What is victory? Well, for the purpose of this guide, victory means overall human success throughout the course of an HvZ game. This will factor such things as accomplishing mission goals, minimizing overall human casualties, and stunning more zombies than you can count. While this guide will help anyone, it is "largely" tailored to groups. Whether you have a large human group of 15-30 or just a small group of your friends, the information I'm going to be telling you is relevant to either.
However, if your only interest is survival, then this guide is "not
" for you. I know many humans like to last as long as they can and see final stand, and I get that, really I do, but that just isn't what this guide is for. The tactics and strategies that will be covered in this guide will save lives, have no doubt about that, it will even save your own life many times, but in the end, you are putting yourself at risk for the benefit of the greater whole of humanity--and while that may seem like a good guy's philosophy, it's simply numbers, and this is putting the numbers in your favor. Regardless, I'll get into that later. Take a look and see what interests you and thanks for reading.
(The examples used below features many players within VIGIL. For the sake of their anonymity, I will be using their Clan names). All photographs used are from SCAD HvZ and were captured by photographers Denel Liburd and Melissa Hope Sarah Brown. I hope you enjoy. I know it's long, but just consider there are fifty-five very large photos in this guide.I. Introduction
II. The Tenants of Training
2. Weapon Familiarity
IV. Group Structure
V. Psychology: Aggression is Everything
VI. Quick Tips
VII. Risk and Reward: What You Will be Remembered For
I figured this would be necessary before I get into anything. I don't post on the HvZ forums often, and I only registered earlier this year, but the game has been an important part of my life ever since I joined the game in college three years ago. I play SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) HvZ, a game that boasts 400-600 players yearly. SCAD HvZ plays a 5 day game, where playtime begins at 8 AM and ends at 12 AM every night until the final stand. There are pseudo missions during the day, and critical missions during the night. Blasters are allowed, socks are allowed, and modified blasters (to an extent that isn't dangerous) are also allowed.
I was in Gameplay Committee for my school's game last year, and I was reelected to be in Gameplay Committee for 2013 in Spring. For 2014, I ran for and was elected the Gameplay Coordinator of SCAD HvZ, officially retiring myself from playing HvZ.
I'm commonly known as Blue during the game, and I founded VIGIL, a human clan that played its first game last Spring. I managed six captains and thirty clan members for the duration of the game. Through our tactics and skirmishes, our Clan was a Zed target right out of Day one, and each one of the members had bounties placed on their heads by the OZ and Generals. This is because we didn't care about survival, we cared about completing the missions and stopping humans from dying--this is why the Zeds hated us, and soon they will hate you, too. In 2013, we played the same way, kept to being model players, and we were rewarded with the Group of the Year Award for our game's HvZ
Before I move on I will say that the accomplishments my Clan made weren't because of my efforts, it was because of the efforts of everyone involved. I am extremely proud of their talent, dedication, and friendship. (Art by Chris "Fodder" Schneider)II. The Tenants of Training
So you want to be all you can be and take the Zeds head on--that's great--but you need to train. Preparation for HvZ is everything, and anything I cover after this will be useless if you aren't prepared. VIGIL trained two to three times a week every week for ten weeks (Winter Quarter) up until HvZ started in Spring. I wouldn't suggest doing something that intense (we're scaling down to four meetings a quarter), and you can do it in your own way, but I would at least suggest to cover the things I list below in whatever capacity you feel is necessary.1. Cardio
Cardio is hands-down the most important thing I can mention. Anyone is capable of a short-distance sprint, but what's important is stamina, not necessarily celerity. HvZ is an all-day game, and if it isn't for your college, it at least lasts a few hours at a time. Your ability to last is paramount. If you're tired, you not only can't run more, but your other senses suffer because of it, and that's something a lot of people don't consider. Accuracy? Shot down. Awareness? In the gutters. Basically, everything you need will be sapped away from you, and you might as well be dead.
Any sort of training you do will be heavily minimized if you don't have stamina...and besides, do you really need these reasons to just be healthy? Don't do it for the game, do it for yourself. All it takes is a few miles every "week", that's all you need. 3-5 a week is nothing, even if you're out of shape. If you have issues with your legs, try swimming instead.
