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Posts with tag zombies

Dealing with temporary changes in-game

Larisa's got a good rant about something I've considered before in a slightly different context: players aren't very good at anticipating how temporary game changes will work out. We, as a group (not individually necessarily), are quite quick to judgment when we see changes to the game, and the word Larisa uses is "conservatism" -- she notes the examples of the reaction to the zombie outbreak and the Children's Week batleground issues, and says that players "tossed the gift away, like spoiled kids." We (again, in general, not you specifically) have a very short view of how temporary changes will affect the game, lambast Blizzard for changing what didn't need to be changed, and very often, when the dust settles and the zombies are gone or the event is over, we realize that it wasn't so bad after all.

She's not talking about class changes here -- those are more permanent changes that affect the basic rules of the game. But specifically with temporary events (I'd even throw the Brewfest controversies, and the Headless Horseman complaints in the mix), players sometimes have reactions that are way out of proportion to the events themselves. These holidays and world events are temporary: shouldn't we just enjoy them while we can?

It's definitely a valid point, and something to remember for the next time a temporary event throws off your usual routine in-game. The fact is that we players are spoiled -- Blizzard generally does a great job keeping this game fun, and so when even a little issue sneaks into the game during a temporary event. But Larisa promises that next time she gets shaken up by a temporary change, she'll give it another chance. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances

The Queue: Pandamonium


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

Welcome! You probably noticed I skipped yesterday. Why? Because I felt like it. Yeah, how do you like them apples? I sure showed you! You got owned, y'all.

Uh, anyway. Alexran asked...

Why exactly did Blizzard skip out on the Pandaren as a playable race? I remember hearing something about racism or that the Chinese government would invade Blizzard's HQ. Whats the deal?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

Hints of another world event soon

This morning Nethaera, a community manager with Blizzard, posted the following on the general forums: "Perhaps something will be occurring before [the release of Wrath]. I guess it's something we'll have to wait and see."

This comes in a response to a question asking if there will be a couple more surprises before Wrath of the Lich King.

Of course Neth is being her usual vague self here, not really committing to anything one way or another. But the comment does raise an eyebrow, and the fact that she even decided to respond to the question without a definitive "no" is good enough to speculate that there might be another world event headed our way.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, News items

Scourge Invasion comes to a close

As of 3PM PDT (6 PM by WoW Insider's clock) the Scourge are retreating from Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms on most servers, and the Scourge Invasion has come to a close... for now. In each of the capital cities there is still an Argent Dawn Champion handing out their Stamina consumables, as well as Argent Quartermaster so you can spend the last of your Necrotic Runes. The necropoleis, however, are all gone.

I fully expect we'll see something else crop up in the next week, not only because Tigole said so, but because it'd be really weird if the final week leading to Northrend is completely barren. There are also things we know are coming but aren't here yet... but those are spoilers, so we won't go into detail.

If anything happens, we'll make sure you hear about it, so keep an eye out. I doubt anything will happen this evening, but I've been wrong before.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Reminder: Now's the time to get your necrotic runes

No matter what you call those big floating pyramids above Azeroth, right now is the right time to chase them down and kill the Scourge hanging around beneath them. If you don't have epic gloves or shoulders on right now, odds are that you could use the upgrades from the Argent Dawn, and while the necropoli were completely camped early on in the event, things have died down a bit now, especially in the off-prime hours. I was able to pick up my 30 runes earlier this week, and when I got lucky on a leggings drop (I love that my Hunter is in a mail kilt-y thing now), I picked up two nice new epics, a cool tabard and an achievement.

We don't know exactly when this stuff is all ending -- it might be soon, or it might run right up to the Wrath release, but either way, now is probably the time to play it safe and pick up your runes. Look on your map for the purple skulls when they spawn and make a beeline for the zone when you see them, keep an eye around the zone as you fly in where the necro might be, and with most people already having nabbed all the runes they need, the pickings are probably about as good as they're going to get. You'll have a tougher time nabbing the rare spawns that drop the legs and the chest, but if you just want to nab some runes for the various Argent Dawn rewards, it'll go fast.

