7dtd feature image.

Waking in a daze, eyes blurry, you look at your hands as your surroundings slowly come into focus. Where are you? What’s going on? What do you do to survive?

7 Days to Die: The Survival Horde Crafting Game is an open world survival simulator in which it is up to the player to set their own goals. Whether you want to focus on building an impenetrable fortress to fend off other players and hordes of undead, or mine for metals and farm for food. Regardless of your choices, there are several things that each player must be aware of: Resources, Exposure, Shelter, Hunger and Thirst.

Before night falls it is important to focus on two things: gathering resources and finding shelter. When the sun sets, the undead wake from their slow moving stupor and become more ferocious. Its best at night to put some sort of barrier between you and the fast moving flesh eaters. If spawning into a new world, you’ll have a period of time before the zombies start showing up, but if you join an existing server, you may encounter stronger zombies right away.

Gathering Resources – Punch away!

7 Days to Die begins with a mini tutorial that introduces you to several of the systems in place, the first of which is gathering materials and crafting a stone axe. The stone axe is the ideal tool to introduce the player to three of the main base resources that they will require: Stone, Wood and Plant Fiber. Small stones can be found on the ground or from larger boulders. Next, wood can be acquired from small bushes or from trees. Finally, plant fiber can be found from the grass and other similar vegetation. Small stones can be picked up, but the other resources must initially be harvested by punching. It’s slow going at first, but once you have your stone axe, you shouldn’t need to do it again.

7DTD Hatchet.
Desert resources: Boulder, small stones, plants, cactus, and wood.

As you craft pieces of equipment, weapons, clothing and such, you will notice a number in the bottom of the inventory icon for that item. This relates to the quality of the item. As you craft more of these items, your character will learn more about them and the number will get increase. Higher quality stone axes gather more stone, and better clothing will have higher protection ratings. Furthermore, as you continue to craft, you will gain experience in such things as tool smithing and weapon smithing, which will allow you to make stronger and sturdier items.

For the remainder of the mini tutorial, simply use your axe to gather resources as shown above. You will learn how to craft basic plant fiber clothing, a wooden club and a bow and arrows. You’ll also craft, place and upgrade wooden frames, a sleeping bag (called a bedroll), and a campfire. To find the feathers for the arrows, look around on the ground for bird nests. From these you can loot both feathers and eggs. Some biomes are easier to find the nests in than others. In the snowy forest, for example, the outlines of the nests are more visible than in the grassy areas.

Environment Issues

While hunger and thirst are important, in some cases dealing with environmental exposure is more vital. You will freeze to death quicker than you will starve or dehydrate. Similarly, overheating can be deadly. When you first spawn, have a look around. Are you surrounded by trees and green grass? If so, you are in one of the more comfortable biomes. However, if the atmosphere is dark and the ground looks like the coals of a fire, you are in a burnt forest biome. If the area looks barren and has cacti instead of trees, you are in the desert. Here, you will need to manage overheating. Temperature management is accomplished through clothing and armour. Initially, you can craft a plant fiber hat to provide a bit of coolness. If you are in the snowy forest, you are in danger of freezing. Once you craft the basic plant fiber clothing for the tutorial, keep them on.

7DTD inventory.
Post Apocalyptic Fashion – Plant fiber clothes.

In the early part of the game, you will likely need to scavenge for better clothing options. Each article of clothing and armour has an insulation value. So, to cool off look for a negative insulation value. To warm up, you would need a positive value. Largely, the insulation value of gear is logical: shorts and t-shirts are cooling while jackets and trousers are warming. Leather armour keeps you warm while iron armour cools you down.

A campfire is another way to keep yourself warm in a cold area. You will receive a notification that “You feel warm by the fire” and an icon of a campfire will appear on the lower left side of your screen when you are warming up by the fire. If using a campfire in a warm biome for cooking, you should move away from the fire to make sure you don’t overheat.

Finally, finding or building shelter will help to regulate temperature. It provides shade in the heat and protection from the cold in the snowy forest, even more so if you build your campfire indoors.

Gimme Shelter

While this is a base building game, initially it will be more advantageous to find and use already existing shelter. As you move through the world, be on the lookout for roads and pathways. If you find a large road, following it is a good way to find buildings and cities of various sizes. If you see a smaller road or trail leading from a main road, following it usually leads to some sort of Point of Interest (POI) such as a pond, hunting lodge or shack.

7DTD map.
Main road with side paths toward POI.

When finding a building, you’ll often have to deal with a small group of the undead surrounding it. Once cleared, you may need to use your axe to break down the door to gain entrance. Inside you can craft another door to replace the broken one. Doing so will give you time to react if zombies come looking for you. If you are spending the night here, you can replace, repair or upgrade any blocks on the ground floor to aid in your defence.

Food – What’s to eat?

