How To Stay Alive

(So you want to kill some zombies?)

Here are some tips specific to HvZ about how to stay human:
Guns: Practice with equipment beforehand!
Rookie players often get taken down because of equipment issues that could have been resolved faster with a little practice. Zombies running at you and your gun jams? Now what? (Here's one hint: don't let them know your gun is jammed and many zombies will still avoid you). Are you able to clear jams quickly? Are you able to switch to your secondary gun quickly? Can you reload fast? Can you reload while running? Can you switch clips? Do you keep track of how many shots you have left in your clip? Battery guns need motor spin-up time before you can pull the trigger, do you give it enough rev time (if not, expect even more jams). If you haven't removed the safeties on your gun, do you know how to resolve those issues? What do you do when your clip hits something and drops out of your gun?

Figure 2.4b: Poor survival strategy

It's pretty easy to spot the new players who aren't comfortable with their gun - they are tentative about shooting because they are in a high-intensity situation and suddenly something very simple such as shooting a gun can get lost. You need this to be part of muscle memory.

So run around and shoot your gun. Switch guns. Switch clips on the fly. Fake or create jams and resolve them. Even a few sessions of practice can make an enormous difference in your preparation. Even for an experienced player, if you switch to a new weapon that you aren't used to you'll find that your reaction times suddenly drop considerably and this can mean death.

You want to generally stay in an oval shape and you want to have melee weapons on all the "corners" - at least two in front and two in back. Save your darts for when you need them, the Zombies will generally stay right out of range until they see an opportunity, and even then your melee weapons should be able to stun them, unless it's a big swarm. Make sure everyone in formation knows what area they are watching (left side, front, right side, etc...). Your rear needs to generally walk backwards, or at least regularly be checking behind.
Keep the group together
Every human you lose is one more zombie, and one less human protecting you. When things get hectic, it's tempting to run, but if you do, then either your backwards walking rear will have to turn and run (and get tagged by fast zombies) or will get separated from you, and then they will die and your slowest runners will die. Along the same lines, it's tempting (especially with melee) to step out of the group in order to kill a zombie. Good job falling for a trap and getting separated from the group! You almost always want to move slowly and as a close-knit group, one of the only exceptions is...
Beware Crouching Zombies
In games (such as most SF games) that require that shot zombies take a knee and have a stun time, usually they zombies can just stay down until they want to jump up and tag. In some sets of rules you are not able to re-stun a zombie until they stand, making crouching zombies particularly dangerous. If your group is moving through a crouching zombie, make sure everyone knows that they are there (I've seen the backwards-walking rear humans trip over crouching zombies, which just ain't right) and make sure you know what their count is - if they are done or almost done counting, give them space and have a weapon pointed at them. Sometimes crouching zombies are reason to pick up the pace, usually a calm jog will do, running is likely to break up the group. Also make sure everyone knows when you're going to hit a jogging pace, and also make sure to stop jogging as soon as you're safe, it's easy to keep moving fast and wasting energy.
Prepare For Zombie Swarms
One of the best ways to tag humans is to have a swarm of zombies that all attack at the same time. Panic is not your friend in this cases - make sure you've communicated to everyone and make sure you have melee protecting you from those you can't shoot.
Keep Alert!
This seems like it shouldn't need to be stated, but it's amazing how many people lose focus or start paying attention to anything other than the perimeter they should focus on. Make sure you or people in your group are always aware of your surroundings and any incoming zombies. This is one of the top reasons people get tagged - because they were talking to someone or focused on one zombie while a zombie comes in from another side.