First Siege of Caiger Mall
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|Siege of Caiger Mall|
|- Survivors :||Ron Burgundy, Communal, Sgt Whiskey Swiper, GureiByakko, The Head, Poppins, Zach Cross, and others|
|- Zombies :||Zombie Jesus, Blaze, Sephiroth, Plague Father, Petrosjko, Kytaira, Zilly Bavos, and Keith Moon.|
|- Survivors :|
|- Zombies :|
|- Survivors :||Too many lost...|
|- Zombies :||Too many to count....|
On October 27th, 2005, Caiger Mall came under assault by a large number of zombies. Although minor engagements between survivors and zombies had taken place before, the Siege of Caiger Mall is considered by many to have "officially" begun on November 10th.
The peak of the Mall Siege appeared to occur on November 25th, on which scouts for the ad-hoc defense force calling itself the Caiger Mall Survivors reported that there were nearly 1,300 zombies (counting both standing zombies and corpses) in the squares of the mall or in adjacent squares.
Yet less than a week later on December 2nd, all of the zombies outside had either left or were lying dead in front of the mall. Intermittent random attacks continued by ferals, but all of the major hordes had left.
Groups Taking Part in the Siege
The implementation of group information in profiles and game statistics during the siege helped draw the attention of both unaffiliated players and groups to the event, as the Caiger Mall Survivors were at one time the largest faction in the game, according to the Urban Dead Stats page.
Although the first attacks were made by the Church of the Resurrection, other zombie groups soon joined in, including the Red-eye Republic, Anti Celebrity Taskforce, Ridleybank Resistance Front, The Undying Scourge and the Minions of the Apocalypse.
Resistance against the zombie hordes was led by the ad hoc group known as the Caiger Mall Survivors and many auxiliary groups. The auxiliary groups included the Channel 4 News Team, AMDF, Army Control Corps, Children of the Darque, Council of Leaders, Creedy Defense Force, VGCats Survivalist Union, Dunell Hills Police Department, La R鶯lution, NEMO, Malton Confederacy, New Maltonian Dynasty, Whittaker Bravo Romeo, The Ecclesiarchy Militant, Dead Reckoning and The Fortress. Once it was shown that the siege was winding down they withdrew their forces, but two members chose to stay behind and see the fight through to the end.
Symbolic Value of the Stand
As the siege dragged on, the survivor's stand at Caiger Mall came to hold a symbolic value for some of those fighting the battle. According to conventional wisdom, the approach of a zombie horde (a large or very large group of zombies acting in unison) meant survivors had best run. Various survivor groups (most importantly, the ad-hoc Caiger Mall Survivors), held themselves against a coalition of hordes for over two weeks, thus disproving the notion that making a stand was futile in the face of zombie horde numbers.
Caiger Mall represents the first time that any stronghold or safehouse held out against a co-ordinated zombie assault.
Defeat of the Zombies
On December 1st, 2005, the Ridleybank Resistance Front was the first zombie group to acknowledge that they were abandoning the siege of Caiger Mall:
Let none take away from what you have done here, and let none steal the credit for the valor of your defense. You have done what was thought to be impossible, for you have turned away the horde.
In the name of the Caiger Mall Survivors and all humankind: BARHAH!
All of the other major hordes soon followed.
Factors in the Zombie Defeat
Because it is the first time that a major multi-horde assault faltered, the Siege of Caiger is worthy of analysis.
The syringe is the most important factor in any siege and Caiger was no different. The only way a siege can succeed is if the zombies can overwhelm the revification networks, either by killing people quicker than syringes can be found or by killing survivors with Science skills. When the siege began in earnest, the find rate for syringes was around 5%, so a dedicated Necrotech employee would find an average of 2-3 syringes a day. Thus, for every dedicated Necrotech employee on the human side the zombies had to kill a minimum of 3-4 people a day in order to eventually 'win' the siege. Partway through the siege the drop rate for syringes was upped to 15%, meaning a dedicated reviver could find 7-8 syringes a day. This, combined with a well-organized and systematic revivification campaign based in St. Isidore's Church, resulted in survivors being revived practically as they died. Excess syringes were also used against zombies, forcing them to waste AP dying before they became a zombie again.
Note: This battle took place before the cost of utilizing a syringe was increased to 10 Action Points
Poor Zombie Tactics
When the siege first began, the common tactic among zombies would be an attempt infect as many people as possible upon breaching the building. While a very successful strategy in the earlier sieges against Forts, this tactic failed miserably at Caiger. With the ubiquity of the Shopping skill and the easy availability of medkits within the mall, infectious bite became little more than an inconvenience. Survivors with diagnosis are also often capable of telling who is infected based on their hit point totals allowing them to quickly cure infections. This poor tactic caused days of early siege time to be wasted.
