With the series being on air for eleven years straight, it's quite difficult sometimes to follow the continuity or realize that something has been wrong for a while now.
It's no secret that TWD viewership numbers have been declining steadily for quite some time now, with many, many disappointing or plain fan rage-inducing creative decisions piling up over the years. There's a lot to discuss if we're talking about The Walking Dead shortcomings, but one detail stands out for those who were following the show from the very beginning.
While being in the thick of it all it's hard to realize sometimes just how much the show's changed over the years, and the most disappointing change for die-hard fans is the change TWD writers made to walkers.
If you're one of those early The Walking Dead fans, you must remember the sense of constant dread, the crippling fear of something going really bad really fast, all those scenes involving zombies that promised lots of painful, frightening and bloody deaths. The walkers-related danger was real back then, and it felt like a top-tier horror movie; well, certainly doesn't feel like it anymore.
In season 1 the walkers were a menacing threat: TWD's undead were more dangerous than in pretty much any zombie movie, being able to run really fast and climb fences and ladders. There was no surefire way to defend a settlement against them, and everyone – including viewers! – was constantly on edge. Now, though – now it's completely different: gradually walkers were being somewhat nerfed until they were pretty much ruined completely. It happened just slowly enough that only true fans noticed that something's wrong with the core element of the show.
The explanation for The Walking Dead effectively ruining its biggest selling point is simple: a difference in creative vision. Back in Frank Darabont TWD era walkers were eerily smart and capable, they were able to climb ladders and even smash windows with rocks, and it was so easy for us to be frightened by them. After Darabont's departure walkers became less intelligent, although still dangerous in numbers.
Robert Kirkman himself once said that slowing down and gradual loss of intelligence (or what's left of it anyway) are just side effects of walkers continuing to rot. Apparently you can't run that fast when your limbs are all rotten. Still, there's no denying that this particular walkers "nerfing" was disappointing for many hardcore zombie horror fans and affected the plot extensively.