Another HvZ done by MHvZ. Heaps of fun and a lot of running. More pictures from the guys at MTB here.
Again, every game has a zombie element so I'll go through those here.
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 a direct hit to the back.
There are 3 standard zombie upgrades/mutations/perks:
zombie(s) 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.
- zombie(s) 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.
- zombie gets to use a Titan firing rockets. The rocket counts as a
regular zombie tag. There is usually only one Titan and one rocket on
the field at any time. Other zombies can pick up and return the rocket
to the Husk.
Zombie upgrades can be stacked in most games, so for instance a player could take both a pool noodle and a shield.
Two grenades were in play this time around, which can stun an Infector or Tank with hits to their equipment, to which darts are ineffective.
- 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.
Defence Survival (Three Squares) -
The three zombie upgrades of Infector, Tank and Husk are
placed in the centre of three spread out squares, about 2-3m wide.
Zombies can pick up the upgrades if they touch the upgrades in the
middle of the squares. If a zombie is stunned within a square, they must
move outside of the square before counting down their stun. The humans
try to survive as long as possible (I believe there could have been a
time limit, not sure). In this particular round, zombies were only
allowed one upgrade at any one time.
Blind Bomber - One
human is designated as the Blind Bomber and is blinded (in our case
with blacked out safety goggles). They cannot be zombified, and so are
invincible. They are given a "bomb" (just a timer), which has two time
settings - in our case 3 minutes and 5 minutes. The objective for the
humans is to get the bomb to the first location, "assemble" the bomb for
3 minutes, move the bomb to the second location and "detonate" the bomb
for 5 minutes. If the bomb survives the 5 minute timer, it "detonates",
eliminating/curing all zombies and thus giving the humans the win.
However the Blind Bomber
is the only human able to touch and move the bomb. If zombies tag the
Blind Bomber, they must drop the bomb for two seconds, and then can pick
it up again. Zombies can move the bomb, and if
they get the bomb outside of the play area before the bomb "detonates",
the zombies win.
6 Round Sweep (non team) - Each
player is only allowed to carry 6 darts
with any number of blasters and clips/mags or a single melee weapon (with no
blasters or clips/mags) into the play area (darts are
left on the ground from previous rounds). In the middle of the play
area is a collector, who collects the darts from each person. The person
who delivers the most darts to the collector wins. Each player has 3
lives, with each hit from a dart taking one life and requiring a respawn
at any tree. A melee hit depletes all lives. Once a player is out of
lives, they become a zombie and drop all their darts. A single zombie
tag immediately turns humans into zombies, regardless of life count.
Players are safe while depositing darts, but only during the time that
they're depositing darts (and maybe a second or two to pick up their
Zombie King -
A small number of humans would attempt to destroy the zombie king, who
is protected by a large number of zombies. Standard zombie stuns apply,
and zombies start off with all upgrades if so desired. The king cannot
run and has no upgrades, but takes 15 hits to eliminate (and doesn't get
stunned) and can still tag humans. Unlike other HvZs, a zombie tag on a
human causes them to lose a life, and they must go and respawn. Once a
human is out of lives (starting with 5) they are eliminated. The humans
are also working against a time limit, which was set at 25 minutes.
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.
Rebelle Sweet Revenges - My standard modded dual wield pistols. Worked well when I had time to draw them, but didn't see quite as much action.
Pump Action Elite Retaliator
(various internal kits, often fully tac-ed up) - As with previous rounds, the Retals were fairly powerful but quite accurate, allowing for some fun long range potshots. Naturally ROF was not a key strength, being good enough for follow-up potshots but IMO not quite enough for effective close quarters defence. Overall quite a solid choice if longer ranged engagements are your style, but not my sort of HvZ blaster.
Elite Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) - As with all previous events, I regard the Rapidstrike to be the best overall HvZ blaster as it has a long enough range to nail zombies well before they get near, and a high enough ROF to hold off several zombies in close quarters. Obviously accuracy and ammo conservation are not strengths, but I don't think it's possible to have an effective close quarters panic weapon without wasting a lot of ammo.
