Sunday, 5 July 2015

Game Report 4/7/15

I went to my first Melbourne HvZ event today with a friend. Peak attendance was probably in the 20s, though I wasn't counting at any point.

Since the group is called Melbourne HvZ, every game has some zombie element to it, and each game's zombies run by the same set of rules, so I'll go through them here.

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: 
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 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.
There was an additional zombie upgrade used for a specific gamemode. I don't remember the exact name of the upgrade so I'll go with Hand of Freedom. This particular zombie class was partly derived from this event being hosted on the 4th of July. The Hand of Freedom carries a flag (in our case an American flag) as well as a handbag which holds fake hands and feet (of freedom). Said hands and feet can be thrown by the Hand, and count as regular zombie tags. The hands and feet cannot be thrown by other zombies, but can be picked up.
Zombie upgrades can be stacked, so for instance a player could take both a pool noodle and a shield.

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.
Three Squares (made up name) - the three zombie upgrades of Infector, Tank and Hand of Freedom are placed in the centre of three spread out squares, about 2-3m wide. A human is designated as a flag holder (in our case a British flag). Zombies can pick up the upgrades if they get to 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. If the human flag holder is within a square, zombies cannot pick up the upgrade contained in that square (thus making the flag holder the most important human). The humans try to survive as long as possible.
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, protect the bomb for the first time setting, then move the bomb to the second location, and protect the bomb for the second timer setting. 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. Zombies can move the bomb, and if they get the bomb outside of the play area, the zombies win. If the humans protect the bomb long enough to complete the bomb's journey, they win.
6 Round Team Sweep (also made up name) - two balanced teams are assembled, and each player is only allowed to carry 6 darts or a single melee weapon (with no blaster) 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 team. The team that 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 for their team.

Normally I'd go through every blaster that got used, but due to the number of players and blasters I can't go through each individually, so I'll stick with the major ones and the ones I used.

Rebelle Sweet Revenges - my standard modded dual wield pistols. Worked very well when I was able to use them, however the holsters often fell off my belt if I ran too fast, and I often didn't have the time to draw them in Survival. I'm looking at getting some better holsters.
Elite Alpha Trooper (typically spring upgrade) - an all round solid pump action blaster. Slam-fire was useful to overwhelm and ward off zombies, especially Tanks since they can just block potshots.
Pump Action Elite Retaliator (various internal kits) - saw a lot of these in action. They often used the pump grips sourced from Taobao, and often had buffer tubes/stocks, angled foregrips and custom muzzles/iron sights. I held one and it was quite comfortable and fairly hefty, though as it's not a particularly fast firing blaster, I'm not likely to build and use one as a primary. They performed very well, similar to EATs without slam-fire, however the Retaliators seemed to be exceptionally accurate and quite powerful - a lot of Retal wielding players could land reasonably accurate shots from farther away than most blasters.
Elite Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) - there were a number of these as well, and IMO they were the best all round blasters . The ability to put out a hail of darts within a second was excellent for ensuring that the zombies got tagged, and the ability to one-hand them if necessary also helped a lot of humans survive back attacks from zombies. The Rapidstrikes also got respectable ranges. They weren't as accurate over longer ranges compared to the Retaliators, but in close ranges the rate of fire made it pretty much impossible to dodge. A group of Rapidstrike users could typically only be taken down by a constant barrage of zombies, usually also requiring Tank support to drain their ammo faster.
The only issue I had with the Rapidstrike was that even with relatively conservative bursts, I tore through my 5 18 clips (mags) quite quickly. I'll be looking at practicing tap firing with the Rapidstrike as well as getting a few more clip (mag) pouches.
Rebelle Rapid Red (Meishel motors, 2S LiPo) - I used this in the final Survival round, and it worked extremely well. While the rate of fire was not as good as a Rapidstrike, it handled very well and I was able to get a lot of zombie tags with it. The only issue I had was with a thin dart getting pushed up too far by the clip (mag), causing a jam and causing me to get nommed. I'll be remedying this in all my main flywheelers.
Doomlands Lawbringer - didn't actually see it in action, though it did get a fair bit of use. I'd assume it performed similar to a similarly upgrade Hammershot, except with a larger frame and a much higher capacity.
Absolver'd Drain Blaster (Cobra I believe) - it was set up to fire 6 dart absolvers. It got ranges probably close to what I was getting from my Sweet Revenges, but naturally with 6 dart bursts. The Drain Blaster was exceptionally effective for immediately stunning one or two particular zombies, as well as suppressing Tanks who pretty much had to stop to block all the darts. In Survival the threat of being blasted by a burst of 6 darts was enough to pretty much prevent single zombies from charging.

The play area was a relatively open park area with a couple of trees, notable a few large trees in the centre. Early in the day there were some light showers, dampening the ground though only making a select few patches of ground slippery. It also rained a little in the first rounds, so most people opted for non-flywheelers. The weather was otherwise overcast for the whole day, and reasonably cold.

