February 2023 Goals

January was all about Elite, Elite, Elite. I didn’t play much else and I defiantly did not write about anything else. Last month I started my career as a Commander, I took a trip out to the Eagle Nebula and found a prison colony, I talked about some third party tools I’ve been using, took a detour to on my way home and stopped at a few more nebulas, and supplied my home station with literal tons of landmines.

Top Played Games of January 2023

Game TitlePercent of Total Playtime
Elite: Dangerous80%
7 Days to Die13%
Pulsar Lost Colony2%

It’s not often that I fall down a gaming rabbit hole quite this hard. There’s just something about it that has captured my imagination in a way games haven’t in a long time. As I’ve gotten my bearings back and I’m getting more established in the game I feel that initial excitement plateauing but that was bound to happen. I don’t feel like I’ll be dropping it anytime soon but I may find some time to play something else this month just to switch it up.

I haven’t written to much about my ongoing 7 Days to Die game with Brother. We’re on Day 23 and are just becoming self sufficient on food and medical supplies. I can’t believe we’ve been playing every week since November and that I’m still having fun with it.

Pulsar Lost Colony

The squad decided to play Pulsar last weekend which I hadn’t played since February of last year. I forgot how much fun it is as a multiplayer game and we’re looking to play it again soon.

February 2023 Goals

Unlock the Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner: If I had posted this yesterday, getting the Engineered FSD would have been a goal too but I just unlocked that last night. The engineered detailed surface scanner is the last module I want before I go on another trip out into the galaxy. It increased the scanning radius per probe which will make mapping planets faster and more efficent. This should be a quick goal to complete. I only have a few more raw Niobium to gather before I’m able to unlock it.

Travel Outsided the Inner Orion Spur: The Inner Orion Spur is the region of the galaxy where Earth and the rest of the Bubble are located. There’s 42 regions in total but I don’t think I want to go too far from our home region. Maybe a region or two away to do some exploring. The only thing I still have to figure out is do I want to go towards the galactc core or away from it.

Participate in this month’s Humble Bundle Community Review: I kind of missed the ball on this one last month and forgot to sign up. I ended up picking up the bundle anyways because I’ve been wanting to play Grow: Song of the Evertree for a while now since it’s from the same developers as Yonder

Read Two Books: My interests between reading and gaming fluctuate every few months where one takes over the other. I feel like I’m in the middle of that interest transition where I want to do both and sometimes I just don’t have time to do that. February is a short month but I think between audiobooks and reading I can knock out two this month.

Tweaking Settings for Success

Brother and I have continued our 7 Days to Die game much to both of our surprise. After the first session I concluded that there was enough new things added over the years that I could see myself playing it for a few more hours. That was more than a month ago and I’m still looking forward to every session.

Something that’s helped form that stickiness for me are the game settings that we’ve tweaked:

  • 24 Hour Cylce: 120 minutes
  • Player Block Damage: 200%
  • Drop on Death: Backpack Only
  • Blood Moon Count: 16 Enemies

You could say this makes things much easier but I say it makes things more playable.

I like the exploration aspect of 7 Days way more than I like the horde nights. I know, I know…the horde nights are, like, the namesake of the game but mowing down hordes of zombies with traps doesn’t do as much for me as going out there and finding cool stuff. Making the 24 hour cycle twice as long adds more time for the funs stuff and doesn’t make preparing for horde nights feel a chore. There’s more time to explore, complete quests, get level ups, and find loot while also leaving the 7th day open to prepare for the horde. We did double the amount of zombies that can spawn per player to compensate for the extra time.

The longer days add their own challenge in the way of food and water. The game days are twice as long so there’s a need for a bigger food supply to keep up with the extra exploration and fighting. We’ve found ourselves in many situations where we desperately scramble to find something edible before one of us die. We’re going to start a farm to try to eliminate those situations.

Longer days also makes getting through a week of in game time take a while. We average maybe a day and a half per session about once a week. As a result, we just saw our first horde night at the end of November.

Our horde night base minutes before the sun went down.

Increasing Player Block Damage to 200% is a nice quality of life improvement. There are a number of safes and locked chests that contain some nice loot but in the absense of lockpicks the only way to open them is by hitting them with a pick axe. High durability and slow stamina regen leads to a lot of waiting around to open these things so we decided to up the block damage. It still takes time to open high durability chests but it’s much more reasonable.

Our final tweak was dropping only your backpack on death. That way we can keep our most important items or weapons on the hotbar and have something to defend ourselves with as we run back to get the rest of our stuff.

On top of our changes, there a couple additions to the game which has made the whole experience better. First up are Bicycles. Back in the day (way back in 2017), we had one mode of transportation, the Minibike, and we liked it. Until it got randomly got stuck in the ground and you may or may not have been able to dig it out of the ground….

Enter the Bicycle: a marvel of post-apocalyptic engineering that can either be crafted or obtained from completing the Tier 1 quest reward.. It doesn’t need gas, it’s faster than running, and if you sprint it consumes a moderate amount of stamina. And the best part? It has yet to get stuck in the ground. There are a few other vehicles that have been added over the years. Right now we’re working towards crafting motorcylces as soon as we can craft or find enough forged steel. There’s also a 4×4 truck and a Gyrocopter waiting at the tail end of the Grease Monkey skill line.

