Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
More on WoW zombies

Just a short note that yesterday the Lich King invasion world event evolved only slightly, by increasing the number of attacks from the necropolises. Which is good news, because previously there weren't enough undead to go around, and now it was much easier to get those quests done and collect enough necrotic runes to buy some nice epic pieces and fun, but useless, trinkets. Although I dislike the term "welfare epics", it has to be noticed that you can get a set of 4 epic pieces, including set bonus, having not more than 1 hour and 2 friends to help you kill the elite.

The discussion of whether that world event was a good idea rages on. The funniest contribution comes from the WoW forums, of all places, where somebody wrote a letter from the Lich King:
"My deepest apologies.

It is my understanding that my invading forces, in their attempts to besiege your cities and snuff out all life on Azeroth, have inconvenienced the activities of common civilians. In the future, I will ensure that your commanding officers are informed well in advance of planned invasion times so that they may properly fortify themselves.

I have also looked into the issue of my plague being too quick in its purpose and too difficult to cure. Please be reassured that I have taken the matter up personally with my top necromancers and that any further incarnations of said plague should be only a slight challenge for your natural immune systems to overcome. Please forward any additional complaints to either Kel’thuzad or Anub’arak.

Regards, the Lich King Arthas."
Kudos to Scott Jennings for delving deep enough into the abyss of the WoW forums to find this gem. Another unexpected highlight in the discussion comes from Kill Ten Rats, where Dragon discusses in detail the phases of the zombie invasion, and its implications. Both the parody letter and Dragon's analysis show the fundamental problem of it being impossible to have a world-changing dynamic event (which so many people were shouting for) without inconveniencing some people in their daily routine.

The current phase, in which attacks happen in places like Azshara, where otherwise few people venture, and fighting the attacks nets you phat rewards is at the same time much more uncontroversial, and more boring. I have to keep an eye on WoWInsider, just so I don't miss one of the phases of the event. The zombie infection was much harder to miss, and therefore made much more of an impact than just adding a few more mobs with more loot. If we want MMORPGs to break out of their static shell, we have to allow those changes to affect us in sometimes negative ways. And with the event only lasting a few days, there really wasn't all that much to complain about.
Most splendid :)

Personally, I think the zombie invasion was one of the best things that happened to WoW so far :P
I thought this was a great event, and I really pity the people who raged because they were inconvenienced. This might have cost me a total of 10 minutes "down time" (waiting for an npc to respawn, corpse runs) over the entire course of the event. I wasn't one of the people attacking lowbie towns or such, but grief or not those people were into the spirit of the event. The message was clear the scourge was coming back in a big way. It was great flying over shatt to see horse of mindless undead walking the circle infecting those around them. I wasn't impossible to get anything done you just had to play smart and avoid the horse of zombies. I'd suggest Max Brooks The Zombie Survival guide or World War Z for reference on how to live out a zombie Apocalypse ;)
Tobold can you direct me as to where you are getting 4 epics in one hour? I just hit level 70, and that would be sweet way to gear up for the exp.
Guide to getting 4 epics in one hour:

1) Get a group of at least 3 people. Yes, some people will be able to solo the elite Shadow of Doom, but only if they wear epics that are better than the epics you can get with this guide, so lets stick to a group.
2) Go to Lights Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands and get the quests to gather 10 necrotic runes and kill a Shadow of Doom.
3) Press "m" for map, zoom out to the map showing both old continents of Azeroth and look for purple skulls showing which zones are under attack.
4) Go to a zone under attack and search for an attack point. An attack point will have a necrotic shard in the middle of a summoning circle, and lots of level 70 undead around.
5) Kill lots of undead, collecting at least 40 necrotic runes, plus 8 per Shadow of Doom you want to summon.
6) When the necrotic shard turns into a damaged necrotic shard, some Shadow of Doom will spawn, plus 4 NPC standing close to the shard. Kill the Shadow of Doom, they drop 30 necrotic runes each, plus in about 50% of the cases an epic, either chest or legs.
7) Summon more Shadow of Doom by handing 8 necrotic runes to one of the NPC around the shard. Kill for more epics.
8) Once you have killed enough Shadow of Doom to have gained both the epic chest and legs, fly back to Lights Hope Chapel.
9) Hand in quests, which enables you to access the Argent Dawn Quartermaster.
10) Buy the epic gloves and shoulders for 15 necrotic runes each. Done. (note that the plate shoulders due to a bug show up as rare, not epic, but have the stats of an epic)

That *can* take one hour if your group is decent, for example one tank, one healer, and one AoE dps works well to kill lots of undead fast. But besides a group you'll also need a bit of luck, finding an attack point that isn't already heavily camped by other players. Because, who would have thunk that, a lot of other players are going to have exactly the same plan to get those epics, and once the 4 Shadow of Doom summoned from the 4 NPC are killed, the attack point disappears. So potentially you might have to visit several attack points before everyone in the group has 2 epics. Oh, and look out for silver border undead, like the Bone Witch, they drop 3 necrotic runes and an epic, but are rare.
"without inconveniencing some people in their daily routine"

It's a game, a massively online multiplayer role playing game, not a job!

In real life when it snows some people are happy because of the change, the new things to see and do. Other people are angry, because the traffic is moving slower on the roads and it takes longer to get to work.

