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My Thoughts After Playing Alpha 17. Yes I said Alpha 17!


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A Questing We Shall Go: A17b80


Build 80's changelog finally included the fix to the White River Clan quest so I decided to wipe all my past attempts, clean all my game data, and start fresh with the current build all with the purpose of meeting the trader and taking a quest.


Let me just state right now at the beginning of this entry a nice bit of advice for all of you once you get A17 for yourselves...


Protip: Don't take a quest on Day 1 at the expense of getting yourself established.


Okay, now for the good stuff. All I wanted to do was to do a quest as soon as possible so I did the tutorial quest quickly and was delighted to see the trader appear on my map instead of thousands of errors spamming my screen. I traveled directly to the trader avoiding all zombies and not stopping to scavenge any forest stumps (which hurt but I was being focused dammit!)


The trader saw me right away and I immediately screamed, "I want a job!". It wasn't Trader Rekt so he was passably nice and gave me a "Tier One Quest" I'm sure that is just dev text that will be changed to something suitably badass sounding so that none of you will feel as stupid as I did doing the baby job. Anyway, a text box came up that said there was a house that the White River Clan was interested in using as an outpost but that it needed to be cleared of all zombies and that I would be handsomely rewarded if I would be their Rambo. The reward listed in the quest interface was a whopping 1000xp and 300 dukes. I'd go Rambo on my own mother for that reward so of course I agreed and was happy to receive an exclamation mark on my map.


Dear reader let me just remind you that I had about six arrows, a wooden club, and grass for clothes but I didn't really think about that. I had a job to do. I traveled to the location with nary an adventure on the way because of my laser focus. I did pick up lots of feathers and wood by chopping those brambly things as I walked but smart one did not take any time to grind on some boulders for stones. So when I finally arrived at the house to be cleared I was still as unprepared and still mostly unaware in my excitement to quest.


The front door was open. Good thing because my stone axe was broke and I didn't even have a stone to repair it. I walked in. There was a sleeper on the floor so I shot it in the head but it didn't die. It stood up and started coming at me. I shot another arrow and missed but it hit a panel that shattered and another hidden sleeper surged out of it. Good thing I hadn't backed up that way. I ran down a hall into the kitchen where a hungry mama was standing up. I realized just then that I was not prepared for this....at all. So I ran back down the hallway and got clocked since the blighters can now hit while they are moving (curse you faatal). Luckily I was not stunned so I ran outside and went for a boulder. Nope. Stone axe was still buggered. So I started searching for a stone. I know that you all know how tough it is to find a stone when you really need one. That is still the same in A17...


Anyway, long story short I found a stone, repaired my tool, chopped up a boulder and made myself plenty of arrows all while staying away from those three zombies who didn't forget about me, would not walk in circles, and refused to get hung up on the terrain or decorations (curse you again faatal). I was happy to finally put them down in the street. I returned to the house and happy day there were not a new bunch of sleepers respawned. The rooms I cleared were still clear.


I don't want to spoil anything with details but lets just say that I worked my way through the rest of the house in which there were surprises and some cool hidden treasures. I found a compound bow with ten steel arrows. Then I found a pistol with one single bullet. Nice TFP. I did the obligatory vow that I would use the bullet on myself rather than be turned. Then I immediately broke the vow because I had the gun in my hand and a sleeper behind a blind corner scared me. Oh well.


It took a long time. With my primitive weaponry and trying to do it all as soon as possible I didn't make it through the entire house before the dreaded 22:00 hour. I was in the attic and I could see a sleeper on the other side of a partially broken out door and I knew that if I tried anything he would run. So I sat on the floor around the corner and we spent the night together. Him sleeping and me reading about the skills and perks that seemed to be in a more finished state. I even bought a couple things just for funsies since I'm not sure whether it is all hooked up yet.


I also reflected upon my day and how foolish it was to do this quest the way that I did it. But it had been fun just the same. I had some close calls and had used up my medicated bandage and my only water to revive my stamina a bit. The compound bow was cool even if it was just tan quality and I feel I am getting the timing better all the time on power attacks. It really is a risk to do them and not get hit yourself. THEN, I realized that I had not seen a single HP bar the entire day. Woo hoo! I guess I got to the point where I really tuned them out and now that they were gone I felt a bit....Naw! Good riddance!!!!