Let's have a visual aid. Here we have a human during VIGIL training we will simply call "Mad Macaroni" for the sake of this example.
Mad Macaroni is fighting a skirmish against zeds with his teammate, "Kriskross".
Macaroni and Kriskross were off to a good start, stunning zeds left and right, but after running too long, Macaroni grew tired, and didn't notice VIGIL zed "Artemis" with the red running shorts off to his left. Because he had a raider, he was able to spin in time to slam fire a shot into her, but the sudden move put him off balance, and the remaining zombies promptly surrounded him as he slammed into a wall and broke a fire alarm. The RA's weren't very happy about it.
So, let's recap: Macaroni grew tired, which allowed zeds to catch up to him. Furthermore, because of his exhaustion-induced lack of awareness, he didn't notice Artemis flanking his left side quickly enough, causing him to spin out of control and promptly die violently under the onslaught of zombies.
Stamina is important. Cardio is important. Your health is important. Do some jogging.2. Weapon Familiarity
What I mean by weapon familiarity is that if you have a small piece of plastic meant for children in your hands, you better know the ins and out of it, because the little pieces of foam that it vomits out are the only thing keeping you from the eager tag of a zed.
Familiarity is best done simply by using your blaster in the field. If you're using anything that uses streamline darts, know that it is horribly inaccurate (unmodified). Keep that in mind when you're fighting zeds. You need to know the ranges of your blaster. You don't even need a zed for that, just a target. For VIGIL, I preferred they shoot zeds so they keep in mind what they're going to be facing during HvZ.That's right, shooting range targets duct taped to a Nissan. War is hell.
However, the most important part of familiarity is taking what is unfamiliar and making it familiar. What do I mean by that? I mean your blaster doing things you don't expect it to. The most common human-slaying issues that we run into are blasters jamming and running out of ammo in a clip.
If you have a jam, you need to be able to fix it, and fix it fast--if you can't, then you switch to a secondary weapon--whether that's another blaster or a sock, you need to get it out and ready before you get tagged. The same goes for ammo--if you run out, you need to eject that clip immediately and replace it with another and get that blaster primed. If you aren't quick enough, then carrying all that extra plastic is a waste of weight.
To train VIGIL, I put them through two different exercises on what I call "WCST" or Worst Case Scenario Training. One of these trainings included giving an individual clan members four six-shot clips. They would face off against four zeds. Every time they scored a kill, they would have to eject their clip and replace it with another before attempting to shoot again. This teaches them to reload on the run--something most people aren't accustomed to.
"Blitz", pictured above after fumbling with his vest and dying with clip still in hand, found it to be a thoroughly traumatizing experience.
The second WCS would feature weapon jams. The scenario would be the same--one human, four zeds. Every time the human scored a kill, he would have to fix a jam before continuing to fire. This meant opening the jam door, fishing out a dart, and then preparing to fire once again.
Above we see clan member "Helo" staving off a group of zombies. He would learn that fixing jams on his barricade would make this a daunting task.3. Teamwork
Regardless of what tactics you employ, you need it to happen fluently. While you and your team may not do the same thing as VIGIL, you need it to "work". If it doesn't work, then there's no use employing it. For tactics to work, you need to practice them--and you need to practice them under stress. I don't have pictures for this example because we were short on zombies this training day, but it featured a fireteam (four VIGIL clanmates and one Captain in the middle) completing an obstacle course and killing a team of zombies on a 10 second respawn timer. The catch is that they were all tied back-to-back by a piece of string. If one of them died or if the string broke in their panic or lack of communication, their run would be considered a failure.
Come up with new ways to employ your own tactics. Regardless of what it is, you need to induce as much stress as possible--get as close to the real thing as you can. It not only prepares your group for what is to come, but it builds solidarity, and a group that loves each other is a successful group.
