Driving away your players

So, there’s a bunch of stuff going on in WoW right now – the normal Halloween event, plus a bunch of stuff having to do with the upcoming release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. There are neat attacks on major capitol cities — undead hordes dropping out of FLYING CITADELS, cool bosses to fight and gear to get… and just a lot of neat stuff.

And… in the limited amount of time I’ve had to play this weekend, I haven’t gone anywhere near WoW. Warhammer, yes. LotRO, sure. WoW? No.
The reason way can be pretty accurately summed up by John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Dickwad Theory, and the current Zombie Plague that’s spreading throughout the World… of Warcraft.

Basically, that part of the ongoing ‘lore event’ is ruining the fun I have in the game. Specifically, the extent to which people can use the event to screw with other players and the lack of safeguards against it.

  1. To give the situation some context, I should explain how the event works:
    People can become infected with the Scourge plague. This is done when a player kills an infected roach, opens some infected crates, or is the subject of infection by either player-controlled or NPC zombies.

  2. The infection is applied as a disease. When the disease runs its course (which took 10 minutes, then five, and finally – this weekend – only 1 minute), or when a player dies while infected, the player turns into a zombie.
  3. As a zombie, a player retains his or her level and can attack other players of either faction, whether they are flagged for PvP or not.
  4. NPC’s can be infected and become zombies, as well, which means you can infect, zombify, and kill … oh, Auction House NPCs… or the Flight Point NPCs… or the Bank NPCs… or any of the thousands of NPCs who hand out quests.
  5. There are NPC “Healers of the Argent Crusade” who can cleanse people of the infection and who will attack these zombies, which means they will probably get infected, zombify, and die.
  6. High level players with any sort of disease cleansing capabilities (3 of the classes, none of which I play) can also remove it, though it has a high resistance rate.
  7. City Guards can attack zombies, which means they will get infected, zombify, and start attacking other people.

This seems an okay situation on the surface. NPC healers were meant to serve as the defense against the early version of the plague. However, it is important to note the various conditions changed the event into one of the worst experiences WoW has offered:

  1. The argent healers are only stationed in major cities at important hubs: banks, auction houses, flight points, and entrances to various areas. They are not stationed in towns outside of the capital cities… in other words, in 99% of the world.
  2. Guards in most lower-level towns are too low in level to even hit, let alone put a dent in, the high level player zombies. At best, they can daze the zombie and prevent them from reaching a low-level player who has managed to run away.
  3. Low-level players cannot themselves put a dent in the player zombies that are much higher in level than them, due to the level difference.
  4. Given the opportunity, most people are dicks (see Internet Dickwad Theory).
  5. My high-level guys can get around alright with flying mounts, but … well, we can’t run quests anywhere near populated areas, because we’re either getting attacked by player-run zombies, running back to a healer to get cleansed of the plaque, or we can’t actually GET a quest or turn it in, cuz the guy we need to talk to is wandering around and moaning about Brraaaaaaains.
  6. My low level guys can’t do anything. If they so much as log on, some level 70 player-run zombie will kill them.

So… when I had a chance to log in this weekend, did I log on one of my WoW 70s (who both have stuff I’d really like to accomplish before Wrath comes out in mid-November) or my WoW alts?

Nnnnnno. I’ll play another game. I have a character to level in LotRO. I’m still trying out all the character options in Warhammer. (I’m one of those apparently rare people who got the “dual-wield MMOs” talent.)

Hell, for that matter, I have blogs to read, books to read, an election to volunteer for, a Lexicon to write entries for, and pretty soon NaNoWriMo.

I have lots of things clamoring for my attention every day and World of Warcraft — which often calls out to me with the most seductive voice in the crowd — has handed it’s Blizzard-branded megaphone to a bunch of asshats. Heck, even if the event were running as intended it would regularly and routinely interfere with the game that I’m paying to play; so much so that I choose not to play that game.
Which I’m pretty sure was not the goal they were shooting for.


  1. So… CoX’s implementation of the zombie theme (while highly derivative of the Rikti Invasion, since it uses almost exactly the same mechanics) is almost infinitely less annoying. Excellent.

  2. Actually, the WoW equivalent to that is actually the Ziggurat/Citadels that are flying in over the Capitol city and releasing hordes of undead to attack. It’s something they did a couple years ago, it’s back, and it’s almost identical to the Undead Invasion in CoH in terms of coolness, fun, and interest.
    This plague-thing is… unbelievably, unrelated.
    And those are only two of the MAJOR events going on right now.
    The main complaint from people who are actually enjoying everything that’s going on in game right now is that there’s TOO MUCH TO DO.
    So even the happy people aren’t happy. 😛

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