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General: Why Zombies are Like Pacman

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

MMORPG.com columnist Justin Webb writes this look at the idea of a zombie-based MMORPG, and some of the barriers that he feels exist between the horror sub-genre and MMOs.


The zombie genre doesn’t lend itself to being an MMO. The zombie experience thematically plays out more like Pac Man. You go around the maze running away from ghosts while gathering resources. Every now and again, you get a weapon that lets you fight back for a while. You keep running away from the ghosts, but they are relentless, and eventually you know that you are going to die. Pac Man doesn’t ever level up, or get new abilities, or an epic mount, or a purple shotgun. He always gets caught and eaten by the ghosts.

MMOs are different from Pacman in that they are all about player progressions. Players (arguably) expect levels. Players expect that their characters will progress and "get better". You can't just reskin a DIKU-style game and add zombies. You can't have a level-80 Shotgunner character with a purple Shotgun of Doom. It won't work. It will feel wrong. It won't feel like a zombie movie, which is why no-one's made a zombie MMO yet.

Read Why Zombies are Like Pacman.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • erictlewiserictlewis Member UncommonPosts: 3,021

    I think your correct zombie are a great fps,  but I just dont think it lends itself to making a great MMO.

     

  • NikopolNikopol Member UncommonPosts: 626

    The zombie apocalypse is a fantastic setting for an MMO. You just have to let go of what's becoming a stagnating attachment to the Diku paradigm. A zombie-infested world is a dynamic and hectic place  where being equipped with the right skills is vital (har har). So, at the outset, this type of setting should lend itself very well to variety in character setup and crafting.

    Also, the definitive story for the zombie apocalypse setting is in fact not one of the zombie movies. It's a vampire story: Richard Matheson's novel, "I Am Legend". It may not be a zombie story, but in terms of narrative tradition it has influenced, even defined the genre like no story ever has. Even "Night of the Living Dead" can be thought of as a derivation of it. So someone taking on the genre in a fresh medium would do well to analyze it. How Neville gets through the day there, his daunting daily routine and his semi-long-term plans. And of course, his ultimate hope and ultimate fear which make up the heart of the lore. So we have a setting that's big in both routine and constant change and it surprisingly has a horizon as well... It's pretty fitting to a persistent world.

    The thing that's really going to be a pain in the rear end for any developer making a zombie MMO is the concept of infection itself. Just having a vaccine for it pretty much negates the whole point of a zombie-infested world. That's like having a Twilight vampire in place of a real vampire (Twilight vampire meanin: the vampire with no true inconveniences but a lot of brooding over what looks to be residues of real inconveniences of its ancestors in the genre). You just can't ditch the contagious nature of the zombie condition, or you have next to no concept. Anyone who's going to tackle the zombie MMO has to go for broke on this, in my opinion. Hard, yes, but fun and original ideas thrive in hard circumstances and unlikely setups.

    After all, who in their right mind would think a FPS with no killing and just puzzles could be good? And then came Portal. :)

     

  • mrputtsmrputts Member UncommonPosts: 262

    I think It would have to follow old school zombie rules. In Left for dead the players were "Immune" to the zombie virus. And the zombies would zerg the players. In an MMO they would have to walk towards the players no player is immune. A running Zombie is to fantastic of a creature.  The scariness of zombies is not the fact they want to kill. It's the fact that they are slow, fearless, relentless, killing machines that never get tired or bored.

     

    And the fact that there are more coming at you then you have bullets for.

    Ea is like a poo fingered midas ~ShakyMo

  • edutyeduty Member Posts: 17

    Zombies make a wonderful and natural antagonist and answer a question that has plagued MMO players for ages "why is a quest never done?"

    In a traditional MMO, you, your friends, and everyone else perform the same quests and conquered the same, supposedly singular, threats. Saving the farm from an orc chieftain seems a little pointless if you know the green buggers are just going to attack again in the next 15 minutes for the next group of players.

