The “Zombie” Portion of the pre-Wrath Event Is Flawed

I’ve been spewing profanities the past couple days. The source of my foul-mouthed escapades: the zombie portion of the pre-Wrath event. Or, rather, the extent to which people can use it to grief players and the lack of safeguards against it.

To give the situation some context, I should explain how the event works:

  1. People become infected with the plague. This is done when a player kills an infected roach, opens some infected crates, or is the subject of infection by either player or NPC zombies.
  2. The infection is applied as a disease. When the disease runs its course, or when a player dies or tries to remove the disease with an immunity effect like divine shield, the player turns into a zombie.
  3. As a zombie, a player retains his or her level and can attack other players of either faction, flagged or not.
  4. NPC’s can be infected and become zombies, as well.
  5. There are “argent healers” that can cleanse people of the infection and attack these zombies. High level players with any sort of disease cleansing capabilities can also remove it, though it has a high resistance rate.
  6. Guards can attack zombies.

This seems an okay situation on the surface. Argent healers were meant to serve as the NPC-driven defense against this menial version of the plague. However, looking deeper into the matter, it is important to note the various conditions that morph the event into one of the most poorly designed experiences WoW has ever offered. These conditions are as follows:

  1. The argent healers are only stationed in major cities at important hubs: banks, auction houses, flight points, and entrances to various areas. They are not stationed in most towns outside of the capital cities.
  2. Guards in most lowbie towns are too low in level to even put a dent in the high level player zombies. At best, they can daze the zombie and prevent them from reaching a lowbie that has managed to mount up and run away.
  3. Lowbie players cannot themselves put a dent in the player zombies that are much higher in level than them, due to the level difference.

Compound these conditions with the risk of putting so much power into the players’ hands and you have an absolutely, positively frustrating experience for many. If not for the fact that I could swap over to my level 70 retadin, turn on sense undead, and completely own the shit out of anyone with poor intentions, I’d be more annoyed than I already am. Especially because I rolled on a PvE server to avoid the type of asshattery I’ve been seeing.

I’ll put this into perspective. The other day I was trying to level up a couple alts in Bloodmyst. This is when two people from my own guild decided to kill me and decimate Blood Watch and all the lowbies there. Having none of it, I lectured them about when to say when, switched to my paladin, owned them, camped them, cleansed them when they tried to continue spreading the plague, and kicked one of them from the guild (who wasn’t a good member of the guild in the first place). As funny as it is to grief people, it takes a ball-less git to repeatedly grief lowbie players of their own faction. And a jerk to do it to people in their own guild, especially when those people are clearly upset or annoyed. Having leveled on a PvP server before, I did what was only natural.

Here’s another interesting case study. Some high level druid decided it’d be funny to grief all the lowbies in Darkshire. I just happened to stop by on my low level alts and notice, so I swapped over to my paladin to take care of the problem. The result is alarming.

y u kill me fagg

Do we really want to give so much power to people like this? Especially on a PvE ruleset? I sure hope not. Notice how he tries to berate me for killing him by justifying that the event is for killing people. “y u kill me fagg” definitely reeks of maturity and social validity. I’m only doing what a lot of people would do on a PvP server when someone griefs and camps lowbies. There are repercussions for being a dick!

But don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having fun with people near the cap, considering they can immediately defend themselves. But thinking about the lowbies who have yet to build up connections on a server, I can’t help but wonder how frustrating this event must be for them. How many of them have quit over this fiasco? I’m willing to bet a rather sizable amount. The fact that safeguards weren’t put in place for low level areas is greatly disappointing.

What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose to becoming a zombie other than to kill and infect other players and NPC’s. If there was actually a quest to perform as a zombie, and if lowbies could actually defend themselves, I’d be a whole lot more forgiving and inclined to view the event in a positive light. I definitely think it has its place as a fundamental concept. But the specifics are broken.

10/27 Update: It’s Over

For those of you who are unaware, the zombie portion of the event ended at noon today. It was fun and frustrating while it lasted. I’m appreciative that Blizzard is trying to create more dynamic and robust world events that aren’t concentrated in one zone. However, I’m also glad it didn’t last until the launch of Wrath.

