Zombies Everywhere – H1Z1 vs. 7 Days to Die

H1Z1 settlements, without zombies


Zombie games seem to be all the rage these days and I was not sure why. I mean zombies right. Who cares? Why do I want to play that game?

I am not much one for gaming for the horror factor. In fact, I have always hated horror films. Almost everyone dies and they die because they make the most ridiculous decisions. I think they even made a television commercial about it where the group could leave in a car and instead decides to hide by all the sharp tools. Funny commercial but the genre is just not my cup of tea.

H1Z1: Just Survive and 7 Days to Die don’t lean heavily on the horror angle to bring into the zombie apocalypse. They have their moments where your heart gets racing but gore and suspense are not the primary drivers. Both of these games are in Early Release on Steam.


Each game has a very different framework. H1Z1: Just Survive leans on the developer provided server model with a few Whitelist Servers. There are few options to the game. H1Z1 has PVP and PVE versions but Whitelist owners have little control outside providing to revoking access to their servers. There are no options to fine tune loot, zombies or other key aspects to the game. Servers generally cap out just over 125. DayBreak has played with that cap a number of times.

7 Days to Die, on the other hand, is all about putting server control in the hands of the server owner. There are a number of MODS available for it. This aspect really sets the game apart from H1Z1 and allows for some great gameplay. Zombies are far more powerful in 7 Days. tuning them to run at night coupled with the horde attacking your base every 7 Days makes it a bit more suspenseful and puts a layer of expedience in getting your base established and not wasting time in the beginning.

Creeping through the night in H1Z1


H1Z1: Just Survive started with relatively benign zombies and concentrated on the PVP angle before they split the game into two separate games: Just Survive and King of the Kill. King of the Kill has been widely popular while Just Survive has struggled with a preponderance of bugs, exploits, and hacking. If you could remove the exploit and hacking issues, it would be a great game.

Given the issues above the game has grown over the last year and a half. Benign zombies offered little threat in the beginning. DayBreak has continued to work to make them more varied and a bigger threat. Every player has been running across the map only to get a sudden jolt as they run by a screamer zombie. DayBreak has also played with the spawning aspect and made cars take severe damage if you try to run over a horde. You’re not going to make it in the car if you do. Gone are the days of farming zombies by running them over.

One major issue is maintaining FPS in areas where there are a large number of bases. The dev team has been hard at work the last few months fixing issues across the board. I look forward to seeing the progress in the next wipe.


H1Z1: Just Survive continues to rely on the PVP, base raiding and looting for supplies style of gameplay. It has no clan support built into the game.

Large clan organizations continue to have issues with player coordination. You can create small raiding groups of 12 and it helps a little. The call for “Goon Jump” on comms to identify friendlies still has some value.

The base access system fails horribly for larger clans; there are no access lists that can apply across bases and no hierarchy for global access. This was a band-aid for certain exploits but it has created a horrible mess. I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Just Survive team needs to talk to CCP about a good clan system. I may gripe about CCP but they may have the premier group play system in gaming today.


In general, it’s not that hard to survive in H1Z1: Just Survive. The PVP side is the real risk. You can generally eat drink and sleep in a small base with relative ease. Crafting is present but not a huge part of the game from a survival perspective. Item durability and quality isn’t a thing in the game. You tend to be much more reliant on looting than anything else. You can create farms for growing various crops to support the food supply and base raiding. As far as survival goes you don’t need to do this if you do not want to. There are always the paid airdrops to help a player get more loot or gear up for a big raid.

There is no player progression. You have the materials to craft or you do not. Your guns are not more or less effective based on use or level progression. DayBreak has talked about adding professions and leveling but they do not presently exist. The only grind is the mouse clicking over and over to scrap metal from cars. Please, DayBreak, make it so I can hold the mouse button and strike the car over and over!


