Game Report: Melbourne HvZ 7/5/16May 11, 2016
MHvZ event with a surprise appearance by the police. I’ll let the MTB video fill you in on more of the details and such. Basically someone in the park saw what they thought was a rifle of some kind, called the cops, and the cops responded appropriately. Thankfully noone was fined or anything, but obviously it’s better if the cops don’t need to come at all.
- Survival – Standard HvZ gametype, humans try to survive for a given amount of time (or until the last human falls). Zombies are given access to upgrades at various times, for instance Infectors at 5 minutes, Tanks at 10 minutes and Husk at 13 minutes.
- Secret VIP – There are 3 special players in this game: the VIP, the General and the Traitor. The VIP is a human who the other humans are trying to protect and is restricted to a given area (we used the usual tambark area), while the Traitor is a zombie masquerading as a human. When stunned, zombies must move outside of the VIP’s area before counting down their stun. The only person who knows the VIP’s identity is the General, while all original zombies know the Traitor’s identity. Everyone knows the identity of the General, making them the only guaranteed trustworthy human. The Traitor acts as a human, but can at any point do a single Traitor zombie tag, revealing that they are the Traitor, and thus turn into a regular zombie. Additionally, if a human hits another human, the hit human is stunned for 25 seconds. If the humans protect the VIP for a given period of time (e.g. 15 minutes), the humans win. If the zombies successfully tag the VIP, the zombies win. Zombie upgrades are unlocked on a timer like Survival, something along the lines of 3 minutes for Infectors, 6 minutes for Tanks and 10 minutes for Husk. If a human is hit by a grenade, they are instantly turned into a zombie – this is the only way to eliminate the Traitor.
- 6 Round Pair Sweep – Each player is given 6 darts to start with, and may take any number of blasters or a single melee weapon. Humans have 3 respawns at the nearest tree, and go to respawn when they are hit. A melee hit or a zombie tag immediately turns a human into a zombie. Humans try to deposit as many darts to a dart collector as possible and are safe during the depositing, and can no longer deposit darts as a zombie. Humans work in pairs. Once all humans have been turned, the game ends and the winner is the pair who deposited the most darts as humans.
Virus Bunkers (name pending) – At regular intervals (starting with 2 minutes after beginning of round), the play area is filled with an airborne virus (or something along those lines) that turns any humans not in designated safe zones (“bunkers”) into zombies. The virus remains lethal for 30 seconds, after which humans can leave the bunkers safely. 2 minutes later the virus is released again, and so the cycle repeats until all humans have been turned. Humans are given a 30 second warning of virus release. Zombies naturally are unaffected by the virus, and may enter the bunkers.
Zombies tag humans with their hands onto any body part, blaster, tactical gear, etc, turning the human into a zombie. If a human hits a zombie with a dart, the zombie is stunned for 25 seconds. A human can also stun a zombie with melee, but only with a direct hit to the back.
There are 3 standard zombie upgrades/mutations/perks:
- Infector – zombies get to use foam swords, pool noodles, etc. Tags with said foam melee weapons on humans count as regular tags. Said melee weapons can also be used to block darts.
- Tank – zombies get to use shields, which block darts. The shields cannot be used to tag humans, presumably as a precaution against shieldbashing which could certainly cause injury.
- Husk – a zombie gets to use a ranged attack, in this case a Drain Blaster firing rockets. A ranged Husk attack counts as a regular zombie tag. Husk ammo can be picked up by any zombie, but can only be used by the Husk naturally. The husk may move from the place they were stunned to retrieve their ammo, but do not count down their stun timer until they return to their original stun place.
Zombie upgrades cannot be stacked, so a zombie can only have one upgrade at any time.
If in play, grenades can stun a zombie with a hit to any equipment, including swords and shields, and can be reused at will.
Since there were a lot of different blasters there, I’ve generalised them and only listed down the ones that I saw as significant or noteworthy, or remember for that matter. Being that I can’t be everywhere at once, it’s entirely possible I completely missed some blasters.
Rebelle Sweet Revenge (light mods) – my standard dual pistols, worked well when I went to them against a couple of zombies, but easily overwhelmed by more than ~4.
