The Zombie Infestation, or Zombie Plague, is the world event sparked one week after patch 3.0.2 immediately preceding the release of Wrath of the Lich King. It was followed by the second Scourge Invasion.
Found in the rotting diary of Eric Farrington in the dead city of Andorhal…
I thought nought of a few illnesses, a few fevers. We continued to ship out crates of grain to Lordaeron, and we weren't fearful of this new sickness -- we were confident our healers could handle it. I know now that was foolish, blind.
The denizens of Andorhal turned into vile zombies of the Scourge. These monstrosities no longer held any thoughts or abilities from their mortal lives. Most certain of all, they readily used new powers we had never seen before to further spread the disease and hasten the destruction of the city.I have been hiding for two days in the sewers, but I must venture out soon to find supplies or possibly a way out of the city to the forests.
I cannot believe I was foolish enough to think I could sneak past all of them on the streets. The zombies are everywhere now, and Andorhal is only a shell of its former glory, a sad and twisted remnant of my beautiful home.
I can already feel the disease taking me. May the light bless me as I go to be with my family and friends once again. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep my sanity. I am weak. I hunger, and must eat...
Phase 1 (Day 1)
Started on October 23, at 00:00 (server time).
- Conspicuous Crates appear in the port city of Booty Bay, infecting players who touch them.
- Argent Healers have appeared in capital cities and low level zones to fight off the new plague of zombies.
- Argent Healers when clicked will say, "The Lich king is Attempting To Make his presence known. We must not let this occur."
- The Infection can easily be cured by a single cure disease effect by a player or Argent Healer, though lower level players are unable to cure disease on players above their level range.
- Infected players have 10 minutes to receive treatment before they transform into a Plague Zombie.
Phase 2 (Day 2)
Started on October 24, at 00:00 (server time).
- Numerous Conspicuous Crates have been transported to the various capital cities (exclude Shattrath).
- Plagued Roaches start to appear in capital cities (include Shattrath) and Booty Bay, spreading the Infection to any players who kill them, even when struck from a distance (although pets and Magma Totems can kill them safely).
- The Infection's incubation period shortens from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, causing players to become Zombies more quickly.
- Argent Healers when clicked will say, "Be wary, for the plagued tendrils of the Lich King lurk close."
- The Infection becomes more resistant to cure disease effects, taking as many as five casts to remove by player character (Argent Healer still can remove it at once).
Phase 3 (Day 3)
Started on October 25, at 00:00 (server time).
- Groups of Plagued Residents begin to wander the lower level zones, attacking other mobs and players at random.
- Argent Healers when clicked will say, "The forces of the Scourge bear down upon us. Take heart, and fight on!"
- Zombie HP increased and hit rating went from negative to 0.
Phase 4 (Day 3-4)
- Main article: Scourge Invasion
Started on October 25, at 21:00 (server time).
- Argent Emissaries, Argent Recruiters, and Argent Quartermasters have spawned in capital cities.
- Commander Thomas Helleran, Keeper of the Rolls and an Argent Emissary have spawned near Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands.
- , Light's Hope Chapel, , , and added.
- Low level quests and etc. added.
- The Infection's incubation period shortens from 5 minutes to 2 minutes, causing players to become Zombies more quickly.
- The level 10 Plagued Residents can Infect city guards (and presumably other NPCs) with a potent 1 minute incubation, quickly turning a level 10 annoyance into a level 70 threat.
- The Scourge Invasion and relevant quests and bosses have reappeared with appropriate level adjustment, including a new boss, Tenris Mirkblood, in Karazhan above Attumen the Huntsman in the kitchen.
- Number of Argent Healers has decreased. For example, there were 4 in Thunder Bluff (between the auctioneers, in the bank, in the inn and at the flight master), there are only two now (in the inn and at the flight master).
- Text when interacting with Argent Healers has changed to, "Do not lose hope, my <son/daughter>. With faith, we will march through this darkness and once again see the dawn."
- Small infestations of Scourge, deploying from flying necropolises, have appeared in areas across Azeroth. Speak to an Argent Messenger in any city for locations currently under attack, or look at the world map of Azeroth.
- The quests and have become available again.
- Plagued Vermin begin to manifest in cities.
- Zombies around the Necrotic Shard drop a . When you keep this item in your inventory, a Scourge Haunt (Warcraft III's Shade unit), a strange shadowy ghost, follows you around. Same haunts also have appeared in capital cities. Players can't interact with them, but hunters can track them as friendly undead.
