Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about the game. A more exhaustive resource for information about Urban Dead is the official wiki, which includes an in-depth explanation of all game mechanics, and several guides to playing the game.

The Game

Game Mechanics Requests Troubleshooting

The Game

What's this game about?

You're a citizen of Malton, a city that's in the process of being evacuated and quarantined to contain a sinister contagion - you play as either a trapped civilian, a member of the evacuating military, a scientist operating in the background, or a victim of the early outbreaks.

Malton is a grid of 100x100 city blocks, each of which is either a nondescript street, or a particular type of building - you move around the map by clicking on the names of the blocks. Buildings can be entered and barricaded by survivors, to shelter from the zombie hordes that roam the city.

Other citizens of Malton appear on the map as names in coloured boxes (the colour matching their class; green for Military, blue for Science, red for Civilian and grey for Zombie); they also appear in the location's description.

Some character classes start with equipment, and all characters can search to find further objects during the course of the game - some are weapons, some are one-use items, others have subtler or more permanent effects. All characters start with at least one Skill, which grants them an extra ability or bonus in the game - by gaining experience points, players can buy further skills and develop their characters.

Players get fifty "actions" per day - these are be used to move, attack, search or otherwise interact with the city. When your action points are gone, you have to wait for them to recharge. (Players remain visible and vulnerable on the map when they're out of Action Points or logged out; survivor players should find secure shelter between logins.)

What should I be doing?

It's up to you how to play the game, but as a general guidline: as a survivor, you should search the city for helpful equipment, and for other people to team up with. You'll be quite vulnerable to begin with, so don't risk drawing too much attention to yourself (some higher-level zombies have the ability to follow a survivor that's attacked them and run away), and make sure that you're safely hidden in a building that's either secured or barricaded, when you've finished for the day.

Existence as a zombie is rather simpler. It can be a good idea to find a horde at the end of the day, though - a lone zombie is a much easier target for a passing zombie hunter.

(There are some more in-depth player guides in the Wiki.)

Is there a mailing list or discussion forum for Urban Dead?

There are a few. The Wiki has comprehensive list of forums, mailing lists and online chat areas, and the Wiki itself has discussion space for each of its pages.

Is there a full map of the city?

The Wiki suburb map gives an overview of the city, along with danger levels and links to each suburb to show what's going on in your area.

Am I allowed to play multiple characters?

You are, provided that they lead completely separate existences within the game - your characters should not collaborate, nor share (or stand outside) the same building. Multiple characters found to be working together in a suspicious fashion will be automatically flagged, penalised or even banned permanently by the system. If you're running a few characters, it's best to make sure that they stay in separate suburbs.

(If you're sharing a computer or workplace with other players, it's recommended that you don't work together too closely, as this may be wrongly interpreted as a single player using several accounts.)

How do I report game abuse or zerging?

You don't. A number of automated detection systems and countermeasures are already in place, and time is better spent on improving those systems, rather than carefully investigating reports and screenshots (and all reports would have to be investigated at length, given that any of them could be easily-faked attempts to get innocent characters banned).

There's no need to email reports in - if there's some exceptional bug-based game abuse going on, you can file it as a bug report on the Wiki for attention.

How should I report bugs?

The best place to report a bug (or check whether it's already been reported) is the Bug Reports page of the Wiki.

Isn't this game similar to some other games?

The basic grid-map idea was derived conceptually and with full permission from RavenBlack's Vampires (whose basic idea was itself derived from my annoying brain-eating viral), with a touch of the Zombie Infection Simulation. Raven and I know each other, this all goes back years - Urban Dead and Vampires really take their roots from the grid-map PBM games we were both playing in the early 90s.

A lot of Urban-Dead-style games have sprung up as a result of this game's popularity, but they all post-date Urban Dead, and (apart from some friendly consultancy on Shartak) none of them are anything to do with me, or use any of the Urban Dead code.

Is there any merchandise?

There's an official Urban Dead Mall at Cafepress where you can buy T-shirts, mugs and badges, if you really want to. It's all base-price, we don't make any money from them.

Game Mechanics

What are Action Points?

You spend an Action Point every time you move, use an object, make an attack, or take any other action in the game - when they've run out, you have to wait for them to be replenished. They're refilled at the rate of one every half hour (whether or not you're logged in), with a default maximum of fifty.

