Okay, I haven't played since about a13.1. I just started playing again just before a18 hit. I was overrun by z's within about 1 in-game hour. I was still trying to get through the crafting tutorial and died so I gave up. Tried again after a18 hit and same situation. Club isn't doing much damage at all and I haven't found enough feathers to craft enough arrows.
So, I wasn't used to this in the past. Sure, if I spawned near the wasteland biome, I understood the risks and promptly moved to a safer area. This is happening in both the frozen north and desert. I thought you were supposed to have a little "easy time" when you first spawn in, giving you a chance to get settled? Unless you went outside of your spawn "chunk", you were able to at least get a shelter built before you got overrun. I'm talking z's, a dog (or wolf) and some flying creature. Has the beginning game difficulty increased that much more? I sure hope the end game isn't as easy as it was before.