Notice: The Contagion developers seem to be so busy with their retail game that ZPS' updating has slowed to a crawl, if it's even being updated anymore. I would really, really like for a developer or two to give evidence that I'm wrong, as I still love ZPS and would prefer that it does not befall the same fate as it's GoldSrc brother, Zombie Panic.TL;DR: As much as I like it, I simply cannot recommend any new players to try this game out. The difficulty curve at this point in time is frustrating for beginners, as a great majority of the community left is veterans. Development has practically ceased in favor of Contagion. ZPS is actively dying. Balance needs fixing, badly.
Ladies and gentlemen, Zombie Panic Source. This was a great mod back in its prime. I would go so far as to say it was one of the best, if not THE best, multiplayer SMods of its time. An update on February 11, 2011 (if i recall correctly) made the game even more difficult by "fixing" knockback, though this made things even harder for Survivors when attempting to win. It has not been "re-broken" since, adding to the steep difficulty curve for humans.Was
one of the best SMods of it's time. Not anymore.
It's core idea is this: two teams, humans and zombies, are 100% player-controlled, battling for either the sake of humanity or for the world to be a bit more overrun with undead. Unlike Contagion, there is no AI here. None. Every single moving entity is controlled by a living, human being. It also is unlike Left 4 Dead in the sense that humans are not able to take tons and tons of damage; with normal health and no armor, four scratches (3 from the Carrier) and you're dead. Meanwhile, Zombies literally eat bullets for breakfast, and it's gonna take a lot to their face for them to fall.
This game encourages teamwork, but it is not mandatory, meaning you could totally be a jerk and leave your fellow survivors to die and still win. That being said, there's the chance that they will come back with a vengeance, making your job of surviving much harder than before. Every bullet and survivor counts.
Unfortunately, in a game like this, balance is always an issue, and right now there is a lack thereof. When knockback was fixed on zombies, instead of bullets pushing them back, zombies are "slowed down" instead, and sometimes this mechanic doesn't even work properly. What's worse is that smart zombies can actually power through the sluggish spells, maiming survivors even as they panic to get away.
It has been over a year now since the last update. Contagion, the successor to this mod, is not looking much better. The community is dying, servers becoming more and more empty by the minute. Some groups do attempt to keep it alive, like the Specialist League, but it only does so much for the game. ZPS desparately needs an update or two, but there's no indicator in sight, as made clear by game news updates for Contagion
in the Zombie Panic Source
feed.On a more personal note, ZPS is the reason I found Steam in the first place--that's why it sucks so much to see it die.