7D2D: Alpha 18 Release

Over the past few weekends, the Posse team has been getting together to play the newest 7 Days to Die alpha release. A18 has been on the horizon for a while, and has been something we’ve been waiting to get to try out.

Just like with every alpha release, the game has shifted and evolved in terms of how you learn skills, what skills do, the way you find and craft items, and how you build/defend your base against the horde nights. There’s way too much for me to list in terms of what’s changed.

The biggest shift for me is in terms of three things:

  • Difficulty level
  • How XP is distributed to folks who are builders
  • The new skill trees

First of all, the game’s difficulty level has been ramped up quite a bit, even on the easiest setting. The idea is that you start out fairly weak, and work to level and strengthen your character as you earn skill points that you put into the new skill trees.

Skills have been revamped yet again, regrouped into a more RPG build type concept. You aren’t forced to specialize in any one “tree,” but its seems very beneficial to do so. This does hinge upon you deciding on a specific playstyle and weapon, then putting points in around that build. I don’t know that there’s really one wrong way to do it, but I do know that I’ve found my favorite build, quite by accident.

Let me introduce you to my steel knuckles.

The knuckle type weapons are new to this build, so when I found a set of iron knuckles early on, I was curious. I do usually enjoy a more melee approach in the game, though this is often made difficult due to the zombie’s reach and ability to stun you when you get hit.

But looking through the perk line, I saw that Fortitude did a lot to support a close-in melee style, including reducing stun chances and decreasing the damage you take. It also specialized in heavy armor which gives the build a bit more tanky-ability.

Add to that the Weather perks and the Planting/Gardening perks, as well as Health regen and Cardio… and well, this line really was calling out for me to play it!

It turns out that I’m having such a great time with the Brawler build! There’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting right in the middle of things and punching zombies. I’ve built myself up in such a way that it takes quite a few blows to damage me now — I’m not even at max rank — and I rarely get stunned when I do get hit.

Add to this the fact that the dev team has really reconsidered how XP is rewarded to builder players, such as myself. It used to be that builders who spent the majority of their time working on the base really got gimped compared to people out scavenging and taking XP from zombie kills.

It’s swung the other way now. Due to all the building I’m doing, I’m the highest level player among the group. I almost expect a nerf to building XP as it feels a bit too fast, to be honest.

On the wall, surveying some of the basic barbwire defenses I’ve been building

I also find that cooking has been changed again – though I don’t have any points in that area. It feels a lot more fun, coupled with the new farm plot system, to find seeds, plant and harvest towards building a food supply now.

We even got a few new plants, such as pumpkins…

…which you can harvest and use to craft jack-o-lanterns (pictured in the header image), much to my delight. Oh, yeah, and you can make food with it too, which is also important, I guess. 😉

We’ve endured the first two horde nights so far, and the second one was quite a ride. Of course, I didn’t have the barbed wire defense up at that point, so the night 21 horde will be the test of those traps.

Overall, we’re having a pretty good time with this version of the game. We’ve seen several patches drop, but none that have forced us to restart our map yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a little further in this time before that happens.