7 Days to Die – Survival Guide (Alpha 17)

7 Days to Die - Survival Guide (Alpha 17)
7 Days to Die - Survival Guide (Alpha 17)

Since The Fun Pimps broke 7 Days To Die with their Alpha 17 update, many have shown great disdain and anger with the sudden and unnecessary changes. I share your pain. I had spent some time so far checking how the skill system works now, as well as the health system. Perhaps my observations can aid you in playing once more, or for the first time, even!


As of Alpha 17, you may have noticed the skills and attributes menu look vastly different.

Do not fret, however! While these are all sudden and drastic, they do come with some logic and reason for them. However, unlike A16 and earlier, you earn XP differently.

You will notice you have attributes of Perception, Intelligence, Strength, Agility, etc. These are the “core” stats of their respective skill trees.

Before A17, you can level up by crafting, building, mining, farming, trading, etc. These allowed you to, even when you leveled up, to get even better at… whatever… faster. However, now this is no longer the case. You gain XP like standard RPG games, and must level up stats manually.

Some apparel items can increase these stats while you wear them, but let us cut to the chase: you will need to level up yourself alone.

The new perks, at rank 1 of each attribute, can let you level up in most perks at least once. You must level the attribute if you wish to level the perk as well, as they have an attribute/level requirement to meet. You cant be expected to max out “Dead Eye” without spending anything in Perception.

Logically, you also cannot upgrade sprint speed without touching Agility. I believe you get the picture by now.

Experience Gains

You will notice now that when you gather plant fiber, stones, etc, you are gaining “XP” item, and the bar above your hotbar is slowly growing a blue bar. This is your experience bar. Doing things within the game provide XP, though in varying amounts. Sadly, they favor zombie slaying for now, as they provide 550-800 per zombie kill. With time, this may be fixed, but fret not: you can gain XP in other ways.

Easy zombies, like normal shamblers and crawlers, give 550 XP approximately. Tougher zombies, like frozen lumberjacks and “bloaters” (fat ones) give 800 XP.

Hunting animals, farming, trading, crafting, and gathering provide XP as well, though in small amounts, so you will hardly see much improvement.

While this means you cant get anywhere without being able to defend yourself or kill zombies, that isnt exactly a bad thing: logically, in the apocalypse, you should learn how to defend yourself! It shouldnt need an Einstein to tell you that!

As far as your prefered damage type, that is your decision: bow, blunts, blades, guns, etc. If you can kill using it, that will work!

Weapon Mods

A17 removed the ability to dismantle your guns. While this sucks, they gave us something useful in its stead: mods.

You will notice on handguns, tools, armor, and others, you have a modify tab. Open this to allow placement of mods.

So far, the mods work in logical order: you place a Full Auto mod on a weapon that isnt Full Auto, and you place a Tempered Blade on a bladed weapon. As a general rule of thumb, check the gear icon on the item when you open a modify tab. If it flashes green, it is compatible with… whatever.

If you have to repair the item, you dont have to remove the mods: it works fine.

You can also place mods on vehicles! Though, as far as I can tell, the only mods to exist for this are the optional DYE mods, which changes its color.

Sadly, vehicles are compatible, but it only works in inventory. The bike is still yellow, despite the red dye I have on mine.

In time, we may get more mods, some mods will fit other weapons, and the like.


You will notice at the White River outposts, you now have 2 options at the merchant! The first is the trade tab, which works as it did before A17. The second… quests.

These are Radiant Quests. They provide randomly selected locations with an objective you can complete. So far, I had seen only 2: Fetch quests, and “clear”.

Fetch quests are so common in games, you should know what it is by now. But in case you dont, its simple: go here, grab item, bring back. Simple? Well, we are given a location to search for the item. With a proximity tracker on the container telling you how close you are. Keep in mind, I had noticed the target containers are usually hidden behind false panels or floorboards, so keep an eye out for lifted/peeled wall/floor tiles. They are wooden, even if they are brick styled, so an axe is handy.

Word of advice: Watch your swinging. Count it out. If you destroy the container, you do not get the item to bring back. Meaning, you failed. You have to cancel the quest manually as of now, if you fail. So for Christ’s sake, dont swing like crazy.

Clear quests are fairly simple in concept: go here, kill zombies, get back. Sounds easy? Well, thing is: it tells you there are zombies, but not where, nor how many. So treat the location as if it has a horde behind each door. Smack doors or windows to trick zombies to try to get to you. This tells you that they are nearby, so they SHOULDNT catch you off guard. It also tells you how many are in each room. Check corners, and keep an eye out for sneaky ones.

Complete these quests, and you get Duke tokens, and XP, along with a reward item of your choice! As of start, you have T1 Quests, which are easy. I hadnt seen any past 2 KM in distance in T1, but be prepared to travel. Rewards for T1 quests are kinda… ****… but you can do these fairly easily. And hey, you get to travel, find new places and loot, kill zombies, gain XP… get off your butt, survivor!


Well, we have to cover this, since the stealth system was strange before A17. Pre A17, you had HIDDEN and HUNTED. That was it. HIDDEN meant you are safe, HUNTED means at least 1 zombie is aware and attacking.

A17 removes this, BUT gives a detection bar! While these dont mean if anything hears you, it shows how likely they will hear/see you. Sound, light, and movement affect these, as expected. Keep still, hide in the dark, and dont mess with stuff, and you can be almost invisible so long as they dont get to see you. BUT opening things, aiming guns, attacking, mining, and repairing all make noise. Landing after a fall also makes noise, and your armor can change how much noise you make. Iron or Scrap aint the best to sneak in, survivors.

