In October of 2008, there was a world event in World of Warcraft that has since been referred to as the “Zombie Infestation” or the “Zombie Plague”. It appeared after patch 3.0.2 and preceded the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I’ll leave you to read the information I linked to on WoW Wiki if you would like to see some more detailed information about this world event.
At the time the Zombie Infestation occurred, I was a very new player in World of Warcraft. I probably wouldn’t have realized that this event was happening if it wasn’t for my good friend Medros who contacted me outside of the game to point it out. All I remember him saying, all these years later, was that there was something I should see going in in WoW, and that it involved zombies. That was enough for me to immediately jump into the game to check it out – because zombies are awesome!
The screenshots you see in this blog were taken on October 22, 2008. I’d barely figured out how to take a screenshot, so most of these aren’t all that wonderful. It is also worth keeping in mind that the game looked quite different back in 2008 as compared to how it looks now.
Why did I choose to put together a blog about a world event that happened so many years ago? There are two main reasons. One, I was inspired by a blog post written by Alternative Chat in which she was discussing how now was a good time for Blizzard to bring back the big pre-expansion event. She included a video someone made of their experience during the Zombie Invasion.
This reminded me that, oh yeah, I have some screenshots of that event somewhere in my computer. Which brings me to the second reason I decided to make this blog – nostalgia. Or, to be more specific, nostalgia for the in-game events which allowed random players, who were strangers to each other, to all work together on a common goal.
As soon as I was able to figure out where the Zombies were congregating, I rushed over in the hopes of becoming one. That’s me, in the center of the screenshot, wearing a pumpkin on my head. A group of players who all wanted to become zombies were gathering in a small house somewhere near Mirror Lake. Lucky for me, there were very interested in recruiting people who wanted to be turned into zombies.
It is only now, all these years later, that I’ve discovered that I was probably playing “the bad guy” during this world event. I mentioned something about how I was looking at old screenshots of the zombie invasion. Some of my friends responded that they, well, didn’t look favorably upon this particular event.
It seems they were trying to finish quests – which they couldn’t do – because the zombies were killing the NPCs (non-player characters.) There was also the risk of being turned into a zombie when you didn’t want to become one. Oh, and some people were trying to work on the trick-or-treating quests that were part of the All Hallow’s Eve events. I get the point now. Back then, it never occurred to me that someone wouldn’t want to be a zombie.
There we go! As you can see, Grayn (my Human Rogue), has been turned into a zombie. She also got put into what I am only now understanding was actually a raid group. I’ve never been a raider, and had no idea what I was doing. At the time, I just assumed that this was how people grouped up to play the game. Looking back, I’m quite certain I frustrated some of the other zombies because I barely had any idea of what button did what or when to use them.
My group of zombies was on the move! I had absolutely no idea what was in store, or how to do it, but didn’t care. I also did not know a single player who had joined in this raid (if that’s the right word for what we were doing).
Someone named Sargiel was trying very hard to educate the new zombies about their limited powers. Part of his advice was: STAY TOGETHER IF YOU WANT TO LIVE! It sounded like something right out of a zombie movie, except for the fact that it was usually the humans who were following that advice – not the zombies.
Someone else in the General chat was alerting all who cared to read it that there was a player named Kalina, who might have been a paladin, and who was intent on killing every zombie she saw. I suppose that would make her one of the “good guys”, wouldn’t it?
My group of zombies was slowly shuffling its way out of Mirror Lake and towards Goldshire.
We shuffled into a small house that was near the outskirts of Goldshire. A zombie named Ramear burst into dance. Another zombie, named Miryu, told the group “Invite Avengyn! He’ll join our cause!” The zombie who appeared to be in charge, Sargiel, gave everyone a quick review of “Zombie 101”.
Sargiel: ZOMBIE 101
Sargiel: Retch!: It heals allies in it (but not you)
Sargiel: Mangle: spam it (does damage/infects)
Sargiel: Lurch!: AOE sprint, it helps you and all nearby zombies!
Sargiel: STAY TOGETHER IF YOU WANT TO LIVE
Next, the zombies gathered inside this little house and waited for more zombies to arrive. The more, the better, (for us zombies, anyway).
Around this time, a player named Madamme, spoke in General chat about a problem that she was having. I figure that many others were as well.
Madamme: I give up zombies. I’m lagging too bad to kill that many xD.
An interesting conversation was taking place in General chat as players tried to figure out what was going on. This world event was not announced ahead of time. It just happened out of the blue one day (or, so it seemed to players at the time).
Shadala: what is going on with the zombies
Thundershock: mass zombie raid
Solwick: JOIN US
Thundershock: PST for invite
Madamme: Found out where there are yourself like I did, but there’s like 800 of them.
Solwick: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
Madamme: They almost infected me when I hit a lag spike.
Looking back at this conversation, the most interesting part of it (to me) it that there were enough players taking part in this world event, as zombies who wanted to attack Goldshire, to cause a lag spike. I don’t think I realized, back then, just how many of us decided be zombies that day. More than one or two people decided to put in the effort to coordinate the zombie raid, with complete strangers, some of whom had never done raiding before.