Survival was your standard HvZ gametype, fun and fast paced once the tags start happening. So instead of writing about the gametype itself I'll talk more about how the zombie upgrades affected play.
Infector simply gave zombies more range, as expected. We did see some zombies try to dart block, but for the most part if the zombie got shot at, they would get shot at by several people or by a number of darts, making dart blocking largely ineffective. Infector simply gave zombies longer range, meaning that humans had slightly less space to work with, and also made human melee much less viable since the zombie melee range was the same as or longer than the human melee range.
Tanks were probably the most dangerous of all the zombies, as they were near impossible to take on alone. Tanks required solid teamwork and a fair amount of space to take down, making objective based gametypes that much harder, and also made late game survival very difficult, due to the abundance of other zombies and the lack of human allies. Some Tanks were victims of long range potshots from Retaliators, but for the most part could be stunned by any coordinated pair of humans. Charging Tanks were quite a threat, due to the difficulty of hitting a running zombie, as well as the protection offered by the shield, however they often charged with their shield in front, making side attacks very easy.
The Husk wasn't much of an actual threat, due to the scarcity of its ammo. It felt more like something to keep humans on their toes and keep them from becoming complacent, though honestly flanking zombies did that well enough. I feel like having multiple Husks with more ammo would make them more of a credible threat, but considering the bulk of bringing multiple Titans to supply said Husks, that's probably not too practical, and the extra zombie threat may not be too great anyway.
The Hand of Freedom was much like a Spitter from my previous Equalz Dee games, in that they're a zombie whose range is however far they can throw. The main difference is that the Hand has a lower range (and probably worse accuracy) due to their use of an unaerodynamic ammo (Hand throws hands/feet, Spitter throws Mini Vortex Howlers), however they carry much more ammo around, making them a much more persistent threat than Spitters. Both have their place in the zombie ranks, however I feel Spitters work better as a "common" zombie as their limited ammo makes them more balanced, but the persistent threat of the Hand makes it a good "elite" zombie.

The Three Squares gametype was rather odd. Since the humans have a head start over the zombies, they have time to set up defensive positions around the squares. While humans in the squares are less vulnerable to regular zombies since zombies must move outside of the square when stunned, the Hand is still a big threat since they can just stand outside the square and pelt the humans with hands and feet. This made the square that contained the Hand handbag quite important to guard for the humans, as protecting it preserved the humans' relative safety within the squares. The human flag bearer was placed in the tank square, and the rest of the humans were spread around each square. The Hand was the first square to fall, due perhaps to a lack of communication. From there the zombies were able to push through into the Infector square, leaving the Tank square as the last one untouched by zombies. Due to the Hand, the flag bearer was not safe within the square, as the Hand could simply stand outside and keep throwing hands when not stunned. This produced an odd situation where the flag bearer and Hand would have a stand-off, while the rest of the humans would hold off any other zombies from getting close to the Tank square. Naturally at some point the flag bearer was tagged, and so zombies got shields and the humans fell shortly after.
I didn't like the Three Squares gametype much. I'm not a fan of these sorts of standoffs where players are forced to stay in a specific location, however I do admit that it does promote human teamwork, since a coordinated group of humans could hold off the zombies pretty much indefinitely due to their lack of upgrades. The squares do at least keep the zombies at bay if you keep tagging them, and prevents zombie "creeping" (zombies slowly moving forward despite constant stunning).

I found Blind Bomber to be more fun than Three Squares, as I find having an actual objective/win condition is a much better motivator and makes the game all round better. I like escort missions as I feel like they promote assigning various players actual roles (such as assigning someone to specifically watch the rear), however in most of the games I play with friends, there aren't enough players for an escort mission to work properly. In Blind Bomber the humans must defend the bomb (and blind bomber) at all times, including when the bomb has been dropped on the ground or when the bomb is stationary during either of the timer sections. The problem with this is that the approaching zombies, while they keep getting stunned, will slowly creep forwards towards the bomb. While ok for the Blind Bomber escorting parts, for whenever the bomb is not moving, especially if the Bomber has dropped the bomb, some zombies will inevitably end up right next to or on top of the bomb, making it incredibly difficult for the Bomber to relocate and reacquire the bomb, and usually in that scramble for the bomb some zombie will have un-stunned and made it a few metres with the bomb. This distraction ended up with a lot of humans getting taken out by sneak attacks, and both rounds ended before the humans got to the second location.
Perhaps these issues occured because the humans were unorganised and had poor communication, which allowed the zombies to get close enough to creep towards the bomb, and let other zombies hit the humans from behind. Nevertheless I still feel that the game would have been perhaps just that little bit better/less cramped near the bomb with an anti-creep mechanism, maybe just a stunned zombie free zone like in Three Squares.
Alternatively a zombie respawn instead of stun system may work better for Blind Bomber, but as I've said before the games I have with my friends usually don't have enough people for escort games.
Considering Blind Bomber seems to be a standard gametype for MHvZ, I suspect it just didn't run quite as intended the times I played it, presumably it would have worked out better for the humans in past events.

6 Round Team Sweep was just a way of making people competitive over dart sweeping. It worked well enough and certainly helped reduce the number of darts on the field. The only potential problem was identifying teammates/enemies, as there were no team markers like bandanas or armbands. Since everyone answered quickly and truthfully when asked though, it wasn't much of an issue.
The threat of zombies kept people from camping and being lazy, so the main portion of the field was fairly well cleaned up by the end.

Despite some of the issues I had with some of the gametypes, I had loads of fun and will definitely attend more events if possible. My legs were quite sore when I returned home, but I've been told that if they don't you haven't played properly. Since my events don't have the sort of turnout MHvZ gets, I can't play games to the size that MHvZ can, so MHvZ is the only way I can experience these sorts high player games.


  1. This may seem silly, but I use dual wield triads.

    1. Well for the level of games played in this particular event, that would get you nommed probably within a minute.
      For the level they belong in (an even I went to not long ago and will be writing about), they are perfectly viable if you run them right. Though I still maintain Sweet Revenges are the best dual sidearms you can have.

    2. I have a setup with them so that the two handles are attached with a sturdy cord so I just pull them apart to cock the dual blasters. It is much faster than just using two triads regularly.

    3. This is titan. What about ZS hamershots in the United States?

    4. Yep, perfectly viable. I personally prefer the SR but if not for that the Hammershot would probably be my go to.

  2. hello- did you make the lawbringer review? I really want to see the review casue it looks cool

    1. I don't own or have access to a Lawbringer, so I can't make a review of it.