7 Days to Die is a voxel-based zombie survival simulator created by Texas-based development studio The Fun Pimps, incorporating the flexibility and environmental interaction of MineCraft with the tension, action, and adventure of other zombie survival games such as DayZ and H1Z1. Fans of the survival genre will be right at home as they wake up in one of two maps: Navezgane County, Arizona, or a randomly generated environment that can go on forever (or at least until your computer falls over dead). The newly created alpha version 15 guides players as they gather the basic materials to create basic clothing, hunt animals, and defend oneself from the shambling corpses that are scattered throughout the environment. The game world also contains various points of interest such as prefab houses, military camps, prisons, small villages, and larger cities. These points of interest also serve as spawn points for many of the zombies with him players share their world, so, while small houses may have a few walkers shuffling about, larger cities tend to spawn proportionately larger hordes.
So far, this description is so similar to other zombie apocalypse simulators that, if it weren’t for three factors, this game would be suffering the same lack of interest that has been plaguing Daybreak’s H1Z1: Just Survive game servers over the past quarter. The first is that, unless specifically set otherwise, zombie behavior is largely dependent on the time of day and the amount of light and heat sources nearby. During the day, zombies move at a determined march at best, and can be easily outrun. At night, zombies can run faster than you, and will hunt and chase you, even if you manage to hide in a room, or even something secure like a bank vault, for as long as they can sense your presence. The second factor that makes this game so challengingly great is that, when they manage to hit you, zombies can easily stun a player with a single hit, and each hit has a chance of giving a player infection, which is one of the many nonviolent ways players can meet their end (including fun things like starvation, heat stroke, thirst or exsanguination). The third, last, and best reason to throw down $20 on this game is that on every seventh night of server time, a full on zombie horde spawns somewhere nearby the player, consisting of more than just the normal undead encountered during the day to day, but other charming characters such as spider zombies, which can easily crawl up walls to catch players who think they might be safe on a rooftop; screamer zombies, who look like that creepy child from The Ring, and use their spine chilling screams to draw in even more zombies at a run; and even zombie cops who can spit bile at you or your fortifications from range before exploding, dealing damage to everyone unfortunate enough to be nearby. In short, this is like your typical zombie apocalypse simulator, but it’s nothing like any zombie apocalypse simulator that you’ve ever known.
While a great deal of fun can be had playing solo, just you against the world, the majority of players opt to join multiplayer servers that can be hosted on servers for a monthly fee, just like Minecraft. That’s why a couple weeks ago I decided to rent a server with room for 40 players called Sanctuary, with the notion that it would be only for members of the imperium.news community. In the time that Sanctuary has been online, it has been the most heavily populated voice room on our Discord server, and Sanctuary’s chat room has had an active and flowing conversation since the first day. I wanted to create an environment where the zombies would be so threatening that people would have no choice but to work together to stay alive. I didn’t want the game to be little more than players fighting other players, with the zombie apocalypse as little more than background scenery, only to be occasionally dispatched when they shuffle too close.
Sanctuary has been a complete and total success, with at least 5 to 10 players in game at a given time. Some players are ranging out on minibikes to search through ruined cities for high-value items such as firearms, crafting gear, or schematics that allow players to build new things; other players are growing sustainable farms to produce corn, potatoes, blueberries, or even hops; still other players are working on building fortifications both above and below ground, where players can safely respawn after death, grab a weapon and some ammo, and get back out there. In short, Sanctuary is a wonderful sandbox paradise where players can have a zombie apocalypse experience that is in equal measures challenging, cooperative, and fun. Imperium members who think they have what it takes to survive the undead blight are more than welcome to join us. Join the “7_days” channel on the Imperium Discord Server at https://discord.gg/imperium/ to find server information