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Hi everyone, and welcome to the first post of Mark's Strategy Guides, which will with any luck become a series. In the meantime, however, we're here to talk about the Virus disease type. If you're having trouble beating the virus, then hopefully this guide will help you out. Enjoy!

Advantages Of The Virus Disease Type

Abundance of DNA points

The obvious distinction between a virus and the other disease types is it's ability to rapidly mutate. This, of course, can be a pain, but when harnessed effectively can be used to you're advantage. When a disease mutates, it gains a trait without you needing to spend DNA points to get it, therefore saving you the points. Assuming that the mutated trait isn't doing more harm then good to your attempts to destroy the world, you can quickly stockpile these saved points to upgrade whatever you'd like. Also, because a quickly mutating plague is unavoidably going to kill and infect people much quicker then a plague where you must upgrade every trait yourself, you're usually going to get a flood of DNA points.

Potential for high scores

As a virus mutates very quickly, you will find that people are being infected and killed in record time. If you can maintain the right balence of infectivity and lethality throughout the game, your virus will knock out the world extremely quickly- which makes for very high scores.

Potential to overwhelm humanity before they can develop a cure

When a player begins to try any disease on brutal or mega brutal difficulty, they soon discover that subtlety is no longer an option. Humanity will quickly discover you're disease even if it has no traits, so you must overwhelm them before they can develop a cure. The virus is ideal for this. Within just a few hundred days, a quickly mutating virus can infect the entire world and bring it to it's knees, killing off everyone before they can finish a cure. When I beat the virus on mega brutal, the mutations making my disease lethal quickly were key.

Disadvantages Of The Virus Disease Type

Inability to control and hide

So, you're one of those plague inc'ers who likes to hide your disease in the shadows, undetected, until the entire world is infected. Yes, you wait until every last person in greenland is unknowingly sick and you have one hundred DNA points until you leap out with every lethal trait the game has to offer. Well to bad, you're playing with a virus now. These things mutate so quickly that it's nearly impossible to keep them undetected. Unless you're willing to burn all your DNA points devolving, you're going to have to let some mutations be. And that means humanity will find you, hunt you down, and mercilessly slaughter you. Unless you get the pace perfectly right, you will either kill all of you're hosts or have yourself cured faster then you can say "plague inc." I'll tell you now, it's not easy.

Possibility of DNA point famine

When you're dealing with the virus, you can either have a surplus of DNA points or not enough. It all depends on how you react to those random mutations. I'm telling you now, plain and simple; you cannot devolve all of you're mutations. You have been warned.

Virus Strategy

And now that we've listed the advantages and disadvantages of the virus disease type, let me tell you how to make use of your advantages and avoid the disadvantages. I'll do my best here to keep it fairly open-ended as to what you should do- nobody likes being told "first set your disease up in country X, it's hands down the best place. Then the first thing you have to evolve is this, or else you're doomed from the start. Then evolve this, this, and this."

It's just not a very helpful article. The beauty of plague inc, in my opinion, is it's unpredictability. What works one round may not work the next. So instead, what I'm going to try to do here is lay down some general rules to follow, that should be useful in all virus rounds. But again, plague inc is unpredictable, so do what works for you. And without further ado, here we go.

What country should I start in?

This is perhaps the most hotly debated topic in plague inc strategy. I've heard lots of things, so here I'm going to break down some of the suggestions I've heard and give you my pinions on them.

Hard to reach Island nation

I don't really like this strategy. First of all, there are a half dozen island nations which could potentially cause you trouble, and in this strategy you only covering one of the bases. Also, it has no land borders; it's not going to spread very quickly, which is an especially big problem once humanity starts finding you're disease thirty seconds into the game. Finally, a lot of the island nations are either really hot or really cold. This makes you have to spend valuable DNA points on heat/cold resistence as soon as you're disease starts spreading. Overall, I'd have to say avoid islands for a starting point.

Country with lots of airports/seaports for quick spreading around the globe

This is getting closer, I think, to an ideal starting location. But again, it's not my first choice. Why? Straight out, nations like this tend to be rich. This means that the first month or so of virtual reality time is spent gathering DNA points to upgrade drug resistance. This, of course, is valuable time, especially is you're planning on doing a speed run. After you get drug resistance, however, these countries have potential for quick transmission. Still, if you're looking for quick spreading of you're disease, I don't think this is you're best option.

