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October 27, 2008

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Leonard Low

Yup. I have 7 characters across various "realms" in WoW. :)

Last week, some mysterious crates leaking a strange greenish gas were spotted in the port town of Booty Bay in the south of the Eastern Kingdoms. People opening the crates were afflicted by a 10-minute debuff during which they could be cured by a Paladin, else they would turn into a zombie.

In zombie form, a character's statistic receive a trememdous boost, and the character gains special attacks that can infect others with the disease.

Representatives of the Argent Dawn, the in-game NPC faction responsible for combatting "the Scourge" (the Undead) quickly established "healers" in capital cities who destroyed proximal zombies and cured proximal players and NPCs afflicted with the 10-min countdown debuff.

Yesterday, the disease apparently became more aggressive. It's now a 2-minute countdown, which is almost certainly not enough time to get to a healer. In addition, the Argent Dawn have apparently fled in terror, because their healer presence in major cities has been reduced to just one or two representatives who protect the city rulers.

Rats and cockroaches have also become capable of transmitting the disease as carriers. Any player who interacts with these vermin becomes infected by the 2-minute debuff countdown.

The game dynamics have been drastically changed by this disease. For example, capital cities, which in usual gameplay are "safe havens" for characters (and therefore crowded and busy with activity), have become avoided by most, in a similar way that real-life crowded cities might experience an exodus in the event of a real-world outbreak of disease or plague.

Brett Boessen

I was in on this a little bit over the past few days as well, although it is no longer happening in the game--they've removed the Zombie-ification entirely from all servers.

A couple of notes to add to Leonard's comments:

- Just to clarify, you could still control your character entirely while in Zombie form, with the higher-stats Leonard mentioned, but limited to only the special zombie attacks: none of your previous abilities would work.

- You moved very slowly as a Zombie, unless you used a special "lurch" ability to run fast for a little bit.

- You could summon nearby Zombie's to your aid.

- You could "wretch" on the ground, creating an area that harmed non-zombie's while healing you.

- You could use "zombie explosion" to sacrifice yourself but infect everyone in the area.

-I am told, though I did not try it, that while you were a zombie, you would be able to chat with players from the opposing faction (in WoW, there are two factions for players to choose from, and they cannot communicate with each other; anything you say near a member of the other faction will come out as a made up, indecipherable language on their screen). This opened up the possibility of some really interesting cross-faction collaboration if we had been given more time to play with the mechanic.

-It was fun for me personally to shamble around the major cities, trying to chase other players and generally getting up to no good during this event. But a colleague who also plays seemed to think it was not very nice for me to be up to such shenanigans--that participating in the event in that way was mean-spirited. Interesting to see how the introduction of a new mechanic altered regular social interactions in various ways.

Wowwiki.com has a page up with even more details if you're interested
http://www.wowwiki.com/Zombie_Infestation

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