Elite Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) – standard high ROF blaster, a staple at MHvZ. Excellent for mowing down multiple zombies in close quarters or saturating an area with darts, but generally not as good at longer ranges. Worker flywheels do help a lot in the accuracy department though.
This was my first event running my Bullpup RS with the -3250 pusher motor, and it worked fine. I was still able to reliably fire off 2 dart bursts, and could easily dump a clip (mag) at a moment’s notice if necessary. I did appreciate the 2 darts being fired off very quickly together, perfect for HvZ style combat.
Elite Retaliator (various pump grips, upgrade springs) – solid pump action springer, good range and accuracy though a little lacking in ROF. I used my Pump Ret for the first time this event, and it worked well. I was able to get a fair number of tags from a longer range than usual. In the round I used it in, the lack of ROF did get me into trouble as I had to engage multiple zombies in close quarters, eventually resulting in me getting tagged.
Elite Demolisher (MTB Honey Badger motors, 2S LiPo) – decided to give it a try again after tweaking it following the previous MLF event. It still feels much less accurate than my Bullpup RS, and I struggle to get used to semi auto compared to full auto. I think I’ve been spoiled by Rapidstrikes, and struggle to use a semi auto effectively. I felt like I actually used a lot more darts with the Demolisher than I did with my Bullpup RS, because I simply couldn’t hit anything.
Zombie Strike Sledgefire (singled, spring upgrades) – as previously, powerful and fairly accurate, making it excellent for picking off single zombies. Being single shot makes it rather difficult to use in close quarters against multiple zombies, though priming on barrel opening does give it an edge over other high power singled blasters.
Elite Stryfe (various motors, LiPos) – the other main MHvZ staple, good ROF with practice, solid range and usable accuracy. Not as fast firing as a Rapidstrike, and not as effective at longer ranges as a Retaliator, Sledgefire, etc, but it’s a good all rounder.
N-Strike Barricade (Elite-compatible flywheels, unknown other mods) – though slow revving and a lot clunkier than say Stryfes, the main advantage of these dual Barricades is the ability to load on the fly. The user of these dual Barricades runs around quite a lot, constantly reloading and picking up darts.
Elite Alpha Trooper (assumed upgrade springs) – standard solid pump action blaster. Slightly better ROF than Retals, but much slower than flywheelers. A good entry level or low fuss blaster.
ZS Slingfire (upgrade spring) – used by the same player as all previous events. Works decently well with practice and experience, but still inferior to pump actions.
Star Wars Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (upgrade spring) – worked decently as usual, basically a mini Rampage/side loading EAT. Slightly better ROF than a Retal, but significantly inferior to a flywheeler.
Modulus Recon MkII (AR removed) – same as previously, performed slightly worse compared to a Retal. Works fine for very close quarters against a couple of zombies, but the low effective range prevents effective use beyond close range.
Buzz Bee Sentinel (stock) – incredibly powerful for a stock blaster, performing competitively with spring upgraded EATs and such. ROF is a fair bit slower being lever action instead of pump action, but for a stock blaster it’s extremely impressive.
Lanard Hand Cannon (couplered for absolvers) – by virtue of using absolvers, it puts out a lot of darts in an instant at surprisingly good ranges. Excellent for pushing back tanks, suppressing groups of zombies and wiping out zombies at close range, but having to reload after every burst makes it very difficult to use when covering multiple angles.
N-Strike Vulcan (stock as far as I’m aware) – performed as expected, unnecessarily large and bulky, slow firing and not very powerful, but just looked cool. Not recommended unless you want to challenge yourself.
Vortex Pyragon (stock as far as I’m aware) – first time seeing a Vortex blaster actually get used at MHvZ. I think it worked ok, certainly not as good as a spring upgraded EAT/Rampage/etc, but far from the worst choice possible. Low disc velocity makes for very easy dodging beyond close range, but I think just the surprise factor of Vortex did catch some zombies off guard. Easy high ROF also helps a lot in close quarters.
Mega Rotofury and Cycloneshock (stock as far as I’m aware) – decent blasters, though far outclassed by clip (mag) system blasters. Had decent power, certainly comparable or superior to other stock blasters (besides the Sentinel of course), but the low capacity-size ratio and scarcity of ammo made their use rather more difficult.