Poor nation with lots of land borders

Like… Central Africa, for example. This is probably my favourite option. Central Africa has lots of countries on it's borders to spread the disease to, and the poverty in this area makes for quicker transmission and a smaller chance for the disease to be detected early on. You do usually have to purchase cold resistance later on when employing this strategy, however. Starting the plague in this area also tends slow down the time it takes to get the America's. For whatever reason, it usually takes all of Africa and parts of Asia covered in red before the first infected plane or ship makes it's way to the America's. Besides those downfalls, however, I would definitely recommend starting you're disease in a poor African nation.

High population nation

I have only used this strategy a few times, but it has given me good results. The theory behind it is that a country with a high population will give you a large amount of DNA points right off the bat, allowing you to quickly spread your disease. I used this strategy when I beat the virus on mega brutal, and it may have been key in my success. Both India and China are ideal countries to start you're plague in. Not only do they quickly award you DNA points, but they both have ports and airports. Another huge bonus is that they're not rich countries, so you don't immediately have to worry about drug resistance. Even there climate is good and balanced, taking the worry of evolving temperature resistance off your mind for the first part of the game. Of course, like all countries, these places have there disadvantages. They may not be rich, but they're not poor either. And as for the balanced climate, some players may feel this is a disadvantage. After all, if a country is hot or cold, you simply have to evolve resistance to the opposite temperature. When a country has a balanced climate, you may have to evolve resistances to both temperatures to feel that your disease is safe.

Saudi Arabia

I heard about Saudi Arabia for the first time after writing about all the other countries on this guide. Trying it out later, I found that this is also a great place to start, competing in my mind with both Central Africa and China. I mean, listen to this;

  • Saudi Arabia's airport flies to Spain, India, Germany, the US, Mexico, France, Australia, China, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Iceland, South Africa, The UK, Indonesia, and New Zealand! Whoa! Thats... Incredible!
  • It also borders three countries and ships to South Africa
  • Saudi Arabia isn't rich

What more could you want, really?

Other countries

I have also heard other, creative places where people beleive they should start their disease. These are:

Canada

I can see some logic in this, as the combination of wealth and cold can be a tough nut to crack. However, Canada is genarally fairly easy to infect initially, and a simple cold resistance should take my homeland out of the running.

 Norway

What? I like to give everyone's opinions a chance, but… Norway? Two people suggested this, I remember, one of whom said something like "Norway. Always." The Norway supporters said that Norway gave shipping routes to Iceland and Greenland while still having land borders, and so was the obvious choice. And though there is some logic in this one, it seems sort of odd to me. FIrst of all, Norway is a rich country surrounded by more rich countries. Say goodbye to quick expansion at the beginning. Also, two of Norway's three land bordering countries don't conectt to anything besides each other, Norway, and Russia, making it a bunch of countries that all lead to Russia. Therefore, Russia is really Norway's only land expansion point. Even Greenland only ships back to Norway and Russia. And Norway's main selling point, that it ships to Greenland, isn't all that great. If you know what to do, it's relatively simple to infect Greenland even if it's ports are closed (more on that later). And although I'm sure some of those ports up in Scandinavia ship to some useful places, overall I think that Norway is a rather wild option.

What Symptoms, Abilities, And Transmission Traits Should I Get?

I plan to keep this section as short as possible. Why? Because every game is a little different, and I'm never going to cover all the bases. Even if I somehow wrote down every single possibility as to what could happen in the game and how to solve it, nobody would want to read it. That would be boring, and take all the fun out of the gaem. And so I'll just give you some very rough outlines as to what you want to do.

If I was to name two things that every player should purchase almost every game, it would be the extreme zoonosis tranmissionn and the genetic hardening ability. If all else fails, then the extreme zoonosis may be able to get your disease to greenland before the rest of the world finishes dying. The genetic hardening is self explanitory, as you don't want humanity curing you're disease too quickly.

As for the rest; improvise! Get temperature resistance if you need it. Give the world necrosis and total organ failure when you want to kill all your hosts. Avoid the above if you still have a billion people to infect. All these things are obvious. The rest of the game is up to you.

