7 Days to Die – Tips to Struggling with A21

A21 released, and I see some people complaining about things being difficult and such, so I thought maybe it would be helpful to give some tips for both new and returning players alike.

Struggling with A21


In A21, water is a bit harder to come by early on and you will get torn to bits quite easily if you aren’t careful.

  • First of all, when you first spawn in, you might be tempted to run for the nearest structure (POI) and loot its goodies inside. Before you go inside, check the upper left for the Skulls. Does it have a lot of them? Don’t try it yet. Only one or two? Give it a go.
  • Next, before entering that POI, make sure you have a weapon. A club and primitive bow are basically all you’re gonna have. Some make some arrows and such. Just follow the tutorial if you’re not sure how to do so.
  • Now that you’re equipped, you might be tempted to just charge in and take the zombies on directly. Don’t. I recommend either sneaking around and killing them with a bow or crafting a wooden Hatch to place in doorways that you can open to block the zombies. But, keep in mind zombies can sometimes crawl over the hatch.
  • Early game, don’t take on multiple zombies unless you have plenty of room to run away to and avoid getting hit. If you take on a group indoors, you’re more than certain to die or get an injury like a sprained or broken limb.
  • Always know your surroundings. This can’t be stressed enough. Don’t get focused on the zombie you’re killing or that loot in front of you. If you have a moment, look around. Make sure you aren’t going to be flanked and hit from behind.
  • Don’t always loot right away. You may want to clear an entire POI before looting to make sure things are safe. If not the entire POI, at least clear the room. Make sure corners are cleared, check behind furniture, and make sure to look up. Zombies can hide in the ceilings. Especially the white tiled ceilings like in stores/offices.
  • Hear a dog? Run. Get away. You can’t take it. You might be able to possibly jump on top of something the dog can’t follow, but regardless, jump your way to safety.
  • Never get surrounded and always keep your distance. The moment you get cocky is the moment you get a broken leg, start bleeding out, and then die soon after.
  • As you get skill points, consider where to spend them wisely. You need to buy the main Attribute levels before you can buy stronger actual skills. It is best to focus on one attribute at the start. I recommend Agility and increasing Archery, Parkour, and Hidden Strike. With Archery & Hidden Strike, you can kill things silently in one arrow, usually. With Parkour, you can more easily flee if you get overwhelmed. Max Level Parkour is ESPECIALLY good at running away, since you can jump much higher up to safety, usually to a spot you’re untouchable and can fire arrows down at your enemies.
  • Now that you’re taken your first POI, you’ll be wanting to get food & water. For food, it is simple enough to hunt a deer, rabbit, chicken, or boar. Don’t go for bears, you’ll die. For water, always check toilets, water coolers, and other beverage containers. It will be Murky, so cook it in a fire to make it not hurt you when you drink it.
  • With some loot, food & water, you should be looking for a place to live. Even temporarily. It can be the place you just looted, or you can build a little shack in the woods. Just get a place you can put down a chest and dump the loot your not using yet. Preferably you want it near a Trader, so you can just follow the quest tutorial until it leads you to one.
  • With a place to live, you now want to focus on Quests. Talk to the trader and take the nearest quest. Complete that quest and acquire xp, dukes, and loot. Repeat. Early on, try to aim at doing at least one, if not two, quests a day. Don’t do these quests at night or you risk getting killed by faster zombies.
  • During the night, build up your base or fortify the place you took over. You’ll need it for the Night 7. If you need ideas for bases, there are plenty out there online to look up. Just do what you can.
  • Those Dukes you got? If you find yourself running low on food or water, buy some from the trader to get you by. Your Duke goal should be to buy at least one Water Filter from the trader. Once you have a Water Filter, build a Dew Collector and place it to get passive water income. The more the better. At 4-5, you’ll basically never need water again unless you are using a huge amount of it.
  • At this point, your basic needs of food and water should be met and the 7th day should be quickly approaching. Keep looting what you can to get better gear/supplies.
  • Day 6 & 7, you may just want to focus on building up your base in preparation for the 7th night horde. If not Day 6 too, all of Day 7 should be making sure your base is ready. Remember one thing: Most of the time, zombies take the path of least resistance to reach the player. Never make a house with only one entrance/exit. Always have an escape hatch in case things go south. You can use wooden spikes to kill zombies passively, but you’ll lose out on the XP of killing them.
  • Night 7: Pray your preparations are enough. Fight the horde as best as you can, but you might die. That happens to the best of us. The first horde night is the roughest. Just try to survive. If you have to abandon your base and run somewhere else to live, do it.
  • Day 8: Assess the damage from the horde. Repair your base. Note where the zombies focused their attacks. Those are the places you want to fortify before Night 14. But for now, just make your base not swiss cheese and return to looting & questing.
  • Loot, kill zombies, do quests, level up, spend skill points, and read magazines. Craft or buy better gear. Try and get your first gun before Day 14, but don’t use it. Save it and its ammo for Night 14.
  • At some point in questing, you’ll get a Bicycle for free. use that to get around faster. It also has a bit of storage to make looting more efficient. I suggest keeping at least 1 Honey/Antibiotics in it along with medical supplies in case you get caught off guard somewhere. That way, if you get infected you don’t have to go all the way home to cure it.
  • At this point, you’ll be pretty set. You’ll be familiar with the game and able to survive. Just keep looting and improving your base. Night 14 might be rough as well, but it should go better than Night 7. At Night 21 you shouldn’t have to worry about the hordes too much and should feel safe.

That’s about it for a simple list of tips. Honestly, the main take-away is to just be cautious and secure your water income early. After you get a decent gun, plenty of ammo, and good armor, you can throw caution to the wind more often and just run in to a POI and shoot the place up.

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