Play area was same as usual, a large triangle that’s mostly open barring a few large trees and a tambark area. Weather peaked around 25C which is fine. Player count peaked around 25ish which is a little higher than usual, although a lot more than usual seemed to be newbies/inexperienced/less-tactically-inclined.
Annoyingly, there were several other groups of people using the same area, with one particular yoga group camped out just south of the big cluster of trees. This effectively turned the play area into a trapezoid, as the southern area was pretty much avoided. Late in the day, a group of people started playing soccer in the north east corner, which was not a huge issue as that open area is not essential to play.
We started the event with two Survival rounds, which both went pretty much as expected. Progress for the zombies would be pretty slow for the first ~10 minutes. They might get a tag or two from sneaking up on unaware humans or managing to isolate one or two from the group, but no major progress against the group as a whole. Those humans who get isolated are usually isolated through lack of awareness and poor tactical thinking, as just two or three humans can easily fend off about 5 ordinary/Infector zombies with good coordination. Once the zombies were given access to Tank shields, they can actively move to separate the human groups, making them far easier to rush, isolate and thus tag. The last survivors are a combination of humans who have just avoided notice (usually by skirting around the edges of the play area, or being otherwise stealth) and those who can run and fend for themselves.
In the first round, I was with a small group of humans that was one of the last groups remaining. Human coordination in this round was fairly poor, and so the humans fell rather quickly. I was tagged through poor awareness, being tagged from behind just after fending off a group of zombies in front. Generally the humans didn’t do too well this round, I felt like the Tanks were not very well combated which resulted in a lot of easy tags.
In the second round, I was one of, if not the last human remaining. I feel like this round went a little better than the first, as it felt like it lasted a little longer and I went through more ammo. I was however running my Demolisher, which as I noted above, I have serious trouble getting any hits with. By the end of the round, I was completely out of darts in my clips (mags), and had switched to my Sweet Revenges. I think if I had used my Bullpup RS instead, I could have survived even longer, and kept other humans alive longer as well.
We played a couple of Secret VIP rounds, and overall they worked decently well, though there was an unusual amount of confusion at times. In both rounds, I played an ordinary human. I was never the General, VIP or Traitor, and I survived both rounds long enough to lose the rounds as a human.
In the first round, the zombies were unable to make much progress until they acquired Tank shields, and even then, their progress was slowed by the sheer number of humans they were facing. Because of the sheer number of humans clustered in the area, if a Tank charges in, they’ll be very quickly surrounded and mowed down before they can do any significant damage. They might get a tag if they’re lucky, but generally the raw volume of fire is enough to bypass the shield and stun the Tank. Ordinary and Infector zombies naturally have little hope against the human group, since they have basically no protection and will get instantly hosed down. Usually the only way the zombies make significant progress without the Traitor’s help is a coordinated Tank rush or very poorly coordinated humans.
In the first round, the zombies made minimal progress until the Traitor revealed themselves, and the Traitor themselves did pretty much no damage to the humans, being stunned very quickly. However they did serve as a very valuable distraction – a good lot of the humans formed a circle around the Traitor, and had him grenaded, but in the process the Tanks rushed in and were able to tag a number of humans. One of the humans who was tagged thought they were the VIP (the VIP had been repicked just before the round, but clearly that message didn’t reach the original VIP), and in the ensuing chaos and confusion, the real VIP was tagged. As usual, I was nowhere near the real VIP, and I still have no idea who it was. That Traitor reveal was a critical distraction, and even though the Traitor themselves didn’t do much, the distraction gave the Tanks an opening to rush in.
In the second round, the zombies were able to make better progress without the Traitor’s help, although there were still plenty of humans. Late in the game, I retreated out of the tambark area to try and get out of the chaos of the human defences and have a chance to reload. I was spotted and chased around the outside while reloading, but was able to elude my pursuers, only to find out that our VIP had been tagged. It turns out that the Traitor was in fact guarding the VIP the whole time, although I wasn’t there to see what happened exactly (as usual…). It’s becoming a really annoying habit of mine, it makes writing these posts pretty damn hard.
