Fun-Eating Zombies

2008 October 23
by Vanir

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Team Stupid Ranger has started playing World of Warcraft. I’ve been fairly pleased with the game so far. It’s a bit heavy on the kill <number> of <creature> and bring me its <body part>, but overall I’ve been having fun exploring new places and doing things as a group.

However, as part of the launch of their new Wrath of the Lich King expansion, zombies have started to appear everywhere in the game (especially near major population centers). And, like most zombies, they kill people, who in turn also become zombies. Sort of. When a player gets turned into a zombie, they can still control their character, and they can’t use their old skills but they get a new set of skills revolving around the eating of brains and infecting others. Sometimes you get infected but you haven’t turned yet, and it’s a race against time to find someone who can cure disease.

It’s a very cool idea, and a great thing to do during their Hallow’s End celebration. It’s a lot of fun for everyone — well, except low-level players like myself. You see, the problem is that when a level 70 player gets turned into a zombie, he’s still strong enough to kill my poor little level 24 shaman in one hit. Sometimes I turn into a zombie, other times I just die outright. Now imagine being me, just trying to turn in some quests so I can keep levelling for the first time. I go into any major city, and a group of at least 10 level 70 zombies is waiting for me. After dying/getting zombified 5 times trying to get away I try to escape this madness by questing in the Barrens, which is basically a field that contains nothing but grass and deadly velociraptors, and there are frickin’ zombies roaming around killing low level characters.

I’m really not enjoying this. This makes levelling insanely hard (which makes me even angrier since I am on a limited-time Refer-A-Friend, and I want to try to get a couple characters to lvl 60 before it ends). I’d really be mad if I wasn’t playing on a PvP server, those poor bastards on PvE and RP servers are getting PvP they didn’t sign up for.

You’d think Blizzard would have learned from what happened in the Corrupted Blood incident a couple years ago that it’s a giant pain in the ass when all your major cities are infected and the vast majority of the NPCs you need to talk to are dead (or trying to eat your brains). But that was a little different. That was a bug that people exploited and it spiraled out of control. This is Blizzard basically giving the greenlight for mass griefing. When you get zombified, you’re really not able to do much aside from walking around, infecting others, or killing others. So we’ve got hundreds of players who are basically now bored and have one option available to them. Oh yeah, plus this is an MMO so the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is in full effect, so not only are they going to kill everybody they see, they’re going to stand around with 50 of their friends and camp your corpse too. If the zombies couldn’t all one-shot-kill me, it would help. And I can’t play the game I wanted to play, and most of the time I can’t play with the zombies infecting others because I’m either dead or one of the level 60 guards kills my weak little level 24 zombie ass (in one shot). I can walk back to my corpse. Over and over again. Which, frankly, is not worth $15/month. What I wish they’d do is make all the zombies weak and slow. You know, like zombies. God knows there are enough of them, and you could even spawn more that weren’t players to make it feel like a real live zombie invasion.

Making this worse for me is that the roleplayer in me finds this whole zombie scenario completely amazing. If I didn’t have to level and I had to help defend the last bastion of civilization from wave after wave of the undead, trying desperately not to join their ranks, this would be AMAZING. But the execution leaves something to be desired. And by that, I mean if the zombies are here to stay, I’m going to cancel my account. Especially since Blizzard appears to be trying to get more new players and for existing players to make new characters with their triple XP referral program, this is a completely terrible idea. This thought keeps me thinking this is temporary and for effect, so that you take the Lich King seriously as a world-threatening villain. But if they really expect brand new players to hang in there not having fun and never getting anything done for a month while they’re ruthlessly repeatedly murdered by members of their own faction “having fun”, I hope it comes back to bite them in the ass. Turning it, obviously, into an ass-zombie.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 23, 2008

    Trust me, that will be your experience with WoW from start to finish.

    I really really wanted to like that gaming, having been a loyal Warcraft fan ever since the first game came out way back when. I played them all religiously… WoW just doesn’t cut it for me. The scenery is beautiful; the world is fascinating; the story is interesting… but the gameplay is about as fun as clipping toenails. Around level 10 the endless grinding to kill x monsters and bring x body parts gets *really* old… and you can’t do any of the more fun quests without a loyal party of friends to adventure with you into the dungeons — which means you’ll have to wait around for hours upon hours until everyone in your group finishes their own grinding quests and is ready to journey with you… But now I’m ranting.

  2. Ben Overmyer permalink
    October 24, 2008

    I disagree with anonymous.

    There are two things I would suggest, though, to improve your experience of the game.

    First, get the add-on QuestHelper. This will improve your questing experience tenfold, and eliminate a lot of the tedium inherent in Kill X of Y type quests.

    Second, you must belong to a guild. Preferably a large, active guild with friendly members. My guild on Blackwing Lair, Death From Below, is such a guild …and if I’m ever in a situation where I’m not happy (ganked endlessly by Alliance or zombies), I can call in my guildmates and they’ll clean house.

  3. Vanir permalink
    October 24, 2008

    @anon: yeah, I completely see what you are saying. Basically, if this was a standalone RPG, I probably wouldn’t play due to the gameplay being so repetitive. Fortunately, the reason I’m playing is to hang out online with my friends (IRC with swords, so to speak). I am hoping to get high enough level to play in the level-capped stuff soon, as they seem to be having a lot of fun with that.

    @ben: One of my friends pointed me at Questhelper my first day, and I would probably go completely insane without it. At first it felt like cheating, and then I realized, it’s hard enough to figure out where the giant spider everybody needs to kill for a quest spawns, point the way! I am already in a guild (Bloody Bucket Boys, on Illidan), and being the fine fellows that they are, they have offered to nuke any Alliance that mess with me back to the stone age. Of course, after reading my last article, they are also threatening to mass camp my corpse as zombies, being extra happy that since I’m in their guild they can find me to grief me whenever they want. 🙂

  4. The_Gun_Nut permalink
    October 26, 2008

    WoW can be tons of fun, and the zombie event for Lich King is a hoot. It will be going away, the big zombification part anyway, once WotLK launches. That said, I DO possess 4 level 70 characters, so leveling the other 6 toons isn’t a huge deal. I can see the problem some new players can have, but I can also point the way to some good low population zones that rarely get hit by the zombie bug.

    I haven’t seen any large populations of zombies in the Blood Elf starting areas, or Hillsbrad Foothills. Of course, they aren’t called the “Ganksbad Foothills” for nothing, beware of Alliance. Ask some of your experienced guildies, I’m sure they can point you toward some low pop zones to minimize your zombification.

  5. totallyseymour permalink
    October 27, 2008

    I feel your pain! I’m a long-time WoW player who activated a second account to enjoy the quick paced questing and leveling fun of the refer-a-friend bonus. The Zombie infestation has effectively killed my joy.
    I just wanted to second Ben’s suggestion to find the QuestHelper add-on, Best of luck and happy questing!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS