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A New Horizon: Unleashing 7 Days to Die Update A21 and A21.1 Experimental

Update A21 has been out in the wild since June 12. After a long 18-month wait, we finally get to play with all the new goodies our friends over at The Fun Pimps had in store for us. Not only that. We also get a new Experimental build with A21.1 for some even more added freshness.

If going through a long changelog is not your style, we’ve made all the good stuff more digestible in the post below.

Unfolding the Magic of Update A21

A Feast for the Eyes: Leveling Up Environment Art

The first thing that grabbed my attention in A21 is the massive upscaling in the environmental art department. Suddenly, our familiar gaming terrain is breathing new life with its incredibly detailed elements. From military bases to biohazard zones, there’s a sense of heightened reality that’s hard to ignore. You might find yourself pausing mid-action just to appreciate the quality of assets like workstations, player vending machines, and more.

Every Detail Tells A Story: Graphic Design Overhaul

Accompanying the environment upgrade, the game’s graphical elements have been given a generous dose of creativity. I noticed that elements like food labels, trader flags, and workstation pieces carry subtle hints of storytelling, showcasing the developers’ attention to detail and love for the game.

Knock-Knock, Who’s There: New Doors Arrive

Update A21 brings us the long-awaited double doors! It’s not just about the aesthetics though. These doors suffer from damage wear and tear, which means your strategy needs to account for this additional challenge.

Embrace the Impermanence: Loot Container Changes

In a delightful tweak, small loot containers like trash bags and bird nests now disintegrate once emptied. Larger containers like gun safes and desks, on the other hand, switch to an open state. The game’s touch of realism seems to be seeping deeper into its mechanics.

Liquid Dreams: Water World Upgrade

Our virtual water bodies have been treated to some slick visual enhancements. The result? A smoother, more optimized, and natural water experience that doesn’t clip through semi-solid blocks. An upgrade that was much needed!

Hot Footing Around: Flame Hazards

Flame hazards are the newest game-changer in A21. It’s a thrill to strategize around these flame traps that must be deactivated to progress further, and an adrenaline rush when you inadvertently venture too close!

Gruesome Additions: More Gore, More Fun

If you thought the zombie gore was satisfactory, prepare for an upgrade. More zombies are now part of the enhanced gore system. Squeamish players, be warned!

New Kids on the Block: POI & Location Revamps

With the addition of a staggering 692 new shapes and a smorgasbord of art props, A21 gives a fresh look to every Point of Interest (POI). Custom art for all trader locations and a massive revamp of existing locations makes exploration an exciting endeavor.

Threat Levels: Difficulty Changes in POIs and Biomes

A21 introduces visible difficulty tiers for every POI or biome, symbolized by red and orange skulls. Plus, a resolved bug with party game staging means that the challenges now scale better with your gameplay. It’s a welcome balance.

A Name to Remember: Improved POI Localization

POIs now come with more intuitive names, enhancing the immersion factor. These names appear above the Quest and Recipe Tracker as you explore, making your navigation through the game world feel more natural.

Reality Reloaded: Random World Generation (RWG) Update

Stepping into the territory of innovation, Update A21 brings a breath of fresh air to the game’s Random World Generation (RWG). Now it’s faster, more visually appealing, smarter in POI placement, and it comes loaded with exciting features to amplify the player experience.

The update covers multiple enhancements. The RWG creation speed has seen an impressive boost, with the creation process now up to four to five times faster. New mechanisms have been added, such as merging highways between gateway tiles and township rural tiles, country tiles to provide more plausible rural areas, and an improved road-smoothing system. A new scoring system for prefab pick ordering offers much-needed control over POI repetition, and a “New Game” button has been added to allow immediate gameplay.

It’s Like Magic: Chunk Reset System

The new advanced game option, “Chunk Reset Time,” is an interesting addition to the gameplay. It resets chunks to their original state when left unvisited for a specified in-game duration, creating a dynamic world that repopulates loot and recovers from destruction as you move around. No worries about your base or possessions disappearing, though – key player-owned objects protect nearby chunks from resetting.

Getting Real: Survival Rebalance

Update A21 tweaks the survival experience in a big way. Water collection mechanics have been revamped, empty jars and cans have been removed, and boiled water now requires a cooking pot. Other changes include a new Dew Collector workstation, a reduction in “clean” water and drinks in loot, and an increase in the quantities of specialized drinks in vending machines.

Crafty Business: Crafting Skills System

Crafting mechanics have undergone a major overhaul. All crafting unlocks have been moved to a new Crafting Skills System. This new system ensures players don’t skip the progression of tool and weapon tiers and eliminates the need to perk into various classes to obtain unlocks.

The Mighty Perk: Perk Overhaul

With the removal of crafting unlocks, perks have been restructured to align more with each class. The update brings changes to stamina management, attack speed perks for various weapons, the ability to treat sprains, cook faster, and much more.

Rewriting the Rules: Perk Book Reworks

The perk books have also seen significant reworks, including modifications to Spear Hunter, Automatic Weapons, Batter Up, The Great Heist, and more.

Locked and Loaded: Perception and Spear Overhaul

Rifles are now even more potent, with a significant boost to headshots when using pipe, hunting, lever action, and sniper rifles. Spears have also been reworked, turning them into better sneak attack weapons and relieving players of the worry of losing their fully modded spear when thrown.

Easy as Pie: Recipe Tracker

A21 introduces a handy Recipe Tracker to help players track recipes while collecting resources. The tracked items appear in a list on the screen and highlight when the right quantities are collected.