Rebelle Rapid Red (Banshee motors, 2S LiPo) - Again not used by me, and again used by the same guy who used it last time. As with before he quite liked it and it worked quite well, though I did see a few jams occur (as a zombie), which I suspect are from using short ammo which don't feed properly in flywheelers.
Mega Rotofury (added Magnus spring, rebarreled for Elite-sized darts, stock attachment point and stock) - As with before, very powerful making for some really amusing long range potshots. Accuracy wasn't great, which can be attributed to the ammo used, and reloading was also not too convenient as rotating via the pump grip would also pop out the top dart. Nevertheless the Rotofury was reasonably effective well beyond the effective range of most blasters there, and so made a very good long range suppression/dissuasion weapon.
Bullpup Rapidstrike (Falcon motors, 3S LiPo) - The first real test of the Bullpup Rapidstrike, and it performed admirably. Naturally it performed just like all the other Rapidstrikes on the field (solid range, poor accuracy, high ROF), however its short length and bullpup design made it very easy to use one handed, more so than a conventional rifle Rapidstrike. While the reloads were slightly more awkward, they were still very easy. Initially I used a shortened Retal barrel with a foregrip, however quickly switched to just a Spectre barrel as I found myself just one-handing it a lot, and also found the Retal barrel to be a little loose, especially when running around.
Honestly I don't think the Bullpup Rapidstrike offers that much over a conventional Rapidstrike, certainly not enough to encourage everyone to convert their Rapidstrikes to bullpup, but I quite like it as it's a unique piece that is still perfectly viable and deadly.
Elite Stryfe (various motors, LiPos) - saw a lot more Stryfes on the field than in previous events, for the most part they performed like small slower firing Rapidstrikes that were more easily controlled by newbies. Overall the ones I saw performed quite well, certainly against smaller numbers of zombies, with their only weakness being the inability to easily rapid fire in close quarters when surrounded, which usually ended with the Stryfe user getting nommed. Certainly a very solid option all round.
EDIT: Can't believe I forgot this one, terribly sorry to its owner and user for forgetting it.
Lanard/Air Zone Triple Shot/Shotgun (inline clipped "Quadshot") - This was probably the most powerful blaster there, and also it seemed one of the most accurate. More often than not I would see this thing nail a zombie from well beyond what my Rapidstrike could hope to hit, and it had a knack for nailing people in the neck or head. It was extremely long, by virtue of its long barrels and inline clips, but the user was able to save other humans from much further away than us Rapidstrike users. While it's not my style of blaster personally, I very much appreciate having the support of such an effective long range blaster.
Same roughly triangular play area as usual, a lot of open area with some prominent trees in a tambark area and a few other large trees around the place. Player count peaked at probably 25ish making for some pretty good games.
The Infector and Tank upgrades performed as they did in previous events, Infector simply giving zombies a longer reach and thus slightly improved odds (but for the most part being not dissimilar to regular zombies), and Tank giving zombies an overwhelming advantage against single or bunched up humans (but with hindered movement). However the Husk saw a lot more effective use this time around.
In previous games the Husk would often not be useful, with the rockets landing several metres before its intended target. It was more the presence of the Husk rather than the actual effectiveness of the Husk that give it value. In this event however the Husk suddenly became a lot more effective, successfully hitting a lot more humans, whether through skill or luck I do not know. There was one instance relatively early in the game where the Husk rocket was lobbed towards a cluster of humans, hitting the foot of one less wary human and thus breaking the group as well as bolstering zombie numbers (and the Husk celebrating his incredible shot of course). Husk rockets would often also be used to hit humans preoccupied with other zombies, so as to not need the zombie to get right up to the human and risk detection.
In the past games I never really saw the Husk as a threat, except in Defence Survival where the nature of the game forces a lot more close range standoff combat, where the Husk rocket is actually effective. In this event though I saw the potential of the Husk come to light, where it was used very effectively and caught a lot of humans off guard.
Unlike the Infector upgrade, which is very easy to use by pretty much anyone by just flailing about, or the Tank upgrade, which is easy to use simply because you get large dart blocking shields, the Husk upgrade takes a lot of skill and/or luck to use effectively. Against a single human, a lone Husk has little chance as the rocket is very slow and has a short range (so dealing with a lone Husk just requires side-stepping the rocket then nailing the Husk with a dart), however if ignored can deliver some serious damage to the human group.