General Guidelines; Casual

Most plague inc players serious enough to go to this wiki will have already beaten the Virus on casual. If you are, however, struggling to beat the virus on casual, I'm here to help you out. I'm guessing that you don't have many genes to modify your genetic code with at this point. Thats okay, you can beat it without them. (I'm not, by the way, just saying this while I have all my genes maxed out. To make this article I removed all of my genes just to see how I'd do).

We've already gone over some possibilities of where we might want to start your disease. Pick whichever one you feel is best.

As for the actual gameplay, it should be fairly simple beating the virus. My first rule of thumb for all attempts to beat the virus is to let it mutate. At the casual level, people arn't going to notice a little cough and some nausea for the first part of the game. Let it mutate, save your DNA points, and use them for something other then devolving every mutated trait. At this level, I'm not going to tell you to neccesarily evolve viral instability right at the start- afteralll, you don't want to mutate your virus so much that it evolves total organ failure before a billion people are infected. Let it mutate, but don't let it get out of hand. Although humanity may not notice a cough, they're definately going to notice a rash, cysts, or vomiting. Keep it under control.

Humanity will find your virus sooner or later. Luckily for you, they won't do anything about it quite yet. Once they find your virus, my advice is to allow those symptoms to spread. Infect as many people as possible, though try to keep it at a low lethality for now. Once humanity starts to freak, however, my advice is to pull the trigger. If they start getting close to having the cure at maximum priority, your only chance is to wipe them out. Feel free to go wild at this stage.

However, every once in a while you're going to get an island nation uninfected with it's ports closed. My strategy for dealing with this is to keep killing off the rest of the world, until cure research is severlyy crippled. Then I devolve most of the lethal traits, and wait for extreme zoonosis to infect them. When I beat the virus on mega brutal, I needed this strategy. I don't insist you do much in this strategy guide, but I am going to implore you to get extreme zoonosis.

With any luck, following these guidelines will give you success within a few tries. Feel free to let me know if you have any improvemnets on this strategy in the comments below!

General Guidelines; Normal

For me, my strategy with normal is about the same as my strategy with casual. Again, don't try to devolve every mutation that comes your way. In the early stages of the game, I do tend to devolve certain symptoms that will attract a lot of attention (such as cysts), but besides that I recommend letting coughing evolve. It is nearly impossible to hide a virus disease type while still keeping your DNA points up, so don't try. Let it go but keep it in cjeck is the new motto of the day. Remember it.

As with casual, let your disease have more mutating freedom when it is discovered. They've already spotted it, so it won't attract to much more attention if it's patients start breaking out into cysts. At this stage of the game, still keep it on a leash; people will notice if there fellow humans are dying in droves. Save complete death and destruction until 90% of the population is infected and humanity is already pouring it's money into curing you. Once they do, you have no choice but to knock them out. As for uninfected island nations with closed borders, refer back to my "casual guide."

Normal and casual are almost identical to each othrr in difficulty. Brutal and Mega Brutal, however, are in a league of there own.

General Guidelines; Brutal

By the time you get to the brutal difficulty, you're going to need some tweaks to the genetic code of your disesee. There is really only one DNA gene that I consider absolutely vital in this game, and that would be the Catalytic Switch. This is helpful right from the middle of the game to the end. When humanity starts to freak, you have a reliable source of DNA to help you keep evolving traits. When you pull the trigger and people start dying in droves, the extra DNA points it gives you will be helpful in evolving a couple more lethal symptoms or slowing down cure research. When it's near the end of the game, and your flood of DNA points from dying people has turned into a trickle, then the Catalytic Switch is whats going to give you the points you need to fend off humanity for a few more days while you wait for there governments to fall.

As for the rest of the genes, I honestly don't think they they're game-changing. Sure, they're nice to have and all, but I honestly think that you could beat the game on mega brutal without any. Except maybe Catalytic Switch.

While making this guide, I'll have you know that I did play through and beat Virus on brutal without any genes. Don't you worry, first time plague inc-er. You'll be all right.

