Saturday, 11 July 2015

Game Report 8/7/15

3 events in 5 days, that's a heck of a coincidence. This one was done with just my friends, no special group or anything. The blaster set is totally different to the Equalz Dee games, more akin to a toned-down MHvZ blaster set.
Capture the Flag - steal the enemy's flag and return it to your flag, and be in possession of both flags in a particular location to win. One-shot-respawn at a respawn point behind your flag collection point, with minimum 10 seconds out of game (ie however long it takes to get back to spawn or 10 seconds, whichever is longer).
Bombing Run - stolen from UT. Effectively 1-flag reverse CTF. You try to take a central bomb to the opponent's goal, while they try to bring the bomb to your goal. You cannot fire while holding the bomb. Uses the same respawn system as CTF. The team who gets the bomb to the enemy's goal wins.

Juggernaut/Killbox - a small number of players ("defenders") are constantly attacked by a large number of players ("attackers"), and try to hit as many attackers as possible. The defenders are restricted to a given area. The attackers operate on one-shot-respawn, respawning instantly outside of the defenders' area. The defenders take three shots to be eliminated. Ideally you'd rotate around squads of defenders, and the squad of defenders that hits the most attackers wins overall.
Octozombies v1.1 - a small scale version of Runner, using a small play area such as a basketball court. Effectively a Nerf-ed version of the beloved primary school game Octopus. Humans are given just a single dart/disc/etc, and the starting zombies get swords. If a zombie is hit, they are eliminated for the remainder of that run (but return in the next run). If a human is tagged, they become a zombie in the next round. At the end of each run the humans pick up their one shot if used (or just load a new one in). Humans are not permitted to scavenge off the ground during runs.
Additional rules:
Once the zombies outnumber the humans, the humans as a group get one dart for every extra zombie (for instance for 4 zeds, 3 humans, the humans get 4 darts).
Octopi-ing - instead of zombies getting eliminated from the round, they turn into an octopus and can still tag humans, but cannot move.
Double-tap - if a zombie is hit once, they are stunned for 3 seconds. If they are hit again within those 3 seconds they are octopi-ed, otherwise return to regular zombie duties once the 3 seconds has elapsed.


Elite Alpha Trooper (spring replaced) - pretty much the benchmark to which all other springers are compared. A solid all round blaster with good range, usable accuracy and a reasonable ROF.
Elite Retaliator (spring replaced) - slightly more powerful than the EAT, with a slower ROF. Also more compact without attachments, so quite good at corner shots. Personally I prefer the EAT but the Retal is more readily available and more internally robust.
Elite Stryfe (rewired, 2*IMR) - a basic entry level flywheeler. Lacks the power of an upgraded springer, but is very easy to rapid fire, though being semi auto stable ROF is much lower than maximum ROF. Since it's not running upgraded motors rev time is significant, and the lack of range overall made the Stryfe one of the weaker blasters on the field.
N-Strike Alpha Trooper (spring replaced, AR removed, powerstock) - this thing is a relic of the bygone N-Strike era when the NSAT was widely regarded as the best all-round springer, before the Elite line came out. With the powerstock it had sufficient power to keep up with the EATs, however a lot of darts seemed to helicopter out of control within the first 8m. Given that the EATs were easier to use, got similar ranges and were more reliable (with no helicopters observed), there was no reason to use this NSAT over the EATs.

Elite Crossbolt (no arm mod) - as described in my previous game report, the Crossbolt is uncomfortable and awkward to use, and slow to fire, but gets very solid ranges (comparable to the Stryfe at full-rev) and more importantly incredibly good accuracy. The accuracy made it quite good for cover to cover potshots, and the relative quietness of its firing made it very difficult to pinpoint the Crossbolt user if they quickly ducked back behind cover. The slow ROF made it very vulnerable to the flywheelers though.
Elite Rapidstrike (minimised, rewired, 2S LiPo - "RapidPDW") - can be thought of as a larger, bulkier Stryfe with a stock that got slightly superior ranges, faster rev time and a much higher stable ROF (around 6dps with a full charge LiPo). It handled quite well in close quarters, being full auto and highly maneuverable, however appeared to struggle at longer ranges where it had very large spread.
Elite Rapidstrike (overhaul - Falcon motors, rewired, 3S LiPo) - easily the star of the show. This Rapidstrike got ranges comparable to the EATs (with basically no flywheel residue buildup), yet spat out darts at around 10dps, far beyond anything else present. Accuracy was lacking again due to the lack of flywheel residue, but given the ROF that was not particularly important. I was able to easily outgun basically any other blaster, and single-handedly won several of the rounds we played purely thanks to the firepower of this Rapidstrike. I look forward to building more primary-worthy Rapidstrikes.