The first and last games were Survival rounds as standard, and as usual ran quite well.
As with all other HvZ games early on it was pretty slow, the few zombies would try charging humans when distracted, but were rarely successful, and it took quite a while and the Infector upgrade to achieve the first tags. Naturally those early tags would occur with the humans focusing on a particular zombie (or not at all), and the tagging zombie would run up behind and tag the humans before fellow humans could get the warning off or save them. However even with the few extras, the zombies could do little against a now more alert human group, as they couldn't get anywhere near close enough to be a threat. This all changed once Tanks hit the field.
Against groups of Infectors the humans are typically safest relatively close together, where they can each focus their fire on a particular Infector and stun them all quickly and effectively. Naturally Tanks are highly effective against these groups, as they can charge straight forward without really worrying about getting hit, thus requisiting human flanking and splitting up, which naturally made them much easier targets for Infectors. However the presence of grenades on the field gave humans a much more reasonable chance of fending off Tanks. Normally to ward off a Tank a group of humans would spread out around the Tank, forcing them back lest they be shot in the side and stunned. This required human coordination and made the humans much more susceptible to attack by other zombies. Having a grenade gave even a lone human a reasonable chance against lone Tank, and heavily simplified human tactics against Tanks as they could just threaten to throw the grenade. Since a grenade hit to the Tank's shield also counted as a stun, grenading a Tank was much simpler than grenading a regular zombie.
The scarcity of grenades plus the general inability to retrieve thrown grenades in late game (due to the abundance of zombies) meant that Tanks in late game were nearly invincible (as they were in pre-grenade rounds) and could easily (with other zombie support) take down the remaining humans one-by-one.
Something to note as well is that in late game the overly tired zombies seemed less abundant in this event than the previous one, meaning that there were more zombies chasing me in late game, and as such I was not able to survive any of the rounds.
In the second round I was lost late in the game through being separated from the rest of the dwindling human group, then running out of ammo for my Bullpup Rapidstrike and being nommed shortly after.
We played a round of Defence Survival, and it didn't last as long as the previous Defence Survival last event.
As with previously, the Infector square was targeted first as it was less heavily guarded than the Tank square, and as with before the Husk rockets were carried by humans from the start and so the Husk upgrade was not yet useful.
The Infector square was lost earlier than before, I believe partly due to the Infector weapons seemingly being closer to the side than usual (or the square being seemingly smaller than usual), making it easier for zombies to dive for the weapons. Several humans were lost in square defence naturally, and once the Tank shields were lost it became a regular survival with a few more early zombies than usual.
Zombies can only have one upgrade at any one time, and thus must drop the other upgrade they have if they want a new one. Dropped/thrown upgrades have no effect, but one zombie took advantage of throwing his Infector sword at the humans, giving him the distraction he needed to dive for a Tank shield. Shortly after the humans had to retreat since stun blocking a tank is extremely difficult and quite risky, in comparison to stun blocking an Infector or a regular zombie.
Having locations to defend greatly reduces the wandering about aspect of humans in a normal Survival game and greatly increases early game combat. Since it seems to move faster than regular Survival, involves more early game combat and has objectives to focus on, I think Defence Survival is a good game for training newbies in both human and zombie coordination, as well as awareness to keep the zombies away from the upgrades.
Blind Bomber didn't turn out too well for the humans this time, however that was more due to poor human coordination than game balance, which I think is reasonably good at this stage. Like with Defence Survival, if a zombie is stunned near the bomb assembly/detonation locations then they move outside of the area before counting down their stun. This puts a limit on how close zombies can creep forward and gives the humans a reasonable chance to recover the bomb if a zombie gets a hold of it during the timed phases.
In this particular round the bomb was quickly transported to the first location without issue, and the assembly stage was initiated. During this stage there were a few zombies nearby the bomb, however initially there were far too many humans to get through. The other zombies not concentrated on the bomb were generally able to pick off a few of the human stragglers, and a few minutes in began to attack the bomb site, flanking around the human group watching the nearest zombies. Most humans split off to chase down these new threats who were quickly overwhelmed, leaving the nearby zombies with only a few defenders to deal with. The distraction of the other zombies gave these nearby zombies the distraction they needed to break through the remaining defenders and escape with the bomb, before the rest of the humans could regroup to recover the bomb, giving the zombies the victory.