Also, keep in mind that employing tactics isn't the only way (and shouldn't be) to help your team work together. You need everyone to be friends. Host some parties, have a good time--do things that aren't even relevant to the game. If your people don't like each other, then they don't have a reason to be in the group in the first place. I asked a lot of my people, and they were willing to give not because I was a good leader, but because they loved each other. Here's a few pictures from one of our many get togethers. To give you a bit of backstory on this: This was around midterms, and I informed everyone that this would be the most difficult and trying training to date. I told them this would be where they sink or swim as members, and that the training would take place in a secret location. My people were ragged on midterm workloads, training, and general stress--and despite it, all but one member (sick) showed up to the meeting.
We corralled everyone into seven cars--and yes, they were all full. We blasted our theme song "Make a Man out of You" as we rode to the "secret destination".
They hurriedly piled out of their cars and geared up in under a minute.
We had them crossing streets, covering all angles, and making our way down to our final destination block by block. I informed them that zeds could attack at any given moment. It was extremely high-stress. Pictured above: Fodder, T-Rex Thunder, and Turbo
And yet, they performed admirably, keeping their cool the whole way there. Pictured above: Turbo, Helo, Solid Sam, Kriskross.
There we were, our final target. We all gathered at the door, and I informed them we'd be sweeping through the entire house--a house ridden with zeds in every corner.
They charged inside.
And looked shocked as they saw this.
Cookies, Cake, Pasta, and a Party to bring it all together.
Pictured Above: "Internet Predator 69" and "Solid Sam".
They ate cookies.
Took a spin with Maverick Roulette.
and tac gear.
Honestly? They just had a good time.
Good parties=Good teams.III. Weapons/Gear
Now that the picture book is done with, I'll make a quick note on weapons and gear. If your college doesn't allow blasters, you won't get much out of this section, but for the rest...know what is in your hands.
Get a blaster that is suited to your individual style, but be knowledgeable about it, and keep in mind that, to an extent, blasters "do" have scenarios that they should and shouldn't be used for. Do you like the overhand reload and light weight of a recon? Great, but be knowledgeable about how often it jams and train to fix them. Enjoy the reliability and clip size of the Alpha Trooper? Sick, but keep in mind that because it's a longer weapon, it will difficult to turn in time for a flanking zombie.
Know what's in your hand, know its strengths and weaknesses, and play accordingly. What do I mean by that? I mean, if you have a weapon with a high rate of fire, shoot packs of zeds and don't blow all your ammo on one guy. If you have a long weapon with a high range, stay out in the open, if you have a short weapon, be the guy that's checking corners.
As a general rule of thumb, I like short weapons. I would normally prefer the Recon, but it isn't very reliable, so I use a Stage 1 Alpha Trooper
So, let me get in a little more detail about weapons and range in general. First off, if your weapon can fire a hundred feet, that's about sixty feet of range that you frankly don't need. Zeds are not a threat when they are a hundred feet away, they are a threat when they are right in front of you.
"But Blue, I can kill all of them before they even become a threat."
No, you can't. Look at any zombie guide--any zed player with half a mind will not give you a long-range target. The zombies at my school that rack up the most kills are the ones that are good at hiding, the ones that you don't know are there until it's too late. The 'only' time you will get a long range opportunity at a zombie is if there's a massive horde charging your lines--and let's face it, if you shoot one zombie in a pack of a hundred at seventy feet away--tell me, how many people are going to actually stop in the middle of that charge and go "Hmm, I might have gotten shot at fifty+ feet away. I don't know, as nerf darts are infamously difficult to feel, and that might have just been someone bumping my shoulder, but I'm going to go ahead and put my bandana down just in case."
Zeds will do whatever they can to avoid getting killed, and unless you're close to them--and when I say close I mean in immediate talking distance--they will not acknowledge the hit. Furthermore, darts are still pretty horribly inaccurate after a certain distance, minimizing the use of range even more. All of the fighting--all of the kills, tags and stuns alike, happen at close range, and you need to tailor your arsenal to that simple fact about HvZ gameplay.