With a relatively well coordinated human group (as with this event), it’s entirely up to the Traitor to give the zombies a chance. Without a good Traitor, the zombies will have major trouble going up against a much larger human group, who given the length of usual Secret VIP games, will likely have lots of ammo and firepower. Given how tight the VIP’s area is, even just a distraction by the Traitor can be enough to give the zombies a chance, though the zombies have to always be ready to charge in. With a poorly coordinated human group, a well organised Tank rush can sometimes be enough to break the human defences, allowing the zombies to just pick off the rest.
We tried a new gamemode, with prototype name Virus Bunkers. The idea of this gamemode is that the humans are periodically forced to return to designated safe zones, where they will have to fend off zombies while stuck in an enclosed area for a short time. In this first trial, we played with 3 hidden OZs and no regular starter zombies, 30 second virus time and 2 minutes between virus releases. Zombie upgrades were released something along the lines of after 2 virus releases (Infector), after 4 virus releases (Tank) and after 6 virus releases (Husk). Because of the presence of OZs (aka Traitors), a 25 second human stun rule is implemented ala Secret VIP. We had 3 rather small square safe zones (“bunkers”). The game had a fair share of issues and has a lot of potential improvements, but even just from this flawed trial, I felt like it has a lot of potential for a really fun gamemode.
From the start of the game, everyone is quite paranoid of each other, and so during the first virus releases, the humans typically have a 30 second long standoff within each small bunker. I was not near the first OZ to reveal themselves (and the other two were some of the last survivors), so my first zombie encounter was with 2 or 3 zombies, who were easily fended off. The game quickly became more intense once there were multiple zombies during a virus release. Since the humans are confined to a small space for longer than the zombie stun timer (30 sec virus time vs 25 second stun time), a smart zombie will be able to fit two charges into one virus phase. Given how small the squares are, this gives a smart zombie quite a good chance (perhaps even too good) of tagging a human (or providing a good distraction for another zombie to get the tag). I was one of the last survivors, however did not survive on my own for very long. Due to an impending virus release, I was confined to a small square, having to fend off zombies from all directions, which naturally ended very quickly with my getting tagged.
In ordinary Survival rounds, humans can survive quite a while just from constantly moving, as they are constantly distancing themselves from stunned zombies, and escaping potentially awful situations. In Virus Bunkers, the humans have no such luxury and so must rely on teammates and firepower to survive – and given the chaotic and claustrophobic nature of Virus Bunkers, are likely to lose track of some nearby zombies and so get tagged. The long virus phase and relatively short time between virus phases makes it nearly impossible for a human to survive by running away, especially once the zombies notice any stray humans not already in a group in a bunker.
The zombie upgrades make what is already a bad situation for the humans into a deathtrap. Infectors make it just that little bit easier for zombies to tag their prey, while both the Tank and Husk are severely overpowered when the humans are so tightly confined. I have been told that upgrades may be dropped entirely from Virus Bunkers, given that the zombies are already so much more powerful than usual.
I think Virus Bunkers is a good complement to the current primary gamemodes, with some alterations of course. The bunkers we played with were very small, perhaps only 3 or 4 metres wide. This along with the painfully long virus time made it extremely difficult to survive a whole virus phase against multiple zombies. Additionally, the short time between virus phases makes it extremely hard to survive by running away, as chances are you’ll just get caught by the virus and get turned anyway. I would suggest increasing the size of the bunkers by maybe 50%, along with a shorter virus phase (15-20 seconds, has to be less than the zombie stun time), to give humans a better chance of survival during the virus phase. Increasing the time between virus phases I believe would be healthy for the potential survival strategies of the game as well. Zombie upgrades are not really necessary in Virus Bunkers as stated previously. Hidden OZs are suitable, they prevent it from being too easy to defend the bunkers, but perhaps an ordinary starting zombie or two could be beneficial for the game, as it would further increase the paranoia of the humans – maybe only 1 or 2 hidden OZs would be necessary. One other minor issue which would be easy to solve is that not all players could hear the admin’s whistle, which is used for all virus related warnings. This is easily solved by getting a louder whistle.
Overall I quite liked Virus Bunkers, I think it would be a good shorter/more hectic gamemode than Survival, with less stagnation tham Secret VIP often has.
A link to the same post on my own blog: link