So morning eventually came and I opened the final door and killed the three zombies inside but they were just regular zombies and there wasn't anything special lootwise. But there were some stacked up crates leading to a hole in the roof. I went up and came out on the roof.


Now I'm not going to spoil it because it was a surprise. I will say that I was wholly unprepared for the endgame of the quest and was quite outclassed by what I had to face. Of course this wasn't a real game and that trader really shouldn't have taunted me by calling it a tier one quest in the first place especially when it turned out to be beyond my unprepared self. So I turned the creative menu on and gave myself a blue quality SMG with 500 rounds and laid waste. I promise that in a real game I would have run away in shame and fail the quest because to do anything heroic would have been my death.


Needless to say, quests are going to be epic but be patient and gear up before you go do one and if possible take a friend or two with you. What the heck is a tier 2 quest going to entail....?

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Day 7: Attempt 3


I skipped to day 7 and spawned in a bunch of extra zombies. I can't say much because reasons but I will say that some things seemed to be working well and other things were not and there will definitely be some new strategies and designs needed based on some of the behavior I witnessed.


Playability-wise the weaponry is still just way too weak at the moment so I mostly just watched the zeds tear my basic little base apart.


Then I flew around and looked at some things and also noticed that sleepers are absent at the moment. Not much game to play in its current state. I'll wait a few builds and see what changes before updating this again.

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Day 2 A17 B69


I logged back into the same game as last time. I was in the attic of that diersville house and I decided to just spend the night there and explore the menus and skills a bit.


Before I did that though I emptied my inventory into a cardboard box off to the side and then started scrapping the clutter up in the attic. There were these flats with boxes and crates on them and they gave me wood, machine parts, and electrical parts as I smashed them up with my stone axe. There are large purple bags full of sand and rocks that came apart nicely using a shovel. And then, I discovered a nice satchel hidden back behind two big flats of crates that I never would have seen had I not started cleaning up the attic. That tears it..scavenging houses will take an extra day now to smash things up for harvesting mats but also to find the hidden gems that might be there.


Finally, I put my axe and shovel away. The attic was looking more roomy and like a place I might set up in as a temporary base so I opened up my player interface and thought I would check things out. There is a brand new set of windows and slots on the character screen. I have no idea what that is going to be for as nothing is labeled yet but that seems exciting. Moving over to the skills and perks screen I read through all the different perks and skills. Hardly anything had the same names I was used to from the last few alphas and very few had tooltips so I'm not sure yet what they do. I couldn't find anything that had the description "Craft better tools" that I could buy so I'm still puzzled wondering how our crafting of tools and weapons will progress.


There were a few very exciting skills that look from their descriptions to be placeholders for now but will be active once settlements, factions, and bandits are implemented. What was really reassuring about this is that even if bandits and NPC survivor/followers are still not showing up they ARE adding in these supportive features and aspects of the game that reference those things so they are definitely coming. Its kind of like when the dukes were first implemented but there was nothing yet to spend them on. There is at least one specific perk that directly references settlements that makes me very hopeful about what we might eventually see. These are things that Joel has talked about wanting for the game in the past and now the groundwork is being laid so it is moving from hopes and dreams of Joel to actual potential and devs seriously trying to pull it off.


At any rate, the night ended as I spent the entire time reading the new skills and dreaming about new potential fun. I jumped down out of the attic and headed over to the next house which had a large red exclamation point bouncing up and down next to it. I activated the exclamation mark and got a message that the rally point had been activated but in looking at my map and in my quest screen I couldn't tell whether anything had changed so I figured it was still not fully hooked up. Rally marker made it sound like a group quest starter but I couldn't be sure.


I went into the house by hacking through the front door old school style which was probably "against the rules" of the dungeon route but it felt natural to just bash in through the door instead of searching all around for the hole someone wanted me to enter by. Once inside the living room there were several ways I could have chosen to go. I went down into the basement where I woke up a feral construction worker who killed me promptly. (I had gifted myself a whole bunch of xp the night before to play around with buying skills and now my cheating ways had served me some hot steaming karma).


