Defiance Infector Detailed Guide

Defiance Infector Detailed Guide by Chev

I know there’s a guide written by Santiak here. So why bother writing a new one? Well, I really love infectors. Also, I’ve seen people running around using them in a “pull the trigger and they will die” fashion, and while that style works for most guns, infectors can be tricky sometimes. Also, I know for fact that some people don’t really know how they work but they love them anyway. Based on my observation some infectors are also completely overlooked. So, let me lift the curtains of mystery.

I. How they work?

Infector damage is very complex if you compare it to a pistol for example. When using a pistol you pull the trigger, a bullet will be fired and the bullet will do some damage. Rinse and repeat. Infectors however do damage in stages.

Stage 1. Projectile damage (Listed as DAM)

This is the damage listed as DAM on the properties page. When you pull the trigger, homing projectiles are released and do some direct damage to the target. I call it direct damage ‘cos this is the only damage which can achieve critical hits on enemy weak spots. This damage is also very very low. (4 HP/projectile) Homing is an important part. You certainly noticed the larger reticle. As long as it’s red when you pull the trigger the projectiles will always hit the target. Somewhere. If you are a crack shot you can still aim for head shots for slightly higher damage. And I do mean slightly.

Note: Critical damage is a mess at the moment. It depends on the type of your infector, the type of the enemy and the weak spot you’re aiming at. Sometimes the crit damage is validated by the damage color change (yellow instead of white) but the damage itself stays the same base damage. Sometimes a crit will affect both the projectile, the DoT and the hatch damage. Sometimes it’s just the hatch damage. While you can easily score crits on a Scrapper Forge with an Outbreaker, it’s very very difficult with an Immunizer. Like I said, a complete mess. Trion should really look at this issue in the future.

Stage 2. Viral damage (DoT) (Erroneously listed as Bug DMG)

For every five consecutive hits an infection will spread inside the target’s body doing damage over time. Very misleading, this damage is listed as Bug DMG on the properties page. You can have 3 active infections on a single target indicated with notches above (inside) the reticle. A single infection will last 10 ticks, up to a total 340 damage. (Without weapon and skill level bonuses.)

Stage 3. Hatch damage (Not listed. Afterthoughts about this damage at the end of the guide.)

For every five consecutive hits (for every active infections if you like) a parasite will hatch from the target’s body doing a large amount (609 HP) of damage. Think of a chestburster in Aliens.

Stage 4. Parasitic (bug) damage (Not listed)

This is NOT the bug damage listed on the properties page! The newly born parasite (bug) will attack the nearest enemy (the primary target if it’s still alive) doing a massive amount (538 HP) of damage. If no hostile targets in the vicinity the parasite will die after a short period of time. (5 sec)

Stage 5. Outbreak

Upon the target’s death a bug will hatch for every infection on him, up to a maximum of 3 bugs. These bugs will seek out the nearest hostile enemy dealing the already mentioned 538 damage / bug.

Damage summary / infections: 5×4(20) projectile + 10×34(340) DoT + 609 hatch + 538 bug bite = 1507

Important note: While you can not have more than 3 active infections (DoT) on a single enemy, everything else still applies if you continue shooting. For every 5 shots you will get another bug, hatch damage then parasite bite. The DoT will rotate (first applied will be ditched), so just keep shooting. (Except with Cankers, more about that later.)

As you can see this is not your average damage model. Also, not every stage works on every enemies. And not every infectors have all the five stages.

II. List of infectors

VOT Infector

This is your basic Votan infector. Every other infectors are based on this one. It has the default 5-stage damage model described above. A solid choice for everyday use. Also the best choice to learn how infectors work.

DoT: 34
Hatch: 609
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: 1
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: 5 shots burst
Range: 20

VOT Afflictor

“Swarmer” edition of the basic type. It will hatch 2 bugs for every infections. (According to the description it hatches one for the infection and one for every five consecutive shots, but it’s all the same.) The trade-off is that it will NOT hatch bugs on death. It means you will be able to kill single targets faster but the missing bugs on death are a serious nerf when dealing with large group of enemies.

