Monday, 9 November 2015

MHvZ Game Report 7/11/15 - 1v1ing a Tank, -3050 Pusher Use

Possibly the last MHvZ event of the year, as in December the park we use is often used by other groups for other events. Obviously we're hoping not, but I don't think we have too much control over that.


Gamemodes:
Old:
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.
Defence Survival (Three Squares) - The two zombie upgrades of Infector and Tank 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 Husk upgrade is associated with a particular human; when that human falls the Husk becomes available. The humans try to survive as long as possible (I believe there could have been a time limit, not sure). Zombies are only allowed one upgrade at a 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.
Zombie King (altered) - A small number of humans would attempt to destroy the zombie King, who is protected by a large number of zombies. The King cannot run and has a Husk upgrade, but takes 15 hits to eliminate (and doesn't get stunned) and can still tag humans. Zombies when hit must respawn at a tree outside the King's zone, and zombies can start off with all upgrades if so desired. The King is restricted to a specific area. 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 turned into a zombie.

New:
6 Round Squad Pickup - The player base is split up into a number of teams, in today's game teams of 2. Each team gets a base cone to place whereever they wish, provided it's a minimum distance from other team's cones. The teams then try to collect the darts and store them at their base cone, and stealing darts from other teams' cones is perfectly fine. Players are only allowed to carry up to 8 darts at any one time, hence the necessity to store darts at base. Upon being hit, a player must drop two of their darts and go to respawn at their base. Instant respawns keeps everyone in the game at pretty much all times, and there's no zombie aspect to the game.

Zombie rules:
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 a direct hit to the back.
There are 3 standard zombie upgrades/mutations/perks: 
Infector - 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.
Tank - 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.
Husk - zombie gets to use a ranged attack, in some rounds a Zing bow with 2 arrows, in others throwable hands and feet. A ranged Husk attack counts as a regular tag. Husk ammo can be picked up by any zombie, but can only be used by the Husk naturally.
Zombie upgrades can be stacked in some games, so for instance a player could take both a pool noodle and a shield.
Grenades can stun a zombie with a hit to any equipment, including swords and shields, and can be reused at will, though in some gametypes grenade replenishing rules are in place.

Blasters:
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.
Regulars:
Rebelle Sweet Revenge - my standard dual pistols, didn't see much use today.
Elite Alpha Trooper (upgraded springs) - pretty solid all round blasters, though for some reason mine got stuck in perma-slam-fire, which I believe is a catch issue.
Pump Action Elite Retaliator (various internal kits, often fully tac-ed up) - usual popular rifle style primary, pretty good range and accuracy but a little slow in ROF. A good blaster to have a few of in a human group.
Elite Rapidstrike & My Bullpup Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) - as usual, high ROF blasters ideal for point defence, but usually took a number of shots for longer ranged hits. This is the first game I've used my Bullpup RS with the FK180PH-3050 pusher in it. In this event I was able to more effectively burst fire; I was able to fire off a lot of two-dart bursts where a high dart output was not necessary, and I was able to consistently fire off two-dart bursts, instead of firing one-to-three-dart bursts as I used to with a Falcon pusher. I did have the pusher take off at full runaway once, but it appeared to be a freak accident and didn't happen again. I'll be installing a master killswitch anyway once I have the time and pick up the switch.

Elite Stryfe (various motors, batteries usually LiPos) - again as usual, pretty solid blasters that strike a good middle ground between the slow ROF/better accuracy of springers and high ROF/low accuracy of Rapidstrikes. ROF was generally not an issue if handled well and the user was able to land their shots effectively. I feel like they were generally more accurate than the Rapidstrikes, though I have no scientific evidence to back that up. It could just be that Stryfe users fired less shots than Rapidstrike users.
Lanard/Air Zone Triple Shot/Shotgun (inline clipped "Quadshot") - I think it got damaged at some point in the event, but when it was active it provided the same scary long range firepower as usual. Its user picked off a lot of zombies threatening other humans, well beyond what even Retal users could get near accurately. Somewhat unwieldy for close combat and had a pretty slow ROF, but provided great accurate support fire for the rest of the humans.
ZS Slingfire (stock, both grey and orange trigger springs) - these were generally used with pretty much no expectations of being particularly effective, but worked well enough in the earlier stages of games, when holding off only a few zombies. Once confronted with a reasonable of zombies, Slingfire users rarely had a chance without human support.
ZS Hammershot (some stock, some modded) - the standard secondaries for a lot of players, pretty effective all round.
Rebelle Secret Shot - used for 6 Round Squad Pickup just for fun. Range was naturally quite lacking compared to most things, which in Squad Pickup was quite a detriment compared to regular 6 Round Sweep.
Cobra Drain Blaster (absolvered) - was a great suppressive weapon for the humans, especially against smaller groups of zombies. Even with firing 6 darts at once, its power is ridiculous, matching a lot of the modded blasters for range. Particularly effective when the zombies think they're out of range, as well as unsuspecting tanks. Having to pump it up naturally made ROF horrendously slow, making it a one-use per conflict blaster.

