7 Days To Die: Alpha 11 Update

Alpha 11

If you’re a keen player of the many survival type games currently on Steam, you’re most likely pretty well acquainted with 7 Days To Die which means you’ve played the new Alpha 11 update that was released a couple weeks back. So what’s new in Alpha 11? Well aside from switching to the Unity engine, it turns out that there’s actually quite a lot.

Switching to Unity 5 has been one of the more noticeable changes in terms of visual effects in this recent patch. The lighting has been vastly improved to create more dynamic visuals and a smoother, less blocky transition between day and night cycles. Equipped weapons and items now don’t take up as much of the screen as they used to and little touches such as reflections on the hunting knife make all the difference in the improvement of this project.

Rivers and buildings have been touched on and have a slightly more polished look to them. Trees are arguably the most noticeable difference, there is now more variety and their foliage has a more natural movement as branches and foliage hang down and sway in the wind. Unfortunately this still needs a little work. In some biomes there is a meshed outline of trees and bushes in the distance but these are still being worked on as plans for patches and the upcoming Alpha 12 update are already underway. The improved high res fog addition is a great improvement not just to visual aspects, but it adds a layer of tension to gameplay. Hearing something ten feet in front of you at night but not being able to see it is certainly a frightening experience.

blunderbuss and hill

New locations include a hospital, two new grocery stores, a new larger bookstore, new larger hardware store, two new luxury cabins and an Indian burial ground. Some of these are only exclusive to the Navezgane map but improvements such as caves and roads that actually traverse the terrain of hills and such make for a more immersive and natural feel to the world.

Bow and Building

There is a new ‘gore block’ system that essentially allows demised corpses to decompose overtime and decay into the blocking equivalent of flesh. From my experience testing this new feature I discovered that if zombies attack one area while you’re trying to thin their numbers, other zombies can use these piles to escalate and climb over your walls/barricades into your base. Scary stuff!

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A new leveling system means experience and survival have their merits. You can now level up by killing zombies and crafting items. The more you level up, the better your crafted items and weapons will be, increasing their durability to illustrate your vastly improved experience and knowledge. New weapons such as the Bow and Blunderbuss have been newly introduced into the fold, the bow being a fantastic weapon for first time players and new characters for its easily crafted ingredients and ammunition.

New zombie types are also a new feature with the inclusion of the new ‘feral’ and ‘burnt’ zombies. The burn victim zombies are charred and burning embers and ash coat their decomposed bodies, if they get close enough they have the chance to set you on fire. The feral zombies are the most aggressive of the two, they are deadly in packs and a horde of these will surely force you to do some rebuilding to your fort. You cannot hide from feral zombies, they know where you are no matter what and their aggression (especially at night) allows them to shred through your blockade at speed so be prepared!

Burnt Zombie

Changes that have altered or removed certain aspects from previous patches have been made to better our experience with the game too. An example of this is how the food/water meters now deplete at a much slower rate, meaning players no longer have to devote their playtime to stocking up on food and water. Another example is how previously, blades of grass had to be broken down in order to create plant fibers, now when you retrieve grass it skips all that and is already plant fibers. Little shortcuts like this remove the menial tasks that were previously present before.

These are just a number of the vast new additions and features to the constantly improving 7 Days To Die. To keep up to date on news and upcoming patches you can follow the developer’s diary or watch out for more articles here on Vgamerz in the near future.

7 Days To Die – Liars & Thieves

7 Days To Die

If you have read my previous articles about the zombie survival crafting game 7 Days To Die, you’ll know that I have in the past, warned players of the exposure to insecure multiplayer lobbies and recommended private solo or co-op play. I recently stepped into the realm of this hacker demolished, stranger infested world and thought I’d share my recent experience and warn the fellow survivors out there on just how relentless this world can really be.

I joined a lobby in which I was greeted by a few friendly survivors in the chat, things started off pretty well. I was skeptical at first, seeing as it was my first day, I had minimal resources but because it was early days I thought to myself, “little to lose, much to gain…”

After some distant looting and friendly chatter, I met up with the survivors who escorted me to an enclosed location hidden by a sea of maple trees which were planted personally by themselves to shelter their home from unwanted persons or hackers. On my journey to this location I finally saw what hackers were capable off when passing buildings that were completely obliterated, rubble and materials scattered all over the place along my travels. If there was one positive outlook I could take from it, it kind of made the world look that much more run down in the event of an apocalypse.