Until next time... :)

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Day 1: Attempt 2


As I stated previously, I decided to start over to see if the trader quest would glitch out again and for my second restart I decided to play randomgen. Seed: Mah Rides Shotgun


I figured if I was going to be punched in the face by a buggy build it ought to have the right seed name for it....


At any rate, I went through the initial quest again quickly and once again it bugged out and I canceled the trader quest to keep going because as I stated my spawn point was within sight of a trader POI anyway. So I headed on in and sure enough it was my favorite of all the traders....Trader Rekt. I can't tell you what he said because its against forum rules but I did discover that the dialogue options were now different.


My options were:


Can I see your Inventory?

Do you have any jobs?

Can you give me some information?

I have some completed tasks I would like to turn in.



Of course I immediately clicked on the jobs option and was met with this list of goodies:


[Quest] I could try to find Magellan's Diary

[Quest] Clean Up Navezgane - 3 Cheerleader Zombies

[Quest] Clean Up Navezgane - 3 Fallen Soldiers



Who wouldn't go for the diary? I clicked it and my console spazzed out with NREs and I had to cancel the quest to be able to play. So....it looks like quests are not quite hooked up all the way. But the groundwork is there and I did try clicking on the Cheerleader Zombie quest and even though it did the same thing Trader Rekt told me he would mark my map with the location to go to in order to kill the zombies. So it will be different than the old quest letters which left it up to random spawns if you would be able to find the correct targets. It seems these quests will direct you to go to a place and clean out the specified zombies-- once the feature is functioning properly.


For my next attempt I will gift myself some equipment, some experience points, and skip ahead to the horde night and see what differences there are to see with the zombie pathing on bloodmoon night. The game isn't to the point yet where it is really long term playable but maybe I can try a few things and report them to you guys. Looks like a new build (b64) just uploaded too...

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AI and Pathing Testing Build 75


I decided to boot up a new Navezgane world to see what differences were apparent in zombie behavior and pathing and I am pleased to report that it is a big win. I found a burnt out house in the burnt forest that had no roof and lots of partially destroyed walls. It made for a cool 3d maze for the zombies to try and get to me. It was amazing to see them find pathways to where I was. They kept coming and coming. If I blocked off one way they would find a new way. When I built a bridge of frame blocks across the walls of a room and stood in the middle-- not a single zombie spun around helplessly below me. They all went and pounded on nearby blocks and as soon as that gave them a way to jump up and move vertically to where I was they they would take it. It was all very impressive.


I then went a ways down the road and spawned in 25 vultures. They all circled overhead pleasantly and for the most part unconcerned about me. Every once in awhile one or two of them would slowly drift down towards me and I easily pegged them out of the sky with my hunting rifle (very satisfying). So then I allowed a zombie to hit me and everything changed. All the remaining vultures immediately started diving towards me and trying to attack me. It was like night and day and very scary.


Finally, I tried digging down near some zombies but they didn't dig to get me. I'm not sure which zombies are set for digging or if it is just dogs. I'll have to get some clarification and then try again but I ran out of time. Enemies are definitely going to be tougher. Zombies will be actively working to get at us. The spinning zombies below you is gone and hacking away the stairs won't keep you safe on the second floor for long any more.


Undeath finds a way

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Day 1 Navezgane A17 B72


Four and a half years ago I was following the progress of Rust. The premise sounded very exciting and my son and I had been devouring any news about it over the past several months. We even watched the pre-release key countdown they would do to see if we might be able to snag a key for cheaper than $30.


Then it released to early access and we started reading reviews and as a result we started looking elsewhere...which led us to a similar game that had also recently released to Early Access but wasn't on our radar. It was December of 2013 during the winter sale when I finally pulled the trigger and decided to purchase 7 Days to Die. I got it for $29.99 and I was very nervous because there were quite a few reviews that stated the game was as likely to freeze and crash as it was to run. I remember watching the loading screen as it showed previews of soon to be exciting features and hoping that the game wouldn't freeze.