Base building has been an important aspect of H1Z1. Everyone needs a place to store their stuff and they have been an never ending source of exploits and problems. Trying to fight these exploits lead us to the current horrendous base access system. By and large, the base systems works today, and DayBreak has a focus on making the base object easier on the FPS and more modular.


I have to temper my assessment of 7 Days to die because of the flexibility of configuration and modding of the game. Server owners have a large degree of freedom in configuration. My experience has been playing on the server Gommel Nox runs for his stream and modding and trying different configurations on my own server. You can really have fun trying interesting combinations server configurations and MODS to the POIs and other aspects of gameplay. This freedom really makes for an interesting game. This game lacks in quality of some graphical aspects. This doesn’t really take away from the game at this point and will get better as the game progresses.

Player's underground settlement on Serenity


Everything I say about 7 Days has a degree of latitude; anything can be made easy or super hard by combinations of various settings. You have full control on your own server for the frequency, quality, and amount related to zombie and loot respawns. For example, you can set loot to not respawn for 30 damned days. Zombies can spawn a lot or a little. They can be set to pursue you for a long time or forget they saw you quickly. You can have spawn safe zones and set zombies to be nice to newer players for a period of time. And as with many such games, you have PVE and PVP settings.

Server modding is a big thing in 7 Days. Gommel’s server runs VALMOD and COMPOPACK-24. VALMOD adds some great overlay items and a number of recipes among other things. COMPOPACK adds prefabs, town, and city types as well as a few PIOs that are well worth it. This level of extensibility really allows players to create environments conducive to player needs.

Server modding also adds or removes levels of difficulty in the game that some players find unnecessary. Some people consider the default backpack size too small. VALMOD has an option for a bigger backpack and a number of players have said this is a huge asset to the game.


Even without PVP, 7 Days survival is challenging. It’s going to be easier if the server you are on respawns loot every 5 days at 200% over the normal spawn versus a server where it respawns every 30 days at -50%. But, the general challenge is there.

Unlike H1Z1 you never need to sleep in 7 Days but you do get tired quickly. You can’t run forever. You get hungry and need to drink often. Finding food can be difficult with the right settings. All-in-all, from a pure survival perspective, 7 Days can be made to be very challenging.

ZOMBIES – Deadly!

Zombies can be deadly. At night there are generally more and they can outrun you. Carrying items that attract zombies will draw them to you. On the 7th evening, they come in ever expanding hordes to assault your base and attack you. You find yourself constantly preparing for assault along with trying to survive. The servers I have played did not support PVP. I can only imagine the challenge of adding this aspect to the game.

Zombie types are somewhat varied: from screamers that call additional zombies in, to differing types that carry different loot, explode or puke venom. Some are easy to kill and some aren’t. Even the differing movements can make some more challenging than others to kill.

There are roaming gangs of zombies at any time of the day along with dynamic spawns around you as you move across the map. These keep the game interesting and risky no matter what you are doing day or night.

A Fortress in 7DTD


7 Days has a robust crafting system that is critical to your long-term survival. Not only do you need the skills to build objects but the quality of the object relies on your skills. While you may be able to assemble or repair a weapon, the quality in which it results in is dependent on those and other skills. There is a way to increase item quality by combining two lower quality items together. The cost is the full cost of making the item multiple times. Not to mention having the skill to make the combining table.

All skills progress with use. Many of the skills can be increased by grinding. Many-a-player has been at their forge cranking out iron arrowheads to up weaponsmithing, even AFK. I have heard more than one player gurgle and die while AFK grinding some skills.

Skills are complex without being complicated. To a new player it is challenging to figure it out but once you understand the interrelationship it is pretty easy to figure out what you need to do. Skills are raised by a combination of use and leveling.

Players get skill points a number of ways. Leveling gives a player 5 additional points to spend each level. Zombies and loot sites can have Survivor Notes, Manuals and quests that can give you general skill points to spend or skills in specific areas.