When we arrived their base was this enormous iron and concrete blockade that stretched over a stream, surrounded by rows of reinforced log spikes. It was essentially an impressive exterior that masked its real interior which was actually an underground shelter that burrowed deep into the earth for miles. They declined entry which I understood completely, I didn’t really want to go inside anyway as I didn’t trust them all that well either. They supplied me with some food and water and other supplements and I thanked their generosity. It was better to be on their good side and they seemed like a friendly bunch so I asked if I could set up camp nearby which they agreed to.

Over the course of the next few days I began building my little shack on the outskirts of their forest and planted my own trees to mask my own. I had built a wall to enclose my garden and I was at the height of my self sufficient lifestyle. The nights were tough, I’d got into the routine of shutting off all the light from torches and campfires and had to sit quietly in my shack while listening to the herds of running zombies pass by, each time hoping they wouldn’t sense me and begin tearing down my walls.

Things were going good for a while, I made friends with a guy who lived a stone’s throw away on the other side of the nearby lake. We exchanged items, helped build our homes and even went on scavenging trips together, but then things started to change…

After a while I noticed that these friendly players weren’t online as often, I sometimes wouldn’t hear from them for a week and the population of unfamiliar survivors joining the lobby was increasing. One night I had logged back into the server to find that my home had been completely ransacked, most of my supplies were gone, a hole in the roof leading to piled dirt on the exterior of my home all pointed in one direction, I’d had a break in while I was away…

One late afternoon I was startled by the sight of two unfamiliar stragglers wandering the fields nearby. I was some distance from my home but it was in sight, they stood between me and my shack. I kept my head down but one of them spotted me, I tried to run for the hilltop and circle my way around but I didn’t stand a chance against their sniper rifle.

I had been killed for the first time, we were weeks into the server, Day 42 if I recall correctly. When spawning back in my bedroll I popped my head over the wall, they were moving off into the distance. At this moment I was blinded by sheer rage and drained from the solitary despair of going through it alone for over a week. I ran over to my backpack, no… could it be? They had taken only my guns and ammunition. It was late, nightfall would soon come but I sought revenge at all costs.

Equipped with only my knife and crossbow, I trudged through murky rivers and scaled steep valleys tailing them, hoping they would lead me back to their camp, all while avoiding contact with the masses of scattered zombies and dogs around me. For a moment I thought I had lost them, but then I heard the distant clanking of a forge. I followed the sound, narrowly escaping the clutches of the undead until I stumbled across a walled off area with four tall apartment complexes within its walls. This was big, not as impressive as my deserted friends’ underground design but of a similar scale. That’s where I spotted one of them across the fields, eyes down his sights but not at me, I took aim, I had to make the shot count so I waited for him to remain still, I took the shot, instant death.

With no sign of his buddy I began looting his bag and taking his rifle among other necessities to fuel my thirst and hunger, I marked the location on my map and returned home. I had become as bad as they were, a thief among thieves. The following morning I went to their location, the player had left and this was my chance to retrieve the rest of my belongings. As I broke into the premises I found most things to be locked and I all I could take was their corn and potato field they had planted on the roof. Another player joins the came, I immediately hear movement outside and it turns out this base doesn’t belong to my enemy but rather another victim of his devious thievery…

I had to leave my home behind after it had been further destroyed by more looters and thieves. I went on to scour the world alone with limited resources, ultimately leading to multiple near death experiences and the harrowing experience of wandering the world alone.

It’s amazing how another person’s actions can cause you to change your way of behavior, especially in a video game, where their behavior has no real consequence to their life and to see the lengths people will go to to get what they want. This is one of my many experience in the world of 7DTD that made me feel like I was living out an episode of The Walking Dead and other popular cult apocalyptic movies. It was then that I truly learned the meaning of the show’s Season 3 slogan ‘Fight the Dead, Fear the Living.

7 Days To Die – Choosing a Play Style that Suits You

7 Days To Die

There are multiple ways in which a player can approach the zombie infested survival crafting game 7 Days To Die. There is no right or wrong way to go about your method of survival, unless you’re dying, that would be the wrong way… nevertheless, each process has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully one of these speaks out to you and you look at it in a relatable fashion, stroking your chin as you nod along, “yeah, that sounds like me.” Some of these may vary depending on whether you are playing solo or with a number of other players so both have their perks. Here are just a few examples of long term survival plans that you might find useful.

