Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Survival 102: Your next 20 minutes

"7 Days to Die" is a survival game and a crafting game. In the previous article I gave some tips on how to keep your ass from becoming undead very early in the game. In this article, I'll talk about the early mid-game.

Current as of version alpha v10.4

To Forge Ahead
24. You need to find a particular Skill Book, "Forge Ahead". Read this, unless you're playing with a more experienced player, in which case you might want to give it to him. Not that it matters much. All the Skill Book does is enable the character who reads it to make a Forge - anyone can then grab those Forges from a Storage Chest, plonk them down and use them.

You need 8 Small Stones. You can pick those up from the ground, or violate few of Surface Boulders with your Stone Axe (or preferably a Pick Axe if you have found one at loot). Violating 2-3 Surface Boulders gives you many more Small Stones than you need, but is worth doing anyway.

You also need 1 Short Iron Pipe. You can find this as random lot loot fairly easily, but if luck isn't with you, you can destroy any one Toilet you find (Stone Axe or a more advanced tool - intuition says that Pick Axe would be the preferred tool, but the game usually tells you what to use with sound: Does the Toilet make a woody sound or a metally/stony sound when you try to smash it? Woody sound means Fire Axe, other means Pick Axe), or you can usually find a Pipe in one of the Air Conditioner boxes found in or near some homes, sometimes outside low near a wall, other times up on the roof, sometimes indoors (in which case it's often in the attic).

Combine the two, you get the Forge.

25. You also need some Clay and some Sand. Sand is easy to get. Along any river bank, even the rivers that serves as Biome borders in random gen map. Also along the lakes on the Navezgane map. Or in any Desert biome. It's easy to dig up too. Stone Axe requires about 3 swings per voxel which is mildly boring but you can probably manage to gather 3-4 units worth. Process them into Crushed Sand.

Clay is difficult to get on the Navezgane map, now, after some recent gameplay changes. I've tried digging for it a few times but given up and instead run to the Coronado Farm to grab some Corn, process those into Corn Meal, then craft that into Lumps of Clay (combine with Bottled Water - you start with one and can find more as loot).

You can do that too in the random gen map (Corn grows wild in the Grasslands or Plains Biome, although only sporadically now), but you won't need to, since Clay is easy to find along the Biome border rivers there. Look for small patches of something that's neither the tan colour of Sand nor the brown colour of Dirt, but rather a reddish in-between. Gather 3 units of Clay, then process it into 27 Lumps of Clay. And note the location. You may need a bit more much later.

You use the Lumps of Clay to make Molds for the Forge. You can run just one Forge and switch the Molds as needed, and there may be some point of doing it that way due to avoiding excessive "heat" build up and attracting too many Spider Zombie scouts. But I'm rather lazy. I prefer to have one Forge per material and run them as needed.

If you only have one Short Iron Pipe (and that may very well be the case) you need to first make the Iron Ingot Mold. That's just 5 Lumps of Clay, simple pattern. Then put that into a Forge, add some Iron (the Iron Fragments you got from violating Surface Boulders, above, or Scrap Iron, or mostly anything else made out of iron that you've found and that you won't need right away), and add some fuel.

Take out an Ingot. Process it in the crafting canvas twice. You get first Forged Iron, then you turn that into Short Iron Pipe. There you go! Now you can make more Forges.

26. The 2nd Mold you'll make is a Jar Mold. For this you need 1 Empty Jar. Make the same Lumps-of-Clay shape as with the Iron Ingot Mold, but put the Empty Jar in the middle. Then put the new Mold into a Forge, add Crushed Sand, and some fuel.

I think it's 4 Crushed Sand that makes 5 Empty Jars, so 3 Sand gets you 12 Crushed gets you 15 Empty Jars, which is enough to get going, although I prefer to make a lot more, early game, easily 30 if not 60, even as singleplayer.

Note that the game now shows you the time to forge-process whatever amount of material (Sand or Iron) you've put into the Forge. That's a recent addition. Back when I started playing, we didn't have such luxuries, no when we wanted to know about forging times we had to walk all the way to CERN to visit the wiki, then all the way back again to resume playing, and it was uphill both ways...