In other words, the shorter your gun is, the more precious feet you get to shoot a zombie that's close to you. An Alpha trooper is two feet long--that's two feet a zombie has to tag you. A recon without attachments (please never use nerf attachments) is one foot. A longstrike with its barrel is over 3 feet long, or in other words, "please tag my gun before you even see me" lengths. Take off your barrels, take off the attachments, you don't need them. The only thing I think is worthwhile is the Raider stock because it can be shortened and, unlike most nerf stocks, is sturdy and dependable. A difference of inches may seem like a silly thing to warrant this much deliberation over, but every inch you can take off your weapon is another inch that a zombie can't tag. And when we're talking about a zed physically having to get close enough to you to "tag you with both of their hands", then yes, a few inches can literally be the difference between life and death.
Finally, my little section on gear is pretty similar. You might have noticed by now that most of VIGIL wears tactical vests. Let me start by saying this: You don't need one. You really don't. A tiny gym bag that you can secure around your shoulders is just as good as any amount of gear. We wear tactical vests to be recognized and largely as a tool of intimidation. You need enough on you to store ammo in a way that you can quickly get your hands on it, but don't weigh yourself down with gear, and don't travel too light. I see people failing this balance all the time.
If you want to survive, what I'm saying is irrelevant, but if you want to make a difference in a game, you need enough ammo and firepower to mow down zeds. However, HvZ is an extremely mobile game, and if you have so many weapons or too much ammo on you, you're going to get tired, or be cumbersome in your movements. A tired human is a dead human. A human without ammo is a dead human. And a human with a lot of gear looks really cool, but, again, is still a dead human.
Honestly this is up for you to judge. If you want to look cool, don't let me rain on your parade, I get where you're coming from (really I do), but this guide is about doing the most you can do for humans, and doing that calls for you to have enough ammo to fend off the horde, but not so much that you become a walking piece of meat covered in plastic and foam.IV. Group Structure
I play around a lot with structure. Last HvZ, we divided our teams into 5 man fireteams, but for 2013, I'll be switching over to 2 man groups. I won't go into too much detail about structure because it's ultimately up to you and your group and will depend widely on what sort of objective you're trying to accomplish and how many people you have.
However, I do have some general advice on the matter. For one, make sure all angles are covered. A good zed is one that strikes from a blind spot--make sure you never present them one. Always have someone covering someone else. Basically, you need to be so sure that your back is covered that you won't need to look behind you. It will allow you to focus more on your angle, which 1) improves your accuracy and minimizes the panic factor and 2) allows you to see well-hidden zombies and improves overall group unity.
I also suggest having a pointman--someone that is both fast and traveling light. He will be running ahead into danger, but he's fast enough that he won't get sniped. A pointman's purpose (in the case of HvZ), is to scout ahead for hordes of zeds. It's better that a large group of zombies spot one human and chases him back to the main group as opposed to all of the humans going "Oh, god" at once and all fleeing away. This results in blind spots, with results in panic, which results in death.
Regardless of what your strategy is, you need to go on the field in a way that will cover all your angles while being highly mobile. I made VIGIL practice the buddy system thoroughly.
The buddy system keeps this from turning into...
That.V. Psychology: Aggression is Everything
Something zombies tend to be good at is psyching out humans. After all, they have the psychological advantage of "already being dead". A zombie is generally willing to risk a lot more than humans, and it's because that no matter what happens, the worst case scenario is that they'll be on a respawn timer. Humans, on the other hand, have everything to lose. You only live once, and in most schools, HvZ only comes around once a year.
When HvZ was founded at SCAD, the creators of the game got the "OK" with the college-wide event having this mission statement: "It teaches participants the value of life".
This certainly holds true for the game. In fact, many humans play the game with the sole intention of survival. They will go to such ends as staying in their rooms all day, hiding their bandanas (I even see some people on tumblr being 'proud' of that one), or just avoiding conflict in general. Now, I don't have anything against survival, but there's a fine line between that and cowardice.
However, as the title of this guide states, I'm not typing to teach you how to survive, I'm teaching you how to win, and that involves you putting yourself in danger.
The answer to human success is simple: aggression. It's violent, fast-paced, extremely dangerous for humans--and it's the most fun you will ever have in this game.