Had the humans been smarter in coordination and stayed more focused on the immediate threats I think they would have been able to get the bomb to the second location, as they still had quite significant numbers when the bomb was lost.
6 Round Sweep as usual is just a way to make pickup fun, with the added incentive of the winner getting free lunch. Not much to comment on really.
We played two rounds of Zombie King, and each round was very skewed in favour of one side. The King started in the furthest corner of the play area, far away from any tree cover. As such early game is when the zombies should be at their most defensive, as the King has no natural cover to hide behind.
The first round we played ended in about a minute, with the majority of the zombies occupied with the majority of the humans, giving two of the humans an opportunity to flank and eliminate the King. This occured through very poor zombie coordination, as the majority were far too aggressive and left too much of an opening for the humans. A small memorial was held for the deceased King, with the words RIP KING made out of the darts fired by the humans at the King.
The second round ended in a human defeat. In this game the zombies were a lot more defensive and were able to get the King into the cover of trees. A number of zombies were stunned during the travel, however there were enough zombies remaining to ward off any would-be attackers.
For the most part it was very difficult for humans to score any hits on the king, due to his vanguard Tank, the protection offered by the tree the King was taking cover behind, as well as the number of zombies near the King. Even when humans could get close to the King, very rarely were there more than one human, and so the vanguard Tank was able to fend them off long enough for the other nearby zombies to un-stun and swarm the offending human.
While a third to a half of the zombies focused on defending the King, the remainder set about attacking the humans, draining their lives and preventing the humans form coordinating any sort of direct attack on the King. In mid game the offensive zombies pressed very hard against the humans, pushing them back all the way to the safe zone, where the humans could do nothing but potshots, but the zombies couldn't harm them, serving only to stall out the timer. Unlike the previous event's Zombie King game where the zombies overpressed and spread themselves out too far, in this round the zombies had more of a staggered formation with a lot of zombies in between the human spawn and the King, and only a couple of zombies right near the human spawn. As such most human attacks were forced to go around away from the king, which were easy to fend off and never presented any threat to the King. The only real threats to the King were lone humans who were able to run past the bulk of the zombies when they were distracted, however good zombie coordination often resulted in a swift recall of the horde, and the quick swarming of the offender, who was never able to hit the King more than twice in a successful run.
Eventually the zombies were able to deplete the lives of most humans, making the remainder easy pickings.
Zombie King is perhaps the most teamwork mandatory gamemode of the lot.
For the humans, victory cannot be obtained from simply running away from the zombies, and it is not possible to fight through the horde alone, due to the sheer number of zombies. Furthermore even if a lone human is able to get near the King, they will likely need help to stun the King's royal vanguard which typically includes a Tank and several Infectors or regular zombies.
For the zombies, it is no longer totally safe to simply throw oneself at the humans hoping for a tag, as every zombie who is stunned is a zombie who cannot help defend (for 25 seconds anyway). It is also no longer viable to just constantly hound humans as the stun time is more than enough for a fast group of humans to break through and eliminate the King. Thus if too many zombies recklessly charge the humans and get stunned, the humans have an easy path through to the King (as witnessed last event). Additionally except for Tanks, lone zombie vs lone human odds are very poor for the zombie, so several zombies are needed to effectively hold off a single human, so leaving too few defenders is almost guaranteed for a zombie loss.
The humans as a group have a lot more margin for error than zombies, as they have a number of lives to use and if necessary can retreat to their safe zone without any consequence. However since there are only a couple of humans, a single human could mean the difference between breaking through to the King or getting taken out well before.
Conversely the zombies as a group have little margin for error, since if most of them are stunned the humans have basically an instant win. However individually each zombie has a very large margin for error since one stunned zombie out of close to twenty doesn't have a huge impact on game dynamics.
I'm pretty happy with the game balance as is, though I wouldn't mind trying another new gamemode out next event, just to maintain the variety and keep me on my toes. I will certainly be attending all MHvZ events in the near future that I am available for.