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Icon of the Firebug.

The Firebug, as his name suggests, excels at wielding the powerful Flamethrower. The entire perk is geared towards using it, and other than altering his grenades to deal fire damage, it gives no benefit to any other weapon in the game.

The Flamethrower, while devastating in nearly any classes hands, has a number of drawbacks that other perks find difficult to compensate for. Non-Firebugs will find the lack of range a problem, as well as the slower damage rate on stronger enemies; like the Gorefast and the Scrake. However by far the biggest issue is when fired at close range, the Flamethrower will set the wielder on fire. This will usually happen when a Crawler or Stalker sneaks up behind them, forcing them to either fire at point blank and igniting themselves or wait through the long weapon swap animation to pull out another weapon. This will not only deal substantial damage to the player, but will also heavily weaken his armour as well. The Firebug on the other hand will enjoy a greatly increased range from level 3 onwards, greater damage to slice through most groups of foes with ease, and most importantly resistance to fire damage. At level 4 a Firebug with armour will take no damage, and will find his armour stays fully intact as well. Upon reaching level 5 a Firebug will be immune to fire completely, he will not be ignited by the Husks fireballs, and suffer no penalty from his Flamethrower.

The Firebug is very much a defensive class, and functions very well when ‘bunkered’ inside a room using hit and run tactics. Although he can deal rapid damage on the move and can burn his way through most obstacles, his weapons recoil will frequently restrict his view. He will usually find locking a room down and holding a doorway is a lot easier, where specimens funnel in front of him and he can ignite them at range and safely allow them to burn out before reaching him. Their main weakness’ are being over eager and wasting their ammo cutting down individual enemies. The Firebug must be disciplined and use as little ammunition killing their targets as possible to avoid running out of fuel. Reloading at the wrong time can be equally as dangerous, as moments where he can’t fire his Flamethrower gives specimens valuable seconds at closing the gap to overrun him.

Unlike other weapons the Flamethrower cannot score a critical headshot, and while it deals steady, high damage to groups of enemies, it cannot spike a single target very well and will have difficulty taking down fast enemies with a lot of health, such as Gorefasts and Scrakes. To counter this the flamethrower causes foes to "crisp up", interrupting charging specimens and slowing them down. This gives the Firebug more time to kite and allow the specimens to burn out, or hose them down if they get too close. This tactic however is ineffective against the Husk and is very poor against the Fleshpound, who will usually rage and kill the player before he can deal any substantial damage. These problems however can easily be overcome with good teamwork and the Firebug definitely becomes a key player when the waves start getting intense in the later rounds.

The Firebug will usually play around the middle or rear of the group, firing between the front liners to weaken specimens, and stop their team-mates getting overrun. Players who just enjoy watching things burn will love this perk.

Perk ladder

Rank Flamethrower Damage Points Required Flamethrower Mac-10 Resistance to Fire ↑ Flamethrower Range ↑ Special Flamethrower/Mac-10 Discount ↑ Spawn With
Damage ↑ Reload Speed ↑ Fuel Canister Size ↑ Damage ↑ Reload Speed ↑ Clip Size ↑
5% 5%  ?  ? 50% 10%
25,000 10% 10% 10% 10%  ?  ? 60% 20%
★★ 100,000 20% 20% 20% 20%  ?  ? 70% 30%
★★★ 500,000 30% 30% 30% 30% 15% 36% 80% 50% Grenades Set Enemies On Fire 40%
★★★★ 1,500,000 40% 40% 40% 40%  ?  ? 90% 50%
★★★★★ 3,500,000 50% 50% 50% 50%  ?  ? 100% 100% 60% Flamethrower
5,500,000 60% 60% 60% 60%  ?  ? 70% Flamethrower + Combat armour
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