Survivor-Zombie Imbalance/Ratio History

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The History

The following describes ratio changes from the Survivor-Zombie Imbalance page.

The Strike (12/2005)

The Ratio: 21/12/2005 72% to 28% (35,457 to 14,137) with an estimated 59,200 active characters.

Survivors outnumber Zombies. This ultimately harms the game for everyone, since heavily unbalanced sides reduce the excitement and fun of the game.

Now infamous, a large number of players, survivors and zombies both, went On Strike in protest. Many gathered at Whetcombe Park for Stanstock. Their protest altered the levels drastically. Zombies made significant gains with many of the originally living protesters being converted, and game changes made to alter the balance to be more even.

Before Syringe AP Increase (02/2006)

The Ratio: 27/3/2006 An estimated 60% to 40%, 50,000 active characters, 25,000 survivors, 16,500 zombies.

With the changes implemented after the strike, the balance takes a drastic turn towards equality and the survivor count nosedives. This is largely due to the strike itself in which a large number of survivors were willingly killed during the protest but also due to the changes in favour of the zombies. The balance had been improved to but a bias against zombies still existed.

After Syringe AP Increase (03/2006)

The Ratio: 27/3/2006 An estimated 60% to 40%, 50,000 active characters, 25,000 survivors, 16,500 zombies.

On 28 March, syringes were changed to use 10 AP when reviving, up from 1 AP. This change reduced the use of syringes as combat weapons, as even characters with large amounts of syringes were restricted to five uses a day. Previously, syringes had been an AP-efficient way to kill zombies since they were a 1 AP use, 100% hit rate weapon.

The number of survivors drops significantly, and the ratio sees a brief period of equality.

The Ratio: 23/4/2006 50% to 50% (18,838 to 19,102) 46,055 active characters.

After this, the short term effect of the changes is adapted to by survivors, and survivor numbers begin a steady increase. This is compounded by active zombie players also leaving in larger numbers. The ratio took a violent swing for the survivors as a result.

Redressing the Ratio (06/2006)

The Ratio: 15/6/2006 59% to 41% (20,550 to 14,236) 41,439 active characters.

The slow survivor increase and the amount of zombies abandoning the game leaves the ratio in a sorry state. This is not left alone for long and new zombie skills are introduced. This doesn't seem to affect the amount of total characters, but the zombies make significant ground up on the unwary survivors and the ratio closes sharply, to rough equality.

The Ratio: 3/7/2006 49% to 51% (17,254 to 17,867) 42,986 active characters.

The impact is is sharp, but short. Zombies continue to gain ground until survivors have an equally sharp bounce back of their own. The zombie peak is as follows:

The Ratio: 20/7/2006 43% to 57% (14,325 to 19,239) 40,173 active characters.

Survivors later reach their own peak of similar magnitude:

The Ratio: 18/8/2006 57% to 43% (17,924 to 13,641) 38,211 active characters

The Depression (12/2006)

The Ratio: 21/12/2006 57% to 43% (17,979 to 13,810) 38,549 active characters.

Despite a steady gain on survivors numbers on the in intervening months, zombie numbers take a sharp hit in November and the situation ends up similar to 4 months ago.

The Ratio: 18/1/2007 64% to 36% (19,060 to 10,878) 36,274 active characters.

The Christmas/New Year period sees many zombie characters idle out, and a slight bump in survivor numbers. The ratio, fragile at this point, takes a bad hit. With zombie players becoming disinterested in playing things look bleak.

The Ratio: 6/2/2007 60% to 40% (18,812 to 12,399) 37,823 active characters.

The effects of the holiday period seem to be slowing, but while the ratio is still significantly off, it does not remain so for long.

Redressing the Ratio, a lot (02/2007)

The Ratio: 16/2/2007 55% to 45% (17,720 to 14,599) 39,415 active characters.

A zombie buff sees the ratio radically redressed. Zombies see rapid and substantial swings in their favour. The growth of their numbers is strong. Survivors are assisted by a rise in the total active characters, but this only serves to stem their fall a little.