Let me give you an example from Night 1 of 2012. The human numbers were still massive because it was the first mission night, and the objective was to defuse a bomb inside of a courtyard of a large dorm building. Sizewise, I can best describe it as a thin football field with tons and tons of cover for zombies. Bushes, bike racks, and of course, the open hallways of the first floor building that "literally" surrounds the courtyard. For visual aid, look at the buddy system pictures above, they were all in the dorm building's halls.
Also, terrifying at night.
At this point, there were about 30-40 zombies. 30-40 against hundreds--easy for the humans, right? Wrong. Zombies would dart in from the dark halls and rush onto the courtyard, sniping humans one by one, causing a panic, which resulted in even more deaths. Humans were falling left and right up until they huddled in an extremely tight ball, which essentially would have doomed anyone outside of it, and because of the chaotic mass, didn't even do much to stop zombies from tagging them. One of my own clanmates was tagged in the chaos. In under ten minutes, over a dozen humans were dead, and we would still be stuck there for another hour. We knew the humans wouldn't last under that pressure, so what did we do? We attacked the zombies in their home: the dark hallways of Turner House.
I split up my Clan into two squads--three fireteams, fifteen strong on each side of the U-shaped building. We sprinted to the front of the field, picking off any zeds that came close (thanks to our formation which had us covering each other).
We then made our way from the tip of the U and met in the middle, mowing down any zombie that lunged at us in the halls. Those that weren't stunned in our fire were flushed out into the open field, where the main group of humans quickly took them out after they had nowhere to hide. The whole thing took "five minutes" for VIGIL, and literally every zombie in the dorm had been stunned. It was so crippling of an attack that every single one of the zombies fled back to the next objective. Not a single VIGIL member in the hall-clearing squads died, and for the rest of the mission night, no humans in Turner House died. Why is that?
It's because we brought the fight to the zeds. HvZ gameplay, largely, revolves around zombies picking off straggling humans or making huge zombie rushes against large groups of humans that are "defending" a point or just holding down a location. Gameplay is rarely about the humans being on the offensive. It may seem that way as they have ranged weapons--but honestly, think about your experiences as a human, as a zombie. It only makes sense that the one that needs "tag you with both of their hands" is the one that's doing the charging. This is why aggression is such a valuable tool--it's because zombies aren't prepared for it, because, frankly, there isn't a way to prepare for it.
Let's scale this down a bit and give some visual aid. Rewind to the first week of VIGIL training. I had one human go against three zombies to see how they fared.
Players that stayed still consistently "died". It is a common panic-induced reaction to lose all locomotion in your legs and simply lift up your blaster and fire at anything coming at you. They stayed still and carefully watched the zombies, waiting as they got surrounded and preparing themselves to shoot the first one that moved to attack them.
Pay attention to that last sentence: "waiting as they got surrounded" and "shoot the first one that moved to attack them" being key phrases. Humans do this in a stunning scale, and they frankly can't be blamed for it. You can't move because you're surrounded, and you don't want to run into the waiting arms of a zombie. It makes sense to keep as much distance as you can and just shoot as they come at you, but it's "wrong".
Here we see Solid Sam and Blitz, who both managed to kill their three zombies, facing off against a full "eight" zombies (four pictured). The sudden change in scale intimidated them despite their past success. Because of it, they stood still, as you see above, and were promptly surrounded and tagged after scoring only a few kills.
After strategizing together, the pair took another go at the zombies and--this time--kept mobile, and kept aggressive. They began by charging the zombies at the edges of the surround and ran right past the line, forcing the zombies to chase after them. However, they didn't stay still, they kept running, and only turned to shoot when zombies got close enough to them. Aggression and mobility saved them, whereas stagnation and over-focus killed them.
Over-focus essentially boils down to tunnel vision. It means that you focus too much on taking down a single zombie, and because of it, fail to notice another zombie that will tag you from behind. This kills "hundreds" of humans. A skilled zombie can dodge darts all day from as short as an eight-foot range. This is usually what happens. A human sees a zombie, the zombie starts moving towards the human, the human shoots at the zombie when he's close and misses. Committed to the fight, the human shoots at the zombie again and misses. Frustrated, he starts moving towards the zombie and continues to shoot until he scores a hit. And while the human usually does end up getting the kill, he almost "always" dies immediately afterwards because he overextended and failed to notice other zombies that were in hiding or slowly moving around his flanks.
