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Suppose I play with 3 other friends a versus match, and would like the teams to be random.

Can I leave all characters unchosen and get a 2 v 2 match? Or the result would be random also? Perhaps all 4 survivors, or infected, or 3 v 1?

Can it be configured somehow to always balance team equally (in terms of number of players)?

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It doesn't answer your question, but I'm fairly certain that a recent patch by Valve adds AI special infected to the infected team so that it still acts as if there were 4 players so as not to give the survivors as much of an advantage with smaller parties. – StrixVaria Aug 2 '10 at 14:04
Recent? It's been like that as long as I've had L4D2. Wish they'd add it to L4D1 as well, I have the 4 pack of that for playing with friends, but only one L4D2. – Macha Aug 2 '10 at 14:09
@Macha - infected bots are there only since the beginning of February:… – Gnoupi Aug 2 '10 at 14:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In my experience, it will even out the teams with the advantage going to survivors. In other words, if you have 4 players in a lobby and all go random, it will put 2 players as survivor and 2 players as infected. If you have 5 players in a lobby and all go random, it will put 3 on survivors and 2 on infected, with the next player to join filling in the vacant spot to even out the teams.

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From some 6-player lobby experiences, the teams have been split 3/3. I have never tried with 4-players, but I'd do one of the 4p modes instead, or Team Versus (premade groups).

The teams are selected once you hit the go button, so if it gives you something screwed up (3v1) you can cancel searching for a server quickly and balance them out.

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