27. The last Forge, for now, is one you may want to postpone a bit. But in case you don't, 8 Lumps of Clay makes a Cement Mold. You feed this Forge Gravel and various kinds of Stone, to make Cement, then on the Crafting Canvas you combine Cement with Gravel to make Cement Mix. I usually go to a Burned Forest Biome, or to a cross-river Wasteland Biome or Burned Forest Biome to gather Cinder Blocks, which I process in the Crafting Canvas into Gravel. My rule of thumb is to put about 20% of the Gravel into the Cement Forge, then when that comes out I'll have roughly enough Cement to match up with the remaining 80% Gravel I kept.

Cement Mix is needed, in large quantities, to make upgrade Rebar blocks to Concrete blocks, which are quite sturdy against Zombie claws. Or you can use the Cement Mix to make the material you need to upgrade Cobblestone blocks. I'll talk about Rebar and Concrete further down.

28. Get 2 Iron Ingots. Make 8 Forged Iron from them. Use 5 to make a Cooking Pot. Use 8 Small Stone to make a Camp Fire. Actually while you're at it, you might want to make several Camp Fires.

Take your Empty Jars to a water source. This can be a river or a lake, or a Toilet.

(You can also craft Murky Water out of Empty Jars and Snow, if you find yourself in the Snowy Forest Biome.)

The Empty Jars become Murky Water. Put them in the Cooking Pot in your Camp Fire, and they'll boil. Each bottle of Murky takes 20s to boil to become Bottled Water. Each Wood Log, of which you get several when yu cut down Trees, has enough burn time for 9 such Murkies with 12s to spare.

Fairly early in any game, I'll make meself a local water supply. I often make these indoors because if it's outdoors then the sound of Zombies splashing through it at night causes me unneeded stress. Just dig a hole, 1 voxel wide, tall and deep, preferably in Dirt or Sand (Asphalt is a very sturdy material - lots of Pick Axing), then make a Bucket (7 Forged Iron) and take it to another water source, use it on that water source, then return to your hole, use the Bucket on it. You now have yout own water supply, able to fill an infinite amount of Empty Jars.

29. Now you have Bottled Water, but that's just an intermediate product. Only drink it in emergencies. You use it to boil meats, and even more importantly you use it to brew Goldenrod Tea and to boil Eggs and bake Cornbread. Goldenrod Tea is made by combining Bottled Water with Goldenrod Flower, and takes a bit longer, 30s as I recall, per bottle. Goldenrod Tea is better to drink than Bottled Water for several reasons. It's more compact, you can carry more Hydration (and more instant Stamina regain) in a single stack, since the stack limit for both are 15 units but Goldenrod Tea gives twice as much, and Goldenrod Tea also gives you a small gain to your Wellness stat, a fraction of +1 per drink, but it does add up.

So, make some Tea and boil your Eggs. You're unlikely to have any meat this early in the game, but if you do, boil it. I like Boiled Eggs a lot, but in terms of water expenditure you get more food value out of boiling meat. Boiled meat smells, though, unlike Boiled Eggs - and Cornbread. If you have found some wild Corn (or if you play on the Navezgane map and have raided the Coronado Farm) then you can progress the Corn to make Corn Meal, then cook that with Bottled Water to bake Corn Bread, but make sure you first process a few units of Corn into Corn Seeds, for your farm.

Baked Potatoes don't give Wellness, so you should only eat those in emergencies (you bake them on a Grill - 9 Short Iron Pipes), when you don't have anything else, but I do believe they're ingredients for various complex Stews, and those do give Wellness (I've never made Stew, though), so if you find a Potato, make Seeds from it.

Making Tools
30. The most important tool to make is the one above, Cooking Pot, costing 5 Forged Iron with 3 to spare. Or is it? The Cooking Pot used to be vitally important as the only way to get a reliable supply of safe-to-drink water, but with recent game chances, you can now boil water in Empty Cans with a Stick, on a Camp Fire.