The angry players in wow seem to be upset that something was inconviencing their normal, boring, grindy routine. Likely the same routine they have been chained to for months or even years. The happy ones were those that played the game for fun and welcomed the distraction from the same daily quests, raids or arena matches that make up most wow players existance.

People become so obsessed with getting their games so they get their rating so they get their item, getting a place on that raid on the chance that their item drops, grinding that gold so they can buy this thing or that. They don't realise that they are not enjoying it, and anything that detracts and extends the long grind towards whatever they have been working towards is something to protest against, never thinking that they might enjoy taking a break from that routine for a day or a week to try something new.

I commend blizzard for having the courage to add a dynamic and world changing event into their game rather than adding some seasonal daily grind quests or something equally boring. I no longer play wow, but I would really like to see events like this become more common in wow and other mmos.
Oddly enough, the Shadow of Doom and all that is the same event when Nax came out pre-TBC. The zombie part was new however. Even the Nax event had the epic 4 piece set, it had some vs undead bonus if I remember (it might have been blue actually, either way it was below T2 gear, and so I just put it in the bank)
The complaints about missing flight masters and auctioneers amused me when I put it into perspective. The goal was to make a event that forced you out of your comfort zone. What I find funny is that these people may be more fortunate than I was. When Hurricane Ike knocked out the power to Houston I and many others went for days if not weeks without electricity and thus relied on generators for only the essentials. You can bet I was out of my comfort zone when there was no AC, internet, or fresh food.

When I think about the zombie invasion I can honestly say that Blizzard succeeded. Players were forced to do without and had to make due during a large scale disaster. It's a nice change from the day to day regularity that people are used to.
The zombie event would have been fine, with the single sole exception of the situation in Shat.

I could never target the zombie creator PCs in Shat, like you could in other cities. Because of this, the event was ruined. Not allowing us to defend ourselves from being griefed is not cool. That one change would have solved a lot of issues people had about the event, as people who were upset could have then gone postal on the zombie creators and not had to deal with dead bankers, flight masters, and quest givers.
Yet again, the zombie invasion brings out the "You are inferior if you don't play the way I think you should play" in a bunch of people (Including the original blog post.)

The actual zombie event does not sound like something that would get quite repetitive after a short time, and standing around doing nothing for 5-10 minutes to wait to turn in a quest or fly somewhere doesn't sound like much fun at all.
"The angry players in wow seem to be upset that something was inconviencing their normal, boring, grindy routine."
Please don't force your own feelings about the game on me. I played this game since release and have not found it boring or grindy from day one until now. If you don't like it thats fine but not everyone who likes the game in its present state is a mindless china farmer who drools on the sight of epics and has abandoned his job and real life long ago.
I'm having a blast beating this game together with a bunch of great people and even this late into TBC we still have fun. The zombie event dimished that fun and instead gave me - the opportunity to grief people and get griefed.
I could have been a great event, but nearly nobody played it like it was meant to be played. Many players didn't try to avoid the plague. Instead they tried to get infected as fast as possible and ran away if anyone tried to cleanse them. And when infected they didn't behaved like *real* zombies, trying to infect everyone in sight. Instead they ignored their nearest targets and aimed at those which annoyed the rest of the players the most. And Shattrath was the worst of all, Zombies were roaming around and you couldn't even attack them, but they were free to infect everyone they wanted.
The zombie event was a blast. You had a choice.

Either embrace it as something you will never see again, and have fun with it.

Or cry in trade chat and elsewhere.

I had fun with it. Glad I did since it'll likely never happen again.
I loved the zombie event. It brought back that feeling of defending your homeland that has faded since PvP got segregated into arenas and battlegrounds. Working out tactics to kite much more powerful zombies into the arms of the guards was a different challenge to the usual and playing a zombie was itself fun. Seeing Orgrimmar full of bodies brought a real feeling of threat.

Well worth the inconvenience caused to my banking alt. He did what any sensible merchant would - hire guards to protect him while he went about his business. All in all a great RP opportunity as well as a challenging piece of game play.
The zombie event was a blast. You had a choice.

Either embrace it as something you will never see again, and have fun with it.

Or cry in trade chat and elsewhere.

I had fun with it. Glad I did since it'll likely never happen again.

Comments like this are the sort of thing I get really annoyed with. What exactly is the problem with someone not liking the event, and in general, having a different opinion than you on what is fun or not? (Besides the most likely "I have gotten quite invested in these games, so have a subconscious need to defend what I am doing".)
My problem with the event wasn't so much that it was inconvenient (and at times, it was), it was that it overlapped with the HH, Scourge Invasion, New Patch (achievements and talents and such) and the "limited edition" kara boss. I've been bored and grinding in WoW for months and now they're spitting out content faster than I can keep up with. I have to pick and choose what 1-time event content I'll go do. And I know they'll spit out all this, launch the expansion, and we won't see willy nilly from Blizzard for 2 years when they want their next $40 content patch.
There was nothing wrong with the event per se, it was as usual player behaviour that marred people's enjoyment of it.
Hey Tobold, thanks for that write up on the Epics. I did it last night and got all 4 epics in about an hour. Lawl. Although I wasn't expecting black temple quality epics, the epics I got were really teh sux. However, they beat my green gear so I'm glad I grabbed them.
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