It didn't. I spawned in on a road near a car and some refuse in the middle of a desert. Excitedly I looked around and didn't see much so I started walking. Before long a junkyard emerged from the foggy limits of my view. It was my very first POI. I knew there might be zombies there but I figured I'd be able to outrun them easily so I pressed forward eager to see what treasures this junkyard might hold. It held dogs. A lot of them and I could not outrun them. I died. But I was hooked.


Back then you could choose your respawn point after dying and I kept choosing the desert and I kept trying different ways to take over that POI. I remember feeling a great sense of satisfaction once I killed every undead thing in there and stood atop the flat cement roof of the office building in that junkyard watching the sun go down. Then, of course, all the zombies in the area started running directly to where I was. I heard them coming and I got up on the sloped metal roof of the main shop. I laughed as the zombies got to where I was but could not get up to the sloped part. I started walking up the roof and it all collapsed under me. I started choosing new spawn points.


I tell that story because now on the one-year anniversary of the release of Alpha 16 and about 4 1/2 years later, I booted up the newest build of Alpha 17 and found myself at that same exact location on day one. This time, however, I was able to easily see the junkyard off in the distance right from my spawn point. I thought that was pretty cool to be back here where it all began for me so I cancelled the starter quest and got to work making some arrows and a club and then headed straight for the Junk yard.


It was quiet. Too quiet.


Of course, I was fully expecting dogs but...there was only one. Must be due to my gamestage which of course there wasn't anything like that back in the day. You got seven dogs on day one and liked it back then. So thank you gamestage...I guess...


I killed the dog and chopped past the barricaded entrance which was also new. Originally those dogs would come pouring out of that junkyard without any obstructions. Now that single undead canine was kept separate from me and I easily dispatched it from a distance. For the most part the rest of the junkyard was the same as I remembered it. Full of sleepers now instead of awake zombies that would run when inside the building. The sleepers were all very easily seen and dispatched. I do have to say the level designed POI's are much much better for sleepers. They are just too easy in the old style mostly empty POIs. I fully explored and cleared the POI as I did before (doing it on my first try this time quite easily.) As the sun was going down I went up to the same rooftop and looked around. Shadowy silhouettes of layered hilltops in the dusky light met my eyes for a very pretty effect. What a difference it is to be able to see so far.


But....night fell and no zombies came for me. Nothing undead knew where I was or homed into my position. I guess that's what we all wanted back in the day after getting sick and tired of night after night of GPS zombies but...those were some thrilling nights. You knew there would be a crowd of zombies milling around below you if you were on a rooftop and you knew you absolutely had to be in a safe place because anything that spawned during the night in the area would be coming for you.


Just for kicks I jumped up on the sloped roof and walked all over. It never collapsed. sigh....



Now if it seems I didn't like A17, you couldn't be more wrong. It was awesome and to be fair none of us can ever return to those noob days where the game seemed like some impossible puzzle of survival. The zombies are pathing really well. Melee combat takes some skill now. There will be an adjustment period for everyone. Those of you laughing at Madmole missing with his club will get yours, believe me. The stealth indicator is now gone from the screen unless you crouch. (I always appreciate less of that on the screen :) ) Now that we are at feature lock I am looking forward to the show stoppers getting fixed and some of the features that are partially in getting polished up. Mostly, I'm hopeful to be able to play a full week in game and see how the progression works.


More to come and Happy Anniversary A16!

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Day 1 A17 B69


I started a new game in Navezgane but didn't feel like going through the tutorial quest so I just cancelled it and did whatever I wanted in whatever order I wanted. Felt good. Did NOT make a fiber hood....


Anyway, things were much improved. Weapons have been tweaked so that they do acceptable damage and I love the ragdoll effect when a zombie gets stunned. There is something else combat related that just got implemented that is very exciting but I suspect that Madmole will be showing it in his next video so no spoilers here.


I bee-lined it right to Diersville and the whole town has been transformed. The hospital is remodeled and it looks like most of the houses are now level designed. I went right into one and started in scavenging. It had a huge explosion hole in the side of it so I just walked straight in and started looking around. In my last few attempts there were no sleepers but this time there were in a huge way. Tons of them. Very creepy.