Phase 5 (Day 4-5)
First part (also known as Phase 5.0) started on October 26, at 18:00 (server time), second part (also known as Phase 5.5) started on October 27, at 00:00 (server time).
- The Infection's incubation period further shortens from 2 minutes to 1 minute.
- Argent Dawn Healers have almost completely vanished.
- Text when interacting with Argent Healers has changed to, "We must resist! Gird your soul! Burn the foul plague wherever you find it!"
- Plague resistance to cleanse increased from 60% to 70%.
- Plagued Vermin now attack city guards, causing them to become infected.
- Zombie DPS has increased by 20.
- The Royal Apothecary Society, led by Grand Apothecary Putress, has set up a base in Shattrath trying to find a cure for the Plague. Horde players can accept a quest here. Players receive whispers from the "Dual-Plagued Brain" item they receive as part of the quest telling them to give up their attempts to fight the Lich King.
- An altar has been set up where the concentrated essence of the Naaru has been made into a weapon to destroy the necropolises. Alliance members can accept a quest from Bishop Lazaril to deliver this to their racial leader.
- Players receive whispers from "Frozen Shade" telling them to give up their attempts to fight the Lich King after starting the above quest. Also get followed by a shade looking similar to that of , although this one phases in and out of existence while it whispers.
Started at noon PST on October 27, 2008
- A cure is found for the Plague and the zombie infestation ends.
- The Scourge Invasion itself still continues.
- Player avatars in the Forums become zombies.
- Plagued Roaches no longer infect those who attack them. They slowly disappear, and no longer respawn when one is killed.
Becoming a zombie
- See also: Plague Zombie
Most characters (NPCs and players) can be infected with the new plague. The plague can be obtained from an attacking zombie, the green cloud from zombies, attacking a Plagued Roach or from "Conspicuous Crate" in cities. When a player or NPC is infected they have only a few minutes (depending on the current phase) or until their death to get the disease removed or they become a Plague Zombie. The timer can be accelerated by repeated attacks from a turned zombie. Not only does this new undead add to the Scourge's ranks as a warrior, but it is also capable of infecting others with the very same disease that turned it.
Players who become Zombies remain in control of their (somewhat transformed) characters. They cannot use their usual abilities or spells, but gain access to new, unique zombie abilities (see below). Player Zombies can infect other players and NPCs, and can communicate with other player Zombies regardless of faction.
NPCs which are killed, or die from the disease, also come back as Plague Zombies and have their level reduced to the next level divisible by 10. So the 75 city guards become 70, the 65 town guards become 60, except that mobs less than 10 become 1st level.
- Speed - The Zombie's speed is 50% of normal movement speed, regardless of player abilities.
- Auto Attack - Infects the recipent and heals the ghoul for 3% of his maximum health.
-  - Instantly attack for 30% damage and also shortens the time the infection takes to zombify it's victim by about 15 seconds. With many fellow zombies at once, this means npcs and high hp players can almost instantly be converted into Scourge.
-  - Retches on the ground, creating a cloud that heals fellow zombies and slows non-zombies by 40% in addition to infecting them after a certain period of time. The healing component can stack so several retches are useful for quick heals.
-  - Calls up to 4 NPC zombies that are not in combat to you. 40 yard range.
-  - Increase the speed of yourself and nearby zombies by 100%. Despite the cooldown, the buff can be kept up constantly if you have several fellow zombies doing it one after the other. This makes zombies go normal running speed.
-  - Burst into pieces, destroying yourself but infecting those around you. Short range.
- Along with these abilities, increased damage, 1.0 attack speed and the ability to track players were given to zombies and infected players
- How do I become a zombie?
- Disease-infected crates are scattered throughout the cities of Azeroth, spreading a sickness that transforms its sufferers into zombies. And of course, when zombies attack, their victims can be afflicted by the disease as well.
- How do you stop being a zombie?
- The disease can be cured by other players who can cast ‘Cure Disease’ or by special healer NPCs in the cities. The other alternative is to not attack anything whatsoever. Zombie health is dependent upon attacking either NPC guards, other players, or regular mobs. If you decide to not attack anyone/anything, health will decrease, resulting in death.
- Can I become a zombie again?
- As a zombie, what are some things I can/cannot do?