Now if I could just get people to stop camping my fish pools until I get Mr. Pinchy...

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Events, Blizzard, Quests

Times Online examines WoW's zombies and the connection to real life

Forget Fox News -- the Times Online has an analysis up of Blizzard's zombies event, and their main point seems to be that you can't compare a plague outbreak in the World of Warcraft to one in real life. Risk is what defines real outbreaks, and since there was really no risk in whether you became a zombie or not, players didn't necessarily act as they would in the real world. Some players even willingly submitted to infection, which of course presumably wouldn't happen with a real widespread fatal disease.

But there are parallels to be drawn, and professors say that the zombie plague worked a little closer to real life than Hakkar's corrupted blood did (no coincidence, I'm sure, that the zombie plague was designed to be spread, while the Corrupted Blood was basically a bug). While the plague never did really infect everyone in the world, it did spread pretty quickly -- apparently there's a number you can use to track how quickly a disease spreads, and the zombie plague landed in the arena of a normal outbreak of smallpox (given, of course, that we don't know exactly how fast or how widely it spread).

Very interesting. There is still more to say about this plague, I think (and though things have slowed down on the realms, hopefully the event itself isn't completely over). But it is fascinating how Blizzard turned emergent gameplay into an official event, and how they mimicked the real-life qualities of a spreading disease (the more of it around, the more likely you were to pick it up) while still leaving the idea firmly grounded in the in-game lore. Very cool indeed.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, NPCs, Buffs

FOX news covers WoW's Zombie Invasion

FOX news picked up the story of the big zombie invasion, citing that the plague came to an end on Tuesday. They covered the event as a deliberate contagion that, if left "untreated," would turn you into one of the "flesh-eating zombies." Like our own Mike Schramm, FOX parallels this purposeful in-game disease with the previous accidental "Corrupted Blood" plague.

I love it when WoW is in the news. I love it even more when the media's not talking about us being game-addicted fiends smashing the buttons for our Pavlovian treat. While FOX's story isn't exactly ground-breaking info for those of us toiling against the continuing Scourge invasion, it might reach a few of our friends and coworkers and convince them to give WoW a try.

Or, this coverage could just be another sign of the impact Blizzard's game is having on the mainstream, while that 11 million subscriber base just keeps growing. And, yup, FOX's article does mention the upcoming Wrath release, so it's certainly possible Blizzard will see a few more players from the coverage. Every time WoW has an event like this which has mainstream interest, there'll be a few more people logging for the first time to see what the buzz is about. And, hey, it certainly lines up with the Holiday theme.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Breaking down Blizzard's world event so far

Blizzard, as we've said already, has really outdone themselves with this latest world event. It's been so fun and so innovative that players are wondering just why the rest of the game hasn't been this good so far (even though, of course, it's been superb anyway). The zombie invasion really gave players of MMOs everything they've wanted since this genre first came into being -- a growing, changing world populated not by mindless AI characters stuck in static patterns, but actual, creeping story and chaos. For all of the anti-zombie whining, this world event has been MMO gameplay at, I'd say, the best it's ever been.

And while I was waiting until the event completely ended to do a final analysis, Colin Brennan over at Massively isn't waiting -- he's got a good analysis up over there about the zombie event and just why it was so brilliant. He describes how the world event not only gave players a terrific reason to hate Arthas enough to go to Northrend and want to fight him, but how the gameplay design of the event (when you are killed by a zombie, you become one) was tuned towards fueling the story and the immersion. As he says, the best way to fight the plague was to embrace the fact it was in the game, whether you were a zombie or a cleansing Paladin.