We played at the same school as the day before's Equalz Dee game, as I felt the terrain would be suitable not only for the primarily zombie games played with Equalz Dee, but also the more tactical games I play with friends. We stuck to the built-up area, avoiding the more open areas since they had no cover.
The built-up area has more cover than the playgrounds I usually play at with my friends, which certainly made combat more fun and less dodgy.

I find it hard to talk about CTF and BR as they ran relatively smoothly and as expected, including the obvious shortfalls of real-life games compared to video games, primarily relating to respawning and players running out of ammo. For some stupid reason I didn't think to just dump the spare (filled) clips (mags) at the spawns, which would have fixed that. Regardless, the games ran relatively smoothly and quite quickly, the longest game being around 4 minutes (as expected for such a small player base).

We had to play the CTF and BR games as only 3v3 due to people having issues preventing them from arriving on time, which meant that we had to restrict the play area slightly more than I'd like to prevent players from just circumventing all combat and capturing the flag/bomb. If possible, I would have liked to use slightly more of the built-up area, as the firefights usually involved the entirety of both teams and so turned CTF basically into a slightly more tactical TDM. Had we had more players, we could have used more area and had a more interesting game. More players and more area would allow for more smaller skirmishes rather than a few large firefights, leading to more teamwork required to adequately defend and attack at the same time.

Juggernaut was just a filler gamemode as we only had a few minutes before one of the players had to leave. It wasn't planned or thought out much, and probably isn't intended to be played in the manner it was in the future. We had 7 players, so the juggernaut was given the overhauled Rapidstrike and a buddy with their choice of blaster, against 5 attackers. This gamemode in particular highlighted the ease of abuse of full-auto, the need for spare clips (mags) for the Rapidstrike and the value of cover more than anything else. The juggernaut had about 3 18 clips (mags), however the juggernaut + buddy only managed to score 3 hits.
Watching the juggernaut's footage, it was clear that the juggernaut, someone inexperienced with such a high ROF Rapidstrike, was unable to properly fire short bursts early on. As such they used 5-7 darts on bursts that only needed 3-4 to get hits, depleting the juggernaut's ammo twice as fast. The availability of cover further highlighted the need for trigger control. Often the juggernaut would fire off bursts at attackers, only for them to duck behind cover. The juggernaut often fired off 5-7 dart suppression bursts, where just 1 or 2 darts would have done the same job, with far superior ammo conservation. Where the juggernaut would have reflexively fired off just one or two darts with say an EAT, he fired off extended bursts resulting in him depleting his 3 18 clips (mags) exceptionally fast (despite 2-3 18s being a standard loadout for my friends).
I get by with the Rapidstrike with 3 18s and 2 12s for the short CTF/BR games, however ideally I would like at least 6 18s as the Rapidstrike can eat through clips (mags) incredbly fast, especially so in larger engagements. In just a 3v3 CTF/BR I was running through all 3 18s, so in a 4v4 or 5v5 I can foresee running through 5 or even 6 18s. In MHvZ as well, I found myself running through my (5) 18s quite quickly, though because most other humans packed more clips (mags) than me, I could survive longer firing less by relying on their fire support.
Juggernaut very much emphasised the need for practice and trigger control with the Rapidstrike. It can be extremely easy to eat through clips (mags) very quickly, and waste a lot more darts if the user is more used to manual blasters like the NSAT/EAT. However as with CTF/BR, the volume of fire put out by the Rapidstrike was deadly if players were caught out of cover.