Now, there obviously weren’t 800 of us zombies squeezed into this one little house. Where were the rest hiding? We were about to find out. Thundershock started leading our groups to where we could join up with the rest of the zombies. As we shuffled along, he was talking in General chat, letting people know to PST him if they wanted to join the ZR (zombie raid).
Demea: i love zombies
Karamonn: I’m helping the zombies
Demea: me too i was in the raid of zombies in lakeshire
t turned out that were were heading toward the Mine. A player named Karamonn put a “Raid Warning” onto the middle of everyone’s screen.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWED HERE!!! You’ll get us all KILLED!!!
There was some taunting going on from the players who didn’t happen to want to be zombies.
Olanden: zombies smell funny
Denar: Like your mother
Monolithe: and old people.
Something occurs to me as I am putting together this blog. The zombie raid was planning on attacking Goldshire. Yet, all of the zombie players had to have been Alliance. If they weren’t there would be no way for them to communicate with each other, even if everyone was a zombie.
After becoming a zombie, nobody felt a particular need to stay loyal to the Alliance. Instead, they were ready to attack the towns and the Alliance players who were in them. Faction loyalty disappeared. The rest of the zombies must have been just like me – jumping at the chance to become a zombie. I don’t think we recruited anyone who was unwillingly turned into a zombie.
So, here we had a large group of strangers, some of whom had never raided before, being led by players who took the responsibility upon themselves to coordinate things, and who were actively encouraging more players, (who they didn’t personally know) to join in. Could this sort of thing happen in the game today?
Goldshire is under attack! The raid had started. Even so, the zombie raiders were still welcoming in fellow zombies who wanted to join.
Sergeant Major Thimis was slain by a pack of zombies…
…and immediately joined the zombie raid after he had been “turned”. (I think he was with us earlier and had returned).
I wasn’t paying much attention to the chat while the zombie raid was going on. Now that I’m focusing on these screenshots, it becomes clear that different players had differing viewpoints about the zombie raid – and the were expressing them in General chat – without getting verbally attacked for it. Players who were part of the raid, and wanted back in, were helped by the raiders who were still alive.
Our fearless leader, Thundershock, was telling the raiders: “Invite your friends, tell them to PST me” while we were heading for Goldshire.
Miyru: oneeee offfff usssssss
Ladgaver: wtf i just got killed by a horde and my pvp was off
Phaetusa: Um…anyone able to cleanse the zombie ability?
Thimis: (to the raid group) stay together
Thundershock: don’t be a noob about that
Iggo: Don’t do ittt
Phaetusa: Disease… whatever
Nicolae: I can when I level up
Demea: (to the raid group) im infected but I need to wait 10 min before im a zombie
Miryu: (to the raid) once they are diseased don’t worry about chasing
Thimis: (to the raid) u can get killed by us
Miryu: (to the raid) demea come to us if we kill you you turn right away
See! We were a friendly, helpful, group of zombies!
If you look closely at the front of the zombie mob, you can see that Demea did, in fact, take us up on the offer to quickly turn her into a zombie.
Chukklez: Who wanna become zombies and make one large zombie army? PST
Brokenlove: Can someone cleanse me? <3
(I also attempted to respond with “no” but had yet to learn how to switch from talking to the raid group to talking in General chat).
Brokenlove: You’ll get hearts. And hugs. And yeah
Thundershock: (in General chat) ok LAST CALL FOR INVITE TO THE ZOMBIE RAID
Novem: I can cure diseases
Phaetusa: Some of us just don’t want the disease and would like to get our trick or treating done ;p
Denar: They just turn me into something
Elazul: (yells) Someone mind cleansing me?
Pwimble: (yells) [Zombie] roar
Phaetusa: Which I REALLY wish the innkeepers couldn’t be killed
Vladaroni: (yells) thats like saying don’t help people who have aids
Right away, we were having at least some players start to equate the zombie invasion / zombie plague with real world diseases. It’s clear that this was a plague that could be spread from one player to another. It was obvious that many of the infected – the zombies – fully intended to infect as many other players as possible.
Vladaroni was the first (to my knowledge) to equate the refusal to cleanse someone of the zombie infection in World of Warcraft with the concept of refusing to help people in the real world who had AIDS (or, presumably, another disease). This impromptu event, which appeared with absolutely no warning or instruction given to players, was causing some people to apply real-world concepts of morality to what was happening.
There lies poor Grayn the Rogue, who had become one of the zombies that was plaguing Azeroth. Of course, this is how it had to end. My raid team has died, but the zombie plague was still being spread to players who had not yet become zombies (and who might not have wanted to have that happen to them). Killing the zombies was not an effective way to stop the zombie plague from spreading.
I could have hit the button to release my spirit and then run directly back into the zombies and joined up for another go at it. If I remember correctly, I had to work the next day very early in the morning and couldn’t afford to stay awake any longer. This was super fun, though, and has become one of my favorite memories of World of Warcraft.