A good zombie never attacks alone. Why do you think the zombie is so good at dodging your darts? It's because that's what that zombie is committed to. He isn't interested in tagging you because he knows you're going to go down either way. Just as the human is committed to shooting, the zombie is committed to dodging. What results is a prolonged fight that "always" ends in a dead human.
Don't stay still and don't overfocus.
Or this will happen to you. "Gunny", pictured above, overfocused on "Skulls", the girl in the black. While she was eventually hit by one of Gunny's darts, he was taken out by "Webhead", the zombie on the far right, who easily flanked behind him. I don't care how good you think you are. You don't have eyes in the back of your head, and a zombie can tag your back faster than you can turn around and shoot them.
You're going to see these setups all over the place. There's always a zombie who expects to be shot at, and a zombie who expects to secure the tag. Above you see "Togepi", the girl in the middle, already swerving her body in preparation to dodge darts. Meanwhile, "Riptide" on the far left is getting ready to flank "Scar"'s side and tag him when he isn't looking. "Scar", being a seasoned player, simply pretended to take the bait and then promptly turned and shot "Riptide" in the chest. "Riptide" turned out to be one of the best zombies around, but he was shot all the same. Why? It's because he planned to make a tag, not dodge a shot.
Skill is obviously relevant, as learning this increases your skill, but people can only do one thing at a time, and the way you get kills (human or zombie) is the same way you survive--by doing things that the other person won't expect.
However, it's easy to say "Do something surprising". You need to find an equilibrium. If you're too aggressive, you're going to get tagged in the back. If you're too defensive, you're going to get surrounded...and then tagged in the back.
But watch your back.VI. Quick Tips
A few of these have been mentioned before, some not. However, I figured I'd bring together everything I know here. If you have more to add, please post it up and I'll add it to the list.
1. If you're using a clip-fed blaster, change the color of the last 4-5 darts to let yourself know you're nearly out of ammo.
This lets you know that you should get ready to retreat and reload. I find it a much better alternative to pulling the trigger and finding that nothing comes out.
2. Watch a zombie's hips, not their hands
. Our eyes are instinctively drawn to a zombie's hands because A) they show the most movement and B) they are the surface that they want to tag us with. However, when a zombie is trying to juke your darts, follow their hips, it will tell you which way they're about to dive. Aim appropriately. This knowledge has literally saved my life in the game.
3. Fake blaster jams
. As I've mentioned previously in this guide, the best zombies are the most opportunistic ones. Take advantage of that--you'll be surprised how gullible someone can be. Start shaking your blaster around, hell, shout out "Oh god, it's jammed" and then look at the zombie's face with a look of despair. The amount of acting you exhibit is up to you. In either case, luring zombies via fake jams are an incredible way to trick zombies into charging before they have a full surround. This has worked for me 100% of the time, and if they wise up to it, they just might not attack the next time you have a "real" jam.
4. Wide open spaces are better than funneling.
A lot of humans have this misconception that funneling a large group of zombies through a hallway or some other tight corridor is a good idea. It isn't. When you funnel a group of zombies, the only thing it does is assure that stunned zombies soak up more darts before they get out of the way for fresh zombies to run past them. A human that is surrounded has a higher chance of survival than a human funneling a group of zombies. Get to an open space, pick a weak angle to charge, take out the zombies on that angle and then immediately turn to cover your six. You have blasters. You have range. Your maneuverability is infinitely stronger than a zombie. Don't squash that advantage by picking closed spaces to fight.VII. Risk and Reward: What You Will be Remembered For
I talked a lot about why you need to be aggressive, but I haven't touched much on the overall affect that your group is going to have on the game. First off, you need to realize that in the greater scheme of winning the game, you can't go into it thinking that you're aggressive because it gets you kills. While that's true, killing zombies isn't the way to win the game, it's keeping the zombies from killing humans.