The Ratio: 19/3/2007 43% to 57% (14,097 to 19,016) 40,418 active characters.

For the first time, the ratio is appreciably in zombie favour. The rate of growth in zombie characters remains as strong as ever, the survivor fall continued steadily, still lightly softened by new characters mainly flocking to their camp.

Numbers Swing (04/2007)

Official logging begins on April 22. During the little-over-a-month period since the zombie advantageous ratio of March 18, the numbers have changed dramatically. The results on the graph are an interpolation between the two dates and the true sharpness of the change is not know. From a 16% zombie leads, things go badly.

The Ratio: 22/4/2007 51% to 49% (15,992 to 15,337) 38,761 active characters.

The general cause of this rapid change is not known, if anybody has a good theory, they should make it known.

By the end of May, things had gotten bad for the zombies.

The Ratio: 31/5/2007 63% to 27% (20,056 to 11,615) 38,788 active characters.

At this point, things peaked and trends began to reverse, the ratio started a move towards equality again. The true length or pervasiveness of this trend will never be known, because not long after it began...

Yahoomas (06/2007)

The Ratio: 17/6/2007 60% to 40% (19,261 to 12,611) 39,202 active characters.

On June 18, the game was featured in an article on Yahoo. Yahoo, needless to say, is popular. Numbers sky-rocket for both sides.

The Ratio: 19/6/2007 62% to 38% (25,075 to 15,115) 49,603 active characters.

An extra 10,000 players flock in; 6,000 survivors, 2,500 zombies and 1,500 dead bodies.

Yahoomas was a short effect affair, despite the big increases, the effect had almost entirely worn off by the end of the month, with numbers returning to their pre-Yahoomas levels and re-entering the trend from before. Survivor numbers continued their downward trawl with even greater speed. Zombie numbers returned to their marked increases after a period of slow decline so that it could rejoin the cycle where it left off.

The Ratio: 30/6/2007 57% to 43% (20,186 to 14,986) 42,581 active characters.

Zombie Upswing... (08/2007)

Player numbers started to fall after this. Survivors, already their numbers falling, saw their rate of descent become steeper. Zombies, who had been enjoying a comeback, saw their rise slowly peak, and then began a slow and gradual decline of their own.

The Ratio: 13/08/2007 56% to 44% (17,971 to 13,871) 38,698 active characters.

After this date, zombies showed a marked growth at the expense of survivor numbers. a little later a change to free running involving ruins would further hamper survivors and press home the zombie advantage. The combined effect would see a brush with equality at the end of October.

The Ratio: 31/8/2007 49% to 51% (15,811 to 16,539) 39,239 active characters.

...And Downswing (09/2007)

Inexplicably (anybody got any good theories?), zombies numbers took a massive turn for the worse after the peak of the upswing. Survivors converted many, and yet more were lost due to idle outs. This massive downturn was to prove long term in its repercussions, after initially bottoming out on September 21.

The Ratio: 21/9/2007 62% to 38% (18,882 to 11,543) 36,970 active characters.

A Period of Stability (01/2008)

After the sudden downturn, the ratio never really recovered. Zombie control stayed lowed for some time, the survivor ratio staying between 57% and 64% for the period. Both sides saw a general decline in player numbers.

The Ratio: 1/1/2008 60% to 40% (15,362 to 10,474) 31,584 active characters.

The ratio then became more decisive, and the zombies were to find themselves in an ever worse situation. Survivor numbers began to rise steadily and zombie numbers managed to slump yet further, dropping below 10,000 for the first time ever.

The Ratio: 22/1/2008 66% to 34% (18,770 to 9,520) 34,117 active characters.

The worse ratio since pre-Stanstock, the zombies were now outnumbered by an overwhelming 2:1.

The Zombies Strike Back (01/2008)

The Ratio: 22/1/2008 66% to 34% (18,770 to 9,520) 34,117 active characters.