Survivors are capable of easily communicating with one another in-game, allowing survivors to pass word of a major siege or revive clinic among one another. Zombies are incapable of such a behavior. The only way a zombie could find out about Caiger would be through the forums or a survivor alt. The zombie total eventually levelled off while survivors continued to pass word amongst one another about Caiger.
Note: This battle took place before the introduction of the 50 person talk limit, Feeding Groan, Gestures, and Scent Death.
Survivor Critical Mass
Caiger represents the first time a group of survivors were able to achieve the critical mass necessary to have someone with Construction awake at almost any given minute, allowing survivor teams to continually man the barricades. Efficient use of in-game communication as well as metagame technologies (AIM, YIM, ICQ, forums, etc) allowed the survivors to rapidly spread alerts to other areas of the mall and secure reinforcements.
Ubiquity of Headshot
At the end of the siege the number of active survivors with Headshot was almost equal to the number of active zombies, which meant that the odds of a zombie dying to headshot were extremely high. At this point in the game, headshot removed Experience Points from zombie characters, which meant that "new" zombies had a harder time to obtain levels from the combat they engaged in. However, "new" survivors did not have this problem, and rapidly gained experience while the siege continued.
Use of Distributed Defense
A major fact missed by the zombie hordes till the end of the siege neared was that few of the combat ready survivors actually stayed in the mall. Most of them would stay in a nearby building and simply use Free Running to get into Caiger whenever Caiger was under attack. This meant that relatively little impact was made in the combat capability of the survivors by losing a square of the mall. A vivid demonstration of this was given twice during the siege, once at the beginning and once towards the end. At the beginning of the siege the NW quadrant was taken. The survivors would simply freerun in, barricade it up, perhaps snipe at the zombies, and then retreat to safety. Eventually all of the zombies were killed and dumped. This happened again towards the end with the SW and SE quadrants, but the same tactic was used to evict all of the zombies one by one.
There has never been a more vivid use of the Distributed Defense in the history of the game.
Note: This was before the "large building" change and the introduction of the Ransack ability.
Zerging and Other Controversies
As in all previous sieges, allegations of zerging were hurled by and at both sides. No one seriously doubts that, to some degree, both sides probably engaged in it. What makes Caiger somewhat unique is the proof and exact form the accusations took.
Caiger marks the first time accusations of bot use were hurled at survivors. A "bot" in this instance is a theoretical script or program could automatically refresh the page, search the text of the page for the words 'extremely heavily barricaded', and if the words were not found, automatically barricade. No direct proof of bot usage was ever found; however, the source code for two separate "bot" programs were released "into the wild" at this time.
Both sides allege that the others engaged in player killing, but survivors more so than zombies (zombies with Ankle Grab typically don't care at all that they get killed). Death Cultism and similar techniques were employed by several of the zombies present at the battle, to mixed opinion and controversy. It has been argued that the rampant use of combat reviving was in many ways responsible for the increased presence of death cult behavior. It is unknown how many dedicated player killers were also operating in the mall, but post-siege survivors in the mall reported being team killed fairly frequently.
Note: This event took place before the Action Point cost of utilizing a syringe was increased to 10.
The Pile of Bodies
After the battle had ended and the hordes had retreated, there remained a pile of over 500 bodies outside the mall. This lends credence to several claims of "zerging," as it does not appear that any of those bodies ever "stood up". However, this cannot be taken as a sign of particular zerging on either side, as the bodies were unidentified.
Caiger Mall proved completely wrong what many were saying in the early days of the siege: Survivors CAN hold out against a massive zombie assault. Part of why zombies were so successful in other sieges is that many survivors believed that loss was inevitable and would run the moment a horde was spotted on the horizon, leaving behind a skeleton crew of defenders to be slaughtered when the main body of the horde arrived. With Caiger fresh in the mind of the survivors, many more players won't be so quick to cut and run and other players will be much quicker to run to help, all of them hoping to be the next Caiger.
A second legacy could be the zombie population. According to the zombie stats, in the post-siege era, the ratio of human:zombie has fallen to around 70:30, with the number of active players with Headshot actually outnumbering the number of active zombies. While Caiger had a definite impact on the number of active Zombie Hunters, it's unknown what the true cause of the dramatic change in numbers is due to. It could just as well be an after-effect of the upping of the syringe drop rate and zombie numbers will eventually return to their former ratio. Other theories are that it could be the result of massive zerging, or, with the largest hordes almost entirely at Caiger, could be due to the loss of protection and death ferals had in the other suburbs. It's effectively unknowable.
As a celebration of the victory at Caiger Mall, several survivors organized and held the first ever Malton Iditarod.