    Enter the zombie. An infinite and renewable foe that is always hungry, always attacking, always recruiting, and never tiring. It makes sense that players are continuously defending the farm from the zombie horde, because zombies are mindless and relentless. Killing a few just gives you some time before others show up.

    Throw in the potential for a post-apocalypse setting and you have the making of a sandbox game with an enemy everyone loves to hate. The game would be about collecting resources to fortify small communities of players across an undead controlled landscape.

    Melee weapons would be common due to a scarcity of firearms and ammunition. The rarity and power of guns and ammunition makes firearms a nice substitute for magic and mana. The nuker is only effective while she's got the bullets to spray. Once the magazine is empty, she's not nearly as threatening.

    The concept of "death" would need to be revisited. Adopting a mechanic like LOTR online might fit better into a zombie MMO. As you fight and get bitten or wounded, your ability to fend off the infection decreases. After a certain point, (HP 0) you just don't have the stamina to continue. You're no longer dead, you're just not combat ready and respawn in the hospital to recover.

     

  • AganazerAganazer Member Posts: 1,319

    I disagree with this premise that zombies won't make a good MMOG. Justin Webb is overlooking plenty of the fundamental aspects of the zombie genre.



    For one, player progression. There is the fort or shelter that you need to survive the zombie apoc. Jeff Strain has made it clear that this is a big part of their MMOZ and other zombie games as well. Player progression can come in the form of fort improvements, weapon proficiency, the progress of humanity from survival to offense against the zombie hoard, or even the traditional 'level' system in most MMOG's.



    For two, most pop media has a zombie infection spread through a bite, but its not necessarily a rule. Zombies are originally from voodoo and can spread by many ways, one being despair, another being magic. Even if it were a bite, the survivors may actually be the small minority of people that were naturally immune to the plague. They would still need to survive.



    For three, why can't you have head shots in a MMOG. Just because location damage hasn't been accomplished doesn't mean its impossible. Something as simple as Tabula Rasa's sticky targeting could allow for location based damage. It is a console game after all and could have any form of targetting without being limited to EQ/WoW style.

     

    A MMOZ is a great opportunity to provide a new style of MMO gameplay. Survival horror has never been tried in a MMOG before. A game where you aren't just killing everything that moves, but rather buying yourself time to accomplish your real goal is a completely new and different style of play.



    Also, there have been very few zombie games that use real mechanics appropriate to the genre. Most simply use zombies as an anonymous meat bag like L4D2 and countless other games. Those aren't zombie games. Those are traditional games that use zombie art. There is a difference but unfortunately most people haven't considered it yet. Very few games have captured the inevitable tide of zombies or the resources and skills needed to properly fortify and survive this type of apoc. Most games have you shooting and ironically killing the dead and nothing more. How very nearsighted of them to assume that that is all there is to the zombie genre of games.

  • DrelenDrelen Member Posts: 1

     A Zombie MMORPG would most certainly not work with the traditional rules of MMO's .  It would have to be new and special which I would welcome and hope to have one day. I am a big Zombie fan and think a MMORPG set in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse is an excellent idea.

    We all have to be a little crazy or else we'd go insane.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    Jeff Strain will prove you wrong.

    And the zombies AI seems to be in the same class as most MMO mobs to me, no thinking or changing of tactics when things go bad for them.

    A zombie MMO is a hard thing to pull off but not as hard as a Star trek MMO. And there are other possibilities if people gets bitten, in you PvP could they actually become zombies until they die again, people die in regular MMOs all the time without any explanation on how they get back.

    As for the angels vs demon thing, that is something really hard to make. A MMO version of the old pnp game "In Nomine" is however possible. I am kinda against MMOs based on real religion, too many stigmas there, so I think that part still should be left alone.

  • KodeInKodeIn Member Posts: 1

     There is a browser based MMO about zombies called Hordes, but I think it's only available in french.

    The whole planet is a desert invaded by zombies that are really aggresives during the night. The zombies weakness is water. People gather aroud water pits, making small cities to be able to drink and fight back the zombies.