10/29 Update: Response to Some Comments

I don’t want to spam people’s feed readers, so I am simply adding this to my entry as an addendum. And since there are 100 comments, a lot of people don’t actually see the points of the event that have merit, so I am adding my general response here.

A lot of people in their comments have made the assumption that I was 100% against the zombie event. This is not the case. Might I highlight an important quote from the entry.

I definitely think [the zombie event] has its place as a fundamental concept. But the specifics are broken.

As a positive point, the event tied very well into the lore. It gave our characters and the factions ample reason and motivation to retaliate against Arthas directly. It proved to be “disruptive” to daily life, just as the first undead plague was. And it turned us against each other. That was probably Arthas’ intention. Or was it Putress’ intention? Who knows. In either case, I understand what the event was supposed to do. That’s exactly the “fundamental concept” I’m talking about.

World occurrences like the zombie event do have their place in WoW and should be done again. However, I still think it had its flaws, and these issues can be fixed without deadening the event’s intentions to the point where its purposes are rendered ineffectual.

Just because the event did its job doesn’t make it perfect. Just because some people enjoyed it, doesn’t make it perfect. Just because these two facts exist, doesn’t mean I should not address any issues I might have had with the event, in hopes of improving similar events for the future.

There is no doubt this event had great potential that it met to some degree. But it’s one thing to be disruptive, and another to completely obliterate people’s abilities to perform certain tasks for hours upon hours upon hours. It is, in my opinion, disruptive and engrossing enough that people can attack others while performing the tasks they deem “routine.” You can make various NPC’s immune, without obliterating the event’s intentions. That’s exactly why Blizzard made the flight master in Shatt immune. And it’s still disruptive and engrossing for lowbies that they can merely be attacked, even if they have the ability to defend themselves.

There is no reason events like these can’t happen in the future. There is no reason such dynamic occurrences can’t happen. For all its specific flaws, the fundamental concepts were sound. Blizzard just needs to take a little more care in designing events like this in the future. That’s all.

No QQ about it.

109 thoughts on “The “Zombie” Portion of the pre-Wrath Event Is Flawed

  1. I agree pretty wholeheartedly with this post, the event was kinda cool, and I’d like to see things like it in the future, but they need to be better executed. Just as an example, someone on my server, Greymane, managed to spread the plague to the Isle of Quel’Danas, someplace it obviously wasn’t supposed to be, judging from the complete lack of crates and roaches. Now, mostly it was eradicated by people going about their dailies, but on the Greengill coast, it got a little insane, for a couple reasons.

    1) The Greengill Murlocs were susceptible to the plague, and they have a fast respawn timer.
    2) The zombified versions of the murlocs don’t keep the originals from respawning.

    So there were ENORMOUS swarms of zombies at many of the villages. This wouldn’t have been so bad, as the resulting zombies were only level 60, and I had a blast volleying downs huge swarms as they wailed on my crocolisk. (Sidenote: Wanna have a big repair bill in no time at all? Use Volley! Since every hit does durability damage to your ranged weapon, usage on large swarms or mere prolonged usage will TRASH your ranged weapon.)

    The problem was:

    3) The murlocs on top of the huts cannot get down and evade-bug any player-attacks made on them.
    4) The zombified murlocs do the same, but frequently, uninfected murlocs would get too close, and the zombies would attack, and thus infect them.

    This resulted in not only HUGE swarms of zombies, but huge swarms of zombies that COULD NOT BE PERMANENTLY DESTROYED.

    This kind of poor planning on the part of the event planners is what turns a cool, fluffy world event into a gigantic nuisance.

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  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. Once one of my auction browsing moments was interrupted by an in-AH zombie explosion I promptly switched to my priest main and stationed myself in the AH to cure as much of the disease as I could. There were certain players whose only goal was to stop all auction activity in SW, and they HATED that I was on them like white on rice, busily spamming my abolish disease and cure disease buttons. A couple of them pm’d me with “Who do you think you are? Defender of the AH?” I wrote back “Yes.” They responded “Ur an idiot, it’s just a game” and “Why.So.Serious?” On the other hand I also had lowbies stationing themselves next to me for protection and other high level toons who cheered every time I cured repeat offenders. In the end I kinda wish Blizz would have rewarded the people who fought the good fight against the plaguing of their home cities and penalized those who so eagerly embraced the dark side to intentionally implode themselves for the purpose of mass-infecting others.