Then in one heart pounding moment the floor beneath me gave way and I fell one level down into a room surrounded by sleepers. But they didn't all wake up-- just one that I landed near and I backed away while firing with me bow and hitting with my club. I had to scramble around a lot to stay out of reach but I finally dispatched the zombie.


Without spoiling anything specific, let me just say that the new houses are awesome and there are jump scares and nail biting moments because of how sleepers are placed and the inability to see everywhere in a room at a glance from the doorway. Sleepers seemed to be pretty unconscious unless physically disturbed. They also don't die easily. Headshots while crouching at a sleeper never oneshot killed any of them. They all lived to start coming at me.


Skills and perks seem to be mostly working now although many don't have complete descriptions and since many have been renamed or changed altogether in order to work in the new system I wasn't sure exactly what to buy. It does appear that there is going to be a limited return to getting better at crafting by crafting component to the new system. Its a bit overwhelming because it is so different than what has been. At any rate I looked through everything and couldn't find a perk or skill to buy that would let me tier up the tools I could craft so SOMETHING is definitely going to be different from A15 in that regard....


I spent the whole first day in that one house. When I finally got to attic I noticed the crickets singing and checked the clock and it was about an hour to run time. Not bad, when you lose a whole day of time because you are engrossed in exploring you know that something has been done right and that was just one house.

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So I started up a game the other day and thought I would share some information about my experience:


Day 1: Attempt 1


I awoke in the snow biome of Navezgane and immediately began working through the initial tutorial quest as I worked my way over to the forest biome. The tutorial quest is pretty much the same as in a16 with the exception that the tasks have been broken up into smaller lists so they don't take up so much screen space. So for example if you have to gather mats only those gathering tasks show up and once you've gathered they disappear from the screen and the crafting tasks appear separately.


I encountered a few wandering zombies and discovered immediately that the weapon damage is still very very low. Thanks to sticky arrows I was able to get visual feedback that I was indeed getting headshots and it took about nine headshots with the bow and arrow to take down a standard zombie. I switched to using my club for the rest but very soon decided it was better to just avoid until I could upgrade my weapons a bit. I also noticed that not one single sleeper instantly died by headshotting them while crouched. I did also notice that the club and the bow and the stone axe all had mod slots but I never found any mods during this first day.


As soon as I finished the initial quest the game switched over to the trader quest and immediately spammed my console with reference errors. I had to cancel the quest in order to proceed but I decided to quit and restart in random gen to see if it was reproduceable there. It was. But I did make a new discovery in the second playthrough since I spawned near enough to a trader that I was able to see it visually without having to rely on the quest to find it. Details later...

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By chance are videos an embargo for alpha 17? If not you could upload your playthroughs!


I would if I could but I am under strict video gag order. Text and imagination are all you get for now. Sorry.

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I dunno. the builds are always rough until content lock and then everybody works on bug fixing. If they reach content lock by the end of this month experimental could be here by end of June. It just depends on when the various projects wrap up and they can get to polishing as an entire team. I would still be surprised if it released later than August but....who can tell?

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No. Sticky arrows is the first iteration. Retrieving some arrows is something Madmole wants to do eventually.

aw too bad! I dont think it is something very hard to implement (once you have done the sticky part).

Anyway I love the feature! I've always had problems with aiming and not seeing the projectile. So if you say that this helps, Im glad!

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I am going to assume the headshot multiplier still is not in a17 yet if it took 9 shots for a standard zombie, even on insane in a16 it doesn't take that many with a quality 25 bow... Unless your shooting one of those biker dudes, they are friggin tanks.

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I am going to assume the headshot multiplier still is not in a17 yet if it took 9 shots for a standard zombie, even on insane in a16 it doesn't take that many with a quality 25 bow... Unless your shooting one of those biker dudes, they are friggin tanks.


I don't think they've dialed in anything yet for any weapon. Purple sniper doesn't do much more damage than tan wooden bow. So everything is at basic values waiting for Gazz to go through and do his thing.

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