The Fortifier

This is an ideal play style for players with creative ambitions and those of you who like to hoard your belongings in one secure location. I’ve essentially named this for what it is, you build a fort or make one by expanding an already existing structure. Although challenging (especially when playing solo), if done correctly, this can be a very effective and safe way of surviving the zombie apocalypse. Building your dream zombie-proof base consists of three essentials:

• A Vision
• Resources
• Practicality

You have a vision, you must ask yourself, is it realistically doable? Do you have enough resources and if worst comes to worst, are there emergency exits? Obviously the stronger your material, the more fortified your base will become. I would recommend either concrete or iron as a means of building materials, these can be used to build your walls and doors (of course it varies depending on where and how your base is constructed). Setting up camp does have its own perks.

Pros:

• If you’ve settled down on the outskirts of nearby villages/cities, you’ll be able to gather a number of varied items, from weapons to literature to pharmaceuticals.
• Since you are staying in one core location, you can set up a means of building a more self sufficient lifestyle within a controlled environment. Growing your own crops, developing your forging abilities and storing your essentials all without having to check over your shoulder every few moments.
• Enough security to defend against the undead. If your structure is durable and works, as long as you maintain it and keep your head down, you’re in it for the long run.

However, if watching AMC’s The Walking Dead has taught me anything, it’s that staying in one location never lasts forever.

Cons:

• If you’re in a secluded location, you run the risk of being far from potential resources that may be scarce to begin with. If you’re not self sufficient then eventually your resources are going to run out.
• Herds. I found that the more I stayed in one place, the more frequent I’d come across a horde of the undead. With each day passing, their numbers only increased and if your base is not up to scratch, you might just get caught off guard some day and before you know it you’re back to square one.
• Boredom. Like staring at the same four walls in your room, you’ll eventually find that life within the walls isn’t always so much fun. Sure it’s safe and if done correctly, you’re set for life, but without the aspirations to expand and improve with goals to fulfil, what is it all for?

The Mole

Essentially the equivalent to ‘The Fortifier’ except you’ve burrowed beneath the earth’s surface as a means on hiding away from the flesh eating corpses above. In some ways, this is one of the more superior methods because if you dig deep enough and ensure your structure is secure and doesn’t collapse in on itself, the undead might sense you but not be able to pinpoint your exact location. In addition to that, if your border has a high dropping distance, it might be enough to cause zombies to die from fall damage, leaving you practically 100% protected from undead intrusions (if you can pull it off that is…).

The Scavenger

This play style favours a more high risk, living on the edge kind of approach. You essentially take your chances out on the road, never staying in one location for too long, always on the move and looting what you can as you go. It takes a certain adjustment to your mindset when tackling this method. You have to consider the value of your items as space is limited. You will spend most of your play time on the edge of survival. Although the risk is that much higher, you’ll never have another experience like it.

Pros:

• The world is your oyster, make of it what you will. Not being tied down to the high maintenance and responsibilities of a fortified location means that you can pick up your bag and leave when things get too hairy. You’ve got much to gain and very little to lose other than the cost of your life.
• Life on the edge. You live the rest of your numbered days in this world on the go, meaning new experiences are anything but few and far between. Although dangerous, this survival method is the more thrilling approach to 7DTD. You’ll spend your days looting cities and abandoned cabins and your nights sleeping with one eye open as the tension of a passing horde leaves you curled up in a corner in absolute fear.
• Loot is never scarce. Although certain resources may be hard to come by, you’ll never run short of items if you’re constantly on the go. New locations are just sitting there waiting for you to take their goods, are you going to take it?

Cons:

• Loot might be more scarce than I thought… No matter how hard you look, there’s always that one item that you desperately need that is so hard to come by. Be it a cooking pot or antibiotics. Living out on the go is risk some are willing to take but it’s not for everybody.
• Space is limited. Because you don’t have one location to store your goods away it means you have to take it all with you. Your backpack space is restricted to 32 slots, adding the 8 slots on your tool-belt leaves you with just 40 slots to hold all the essentials. There may be a time where you come across something you really want or need but in order to take it you’ll have to sacrifice something else that could be just as important.
• Morale can get low. With the sole purpose being to survive, it leaves little room for you to really take an advantage of the games crafting mechanics. You can go through life on the road by the skin of your teeth but you without a goal or objective, once again, what is it all for?.

