. $801 out the door. I'm typing on it now.

Last time I was in Davis I tripped over a laptop repair place that does Macs, so I stopped in, described the problem and asked prices. Depending on exactly what died, anything from $75 to perhaps $400. I'm thinking I should wait a few months to pay my credit card down some more and then get it fixed, it's probably worth it.
  • Current Mood
    calm calm


Currently living with our older daughter in East Sacramento (Rosemont). Things are eh. OK, not great, not terrible, just sort of muddling through right now. OTOH the stress of living in our place in Davis is gone, so there's a big improvement.

During a moment of carelessness I managed to very cleverly knock my MacBook onto the floor and break the display. Attempts to come up with an exact diagnosis caused a short on the motherboard (the voltage inverter that drives the backlight) and made the display 99% unusable instead of 50%. The thing was almost 4 years old and the battery was still giving me 80%, in spite of the swelling. Just a good solid computer that I screwed up. Hell, I'd been bringing it to work every day for 3 years in a backpack and didn't manage to break it, or even damage either power supply's magsafe connector.

Chances are repair will require replacing both the display and the motherboard. At that point the cost will probably put it into the "might as well replace it" range, unless I want to try to pick up used parts and fix it myself. I might do that someday (though seriously my track record on fixing laptops isn't very good, especially recently).

So when I got an offer for a discount through Borders Rewards for 40% off a Lenovo laptop I checked it out. Lenovo was also offering free upgrades for RAM and hard drive. For $800 out the door I ended up with a 15.6" display, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, AMD Phenom II triple-core 1.9 GHz processor, webcam, bluetooth, Windows 7 Pro x64 over a stock Thinkpad Edge 15. (I did NOT add $15 to turn the case red.)

My Christmas present to myself.

The MacBook still works, integrated display notwithstanding. I've hooked it into my entertainment center where it's letting me play stuff I'd otherwise have to do on my computer screen. Like a TV show that I only have in PAL format right now.

Off the anti-depressants, still on beta blockers for lone atrial fibrillation, recent trauma to the right arm due to an abrupt limb/window co-location. The window lost but it made sure the arm knew it had been in a fight.
new hippy

Hello again

Haven't been using the account much lately but I don't want it to go away, so mostly I'm posting to make sure it's not considered "inactive".

Mostly these days I'm on OkCupid.

For those who are friended to me and not to Silkensteel, I think there's one major event worth bringing up to date: Silkensteel and I are breaking up. Current plan is to finish moving out first week of August.
  • Current Mood
    melancholy melancholy
new hippy

California Capital Airshow

Featuring the USAF Thunderbirds. Mather Airport (near Sacramento) Sept. 12 and 13th 9am to 5pm. I will be at the Precision Flight Controls booth Sunday morning handing out flyers. No, that's not a deliberate pun.
  • Current Music
    Foreigner - Double Vision
Vulcan dopeslap

Too scary and weird for school officials


"...my nephew's project, alone among all of them, was not displayed. After much back and forth with various people, my sister learned that apparently some people were uncomfortable with his conclusions. Specifically the part where he said that what he really learned from this project was that some people don't want to be called boys or girls, and that those people need an "other" option. (And also that they tend to prefer blue to green.)"