To be perfectly honest, beating plague inc'ss virus on brutal isn't to bad. In fact, in general, your strategy is going to be similar to beating it on casual and normal. Again, you want to let your plague mutate, but stay away from symptoms that will make your disease noticeable in the beginning. In the meantime, work on transmission and abilities.

Once people discover your plague, let some more symptoms mutate, but stay away from the lethal ones. After all, you don't wan humanity focusing their research on you when only a billion people are infected. Speaking of which, now might be a good time to upgrade genetic hardening. You might also consider buying some viral instability at this point to help your disease along. This is a bit of a gamble, of course, but you'll need to get used to viral instability if you want to beat the virus on mega brutal. That's all I'm saying for now.

As with causal and normal, start killing people off as soon as humanity starts to pour money into curing you. Even if you have a few places that your disease hasn't taken ahold of yet. After all, even if you do kill off all the infected in said not-very-infected place, you can always re-infect them later with extreme zoonosis after cure research is crippled. Also as with normal and casual, take away lethal abilities when research speed has been severely crippled, if some island nation is still uninfected. Then just wait for extreme zoonosis to work it's magic.

My friends, whether you're an experienced plague inc-er or a complete newbie to the game, you should be able to beat the virus on brutal, even if it takes you a few tries. Mega Brutal, however? It's a whole new ball game.

General Guidelines; Mega Brutal

Observe the line of dots below.

________.__________.__________________.____________________________.

Although this is a rather crude graph, I beleive it will get the point across. First, look at the dot on the far left. That dot is the difficulty of the virus on casual. Now look at the dot just to the right of it. That dot represents the difficulty of beating the virus on normal. It's harder then casual by a fair amount, but is still a fairly small distance away in the grand scheme of things. Moving onto the third dot, we see that the brutal difficulty is a fair distance away from the normal difficulty's dot. Still, it's not a huge distance away. And then we see the fourth dot on the far right. Yes, that dot represents mega-brutal. The big one. And let me tell you, it is not easy to beat any plague type on mega brutal (except the Neurax worm, but thats another story). But we try, and this guide is hopefully going to help your efforts succeed.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if it was skill or just luck the two times I beat the virus on mega brutal. When I did beat it, it came down to a nail-biting (for me, at least) wait for greenland to become infected while the remaining infected people slowly died off. And that wasn't even as intense as beating mega brutal with a prion, which came down to waiting for people in Iceland to start being infected quicker then they were dying off, as the cure became 98% complete. What I'm trying to say is, mega brutal is no joke.

However, having beaten mega twice in a row now, I feel that I can give you some useful advice. The first rule for beating the virus on mega brutal; throw caution to the wind.

Seriously. I'll tell you the only way I know how to beat the virus on mega brutal, and that is by letting the virus go wild with it's mutating. The first thing I did both times I beat it was evolve viral instability to the max. Before I evolved any transmission trait, any drug resistance or temperature resistance, any anything, all three viral instabilities were purchased. And then I just let it go. I evolved the transmission and most of the abilities, while mutations took care of the rest. I only devolved two things during the first half of the game (these were, if you're curious, cysts (I didn't want them finding it my disease to early), and some super lethal trait (I forget exactly what it was, but humanity would've freaked if it had been unleashed too early)). And it worked like a charm. For some reason, they let it spread without worrying about it too much, and by the time they did half of them were dead already (remember "potential to overwhelm humanity before they can develop a cure"). Very soon every country but greenland was infected. After that it was a simple matter of decreasing the population to 500 000 000 and then devolving all the lethal traits. Greenland was infected five minutes later, I re-evolved one or two more lethal traits, and voila. That exact same storyboard happened both times I beat the virus on brutal.

And that is really all the advice I can give you for mega brutal. Go for it, and I know you'll soon get it.

Conclusion

Guys and gals, I really hope this strategy guide helped you. What it all really boils down to is get out there and try whatever the heck you want. With a bit of luck, you could beat the virus with any strategy. This strategy guide is merely one option.

That being said, I hope that you'll check out my soon to come strategy guides. I'm thinking that the prion or the neurax worm will be next (after all, they're the only other ones I've beaten on mega brutal!). In the meantime, thanks again for reading, and I'll see you around.

Want another opinion? Check out other strategy guides here.

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