Choose Your Destiny: Crafting Quality Selection

Here’s an exciting change: players can now choose the desired quality of the crafted item. This update gives you more control over the resources you invest in crafting.

Tip the Scales: Loot Balancing

The game’s loot balance has been refined, ensuring fair distribution of resources like food, water, and crafting skill magazines. The balance also extends to quest rewards and trader inventories.

Beginner’s Guide: Starter Quest

The introductory quest has been simplified, offering user-friendly instructions and onscreen assistance. This ensures both new players and seasoned veterans can easily navigate the initial stages of their gameplay experience.

Pure Immersion: HUD-less Mode

For players seeking an immersive gaming experience, Update A21 introduces a HUD-less mode. The F7 key now toggles between a mode with interactive HUD elements hidden, a “picture” mode that hides all HUD elements, and the default mode.

Bag It and Tag It: Respawn Near Your Backpack

Tired of retracing your steps after an untimely death? With this update, as long as you’ve got an active bedroll, you can now choose to respawn right near your lost backpack. Wave goodbye to placing new bedrolls and say hello to speedy loot recovery!

Bump and Grind: Amped-Up Vehicle Damage

Strap in for a wild ride. Vehicles now inflict and endure more damage during collisions, making repair kits crucial companions for your road trips. Not just that, we’ve added new blood splatter effects, improved ragdoll impacts, and even potential dismemberment when you hit entities. Sparks will fly when you hit blocks, and block collision damage has been refined.

Horde Mode: New Wandering Hordes Dynamics

Time to roll up your sleeves and face the wandering hordes head-on. Why? More loot bags! We’ve increased the drop rates to entice you into a good fight. Plus, no more pre-blood moon horde surprises – we’re keeping the gameplay balanced and the surprises fair.

Streamers Rejoice: New Twitch Extension

Say hello to a new Twitch extension that lets your viewers interact without cluttering the chat. Expect advanced actions that cost Bits, custom presets, and special events such as Subs, Gifting Subs, Raids, Hype Trains, and Channel Point Redeems. Streaming just got more interactive!

Level Up: Performance & Optimizations

We’ve switched gears with an upgrade to the Unity version, optimized window blocks, tweaked tree meshes for better performance, and made AI smarter with zombie management based on player distance. From small tweaks to large changes, we’re ensuring a smoother gaming experience for you.

Networking Nirvana: Improved Multiplayer Experience

Say goodbye to lag and hello to smoother character animations and ragdolls. We’ve fine-tuned the network traffic, so everything’s more in sync while you’re battling it out with friends. Experience multiplayer gaming like never before.

Server Savvy: Administration and Multiplayer Improvements

The old Web control panel is out, and a new Web Dashboard is in. It’s nimbler, more flexible, and designed to fast-track improvements and fixes. Plus, Alpha 21 is all geared up to support Mumble’s Positional Audio feature, enhancing your in-game audio settings and interactions.

Shake It Up: Other Game Tweaks

We’ve added a dash of new features and tweaks to the mix. Change your ServerPassword mid-session, teleport to relative coordinates inside the current POI, and check out the fresh changes to Serverconfig.xml. There’s never a dull moment in the game.

Mod Magic: For The Modders Out There

Gear up for the modding spree with updates to Unity and HarmonyX versions, new support for ModInfo format v2, new XML patch operations, and a handy popup for mods with custom code. And remember, if your mod does custom I/O, switch to our new “Sd” prefixed classes for smoother file operations and future-proofing your mod.

Experimental Extravaganza: Say Hello to A21.1

In exciting news from the world of 7 Days to Die, The Fun Pimps have dropped Alpha 21.1 Experimental.

It’s pretty simple to get in on the action. Just remember, it’s usually safer to start a fresh game when dipping your toes in Experimental. The Fun Pimps say there shouldn’t be any issues with existing savegames, but if you’re feeling brave and want to use your regular savegame, at least make sure you backup first.

The Add-Ons

First on the menu is the Tier 5 hotel_ostrich and a tip of the hat to the moderator, OzHawkeye, in the credits. The Twitch integration gets a boost, allowing you to tweak prices for actions via the Twitch Info Screen. Loot entries now come tagged and if you’ve earned your culinary stripes with Master Chef level 2, opening a loot container adds a tasty masterChef2 loot tag.

But wait, there’s more! ClientInfo logging and a prefab ins file read error log have been added. The trader’s protected space has grown by 3 meters on each side. You’ll find new localization for buffs and Nest Audio effects for opening, closing, and destroying. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for ApproachDistraction AITasks on cop, demo, and mutated zombies.

The Makeovers

The Twitch experience gets a makeover, extending cooldown times for supply crates and vision effects, and altering point costs. Master Chef progression and dumpster loot have been revamped. Tags once needed in items.xml are now obsolete and event-spawned zombies will pack up once the Homerun Derby is done. You’ll now see your crafting level in the crafting info and trader area calculations will be done dynamically.

Armor stats have been fine-tuned, vehicle collision motion and trader-protected areas have been adjusted. Twitch crate explosives are down by half, and they’re gone from mystery supplies channel point redemption. Colliders on various items and prefabs have been adjusted, and changes to effective range and max durability stats for tools and weapons have been made. Melee damage on Steel Club has been tweaked, among many other modifications!

The Fixes

A slew of fixes have been implemented, including the AirDropFrequency setting for dedicated servers, stun stacking, and zombie attacks breaking after a fall. They’ve also sorted out the floating terrain deco issue in countrytown_business_03, AI pathing issues with cube_corner_beveled, and #mindwipe not working correctly on servers. Plus, a plethora of other minor bug fixes and improvements have been rolled out to improve your overall gaming experience.

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