I haven't been playing much, so it was nice to finally have a game to go to yesterday, a regular non-HvZ stock class event at the University of South Florida.
As to the event itself, it wasn't any regular campus war by my standards. We ran a TDM on the usual field, and then a CTF game in the woods. I will focus on the latter.
Other players there may disagree purely based on the issues* of this particular CTF match but, after being there for it, I realize what we are missing. In this game the playing field was very large, filled with cover (it was a wooded area), and players scattered widely and seeking an objective that required a lot of moving around the area, and it wasn't constant engagement. There were tense situations and fully automatic firefights that left the ground littered with darts as hits pinged off cover, but there was also that certain element of measured gameplay. It wasn't the usual charge and spam like hell, quick death, over in 5 minutes or less type of round at a "nerf war" which is something I find really unsatisfying and un-fun in certain ways.
* The issue with the CTF game was that more participants were
expected, or some such planning error, and the spread of players over
the chosen area and flag locations reduced the amount of combat. No team
had captured a flag by late day so the game was called. This
does not represent a fundamental problem with the gametype so much as
poor choice of parameters for the actual playerbase, IMO.
Despite these aforementioned problems and their consequences on how this game played out, I really liked everything else about how it was run. I think nerf has far too many gametypes that play out in the same tired old manner: We all attack each other on a mostly open field, maybe with some bunkers (pallets, mobstacles, trees, and the like) strewn about, with the size of the arena constrained to just about as far as the guns can shoot from corner to corner. The games are usually high-intensity, but it's the same old feeling, what I said above about the overly rapid and haphazard progression of games applies, and I think we can do more than play this like a sport. That's why I think we need to stop with the foam speedball.
Available play area is a noted problem, though. If you only have a public park or a little corner of a campus, there isn't much to be done.
Now I move on to the trial by fire of the Rapidstrike Tactical Model. Overall, it went very well, and strangely enough, I have precisely zero complaints which is strange for picking up something new and different. The handling was beyond amazing.
It also shot like a beast, and I have to say that for this case I really like the 7.4V battery I am using and will not be making a 3S pack for this gun. Noise, heat and dart damage were all minimized yet velocity stayed up exactly where I want it, and with the pack topped off (the Sanyo hybrids do lose quite a bit of voltage at half charge or so) the response from the flywheel motors was still beyond excellent. I shot this like a springer all day and never had a single low-velocity shot or problem reacting quickly. And these are just FK Blades, not Xtremes, that I am running. The microswitch FCG is also doing well and gives great trigger feel and response, and I am satisfied with the cyclic rate of fire, which probably averages 600RPM.
Accuracy was awesome with ZombieStrike Elite and I was matching effective ranges with most of the blowguns that were shooting at me. Not so much with crappy scavenged ammo and old 1.3g Chinawhites and orange streamlines and other garbage that I shot a lot of. Many of those spun out, which can be extremely aggravating. However that is expected and afflicts all my primaries. Use good ammo, people. It makes a massive difference!
Overall my experience with this build was awesome, and this is the first time I feel like I have the primary I have been looking for since my mid 2011 Stampede days when I first hardcored HvZ and had a blast. This is the first time I don't feel like the gun is in the way of playing the game, it's just, seamless. Nor am I missing my integration, which is a first as well, as I have a history of finding rifles inadequate and hanging Swarmfires and stuff on them.
Speaking of gear, my loadout for all this war was the RS TacMod as primary, RapidPistol as secondary, and my old duct tape 4-up belt pouch full of mags, hung from a web belt. I also had a holstered Jolt and my Convoy M1 flashlight. The RapidSwarm stayed in the car, although I had expected to run it primarily. Yes, I still do need better gear and better mag carriage solutions and the TacMod needs a proper sling, but what I have works out surprisingly well with 2 full HvZ games of use on it plus a lot of zombie arena games and stock class.
The RapidPistol got used, and saved my ass, many times in thie event. This is just a regular stock motor/7.4V setup, on a pseudo-singlepoint sling, tucked under my left arm just as my old Rayven was. I would highly recommend RapidPistols as secondaries.
On the flip side of things, ammo costs are killing me. I bought a case of ZombieStrike Elite before the event that I mostly did not recover. Before next time I play real HvZ I am going to need hundreds of rounds of something, and even with those "Koosh" darts that I haven't yet tested, that is going to be a pain in the wallet. The airsofters are right, they have far cheaper ammo than we do, even disregarding reusability. So do the NIC people with their stefans. Stock class, virtually defined by the use of manufactured darts, is NOT good on ammo cost. I'm really not sure what can be done about that, if anything. It may just be the tradeoff for the positives of our more engineered (thus guaranteed safer, and enabling for games like HvZ in public places) ammunition.
Overall though, it was a fun day and great to be back in the game!