Some skills help other skills progress. The MINER69er skill will make mining easier and thus allow you progress faster with mining. These skills are more expensive and have limitations on when they can be purchased. You could be able to purchase 2 of the 5 levels of a special skill at any time but level 3 may be limited until another skill reaches a certain level.


7 Days learned from Minecraft in more than just the subterranean aspect of the game and mining. Base building is modular and easily upgraded. Many of the same principles you know in Minecraft will be present here (But no Lava….yet). The trick here is to build something sufficiently strong to withstand the weekly horde.

The design of such things is limited only by your imagination. I have seen subterranean holes in the ground designed to attract the horde and have them fall to their death in a caged area riddled with things from fall damage to fall damage plus burning spikes or fire traps. Above ground dwellers have built scaffolding and highly protected bases with moats, spikes, barbed wire or a succession of walls for zombies to climb repeatedly and then suffer fall damage. The degree of solutions to the zombie problem are as varied as the players who build them.


Both games suffer in the clan organization area. In-game, that aspect is non-existent in both games.

Zombies in 7DTD walking out from behind a fence

I am going out on a limb here. 7 Days is far more engaging and is able to be configured so many ways that players will find it far more enjoyable in general. It’s complex where it needs to be and not where it doesn’t. The ability to tune the environment for your personal enjoyment level is key.

H1Z1: Just Survive is still too buggy and riddled with too much hacking. For the length of time it has been out it still has too many issues and get the feeling for all the talk DayBreak is incapable of fully understanding what it needs to do with the game.

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  • Andrew Sturgis

    I have loved 7DTD so far on PC. I feel for the guys on console, as I hear it hasn’t transitioned very well. H1Z1 certainly looks prettier, but as Minecraft and a handful of other games have shown, engaging mechanics more than make up for lo-fi visuals. I think 7DTD devs have the right idea regarding their development path.

    February 6, 2017 at 2:54 PM
  • Dan Cyr

    Oh man, the fact that this article includes pictures of two of the earliest bases from our server made me feel a little bit nostalgic. Our tiny cabin base was one of my favourites, actually….and of course, the original Goonhole….good times were had! Personally, I’m kinda on the fence with Valmod. On the one hand, it brings a lot of challenges and new strategy to the game, which is great. On the other hand, I preferred the ease of base building in Vanilla, being able to create damn near impregnable fortresses by oneself. Nonetheless, I should jump back into 7DTD and smash some rocks soon!

    February 6, 2017 at 3:15 PM
  • Turk Fezzik

    I started playing 7D2D about a month ago and I currently have 110 hours logged. In the early days of H1Z1 before the split to JS/KOTK I logged around 500 hours. The dev hosted servers are a big plus for H1Z1. Finding a good server with a vibrant/active population and PvP for 7D2D is hard. I still haven’t found one. The crafting and building in 7D2D is way more engaging than H1Z1. The fully destructible voxel world in 7D2D is amazing. Underground bases FTW!!!

    P.S. – Nice article!

    February 7, 2017 at 6:23 AM
  • EvilOverlords

    I started in alpha 1 and have played ever since and I have 3000+ hours in to 7d2d, it is by far the best $25 I have ever spent. The best part is every couple months there is a major upgrade to the game. The Devs also listen to their community and most of us long term players have had a major influence on the game. The Fun Pimps are by far the best developers I have ever dealt with. As the game has developed and its popularity has increased TFP’s have added staff and upgraded their software (they use unity, and it is their only limitation). Another thing most people don’t know about 7d2d, you can literally build or destroy any block in the game. The entire world is your play thing. It is all usable and there is real life physics (except for water, but they are working on that one) Unlike minecraft each block has a vertical and horizontal physics so you can’t build an entire castle on one block. There is also other dangers, like bears and soon wolves and snakes. The next step is Bandits and other none zombie bad guys. The game is still in Alpha, but as TFP’s move toward Beta and then Completion, I think it will become even better.

    February 15, 2017 at 8:07 AM