    It's all about gathering items during the day, when the zombies are mostly inactive but still wanders around the city. Then improve the city with barricades or automatic door made with the items gathered. There is a "fighter class" wich allow some cleanup of zones around the city, allowing the gatherers to search around without getting bitten.

    All the game is based on the concept that the city WILL fall to the zombies. The goal is to make it stand more days than the others cities. So your character will die, but you'll get a new one in the next city you'll make with new people.

  • EricDanieEricDanie Member Posts: 2,238

    You don't grow stronger in a zombie world? Tell that to Alice in the Resident Evil movies :P

    Anyway this concept is way too interesting, because it is different. No longer can you throw in the already used to death leveling and inevitable victory progression formula.

    Permanent death (or at least considerable character progress loss) has to be possible in a zombie apocalypse, otherwise where is the fear? 

    In Warcraft III, you have these zombie custom games that can be played online in which it follows this Pac Man premise, but you accumulate experience throughout the game (progressively better to reward you for surviving longer), which ranks you up and gives you access to more skills, improving your efficiency at a wide range of possibilities to spend your skill points in - like using guns, engineering stuff like sentry towers or making ammo, searching for resources, healing, etc.

    So I guess we will be seeing progression even in a MMOZ, but simply as something that lets you do your job better until eventually you die, and maybe start it over?

    A good thing in a MMOZ is that you will be able to accomplish more zombie reality than in a common zombie game, you're not the 1-4 guys that can clear a full scale zombie apocalypse wave with almost unlimited ammo, instead this number of people can be made higher (outposts, camps, truck fleet or whatever being the "guilds" of these games?) to the 30+ range, making socializing possible and resource scarcity realistic (although it's understandable that when you have 4 survivors out of a whole city that was fighting the plague, you will have plenty of ammo available to be picked up, heh). 

    And don't bring the solo play crap, even if one is able to hunt alone he should be facing an extremely challenging environment for veterans and rookies alike, it must be very restricted.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward this MMOZ.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Member Posts: 2,697

    A lot of your questions have been answered by other games already.

     

    You do a skill tree rather then a class system, so that skill tree would comprise of different weapon types, first aid etc. All skills that fit into a zombie world. So you get better with the weapons as you level the skill etc. Done there is the progression.

     

    Head shot = crit. Half the solution to another question of yours. Secondly games like Asheron's Call started where you fought lots of mobs at once (as opposed to the lame you fight everything 1 on 1 in all modern MMOs) so a lot of those mobs went down in a hit or two. Same for zombie game. A head shot kills the zombie but there's 10 more right there. Your shotgun has a slow reload time so you get a few shots but then have to reload the ammo while the rest of the zombies are coming after you. automatic guns could take a couple head shots to kill and be less accurate. So they hold more ammo but the ratio of kills to bullets stays similar and that is all set as well. You are more likely to head shot up close, but you are in more danger because it doesn't take much for zombies to kill you. That's all set. Non head shots don't stop a zombie unless there's a lot of them, the further you + the less skilled you are in a weapon = less head shots and more misses. Now it all makes sense again.

    As for death you can handle it a couple ways. You could go AO style and put it in the future and say you are downloaded in a system. Or you can do what a lot of games do and just ignore the lore and say you died and came back. People don't really care why they get to come back they just know they can. But it's easy to find lore reasons. You can say when bitten by zombies the disease kills you before resurrecting you. During that window it can be cured. So everytime you die you ressurect at your chosen hospital of the human forces.

     

    Truth is it is easy to make a zombie MMO but you have to do what most developers don't want to do currently. Use a skill system over a class system and you have to make it more sandbox. People should be able to group together and build up a fort somewhere that is their home. Where they have to routinely fight off zombies or it falls. They can hire NPCs who will also defend when no one is logged in, but those NPCs use up the resources the players gathered (the main reason to go out into the zombie horde is to scavange resources like food, water, ammo etc.) and so they can't just let NPCs defend it forever without going out and getting more supplies.

     

    There's always a solution to a problem, often it's easy.

