10 Tips for Plague Inc.
What would it take for some sort of contagion to wipe the human species off the face of the earth? Well, if you play Ndemic's addictive new disease simulator/microbal murder RPG called Plague Inc., only about 10 minutes.
For those not familiar with the game, it gives you the option of trying to steer seven different types of contagions through multiple mutations in an attempt to infect and kill every single last one of those damned dirty apes.
It's hard out there for a plague though, so here's ten tips to help you get your extinction event on.
1) Spread. Then Make Dead.
It's simple, you need to infect everyone if you're going to kill everyone. It is almost always the right play to spend all your early DNA points to increase your Armageddon plague's infectiousness. It depends a bit on your strategy, and on the game mode, but you've ideally already gotten the majority of people, and nations infected before any serious effort starts to cure your plague.
There's three ways to lose at Plague Inc. You can have your plague be cured by the world's scientists before you've killed everyone, your plague can kill too quickly and burn itself out even in countries you've managed to infect, or your plague can fail to even reach some countries (see tip two) resulting in condition one or two. The easiest way to avoid all three pitfalls is to really focus on transmission upgrades for quite a while in the early game.
2) Hold Out for the Holdouts
Some nations are notoriously hard to infect (cough, Greenlandbastards, cough), because they have limited access and specific climates. Islands often only have boat contact with other countries, practically making it a requirement to get at least level one of the water transmission upgrade early on in every game. Madagascar, and the aforementioned Greenland are the worst offenders, because they also have very hot and very cold climates respectively, making it tougher on some plagues. Morocco can also stymie efforts, since it just has road access. If your plague gets too scary too fast, the Moroccans will just close their borders, kill all their livestock, and pigeons and try to wait the disease out.
Definitely try to get infected folks in these enclaves before the real killing starts up.
3) Pay Attention to the News Releases.
Is there a major bird migration coming up? Have global weather patterns resulted in more rain lately? Have doctors discovered new insight into tumors, making them less effective? Plan your disease upgrades accordingly and the game will go better for you.
One event that always seems to occur is the London Olympics. So long as your disease hasn't manifested as too severe, has at least level one drug resistence, and has spread to at least a couple countries, the Olympics gives you a free chance to infect England. Seeing as England is a major plane and boat hub, that is a very nice thing to have happen.
If you're in a close race to beat the global cure effort, pay special attention to any symptom that doctors have "a new understanding of (symptom X)" since if you use DNA to grab that symptom, the global cure will automatically gain a few percentage points! Also, if the iTouch cure device is being promoted, it is often worth the DNA to buy "Rash" followed by "Sweating" just to ensure the hands of the infected are too sweaty to work the device (also saving you from giving the Global Cure a boost).
If you forget what a news item said, just click on the scrolling news bar to see a complete list.
4) Pick Your (Symptom) Poison.
In the life of every species-anniahlating microbe there comes a time when it just makes sense to go in for the kill with gusto.
Remember, if infection rates are already pretty high, it is often possible to sell off some of your transmission upgrades for a few extra points of symptoms!
To get the most out of symptoms, know what you're really going for. At level one, the most useful symptom is often 'coughing,' since it draws very little attention to the disease, but gives a nice bump to infectivity. Also at level one you can get the symptom combo "Walking Dead" by buying 'Insomnia' and 'Anaemia.'
Symptom combos give you bonus effects, making your precious DNA go further. Other combos include projectile vomit (coughing and vomiting), and public defecation (insanity and diarrhea).
But besides combos, you should also have a sense of what groupings of symptoms will work best for your strategy/game mode. If you find yourself racing the cure, start with Insomnia and Cysts. Then you can unlock things like Insanity and Coma, which both ups your plague's severity, while also making finding a cure considerably more difficult.
If quick spread, and quick kill is more your style, start with Coughing and Rash. You'll soon unlock Necrosis, which will help your goals nicely.
In terms of flat-out killing power, nothing beats Total Organ Failure. If you've already infected enough people, it's often worth it to go straight for this one. Then just sit back and wait the world go dark.
5) Virus and Bio-Weapon Tips
When playing as a virus or Bio-Weapon, you'll find yourself racing the clock, as your disease will have a mind of its own, often mutating symptoms well before you'd like them to appear. In the case of the Bio-Weapon, the plague will steadily gain in deadliness even without symptoms.
Use the special upgrades in the Ability section to help control these overeager microbes, and try to spread as absolutely fast as possible. Late game, try to use their natural tendency to mutate deadly symptoms to your benefit. Use your later DNA toward infecting those last holdout countries, and on things like 'Gene hardening' to help keep the cure efforts at bay. Let the plague mutations do some of the killing for you.
6) Parasite and Prion tips
Both these diseases excel at flying under the radar. Especially with the Parasite, you shouldn't have any trouble waiting until virtually the entire world is already infected before an effort to find a cure seriously begins. Both have serious late-game challenges though.
Parasites gain very little DNA in the later portions of the game, compared to other plagues. That can leave you high and dry if you have no DNA left after spreading it. The key is to not spend a lot of your early DNA on upper level Transmission upgrades. Just let the 'Symbiosis' ability of the parasite keep those silly humans from detecting the disease too soon, and let the infection spread at a slower rate. Then, with your stockpiled DNA you can wreak havoc.
Prions are innately so subtle that your plague won't be detected for a long time. Unfortunately, it takes a long, long time to do its job. the key here is to do what you can to stall. The Walking Dead symptom combo is good, as is the Prion's special ability, which helps muddle the brains of all those scientists you infected months before they knew what was going on. Gene hardening is also your friend here.
7) Fungus Among Us
The fungus is slooooooow to spread to other countries. Definitely grab the Air and Water transmission upgrades quick with this one. Birds are another good one, helping to spread the disease across land masses at least.
The Fungus bloom abilities are tempting, but remember, each use ups the cost for all other upgrades on the Ability tab, making things like fighting off the cure, or adapting to extreme climates tougher down the line. One technique that seems to have success is to use two or three bloom upgrades near the start, to hopefully get a free fungus spread to another continent for faster overall spread, or to a hard-to-reach island. Then just focus on the traditional transmission upgrades as you wait for the spores to find their way globally.
Do not let a single symptom stay active until you are ready. you can't afford early detection since fungus just takes too long to get to every country.
8) Nano-virus Blues
The nano-virus is a swift killer ... which is good since the cure effort starts as soon as you begin. That first "cure" attempt seems almost completely separate from the usual cure effort. Use the Nano-Virus ability to slow and stop the cure command early on, buying you time to spread the nano-bots more like the other plagues.
9) Don't be Afraid of Throttling Back
It's the endgame, and you're in a race to see if your disease can kill off the human race before a cure can be found. Maybe you still have a small percentage of the global population to infect along the way. Be careful that especially in those last few countries you infect (damn you Greenland!) that your plague isn't so lethal that it burns itself out before its had a chance to infect more than a few people.
It may be necessary to actively devolve the really fatal symptoms, just to give your plague's infection rate a chance to outpace its mortality rate. Just press the "Disease" button at any time to ensure you aren't killing faster than you're infecting.
10) Have a Good Name!
Be creative and fun with that disease name, after all, you may get it on top of all your friend's leaderboards.
Here's a few I've enjoyed using:
Ass Bloom, Fungamung, 0111011011, Blurpies, NipMites, ChodeWorms, ChonchRot, DerpDoom, NoseMoss, NanoWhaa?, BluWaffle, Panicne.
What are some of your better disease names?