Urban Dead is dead to me

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.

16 comments

  1. jake duane jones says:

    I agree with you, like the game but it has it’s flaws, you should make a game, I’m always looking for new zombie online games.

  2. Chris says:

    If you played the game correctly you’d have more fun. When you are killed by the zombies and become one of them, you aren’t supposed to go searching for a revive point. Go and be a zombie for a while and kill humans and when you happen upon someone who revives you, start acting like a human again.

    People that play the game like you ruin it. You’re playing the game as an action adventure. Not a ROLE PLAYING GAME.

    • Jason says:

      But… I don’t want to be a zombie. Ever. At all. Playing as a zombie is boring and stupid and sucks. Why would I want to play a game and be a zombie when I don’t want to be a zombie? I tried. It was lame.

      And I was playing it as a Role Playing Game, and the role I wanted to play was survivor, not zombie.

  3. Tattooedta says:

    I’ve been playing Urban Dead for going on 5 years and yes… Trying to stay alive is a mess but up in East Boundwood we have a good system. We take care of each other and while I have disappeared a few times due to the endless frustration, I always come back. Here’s why: the survivor diaries. Some brilliant human set up a site where those of us who want to build “lives” in that text-based world we can. We create stories around our deaths and our revives and our successes and defeats and in the process, we get to know our fellow survivors without having to waste all our action points. Makes everything more bearable…lol

  4. DerekSmart says:

    East Boundwood? Just north of Yagoton? If you don’t mind I think I can scrounge up about 600 people to come roleplay with you.

  5. Anne Moss says:

    Zombies in a game about a zombie apocalypse? Oh no! What will they think of next?
    /sarcasm

    Sorry. But, well, yeah. Ending up a zombie is waay part of UD; if you couldn’t handle it, maybe it’s best you quit.
    I guess this explains why the survivor:zombie ratio always drifts back towards survivors though.

  6. Zenaspuppy says:

    Are you still playing? You think things were bad then? We’ve got the fucking “The dead” zed group destroying malton. they said they won’t stop until everyone is a zed and it’s looking like they may just succeeed.

    • Jason says:

      I’m not playing, though I’ve considered giving it a try again, like I do with most games. This news, however, means that I’ll be staying away.

  7. Krastavac says:

    Have you even watched any movies or read any of the books in the genre? I you haven’t here’s a tip: There almost always more zombies than survivors! If you want an easy game go play with toy soldiers or something. Then you can decide that you win all the time…

    • Jason says:

      You missed the point entirely. It has nothing to do with winning or losing. I’ll play a survivor and lose again and again and again if the the game is fun. But I have no desire to play a game as a zombie. Playing as a survivor in Urban Dead can be lots of fun. Playing as a zombie is boring and stupid because I don’t want to be one so the game ends up being just standing around waiting to be revived.

  8. Li2 says:

    I’m really fed up with the death system in this game to be honest. I can’t help but think there should be a way to prevent combat revives without making revives too expensive. This should be brain rot but on average it still costs about 20 AP to revive someone.

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  10. dk says:

    Well, you obviously don’t understand the point of a Role Playing Game. If you’re a zombie, you’re supposed to act like one – Chris is right.
    And I agree with you, playing as a zombie is boring, but if no one played as a zombie, then the game would be total shit and there would be no opponents whatsoever.

  11. Devon Sun says:

    While I get your frustration, I kinda agree with Chris. If everyone was “Dual Natured” the game would run really well and be a ton of fun. The biggest problem I see though isn’t with people trying to maintain survivorhood, it’s a combo of organized zombie hoards with “zergin”. Over the last year I’ve eaten my way all over Malton only to be revived and work my ass off fixing up buildings, maintaining cades, revivin others, and takin out murderers and the brainrotten…. until I get eaten… again… But recently the zerg siege tactic (which is really, really effective) has devastated the survivors so much that I’ve spent the last week wandering around (maybe the game should add a permanent death from starvation?) looking for any sign of life. I checked the map on the wiki today and of the 100 hoods: and 73 are Very Dangerous, 16 are Dangerous, 2 are Moderately Dangerous and the last 9 are just Ghost Towns.

    Guess the only choice I have is to shuffle towards the moderate zones…. nom nom nom….

  12. Lyo Mi says:

    IMO Urbandead is literally dead.

    No updates for well over a year. Even the Wiki shows sign of a one-man developer that got tired of their own game.

    April 1
    ——-
    >Unofficial Notes:
    > For two years in a row, there was no April Fools joke.

    And that’s all the updates for 2011. Urbandead is literally a zombie – its heart stopped beating, its memory grew stale, it’s still aimlessly wandering around, until it’ll unavoidably collapse to the ground.

  13. lorentsenjr says:

    I suppose no one will read this, but its still a point. You shouldnt rely on being at one place for your defence. You should constantly be on the move. The game is not to survive the zombies, cause you cant. You need to avoid them, at all costs. Stay at a place for a week or two, then move to a different part of town ^^

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