The Firebug is primarily a class specializing in mob control. His main task is to ignite groups of specimens early to help thin out the smaller zeds, dealing with ranged threats while softening up larger targets and making them easier to deal with. To accomplish this, the Firebug utilizes fire-based damage, receiving bonuses for the Flamethrower, MAC-10, Trenchgun, Husk fireball launcher, and (with a DLC purchase) the Flare Revolver. For all of the five weapons, the Firebug is given a damage bonus of up to 60%, a discount of up to 70%, increased ammo capacity of up to 60%, and faster reload speed (with the exception of the Husk fireball launcher, which doesn't reload).
Firebug is the distraction and a threat eliminator for the team. Their flame based weaponry can cut through the horde and kill ranged threats like Siren with ease, taking the Husk's attention away from less capable friends. Also he can accommodate in dealing with big targets crisping, slowing them down. Firebugs are meant to deliver fear and flames by standing at the front lines just behind the Berserker class, in the line with Support Specialist, yet they're not as durable as Berserker, nor have instant damage spikes like Support; that makes them the "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" in the terms of gameplay. Yet, they're highly important and act as a backbone for team to deal with big targets to clear the path of their destruction.
|Flare revolver||MAC-10||Flamethrower||Trenchgun||Husk fireball launcher|
|Damage*||125-200||35||171-273||126-201||100 (750)-160 (1200)|
|Individual shot reload. Magazine reload. Single tank, does not require reload. *DPS for flamethrower. Damage does not include afterburn.|
The MAC-10 can be fired either fully-automatic or semi-automatic. If fired full-auto, its ammo reserves are quite low, but each successful shot ignites its victim. Its recoil is very high, especially with sustained fire, so keeping a steady aim while taking on large numbers of specimens is a big challenge with the MAC-10, and is almost always inferior to using the Flamethrower. Learning to score headshots from afar and letting specimens burn out is a useful skill for rationing ammunition throughout each wave. Compared to the flare revolver(s), the MAC-10 has a higher rate of fire, but suffers from a wider spread and less impact damage per hit, and lacks in damage to take on greater specimens.
The flare revolver is a projectile-based weapon; it deals significant impact damage as well as a small splash-damage effect capable of igniting any nearby specimens, and a medium-sized splash effect that will damage, but not ignite, enemies. The flare revolver is generally capable of stunning and killing any lesser specimen in 1 direct hit; if they are not killed by the impact, they will soon or almost instantly burn out. These are one of the better weapons to use against a Husk, with 2 direct head-shots killing it on any difficulty and number of players. When dual-wielded, they can be fired nearly as fast as you can click the mouse. When compared to the MAC-10, they lack in the ability to be fired fully-automatic, are more expensive per clip, have a lower ammo capacity and reserve, and have a lower rate of fire; but do more impact damage per hit, and have no spread, as well as the small splash-effect. Dual-wielded flare revolvers are an option for a solo Firebug to use for finishing off a greater specimens, but not really recommended if more capable teammates are available.
At lower levels, the flamethrower may lack range, and for stronger enemies, damage output. It can also be awkward at close range, when the Firebug is forced to either fire at point-blank and sustain self-damage, or wait through the long weapon swap animation to pull out another weapon. However, from level 3 onwards, the Firebug enjoys 50-100% more range with the flamethrower. The flamethrower also does constant damage, with each unit of fuel doing impact damage, as well as lingering burn damage. A single ignition from a higher-leveled Firebug will kill any lesser specimen. This comes at the disadvantage of having very little use against the Husk, which has +50% fire-resistance against the flamethrower, and Scrakes or Fleshpounds, lacking the power to quickly kill them. Compared to the Husk Gun, this has the disadvantage of having very little impact damage, but has the advantages of not having to be charged up to do maximum damage and having a more rapid rate of damage, as well as being able to "pierce" enemies and light those behind them on fire. Compared to the Trenchgun; the flamethrower has a faster, but un-interruptible reload, does more focused damage faster, and has huge ammo reserves; however it lacks the ability to deal a 'spike' of damage. The flamethrower is also incapable of scoring a critical head-shot, doing only "body" damage.
The Trenchgun is capable of doing impact damage as well as lingering burn damage. This gun is useful at both dealing large amounts of damage to close specimens and lighting large groups of distant specimens on fire. Every enemy hit by even a single pellet will be set alight. Compared to the flamethrower, it has the advantage of doing more impact damage and a large spread of ignition, but it costs more, both gun and ammo, and doesn't deal damage as quickly. Compared to Husk Fireball Launcher, it lacks in the ability to deal massive, focused damage, but it doesn't have to be charged up and has faster projectiles. The Trenchgun is a viable option for a solo Firebug to use against greater specimens, but is not really recommended.
