Early in October of 2019, the release of the biggest 7 Days to Die update to date was announced, but it took 22 days to hear what or when. The official release notes, that came out the same day as the update, stated this would be the best and biggest version of the game—a version that will bring lost fans back and keep loyal fans happy. In this review, I’ll be talking about all the important update aspects I noticed since the Alpha 18, as well as the first bug-fixing update that came out on November 12.
Due to this small bug-fixing update, I recently learned that you can update servers with these small updates instead of deleting them after every tiny bug fix. When I accidentally updated my server, it did cause all of Steam to crash for some minutes before I could get it back, but imagine my excitement over the fact that I don’t have to start all my progress over (there was some screaming of glee).
Anyone who has played 7 Days to Die since the death penalty update knows the true pain it caused. If you die, all of your perks are lowered for an hour, making it easier to die and harder to progress overall, causing a vicious cycle. Now, the new death penalty doesn’t affect perks (directly). It turns your XP bar red, showing the player how much XP they need to gain before being able to level up again.
Anyone who likes the looting portion of the game will be excited by the increase of spoils that spawns in, as well as their new locations. They also made it so smaller buildings will have only a few zombies while hospitals and mansions have much more. One problem with the looting system has been the addition of encumberment. They have made it so the perk to lower encumberment is easier to acquire, and is no longer affected by the pesky death penalty. On top of that, when you first spawn in, you have more inventory space before becoming encumbered. Sadly, beakers are still impossible to find, but feathers are no longer found everywhere; now, it’s paper. A new item to help with looting are the lock picks, which are easy to craft but also lootable. They make getting into safes easier and less time-consuming.
Lootable books and recipes are back and better than ever. Recipes help you progress further, with the possibility of being able to craft a gyrocopter available long before buying the perk to do so. Books have seven volumes per category, each with a benefit, and when you read all seven of a category you get an added benefit. There’s a range of books from weapon reliability to better looting. If you’ve found one you’ve already read, don’t scrap it to get even more paper. You can still read it to get extra XP.
Trader Jen, the first female trader, has been a character since alpha 17, but she’s no longer in the middle of the wasteland by herself. She is now easier to find next to a town in the snow biome, but she still has a male voice. This has not been fixed in the recent bug-fixing update.
Ever since they removed the surface, individual ores, it has been much more difficult to find important things such as oil, shale, and coal, which are needed to make gasoline and bullets. They’ve brought back the surface ores easily found in deserts. When you find those surface ores, don’t forget to dig down as well, to find the vein and notice that they got rid of dirt and made clay more prominent. However, I have recently learned you can make dirt blocks out of clay. If you use the same command as to change ammo type, you can change how you place building blocks.
With the removal of dirt came the removal of the hoe. Farming no longer takes digging up the dirt, which required it to be done in only one biome. Farming is now done in farming plots, made from rotten flesh, so you can do it in the safety of your own home. There is also the addition of pumpkins to farming, along with many things to craft with them, possibly the most important being the pumpkin cheesecake.
The spawn rate of animals versus zombies has been a problem for a while. With the adjustment of spawn rates for animals, they’ve also added new animals, including coyotes. In the perks, you can upgrade your tracking skill. When you crouch, you look for animal footprints and as you increase the perk, you increase the size of the animals you can track. It should also be noted that killing both animals and zombies gives you less XP than it did previously, in an attempt to balance out the XP and leveling system.
With all of the changes to the game, I believe the release notes were right when they said Alpha 18 is bigger than Alpha 17, with a ton of new content and some game balancing. Despite their efforts, it still feels like the XP and leveling balance isn’t quite there. There is some actual stamina balancing, however. I would recommend it to the lost fans and new people to the game. To any possible new players, I recommend buying it when it’s on one of its many sales.
Rose Jackson is a professional writing major at Champlain College. She was raised on World of Warcraft (the original version) and The Sims 2. She spends her free time listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks while reading her large collection of fantasy novels.