These are just a few summarised examples of ways you can take the reins of life in the zombie apocalypse. Of course the emphasis is on a few, there’s no one way of playing the game and I’m sure there are a ton of creative ways you can adapt to in order to survive. Find the play style suits you best and go forth into the brutal world of 7DTD. Good luck and stay safe.

7 Days To Die – How to Survive Your First Night

7 Days To Die

The truth is, we all like to imagine ourselves as experts in the event of the impending zombie apocalypse, but more often than not we’d all most likely succumb to the harsh and brutal conditions of this horrific flesh eating epidemic. Fortunately enough, the guys over at ‘The Fun Pimps LLC’ give us the freedom to test our zombie survival skills in their promising early access title, 7 Days To Die which in the most unsympathetic of ways, chucks you right into the deep end to fight for your right to survival in this zombie infested world.

In this article I will be giving you some quick tips on surviving your first night with little help from my embarrassing first few hours with this game.

First things first, you’ll need to collect plenty of sticks, grass and stone which you can find scattered along the wilderness in most of the world’s various biomes (e.g. Forests and Deserts). I’d recommend staying within a woodland based location to start with as the cities are heavily populated with hordes of the undead and at this moment in time you are in no position to tackle them head on Rambo style unless you have a buddy who can help you out through your journey or you just want to get yourself killed… These are the primary essential ingredients you will need when beginning your game and they will allow you to craft new tools, weapons and building materials.

A ‘Stone Axe’ (materials required: x1 Sharp stone, x1 Plant Fiber, x1 Stick) is one of the more useful universal purpose tools which only needs one of each of these ingredients in order to be crafted. Once creating this you can scavenge for more of these materials, especially wood, with greater ease. The ‘Crossbow’ (materials required: x2 Plant Fiber, x8 Stick) is another weapon that is easy enough to craft and helps when hunting or just silently taking out some undead scumbags from afar although you’ll need to find some feathers, mostly located in trash bags or birds’ nests, to craft crossbow bolts. Trying to build your dream home in the first night is do-able but extremely ambitious. It’s safer to gather the essentials first and hold out in a fortified location or a rooftop with minimal zombie presence. It’ll be a tense and restless night, but you’ll just have to strap on a pair and get used to it like a whimpering puppy’s first night home.

Food and water, as you can guess, keep you alive. It’s easy enough looting for these requirements but eventually you’re luck is going to strike out. There are a selection of deer, pigs and rabbits frolicking through the world that can be hunted for meat and cooked on a ‘campfire’ (materials required: x8 stone) with a stick as well as finding canned goods in various cupboards and fridges. Do be careful when carrying meat however, as the zombies can pick up the scent of your recently bagged game. To avoid this happening, storing the meat in a nearby container/air vent is an easy solution for the night period.

Water on the other hand is a little more tricky… Sure you can find this through your desperate moments of scavenging abandoned apartment complexes, but soon you’ll have to fend for yourself. Keeping the empty glass jars will allow you to fill these up at rivers or lakes, hell, even toilet water if times get tough. But it’s not enough to be able to collect it, you have to boil it, that’s right, otherwise you will die of dysentery. To do this you’ll either need to find a ‘cooking pot’, which can sometimes be frustratingly few and far between, or you’ll need to craft one using forged iron but during your first few days this can be difficult to achieve without finding the necessary book to learn how to forge and this is the hurdle I fell at during my time on 7 Days.

I was fortunate enough to have enough food, loot and materials to keep me going from place to place but for the life of me I was unable to find a cooking pot to boil my harvested murky water thus leading me to die of thirst, deserted, cold and alone atop an abandoned gas station on my third night. Luck just wasn’t on my side but hey, at least I survived one night, two even! But the tips I’ve shared will likely give you an insight into this game’s vast gameplay styles and options. The more familiar you are with the mechanics, items and crafting system, the closer you’ll be to becoming the next ‘Daryl Dixon’ wannabe of the zombie apocalypse.

To find out about more features and crafting requirements for ‘7 Days To Die’, check out the official website here.