I still think the Cooking Pot is important, but whether it's still number 1, or if it's switched places with the other item, the Pick Axe, can be debated.

The Pick Axe costs 4 Iron Ingot (and some Sticks), and yes that is expensive but it enables you mine much faster, both in terms of Surface Boulders and cliffside mining, and later in the game also underground mining. I haven't gathered stats for mining time for Stone/Ores, but a Surface Boulder requires 7 hits with a Stone Axe to degrade one level (and drop some Small Stones and Iron Fragments), 7 more for the next and 7 more for the last, total 21 hits, compared to 6 or sometimes 7 hits in total with the Pick Axe (I think it depends on if your Stamina drops low - this causes you to do less damage to the Boulder with each swing).

31. Another tool you might want is the Fire Axe. Costs 2 Iron Ingots (and some Sticks), and enables you to cut down Trees much faster. It also comes in very handy when you're looting homes and other POIs, as you'll often find internal barriers, and most often these are of the Fire Axe type rather than the Pick Axe type.

The Gardening Hoe is also very important, but you don't need that on day one or even day two. You will need it when you start your farm, though. costs 2 Iron Ingots and some Sticks. The Shovel costs 4 Iron Ingots (and Sticks) but digs much better than the Stone Axe.

One final tool, more or less important depending on your play style and temper, is the Spiked Club. It costs 4 Iron Ingots and - repeat after me - some sticks, but it does much more damage than early game clubs. Especially if all you have is a Wooden Club, upgrading to something heftier is a high priority, even if melee combat is the last resort (because of the risk of Infection)

32. Surface Boulders are a good starting point, but you don't actually get all that much Iron from them, on a per-swing basis. Later in the game you'll dig an underground mine, but early game I find that to be a bad idea. Instead, you need to look for cliffsides. You'll find a lot of those in the regular Forest Biome, often near lakes and also some in the Grasslands Biome (not near lakes), but some cliffsides contain a larger quantity of exposed - visible - Iron Ore voxels than others. You want to cherypick those. Use unupgraded WoodFrames as scaffolding to get up high if necessary. They can be "glued" to the cliffsides, and you can also place them to make temporary "bridges" over lake surfaces so you don't have to swim.

If you're afraid of falling down and spraining (or breaking) your leg if you accidentally pick up the WoodFrame you're standing on, you can upgrade it to tier 1, at the cost of 2 Wood Planks and the loss of any ability to pick it up and re-use it somewhere else.

33. Also gather some Coal if you find it. It's an excellent fuel. In my experience I always get plenty of Pot and a large amount of Lead, from cliffside mining, even without actively seeking it out, just in the regular course of affairs, but I do usually mine out at least some of it when I find Coal, as it's a more efficient fuel to gather than Wood.

Gravel voxels are unattractive to mine, I think, as they require a large number of Pick Axe hits to destroy. You may end up having to mine out a few, but it's generally not worth it. During the nights, you can craft the Gravel you need. Ideally from Cinder Blocks (you just pick those up - no Pick Axe swingery needed), but else you can process Small Stones into Gravel (process Stone into Small Stones first if necessary).

Another source if iron are the I-bars found in the Wasteland biome. They're plentiful, but the Wasteland Biome is a dangeorus place, especially if you go alone, and in terms of Pick Axe swings 1 I-Bar costs 5 swings and becomes 1 Iron Ingot, whereas an Iron Ore voxel costs 9 swings and becomes 2 Iron Ingots. So Iron Ore voxels are slightly better - you just need to find them.

34. WoodFrames are what you should probably start with, very early game, making a hiding place so the Zombies can't see you at night. But if the Zombies discover you, Wood gives very little protection, because the Zombies have a ×3 damage multiplier vs Wood of all kinds.

The expensive solution is the Rebar/Concrete road, and that's the one I've actually used several times in game. A more recent addition is the less expensive, but also less sturdy Cobblestone. I have not used this in-game, so can't talk from personal experience.