Game mechanics are radically altered to aid the zombies. Survivors find themselves slightly beaten up, but the zombies didn't stop there. A wave of new accounts (presumably to enjoy the change) helped rocket the balance to near equilibrium.

The Ratio: 20/2/2008 50% to 50% (15,493 to 15,342) 37,830 active characters.

This, however, was only the start.

The Dead/SA & Monroeville aka The Great Crash (02/2008)

The Ratio: 20/2/2008 50% to 50% (15,493 to 15,342) 37,830 active characters.

The zombie boosts were still benefiting zombies as the ratio reached equality. A group of players from Something Awful came en masse to Urban Dead, creating a group later to become known simply as The Dead. Zombies gain around 4,000, survivors 9,000 in the period of 9 days. It is, unequivocally, the fastest growth in numbers the game has ever seen.

Now add into the mix, a new Urban Dead city, Monroeville, opening on February 25. Cue a mash rush to sign up.

Up until now I've been using end of day statistics from the official records. Permit me now to use some hourly ones to make a point. The mass sign up had boosted numbers to their peak, as shown below.

The Ratio: 29/2/2008 17:00 56% to 44% (24,456 to 19,305) 51,834 active characters.

You can see the substantial rises in numbers for both sides over the period, some 14,000 characters. Now factor in the opening of Monroeville some days earlier. People playing characters there could no longer use their IP hits in Malton. The characters they left standing would be idling out any time soon.

The first wave hit just an hour later.

The Ratio: 29/2/2008 18:00 47% to 53% (15,955 to 17,820) 41,462 active characters.

The zombies lost 1,500 characters in this hour alone, the migration from the SA forums had cushioned this.

The survivors lost almost 10,000 characters, 40% of their entire population, in the space of an hour, back to pre-SA levels. It was the single biggest loss to either side in the space of an hour, ever.

It didn't stop there.

Survivor numbers plummeted. Meanwhile, zombie numbers later made a recovery to numbers almost as high as their SA peak.

The ratio reached its greatest post-Stanstock disparity, and it was in favour of the zombies. The final values at the survivors lowest point follow.

The Ratio: 24/3/2008 14:01 31% to 69% (8,478 to 18,394) 33,783 active characters.

The loss was the greatest change (not just fall, but change) in numbers in the history of the game. The combined migration of players to Monroeville and arrival of strong zombie hordes had turned the tables, definitively, in little over a month.

Survivors Bounce Back (03/2008)

The Ratio: 24/3/2008 14:01 31% to 69% (8,478 to 18,394) 33,783 active characters.

Zombie numbers had levelled out for sometime, but survivor numbers were still plummeting, having dipped under the 10,000 mark (Indeed, the 8,500 mark). The hordes had reached capacity, if the rate of attrition kept up, survivors would be gone in a month, maybe two. The game would be over.

Something was needed to turn it around, something equally as fast impacting as either SA or the opening of Monroeville.

That something happened, Monroeville closed. Since death (or rather, undeath) was permanent, and new characters could not be made, people flocked back to their Malton alts. Survivor numbers rose sharply. Zombie numbers fell equally as sharply as a result.

The Ratio: 03/04/2008 40% to 60% (11,296 to 16,711) 35,696 active characters.

Numbers remained level after the jump. It has been a short boost after all, and not an effect that would have longer term consequences. The jolt had happened however, and a week or so later survivors would get back into the groove and begin to drive zombie numbers back down. It took time, but 2-3 months of effort had reversed the situation.

The reason was because no fundamentals had changed. The zombie boost and effect of SA had been as short term as anything else. Compare the periods on the graph around 11/2007 and 6/2008. They're not that dissimilar. Arguably, there is some long term effect, and the numbers are indeed slightly better for zombies. But over,all the effect was negligible.

The Ratio: 13/6/2008 63% to 37% (17,084 to 9,879) 33,370 active characters.