Husk Fireball Launcher
The Husk fireball launcher is sometimes used as an alternative to the flamethrower but is often overlooked due to being somewhat expensive, even at level 6 (£3200 - £1200) and functioning very similarly to the flamethrower despite its price and relatively high damage output. However, the Husk Fireball Launcher has several advantages over the flamethrower. It requires no reloading, so Firebugs using it will never find themselves stuck reloading while being mobbed by specimens. Its power can also be charged by holding down the mouse button while firing, which is useful for taking down bigger targets, and it has a significantly shorter weapon switch time than the flamethrower. Although it can't spit as much fire as the flamethrower in the same amount of time, and it doesn't have the spread of the Trenchgun, these are rarely necessary against higher specimens. The Husk Fireball Launcher causes much less recoil than the flamethrower as well, keeping the Firebug on target for additional shots. Overall, the Husk fireball launcher is what it is: an alternative, possessing advantages and disadvantages to both the flamethrower and Trenchgun.
- The Firebug is a very versаtile class, capable of either being ‘bunkered’ inside a room, or using ignite and kite tactics. Although he can deal rapid damage on the move and can burn his way through most obstacles, most of his main weapons will recoil or will frequently restrict his view and offset his aim. 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.
- At Rank 3, the Firebug gains incendiary grenades. He can make good use of these incendiary grenades when he is surrounded, since his fire damage resistance will shield him from the blast while wounding or killing all the specimens around him. He can also use these grenades to damage greater specimens, or to ignite large mobs of lesser enemies at once.
- Any weapons in the Firebug's arsenal will cause his ignited foes will "crisp up" after a period of time. This gives the Firebug more time to kite and allow the specimens to burn out, or crack down on them if they get too close. Even if you can't kill a big target alone you can crisp them up easily with your incendiary grenades. You can set them off with your Flamethrower after tossing one onto the ground. Since your grenades are pretty valuable and low on count, it's not recommended to stack them. Any crisped specimen will take extra damage from attacks and will be slowed down for a while, which is invaluable for heavy hitting team members. The "crisping" effect comes with a downside. If a greater specimen is raging when the "crisping" takes effect, its movement will become sporadic and unpredictable, making it difficult for teammates to take it down, and causes the specimen's head hitbox to move unpredictably, making it difficult for a Sharpshooter to get a bead on them.
- "Hosing down" enemies is a very good way for lower-ranked Firebugs to run out of ammo. "Hosing down" individual enemies is only recommended if the Firebug is being charged by an enemy and needs them to die as quickly as possible. The Firebug must be disciplined and use as little ammunition killing their targets as possible to avoid running out of fuel or other ammunition. The "Hosing Down" tactic is also very poor against the Fleshpound or Scrake, who will usually rage and kill the player before he can deal any substantial damage.
- At rank 3 or up, the Firebug can all but ignore the Husk, who will do minimal to no damage to them, leaving them for last. This is a 2-way street, however, as a Husk has 50% resistance to the flamethrower. In a team setting, Firebugs can also tank the Husk's shots, protecting their vulnerable teammates from the Husk's damage while his more capable teammates take the Husk out. Watch out you don't "catch" a fireball near a vulnerable teammate, however, as the splash damage will affect them. If you are soloing, handle it with a Mac-10, Flare revolver, or an off-perk weapon. The Trenchgun is also a useful weapon, but can be a little costly in ammo on higher difficulties.
- When attempting to deal with the greater specimens solo, the Firebug can stack his fire grenades safely, due to his grenades dealing incendiary damage and being immune to fire at ranks 5 and 6 (4 with armor). Coupled with rapid or continuous fire from his Flamethrower, Trenchgun, or Husk fireball launcher, he can deal significant damage to his target, and make use of the crisp effect to slow them down. Usually, this will still not be enough to kill them alone, but another good trick is to use the flamethrower or Husk fireball launcher to detonate a fire grenade just as a Scrake or Fleshpound reaches it, to ensure maximum damage.
- The main aspects of a Firebug's survival are teamwork and careful analysis of incoming specimens to decide on the best course of action. If a Scrake or Fleshpound are approaching, and a better suited class is available to kill it, inform your teammates of it and avoid attacking it unless it has been raged and is attacking another player. You could also attack a raging Fleshpound or Scrake if you want to "pull" it and tank the damage for another player.
- When using the Husk fireball launcher, try to use charged shots on larger targets (like Scrakes, Fleshpounds, or the Patriarch) rather than just rapid firing uncharged fireballs. A fully charged shot from the Husk gun can instantly stun a Scrake if hit, as well as ignite any surrounding specimens.
- You can either side with Berserkers and Support Specialists at the front lines or stay in the middle of the group with Field Medics or Demolition Experts. Wherever you choose to fight, your purpose is still helping the others by crisping the large targets and cutting down the smaller zeds in the crowd.