Then there’s the Trader quests. I vaguely remember traders from our previous games. I don’t think we used them much and I think they weren’t easy to find. Now traders serve as quest hubs and a general store to bolster your supplies. The quests aren’t complicated they come in a variety of fetch, clear, and treasure hunt style. There are some quests that can only be completed at night which involve turning on a bunch of generators in a building and fighting off zombies. those are pretty fun.

Alright, the bicycle got stuck in a fence once but it came right out after I dismounted.

The quests help give a bit of direction on what to do with your day when your not scrounging around for food and supplies. The traders dole out some nice rewards to for completing them. The rewards very, sometimes all of the reward options are junk and sometimes you get a new tool or weapon you aren’t able to craft yet. After completing a certain number of quests a new tier is unlocked which garners better rewards. We just unlocked tier 3 quests last week.

November 2022 Recap

November was a busy month for me but not so much for the blog. We had visitors every weekend and despite that I found quite a bit of time to game and didn’t take much time to write. I’m going to try to rectify that this month.

I’m still participating in the Humble Choice group review effort which gives me at least one post a month. This month I took another look at Raji: An Ancient Epic and found it had changed since the last time I played it. I didn’t get too far the second time around. After reading everyone’s posts, it appears November’s Humble Choice didn’t have much to get excited about. I know I ended up skipping it.

Top 5 Games This Month

  1. Phantom Brave PC
  2. 7 Days to Die
  3. Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk
  4. Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
  5. Generation Zero

I finished Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk which ended up being one of the longest games I’ve played in a few years. Then, I decided to follow it up with yet another long game Phantom Brave PC. Whether that was a good idea or not remains to be seen. I’ve crested the 40 hour mark and I’m nearing the end of the main story.

Though I didn’t write about it this month, I have gotten back in to 7 Days to Die with Brother. After many years away, it’s become our go to game again. We’ve tweaked some settings to make things more enjoyable for us since we’ve already done the whole default settings thing before. The biggest improvements have been increasing player block damage to 200% so breaking high durability chests and safes takes a reasonable amount of time and increasing the 24 hour cycle to 2 hours so we have way more time to explore before preparing for a horde night.

We also finished up the alternate play through in Little Hope at the beginning of the month. The Curator’s Cut is shorter but you get to play different characters and make different decisions. We tried our best this time to keep everyone alive and see another ending and we “succeed” at both.

December Goals

  • Finish Phantom Brave PC: I’m only a few episodes away from finishing this game so I’m confident I can finish this one up by the end of the month. Who knows, I might even write about it!
  • Get to Day 14 in 7 Days to Die: With the 24 hour cycle set to two hours we average about a day and a half per play session. I think we should see day 14 by the end of the month. With the holidays at the end of the month we’ll see if we end up playing enough sessions to get there.

7 Days to Die: Mostly the Same but a Little Bit Different

7 Days to Die one of my most played games on Steam clocking in at just shy of 160 hour. My friend group and I played this into the ground for a few months in 2017. It was my first Zombie survival game and the first survival sandbox I’d played at a time when those were just starting to fall out of favor. By the time I had racked up 150 hours I felt like I had seen and done everything I wanted to and shelved it for years to come. Since then, I’ve played it two more times. Once for a few hours in 2020 and once more earlier this week.

My feelings in 2020 were much the same. There was nothing that was really new in the game even after 3 more years of being in “alpha”. The core mechanics were still the same and most of the new things were locked behind later game skills and resources. Since our saves have long since been wiped starting a new one didn’t do much for me. I was done after a few hours and felt indifferent to the experience.

Recently, Brother started playing it again on his own and asked if I wanted to play. Again, I felt indifferent towards the game but figured I could play it once more and see how another two years of “alpha” had gone. I spawned in to the new game and was met with the same tutorial I’d done a few times already. Punch plants, make a bed, punch more plants, make some clothes, punch a tree and some rocks and make a tool…the survival sandbox equivalent of “Use WASD to move.

Once that wass over and I met up with Brother I was pleasantly surprised to see that things had actually changed. For one, the small city we found ourselves in had a lot of buildings I’d never seen before. The residential area also had some new houses I’d never been in either. Right away, the game was feeling a little less stale.

There was a trader within 100 meters of us which offered some gear and quests to complete. They’re basic, fetch an item from a location, clear out a location of zombies, and find buried treasure, but they offer a a different play stlye from systematically exploring and looting every building. The rewards aren’t to shabby either. All quests reward some tokens that can be used at the trader to buy things and some quests even reward you with skill books, weapon mods, and other useful items.

Digging for buried treasure.

So far, guns seem to be easier to get. The pipe guns seem to be a new low tier gun that fire regular ammunition. I remember having tons of ammo in the past but guns being difficult to acquire. Things seem a bit more balanced now in that regard, I now have a pipe rifle and anywhere from 10-30 rounds at any given time. Melee seems to still be the most efficient style of combat for the early game but the gun comes in handy in some sticky situations.

This is our base, I’m not sure what it’s suppose to be but it sure looks sturdy!

After running some quests and gathering up a few materials we started looking for a place to set up a base. I came across a very sturdy looking industrial building. I’m not exactly sure what it is but the entrance is high off the ground and accessible by a ladder. There’s enough space for every thing we need right now and it’s close to the trader.

Setting down roots and starting to build up the base has left me feeling more attached to the game than I was in 2020. I can see at least a few more sessions in the future. I’m hesitant to say 7 Days to Die will make it in to the main game rotation but I can see the possibility. There’s a certain nostalgia factor for sure but there’s also enough that’s new right off the bat that makes me want to poke around for a few more hours.