There's lots more to dissect with this world event, including how Blizzard brilliantly invoked something that had happened by accident -- the Corrupted Blood plague -- and incorporated it into the game itself, and how the various zombie abilities were aimed directly at gameplay only possible in an MMO, from the AoE healing to the shrinking plague incubation time. I'll go so far as to say it expanded the boundary of what an MMO can do -- Blizzard let zombies loose on the populace not by hiring GMs to run around on every server, but by giving power to the players. But again -- there'll be time for analysis later, once we've discovered ingame just exactly what's going on here and how it all ties to Arthas. Colin's analysis is a good start, though -- Blizzard really outdid themselves with, even considering the complaints, one of the best world events ever seen in an MMO.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Quests, Lore

Scourge invasion in Stormwind and Undercity

While it's not something new exactly, it seems a lot of people haven't quite seen it happen yet. Along with the Scourge Invasion in places like the Burning Steppes, Azshara, and other points around the world, the invasion has hit some of the capital cities. Every now and then a strike team of Scourge, a Pallid Horror and Flameshockers, will spawn in a capital city and start attacking nearby guards and NPCs. When defeated, they'll leave behind a broken Necrotic Crystal which will have a quest for you.

This is something exclusive to the invasion, but it's not something that just started happening today, and not the next step/phase of the event. A lot of people are under the impression that it is simply because it happens so infrequently. It really is rather cool when it happens, though. The first time I saw it was back in 2006 when this event happened the first time. Since I roleplay when I'm not raiding, I was sitting in the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind just yapping away with some people. The Scourge actually spawn in the 'basement' of the Cathedral, so my first experience with them was seeing them rise up out of the catacombs. Freaky? I think so!

Filed under: Events, Wrath of the Lich King

What to do after the zombie apocalypse

Ah, zombie apocalypse. We hardly knew you. Your sudden departure leaves a lot of us confused, even if Blizzard swears it was all on purpose and according to plan.

Regardless, the zombie plague seems to be over for now. We talked last week about how you could roleplay your sudden transformation into the undead brain muncher. Now, let's take a bit to talk about how your survivors are going to be feeling about this mess.

  • Remorse. If you acknowlege that you died, came back as a zombie, died as a zombie, and came back yet again as a humanoid race, then you should probably acknowledge that you did some pretty horrible things. It's one thing to think, "My God, I ate the neighbor's cat," but there's a whole level of horror involved with "My God, I ate the neighbor!"

    This also supplies that most beloved motivation for roleplayers everywhere -- angst. You can be horrified ("I ate the neighbor!"), angsty ("And I liked it!"), and perhaps even be corrupted ("I'd do it again!"). If the memory of your wanton deeds aren't enough to sustain your remorseful roleplay, you can look to further naughty urges to supply more angst.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, RP, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Uh, now what?


So the zombie invasion's over, huh? Just like that, the coolest World Event to ever hit Azeroth was gone just as quickly as it arrived. If you didn't log on this past week, you likely missed what was one of the most chaotic and fun times in the game -- players turning into zombies, infected roaches and rats infesting cities, and hordes of Scourge knocking at our city gates. It was unique, creepy, fun, and sometimes even disruptive -- but it was one of the most well-designed events we've ever seen happen to our favorite game. And now it appears to be over.

What happened there, exactly? Just when everything was ramping up to a fine crescendo -- with the disease duration shaved down to an apocalyptic one minute and infected rats streaming out of our city sewers -- it suddenly dies out without warning or climax. No big battle. No quests to fight zombies. No conclusive finding of a cure (Grand Apothecary Putress' quest line wasn't quite anywhere near epic...). It just... ended. There were rumors of something going down at 4pm server time, but that hour came and went without so much as a bang and a clatter.

What happens now? What do you guys think is in store for Azeroth? Certainly the Lich King won't let things end in such an anti-climactic fashion, right? Arthas, the baddest of all bad guys, must have something else up his cold, icy sleeve, right? What's going to happen next? Armies of Scourge attacking cities, perhaps, or some other impressive, crazy thing. I mean, certainly things won't be status quo all the way until November 13. Or can it?

Filed under: Events, Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

New spooky forum avatars

Taking a gander at the official forums tonight will reveal something magically spooky.

All the blue posters have been turned into glowing jack-o-lanterns, and all of us normal folks have turned into undead zombies.

The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that this is a clue to the next stage of the zombie invasion. Tomorrow we'll all log on and have a strange urge for brains and only brains. Lots and lots of juicy... yummy... braaains. Insert Homer Simpson drool here.