  • mlambert890mlambert890 Member Posts: 135

    Good article in terms of premise and good fuel for discussion.

    I do disagree, however.  First, in both real life, and in any game, we really all ultimately die, right?  Most MMOs feature characters who are mortal, so beneath the surface is the assumption that they are really just surviving.

    So that said, a world over-run by zombies isnt a lot different then a world that is post apocalypse and over-run by mutants or a world besieged by aliens or one in which demons claw their way up from the abyss at the summons of evil sorcerors.

    I think a lof of the folks in this thread did a great job of describing how a zombie MMO could look/work.

    Personally, I would love to see a pure zombie MMO as well as a mixed sci-fi/fantasy/horror MMO in a contemporary setting (like a Dresden MMO basically)

  • MorgarenMorgaren Member UncommonPosts: 397

    as far as the bite thing goes, you could have it set in the future far enough to have clones, and if you get turned, you start back in a camp as a new clone. is it kinda cliche, yeah, but it is a possibility.

    And a LotRO freeps and creeps thing would just be too cool.

     

  • SonikFlashSonikFlash Member UncommonPosts: 561
    Originally posted by Aganazer


    I disagree with this premise that zombies won't make a good MMOG. Justin Webb is overlooking plenty of the fundamental aspects of the zombie genre.


    For one, player progression. There is the fort or shelter that you need to survive the zombie apoc. Jeff Strain has made it clear that this is a big part of their MMOZ and other zombie games as well. Player progression can come in the form of fort improvements, weapon proficiency, the progress of humanity from survival to offense against the zombie hoard, or even the traditional 'level' system in most MMOG's.


    For two, most pop media has a zombie infection spread through a bite, but its not necessarily a rule. Zombies are originally from voodoo and can spread by many ways, one being despair, another being magic. Even if it were a bite, the survivors may actually be the small minority of people that were naturally immune to the plague. They would still need to survive.


    For three, why can't you have head shots in a MMOG. Just because location damage hasn't been accomplished doesn't mean its impossible. Something as simple as Tabula Rasa's sticky targeting could allow for location based damage. It is a console game after all and could have any form of targetting without being limited to EQ/WoW style.

     
    A MMOZ is a great opportunity to provide a new style of MMO gameplay. Survival horror has never been tried in a MMOG before. A game where you aren't just killing everything that moves, but rather buying yourself time to accomplish your real goal is a completely new and different style of play.


    Also, there have been very few zombie games that use real mechanics appropriate to the genre. Most simply use zombies as an anonymous meat bag like L4D2 and countless other games. Those aren't zombie games. Those are traditional games that use zombie art. There is a difference but unfortunately most people haven't considered it yet. Very few games have captured the inevitable tide of zombies or the resources and skills needed to properly fortify and survive this type of apoc. Most games have you shooting and ironically killing the dead and nothing more. How very nearsighted of them to assume that that is all there is to the zombie genre of games.

     

    as long as the green is not in the game i'd play it. 


  • zerokillzzerokillz Member Posts: 8

    @SnarlingWolf Bravo

     

    See what a little critical thinking can do for ya. =D

    The blurb under Mr.Webb's pic say's "a veteran mmo designer" which is not surprising. This kind of thinking explains why the mmo genre is in the state it's in today. Clone after clone.

    Go work in hollywood and stop bashing a company trying produce something that doesn't follow your formula's.

     

     

     

  • djhellsinkidjhellsinki Member CommonPosts: 20

    I would be cool to play as a zombie.I imagine it like this:when you get infected you turn in a zombie and can fool around but then when you die as a zombie you are reborn as a(another)human.So it would be optional but still pretty cool.

  • GreenLanternFanGreenLanternFan Member Posts: 374



    Justin, your whole premise for this article is laughable at best. Matter of fact, I'm wondering if the article's sole purpose was to simply encourage discussion out of boredom, in which I'll bite.



