It’s finally here, and with a lot of major changes. But not all of them have been great.
For those who are unaware, 7 Days to Die is (yet another) survival crafting game with zombies in it. Don’t turn off just yet though; the game is consistently developed, uses alpha as a genuine testing ground for new features instead of a money-grab and the devs genuinely listen to the community and directly communicate with them on the forum.
The new update brings a huge number of new things. New forge mechanics, new skills, the foundation for perks, the temperature system, harvest bonuses for using the right tools, HD zombies and new horde mechanics among them.
All of these have had major changes to the game, making the usual technique of “run into the nearest city and loot everything then run away again” a lot less viable, as early tools and early skills with these tools mean that it is nigh on impossible to break into the major loot-bearing areas in city.
While the new mechanics have certainly given a more obvious progression to the game (stone axe, get wood, build bow, hunt animals, bone shiv, loot pipes, get animal hide, build forge, etc), it has also created a very grindy atmosphere to artificially create difficulty. Early in the game (and even midgame) you will spend a huge amount of time just standing in front of a locked door with the LMB held down until either the door breaks or your tool does.
It takes a ridiculous amount of time to really do anything of note, from crafting to looting to mining. It gets incredibly boring, and the levelling system encourages further grindy behaviour in order to alleviate some of the time required to do anything. You can either deal with low-level crafted items for hours and hours, or you can just grind out 100 plant fibre gloves. It doesn’t feel particularly natural.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. These changes are new, and will be tweaked, and have been tweaked already to create a much more enjoyable game. Once skills have been expanded on and perks are in the game, I feel like The Fun Pimps will be able to ease off on the grind a bit. They want to encourage gameplay that rewards players who specialise in some way: get good at building, unlock perks that improve your build skills, get good with a bow, become a better archer at the expense of your other weapon skills.
Those changes, when they come, will make for a far more diversified playing style, instead of the current “grind the shit out of everything so you can level up and spend your points on the skills that you can’t grind” technique that is basically a requirement in order to do well in the game.
Let’s hope the perks don’t take too long to arrive, or else players may find themselves getting far too tired of holding down their index finger.