Fifty Action Points isn't enough!

The limit of 50AP per 25 hours is to keep the game balanced and to stop too much from happening overnight; if we doubled the recharge rate, it'd mean people getting in a hundred APs' worth of actions while other players were offline, which is enough to cross the city or deal an easily fatal amount of combat damage.

What are Experience Points?

You earn Experience Points from successful combat (getting more XP for fighting the "other side" - survivors attacking survivors only get half the XP they would fighting a zombie, and vice versa), healing other players, and various other types of game behaviour.

You can click the "Buy Skills" button to spend your XP on new character skills from the skills tree - these typically cost 100XP, although Military and Scientist characters can buy skills within their own class for 75XP, and in the opposite class for 150XP.

What are Suburbs?

The city of Malton is divided into a hundred smaller 10x10 block sections known as 'Suburbs' - the name of the Suburb you're currently in is given at the top of your city view. If you use the city map, this can help you work your way towards other people you know who are playing the game.

How do I talk to other players?

You can speak to citizens in the same block as you, using the text box that appears when people are nearby - zombies can speak as well, but with a very limited vocabulary. Zombies can understand the speech of survivors.

Because people log in at different times, you shouldn't expect to get an immediate response to anything you say - people you're talking to will see your dialogue the next time they log in, or take a turn.

You'll eventually be able to use the mobile phones to communicate long-distance, as well, when the power to the transmitters comes back on.

How does searching work?

Each search you perform has a percentage chance of turning up an item relevant to the location you're searching. This chance is affected by various factors - installing a generator in a building will get the lights working and make it easier to find things, while a building that has fallen into disrepair will be much harder to search.

Items don't "run out" (if they did, new players would have a pretty hard time of things). If you've had a run of fruitless searching, either you're in a type of building that doesn't have anything useful, or you've just had bad luck.

What do all the items do?

The game wiki has a detailed analysis of all game items, including their effects and locations.

Can I still use my life skills when I'm a zombie?

Some of them, but any that rely on the dexterity or agility of a living body become dormant while you're undead.

How do some survivors have zombie skills?

NecroTech staff are able to return zombies to fully conscious life; virtually all zombie skills become dormant, only being activated when the player dies again.

How does graffiti work?

If you've found a spraycan, graffiti can be sprayed on the inside or outside wall of a building, or on random walls in empty blocks - new graffiti is assumed to be spraypainted over the top of the old. Zombies are able to read or interpret graffiti in the same way as survivors.

How effective is closing the doors of a building?

It'll automatically stop lower-level zombies from being able to enter the building at all, but any zombie who has developed the "Memories of Life" skill will be able to open the doors, and leave them open for other zombies to follow.

Closing the doors might be enough to stop a wandering zombie from investigating your hiding place, but you should really find a barricaded building if you want to be safe.

How do barricades work?

Any survivor with the Construction skill can start to build a barricade inside a building, or strengthen a barricade that already exists - any barricade at all will stop zombies from being able to enter the building, although they (or other survivors) will able to weaken the barricade by continually attacking it, eventually destroying it.

Building up a barricade so that it becomes "heavy" means that other survivors can no longer enter the building either. Those inside the building may still leave by the higher windows, by clicking on an adjacent block, but will not be able to return.

How do video diaries work?

During February and March 2008, characters on the limited-edition Monroeville map had access to video cameras, which could be used to record diaries of the locations and events they encountered, with prizes being awarded to the best filmmakers when the quarantine closed. Video cameras are no longer available.

I'm dead! Is that it?

Death is only a temporary inconvenience in the quarantine zone; anyone dying in any manner whatsoever will be able to rise as a zombie, at a cost of 10AP.

In Monroeville, zombies stay zombies forever. For the dead of Malton, there are rumours that the zombified state is reversible, that higher-level NecroTech staff are trained and equipped in the science of full-body, full-consciousness revivification. (There are a number of NecroTech-supported revivification points around the city.)

If you're knocked down again while a zombie, you won't be eliminated. Death is never permanent.


Why can't I trade items with other players?

This would be such a dangerously game-altering change that it's going to be implemented very carefully, and probably not for a while. The convenience of being able to give your friend a spare gun is fairly minor compared to the inconvenience of the massive abuse that this change could make possible (primarily the risk of players using multiple characters just to search for equipment and hand it over to the primary character).