- Sirens are a frustrating target for the majority of the classes, especially because they destroy grenades and cause the screen to rattle with their Scream while players attempt to tackle big targets. The Firebug's weapons can usually ignite and kill Sirens hidden amongst a horde with little difficulty, even when they are meat shielded, thanks to the Siren's vulnerability to fire damage. Eliminate her early before she causes some real problems.
- Take advantage of the way the stream of fire from your Flamethrower drops with range; you can hit a specimen even if you can't get direct line-of-sight to it because there's a vehicle or a hillock in the way. If you position yourself correctly it's entirely possible to fire along a corridor and down the stairs at the end.
- Aim for the head. Decapitated, burning specimens either die outright, or soon fall.
- Stalkers and Crawlers may sneak up on you and chip away your armour or cause you to burn yourself with panicked fire from your Flamethrower. Commandos excel at removing both kinds of specimens; make sure you're in sight of one when you're in an enclosed dark space if you're a lower rank.
- As big specimens move in on the team, switch your focus to igniting the foes following in behind the larger zeds to prevent anything getting a free kill on any teammates that get wounded taking the big boys down. Try to avoid lighting the bigger guy though, as this can cause some problems, including them switching focus to you.
- As a lower rank, you can burn yourself deliberately between waves, letting a medic heal you so that he can level up faster. Take care not to waste more ammo than you can afford, though.
- Weapons and ammo are fairly cheap for a high-level Firebug, so he can share his extra money with the team.
- The fire of the flamethrower has a detonating effect, therefore grenades, pipe bombs or rockets passing through the flame disappear. Be careful not to neutralize your team's fire. Alternatively, you can use this to eliminate a Husk's missile attack or a Patriarch's rocket. This is also possible with the Husk Fireball Launcher, although it requires good timing and aim.
- A nice tactic to use for the firebug is to use a Mac-10 with Dual Magnums and simply shoot enemies, igniting them, then use the Dual Magnums to finish off higher priority enemies such as the Siren and the Husk. It's quite possible to solo a Scrake on Normal Difficulty using a Mac-10 on semi-automatic and firing the .44 Magnums at its head until it's dead. The Scrake should die before you run out of ammo.
- If you set the Patriarch on fire right before he cloaks, it will allow your teammates to track him for a short period of time, giving them a chance to either shoot at him or run away.
The perk description reads, "Deal x damage with flame weapons", fire damage from the MAC-10, the flamethrower, the husk fireball launcher, incendiary grenades, the trenchgun, and the flare revolver adds to the total. A firebug at level 3 or higher can therefore throw incendiary grenades during the first wave to earn some extra fire damage before acquiring a more versatile weapon from the Trader.
Spraying your flamethrower by holding down primary fire will increase your damage count faster than firing small bursts, but on higher difficulties and later waves may result in you running out of ammo faster. In addition, spraying a Fleshpound or Scrake may cause it to become enraged and incur severe damage on you or your teammates.
Bloats are 50% weak against fire damage, a good target for scoring fast damage points. Keep in mind that Husks are 75%-85% resistant to fire and Fleshpounds simply ignore afterburn damage when enraged. Patriarch ignores afterburn damage when he decides to cloak away. If a big specimen is enraged, best you can do is hosing them down and hoping that they'll crisp up or die before they reach you.
Helping the Firebug
- The Firebug doesn’t always do enough damage to exterminate the specimens that are rushing towards him, so be prepared to finish off the smaller, faster specimens, as well as the larger ones with more health, especially the Gorefasts and Bloats, with supporting fire. Firebugs are horrible versus Scrakes and Fleshpounds, and need help in eliminating them. Husks are also 50% resistant to a Firebug's Flamethrower. If you see a Firebug struggling to kill a Husk with a Flamethrower, they would probably appreciate help. Remember, however, that they are highly resistant or invulnerable to the fire damage the Husk does, and you are not, so try to avoid attracting its attention to you while attacking it.
- If at all possible, don't kill a burning specimen. The longer the specimen burns, the more burn damage the Firebug gets, and the faster they rank up. The obvious exceptions are Fleshpounds, Scrakes, and Gorefasts that get too close without 'crisping up'. Husks are also a viable target if the Firebug is having trouble with them.
- The Firebug is a supporting class; he is there to ensure that you do not get overrun, so choose a suitable place to fight from where he can provide you covering fire without having to put himself in danger to do so.
|Rank||Fire damage required*||Flamethrower||Fire Weapons||MAC-10||Resistance to fire ↑||Spawn|
|Reload speed ↑||Fuel capacity ↑||Range ↑||Damage ↑||Discount||Reload speed ↑||Mag size ↑|
|3||500,000||30%||30%||50%||30%||40%||15%||36%||80%||Incendiary grenades †|
| *With on-perk weapons.
† Denotes an item also available to all additional levels of the perk.
|Equipment by perk|
|Weapon damage table|