- You can no longer cast the spells/abilities that you had as a normal character, and formerly friendly NPCs now consider you an enemy. You can, however, cast new, unique zombie spells.
- Anything else I should know while being a zombie?
- As a zombie, you are part of a special faction that is friendly with all zombies and can converse with them, regardless of whether they were part of the Horde or Alliance in their mortal existences.
- Is it intended that we take dura loss when we die as a zombie?
- If you decide to leave your armor on then the durability damage will happen as usual, yes.
- Zombie status is its own faction. Even on a PvE server you will be attackable by both Horde and Alliance players. Attacking guards and players will flag a PvE player even after reviving as your living counterpart. Both Horde and Alliance players can talk together as zombies. Non-zombie players will see /yell messages as a combination of "..." and "brains".
- City/Town guards will attack a zombie the same as they would attack any invading faction member.
- NPC Zombies normally will go for infectable characters(regardless of infection status) over immune non-humanoid mobs, so if a target has a pet they will often attack the pet owner first, ignoring the pet until the owner is dead.
- As a zombie you can still loot corpses and use mailboxes.
- Quests where you need to kill certain numbers of mobs cannot be completed in zombie form. Turning a mob into a zombie via the infection and killing it doesn't provide killing credit.
- If you tag a mob and damage it heavily and turned NPC zombies get the killing blow, the mob is lootable.
- Killing a player (being a zombie) or a zombie (being a non-zombie) will not give honor.
- As a zombie most monsters that are normally aggressive become passive, with the exception of Scourge mobs that become friendly.
- NPCs that are turned into zombies will be reduced from their original level to the next lowest level divisble by ten. The exception is that level 80+ monsters (such as the new Battlemasters for WotLK) will be reduced to 70s as Zombies. Players retain their normal level as Zombies.
- City Leaders (such as Thrall and Varian Wrynn) cannot be infected (however, they can still be killed), except Mekkatorque and Vol'jin. Children NPCs are immune as well.
- All portals in Shattrath can be taken as a zombie (no matter your living faction). So, a former zombie can use Horde city portals and a former zombie can use Alliance city portals.
- As a Zombie you could use many Un-clickable items throughout the world such as Portcullises in Stratholme and crates normally unopenable. You could even open the Portcullis behind Rivendare's Area that lead to a raid instance previously speculated to be Naxxramas' original entrance plan. You would get the same loading screen as you would normally but your World of Warcraft would Crash and every time you tried to log into that character the same would happen, so you would need to Ticket a GM to get your character out of there. This was presumably because Naxxramas did not exist at the time in neither its level 60 version or level 80 version.
- During this event, many high level players are going around and spreading the plague, particularly in low level areas close to cities. This makes leveling extremely difficult for lower level characters, if not impossible.
- If a player is killed by another player no weapons or equipment damage will take place. It will be like the player was killed by a PVPing character. However if the player is killed by an NPC, the player's equipment takes damage just as he or she were killed normally by environment. Using the Zombie Explosion skill will not damage your equipment, and is the best option if you dislike the taste of brains.
- Gadgetzan bruisers, and perhaps other bruisers, will still attack you when you attack a player zombie. This is probably due to the fact they check for general PvP damage, and not assaults between horde and alliance.
- Entering/Exiting instances causes you to be disconnected from the server, similar to resolved Undercity bug.
- Warriors who have the talent in the Protection talent tree can still use their Charge ability while in zombie form.
- Zombies were able to do few quests like Wanted posters and Hilary's Necklace. The quest could in fact be completed once returned to non-Zombie form; turning in the Wanted poster quests could prove to be more difficult if it was an Alliance quest taken by a Horde zombie or vice versa.
- Pets could not be infected. Using a pet was a quick way to wipe out the infected bugs roaming the streets.
- All undead NPC/mobs would appear and react friendly to any players who were a zombie (Regardless of if they were Scourge affiliated or not). Many players speculated that there may be secret conversations with certain, normally hostile, undead mobs, but none were found that do this.
- The Zombie Infestation tends to elicit the strongest opinions from players, with most players either loving or hating the event. Those who saw it favorably praised it for the interesting and new change in otherwise routine gameplay. Those viewing it unfavorably tend to complain about their inability to perform the normal tasks they otherwise would have and that they were forced to participate regardless of their desire.
- During the Infestation it was discovered that Zombies could open and close the door to the Champion's Hall in Stormwind, locking players in.