Why can't zombies be killed permanently?

Because they're people too. You can slow them down, but giving a mechanism to remove them from the game permanently would - although fitting the canon of the genre - frustrate people who'd been playing the same character for a long time. We don't want to frustrate our players.

Can I disable my character while I go on holiday?

If you don't log in for five days, your character becomes "hidden" and is no longer at risk; if you're in a strong safehouse when you leave, you should be okay. There's no way to disable a character immediately, though.

Can I modify my profile or password?

Clicking the "settings" button below the stats window will allow you to change your character's visible description, as well as your login details and game preferences. At the moment, password changing is unavailable.

Can I delete or rename a character?

No - there's too much scope for in-game confusion if players are allowed to change their name, or start as a new character with the same name, or have their abandoned name taken up by someone else.

But any character that hasn't been logged in for more than five days is considered to have spent that time finding and reinforcing a place to shelter, and becomes "hidden", effectively disappearing from the game. They'll re-emerge if you log back in, but if you never use the account again, the character won't ever appear on the streets again.

Can I send you some ideas?

All players are welcome to suggest alterations and additions that they think would improve the game - we can't guarantee that they'll be implemented, but anything submitted to the Suggestions page of the Urban Dead Wiki will certainly be passed on and read, if it passes peer review.


Why am I being told that I have "accessed this server too many times today"?

(This limit is now being waived for players who have donated to support the game; anyone donating more than $5 may nominate one character to have unresticted access, per $5.)

Players of Urban Dead are limited to hitting the main game script 160 times per day - this is to stop the server from becoming overloaded and unresponsive, or from incurring bandwidth costs that would require the site to be shut down. 160 hits is more than enough to run one character, and should be enough to play even three characters comfortably.

We're aware that this causes problems for users who are sharing a machine or network with other players, but there is no way to automatically distinguish three housemates from one person logging on three times.

If you're using AOL (or another ISP or university network that uses a small range of proxy servers) then this may cause problems - the fact that every user is being mapped to a very small range of IP addresses can mean that other users of the same IP address have used up all the hits that you would have used. You might like to try using a browser other than the default AOL one - we're told that only the actual AOL browser uses the proxies, and that others are okay. Alternatively, try reconnecting, if you're on dial-up; you'll probably be assigned a different IP address.

(We have taken some steps to fix this, but AOL's constantly-changing proxies make it difficult to provide a permanent solution.)

I attacked 50 times at 30%, and only hit seven times! Is this a bug?

Or you searched and found nothing, or weren't able to break down some barricades. It's either a run of bad luck, which can happen and has to happen to someone, or it's the game's anti-abuse countermeasures kicking in - if the system detects a number of characters apparently controlled by the same player and working together, it will adjust their dice rolls to stop them gaining an unfair advantage over other players.

Zombies got into my locked and barricaded building. How?

They smashed the barricades down with their hands, and a zombie with the "Memories of Life" skill was able to open the doors for them.

Or if your barricades are still up and there's a zombie inside, it's likely that someone rebuilt the barricade but forgot to dump a dead body outside, and it's risen. (Or that one of the other survivors in the safehouse was killed, perhaps through an Infection, and rose.)

I forgot my password but didn't specify an email when I signed up. What now?

Sorry, that's it; you were told when you signed up that you should provide an email address if you ever want your password mailed to you - obviously we can't give out a password to anyone who mails us asking for it, because they might not be you, we have no way of knowing who the lost-password character really belongs to.

If a character's been idle for more than a week because whoever owns it really hasn't been able to log in, then we might concede and reset the password for whoever's claiming it, but this is really a case-by-case thing, and not something we want to encourage.

A player is saying offensive things to me - what can I do?

If you add a player as a contact, you can set them as "ignore" on your contacts page - you'll no longer see any game dialogue or radio broadcasts from that user.

How do I transfer my Monroeville donation status to a Malton character?

Just click the "Settings" button on the main game page, and enter the name of the Maltonian character that you wish to transfer the donation flag to. Note that this is permanent; the flag cannot be transferred back, or to a further character, later on.

My question wasn't covered by this FAQ.

The Wiki might be of some use to you (particularly its own game-related FAQ) - if it's not, try posting to one of the forums or mailing lists about it.

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