As soon as I saw the achievements for defending against waves of zombies, I knew I would have a new favorite thing in WoW next to jousting. Yes folks, we are getting an in-game version of Plants vs Zombies and it is going to own me until I get the achievement for defending against 100 waves. Thankfully I’m in the beta and don’t have to wait until December 7th to my Peacebloom vs Ghouls on and therefore get distracted from priority #1 at launch: get my rogue to level 85.
Now PvG has undergone a couple of tweaks during the past couple of builds in the beta and will likely see a few more before launch, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take a sneak peek at how the game works. Not everyone has played PvZ, such as myself, and might be a bit perturbed by the inclusion of a full-blown mini-game within WoW. I can allay some of those worries by telling you that it works and plays very well. Essentially PvG is a vehicle quest in that the vehicle UI will pop up and replace your standard bars and the camera will pull out to a fixed position giving you the ideal view of the field.
But how does it play? I’ve never played PvZ before.
It’s a very simple tower defense style game with 5 different rows to defend against oncoming undead. There are 6 different plants that you can place around the field that have different purposes. Here’s a rundown of those plants: (Note: This is a preliminary rundown, I’ll update these with more specific information as I nail it down)
- Sunflower [10 SP] Generates more solar power (8 second cooldown).
- Spitter [20 SP] Spits a ranged attack to attack zombies (10 second cooldown).
- Freezer [20 SP] Spits a ranged attack to slow zombies (10 second cooldown).
- Rocknut [15 SP] Provides defense for the row it is placed in by acting as a wall, does not attack (18 second cooldown).
- Strangler Vine [30 SP] Picks up zombies and incapacitates them while dealing damage to them (20 second cooldown).
- Pumpkin Bomb [40 SP] A one-use AoE attack dealing massive damage to all undead in adjacent tiles (25 second cooldown).
As I mentioned earlier, there have been a number of tweaks to how PvG has played out between the different beta builds, so there could still be some radical changes that would affect the strategy you would employ. In the previous build (13066) solar generation was so incredibly low that the daily quest was really, really, really difficult to overcome and I had to really toughen the fuck up to overcome it. Fortunately the solar generation has been boosted substantially in build 13117, but it wouldn’t hurt to go over the tactics I had to employ to be successful:
- Only place Sunflowers in the rows that you’re actually going to make an effort to defend early on.
- Plant 2 sunflowers ASAP in the same row.
- If zombies and ghouls pop up in an undefended row it might actually be beneficial to not defend that row. You’re given ONE MULLIGAN per row with the lawnmower.
- If you are going to sacrifice a row and not defend it, do not place anything in that row as the lawnmower will kill everything in that row, plant and zombie alike.
- If you do fall back to the lawnmower, be ready to defend that row immediately afterwards.
- In order to properly defend against ghouls early on, you need a spitter and freezer in the same row.
- Pumpkin bombs are your friend when you feel overwhelmed, but make sure you place them carefully.
So far in build 13117 I haven’t felt pressured to fall back on utilizing the lawnmower “defense” but these strategies are still effective with the increased solar generation. Basically you want to toss up 2 sunflowers at the very beginning to get your solar generation going and then defend that row with a spitter when you get 20 solar power. The only really threat early on are ghouls since zombies are verrrry slow and can be taken out easily by a spitter. That being said, you don’t necessarily want to neglect all of your rows, but I’ve found that in build 13117 it isn’t too difficult to prevent an early mulligan by relying on the lawnmower.
Also I want to address the use of rocknuts: it may be tempting, but they’re only walls and you shouldn’t utilize them early on if you get unlucky with the spread of zombies and/or ghouls. You’re far better off holding out for a spitter and allowing that spitter to take some damage (unless it is a heavy zombie/ghoul infested row). Rocknuts are far more effective in the midgame when aberrations appear and you have enough solar power generation to start building up your spitter defense.
Finally, I’ve only found uses for the strangler vine when my rocknuts are on cooldown. They can entangle up to an aberration, but abominations will simply cleave them to death. That brings me to another important tip, pumpkin bombs. Sure they may be super costly at 40 solar power, but they are imperative to a successful defense during a massive wave where you might be facing 3-5 aberrations, a half dozen ghouls and multitudes of zombies at once.
Do not be shy with using a pumpkin bomb, as long as you’ve planted enough sunflowers, you’ll be able to generate more than enough solar power during the pumpkin bomb cooldown to use another. Let me stress it again, THEY ARE IMPERATIVE during a massive onslaught, especially when you’re facing aberrations AND abominations. Just make sure you leave at least one tile open so you can plant a pumpkin bomb.
Once I’m able to record an endless mode that actually works, I’ll update this post with a video guide to PvG. Until then, I’ll continue to figure out the nuances of PvG and update this blog entry (as I ended up doing with my jousting entry)