Either one requires you to cook a lot of Cement in a Forge (see above), then combine it with Gravel to make Concrete Mix (not Cement Mix as I've mistakenly called it earlier - even though I don't always get the jargon right I do know what I'm talking about) or with Stone (I think only the large kind works) to make Cobblestone Rocks.

35. A Cobblestone Frame costs 5 Sticks and 1 Plant Fibre. Plonk it down. You then hold a stack of Cobblestone Rocks in your hand and use it on the Frame 4 times, each usage costing 1 unit of Cobblestone Rocks and upgrading the Frame by 1/4. When upgraded 4 times it's done, immediately solid and sturdy.

Rebar Frames cost a lot more to make. 8 Short Iron Pipes a piece, which is 2/3 of an Iron Ingot. After you plonk it down, you must use a Building Tool on it (Stone Axe, Repair Tool, etc). After the required number of right mouse button "hits" you've spent 2 Wood Planks to upgrade it. But it's still not really worth anything. Next step again is you using a bucket of Concrete Mix on the voxel. This pours the Concrete Mix into it. But it's still no good.

You have to wait for the Concrete to dry, which causes the wood sidings to fall off, changing how the voxel looks. And that may take quite some time. It also appears to be somewhat random, and in my experience the whole Concrete-drying process pauses when no player is around. So if you move far away from your fort, it temporarily stops. Nevertheless, once dried, Concrete voxels are quite sturdy.

Cobblestone is obviously cheaper to make than Concrete, in terms of overall resources, and it's occured to me that a mid-game compromise could be to make the actual fort building, the keep, out of Concrete, but make the surrounding wall out of the cheaper Cobblestone. I have not tried this, but I know from experience that gathering enough Iron for a huge Concrete wall is requires a lot of time and effort (and is also random, in terms of how quickly you find a good, rich Iron Ore deposit).

36. To farm, you need a Gardening Hoe (see above) and some Seeds. Usually you can make the Seeds by processing the vegetable in the crafting canvas, each 1 unit of vegetable giving a small number of Seeds. The exception is Coffee which is a seed of its own, that you just plant directly.

You need to hoe the ground first, though. Farming used to require a nearby water voxel (so that the moisture would soak through the Dirt voxels), some versions ago, but no longer. Oh, and you need to plant in Dirt voxels. Sand won't work, I think, and I'm not sure about the kind of ground they have in the Wasteland Biome. Snow won't work either. I think Burned Forest Biome ground works fine.

I like plonking down some WoodFrames to mark where my farming plots are. I just find it easier. Plus having something to stand on makes it a bit easier to harvest Corn. But if you can make do without that, then it's more efficient.

My method is that I decide on a plot of land 3 voxels wide, e.g. 3 voxels by 10 voxels. I then use the Hoe on the two outside strips, leaving the middle strip un-hoe'd and I also don't plant on it. Knowing which voxel is which is part of why I like to surround such plots with WoodFrames. I then plant on the outside strips, so that on a 3×10 voxels plot I plant a total of 20 plants. Farming used to be alot buggier than it is now, but just in case, always keep a few Seeds in reserve, if something goes wrong.

37. Plants multiply exponentially. A Potato can be made into, I think, 4 Seeds, and each of those 4 plants ripens to a peak amount of 3 Potatoes, so that 1 Potato becomes 4 Seeds becomes 12 Potatotes beomes 48 Seeds becomes 144 Potatoes. Corn is largely similar but a bit faster. Each Corn plant peaks at 3+2 units of Corn, 2 at the top (grab that first!) then 3 at the bottom. There might still be a middle item that contains no Corn - it's a bit confusing. Also it's been speculated that it may be the case that if you only pick the top part and leave the bottom part, the top part will eventually regrow without you having to replant. I have not tried this, however.

(Note that plants are now supposed to grow even when you're far away - it used to be that when all players left a given map "chunk", all processes would become dormant, including Forges and Camp Fires running, and planted plants growing, but this is no longer the case according to the patch notes. The implementation might still be buggy. For instance, if those processes skeep running when the players are away, how come Concrete drying doesn't?)

