Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Meeting the Demolition Zombie on Night 21

Last night, the posse picked up where we left off in 7D2D on day 21, getting ready for that night’s horde. We felt pretty good – we stocked up on ammo, the walls were almost reinforced to the second level of concrete, we were leveled up and doing well.

This horde took us down a few pegs. In fact, I think this was the biggest crisis we’ve had in a horde since the early days of the game. It was mostly due to the new kind of zombie that I wasn’t aware existed – the Demolition Zombie.

To put it into perspective, let’s just say the Demolition Zombie is exactly the same as a Minecraft Creeper. It explodes at close range and does a LOT of block damage.

I knew that Amoon had mentioned a new exploding zombie, but I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to this. Oh man. Just one or two of these guys wrecked our base and pretty much had us on the run on a horde night.

We were already pretty hard hit by iradiated ferals that came non stop all night long. We were out of ammo, the stakes were destroyed, and we were trying to keep the walls patched up. And then this guy appears out of nowhere.

My walls just melted, and I had no idea how or why it was happening! In the video above, it shows how this zombie can just demolish a steel wall in a few swings! Not to mention the concrete that we were using, which was not as tough as steel. It’s terrible!

Suddenly, the walls were breeched and a stream of zombies came flooding in. Trying to beat back the horde and place blocks to stop it, I heard the tell-tale beep-beep-beep of a bomb and saw the red light on the front of the zombie. I had no idea what this was, but a bomb is a bomb, and that’s pretty recognizable.

I shouted into the mic, “It’s going to explode!” That’s about as much as I could do before it did.

There was no time to react. Pretty much, if you’re close enough to see that red light, you’re dead. I’m not even sure full health could have saved me. I was at max fortitude and had decent gear for the level we were fighting on. Still was instantly dead.

Trying to fix the damage to the back wall in the morning

That wasn’t the worst of it. Now were were being overrun in our own base, and another one comes strolling through. This one blows up in the front room of our house and I die again. We lose our water supply box somewhere in the middle of all this, but thankfully, the explosion was just shy of the wall where we kept all of our main supplies.

What was left of the front room – I was horrified.

This… was traumatizing.

I’d spent most of my time – hours and hours – in this game building this fort, reinforcing it block by block, only for it to be blown to bits by just two zombies. We were then hunted down by the rest of the horde that hadn’t been killed – they don’t stop running when day comes. The only way to get away was to lead them away from base and die to respawn back home.

I won’t lie. I was pretty discouraged. But now that I watched that video above, I understand why everything went to pieces. I’m not sure how I feel about this Creeper Zombie – yes, it makes it challenging… and I don’t mind a little challenge.

But we choose to play on the easiest level because this has also always been somewhat of a casual and laid-back experience. We have always been able to pick and choose the kind of frustrations and dangers we deal with. And this one zombie has thrown all of that way out of balance. Even level 10 fortitude did nothing to help against it, no steel walls can hold it out… and I think that’s a pretty cheap kill.

This might be the first time I’ve really felt frustrated by 7D2D’s design choices. I’ve rolled along with a lot of the changes they’ve made in the many, many years of alpha I played. Even when things were buggy and broken. But this is just not balanced gameplay. Not when the whole idea of the game was to build bases to withstand hordes.

Anyhow, I’m sure we’ll sit down and figure out some other way to handle it, but after having spent so much time already building one base, I’m not sure we have the resources (and me the energy) to start over on something new. For now, just going to lick my wounds… at least the Posse helped to rebuild the base – I think they felt bad for me.

Amoon rebuilding the front wall. At least our Jack-o-lanterns made it through
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Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

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.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Steam Gaming

7D2D: Fort Moon

I know, I know. Potty humor picture. I’ll explain more about how that came to be in a bit.

So, the Posse has gotten together for at least one night each weekend to continue our current map of 7D2D. I’m not sure what it is about this particular game, but we’ve stuck with this fort longer than any other in quite a while. I think when we hung it up on Sunday, we were on Day 25.

While the game isn’t super hard by any means, we’ve seen a lot of unusual encounters and locations we’ve never experienced before. Especially for so early in the game cycle… since the concept is that the game gradually gets harder and harder as more blood moons pass.

One evening, right at sunset, I caught sight of a random horde spawn just down the street from our base. Now, hordes do spawn, and we’ve seen many different kinds – dogs, buzzards, wolves, zombies… But this one spawned a zombie bear and a handful of wolves.

Now, normal bears are no pushover in this game. But zombie bears are something to take great care with. Everyone scrambled back in the base, and with guns loaded and a careful pull, we took out the wolves, and then the bear.

Zombie Bears still get caught on barbedwire

That was pretty interesting!

We also discovered that the pig farm, which I talked about in a previous post, and the boss mob Grace, both respawn regularly. This has been a huge boon to us because it’s basically a place we can go to stock up on tons of meat, rather than trying to hunt the almost non-existent game.

