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The Crossbow is a DLC weapon for the Factions multiplayer mode.
The Crossbow is a purchaseable weapon that costs 3 loadout points and downs in 2 shots. It costs 350 parts to unlock in a match and comes with 4 arrows. An additional 4 arrows costs 380 parts, increasing by 40 parts every purchase. The Crossbow downs in one headshot or two body shots, so it's just as strong as the Hunting Rifle, albeit one that is automatically silent and requires purchasing. It aims similarly to the Variable Rifle or El Diablo, with the ability to switch between scoped and unscoped. Unlike many other weapons, though, it can make enemies bleed. Enemies hit with an arrow slowly lose health, unless they use a Health Kit or recover health by other means. Like the Bow, the Crossbow does not have a clip capacity, so it can be shot continuously until ammunition is depleted. Unlike the bow, the Crossbow's bolts do not suffer from an arced trajectory, and their travel time is fast enough to be on par with guns.
Targets that are hit but not downed by the Crossbow have a flashing red silhouette that can be seen through walls, similar to the effects of Hawk-eyed 2 (the effect is not continuous but lasts longer overall). The effect lasts until the target has been healed. This is useful for telling if the enemy is retreating to heal the bleed damage or if they are waiting to ambush their pursuers. Sometimes, just a single shot is required to down an opponent thanks to the bleed effect. However, the bleed effect itself is relatively slow-acting. A target shot in the body by a crossbow that was initially at full health takes around 11.5 seconds to down, assuming that they do not take additional damage in that time. However, this time is dramatically reduced on an opponent who has also been injured via other means. A quick follow-up shot with another weapon results in a much faster down time, which is useful considering the crossbow's slow reload time. Due to the bleeding out and the damage of the Crossbow, weapons such as the silenced Variable Rifle or Semi-Auto Rifle pair nicely with the Crossbow.
Hitting a target without downing them grants the user 10 parts for beginning a bleed-out. Enemies downed from bleeding rewards the user with 40 parts in addition to the parts received from normally downing someone. In Survivors, this results in a total of 150 parts for downing an enemy through bleeding out. As ammo is very cheap, this makes the crossbow much easier to use liberally than other purchased weapons.
Players who use first aid kits to heal only recover to 70% of their health. This forces players that are hit to use more than one health kit to fully recover from the effects of being hit with a crossbow. On the other hand, as long as the bleeding player is going through the motion of healing, they cannot be downed by the bleed effect.
Any healing halts the bleeding effect. This includes not just being healed by someone with First-Aid Training 2 or 3 or using a health kit: getting food cans at a lootbox, shivving, punching or kicking downed opponents using Brawler, and headshotting people with Sharpshooter 2 or 3 also counts.
The crossbow is the only weapon in the game that has no scope sway whatsoever.
The crossbow is a highly versatile weapon. If aiming for headshots, it makes a perfectly viable alternative to the Hunting Rifle, freeing up the primary slot for a weapon more suited to close range combat. Therefore, the Full Auto Rifle or Burst rifle go perfectly with this weapon. The weapon can also be used in a support role, utilizing the bleed out effect to drain the enemies med kits and resources, allowing other friendlies to sneak up on the enemy and surprise them, without the risk of them healing in cover. It can even be used to force enemies to flee from combat to heal though this is a rather expensive way to use the weapon so it's best used as a last resort if the player themselves are low on health and need time to heal.
When it comes to stealth play, one will initially view this as superior to the bow due to the more accurate and faster fire rate. However, due to the cost of ammunition, using it like a bow will lead to the player finding themselves running out of ammunition rather quickly so it best to use the bow if going for a completely stealth load out.
- The feature of bleeding out was suggested by Erin Daly, the lead multiplayer designer, who was inspired by an assassination in Vancouver, 1993, in which the victim was shot by a crossbow in the shoulder and died of blood loss.