A few weeks back, 7D2D dropped Alpha 17 for PC users. This was a HUGE patch that we’ve been waiting for since… well sometime during the summer. It kept getting pushed back, but it’s available now to opt into as an experimental build.
Our Zombie Team has put some hours into the new build over the past couple of weekends. While I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what’s there, and haven’t seen anything that constitutes as end game (we had to start over twice — once because of a patch incompatibility), I think I’ve got a feel for it enough to write some stuff.
Welcome to Fort DogSnekPigMan
See that picture above? This is Fort DogSnekPigMan, our newest digs. In the past, we usually made a beeline to find a forge house to reinforce as a fort. But with changes to the game (they removed my beloved Log Spikes), this just isn’t as feasible to do by the first blood moon anymore.
So when we had to restart the last time, we decided to go the route of finding a pre-existing building with a roof we could hold up at. Fort DogSnekPigMan became it.
And actually, it did a pretty good job!
The first blood moon horde was nothing to sneeze at. It even had a couple of cops… which you traditionally don’t see to later in the game. But Fort DogSnekPigMan already had some traps (spikes and mines) in place before we got there, and it had this spiffy little side yard area that helped a lot with defenses.
So, in the end, it was a good pick.
I don’t think we’ll use this forever, but for a place to start, it was a good one.
Lots of Changes
There are so many changes to the game with Alpha 17, I just can’t even begin to remember to talk about them all. Everything from how battle works to how you earn XP was completely overhauled. I don’t agree with all the changes (zombies should not be able to jump like they do!), but it does make for an interesting time.
Here’s some things I can think of off the top of my head:
- Grouping and shared experience (builder lifesaver!)
- More RPG elements – NPC quests, skill “trees”, etc
- Stamina cap is based on hunger, so food is important
- Stamina useage – you use more, but regain it back faster
- Houses that act as dungeons – there’s a specific path through a house to find a “treasure” at the end
- Lots and lots of traps and tricks – don’t just rush into any building anymore, use the intended path for better results
- New melee combat system – power swings!
- Retrieve arrows from zombies (yay!)
- New vehicles (though I haven’t seen any yet)
- Zombies no longer drop loot (but they also don’t leave bodies behind)
- Updated graphics (it seems)
- …other stuff I’ve probably forgotten…
Most of this is pretty fun. But some things still need a lot of tweaks.
For example, if you’re a builder, you’re out of luck when it comes to earning experience for leveling. Zombie kills are the prime means of XP, and unless your buddies are sharing experience and racking up kills around you, you’re going to get left in the dust. Syn helped to offset this by tweaking building experience so that it’s a bit better in the .XML files. But really, this shouldn’t have to be a player tweak.
7D2D was such a fun game because it allowed players of all interests to work together to overcome the threat. If you liked to build, you could create the safe house. If you liked to explore, you could bring back supplies. If you like to fight, you could fend of hordes.
But the way that it’s balanced now, this isn’t true anymore. Not to mention, a number of items were taken away (log spikes) and zombies that jump… make builders have to rethink their approach to designing a place that’s safe for the team during a horde night.
The jury is still out on how progression moves in the long run. We’ve only just cleared the first Day 7 horde. And I have a feeling there will be other patches that come along for fixes to this alpha… likely to ask us to start over again, I wouldn’t doubt.
7D2D still remains my favorite zombie survival game — I’ve put more hours into it than any other game on Steam. I’m interested to know where it’s going and how it’s going to develop now there’s a much more RPG slant to it. I guess only time will tell!