    I'm picturing the lot of you writers sitting around a table playing paper football, bored to tears when one of you decides to throw some names in a hat. You're all sipping on your micro-brew of choice or grandpa's secret cough medicine (take your pick). Amongst a hiccup here or there, everyone starts laughing at you for having your name drawn as the winner of the 'writer unlucky enough to spin the wheel of chance' or some derivative thereof. Your spin landed on Zombies and now you're forced to argue the point, no matter how absurd it may be.



    There really isn't that much difference between this flavor (which in this instance happens to be zombies) and any other of the now mundane creatures that some MMOs have been throwing at us for years now. So I ask, why not zombies?



    Furthermore, Fallen Earth seems to have it's share of followers. Could you not just throw zombies into the mix in a similar MMO?



    Like a previous poster mentioned, it's obvious that you've never seen the Resident Evil movies, or simply weren't paying attention.



    I'd go on, but I'll digress as others have already shot down your argument to my satisfaction.



    I hope the other staffers get to take turns giving you a wedgie for failing miserably at your turn vs 'the wheel of chance', cause you definitely owe them some compensation.

    Your fail comment, failed.

  • StaticPTStaticPT Member Posts: 5

    Good article.



    The zombie-theme was always a good premise for both games and movies, but on the contrary of movies, games need to have some sense of progress so people can continue play them. Obviously an MMORPG needs a lot more than killing zombies without a superior cause to grab the players.  That is the first problem that stalks those who think about making mmo's of the genre. As said in the article, it doesn't really makes sense to get Zuberzomgpurpleshotgun from the zombiemasterplusover9000 that lurks around town. Survival is always the main premise, but there can be reasons to continue playing the game without just killing zombies.

    If the players had the power to create their own barricades and resistance, there would obviously be a need for some hierarchy, some scavanging and crafting
    epair for weapons and ammo, obviously some traders and medical staff, maybe something food and warm related stuff like any survival RPG (for example for warcraft 3). The mmo could even bend the current laws of MMO death and create a persistent death or a state of infected where you would turn zombie (and maybe roll to the other faction). Obviously there could be or not be an option to be cured since permanent death can be harsh and demotivating, and not a simple matter of "oh its life". Having the ability to have family and maybe create a family that would continue your legacy if you die permanently, in wich your sons would have a part of your skill levels would also be interesting.

    But worse than death, the skills that carry the mmo progression could be an headache. Or you create a skilless mmorpg in the areas related to firepower, driven by skill as an FPS, or you use the Headshot is crit present in some games like Team Fortress 2 and Borderlads. Obviously the second one would create a need of better weapons, of combat focused skills and on skill development. Personally i dont think a zombie related MMO should need levels, EVE for example excells on having skills to determine your "level" and grant progression by real time instead of game invested time, but still its a tough call. Being the zombie genre a well rooted genre in society with strict rules, it makes everything a lot more difficult when it comes to create a persistent universe game.

  • CursedseiCursedsei Member Posts: 1,012
    Originally posted by EricDanie



    In Warcraft III, you have these zombie custom games that can be played online in which it follows this Pac Man premise, but you accumulate experience throughout the game (progressively better to reward you for surviving longer), which ranks you up and gives you access to more skills, improving your efficiency at a wide range of possibilities to spend your skill points in - like using guns, engineering stuff like sentry towers or making ammo, searching for resources, healing, etc.

     

    Heh, I miss those games. I can never seem to find anyone whose playing them lately.

     

    Also, I'd like to point you towards someone who actually thinks a MMOZ works.

    http://undeadlabs.com/

     

    Yes, a zombie MMO wouldn't work, but thats in the context of MMOs everyone knows, IE WoW. In no way would it work in such a style. That should be more than plain to see for anyone.

    You need it to be skill based first off, give death a significant meaning, and make being competent almost mandatory. Three things modern MMOs will not add in (and only things indie MMOs attempt). Hell, Demon's Souls would be a great base for a Zombie MMO if anyone has played it.

    Way I see it based is that currency will need to play a major part of the game. You can level skills up, but through a combination of use-over-time and player-driven training. If you turn currency into something more than what you just spend at vendors, it will force players to choose between what they want and what they feel is needed (obviously though this opens it up to Goldfarmers in a most drastic way). Making advancing skills at certain points require other players (or rare drops) you promote a more social environment. 

