Ten months ago, I was first introduced to Urban Dead. A free online game about fighting hordes of the undead and surviving the zombie apocalypse… or so I thought. About seven months ago, I was excited to be playing the game, casually fighting zombies and barricading myself inside buildings while I slept. The game wasn’t and isn’t overly graphic, but I was more than capable of filling in the narrative myself. After getting myself skilled up a bit, four months ago, I decided to create a project for myself in the game, and a week later I had to modify that project due to what had become the glaring flaw in the game’s design. After I abandoned Munford, I took residence in the Pickford Cinema over in Osmondville…
At this point, I really wish I could say that things took off, the movie theater was made secure, we fortified the doors and beat back the walking dead, slowly spreading out to other theaters and growing a network of safe havens for people to pretend they are watching movies as the undead shamble out in the streets. I really wish I could.
The major design flaw in Urban Dead is that you, as a survivor, cannot win. And I don’t mean that in a “this is an MMO with endless grinding, a virtual world, and there will be no ‘You win! The end!’ screen.” sort of way… I mean that in a “There will always be more zombies because you can’t kill them for good because they are not NPCs, they are the other players.” sort of way.
A month we spend inside, making neighboring buildings safe, keeping the free running paths clear. Trips to the mall for supplies, gas from the gas station to keep the generators running… life was pretty good. Then a horde of zombies comes through, breaks down all the barricades, kills all the people, and makes a mess. Now, all us survivors are zombies. Luckily it doesn’t take too long to wander over to a NecroTech building with a revive point, but it does take nearly three weeks to get all those people revived (it takes 20 action points to make a syringe -but you can search for them and cut that down- and 10 action points to revive someone, after you spend a point DNA scanning them, so that 1 person, even if they already have the syringes, can only revive 4 people a day). It takes us another two weeks to get all the buildings back in good order, then the zombies come through again…
I don’t want to be a zombie. Obviously some people do. But when my game, as a survivor, is actually 75% of the time spent trying to recover from being killed… I would rather lose levels than this. Especially since I have no say in my deaths at all… they all happen when I’m offline.
I tried. I really tried. Its just not worth the frustration. I play games to be the hero, the guy that “wins”, not to be just another victim.
I’ll still be keeping my eye out for zombie games, and I still desire to make one… but for now, Urban Dead, as far as I’m concerned, is dead.