7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (2024)

7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (1)

The 7 Days to Die Alpha 21 update brought some major changes and improvements to the game. We have spent some significant time playing the experimental build that is out and it is great. If you have not played it yet or you are waiting for the stable build to come out, you should be very excited. The update was definitely a huge net improvement for the game and you will find plenty of refreshing content to enjoy.

Update Official Release Notes

Alpha 21 brings huge changes to early game difficulty and progression that even experienced players will find challenging. Additionally, the new POIs and environment art look amazing and really bring a more realistic feel to the game when wandering through cities and buildings. Combine this with the improvements to random world generation and you have a lot of visuals to soak in as you traverse streets and neighborhoods. Another notable change comes in the form of spear buffs that probably make them the best melee weapon in the game. Lets dive in to this update and what details really make it so remarkable.

In This Article:

Early Game Difficulty and Slower Progression In Alpha 21

7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (2)

With the 7 Days to Die Alpha 21 update, surviving the early game just got a lot harder and a lot longer. Expect to be fighting your first blood moon horde with stone spears and arrows. This is because crafting magazines have made crafting mid and late game items a lot harder to accomplish. As a result of the changes to collecting water, even basic survival will feel much harder until you really get yourself established. Alpha 21 really made the early game more about surviving than about thriving.

Crafting Magazines

The new crafting magazine system really slows down your ability to craft mid game items quickly. Finding a level 3 stone spear in the first week actually feels exciting, if that says anything about how much harder it is to get good items. Every craft-able item is now dictated by a magazine category. You will need to find many of them to make better and higher level tools. These magazines are not super easy to find either. We couldn’t find enough forge ahead magazines to make a workbench until day 8. All we had was charred meat for the first few days while we searched every food truck in the city for home cooking magazines so we could grill the meat. The magazines slow down the pace of the game significantly and add to the survival challenge in the early game.

Changes to Water Collection

Gone are days where you could take all your empty bottles and fill them with pond water to boil. In fact, gone are empty bottles all together. While you will appreciate not having to keep a space in your inventory for them, you will be struggling to find water now. The only way to get water now is to loot murky and bottled water from containers, buy it from traders and vending machines, or harvest it from dew collectors. The new dew collectors are not cheap to make either. You will need to spend a hefty sum of your early duke’s tokens on water filters to craft them. They do not produce water quickly either. Every piece of glue or tape starts to feel like gold when every bottle of water is hard to come by.

Tip: During the first day or two you should really focus on finding crafting magazines to get some of the basic recipes you need to survive. Loot mail boxes and newspaper stands. Look for food boxes to find home cooking magazines or you will be stuck eating burnt meat for a while.

Tip: If you are playing with a friend or friends, have different people be dedicated to crafting certain items. This way you can funnel all the crafting magazines of a particular kind to one person and get to higher tier recipes faster.

Tip: Save your early games duke’s tokens for water filters. You will want to by as many as you can and get a constant source of water online. You will also want to harvest any plastic you see early on to craft dew collectors with the water filters you buy.

Environment Art Improvements Very Noticeable

7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (3)

The art improvements that come along with the 7 Days to Die Alpha 21 update are noticeable. The broken down cars look much more realistic and the block textures appear much sharper and more detailed. In addition, there are so many more props that add fine details to the environment. Weaving through yards and neighborhoods for the first time was exciting.

When we finally made it to a city center, we were blown away by the details and visuals to take in. We found ourselves wandering into all kinds of small little locations like construction sites and plazas. One of my favorite new small POIs that I stubbled into was a lake front wedding venue. Everything from someone’s special day gone wrong, left exactly as you’d expect after everything went south. An empty wheel chair in a sea of folded chairs. Decaying guests littering the ground and their dead but alive counterparts hiding in pavilions. A stage with everything a band needs for one last show. The apocalypse seems so much more real with these fine details. Even the trader locations feel more like the rich bastions in a wasteland that they are meant to be.

More Building Design Options In 7 Days To Die Alpha 21

7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (4)

With all this new environment art, tons of new shapes were added to building items. My favorite is new shapes for potted plants. Is your base really a home until every room has a snake plant? Not to mention, hanging plants in your face add an extra challenge when taking pot shots at the dead from your porch. This is just the surface of what you can now do to make your base look even cooler. There are so many basic building shapes added to the base building blocks. There are so many more types of chairs and color options for place-able objects. The best base building addition though? Finally, we have double doors without the annoying post in the middle of the doorway. The creative options for player bases has sky rocketed with the alpha 21 update.

Randomly Generated Cities Look Amazing

The 7 Days to Die Alpha 21 update brought so fantastic improvements to randomly generated maps. This is most noticeable in some of the big sprawling cities it can generate. It really makes the most out of the environment art improvements. Neighborhoods and backyards feel more natural and realistic. It almost feels like you’re strolling through some place in a suburb near you. Well, except it is the apocalypse and the dead are trying to kill you. Urban city centers are where these improvements really shine though. All the pieces that make a city feel real come together in a much more smooth manner. Everything looks like it belongs and stuff doesn’t look out of place. It is definitely worth waiting for a new world to generate.

Spear Buffs Are Really Strong

The developers clearly wanted people to start respecting the spear. Let me tell you, mission accomplished. The age old long sharp stick is stronger than ever in alpha 21. Adding a power attack to go along with its long reach makes a world of difference. Lets face it, we all hated accidently throwing our spear and losing it too. The power attack isn’t the only way spears were buffed though. The perk overhaul did tons to make spears stronger as well, but a new Spear Hunter volume is what really makes this the best melee weapon now. Spear Hunter Vol. 6 allows spear power attacks to penetrate through multiple enemies. Combine that with the spear’s long reach and you can skewer several braindead heads at once.

Tip: If you can find a weighted head mod for your spear and manage to find Spear Hunter Vol. 6, you will have a potent combo. You can knock down large crowds of zombies with ease.

Other Notable Observations About 7 Days to Die Alpha 21

  • Automatic quest sharing is a welcome addition. The number of times we have started quests without sharing them with each other makes this one of our most appreciated changes.
  • The prison is really cool and filled to the brim with zombies. This is a really cool and challenging POI. You will want to explore one as soon as you get some decent weapons to face the challenge.
  • The new wandering hordes are a bigger threat than before. They occur often and early and they will find you instead of walking by if you keep your head down.
  • Concrete and cobble from pallets got nerfed, so early cobble bases got a little harder to achieve. However, some new pallets were added, with some being pretty cool in the early game. Getting corn meal from a pallet of flour is neat.
  • Changes to how vehicles interact with zombies, animals and obstacles are good. Zombies actually die and go splat when you hit them, it is really quite satisfying. The damage increase to vehicles is substantial, so keep some repair kits handy.
  • With the changes to water, glue and tape are so valuable until you have several dew collectors. Don’t sleep on them as a quest reward.


7 Days to Die Alpha 21: First Impressions and Tips (2024)
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