    People tend to refer towards SWG pre-NGO and such as a great example of a socially driven MMO, and I can understand why. You had doctors, dancers, musicians, and chefs, all player-controlled. Including such uncommon classes, and giving them the appropriate uses, will in turn promote people to speak with more than just their guild (or no one at all with some people).

    Hell, why not include a "tutor" class? They can specialize themselves into certain categories of technical, scientific, or medical abilities. While they aren't physically capable, they are able to "understand" rare books you can find in the wastelands. Make the number of books limited, but do not tell the player base how many are left. Rarer books would obviously teach better things, but the books are not consumed upon a single use. However, they do decay with use and time, and once found, that timer starts clicking down.

    The second ability of the tutor, and most important, would be the ability to Teach other players, mainly the crafters and gatherers. Make it require a certain number of currency and/or items, and you'll insure it doesn't become trivial.

    If death becomes permanent, or almost so, then these Tutors would obviously need protection. Make it so that when they log off, they aren't safe. They must retreat to a bunker or such, else they could be killed by the horde of zombies. An NPC version of them could replace them til they log in, and if that NPC dies, the character is lost.

    Eh, all crazy ideas I know, but the only way to know if something works is to try it out and see... =P

  • hogscraperhogscraper Member Posts: 322

    My vision of the ultimate zombie MMO would have a heavy emphasis on jobs, 100's of them. Political, builders, fighters, medics, craftsmen. The bite of a zombie wouldn't turn you unless you died while infected. Get back to base and get your wounds treated? You beat the virus. Get felled by a horde of undead and you have to play as one. The server cap would be X number of people  and if you became a zombie, you have to play as one. Work out some sort of leveling system where the more people you kill you level, but instead of gaining levels in skills, you just get stronger and maybe mutate into something more powerful like in resident evil the way the T virus mutates. The whole point of the game would be to setup some kind of ticker where the only way to gain points in some all-important catagory would be to stay alive longer. Then when the last city falls, (maybe less than 10% of the total population in game is still living, the zombie characters reset to survivors starting back out in a house or shack somewhere with the point being to find the nearest fort/city and start building. You would have to figure out a way to let that person advance in their profession much quicker depending on how far they had made it through the first time. 

    I know this would not be for the typical MMO player, but I know a lot of people that log into counter-strike source every single day and play lila_panic until its time for bed. These are people that have logged 100's of hours playing the same map with no leveling no point what so ever except to stay alive as long as you can, and if you die? Come back and figure out how to take down the rest of the survivors. I like this concept a lot and when I'm bored will always come back to zombie mod for CSS.

  • JathJath Member Posts: 45

    I personally like the thought of having a sort of fort for people to hide in, which gets relentlessly assaulted by zombies and doesn't end, having NPCs to help out a bit. A bit newish, but I like it.

    A lot of people are talking about the death system; I noticed someone saying something with a download in a system - kind of like a clone - as much as I'm not all that great on ideas, you could make the "fear" of dieing in the sense that you can "respawn" with a clone, but just have a considerable rate of decrease in stats or something. I'm not talking about "Res. sickness" or something of that sort, and I can't really think of a Great solution, but doing something that's permanent and not reversible like the 10 minute cool down - or even easily taken back like Debt in City of Villains. Make it some kind of horrible thing to die, but not That horrible. Just a thought; obviously needs criticism.

    Also, I sadly do like the idea of classes like Pre-NGE of SWG. Being able to craft and all, it's a nice thought - along with weapons and all.

    It would be nice to see some sort of zombie MMO, as long as it's done correctly. Not half-assed.

  • Viper17Viper17 Member Posts: 22

    Overall i thought it was a great article...however i wouldnt say this is a "new idea".

    Exanimus was in development for some time but either through a loss of funds or something else..development stopped and it was put on hold.

    On the indie side of things there are also quite a few Zombie games being made.

