On Strike

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Clock.png Historical Group
This historical group is no longer active. However, its wiki page is preserved to reflect the group's significance in Urban Dead history.

On Strike
Abbreviation: None
Group Numbers: Former members included RRF, Shambling Seagulls, Drunken Dead, The Undying Scourge, Anti Celebrity Taskforce, The People's Militia, Members of The New Maltonian Dynasty, and numerous independent humans and feral zombies.
Leadership: none
Goals: Remain inactive until zombies are worth playing again.
Recruitment Policy: Anyone who feels the game remains imbalanced against zombies.
Contact: link

Players who have listed this as their group went On Strike from Urban Dead during December 2005 - January 2006. Strikers felt Kevan's game modifications failed to recognize the severe Human-Zombie imbalance in the game. Within a day of the strike, Kevan officially responded, sympathizing with the imbalance, and promising additional game features to keep the game interesting and within a zombie apocalypse genre. A day later, the new Feeding Groan skill was added for zombies. Within two weeks, changes to Large Building exploration allowed mall swarming, spawning the Zombie Mall Tour '06.

The majority of strikers returned to normal activities.

Kevan continued to make game improvements, including advanced NecroTech operations, better claw attacks for unskilled zombies, and Tangling Grasp. In addition, the price to use a NT Syringe was raised from 1AP to 10AP.

As of February 2006, On Strike is a historical event and is no longer an active group. Remaining players labelled as "On Strike" have probably forgotten to change the group affiliation in their profile. Players who believe that Urban Dead remains seriously imbalanced should join the group Back On Strike or just get over it.

The Call for Action

[This statement is point of view of certain members of the game.]

[This statement pre-dates the addition of Feeding Groan and mall swarming to the game, and pre-dates the Syringe cost increase from 1AP to 10AP.]

The game is broken. It's been broken for a while now, and the new modification to headshot doesn't fix the problem, it makes it worse. So the senior members of the RRF and many others are going on strike until it's fixed. We're asking players on both sides of the game to call it quits until such time as the system is repaired and headshot either removed or converted into something that doesn't magnify the human character advantage into a nigh-invincible edge that renders one side of the game useless.

There's no point in trying to bring new players into the game as zombie players when the class has been reduced to simple punching bag status. New zombies are already screwed by high AP stand-up costs and high AP movement costs. Anything that magnifies that problem is simply going to result in more frustrated zombie players quitting the game.

I'd hate to walk away from this game, not for the game itself so much as the fact that it's brought some damn good playing groups together, such as the RRF, the Gingerbreads, the Minions, and a host of other groups that have been fun as allies and fun as enemies. But when the game mechanics themselves skew against one side in the form of a broken and incredibly common skill, there's not much point left in playing.

We're going to put together an online petition and send it Kevan's way. We'd appreciate it if all the zombie players out there, and human players who actually want a competitive game instead of an XP-farming turkey shoot, join in both the strike and the petition. The situation was already fucking ridiculous and teetering on the edge of killing the game. The new UBER-CRATES of doom combined with a new variety of nerf?

Reasons for the Strike

[This statement pre-dates the addition of Feeding Groan and mall swarming to the game, and pre-dates the Syringe cost increase from 1AP to 10AP.]

The initiators of the strike feel that the newly modified headshot (+5AP to stand = 6 total) is still griefing, but now griefs all zombies rather than just mid-levels. Strikers argue that the barricade imbalance, the 2AP move cost for young zombies, and the abundance of the Headshot skill means that newbie zombies get nowhere fast, and quit the game out of frustration. They feel that limited zombie mechanics (such as their inability to communicate) presuppose that there are zombie hordes everywhere, but current scouting reports show that most newbie zombies are stranded. One member is quoted as saying, "it is simply no fun to stand up, walk around a bit, stare at heavy barricades, and then get headshot again, every single time you log on."

At the same time, veteran players are frustrated by the feeling that maxed zombies, who fought when headshot was not as wide spread, get to the level where they are now and gain immunity to the old headshot (as experience meant nothing to them) have now been nerfed by the change to headshot. Combine this with a more general consensus that zombies are (and remain) severely underpowered, and the resentment has boiled over into strike action.

Due to the large number of headshotters per zombie, headshots are a daily fact of life for even the most accomplished zombie players. Thus, the protestors posit that the new headshot effectively cuts zombie AP by 10% across the board.

Currently humans outnumber zombies 69%-31%, human headshotters outnumber total zombie characters, and many suburbs are safer outside for humans than for zombies. The streets of Malton are dramatically disparate from the traditional zombie-horror genre, and the protestors feel that this drives away many potential players (particularly aspiring zombies).

