What is Death Zerging?

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here.

Following my previous post on What is to zerg, i thought i’ll make a post on a what is to death zerg.

Death zerging occurs in games where a monster’s health does not reset between fights and the penalty of player character death is relatively cheap. Thus players can employ the death zerging strategy of winning by attrition. Do as much damage to the said monster before dying to said monster, then respawning at the closest spawn point and returning to continue with the fight against the monster.

Even if the monster’s health does regenerate in between fights, if it cannot regenerate quickly enough in the time that takes the player to respawn his character and return to the fight, death zerging can still be used.

Understandably, death zerging cannot be employed in games where death of the player character is permanent or has a penalty that is alot harsher relative to the rewards of killing the target. I.e. Diablo 3’s and Path of Exile’s Hardcore mode where death of the player character is permanent.

The thing about death zerging is that the opinion of it is fairly mixed. Some people view it as strategy of the poorly skilled. Some view it as determination. I tend to think of it more as a combination of both tending towards more determination than being poorly skilled. But as a strategy, i think it’s pretty valid as it lets the not so skilled players complete the content; no matter whether their lower skill is due to lack of coordination or reflexes or have poor computer or graphics or network speeds, or it might even be due to poor server quality or poor game content design.

Some games might employ a mixture of allowing death zerging in some content and not allowing death zerging in other parts of the game. Path of Exile, for example, does this. The triple bandit fights prevents death zerging by not allowing the player to return to the fight after leaving the area. And once the entire team dies, the bandit is returned to full health for the next fight. And this applies only to the bandits, leaving all other bosses susceptible to death zerging. In fact, since there is no armor repairs, death zerging almost seems to be encouraged as long as experience loss is not a factor (no experience loss if there are none to lose).

However, some game developers have the view that death zerging is not part of intended play style. Guild Wars 2, for example, prevents the use of waypoints (hence self respawn) when atleast one of the members of the party is in combat. This leads to boring waits if a player accidentally misses some critical dodges. It also punishes the less coordinated teams; by not letting them death zerg, poorly coordinated teams might not be able to win the content resulting in dissolution of the party and hence time wasted.

Imo, this unforgiving system is what feeds the PUG discrimination in the game. It ostracizes players new to the content and alienates players from the more difficult dungeons like Arah dungeon.

The thing with Guild Wars 2’s non-death zerging dungeons is that it wasn’t always like that. There was a time before the change where death zerging was allowed. Personally, i think Guild Wars 2 will have a more friendly environment if they were to allow the new or not so skilled players to have a go at winning difficult dungeons via death zerging.

So much for now. Geek Generation out.


Posted on 16 March, 2014, in Gaming, General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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