While we could say that humanity already went through a full cycle of evolution upon the Outbreak, when their bodies were exposed for the first time to the Abola, this anwer, altough correct, would be incomplete.
We can divide the evolution in 4 categories :
Initial Evolution - Evolution induced by the Outbreak
This evolution was sudden, forced and extremely random. Its violence caused an immediate loss of consciousness similar to a light coma. Whereas natural evolution spans across hundreds, if not thousands of years, this artificial one was fully completed in a mere 20 hours. Such monstrous speed had of course dires consequences and divided humanity in 2 entirely different species.
- The majority of the population, who couldn't bear so many multiples and successives mutations, and turned into Infected.
- The others, who successfully passed through this trial by developing genetical resistance to the virus and mutations, and became Evolved Humans.
Controlled Evolution - Evolution only available to Evolvers
This evolution is slower than the others three, but is more stable and doesn't affect the consciousness. By gathering viral energy and consciously manipulating it, the users can slowly induce controlled mutations and use them to reinforce and reforge their bodies to an higher state, even gaining superpowers in the process. However they need to be careful of their viral resistance since they can turn into infected or Fallen Ones if it is too low. Furthermore they need to coagulate a new Spot Pattern to reach further heighs. The Breathing Technique created by Luo Ren Hang helps to considerably reduce the time and efforts necessary to this evolution.
Natural Evolution - Evolution only available to Infected
Infected naturally follows this path. Since they don't need to raise their viral resistance, they evolve quicker than Evolved Humans, as the more viral energy is accumulated in their bodies, the more their speed of evolution is accelerated. It induce heavy bodily mutations and creates Meteorite Crystals, who acts as cores to regulate their viral energy. High levels infected also obtain superpowers, similarly to Evolved Humans, but those seems more instinctive than consciously controlled, being a part of them rather than something added. Among them, the strongest individuals sometimes develops an ego and regains a sense of self.
Unstable Evolution - Rare evolution who only happens under certains circonstances
Technically, all the infected created during the Initial Evolution of the Outbreak suffered one due to their lack of genetic resistance. This evolution can be triggered by numerous factors, but all of them involves a direct contact with the Abola virus.
- By being bitten by an infected when you have low viral resistance. The mutations who occur in the 10 minutes that follows turn the person into an infected. This mutation is stopped by the death of its host.
- When an infected is parasited. Depending on the type of infected, it can trigger rare mutations, like the Hammer Shape. If its a normal human, he turns immediately into an infected.
- By being converted by Stage 3 Infected. Only available to common zombies, it turns them into Mature Ones.
- Upon direct contact with a Meteorite Fragment while being under Stage 3. In case of Evolvers, they would become Fallen Ones, in case of normal humans they would mutate directly into a Level 2 Infected. Extremely rarely, it can triggers a transformation into a Black Armor, or create a Leader.
- By fusing too quickly with a Coagulated Meteorite Fragment, by overdosing on Meteorite Crystals or by overstimulation the Spot Pattern while being low on energy. The Evolver turns into a Fallen.
- Being converted by an high stage Infected like a Blood Brain, the Eyeball Leader or the Infected Plant Matriarch.
- Rarely, when a plant absorb mutated genes from an infected. It turns into an Infected Plant.
- By inhaling pollen or being injured by an Infected Plant. The host turns into an Infected Human, an Infected Zombie or an Infected Bulldog according to his species. This transformation can be reversed by eating a piece of Flower Resin before its completion, or by reaching Stage 3.
Breaking through is the process that Evolved Humans must endure in order to become an evolved and reach the upper stages of evolution.
To successfully breakthrough to Stage 1, they must stimulate the Abola virus in their body with a series of extensives exercises or through heated battles. The virus will concentrate itself on different places of the body based on their host most suitable evolutionary path. It is unique to each individual genetic traits and cannot be changed. However, it is worth noting than individuals in the same family often shares the same evolution.
After entering Stage 1, they slowly accumulates viral energy and learns how to manipulate it. To prevent themselves from turning into an infected or Fallen One, they must raise their viral resistance.
To pass on to the next stage, the user must take their body to its limits and activate the virus, allowing a controlled mutation to form. This process takes more time and becomes more difficult with each passing stage, nevertheless, the Breathing Technique, along with items like Damaged Cores and Meteorite Crystals allows an aceleration of this process.
In this stage the natural capacities of the body increases significantly and the person could start to be described as a super human. At the same time, this level unlock general abilites like the Spot Pattern Stimulation, and in case of some individuals, already unlock supernatural abilites like Ah Bu's Telepathy, Han Li's Hyper Regeneration or Gao Fei's Night Vision.
Stage 2Average Level 2 infected. Also, upon reach this realm a unique special power is developed by the Evolver, which isn't restricted by its type of evolution. Examples of this are:
- Tian Cheng - Muscle Strengthening
- Zhao You Liang - Electrokinesis
- Luo Lansha & Shang Biao - Shared Vision
- Luo Lansha - Instant Sonic
- Shang Biao - Transformation
- Gao Fei - Possession & Object Manipulation
- Hu Feng - Inch Explosion
- Lin Wei - Metal Control
- Yang Cong - Distractions
- Three Baldies Gang - Energy Transfer
They must also coagulate a new Spot Pattern as a core to regulate their viral energy to be able to reach Stage 3 and beyond.
The final stage of natural evolution for the humans. In this stage the individual begins to touch the true usage of the viral energy, through a technique called Energy Control. Their mastery over viral energy increase drastically and they are able to absorb more of it from their surroundings. They can also access their Spiritual Space.
In order to reach this stage the evolved must have successfully gathered a new Spot Pattern, those who can´t are barred to enter this stage.
A stage attainable only for those who have reached the peak of Stage 3 and have successfully fusioned with a Meteorite fragment, making theirs the power contained inside. They enters into a state Deep Sleep while fusing with it, where they improve their bodies and raise their immunity against the Abola virus. Nevertheless, in this state they face their worst fear, insecurity or unease and if they aren't strong enough to face them, they go insane and becomes a Fallen One.
The exact powers attained in this stage are unknown, but it is said that a Level 5 Evolved is able to fight an army of mutants by himself. The only known Stage 5 evolved was the Hu Feng of Tian Cheng's previous life.
- The standard time to reach Stage 1 for a person with decent talent is two months.
- The greatest genius showed on the series, Hu Feng, was able to reach the peak of Stage 2 in the same amount of time.
- In Tian Cheng's past life, most of the survivors have been able to breaktrought and reach Stage 2 five years after the apocalypse.
- An average beginning Stage 2 can kill 1 tiger or bear on a daily basis without suffering injuries.
- Due to his Future Knowledge, Tian Cheng became an Evolver only 2 days after the Outbreak.