I'll try to explain the best I can.
I think ZO-RP was one of the first SA:MP servers I joined. From the get go, I was mesmerized by the feeling the server gave me. As a player, I felt alone and in danger, and was hard-pressed to find other survivors and interact with them in order to survive. That gave the server a VERY interesting dynamic, which I believe is the core of what made/makes ZO-RP/TDM so fun.
This dynamic I speak of, which is kind of a cycle, I shall explain now:
If you're a human, you need to get to the other survivors to survive. This feeling is thrilling, because you don't know wether or not you're going to make it to the other survivors. Should you succeed in finding the others, there's a sense of accomplishment, and then comes the next fun part - defending the safezone. The safezones were always the places in which I had the most fun, because a) you know the zombies are coming, and you are going to make a stand. That's some adrenaline right there. and b) if you're a zombie, it's just too much fun succesfully tearing a safezone down. Seeing the other players panic and, one by one, turn into allies while others flee to set up a new safezone.
To me, that is the core dynamic that makes the server a lot of fun. Of course the RP environment was also very significant, but the subject here is ZO-TDM, so I'm leaving that out.
I still have a few things to point out, but I'll have to edit them in later, as something just came up over here.
Moving forward, I'd like to break down the details that add up to the whole feel of the safezone cycle. First I'll talk about communication between players, and then I'll dive into the idiosyncrasies of each class.
Even though ZO-TDM is not an RP server, there's still a communication component to it that helps driving home the zombie outbreak theme. Players would invite others into safezones, zombies would communicate their teammates the location of the safezones and loosely organize an attack (on ZO-RP, that is, where zombies had limited radar/map range). Those things were part of the fun, which leads us to the next topic: the players and their roles/classes.
Here's a rundown of each unique class and why I think they had a good synergy:
1. STARS worked well in RP, because the players felt safer, and they actually took care of the survivors (organized the safezones, gave them rations, etc). I understand why the class seems redundant in TDM, but I believe there must be a way of bringing them back and making them relevant.
2. Umbrella works very well because they can just cause a ruckus wherever they go. Particularly when new players aren't aware of their /inject capabilities. Plus, they can kill whoever is in their way, making it double the fun. Shooting only zombies would be boring. Being able to shoot both zombies and a human team makes it fun.
3. Zombies are very fun to play. Joining up with other zombies to attack survivors is a blast.
4. Tyrants are even more fun than zombies. I told you yesterday about possibly changing their color to orange because I remember on RP, whenever Rufus Shinra showed up, I just panicked. It was a very fun experience. Plus, it's very fun to be this hard-to-kill killing machine, it's fun to succesfully escape a tyrant, and it's fun to kill a tyrant with the help of other survivors. It's all around fun, this one.
5. And finally, the survivors, while being a basic class so to speak, are the reason why all the other classes work. Zombies and Tyrants need to turn them; STARS needs to protect them; Umbrella can kill them or turn them.
Alright, I think I've dragged on a little too much. 😆
So, to conclude my thoughts, I'm going to make a quicklist of things I'd change/add if I were an all-knowing mapping/scripting god (please note that most of these are things I've been wondering about, and they certainly need more thought put into them).
- Change Tyrant's team color to orange (or whatever it used to be on RP), but keep the class requirements.
- Add STARS again and give them something (skills, objectives) to make them feel compelled to protect survivors (would have to brainstorm for this one).
- Add in mappings like the current survivor spawn point that would work as ideal places for safezones (thus allowing the players to jump from one safezone to another as the zombies break the last one).
- Bring back the score requirements for STARS and Umbrella (rewards players for raising their score), and add in another basic class (e.g. Bandit), which would allow humans to kill each other, even if there are no Umbrella online. [Not really sure about this one, just throwing the idea out here. What matters the most here is creating some sort of meaningful progression to the players]
And that's about it. Phew. I talk a lot. I hope it helps, though. 😄