DoT: 34
Hatch: 609
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: 2
Bugs / infection (death): –
Firing mode: 5 shots burst
Range: 20

Note: This weapon is currently bugged. Literally. It hatches only 1 bug instead of the 2, making it worse than even the basic one! Aviod this type until it gets fixed in the near future!

VOT Outbreaker

This type has a slightly increased DoT and hatch damage but it doesn’t spawn parasites on infection, only on death. While it may sound weak this infector is actually very devastating. Let me explain why:
Basic infector single target single infection damage: 20 + 609 + 538 + 34 (1x DoT) = 1201
Outbreaker single target single infection damage: 20 + 870 + 52 = 942
This example shows that the missing parasitic damage is a setback. But! Parasitic damage has a slight delay before it kicks in, ‘cos the bugs are idle for a while. (They are looking around, trying to get used to this whole new world perhaps…) The Outbreaker is really good compared to the Infector when you are fighting tough enemies like 99ers. Constant shooting at high HP enemies makes the increased DoT and hatch damage really shine, negating the downside of the missing parasitic damage.
And don’t forget, it will still hatch bugs on death keeping the killing spree rolling!

DoT: 52
Hatch: 870
Parasitic DMG: 538 (only after target death)
Bugs / infection: –
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: 5 shots burst
Range: 20

FRC Innoculator

Frontier version jury rigged from salvaged Votan infectors. Works like the basic infector (5-stage damage model) with a slight difference: the five projectiles are released in a single shot. (Think about a shotgun.) The tradeoff is the reduced range and RoF. Close range and sinle shot mode makes hitting fast moving targets easier. If you don’t mind the close range and if you want to deal some melee damage to make killings faster this is a solid choice. I found the reduced RoF a real annoyance so I’m using it mostly for skill training purposes.

DoT: 34
Hatch: 609
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: 1
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: 1×5
Range: 10

FRC Incubator

Another Frontier version, similar to the Afflictor. It will hatch 2 bugs for every infection. The tradeoff is the missing DoT and hatch damage. The opposite of the VOT Outbreaker, it uses the extra parasitic damage instead of viral damage. The missing DoT means you have to focus on a single targets until it dies. The bugs hatched on death will help killing the next one. I don’t particulary like this one ‘cos you are forced to kill group of enemies one by one, you aren’t really allowed the freedom of infecting several opponents at once. Can be a valid choice when fighting off raiders. (The rioters – the guys with that big shield – are NOT affected by the viral damage while their shield is up, but the bugs do hurt ’em, making the Incubator very effective.)

Note: Probably bugged or not working as intended. See afterthoughts at the end of the guide.

DoT: –
Hatch: –
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: x2
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: 5 shots burst
Range: 20

VBI Invader

Von Bach Industries infector developed from stolen (*cough* borrowed) Votan technology. Basic 5-stage damage model, very similar to the VOT Infector. The difference is the full auto firing mode and reduced range. Full auto mean you can infect tight group of enemies faster. The reduced range can be a problem if you lose your shield and need cover, but a plus if you want to do some melee damage. Very popular infector.

DoT: 34
Hatch: 609
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: 1
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: full auto
Range: 10

VBI INF-27 Immunizer

Another VBI version, basic 5-stage damage model. Increased range and decreased rate of fire. You can infect from a greater distance but a little slower. If you find one with the x1.03 RoF bonus and Veteran synergy (+10% RoF after reload) this is one of the most powerful infectors. It gives you the freedom to stay away from shotgun fire and pick any cover you see fit. Excellent for solo PvE.

DoT: 34
Hatch: 609
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: 1
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: 5 shots burst (reduced RoF)
Range: 40

VBI INF-3 Canker

Probably one of the most popular versions thanks to Santiak’s guide. While it’s indeed very powerful it has weaknesses as well. It has greatly increased DoT but completely lacks hatch and parasitic (on infection) damage. In practice it means you can kill low hp targets in mere second and the bugs hatched on death will keep the killings spree on a decent roll. Its weakness will be obvious only if you try to kill something with relatively high hp. After the 3rd set of infection is up there’s absolutely NO REASON to keep shooting. No bug will spawn and no hatch damage will occur, all you can do is keep the infections refreshed. Again, while this is probably the best infector to fight off some low hp stuff it has serious issues dealing with tough enemies. Backup weapon (a Wolfhound for example) is recommended.

