If your preferred strategy of killing off the entire world is to go big or go home, going the virus approach in Plague Inc. is the choice for you. Each of the different plague types have their own pros and cons, and appeal to different playstyles. The virus is all about infecting everyone as quickly as possible and overwhelming them with brute force before they even have a chance of developing a cure.
As a result, it’s a high risk/high reward approach that praises quick thinking, experimentation, and effective management. There’s no hiding, no time to go slow, so prepare yourself for that. We can help as well, which is where this guide comes in. We’re going to detail how viruses work and how you can best tackle the playstyle on normal difficulty.
How Viruses Work in Plague Inc.
Before we start recommending strategies, let’s take a quick look at how viruses work in Plague Inc. The biggest difference is in the speed at which they can spread and infect the entire world, which is caused, primarily, by the rapidity with which they mutate. Whenever a virus mutates, it picks up a free trait, allowing you to potentially save up a huge number of DNA points.
However, there is a downside to this, and that’s the general lack of control you have over the perks you pick up. We’ll go into strategy in more detail later, but the trick to creating a successful virus is to have it spread quickly, but managing the lethality until you’ve infected the majority of the world’s population. The more lethal it is, the faster humanity will start to develop a cure.
Virus (Normal) Strategy and Tips
Now that you understand how viruses work, you should have a good idea of the sort of strategy you’re going to adopt to win the game on normal and get a high score. Just in case there is any ambiguity though, here’s your goal in bullet points:
- Infect 100% of the population quickly
- Keep lethality low
- Save up as many DNA points as possible
Given the random nature of the virus plague type, we can’t simply give you a simple set of instructions to follow to walk through each difficulty with ease. Instead, we can only give you a set of general tips that should put you in good stead for the challenge ahead.
First things first, you’re going to need to learn when you should, and shouldn’t, devolve a mutated trait. When you first start on this play style, you’re going to be tempted to try and devolve every single trait you receive each time the virus mutates. Get that idea out of your head though, as it’s both impossible and counter-productive.
Instead, you need to learn what types of traits to focus on devolving, and it pretty much ties into our point earlier on keeping lethality low. You can’t hide when using the virus strategy, as you never really know what sort of mutation you’re going to pick up. Instead, you need to basically manage humanity’s cure priority right up until the point that you’ve infected everyone.
So what sort of traits do we like? Well, anything with a high infectivity but low severity and lethality are our initial priorities. We want the likes of:
There are many traits that won’t have a hugely detrimental impact at this point, but are worth monitoring. Ideally you don’t want a bunch of these at once at this point:
- Hyper sensitivity
- Pulmonary Oedema
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Skin Lesions
The following traits you should absolutely devolve as soon as they appear, unless you’re approaching 100% infection:
- Immune Suppression
- Systemic Infection
- Internal Haemorrhaging
- Hemorrhagic Shock
- Total Organ Failure
The challenge is in managing our list of medium traits. Chances are, you probably won’t be able to devolve all of them, as well as our list of major traits, while maintaining enough DNA points for the endgame, so we recommend keeping a few – particularly those that are high in infectivity, like Diarrhoea.
However, some seemingly innocuous traits, like Insomnia and Paranoia actually have humanity leaping for a cure faster, so we’d almost recommend devolving them with as high a priority as the major traits, unless you can’t afford the points.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics, we wanted to highlight a few challenges that are associated with the viral type. To keep this easy to understand, we’re going to pop them into bullet points:
- Devolving costs DNA points
- Mutations happen at random, and you can lose a lot of points devolving lethal traits
- You need to strike a balance between lethality and infectivity, which can be tricky due to the random nature. Ideally, you keep lethality low until you’ve infected 100% of the population
Now, let’s take a look at strategy for the virus play style on normal, again using bullet points:
- Choose a country in the middle of a huge continent
- Spend your initial DNA points on transmissions – particularly Water and Air
- Let viral mutations handle your symptoms for the most part – only spend DNA points here if you’re just not getting a tier 1 or 2 symptom
- Next, spend DNA points on Abilities to help the infection spread. Cold, Drug Resistance, and Genetic Hardening are very useful at this point
- Once you’ve infected every country, and you’re happy that the virus will continue to spread, focus on getting the rest of your abilities – starting with those that delay a cure. Save Genetic Reshuffles and Viral Instability for last
- As humanity starts to crumble due to the plague, you’re really going to have to manage it. If you’re not at 100% infected but your lethality is high, devolve a few of the highly lethal traits and spend on abilities and transmissions.
- On the other hand, if everyone is infected but lethality is low, get all three tiers of Viral Instability. You’ll get mutated traits rapidly at this point
- If everything is going according to plan but a cure is close, get Genetic Reshuffles to slow it down