Whether it's your training, your fitness, your arsenal, your tactics, or a culmination of all of them, you have an edge over the average Maverick-toting HvZ player. However, it doesn't matter how sharp your sword is if you keep it in its sheath. If you're a talented player, and even better, if you have an organized group of talented players, you need to be the vanguard, the protectors. You need to be aggressive, not for your sake, but for the sake of humans as a whole.
All throughout HvZ 2012, VIGIL organized themselves into hunting parties that went out and killed zombies as they gathered to make a charge. This kept the zeds from putting out casualties on the humans. Every human that is alive is extremely valuable, and no matter how good you think you are, you can't deny that. Every human dead is one less blaster you have on the field, and one more pair of hands that are ready to tag you.
Keeping humans alive is paramount to accomplishing missions. In fact, you often will find yourselves not doing the missions at all, but instead allowing the larger mass of humans to accomplish the missions while you go out into the danger zone and take out the zombies at their home.
Zombies do a lot of their planning on the fly, and if you're at their doorstep and taking them out, they won't have the organization to set up a proper strategy. It is a strange concept, but if you hit it right, you aren't running away from zombies, the zombies are running away from you. This is massive. Yes, haha, you're such a good human look at the zombies run from you--but let's break this down to what it means.
1) Zombies are getting stunned.
2) Strategies are being foiled.
Both of these directly influence the survival rate of humans as a whole.
I see a lot of groups that try to preserve themselves and only look out for their own because they have some sort of belief that they are the ones most qualified to accomplish missions. You aren't. Missions are specifically "tailored" to the casual player. It is easy to understand, and when you take the zombies out of the mix, is easy to accomplish. I know this because I've been making missions for the actual games in our college for the past two years, and I know it because of my background in Game Design.
Where you need to shine is out in the field, doing the dangerous things that other people aren't willing to. The greatest challenge of the game, and what allows zombies to win, is humans getting killed. By going out and stunning zombies in their home, they can't mobilize to take out the larger human groups.
While this all sounds grand, accept the fact that you "will" die. It does not matter how prepared your team is, how perfect you employ your tactics, and how solid your strategies are. If the game is well-designed, the zombies "will" win, or come damn close to it. Humans will die, a lot of them will die, and you and everyone in your team will die, too.
This is something you need to accept coming into the game. VIGIL did great--in fact they did amazing, but by the last stand, there were only three or four left alive.
That's because we were doing what others weren't willing to. We were the ones charging the zombie lines, we were the ones flanking the zeds, and we were the ones covering the most vulnerable sides of the human. You need to realize that if you want humans to come close to winning, you frankly need to buckle down and do some dangerous things. There is a risk in that, and the risk is that you will die. I was proud of my Clan as they accomplished impossible things every day, but did they die? Hell yes they did, we all did by the end of it. We lost six members on the first day, another six the day after. In fact, we had terrible casualties every day of the game. However, at the end of the day, you need to realize what you accomplished, and take pride in it.
You're protecting the humans by keeping the zombie bandanas on their necks.
You're holding the line. Protecting the flanks. Taking on the most dangerous tasks so that humanity as a whole will benefit.
You're the example for the rest of the humans. Be brave, and the humans will be brave. They will follow you, look to you for guidance, and when they fight next to you, they will be inspired--and when they see you eventually go down in a blaze of glory, they will be vengeful. All it takes are the efforts of a few to set a tone for an entire faction--this applies for humans and zombies alike.
And yes, despite your best efforts, humans will die. Your teammates will die. You will die.
And the Horde will grow.
But in the end, this game isn't about surviving, it isn't about being badass or unkillable. It's about having fun.
Taking on what frightens you, what makes your legs freeze, what makes your heart skip a beat. Being a Human in HvZ is about looking at impossible odds.
Looking at certain death.
And charging it head on because you're brave, because you're human.
Make this game proud and play it like it was designed to be played. Embrace your fears, play for the fun of the game. And when you finally get tagged?...Make sure you have a smile on your face.