    To the QQing posters in the comments who cry that this wondrous event might never be repeated [sob], I point out it was EXPENSIVE to repair gear damaged when you were zombied and then assaulted by guards. It was DISRUPTIVE to lowbie players who were merely trying to quest. It was TIME-CONSUMING when you noobs inactivated our auction houses and quest npcs and flightmasters and when you forced us to the effing graveyard. Had Blizz intended us to love this thing and embrace it in all its glory, no healer outside the Argent Dawn healers would have been able to cure it at all.

  4. There’s one thing that i have to say, “Get over it!” This one one of the greatest ideas that blizzard could have had. This was not an event you volunteer to participate in, this was one you had to participate in. If you didn’t want to be a part of it, why would you play during it? Anyways, This event increased my anticipation of WotLK and sparked interests of many of my friends (some who are lowbies) to level up and prepare to deal with Arathas themselves.

  5. for all the ‘get over it’ folks – as I mentioned before, I don’t PvP (and play on a PvE server for that reason. I don’t BG or Arena or any of the other fun things that *other* folks like. I don’t mind or complain that they like that. it’s there for them, and they have a grand time. For the guy that specifically mentioned that it’s ‘part of the game’ and we should just live with it – using those same perameters we can say get rid of the /ignore because spammers whispering to you is ‘part of the game – get over it’. We could get rid of of the handy ‘report spam button’ for mail, since, after all, spam is ‘part of the game – get over it’.

    well, no. I don’t think so. I certainly don’t mind folks being zombies, or having a grand time being zombies, as many of us have mentioned here – it’s the high level folks *intentionally* going to low level areas where folks had NO chance, and just camping the newbies. That, while part of the game, is an abuse of the mechanics of the game. That is just mean spirited and purile (I believe that was used before – to describe us folks that didn’t much like lvl 70s killing off lvl 3s).

    yeah, bring back the gold farmer whispers! bring back the spam in your mail box – give us our Game Back!


  6. Pingback: Shut Up We’re Talking #36 « The Ancient Gaming Noob

  7. I see a lot of post here telling people to get over it.
    If you cannot or will not respect the playstyle choices and preferences of others,
    you deserve no such respect yourself.
    QQ or not, do it respectfully, everyone deserves that much.

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  9. .ONE THING.

    The ONE thing that would have made this an acceptable event for all, a fun event, but still deadly and world changing…

    Make zombie health go down by 20% per hit taken. By anything.
    (Zombies do 5%etc damage per hit)

    some additional things:

    A lvl70 goes to a newbie area to gank as a zombie? goodluck against those lvl 1’s…
    they will band together and kill it very quickly.

    5 lvl1 zombies against ONE lvl70… potentially a tough fight, allowing zombies to ONLY overwhelm normal players by sheer force of numbers. 5 to 1 gives even odds.

    Zombies can infect any npc, boar, spider, guard etc

    One turned into a zombie, your equipment doesn’t take damage.

    Once turned into a zombie, you get a 30-minute immunity to the disease after you die and become a normal player again. You can log off, then on to get rid of the immunity.

    Priests can make temporary holywater to hand out to other players, lasts 5min and a priest can make 1 per hour. It’s a ranged *1 hit kill* to a zombie.

    Players get EXP from killing zombies, equal to killing something 3 levels below them.

    There are no crates, no roaches…
    Zombies come into Azeroth through NPC spawns.
    Yes, they spawn in random areas, gather together and make raids on outlying towns etc

    Eventually zombies only lose 5% of health per hit (and do 5% to anyone else).

    Zombies gain a health buffer of 1 hit for every player they kill, max of 20 additional hits they can take.

    Zombies gain 2x the experience they would have got from a npc 3 levels below them when they kill a player.

    If you are killed while infected, killed by a zombie etc or your infection has turned you into a zombie…
    1. Actively play the zombie you’ve become
    2. Come back as a normal player, no armor loss at your current location or to your hearth location.
    If you choose number 2 then you’re immune to infection for 30min, and being killed by a zombie simply kills you. In your place, a NPC zombie is spawned, either way a zombie is created…but you choose if you want to play it or let it seek brains on its own.