There are largely three methods for a beginner to find food in 7 Days to Die: Scavenging, Hunting and Cooking. Scavenging involves looking through various buildings for food, checking every available container. Even garbage and trash cans can hold something useful. Kitchens and grocery stores will have a higher probability of finding canned food.

Hunting involves killing the local wildlife and harvesting the meat. Be on the lookout for Pigs, Chickens, Stags and Rabbits, as these won’t fight back and are a good source of meat, skins, bone and fat. It’s possible to kill a rabbit or chicken by running it down, but you may need to use a bow and arrow to do the job. Once dead, you’ll need to use a bladed weapon (bone shiv, hunting knife or machete) to harvest from the animal. To get your first bladed weapon, use the stone axe on a zombie or animal corpse. You’ll get a bone, which crafts into a bone shiv, and animal fat can be crafted into tallow at the campfire. A note of caution: When you carry some food items such as meat or stew, you will emit a smell, making you easier to locate by the zombies. You will notice an icon of a nose in the bottom left of your screen, indicating that you are stinky.

Once you have the raw meat from your hunt, you will need to cook it before you eat it. In your campfire U.I, you can place three implements to aid in cooking and crafting: cooking pot, cooking grill and beaker. After loading the campfire with a fuel source such as wood or coal, you are able to make charred meat. To make food that is slightly better for you, you will need a cooking pot or grill. The cooking pot can be found in abandoned buildings, especially in the kitchen or sometimes near a campfire in an abandoned camp site, as can the grill. The beaker is not used for cooking, but is essential for making antibiotics.

7DTD Cooking.
Campfire cooking – I guess I’ll have the bacon and eggs.

Beverages

Each character spawns into the world carrying a glass jar of water. When thirsty, simply equip the jar and activate it. Your thirst level will go down, and you’ll now have an empty jar in your inventory. Save this jar, as it’s used for gathering more water for drinking, as well as making other beverages such as coffee, tea and yucca juice.

To collect your own drinking water, you’ll need either an empty jar or empty can. Equipping either and activating them while standing in or near water will give you bottled or canned murky water. These each need to be cooked and sterilised before they are safe to consume. They each can be boiled in a campfire, but the bottled murky water will require a cooking pot to make safe.

Most beverages can be found while scavenging. The player can find beverage coolers in various buildings that will have beer and other drinks in them. While scavenging, don’t forget to look inside the toilets. In addition to the occasional handgun and human faeces, you can find bottled murky water. Fun fact: In addition to being used to craft fertiliser, human poo can be equipped and thrown at your friends!

Following this guide should help give you a foundation from which to build your survival chance in 7 Days to Die. From here, you can focus on building and fortifying a base, finding recipes to craft weapons and armour, farming as a reliable source of food and finding the recipes and parts for the minibike, which will open up more of the map for exploration. 7DTD has a large variety of activities to occupy your apocalypse, and The Fun Pimps are always adding more!

Minibike.
Bikers in town.

Helpful Tips for Surviving 7 Days to Die

  • 7 Days to Die has a stealth system. When crouched, the central cursor becomes an eye. When closed, you are hidden from zombies. As you are sensed, the eye slowly opens. Use this to your advantage when focused on harvesting wood and stone. Crouch down and check the central cursor every so often.
  • After creating your first stone axe, it’s a good idea to continue harvesting stone and wood for a short while to make sure you don’t need to resort to punching again.
  • When hunkered down in the shelter at night, it might be a good idea to work on crafting and scrapping stone axes and wooden clubs. Doing so will help pass the time while raising your tool crafting and weapon crafting skills. Scrapping the item rather than dropping it will give you a portion of your resources back.
  • When in the desert biome, the cactus is a good source of plant fibers and yucca fruit. 4 yucca fruit and a empty glass jar will craft into yucca juice, which provides hydration and cools you down. Never punch a cactus, as it bites back!
  • While it’s possible to make boiled eggs and meat on the campfire, doing so will destroy the jar that you cook it in.
  • Some foods in 7 Days to Die are better for you than others, and will add wellness, increasing your total hitpoints. You start with 100 hitpoints, but loose 10 maximum each time you die, down to a low of 70. Eating good foods allow you to regain these hitpoints.
  • Crafting arrows is an easy way to raise your weapon crafting skill, allowing you to make stronger weapons while creating useful ammo.
  • Not all wildlife is harmless. Bears, Hornets, Zombie Dogs and Zombie Bears will attack if they sense you.
  • Early in the game, it is advisable to avoid going into the larger hub cities until you are prepared. Here, there are hordes of stronger zombies, as well as packs of dogs. If exploring a city, you should stick to the buildings on the outskirts so you can make a fast exit back to the wilderness.
  • Old Sham Sandwiches are useful in a pinch. They may cause food poisoning, but this only drains stamina over 30 seconds.

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