Support specialist

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Icon of the Support specialist.

The Support specialist, colloquially known as the Support, is usually a key member of a good squad. He typically either holds the front line, attacking the majority of specimens, or assumes the more passive role of maintaining the weld on doors. The Support specialist can output a large amount of damage at close range, generally carries the heavier weapons of the squad's arsenal, primarily the Shotgun, Hunting shotgun, and AA12. His shotgun damage and penetration is significantly improved, and his Grenades inflict more damage as well. As such, the Support specialist can easily rip through large groups of clustered enemies, and deal substantial damage to bigger specimens. The Support specialist has a greater weight capacity than other classes, giving him the option to carry a large variety of weapons. A fully-fledged Support specialist, for example, can carry 24kg of equipment, which may encompass two shotguns and a Katana.

The Support specialist is more effective in a defensive capacity, where he can funnel enemies through a choke point and take advantage of his shotguns' penetration bonus. In addition, he is up to 2.5 times faster in welding than other perks. A lone Support specialist can lock down an area with multiple weldable doors very quickly, and is much more capable of maintaining a weld against powerful groups of specimens. When a door is about to be breached, the Support specialist's bonuses also makes it easier for him to unweld the door without having it destroyed by the specimens, eliminate the enemies on the other side of the door with a Hunting shotgun or AA12, and re-weld the door.

The biggest problems a Support specialist will face are reload time and ammo capacity. The amount of time required to fully reload a shotgun is at least 2.75 seconds, so it is generally better for the Support specialist to keep his distance from specimens during the reloading process. Despite his increased capacity for shotgun ammo and grenades, poor shot selection will deplete his reserves quickly. The Support specialist should try to hit as many specimens as possible with each shell, take full advantage of his increased weight capacity, use a side arm whenever powerful weapons are not needed, and avoid wasting shells on small individual targets like Clots and Crawlers. When using the pump-action shotgun, the Support specialist should reload immediately after a shot is fired whenever the next shot does not immediately need to be fired, as the reloading process can be quickly interrupted. When gauging the ammo reserves for an AA12, use the semi-automatic firing mode if it helps, and bear in mind that a partially empty magazine is counted as a full magazine on the head-up display.

The Crawler, when found in a group, can be eradicated by a crouching Support specialist so that his shotgun penetration bonus is used. Because the hunting shotgun's secondary fire is the most powerful amongst all firearms in the game, it is often effective at quickly finishing a wounded Scrake or Fleshpound. At very short range, headshots, perhaps using the shotgun's iron-sights, can be useful for decapitating medium or large specimens.

Levelling tactics

Earning weld points is a fairly easy task. On solo, trap the last few specimens of a wave behind a door, and make sure you can maintain the weld at 100%. Change your primary fire function to a key such as numpad 0, and weigh it down. Over the course of a few hours, you will earn enough welding points for level 6.

Helping the Support specialist

Understand that the Support specialist's weapons aren’t very good at long-range shooting, and compensate for this weakness by taking out Husks and Sirens if you can.

Supports generally like enclosed areas where long-range attacks are neutralised, and where specimens are forced to bunch up in corridors. Help the support specialist by choosing maps that offer this kind of terrain. If you can spare some money, contributions towards the cost of the AA12 are always appreciated, as it is the most expensive weapon in the game.

The Support's shotguns have long reloads, help the Support by ensuring he is not overrun while he is trying to reload his weapons.

Tactics

  • All shotguns are 100 percent miss from point blank. When a Fleshpound or Scrake hugs you be sure that you have enough room for backpedalling, or crouch and aim for head.
  • You can be at the front lines with the Berserker, picking off crawlers off from him or standing near the Sharpshooter and ensuring he gets clean shots without being harassed.
  • If your level is too low to carry a second shotgun it may be a wise idea to get an M79 Grenade Launcher along with your main shotgun, as a Support will get damage bonuses to the grenades.
  • At the late waves or Final Wave, you can multi-purpose the perk if your level is high enough to carry 2 heavy weapons. You can either get the powerful L.A.W to help the burden of the Demolition Expert or get the Chainsaw next to your AA12 in order to help Berserker and ensure you won't get cornered so easily when a big target appears right in front of you.
  • Keep your shotgun loaded all the time.
  • With the AA12, switch to semi-automatic for smaller targets and go full automatic for bigger targets. Conserve ammo by also keeping a regular shotgun, or a hunting shotgun, weight permitting.
  • Use the hunting shotgun to finish of big, wounded targets like the Scrake and Fleshpound. Remember that you can't reload the hunting shotgun until you have fired off both shells, however: use alternate fire against big targets to finish them or in narrow corridors packed with smaller targets.
  • To cut weld times at doors that get heavy zed traffic: either purchase pipe bombs or ask a demolitions expert with pipe bombs to set one or two (if more than 1, space them out) behind the door you want to keep welded. If you only have one to put out, put it as close to the edge of the door as possible. When there are enough zeds behind the door the pipe will explode, giving the support time away from the door without having to clear it.

Perk ladder

Rank Requirements Shotgun Grenade Extra Carry Weight ↑ Welding Speed ↑ Shotgun Discount ↑ Spawn With
Weld Points Shotgun Damage Damage ↑ Penetration ↑ Ammo ↑ Damage ↑ Capacity ↑
10% 10% 10% 10%
2,000 25,000 18% 10% 5% 20% 15% 25% 20%
★★ 7,000 100,000 20% 36% 20% 10% 40% 20% 50% 30%
★★★ 35,000 500,000 30% 54% 25% 20% 60% 25% 75% 40%
★★★★ 120,000 1,500,000 40% 72% 30% 80% 30% 100% 50%
★★★★★ 250,000 3,500,000 50% 90% 40% 100% 50% 150% 60% Shotgun
370,000 5,500,000 60% 30% 50% 120% 60% 70% Hunting shotgun
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