New:
Dual N-Strike Barricades (modded to accept Elite style darts, but otherwise mods unknown) - like previously, effective for on-the-fly reloading, but not competitive performance wise with most of the flywheelers.
Rebelle Messenger (unknown upgraded springs, partial brass barrels) - HvZ rarely sees single shot pistols, the majority of the sidearms I see are Hammershots/other hammer blasters. The Messenger saw use in Squad Pickup, where it was effective at reasonable ranges, but the low capacity in particular made it inferior to a number of the blasters used.


Same location as always, however with the coming of spring all the trees regrew their leaves, creating significantly more tree cover. Player count was low, around 15ish, this time I believe due to it being exam period for many educational establishments. I myself am in the middle of my exam period.
MHvZ had a whole bunch of new darts, blue and white (glow in the dark) FVJs:
In comparison to the mix of heavily used Elites, Kooshes and FVJs previously, having a batch of new FVJs was a significant improvement. I experienced no jams whatsoever from my Bullpup RS, and I also felt like I was getting a lot more darts on target, and I was able to use 2-dart bursts much more effectively.


Due to the smaller player base, a lot of our games were somewhat smaller than usual, and we also had less OZs, usually 2 instead of 3-4. The earlier Survival rounds went as expected, little progress until Tanks came out, after which the zombies would be able to single out and tag the slower/less aware/overly aggressive humans. Defence Survival went much the same, a lot of square defence standoffs before a lapse in concentration would allow the zombies to get the shields.
In the early Survival rounds I was able to survive for quite a while, keep moving away from the zombies, covering other humans if they were close enough, and flanking tanks to force them back or stun them. By just keeping away from the main zombie focus and not drawing attention to yourself it is possible to survive quite a while without firing many darts. Naturally once the zombies gain shields and significant numbers, it's just a matter of wearing down the humans until they can't run any more, get surrounded or run out of darts.
The last Survival rounds we did went for quite a while before the zombies could make much progress on the human group. Through poor awareness I was lost very early on in the later games, and so spent quite a while in a small horde of about 4-5 zombies, constantly chasing the human group around. Through good coordination and communication, the humans were able to keep on the run and fend off tanks for quite a long time. Eventually of course the zombies would be able to slowly pick off humans, but seemingly at a slower rate than usual.
In one of the games, I was able to 1v1 a Tank by using my Rapidstrike as a distraction, running up to the Tank and using my Sweet Revenge to fire around the shield before they could go for the tag. Naturally such a strategy requires very quick actions, as you have a very short timeframe to pull off the maneuver. A distraction is required to draw the shield away from your second blaster, as it's quite easy for a Tank to just track and block one blaster, even at close range. This strategy is also heavily flawed if there are other zombies present, as going straight for the Tank makes you completely vulnerable to everyone else, and also requires making you vulnerable to the Tank. Naturally the strategy won't work if the Tank has a melee as well, since you have to get right on top of the shield to pull it off. Nevertheless pulling off the maneuver felt pretty awesome, since 1v1 against a Tank is the only 1v1 situation where a human without grenade is at a disadvantage.


We played Blind Bomber with altered upgrade timing. In previous Blind Bomber rounds we've played with Tanks coming out once the bomb starts to be constructed, which often resulted in zombie-creep in the first phase, which is much harder to fend off due to the lack of a no-spawn zone. However this time the Tanks came out much later, I think only once the bomb was set for detonation in the final phase. The round of Blind Bomber we played was quite competitive, a human group of about 5 surviving long enough for the bomb to detonate.
Early on, as most Blind Bomber rounds go, the zombies get stunblocked and are fairly useless, usually only able to get a tag if a human screws up and the rest aren't concentrating. Once shields hit the field, the majority of the humans fell back to defend the bomb. I was a vanguard of the Blind Bomber, and though I can't remember how I got tagged, I do know that I was a zombie for at least half of the detonation sequence. As final Blind Bomber phases usually go, the human numbers would slowly dwindle as they get worn down by zombie charges, Tanks often working as good distractions for other zombies to flank and get tags from the sides and behind. However the aforementioned remaining group of about 5 humans were able to stick together and cover each other well enough to hold off the zombies long enough for the bomb to detonate.
The grenades were a key part of holding off the Tanks, as without them small groups of humans are in pretty big trouble. In Blind Bomber the grenades are usually one-use, being replenished by tapping them on the Blind Bomber, which prevents stunblocking when away from the Blind Bomber, but allows fending off Tanks effectively while the bomb is stationary.
Moving the arrival of Tanks on the field further back in the game was a good balancing change, as if Tanks hit the field in the first phase I feel that the humans would have had no chance. Having more players as in most events allows better anti-Tank combat, which means having Tanks earlier on is less of an issue.