    Z-Day www.zdaygame.com for one.

    image

  • BacaudaeBacaudae Member Posts: 6

    The articles author is stating that, if limited to his own preconceptions about how EXACTLY a zombie MMO must be made, it would fail to develop any of the traits common to current MMO gameplay

    If a game were so severely restricted, i agree completely that it would fail as an MMO.

     

    The point he is missing about what zombie represent to fiction, (at least when they are used correctly and to maximum impact) is that th zombie invasion is never more than a backdrop, in place to force tension, making and breaking survivor relationships.

    Zombie stories always follow a typical formula:

     1. Severe and shocking begining for lone characters. 

    2. Racing for shelter as fast as possible while avoiding random encounters. 

    3. Reinforcement from act 2 character arrivals.   

    4.Fortification, making use of all resources previously gathered or discovered.

    5. Final immense onslaught, which leads to ultimate victory for successful survivors, or death to all, depending on the quality of preperation of step #4.

     

    A Zombie MMO could very easily thrive, if a way was found to segment the gameplay temporally into step like these.   A finite timetale would be needed, as in 7 days of real time passing between story opening, and closing.   During this period,  Zombies would have to slowly increase in number, and be drawn to the largest group of nearbye survivors possible.

    during this, the players who start with nothing, would have to survive each encounter, gather weapons and supplys,  find and establish a secure base, and the most thrilling element, survive/destroy rival survivor groups.

    If the final step onslaught was sufficiently deadly, you could reward perennial survivors with persisting characters, toons able to being the restart with some or all of gear gathers, while toons that died were erased.

    this would be an excellent template for an open pvp, sandbox, GVG, PvE, Area style game.  all you would need to do is design a single city, full of buildings of various shape and size.  have randomly spawning "crates" of supplies to be found and fought over by survivors.  you could even have a number of skill points to enhance player control features, such as stealth, or physical strength etc.

     

    the zombie would serve only as a plot piece and back drop.  as all well crafted MMO's, interplayer struggle would have to be the true focus.

     

    or you could design World of Ghoulcraft and fail, as the author of this article is only able to percieve.

     

     

     

  • mokoleusmokoleus Member Posts: 142

    i figure a nice combination or SWG and tabula rasa would work really well. SWG crafting and skill system, and tabulas run and gun, with the control point features. hunting parties would leave small forts looking for supplies(weapons, scrap metal, medical supplies, oil, gas, and most inportantly FOOD). one of the most important part of a zombie mmo, is running a engine capable of pushing HUNDREDS of mobs smoothly, even if a graphic quality hit is required. the zombies should be easy to kill, but actually swarm you, and ten mobs isn't going to cut it all the time.

    forts should be defended, if the survivors don't take the time to clean up the zombie horde amassing, they will lose the fort, and have to try and take it back. skills would be needed to repair damage, and to re-inforce weakness. forts should be upgradable.

    as for being bitten, one bite should not turn you, as long as you get it looked after, a timer should appear, that will be sped up by multiple bites. being turn should be perma-death, but i'm going to go one further. not only should you turn, but you lose your character slot, till your zombie is killed. though, you can't control your zombie, you can log in, and see what they are up too. it could be considered personal quests for your friends and allies, to make sure you are put down. as a bonus for losing your character, some kind of inherited system could be used to gift some skill xp, or items, for that slot.

    i for one, would play the hell out of that game :)

  • darkb457darkb457 Member CommonPosts: 47

    It is challenging and ambitious, but if they pull it off, it actually be a Herald of WoW's Downfall from my prophecy.

    Yes, I have a prophecy about it, I spend way to much time on the net.

  • BountytakerBountytaker Member Posts: 323

    "In a hero story, the hero conquers the main villain at the end and saves the world. In a zombie movie, usually either everyone dies or there are a couple of survivors, but their fate is uncertain. There is never a montage in a zombie movie showing the main characters becoming more skilled. "

    Let me get this straight....the thematic story that has a beginning, middle, and END (hero's journey) is more appropriate for the "never ending" mmo genre than the thematic story that just goes on and on (survival)?  Really?  Did I just read that correctly?  You don't see that as backwards Mr. Webb?