Monroeville, All Over Again (06/2008)

Monroeville later reopens, but with much less effect. Less people migrate, zombie numbers are already in tatters, spurred on by neither a recent boost nor a mass influx of players on their side. Survivor number take a hit, but not much of one. The zombies fail to capitalize much. The ratio steers towards equality, but not with any great effort or driving purpose. The gain was mostly due to survivors idling out. The best zombie peak is below.

The Ratio: 26/7/2008 53% to 47% (12,908 to 11,342) 29,970 active characters.

The survivors adapt again, and the gap widens back to previous levels, before the zombies begin to make up ground again and close it to a 10% difference. Levels are slow in their changes.

Borehamwood (10/2008)

The Ratio: 27/10/2008 54% to 46% (12,867 to 10,951) 29,546 active characters.

Borehamwood opens on October 28, another new city. With zombies on good footing at this point, the effect of the survivor migration is enough to let them gain some strength. They capitalize well and flip the ratio round. It peaks during December.

Search Rate Boost (12/2008)

The Ratio: 5/12/2008 39% to 61% (8,259 to 13,162) 27,131 active characters.

The diminishing number of total players over time means that smaller differences are creating bigger effects on the percentages. It also means smaller numbers of revives/survivor deaths will have a bigger effect on the ratio.

Search rates are quietly increased, this saves survivor AP, regardless of their skill. This core boost, though small, sends survivors off to reverse the current ratio pretty fast. Numbers swap drastically. The following is the survivor peak.

The Ratio: 16/12/2008 55% to 45% (12,033 to 9,701) 27,410 active characters.

Stability Regained (01/2009)

The Ratio: 15/1/2009 63% to 37% (13,596 to 7,887) 26,801 active characters.

The quick switch-around of fortune appears to level off with a sizeable survivor advantage in mid-Janurary, and levels remain reasonably constant for several months to follow.

The Ratio: 1/4/2009 63% to 37% (13,713 to 8,012) 27,648 active characters.

Survivor Diminishment (04/2009)

The smaller player base of the recent history of the game becomes apparent, when a small drop in the survivor count sees an appreciable change in the ratio, the change takes a couple of months to come into full force, and sees the ratio narrow by 14%.

The Ratio: 26/5/2009 56% to 44% (11,446 to 9,169) 25,786 active characters.

Survivors bounce back at a slower rate in the months following, as overall zombie numbers fall this time. They reach a lower peak in late September.

The Ratio: 19/9/2009 62% to 38% (11,487 to 7,163) 23,369 active characters.

End of Year Reverse (11/2009)

Zombies then make a more significant contribution and begin turning their fortunes considerably. Though it's takes time, progress is steady and sure enough the ratio swaps to a zombie majority, peaking on none other than Christmas day.

The Ratio: 25/12/2009 45% to 55% (8,440 to 10,171) 23,912 active characters.

Survivors have hit back slightly into the new year, and have managed to retake a slim majority.

Survivors Restore Status Quo (Q2/2010)

As quickly as things has turned into zombie favour, survivors turn them back around and return the ratio to November levels as February begins where it remains steady for a brief time.

The Ratio: 01/02/2009 60% to 40% (10,282 to 6,980) 21,936 active characters.

Survivors then take another five percent in early February which also lasts for a short time before subsiding.

The Ratio: 01/03/2009 65% to 35% (10,623 to 5,799) 20,786 active characters.

As April begins, the game has returned to the usual ratio of survivor advantage.

The Ratio: 01/04/2009 60% to 40% (9,339 to 6,254) 19,938 active characters.

Overall numbers have now been on a slow but steady decline for roughly two years, and have now dipped below 20,000.

Stabilization and Gradual Decline (mid-2011 onward)

The Ratio: 01/06/2011--present Varying around 66% to 33%. Active characters under 10,000.

With game updates non-existent and large events at a long time low, the ratio rests at 2:1 in favour of survivors and active players slowly decrease. The end is nigh.


This analysis is based on recent trends, and other may show up in due course.

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