The funnel system I built into our base seems to work overall. And after experimenting with the iron upgraded spikes, I have to say they are a good substitute for the old wood log spikes that the devs removed. Overall, our base has withstood up to the day 21 horde, with irradiated zombies and all slews of stuff coming for us.

Night 21 Horde – Bright green zombies

Oh, and before I forget to mention, we now have upgraded to motorcycles rather than pedal bikes. These are super nice, and even have spikes on the front that do the dirty work if you run up against any wayward zombies on your travel.

We’ve yet to upgrade to any of the larger vehicles, and we completely skipped the mini-bike phase since the crafters among us said it just wasn’t worth the materials to make those anymore. You may as well put a bit more into a full motorcycle.

Fort Moon

So, I promised you the story behind the sign in at the top of this piece, and I’m going to deliver. Sunday, our zombie team was down to three people at the time – Xaa, Amoon and myself.

Xaa and I needed to go AFK for a short bit, and I joked that Amoon would have to hold down the fort. Then I added that by the time we returned, he would have rebranded it.

A little while later, after we’d returned to the game, I hear Xaa remark about the sign I made at the front door that said “Fort Moon.”

I was like, “Wait a minute. That wasn’t me!”

Amoon started laughing, and I knew exactly what happened. He had run with my joke and actually rebranded the fort!

Well, then the suggestion popped up that we needed to put some graffiti on there and make it an official moon. After trying (and failing) at finding a good text representation of said moon (the font wasn’t working with things like CC ) I Googled a text butt and added to the sign what you see above.

Glorious? Not really. But it only happens in a sandbox building game like this, huh? 🙂

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Disturbing Grace

Over the weekend, the Posse decided to fire up a new game of 7D2D. So, Syn spent Saturday afternoon setting up the server and, we gathered around to poke at zombies for the following two nights.

The game started out fairly friendly compared to some of our last few starts. All of us players spawned in pretty close to each other (compared to the times it took the first 2 days to find each other and then find a place to hole up in). And we had some pretty interesting biomes/townscapes to explore all within reach.

As a builder, I’m still experimenting with ways to deal with the fact that we no longer have large wood spikes as sturdy traps to use against the hordes. I think I kinda overcompensated with my first attempt at building a funnel system that is meant to direct incoming zombies straight into trapped areas. I have yet to really test this on a horde, so we’ll have to see how it works.

This is also the first time we’ve been able to create bicycles (as opposed to mini bikes), and everyone seems to really enjoy them as a far better method of getting around.

Hills can be a bit of trouble, though.

I know that the devs at 7D2D said they were going to focus on putting paths and stories into the different houses and POIs you explore, and this weekend was a grand example of this. I wish I’d gotten more pictures of things, but I was too caught up in the exploration than thinking to write about it.

So, someone discovered this farm. One half was a building called Bob’s Boars. The other half was marked as Carl’s Corn.

Knowing from the DogSnekPigMan house that signs can be quite literal in this game, I warned that there would be pigs inside of the boar house. Sure enough, there were.

Seeing that we were somewhat low on meat as we’d hardly seen much game in the area, and pigs at this point can be deadly if you’re solo, we rustled up a team to go inside and clear it out.

Some of the pigs were wandering about, some were attacking zombies, some were still in cages. Thankfully, pigs don’t attack you until you attack them, because there were quite a few of them. And then, when we got to the lower area, there was quite a gruesome scene.

Stripped carcasses everywhere.

I don’t know if this was for decoration or if these had once been living pigs (in the gameplay sense). But following the path outside, I emerged next to a very very large open cage with the name GRACE over top of it. Inside, there were mattresses and hay bales – things that indicated that this Grace was a prized pig (I assumed).

-Image source-

I was a little disturbed by this, but we didn’t see anything else in the area, so we went about our business for a few more in game days. That’s when one of the guys went and started exploring the Carl’s Corn area of the buildings.

He went through what he described as a dungeon of sorts, and discovered at the bottom in a cave, a giant green pig:

Note the mattress next to her is man-sized. And those are the bones of either people or zombies scattered around.

He started exclaiming about the giant green pig he’d found over voice chat. And while it took me a little bit, it suddenly all clicked.

“That must be Grace!” I exclaimed, thinking back to the giant cage with her name printed over it. I wasn’t sure about it, but later on, we confirmed that this was indeed, Grace.

The guys went back and took her out – the image above was taken by Amoon before they fought her. They said she provided something like 90+ pieces of meat. Good eating. Someone joked that “we’ll be full of grace” pretty soon.

Apparently, Grace has been in game since fall of last year. This is just the first time we’ve run across her. Makes me excited to see what all else we’ve never discovered about the new betas of 7D2D!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Beware DogSnekPigMan Alpha 17

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! 

First Blood Moon Horde

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. 

New party system that lets you share experience and see where your friends are at a glance

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. 

