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10 Things You Need to Know to Play on Hell on Earth in Killing Floor 2

Hell on Earth is hard. Everything is fast and hurts like... well... hell. Here are some tips on how to survive.

While still deep in Early Access, Tripwire is holding out on a ton of locked content while we try out the first four classes, three maps, and one new boss.

The XP gain and perk rewards that you gain by playing aren't for keeps yet, with at least one wipe scheduled sometime within the first six months, but that hasn't stopped players from gunning for every single Steam achievement possible so far.

If you're looking to join in the prestigious 0.5% of KF2 players that have gotten a map achievement on Hell on Earth, here are a few things you should know before you try it. (And if enough of us get it done, Tripwire is going to take it as a challenge that Hell on Earth isn't nearly hard enough.)

1. Start with Normal Difficulty.

Okay, so this one's a weird one. Bear with me.

Your progress is going to be wiped. If you've gotten into the game in Early Access, it's highly likely that you're in it because you really liked KF. You don't have to jump right into Suicidal and Hell on Earth just to grind your perk levels as hard and as fast as you can just to prove that you can. I dare say that doing that will do you a disservice in experiencing this game fully. 

"Oh god, Husky has a flamethrower. Run. RUN!" 

One of the coolest things about KF2 is how the Zeds change and adapt their movements and behavior in higher difficulties. It's not just a question of fewer bullets and less money against bigger groups of faster enemies with higher health, it's almost like a whole new experience. 

Going up in difficulty is a wow look what this guy does now! moment pretty much every time. Going back down in difficulty just feels like a disappointment. 

2. Know Your Maps.

Doing #1 prepares you for doing #2. When you're paying too much attention to stuff that can kill you, it's harder to scope out all the details in the maps themselves. You'll have to be shooting zeds and thinking about your next moves at the same time.

  • Know your exits. Every place worth camping is typically a large area with maneuverability when Zed spawns get tight. (e.g. Staying outside in Outpost, the centrifuge room in Biotics Lab) The more you play, the better you get at sensing when is a good time to cut your losses and start moving to a different area.
  • Know your weapon/ammo spawns. The higher the difficulty, the less money you get and the fewer weapon spawns you get, but they only appear in rather specific places if at all. Make it a habit to scope out the likely areas for saleable presents particularly in the first few waves. 
  • Know which spawns are easiest to get to. While you're mid-wave and hurting for ammo, keep in mind which places are safe areas to look for and have enough space to run away/pick off Zeds in (e.g. running through the subway cars in Paris isn't a good idea, but the front desk inside the old hotel probably is). 

3. Playing to level is different from playing to win.

If you are playing on Hell on Earth to level your perks, sure that's great! XP gain is through the roof in HoE, and you can rank up significantly per class regardless of whether or not you win.

But have a good idea (this is easier if you regularly play with friends versus playing with randoms) whether or not you're doing it because you want better perks or if you're trying to win. It affects how you play because it can determine a lot of stuff like:

  • What class(es) you choose to play.
  • How generous you are with your money and when.
  • How many Zeds you can try and snipe out from in front of your Berserker's swing.
  • Whether or not you heal and how much you focus on it. 

It is not necessary, but a very good idea to have max bonus perks and are level 25 before you actively try and take on HoE seriously for wins.

4. Have a good idea how to play your class.

This should be obvious, but it stems from #3. Killing Floor as a franchise gives an admirable amount of leeway with regards to your weapon choices.

This holds true to an extent in what little we have of KF2, but you should still be a medic because you intend to heal your teammates, not just because you want extra armor and run speed. 

  • Don't worry about the scoreboard. A win's a win for everyone.
  • Remember to heal. Remember to heal each other (even if you're not a medic). 
  • Semi-auto is always better than full auto.
  • Know when to use which gun.

You can check out the brief Class Guide for Berserkers, Commandos, Medics, and Supports for a number of tips on playing each of the different classes. 

5. Be open to switching to other classes.

It's expensive to play on HoE.

One of the cheapest classes to play is Berserker because they can use virtually no ammo in the first few waves if they choose to, and very little once they're fully geared out.

It's not a bad idea to have everyone start the match as a team of Berserkers for a wave or two just to conserve ammo and the money you need to buy bigger guns.

6. Know how to fight your Zeds.

Tanking a Scrake does not mean standing in front of it mashing left-click, eating blows to the face without doing anything about it.

There are a few different tactics for fighting each kind of Zed. In the case of the Scrake, always try to parry his attacks and remember that he can easily get stumped if you run circles around him and stun him. 

See this video for a good example, and the rest of the slides for tips on fighting each Zed in KF2 including Scrakes and FleshpoundsWhile many of their movements are radically different from the guide's (which are intended for Normal and Hard difficulties), the strategies to fight them don't change much.

Note: The one difference is to be careful about getting too close to certain Zeds. Close-range attacks from a Siren or a Husk can kill you in seconds.

7. Dying isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Especially when you plan it out.

Since you don't lose money when you die, and you respawn with weapons, you can use the first few waves to commit ritual suicide in the name of cash money. Sound out what you intend to do, and your team can stand idly by while you die by a single Clot, giving up both life and weapons for extra cash.

This is a handy trick for classes that get extra stuff (e.g. medics who spawn with both armor and a heal pistol). If you got caught off-guard by a group and your armor got mauled in the first few waves, it certainly beats buying more, plus your team still benefits from looting your corpse.

Note: In this vein, you can also farm some extra cash by keeping a few Zeds alive to whale on a player (or more if you're living dangerously), and just heal each other until you're bored.

8. Know how to fight Hans.

Don't shoot him when he changes colors/drains someone! Ammo is key in KF2, and nothing eats bullets better than Hans, especially when he still has a drain left. Make sure everyone on your team knows how the boss fight should go - and also keep a close eye on the random low-level spawns too. They will hold you down and trap you in nerve gas if you're not careful.

(see How to beat Hans for a look at the boss fight and strategies for beating him)

It is imperative in this fight that everyone is pulling their weight in heals - he drains you fast when he catches you. 

9. Save a Clot.

This is another tried-and-true carryover method from KF: you can simply lead a final Clot or some other low-level Zed around while you and the team searched the more dangerous parts of maps (e.g. house/attic interiors on Farm) that you wouldn't explore will full wave spawns.

KF2 has the added bonus (at least in this respect) of not killing off the last few Zeds one by one after 7 are left if they get too far away from you. This means, that while in Hell on Earth, Clots and Cysts can sprint after you at almost the same speed, you do not need to do any of the slow, occasionally painful babysitting demanded in KF

10. Know your ammo limits.

While KF2 is much less stingy about offering you ammo crates and occasional weapon drops than in KF, players should keep in mind that if you walk on an ammo crate, you will pick up the ammo crate. In KF, if you were full on ammo, it would simply tell you that - you would be unable to pick it up. 

KF2 doesn't do anything of the sort, so in an ammo-tight game, make sure you have a good idea of how much ammo you have left, and who should get priority in picking it up first (e.g. not Berserkers!).

Good luck!

Many thanks to Gregor and Luther for powering through Hell on Earth with me over and over again.

For other helpful articles and guides for playing Killing Floor 2:

Published May. 11th 2015

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