Urban Dead is an HTML/text-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Kevan Davis. Set in a quarantined region of the fictional city of Malton, it deals with the aftermath of a zombie outbreak. Players enter the game either as a human survivor or a zombie, each with different abilities and limitations. Humans become zombies when they are killed, while zombies can be "revivified" with appropriate technology, becoming human. There are no non-player characters in the game: all humans and zombies are controlled by players.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Gameplay involves zombies breaking into safe houses and eating the inhabitants, and humans trying to defend the houses by barricading them and killing any zombies present. Safe houses tend to be located in or near buildings where useful items can be found, such as shopping malls, police stations, hospitals, and the laboratories of the zombie-related NecroTech corporation. Cooperation between players isn't strictly enforced. Internal fighting between survivors and zombies is a frequent occurrence. Urban Dead has no economy. Human characters can loot supplies from abandoned buildings indefinitely, but cannot trade, sell, or give them to other players. A system that allows this, however, is in progress.Template:Fact
New players begin the game as one of three survivor classes; Military, Science or Civilian; or as a Zombie. Each side in the struggle has its own advantages. Humans move twice as fast as low-level zombies and are able to employ various weapons and tools. Human characters can communicate with each other in-game via speech, radio broadcasting, and text messaging. They can also barricade building entrances, keeping zombies at bay. Zombies, often referred to as "zeds" or "zambahz" are limited to using claws, teeth, and blunt melee weapons. However, they are able to revive when killed, at the cost of several action points, rendering them effectively immortal. Higher level zombies can communicate with each other via a crude form of zombie speech, as well as through groaning noises and hand gestures. It is possible to switch sides in the conflict: a human character that is killed will rise up as a zombie, and zombie characters may be re-animated as living humans by a survivor who has the relevant skill and item.
Players receive action points as time passes, which are used up any time they move, fight, or undertake any other sort of activity. One action point is gained every half hour of realtime, up to a maximum of fifty points. When a character's action points drop to zero or lower, that character is unable perform any action until they gain further points, humans fall asleep and zombies' brains cease to function. Should a human run out of action points hits whilst in an unsecured area, they are at great risk of attack by zombies during sleep. Players must make sure that their human characters are in a safe place before logging out, encouraging quick raids from fortified safe houses. The use of Action Points as a limit on character actions is similar to the systems of several other freeware MMORPGs such as Kingdom of Loathing.
As players damage their opponents or perform certain other actions, their experience points increase. While humans can also gain experience from performing a variety of actions, such as healing other players or repairing damage to buildings, zombies can only gain experience points by attacking other player characters or objects in the game world. When players gain enough experience points, they can exchange them for new skills. Only humans can buy human skills, and only zombies can buy zombie skills; although skills of one type are not lost if the character dies or is revived, most human skills cannot be used by zombies, and vice versa. Human characters can effectively learn the skills of all human classes, not just the class they begin with, though skills outside of their chosen class can be more expensive. Currently, the highest level that a player can reach if all skills are purchased is 42, however due to the skill "Brain Rot" making it harder to get revives, many players opt to leave it unpurchased and as a result there are a greater number of players at level 41 as opposed to level 42.
Humans who die and return as zombies do not have to switch sides. Zombies that were once humans can gather at designated "revive points" scattered through out the city where they wait for humans with the relevant skills and equipment to revive them. Revive points are considered neutral ground and survivors are generally discouraged from killing zombies found there. Some players and groups on both sides have also set their own distinct goals, many of which are set for purely role-playing purposes. Urban Dead is not limited to survivor versus zombie combat, groups of survivors can attack other survivors, this is known as player killing. Within the game, this is viewed as an act of murder, however it is not against the game rules and is seen by some more advanced players as playing the game on "Hard" due to only receiving half the experience points that one would receive for attacking zombies. Individuals that engage in this behavior are often tracked by bounty hunters. Some zombie groups utilize human characters as spies and saboteurs, usually during or in preparation for a major attack on a safe house. These collaborators are often referred to as "zombie spies" or "death cultists". On the other hand, zombies desperate for experience points or health may turn on and attack their own kind (known as ZKing in-game), again similar to PKing, this only generates half the usual experience points.
Development[edit | edit source]
Urban Dead was created by Kevan Davis, a freelance video game designer and web developer, in 2005. Davis was inspired by a similar game called Vampires!, which was created by a friend, and play-by-mail games. These were combined with elements of Nethack, MUSHes, interactive fiction and a zombie infection simulation he had developed in 2003. This created a game which required approximately 10 minutes of planning and play a day; involving exploration, interaction and item discovery.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Players who felt that zombie characters had fewer options than human counterparts took part in a mass protest during early 2006, assembling in a Malton central park and refusing to attack other players. The action received widespread support by players, the resulting load on the server caused technical problems and the refusal to play threatened to undermine the game. In response, Kevan Davis improved the zombie characters, resulting in the protest halting. Players with zombie characters celebrated by rampaging through each of Malton's shopping malls in turn, in what became known as the Mall Tour '06.
Popularity[edit | edit source]
As of June 6, 2008, there was a total of 1,281,008 registered characters with 31,546 active. In Monroeville, the other version of the game, there was a total of 8,052 registered characters.
References[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Official Urban Dead website
- Official Urban Dead Wiki
- Unofficial Map of the city of Malton
- Urban Dead Survivor Diaries
- Urban Dead - Game Statistics