Back 4 Blood: 10 Tips For Beginners

The A-B-Cs of killing zombies

The first-person zombie shooter, Back 4 Blood, can be a lot to handle for new players. Swarm mode, the primary campaign, ridden hives, ten playable characters, building different decks–yikes! But luckily, we have some helpful tips for beginners that should help even the playing field a bit.

Back 4 Blood is a chaotic rampage from start to finish. You build decks around specific characters and aim to fulfill classic gaming archetypes; tank, healer, sniper, damage-dealer, etc. Then you join and work your way from map to map, saferoom to saferoom, as you piece together Back 4 Blood’s story.

Here are 10 tips for beginners to help prevent you from struggling from the get-go.

1. Hit the firing range

Back 4 Blood — Hit the Firing Range

When you first log on to Back 4 Blood, you’ll be in Fort Hope, which acts as the game’s lobby. Here you can customize your decks, your characters, and your profile. You can unlock more cards for your deck here, and you can just run around to get a few subtle bits of lore from Back 4 Blood’s universe.

If you head to the right of the garage, you’ll enter the firing range. Every weapon–except for legendaries–is here in the firing range. Unless you already know the exact kind of playstyle you have, start picking up different guns and experimenting with them. Shotguns or snipers? Melee or pistol? You can also experiment with grenades in the firing range. So test out everything you can before entering the carnage of campaign mode.

2. Listen to the other Cleaners

Back 4 Blood — Listen to the Cleaners

If you’re playing offline, you’ll hear the other characters, called Cleaners, call out info to each other throughout gameplay. “Reeker over there!” “We’ve got a Tallboy!” “Look out, Hawker up there!”

You can turn on subtitles to help catch their dialogue in case you miss it. Their communication is highly beneficial, especially when they call out intel cards or offensive items you missed.

If you’re playing online with a team, make sure you’re calling out situations to your fellow Cleaners. Sometimes pinging is forgotten in the chaos of a horde attack, so make sure you’re communicating. Call out if you’re stuck reloading for a while, make sure your team knows what mutations are inbound, and always coordinate when the Hag is around.

3. Keep your back to a wall

Ridden will swarm you at the best of times. To minimize their attack vectors, keep your back to a wall as often as possible. It’s better than boxing yourself into a corner because while a corner may help funnel Ridden into a smaller killing zone, it’s far more dangerous for you. Bruisers and Tallboys will walk right up and destroy you. If you’re against a wall, you can still escape if need be while also cutting down on how many Ridden are attacking you.

4. Utility kits all-day

Someone on your team should always have a utility kit. Those stash rooms are literal life savers. They have strong weapons and attachments, offensive items, and a healing kit. Sometimes those prepper rooms can be the difference between a successful run and a failed one.

Utility kits are for more than stash rooms. They can disable alarm doors, quietly get you passed obstacles, and any open mini-gun cases you might find.

Utility kits are king.

5. Use a starter character (Cleaner!)

Back 4 Blood — Use a Starter Character!

A few Cleaners in Back 4 Blood were seemingly designed for newer players. Walker, Mom, Evangelo, and Holly are fantastic characters to start with. Their perks are straightforward and very beneficial to the team, and they carry the story’s weight anyway.

Hoffman is also an excellent character to use, but we’d recommend staying clear of the others until you’ve got your bearings. Jim’s perks might not make sense immediately, and Sharice is more of a veteran character.

6. Beat recruit difficulty first

You’ll be going through Back 4 Blood’s levels a lot. The game is all about replay value. So don’t feel like you need to dive into a high difficulty right off the bat and fly through each level. 

Take your time going through recruit difficulty first. Get the layout of each map and learn where the worst parts are. Where are you most likely to get ambushed? Where is there always a Ridden hive? How far away is the saferoom?

Work your way through lower difficulties first to learn what to expect. Then move your way up. Nightmare will be waiting for you, patiently, might I add.

7. Different mutations, different tactics

There are three categories of mutations, and each has its own tactics. Learn the best way for you to deal with those tactics. Will you stand your ground and open fire, throw a grenade, or dance out of reach while shooting when you can?

Play on recruit so you can watch how they move and attack, and you can afford to take a few hits in the name of education. This allows you time to strategize against bosses and final chapters.

8. Pick the right grenade

There are a lot of items to master in Back 4 Blood. When we first started, we almost exclusively chose the pipe bomb as our offensive accessory. And then we wondered why dealing with Tallboys and Bruisers was so hard. Till we discovered the holy hand grenade. And there are plenty of great situations to throw a Molotov and let the Ridden burn themselves.

Different situations call for different grenades. Make sure you’re picking the right one for the job.

9. Down in front!

Back 4 Blood — Down in Front

If you’re playing on recruit, you won’t have to worry about friendly fire. Any other difficulty, you will. Friendly fire is a royal pain in the ass and can sometimes ruin your run. Or at least make you lose friends online.

There is a card you should add to your deck if you’re having a hard time mastering your accuracy. Down In Front is a card that disables friendly fire as long as your crouched. It also buffs you for +10 health.

Down In Front is almost essential for some melee builds, as the player is just swinging wildly and damaging a wide area in front of them. If they crouch, stand in a doorway, and start swinging, they won’t have to worry about their teammates darting past them to pick up items and interact with the map.

10. Play with bots

Back 4 Blood — The Bots Aren't Bad!

Sometimes people suck. Do you know what doesn’t suck? Back 4 Blood bots.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Most of the bots don’t suck. They can all magically spawn healing items in their inventory at times, ping mutations through walls, and spot items from across the map. They’re super helpful for conquering situations where teaming up with a bunch of randoms online will not prove fruitful.

However, the reverse can be true at times as well. Bots do not interact with story items. They won’t pick up blood sample containers or extra items when you locate them on the map. This can prove unhelpful on levels like T-5, where the mission is to collect several samples from all over a mansion. If you are the sole player picking up those samples, that can take a while. But at the same time, you can rest assured the bot’s AI is taking care of a lot of Ridden for you.

Final thoughts on our tips for beginners

If you’re losing more often than succeeding in Back 4 Blood, don’t bang your head against a wall or break your controller. Take a step back and think of some of these tips. Lower the difficulty, take your time clearing each level and pay attention to your play style. Don’t just charge through each level.

Back 4 Blood isn’t Left 4 Dead 2, so don’t play it like it is.

There is a healer, a tank, a rogue, and plenty of hybrid builds to make in Back 4 Blood. If you enter a campaign and any one of those roles aren’t fulfilled, you must be aware of that and compensate accordingly. Too many players see Back 4 Blood as unstructured; pick up a gun and shoot. It may be chaotic, but it’s not that chaotic.

In the end, the more you play Back 4 Blood, the more you’ll learn the ins and outs of its bloody post-apocalyptic world. That’s the best tip we can give. Be sure to check our full list of Back 4 Blood guides for more tips and tricks.

Victor's avatar

About Victor

Writer. Gamer. Outdoorsman. Victor has written across multiple mediums, with some of his work appearing in anthologies, magazines, and websites like,, and When not writing, he is usually gaining inspiration for writing from the library of video games he owns. If he's not indoors, Victor is outdoors climbing mountains, hiking forests, or otherwise conquering nature.

View all posts by Victor →