Keep in mind, this applies to only zombie detection. PVP players, you may have 4% on the stealth bar, but you can still be in plain sight with a flashing Vegas sign.

Warning: larger fires and fire sources can attract the dead. Candles are least likely to bother them, and synthetic lights dont bother them at all. But Campfires, torches, etc, still attract zombies.


Your old Wellness system has been revamped! Before, Wellness was a ***** to raise, and easy to lose. Die, you lose it in large numbers.

Now, you have something easier to handle: Food and Water levels affect health regen, and your health and stamina max. Keep the two at decent levels, and you will have 90-100 cap for both without upgrades.

Wellness affected your health and stamina caps, period. Now, its perks that individually set it. You can have 150 stamina but 100 health!

But… see that black bar against your health and stamina? These limit your cap for both. They tend to affect stamina MORE, but keep fed and watered, and you will hardly see them much.

Health regens slowly on its own, but keep food and water high enough, they regen faster. Perks can make health regen faster.

Dying also doesnt lower stats! It gives you a mulligan on each day you die, but… you die again within 24 hours of your last death, you gain a debuff on all stats for 24 hours. In game, might I add. Dont make a habit of dying, ya hear?

Weather and Effects

Pre A17, you had stages of hypo/hyperthermia. Now, it is just normal and severe.

Before now, if it got too bad, it will straight kill. Now, it wont. But water or food will drain faster.

Cold, taiga biomes will make your food drain faster to keep your body warm. Hot deserts drain water to keep you cooler. Normal appears as a orange debuff, while severe is in a flashing red.

Burned and Wasteland are still very warm, but not SWELTERING. Time of day does affect temperature as well: nights are cooler and days are warmer. Use this to your advantage. Rain will also keep you cooler, but rain appears in all but taiga and desert biomes. Taiga have blizzards, and deserts are just HELL with heat.

Alternate Bullets

Your bows aint special no more! Guns now have an additional ammo type: steel bullets!

Steel bullets are crafted with clay and iron, so they are cheaper to make. They deal the same damage, BUT cost more durability in game. Shotguns still have buckshot and slugs like normal, but pistol, SMG, AR, rifle, sniper… if it uses bullets, it now has at least 1 alternate ammo.

Blunderbuss though… only the one ammo type. Sorry.

Melee 2.0

Melee combat has a new goodie for us good boys and girls! Right click now provides a POWER ATTACK, at the cost of more stamina. However, they dont make enemies stagger more.

It’s just more damage.


Remember the merchant talks? Well… his voice now triggers when you are near him, start/end trading, take a quest, and finish it.

While it is minor, I will warn you: he has some ****ing sass and sarcasm. If it was a weapon, it would be all he needs to kill zombies.

I wont spoil it, but warning you now: you will probably want to shoot him in the face soon.

Log Spike Error 404

We no longer have log spikes. At all.

We got the wooden spikes, barb wire traps, and new iron spikes, but no log spikes. So no more large pits with those things.

New Zombies and AI

Wasteland now has a new kind of zombie: irradiated zombies. They appear with glowing green cracks and veins, so they are easy to spot. But, they regain health.

Also, now zombie AI has been tweeked. Should you be within 10 meters of the zombie, and they have a path to you, they wont break down a wall to reach you. They also, much to our dismay, no longer drop loot.

Well, kinda false. They have a small chance to drop a yellow-orange bag on death, with loot IN IT, but zombies no longer have loot on them. Sorry.

Bow users, rejoice! You can get some of your arrows back after killing zombies, or if you miss! You have instead a chance to break the arrow on impact, or it stays and can be regathered. If the zombie body despawns before you get the arrows back, it will drop a bag item with the arrows it had in it. Bolts count, too! Save for the explosive ones, and the fire arrows.

But hey, finally. Amendment: zombies take fall damage now. But… only 30% damage. Unlike you. Lucky zombies…

Treasure Hunts

These quests hadnt changed really. They act the same as before: gives an area to dig around until you find a chest. Auto completes when the chest is opened.

Fuse Boxes

Most houses as I had seen so far have at least 1 fusebox. In fact, the house I fortified had 3! 1 outside, 1 next to the stairs, and 1 in the attic. Supply your house with power, you can use these handy things like toggle switches!

New Vehicles + Ragdoll Physics

We have 4 new vehicles now!

Bicycle: a free, workbench free item you can craft to travel with. While it isnt fast, it instead uses your stamina as a booster! Hills are its weakness, and you can hit rocks to damage it.

4×4 Truck: Carry your teammates and gas back from the Thunderdome! You get to drive a Mad Max like truck, with good horsepower, letting you make the tough hills!

Gryocopter: Take to the skies! Safest mode of transport, as no zombie is in the sky! BUT… run out of gas, or accidentally jump out… GG. U R DED.

Motercycle: Same as a minibike, but faster. Pretty sweet. And makes more sense with zombie bikers being a thing. Who wants to see a big, burly man come up to a bar on a moped?

All with this comes with ragdoll physics! Zombies hit by your vehicles (players also get this), or knocked over, get flung around with physics! They will even get up from it, if they didnt die from the damage! Melee combat shows this easy, as you can hit a zombie with a club, and knock it over the edge of the balcony.

No More Instant Cures + Addictions

Infections and Dysentary get worse over time still, but you cannot cure immediately anymore. Antibiotics and similar cures take time to heal your condition. Bleeding is still treated with bandages, and splints help with broken and sprained legs.

You now have addiction and drugs in game. Pain meds now have a chance to make you addicted, along with other chems, which have negative side effects on withdrawl. While you can reduce the chances of addiction with perks, you will likely still encounter these fairly easy. Especially if you use pain meds a lot.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2712 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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