    Zombies can’t damage auctioneers,
    flightmasters *or any npc* that can potentially give out a quest AS LONG AS there’s a non-zombie player within 100 yards. This means that as long as there’s resistance, the auctioneer will be safe…same goes for random npc mobs, can’t attack them (they won’t attack you) if there’s a non-zombie player nearby, you have to clear the area of players before you can start on the npc’s and turn them into zombies.

    Zombies drop random humanoid loot based on the lvl of the one looting them.
    So do players the zombie’s kill…they give ‘body parts’ that can be handed in to your zombie quest givers for items, temporary buffs and other fun stuff.

    Zombies can last until they logoff, no health decline…there’s no point in having it.

    Holy-Snowballs (frozen holywater) are given out, these last until the invasion ends…they’re 1 ‘limb’ each (loot of zombies). they only work on zombies, and have a 1min cooldown. Knock a zombie 3 times as far as a regular snowball would and affects any zombie within 5 yards of where it lands, throwing them in random directions.

    Zombies can play dead, like a hunter.

    oh ho ho! this one’s good…

    In the Battle Grounds, WSG etc the opposing side appearance is that of zombies! superficial difference.
    Their spells have different visuals etc and their flag is a tied up captive you have to rescue.
    To them YOU APPEAR TO BE ZOMBIES, and they the good guys.

    Undead players can choose to end being infected at any time,
    because of their hatred for the burning legion and physical characteristics…through willpower.

    Priests etc gain Reputation (depending on where they are) for every time they cure an infection.
    Once per player per day, so can’t keep curing the same player, to avoid abuse.

    Saying ‘fag’ etc in chat will make you have *a weak zombie every time* you’re turned into one, for the entire event. It take only 1 hit to kill you. “why you kill me you fag? I wanted to infect more people”

    Zombies can walk right through a Paladins ‘bubble’.
    Can’t use hearth while infected, and Can’t cure yourself.

    Arrows etc only take off 5% of a zombie’s max health every hit, instead of the normal 20%.
    You have to fill them with arrows before they start to fall apart.

    -Turning a zombie into a sheep-
    permanently changes it’s appearance to that of a zombie sheep.
    It’s now like a normal zombie, but gains the ability ‘ram’ which takes off 5% of your health and is like being hit by a snowball. 10 sec cooldown for ‘ram’.

    Zombie players can go to any graveyard and ‘loot’ a grave,
    to create a weak (1 hit and it’s dead) zombie minion, 1 minion per grave and graves become available to loot once every 10 min. Every player can have 10 minions, each one gets their own action-bar icon and are controlled like hunter pets. Zombies can ‘loot’ any corpse in this manner.

    #DETER Out of character zombie hate#
    After being a zombie, IF YOU DIE AS A ZOMBIE YOU CAN’T SPEAK FOR 10 MINUTES.
    No speaking in chat, or whispers, nothing.
    This prevents ‘zombie hate’ “omg why you kill me you fag!!!$!”
    You can of course become a zombie again to speak to other zombies.

    Can’t talk for 20sec (can still emote) after you’re cured of infection. To prevent impulse hate, gives players some time to cooldown after the disappointment of not getting to be a zombie. Anything you say for 20 sec will be converted into random ‘thankyou for saving me!’ phrases.

    The most important thing is still this:
    *Every hit you do to a zombie takes away 20% of their max life.
    *When one hits you, it does 5% of your max life.

    A lvl70 pile of meat is just as easy to kill as a lvl1 pile of meat…it’s a pile of walking meat, you cut it’s head off and it dies. Even your grandmother could do it.

    I dream of a world where a lvl1 player can take down a lvl70 burning-legion zombie.
    /I love this game

    Where 7 lvl1 zombie’s can take down a lvl70 player…

    “but…but I’m a lvl70, I’ve got a VIP pass and everything, I’ve even read all the WOW novels and collected all the figurines…I’m the best pvp’r on my server…and they ganked me.
    I…I even wear WOW pajamas to bed every night, how could I lose?”

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