Of course this could just be another fancy bit for Halloween, but who knows....

There is no indication how long this will last, and also there's no word if there'll be new Wrath of the Lich King avatars after this is done as there were when the Burning Crusade was released.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Zombies are bad for the economy


It's a good thing the zombies are going away now, isn't it? For the past few days, I noticed -- or rather my money-making wife noticed -- that the undead throng was badly tanking Azerothian commerce. The reason is that a lot of players' bankers and Auction House entrepreneurs are low-level alts that succumbed easily to the plague and random zombie attacks. When a Level 65 city guard turned into a zombie, it would naturally aggro the low-level bank mules and auction house regulars, killing them instantly. It didn't help that most players-turned-minions-of-the-Scourge usually targeted the Banks and Auction Houses for infection. Actually, we even recommended it as the best course of action as a (not so) mindless ghoul.

When the disease grew potent enough to transform anyone it infected within a minute, it became practically impossible to accomplish anything. Especially not with Argent Healers calling for a hasty retreat. Entire cities -- or key areas of cities -- were quickly transformed into ghoulish carnivals and it was simply too bothersome to do any business. As a result, players couldn't put anything up on the Auction House nor could anyone buy anything, either, slowing commerce to a crawl. My wife's daily Auction House profits of upwards 500 Gold dwindled down to nary a copper with her alt being unable to collect from the mailbox, move stuff from the bank, or scan the Auction House, as she died istantly to roving zombies.

What's next in store for us? Did Blizzard really cave in to the demands of players who felt that the World Event disrupted their normal routine too much? Or is there something more devious waiting in the wings? I know my wife was so upset by being unable to conduct her business that she decided to hold off from logging in at least until the event died down. Now that the zombie infestation seems to be under control, perhaps business will pick up again. Or maybe not, depending on what Blizzard has prepared for Azeroth. One thing's for sure, these Dawn of the Dead-type events certainly take a bite out of the economy.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Economy, Wrath of the Lich King

The plague is gone, zombies dropping like flies

Just as Tigole said, the plague has indeed gone away. The crates are still there, but you can't contract the plague anymore. The zombies haven't been wiped out yet, but they'll eventually just wear themselves down, they can't spread the infection. No ceremony, no big events or explosions, the plague just stopped being effective. A little disappointing, really.

However, there is a rumor, a rumor, that at 4 PM PST there will be stuff goin' down in Azeroth. Supposedly it will be 'epic.' What is it? I don't know. It's entirely a rumor, but man do we love us some rumors. You do too, don't you? I thought so! Well, if anything actually does happen, we'll be right here to let you know!

Edit: Well, a whole lot of nothin' happened. Rumors are a fickle mistress! A few readers have reported that the necopoli outside of major cities are hovering lower in the sky, but it's difficult to tell. That's all we've seen or heard so far.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard

The scourge of the Scourge


Last Saturday on the WoW Insider Show (which you can hear right here, with an embedded mp3 post coming in just a bit), we voiced an opinion about the Scourge Invasion world event that's getting a little lost in the mix: not everyone is having lots of fun with zombies. While I personally love zombies in all their forms (and am thrilled by all the content the event is bringing us, even if it is moving really fast), lots of players out there are logging in to play World of Warcraft, and finding themselves in the middle of World War Z.

As we said on the show, Blizzard is making sure that this is an event that everyone feels -- in the past, you could avoid most of the world events just by staying out of certain areas or certain zones. But at the same time, that made some players feel it wasn't immersive enough -- why have a world event if it doesn't affect the whole world? And so this one does -- no matter what level you are or where you play, whether you got eaten by a zombie or downed Tenris Mirkblood, you know that the Lich King is coming. And some folks, who play the game casually or at a low level, just don't care.

Update: Well that's timely. In between the time this post was written and planned to go live, Blizzard has decided to cure the plague. Considering that things moved so fast this weekend, that seems premature, but we'll have to see how the event plays out -- Blizzard is of course saying that it's not because of the vocal minority speaking out against the zombie gameplay, but we'll have to see what happens next.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Expansions

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