The Troubles That Will Plague The Zombie MMO Genre
Every new genre that hits the constantly expanding world of the MMO has to overcome a few teething problems but are the restraints holding back the zombie genre too tough to break? Although the zombie MMO titles are seriously outnumbered in today’s market, we’ve had enough hit the scene to notice the obvious problems that repeat through the different games. DayZ and The War Z are arguably two of the most popular online zombie games currently available but a few others have crept onto the scene such as The Dead Linger and Dead Frontier. I take a look at the current state of the bigger names in zombie MMO gaming and give my thoughts on the issues they’ll have to overcome if they want to become more than a passing phase.
One of the biggest issues with the zombie games released so far is the looting system. Putting it bluntly, it’s horrid. It’s basic, unimaginative and not conducive to the overall post apocalyptic message these games are meant to offer. I’ll give you an example. You spawn in The War Z and totally ignore all the basic survival instincts any normal human would have in that situation and you head straight for the Airfield. Much like DayZ this is one of the best places to find rare, military grade loot. So what happens? You end up with 40% of the server population fighting it out in a 1 mile area. Some die, respawn and then repeat. What this genre needs is some innovation, a new method of item spawning that doesn’t just use a rare drop chance percentage and location based restrictions. A new genre needs new ideas, not rehashed ideas used in hundreds of games before. But how are developers supposed to maintain the realism of finding certain items in certain locations while spreading out the player base to give the feeling of a thinned out population? Any ideas, pop a comment in the space below
One of the biggest issues to plague the bigger zombie MMO games is the ability for players to use the same character across multiple servers. Now this approach does work in a number of MMO games, but in a free-roam survival title, it just breaks everything. Ghosting is one of the biggest issues in both DayZ and The War Z. Basically it involves a player getting to a location on one server, then logging in to another server and ambushing otherwise safe players.
Seriously. What are the benefits of allowing people to play on multiple servers in the first place? Practically all of the biggest MMO titles restrict a single player to a single server so why does the zombie genre feel it has to break what already works?
One of the most appealing features of the zombie genre is the no holds barred PvP. Both DayZ and The War Z feature full loot PvP, meaning players lose all of their belongings on death. Although this appeals to many hardcore PvP players, it can actually have the opposite effect on those that are looking for a new MMO experience. Every time a new MMO genre hits the scene, players that aren’t necessarily familiar with online gaming come out of the woodwork and the zombie genre is no different. This is an extremely harsh introduction to the MMO universe for some players but not because they risk losing their virtual wealth, but because it creates a hostile deathmatch environment.
Obviously if 90% of the worlds population was wiped from existence and the remaining 10% are fighting for survival, hostility would be a common emotion. However, none of the current zombie games really punish players for mindless killing. But then again, how can you emulate the emotional impact that a murder would invoke? Most will agree that the PvP systems in these games are some of the most appealing aspects, but what can they do to make it a bit more realistic?
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.