Strikers are greatly frustrated due to the belief that zombies are not a threat in the game, and have been passed over repeatedly while humans have received numerous boosts. They feel that the new Supply Crates clearly demonstrate that Kevan works hard to provide survivors with varied gameplay (spraying, necrotech, healing, generators), yet he has ignored complaints about the "boringly monolithic game mechanics" of zombies.

A quote from one player speaks for many of the strikers: "The reason I'm going on strike is because Kevan seems to be giving the survivors a lot more than giving the zombies, thus imbalancing the whole game. If you look at the 'updates' over the past few months you'll see they have all been geared towards survivors. The last zombie-friendly update was Infectious Bite & Ankle Grab, and since then all the changes made to the game has been to survivors' advantage. This 'favoritism' has certainly not helped in balancing the game." The protestors also feel that ankle grab is, like bodybuilding, considered valuable to humans as well as zombies, thus further diluting its position as a zombie skill, and infectious bite, in its current form, is little more than a one-AP annoyance for most survivors.

Andrew, on the UD forums, wrote a response to those who call the protestors "whiners." here.


[This statement pre-dates the addition of Feeding Groan and mall swarming to the game, and pre-dates the Syringe cost increase from 1AP to 10AP.]

A counter argument is that many feel that these claims are exaggerated. Not all survivors are fortunate enough to have found "safe" suburbs. Many areas are still hotly contested, with certain buildings (The Lance Building in Pashenton, for one) changing hands several times in one day, constantly being fought over by small zombie and human groups. Thus, while zombies are most assuredly the minority group and slightly (to even significantly) underpowered, most claims regarding the game as being "broken" are hardly justified.

After all, the original form of Headshot offered no real benefit to survivors, but instead punished zombies. Indeed, Headshot endangered people who had the skill, because they would be primary targets because of their "grief" skill.

The adjustment of Headshot showed marginal improvement by lessing the overall XP loss, but still did not address the underlying issue: Zombies were being punished while the survivors gained nothing except target signs to hang around their necks.

The new Headshot, however, offers a possible solution. A small AP loss can still be a nice reward to a survivor (which compensates the individual for the danger of having the skill) while only being a minor inconvinience to zombies. While it is true for low level zombies that do not have the skill Ankle Grab, the possible cost of standing up will become (a quite daunting) 15 AP (10 AP base + 5 AP extra due to headshot), they will still retain all of their hard earned XP and could solve this problem, which would not be as feasible under the old Headshot rules. Furthermore, many players choose to earn XP as a survivor, and then spend it on zombie skills, which avoids the problem of "low level lumps" in the first place.

Infectious bite is another valuable zombie skill. When a zombie infects a human, that human loses one HP point for every action he makes. This could give a zombie the chance he needs to either finish the human off, or escape from the human if running low on AP. Many human characters do not always have first aid kits on hand, especially non-healers, and therefore infectious bite is much more than a 1 AP annoyance for most humans.

Ultimately, while there are most assuredly many legitimate grievances being issued by the "grey menace" of Malton, the claims that the new Headshot is "more broken" than the previous seems illogical under examination. The new formulation is more true to genre, is overall less punishing to new zombies, equally affects everyone (higher level people don't care if they lose XP once they have all the skills, but an AP loss remains significant - this may be a source of anger for some) survivors and zombies of all levels.

However, whether or not the uproar surrounding these new features are legitimate or not, this has provided us with an extremely interesting example of internet action, which allows for an even richer gaming experience for all.

Counter Strike Groups

Three counter strike groups, Zombie Scabs, Strikers Go Home and the Pinkerton Detective Agency have formed. Information about their groups and reasoning for protesting the strike can be found in the appropriate wiki articles.

Mall Swarming and Mall Tour '06

As of January 12 there is almost no stopping Mall Tour '06. Anyone who still thinks the game is unbalanced in favor of survivors should log in. If Mall Tour '06 is successful in essentially eliminating organized survivors in the game then Urban Dead should pretty much be called over and a zombie victory declared.

Also, currently the zombies generally can't be stopped by survivors unless they GREATLY outnumber them, that is due to the fact that killing zombies doesn't stop them and is also quite worthless for delaying them since the amount of AP required to kill a zombie (attacking & searching) is a lot more then the amount of AP it takes the zombie to get back on it's feet (even with the new headshot, which is a step in the right direction from this aspect), the only way for the survivors to really push the zombies back is dumping their bodies, but there is no way to stop them from swarming the streets of an entire suburb (since if you kill them they just stand back up! you can't make them go away!).

Counter Argument: the Action Point Assessment

"Winning the game" is basically making better use of your APs than your opponents. Isn't it?

If die as a zombie, you can be back on your feet and fighting at full health after spending a maximum of 15 APs.