RIP Color Crayon Spikes 😦

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!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

Blaugust Dev Appreciation Week: The Fun Pimps

I never thought I’d use the word “Pimp” in a title of a blog post, but there you are. I love this team and what they do, so I’m pimpin’ their name right now… (Oh… that was awful… I’ll see myself out.)

The Fun Pimps is the development team behind the zombie survival crafting game, 7 Days to Die. If you look at my archives, you’ll see that I first reviewed 7D2D back in July of 2014… and this is a game that the Posse still enthusiastically plays today (we were playing it last weekend, in fact)! I have over 700 hours put into this game, which makes it my most-played Steam game ever.

Even though it’s still wading through various stages of alpha, we are awaiting the next big patch drop eagerly. Jeeps and gyro-copters!! Woot!

tfp

So who are the Fun Pimps? Based on their website:

The Fun Pimps A.K.A. TFP are a small dedicated group of highly experienced Game and Software developers with a passion to make games that both our team and gamers really want to play. Our goal is to create a lasting gaming experience you can’t get anywhere else. It’s more than a game it’s a labor of love!

Our team grew from humble beginnings making mods for games and those roots have taken seed. But we haven’t forgotten where we came from and the importance of growing a strong vision with the support and passion of the people we’re making the game for. The average 7 Days to Die Team member has over 14 years of experience in Game and Software Development working with or for many top companies.

We’re too experienced to call indie but still small enough to do the innovative and sometimes risky things that AAA studios are afraid to try. So if you’re with us buckle your seat belts survivors, grab your pickaxe, compass and knapsack and let’s start kicking some Zombie ass and making some cool ass MacGyver shit!

Can confirm this is accurate.

Sometimes TFP take some flack for being a slower dev team to push updates. But to their credit, the game they’re working on is already huge and extremely complex. When they do release, they drop a HUGE amount of new content. In fact, every patch has made it like a brand new game each time.

Yes, this means you have to start your game over for big patches. But you know what? Even after over 700 hours in this game, the Posse never complains about starting over. With the random gen system, each new game is always vastly different. It’s just as engaging to wipe the slate clean as it is to have a nice fortified base and move into exploration mode further into the game cycle.

There’s so many complexities that even after all this time, the game continues to surprise us in devious and delightful ways. Due to that, I can absolutely be patient for the next content drop without complaint. It just makes it all the more delicious when we get it.

I don’t know if Joel and the team will ever see my thanks, but this is my appreciation post for a darn fine game that’s brought us more enjoyment, ripped down walls and jump-scares than I could have ever anticipated. Keep on pimpin!

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Welcome to 1313 Elm Street, Milton

The Posse has been back at playing a new 7D2D map, using a fantastic seed we found named “Milton.” Try it. You’ll like it.

Just like any game with building and housing, that’s where I spend most of my time during the zombie apocalypse. I get made (gentle) fun of for being addicted to painting and decorating our house-base. But, hey, if we have to live in a place, I want it to look nice!

It doesn’t help that painting is quite audible to everyone nearby, often compared by other players as the sound of a cat lapping up milk.

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We named the new place “Elm Street” due to the fact that Xaa had fun lining the approaching road with huge trees on either side.

This play through, we tried something a little different. Instead of swiping a forgehouse somewhere outside a town, we snagged the outtermost house on the edge of a suburb. I usually don’t like to build so close to a town since it might cause more zombie spawns, but I haven’t really seen a difference.

I put up the normal fortifications outside, and built a roof-garden by modifying a garage across the street. This has served us well.

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We managed to find a working chemistry station in a nearby Poppin’ Pills, and I’ve taken advantage of that to paint the base. Sadly, many of the paint textures are dirty and grimy, but I’ve done the best I could to make it look nice.

The living room / work room:

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The kitchen:

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Landing at the top of the stairs:

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An office space:

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Later, I dumped the old chair pictured up there, and put nicer wood chairs instead. I don’t dare put a swivel chair in there, though, cuz it’d be immediately raided and broken down for parts. 😀

But, just because things look nice on the inside doesn’t mean everything is safe. Oh, no!

Our base is fortified outside with concrete and steel!

This zombie dog looked particularly vicious in the position it died on the spikes:

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Our night 21 horde was quite a ride, too!

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A couple days later, Xaa had this fellow follow him all the way home. Props to Xaa for sending me this cool shot:

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Feral Radiated Spider Zombie: Not something you see every day!

I don’t know what it is about 7D2D that has made it one of the longest-played games in my Steam library. It’s got a similar appeal to something like Minecraft (which inspired it), but only more gritty, with FPS and tower defense elements mixed in.

Maybe it’s the fact that there is so many things to do, and that playing it as a group, everyone can find something they enjoy. I love to build, some people love to mine, some love to explore and loot. Some like fighting zombies.

The game keeps getting better, too. We’re all really looking forward to the new vehicles releasing with the next big patch!

Granted, releases take their time to reach us. But we can be patient for the good things to come.