Some seeds multiply more slowly. Coffee has a growth factor of 2, compared to 12 for Potatoes and something like 15 for Corn. And given that Coffee is an extremely valuable crop, you need to keep some Seeds in reserve in cause of bugs or player errors. Goldenrod Flower and Cotton have a growth factor of 4, I think, 1 plant becomes 2 Seed becomes 4 Plants becomes 8 Seeds. A bit slow, but you don't need that much Cotton. Eventually you'll have harvested all the wild Goldenrod in your home Biome, especially in coop MP, so make sure to make some Seeds and stash them in a Chest.

38. You can plant the seeds of Trees, to farm your own Trees, and that is a very good idea. Some Biomes have few naturally occuring Trees, or only poorly ones, but if you bring your own Dirt and some Seeds then you can get a Tree farm or two going, even in a Desert, and end up with more than you need both for fuel and building. Also note that unlike with other plants, you don't need to Hoe the ground to make a Tree seed grow.

Aloe Plant, Cacti and Yucca Plant can't be farmed, as of version 10.4 alpha.

39. The four main medical items you can craft in 7D2D are the Splint, Bandage, Anti-Biotic and First Aid Kit.

The Splint is 2 Stick and 2 Cloth Fragment. If you suffer a Broken Leg DeBuff, from falling from to great a height, your movement speed becomes severely gimped, and that DeBuff lasts a long time. If you use a Splint on yourself, the movement speed reduction is reduced and the healing time sped up significantly. I don't think the Splint helps at all on a mere Sprain, but I'm not sure.

Simple Bandags are made out of Cloth Fragments. They stop the Bleed DeBuff, and that can save your butt, but especially now that natural Health/HP regen is so slow, compared to earlier versions, the regular (the non-Simple) Bandage is very desirable. You need to gather some Aloe Plant in a Desert Biome, or around certain home types in POIs (appearing in random gen maps, as well as in two different small non-Desert settlements on the Navezgane map). Gather a full stack of 64 very early, if you can be bothered, or if not then go for 15. Aloe Plant is very useful and can't be farmed.

Combine the Aloe Plant with Empty Jar to make Aloe Cream. That alone can heal a bit of Health, but not all that much. Combine the Aloe Cream with Cloth Fragment to make Bandages: 30 Health regained over 30 seconds.

You can use them any time you want, not just when you're Bleeding. What you can't do is upgrade existing Simple Bandages to these healing Bandages. Not in  he unmodified game, although I'm sure there's been made a mod for it offering an alternative or replacement recipe. And since both kinds of Bandages have a stack limit of only 5, the Simple ones are not really worth storing. Even more so since they're so easy to make from Cloth Fragments (which you should always stockpile - they stack to 250) in case you suffer an emergency and run out of Aloe.

40. Anti-Biotics and First Aid Kits both require the Beaker, a rare drop. Nurse Zombies apparently still do drop them, contrary to what I wrote earlier. It's just that each Nurse Zombie Corpse has only a 25% chance of "rolling" on the rare_medical_loot table as opposed to the common_medical_loot table, and on the rare_medical_loot table there is only about an 11% probability of rolling the Beaker as opposed to something else, for an 0.25 times 0.11 = 2.75% probability of getting the Beaker every time you kill and loot a Nurse Zombie.

The next best option is the Medicine Cabinet, of which you find one in many homes (I imagine that in the larger apartment buildings in the City, each apartment has its own Medicine Cabinet, counting as one home, but I've actually never been there - the City is a dangerous place!), often behind barriers that you must break down (sometimes you're also lucky to find a Gun Safe behind those barriers, e.g. in the basement of some homes, in the innermost "sanctum" room). Like Nurse Zombies, Medicine Cabinets have their own loot_table and the odds might not be better, in fact for all I know they might be a bit worse, but at least you don't have to worry about a 60s Zombie Corpse despawn timer and the Medicine Cabinets are deterministic - you know they'll be there and you can do things in your own good time.