    Did you really praise on the fittingness of the "hero's journey" as an mmo concept while completing glossing over the fact that NONE of the players REALLY get to be the sole "hero" in the game?  Did you miss the fact that EVERYONE gets to kill the dragon, or "big bad", at the END, on purpose, or did you realize it just doesn't fit with the point you were trying to make?

    "However, in most zombie movies, the main characters stay put. Their experience is about keeping the zombies "out". Exploration is only ever done out of absolute necessity. Usually, when the characters go exploring, they die."

    Why would you ever leave the tutorial area, or your "races" home, in a traditional fantasy mmo?  Because your access to suitable resources is limited?  Because you are given important pieces of "story", aka missions, to complete?  To help/assist other real life players?

    All the same apply to a zombie themed mmo, no?  In zombie stories, to players leave the safety of their hidey hole to save someone in distress?  To use Zombieland as a reference:  Would players risk their characters to rescue Emma Sone?!?!?!?!?!

    "Guns are Weird. No-one blinks twice in WoW if you swing at point-blank range with a sword and get a MISS. However, it becomes aesthetically really weird if you shoot a shotgun at point-blank range and miss. That level of abstract nonsense becomes hard to grok. It's OK (but silly) to have to hit a monster with a battleaxe 20 times before it dies, but it feels wrong if you replace the battleaxe with a shotgun and get the same result. "

    In zombie stories, when characters shoot parts of the body OTHER than the head, say the arm, legs, torso...does the creature die?  Wouldn't you call that a "miss" without it being "aesthetically really weird"?  Would it  bother players if a zombie got shot in the chest a few times?  Then blow off their legs, but have them continue coming at the character at full strength.  Or do crawling zombies not exist in the source material?

     

    " In a zombie movie, if you get bitten, it's game over. You have a few hours before the zombie bacteria kills you, and then you come back as a zombie. No-one ever survives a zombie bite. You don't "get better". So, if you are making a zombie MMO, you have to have an answer for his too (probably some kind of cheaty vaccine). "

    Or....they could grab, scratch, punch, hit, tackle, and just generally beat you, causing injury,  BEFORE biting you.  Heck..they even did that in Shaun of the Dead.  As I recall, Zombies don't always attack "teeth first", but more often than not, act as a violent mob that, after some subduing, finally "bite/eat" their victims.  Of course, a little body armor or protective gear helps with that too.

    Granted, it's not as "clean" as when a giant orc hits me in the head with a tree-trunk sized club that doesn't kill me, or a wraith with a giant sword stabs me through the chest yet I still fight on...but I guess we'd just have to make do.

    "If I'm a character in a zombie movie, my motivation is survival ... pure and simple. In a zombie MMO though, what does my character aspire to? What's the item/skill/ability/achievement/thingy I can achieve or acquire that's going to keep me playing for a few more days, or a few more months. What are the carrots? Guns and the zombie rules above can be overcome with some hand-waving. However, what the player's motivation is is the most important question that must be answered when making a zombie MMO. You need players to keep playing (and paying)."

    Maybe the toughest question of the bunch.  As some have said, there might need to be a resource component to this, ie, run out of resources, need to move on.  Or, a mechanic that lets you recapture the land...imagine RvR combat, but instead of factions, it all the players vs. the zombies.

    Here's a "creative" idea.  Instead of getting SKILLS at each level, what if you were given NPC characters to PROTECT.  The higher your level, the more people you have to protect.  The more people you have to protect, the more supplies you need, the bigger the hiding place, the more weapons, etc.....Take City of Heroes sidekick system, but make it ever increasing NPCs, say.  So the motivation of playing on and on ISN"T just your survival, but the survival of everyone...maybe, even, the human race.

    But I'm no talented mmo developer, so what do I know.

    I gotta say...three strikes Mr. Webb.  Not impressed at all. 

     

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