An altered version of Octozombies was played late in the day with 7 players (2 OZs), and IMO it worked really, really well. Early iterations of Octozombies saw zombies have little issue getting the early tags on humans, due to the humans splitting up, missing, being incompetent etc. However if the humans worked and stuck together, it was practically impossible for the zombies to get to get any early tags wen operating on one-shot-elimination, so changes had to be made.
In early game (ie when humans significantly outnumber zombies) zombies operate on a double-tap. This greatly improved zombie chances early on as double-tap gave them a second chance against any stragglers, and also reduced the ability of the humans to just annihilate the zombies. Originally the humans would start off with 5 darts to 2 OZs, which operating on one-shot-elim gave the humans a huge margin for error when firing their shots. Doube-tap meant that if a single shot missed, the humans would have to hit every subsequent shot to be able to stop all the zombies. Naturally if the humans moved fast enough and were sufficiently coordinated, they could still all just single-tap the zombies and run past during the stun, however in practice this level of coordination was not usually necessary as once one zombie was octopi-ed, the humans could easily deal with the second. Usually the most threatening zombie (or the one in the way of the humans and the other side) would be hammered with several darts once they got too close, followed by the human pack sprinting past/around the octopi-ed zombie while the second zombie did what they could to deal with stragglers. The new octopi rule meant that the zombie wasn't completely eliminated from play, but instead simply couldn't move, which allowed them to block off a small area. This effectively increased the chances of the human pack having to contend with both zombies, and increased the threshold of dart hits required to be able to get past, which greatly improved early game competitivity and fun.

Once the zombies started to get reasonable numbers (3 in our case), double-tap was removed but octopi was kept in play. Because the zombie-human numbers were roughly even, double-tap was no longer necessary to give the zombies a fighting chance. Octopi was still kept in place so that the eliminated zombies could still be useful, and so the humans can't just completely ignore downed zombies. In the 3z/4h situation the humans have a very slight advantage, but in the chaos of the run the zombies still have a solid chance of a tag or two.
As the zombies start to outnumber the humans (starting with 4z/3h), the humans start to get more darts, with one for every extra zombie. This is to give the humans a fighting chance, as they are otherwise just screwed going into late game. In the case of 4z/3h, the humans as a group get 4 darts, which is typically split 2/1/1 so each human has a chance of survival. The human who has the most darts usually leads the pack, however as the zombies still octopi the humans can't take a direct route to the other side. At this stage there are not yet enough zombies to block the whole area, however the humans are forced to work together as one human vs the horde is a very bad matchup. This and the previous stages of the game are the most competitive and hectic as both sides have roughly equal numbers.

Once into the final stages of the game, where the zombies far outnumber the humans (starting with 5z/2h), zombie octopi-ing is removed (and replaced with standard elimination) as the zombies can almost block off the entire area by standing in a line. Once at this stage it becomes very difficult for the humans to progress, and it becomes even more crucial for them to work together. Without working together, a human would potentially have to face two zombies after using all their darts, which is a practically guaranteed tag. Considering the chaos of the game, pairs of humans rarely survived more than one or two runs at this stage, usually with the slower one getting trapped by zombies while the faster one sprints by.
The very last run of the game is a last stand type run, with the last human getting enough darts to hit each zombie once. The zombies typically just charge the human as that gives them the best chance of success, however it is possible to win this round as a human. Using an EAT with 6 darts, I was able to eliminate the first 3 or so zombies who charged at me, which gave me a little breathing space to work with. I used the remaining darts to eliminate as many zombies as possible, and I ended up eliminating 5 of the 6 zombies, and just outran the last zombie to win. Nevertheless this last run is quite difficult as you have the pressure of facing down a far superior horde, and have nowhere to run. A single misfire or jam will get you tagged, but even without that you need to be able to fire quite quickly to eliminate all the incoming zombies. Even with the pump action EAT I was barely able to hit all of the charging zombies, so I'd certainly recommend using a pump action or semi/full auto blaster in this last run.

The ammo scarcity is a key part of Octozombies and contributes much to why the zombies are a threat. If you were allowed in the earlier rounds to have more than one dart, it would be far too easy for humans to take turns suppressing and warding off the zombies (or even just going for the double-tap at longer ranges). In later rounds it would be far too easy for a player to fire on the zombies at long range and cut a path straight to the other side.

I really enjoyed Octozombies, it gets everyone moving and running, and does well at honing zombies' dodging skills and humans' close range/pressure situation accuracy. Besides having the cluster of eliminated zombies in the last few rounds blocking both humans and zombies, and zombies overruning their stun/octopi hit locations, Octozombies had no real negative points or issues.

Once I can get a few more videos edited and uploaded, I'll be adding them here.


  1. Nice to see the old alpha trooper still in curculation. i gather i has been spring modded to compete with EAT?

    1. From post: " (spring replaced, AR removed, powerstock) " so yep, spring replaced. IMO doesn't compete with the EAT, it needs a powerstock as well to get comparable power which makes it a lot harder to use, and also tends to helicopter darts a lot more.