The best best option is if you can find the Pharmacy store. It's deterministically located in the Navezgane map, but big boys (and girls) play on the random gen map, where you have a random chance of finding one in any POI, or in the Central Wasteland City. It contains a lot of some kind of super-grade Medicine Storage Unit which seems to have a nicer loot_table than regular Medicine Cabinets. Or else it's just because there is a metric pimpton of them in the building. I went to the Navezgane one once, just to check it out, and I came out with 3 Beakers (and 11 Blood Bags, and 1 Anti-Biotics, and a lot of other medical loot). I'm not saying you'll find 3 Beakers there every time, but the probability of you finding at least one is very high.

Anti-Biotics is 1 Potassium Nitrate Powder and 1 Moldy Bread, leave to cook in a Beaker on a Camp Fire for, I think 230 minutes. Eating one both cures you of Infection regardless of stage and also renders you immune for further Infection for 1 game-day. And boosts your Wellness, with a front-loaded boost (that you can repeat by eating multiple Antis, if you have them to spare - but as a noob, trust me you won't have them to spare) and a (larger, now, I believe) over-time boost to Wellness that doesn't stack.

41. First Aid Kit is 1 Grain Alcohol, 1 Blood Bag and 1 Simple Bandage.

Oh, sorry, earlier I claimed that as soon as you can make proper Bandages, you should discard almost all of your Simple Bandages. Except I actually stand by that. Because Simple Bandages are so easy to make, from the huge amount of Cloth Fragments that you ought to stockpile.

You can find Blood Bags as loot sometimes. I used to often throw them away, back in earlier versions when Health/HP regeneration was faster and easier to come by, but now they should be treasured. You can make your own Blood Bags by using a Blood Draw Kit on yourself. This costs you a lot of Health Points, but still rather less than the First Aid Kit gives back. You can also use the Blood Bags directly, essentially drinking the blood I imagine, but not only will that turn you into a sparkly gay-ass vampire, it'll also only give you a few points of Health, Stamina and Hydration.

Grain Alcohol is made in the Beaker, on a Camp Fire, using Corn Meal and - I think - Bottled Water.

Combine all three, and you get 100 Health Points in a quick-to-use package. 50 regained instantly and the other 50 very quickly over time (I think it's 5 per second for 10 seconds or 10 per second for 5 seconds - lightning fast!).

42. To make Metal Strips, put one or more Short Iron Pipes, as a stack, onto your Crafting Canvas, center tile. Each becomes 5 Metal Strips, stack limit 64 but I like to go for stacks of 60, because they split nicely into halves of 30, then 15; 15 Metal Strips repairs 150 Durability on most tools (and on high-end Clubs and Sledgehammers), and for tools it's a good idea to stop and repair when you've worked away 160-200 Durability, because at that point your tool has become a bit blunted, or otherwise less efficient than when it was at full Durability.

Clubs tend to be almost completely worn down after 100-150 damage, so you need to repair those more often.

A neat rule of thumb, that I often use, is that to get that stack of 60 Metal Strips you need 12 Short Iron Pipe which you get from 4 Forged Iron, which you get from 1 Iron Ingot. So just start with 1 Ingot, to arrive at the neatly divisible 60 (yes, the ancient Babylonians were onto something).

I think you can use Leather to repair leather armour (make the Leather into Strips first, probably) and Cloth Fragments to repair normal clothes and cloth armour, but I've never done any of those. Nor have I actually used Metal Strips to repair iron armour. It does get damaged, but not very quickly.

To repair your Stone Axe, use Small Stones on it. Just a few. And to repair your Crossbow, use Sticks.

Be warned, though, that you must make sure the repair stack is not larger than needed, as sometimes (not always - the game is inconsistent about this) the entire stack is used, while other times the game only takes from the stack as much as is needed to restore the item to full Durability.

Weapon Repair Kit is made out of 1 Metal Strip, 1 Cloth Fragment and 1 Oil, the later being the small white flask that you sometimes find as loot. Each repairs 40 Durability on any firearm. Note that the Submachinegun (if you find it) will lose Durability quickly when used.

I will not write a 103 level sequel to this post; instead, I'll write shorter posts about specific things, such as making ammunition or traps, as needed.

Peter Knutsen

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