If you die as a human, your side will have to spend many more APs to revive you and have you back on duty. You'll need:

  • Another player to help (You can't do it on your own)
  • 20 APs, on average, to find a syringe
  • 10 AP to revive
  • 10 APs to stand up
  • Enough APs to move to a revive point
  • Even more APs to regain your HPs (Get healed with FAKs, or find your own)

"Winning the game" is basically making better use of your APs than your opponents. In this sense the game is greatly unbalanced in favor of the zombies. Arguably, there's nothing wrong with this, considering that a zombie can't really be killed like a human can. Regardless, the statement that the zombies are at a disadvantage, after assessing the situation with APs, is highly debatable to say the least.

On the other hand, zombies are boring, especially in the early stages. You can't speak effectively, you can hardly find a human to gnaw, and you have to make do with ZKing, which makes XP growth painfully slow. Movement is slow, attacks are weak, and you can't search for and play with any of the dozens of cool toys in the game. That is why more players choose the human side, unbalancing the game in favor of humans. This isn't an issue of game mechanics, but an issue of metagame satisfaction. (However, it should be noted that being a zombie in reality probably wouldn't be exciting for the average person.)

History of the Strike

Historical Significance Section

The strike began on December 19, 2005 as exasperated zombie groups responded to the long-awaited "headshot improvement" by calling for a general strike.

Ten hours after being created, the movement exceeded 550 members on the stats page, with many humans and zombies rallying in support of change. Singing, both human and zombie has been heard echoing out from Whetcombe Park, where neither side is killing each other in a show of solidarity.

At 03:17 GMT on December 20, On Strike had grown to 831 members, Stanstock in Whetcombe Park had more than 450 zombie and human participants, and Kevan gave an Official Response to the strike (found at the bottom of this page).

At 07:00, 20/12/05, the On Strike group was listed as having 1001 members.

Information about the strike (as well as a more detailed history) can be found on Petrosjko's thread entitled Enough is enough.

Petro's thread has been closed to further replies. The conversation continues on in the thread Too Much is Just Enough.

We are almost Elite: 1332 members as of 13:00, 21/12/05

After Kevan acknowledged the problem and implemented Feeding Groan, the strikers' numbers began to fall, and continue to do so.


The purpose of the strike is to make everyone in Malton aware of the current game imbalances. Strikers generally hope that Kevan will:

  • Add flavor, variety, and enjoyment to Zombie gameplay.
  • Rebalance the game so that EITHER Malton returns to the traditional zombie genre where powerful zombie hordes terrify outnumbered cowering human survivors OR Malton carves out a new humans-outnumber-zombies niche that is fun for both newbie and veteran Zombies.

Most strikers will return to active play once zombies become more enjoyable to play. Achieving balance is likely to be as a gradual result of zombie gameplay changes, rather than something that could be implemented overnight.

Things You Can Do To Help

  • Change your group affiliation to: "On Strike"
  • Sign the petition.
  • Do not attack, barricade, or otherwise participate in the Zombie v Human conflict
  • Do not load up on equipment or XP-farm during this strike
  • Use your APs to spraypaint strike information (such as the petition at http://tinyurl.com/76ksw) and spread the word
  • Dedicated strike activists do absolutely nothing during the strike. Large numbers of zombies going inactive will demonstrate the game disparity on the stats page and throughout Malton
  • But first, walk over to Stanstock! Stanstock is a joint zombie-human rally in support of the Strike. It is taking place at and around Whetcombe Park in north Stanbury Village near Ridleybank, starting December 19. Come meet, exchange barhahs, and violate Malton crowd-control ordinances with your rivals from the Caiger Mall wackiness!

Please do not Flood the park, and instead move to one of the nearby empty blocks of land. This is to reduce server strain, a significant amount of which was generated by Stanstock.

Zombies and humans appear to be leaving On Strike as a result of Kevan's reply, membership in the On Strike group is in decline from its 1300+ height. NB: Stanstock 05 is not 'over', but appears to be in decline. At least three groups, Zombie Scabs, Strikers Go Home and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, have declared their opposition to the demonstrations occurring in Whetcombe Park. Some senior players have indicated that they will respect Whetcombe Park in perpetuity as a neutral zone for striking demonstrators, while others consider this to be not playing the game "as intended."

Official Response by Kevan

Hello. I was aware of and concerned by the imbalance in numbers, and correcting this was already the priority for future changes - the Headshot alteration was just the first and most obviously urgent of these, rather than a one-off fix-all solution.

There will be new game elements for zombies over the next couple of weeks, and keeping the game interesting for everyone (and within a zombie apocalypse genre) is very much the intention. --Kevan 03:17, 20 Dec 2005 (GMT)