The Support specialist, often referred to as just 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, combat shotgun, HSG-1 shotgun and AA12. His shotgun damage and penetration is significantly improved, and his Grenades inflict more damage as well(but not grenade launchers). 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.
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 (opening the steam overlay will have your character continue to weld, while you can simply leave). Over the course of a few hours, you will earn enough welding points for level 6. Alternatively, you can choose the map KF-Aperture and continually unweld the door to GLaDOS' room, which is by far the fastest 'legit' way of farming your weld points.
Although the leveling "tactic" above is useful for those who might want to skip their welding duties altogether, welding doors is an important part of the perk. As a support class, you may have games where welding is key to keeping the whole team alive: do not skip welding just because you are bored with it or do not find it beneficial. Practice welding doors, and unwelding them when zeds build up behind them to clear. Being able to do this without letting the door break can prove quite hard, especially on suicidal and hell on earth difficulties. Listen carefully to what's behind the door--being able to identify what is waiting for you will give you a better idea of whether you should ask for back up when clearing.
If you want to avoid being on welding duty: stay away from the door and put some distance between all players (including yourself) and the door. If you (or anyone else) is obsessively checking it, or hanging out near it, rest assured you will draw zeds to the door and require welding and clearing.
Helping the Support specialist
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 one of the most expensive weapons in the game, even at Level 6.
The Support's shotguns have long reloads, help the Support by ensuring he is not overrun while he is trying to reload his weapons.
- At level 6, Support Specialists will start with a hunting shotgun, which is not the weapon of choice against the smaller enemies of the earlier waves. Consider selling it, which, when combined with your starting cash, is enough to buy the HSG-1. Use that as your main weapon until you can get an AA12.
- You can be at the front lines with the Berserker, picking crawlers off of him, or standing near the Sharpshooter and ensuring he gets clean shots without being harassed. Whatever you do if a Field Medic is tanking you should help against big targets.
- In the starting waves, check weapon spawns. Your increased carry weight allows you to carry many additional weapons to sell, which will get you your AA12 faster. Level 5 and 6 Support Specialists have the advantage of starting with a shotgun which is more than enough to handle anything in the early waves while solo.
- 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 (not from launchers), and setting stacked grenades in the right place (and detonating them with M79) at the right time would save you from tight situations.
- If forced to defend a more open area where shotguns are ineffective, carrying a long-ranged weapon like MK23, M79, Crossbow or Buzzsaw Bow as sidearms is advised.
- A Support Specialist can get the trenchgun (which can be purchased in previous rounds as a firebug), and still receive piercing and ammo bonuses from the perk on the gun.
- On the later waves or the 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 choose the M4 203, which besides a grenade launcher, also packs formidable firepower.
- Keep your combat shotgun and shotgun loaded at all times if possible. Throw a hand grenade to keep the horde busy if you're about to go through a lengthy process of reloading your shotguns.
- Combine your hand grenades with your shotguns to deal damage to big specimen such as Fleshpounds and large horde of small zeds.
- 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 off 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.
- If you change your weapon with specific timing after you shoot both barrels of hunting shotgun, you will see that your weapon will be changed before you reload it. However, if you change back to the hunting shotgun again, you cannot shoot for a second until the ammo counter updates itself.
|Category||Cartridge shotguns||Magazine shotguns|
|Shotgun||Hunting shotgun||Combat shotgun||HSG-1 shotgun||Vlad the Impaler||AA12|
|Individual shot reload. Magazine reload.|
|Rank||Requirements||Shotgun||Grenade||Extra Carry Weight ↑||Welding Speed ↑||Shotgun Discount ↑||Spawn With|
|Weld Points||Shotgun Damage||Damage ↑||Penetration ↑||Ammo ↑||Damage ↑||Capacity ↑|
|★||2,000||25,000||18%||10%||5%||20% (1)||15% (2)||25%||20%|
|★★||7,000||100,000||20%||36%||20%||10%||40% (2)||20% (3)||50%||30%|
|★★★||35,000||500,000||30%||54%||25%||20%||60% (3)||25% (4)||75%||40%|
|★★★★||120,000||1,500,000||40%||72%||30%||80% (4)||30% (5)||100%||50%|
|★★★★★||250,000||3,500,000||50%||90%||40%||100% (5)||50% (8)||150%||60%||Shotgun|
|☆||370,000||5,500,000||60%||30%||50%||120% (6)||60% (9)||70%||Hunting shotgun|
|Equipment by perk|
|Weapon damage table|