DoT: 174
Hatch: –
Parasitic DMG: 538
Bugs / infection: –
Bugs / infection (death): 1
Firing mode: full auto
Range: 10

III. Perks


Recommended. While the enemies are shooting at your decoy you’re free to infect anything and everything you like. Works best for ranged solo PvE.


Not recommended. It doesn’t affect the damage at all. The color changes to yellow indicating a critical hit (or the increased damage) but the damage remains the same.

Note: The perk is probably bugged (at least with infectors). I just can’t believe it works as intended at the moment.


Not recommended. Gives not benefits at all except for the shield boost bonus.


Recommended. Freedom of movement, bonus melee damage. Very useful for short range infectors.

IV. Modifications


Strain Mitigator I
Bug DMG x1.05
DMG x0.95

The info listed on this one is very misleading. It does exactly the opposite you might expect based on what we learned about infectors and their properties. The Bug DMG IS REALLY the bug damage this time,NOT the DoT. Increases parasitic damage and decreases viral damage (Both DoT and hatch). Recommended and useful only on Afflictors and Incubators or if you want to depend mostly on the parasites.

Viral Accelerator I
Bug DMG x0.95
DMG x1.05

Very misleading, again. Increases DoT and hatch damage, decreases parasitic damage. Recommended for everything except Afflictors and Incubators.


Strain Expander I
Mag x1.05

For full auto infectors only. If you use it on burst mode infectors you will waste a lot of time reloading after a failed infection. Explanation: Mag 20 = 4×5 burst. With this mod the mag will be 22 = 4×5 burst + 1×2 burst then reload (no infection will occur after the last two rounds in the clip)

Strain Reloader I
Reload x0.95

Recommended for everything, even for full auto infectors.

Strain Reducer
Burst +1

This is a rare mod (blue). Useful only on burst mode infectors. However, makes no sense at all. You need a mag size of 24 to utilize it. Explanation: Mag 20 = 3×6 + 1×2 (two rounds wasted on a failed infection then reload). If anyone has ever found a infector with a natural 24 round clip let me know please.


Bio-Stabilizer I
Bloom x0.95
Recoil x0.95

Recommended for full auto infectors. Infectors have a large reticle, homing projectiles and already low recoil. This mod gives you little to no advantage depending on range but it’s your only choice if you don’t plan to deal melee damage.

Eviscerator I
Melee DMG x1.10

Obviously, increases melee dmg. Recommended for any short range infectors.


No scopes exists for infectors yet.

V. Afterthoughts

The magical 609 HP damage. I call it hatch damage throughout the guide. However, it should be or may be called “viral kick” or something. It happens after 5 consecutive shots, in the same time when a bug is hatched. But the Viral Accelerator also increases this damage leading us to connect it to the DoT. The fact that it’s absent on the Incubator also connects it to the DoT. But it’s also absent on the Canker and that is confusing. If it’s a viral kick it should be on the Canker. If it’s a hatch damage it should be on the Incubator. The case of Incubators could be a balance issue. I’m running in circles here. I tried my best to tell you WHEN it exactly happens. But why? I leave you to figure out for yourself. Or maybe Trion will fix the erroneously listed and missing properties and that will help us decide.

Watch out for arkfalls and happy hunting *cough* INFECTING!

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2 Responses

  1. Vyrus says:

    Chev, I love your guide here and the infectors. I currently have a sporeshot, an epic canker, an immunize, and a newly bought innoculator (after reading your guide). I consider myself a bit of an enthusist with these guns particularly with pve. I think you forgot to mention that the incubator also has a slowing effect. Also the canker’s damage builds up over time. And a very nice thing about the innoculator (if you can get over the rof) is that a head shot is much easier to land. I used my new one in a siege today and it shined when my screen lit up with assists and kills from the sheer amount of damage I was doing. Great guide, if you need help keeping it up to date I would be more than happy to help. Gamertag: Vyrus898

  2. Chev says:

    I’m the author of this guide.
    Please add a link to the original forum post or keep this copy updated as I make changes frequently (when something new comes up).

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