We played two rounds of an altered version of Zombie King, neither of which worked particularly well. In standard Zombie King the King is free to go wherever he/she wants, while the humans start and respawn in a safe zone. This time around we had the King restricted to the tambark area where the humans normally start, and had the humans start at a far off tree. The King (pictured below) was armed with the Zing bow, and marked by a Mountain Dew hat.
In the first round, we started with about 6 humans and around 8 zombies, which naturally resulted in a human victory in about a minute. Though there were two tanks, having a near 1:1 ratio of humans to zombies is a situation in which the zombies can only win through severe human incompetence, or serious upgrading at which point they're not really zombies. Naturally the zombies were slaughtered, leaving the King as easy pickings.
The next round we had about 5 humans and 10 zombies. The 2:1 ratio did help to prolong the game slightly, but the result was the same, the humans massacring the zombies and having an easy time taking down the King.
One of the problems with this style of Zombie King was that the zombies were made to be very defensive, something that zombies are terrible at. Non-Tank zombies have no defensive abilities whatsoever, and even the Tanks are no match for a group of aggressive, coordinated humans. Regular Zombie King has an attacker-defender duality - if the zombies aren't aggressive enough they'll just be picked off and mown down and the humans will have an easy shot at the King, while if they're too aggressive they'll get mown down anyway. Likewise if the humans are too aggressive, they could get split apart and easily taken down, while if they're too defensive they'll never get near the King. Part of what allowed the zombies to be a little more aggressive is that the King could move around freely (albeit slowly), making the King able to stall a little bit waiting for zombies to un-stun and help, as well as wasting a little time as the humans had to first locate the King.
While the King was armed with a Zing Bow, being restricted to a small area meant that the humans at all times knew roughly where the King would be, and so knew where to attack towards.
Another one of the problems was a lack of players. Zombie King is a gametype that heavily benefits from and almost requires a large player count. Previous games have had roughly a 3:1 ratio of zombies to humans, with usually at least 15-20 zombies, and these have been competitive. Since zombies are so terrible at defence, they have a significantly larger number so that some of them can be constantly on the attack, making the defenders' job much easier and give them an actual chance of successfully defending. From what I remember of the good Zombie King rounds, we usually had about 7ish zombies on defence (usually with 2 Tanks), fending off at most 2 humans. Any more and we would be forced to resort to a stalling tactic to gain reinforcements.
I think Zombie King could have worked with an 11:4 or even 12:3 ratio, but again it probably needed more players to work as intended.


6 Round Squad Pickup was an alternate, more competitive pickup gamemode, but I think it didn't work too well as a dedicated pickup game. With regular 6 Round Sweep, most of the play area would get cleaned up, since a lot of standoffs would result in one party wandering off in a different direction. Everyone pretty much wanders around relatively aimlessly (except those actively hunting other players), so with the desire for players early on to avoid combat, people would inevitably end up sweeping most of the area.
In Squad Pickup, you have a base to defend, and as such the random wandering that normally occurs is very heavily restricted. With the restriction of carrying only a small amount of darts, to have any chance of winning you have to fill up your base, thus making it more of a target for nearby squads. As such, you also have to spend time defending your base, and also have the opportunity to raid other squad's bases. After all, why waste time scrounging around for darts when you can just steal a bunch all at once from an enemy?
This greatly increased the PvP aspect of the game which I think greatly detracted from the pickup element. Early on, my squad was in direct conflict with a nearby squad, however we agreed on a truce as infighting between our squads was beneficial for neither of us, since no new darts would be picked up. Together we would be in constant conflict with another nearby squad, usually with one squad member going off to pick up new darts while the other stayed back to fight and defend. Additionally, the restriction of being able to hold only 8 darts as well as the constant threat of being raided greatly reduced how many darts we were able to pick up. I alone pick up and return more darts in a regular 6 Round Sweep than my squad picked up *and fired* in the Squad Pickup round.
A perfect example of how much less gets picked up, on the way from taking our base cone back to the dart box, we passed by an area filled with at least a hundred darts. Now this is an open area near where everyone dumps their stuff, so there's no way that noone saw it. Rather, I believe it's a case of noone had the time to go and collect it, as they had to spend too much time defending after picking up nearby darts. Looking around at the end of the game there were quite a lot of darts lying around in places where they would have been snapped up instantly in 6 Round Sweep. Stealing darts from other squad's bases also contributes to the issue, since stealing darts doesn't pick up any more darts from the ground, which is the goal of these gametypes.
Overall, the main issue here is the need to defend your base, as well as the temptation to raid other squad's bases over picking up darts from the ground. Yes Squad Pickup does greatly promote PvP combat, which makes the game more exciting, but as a pickup game it doesn't work as well as regular 6 Round Sweep. I think changes that reduce the necessity to defend and improve the viability of scavenging out further away from the base would help to clean up more darts.


The Bullpup RS has passed all its tests for now, I'm hoping to try maybe a Stryfe primary for a little variety, and as a backup since a full RS is quite big.

2 comments:

  1. When you put a master on off onto the bullpup, use a MOSFET to handle the switching current, wire it just like the one on the master on off on the BSUK stampede kit. This means you can use any switch you like on the main power lead instead of needing a huge one rated for 20A+ because the MOSFET switches the high current side. Email me if you want a picture of the circuit, I am making one for a customer shortly.

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