This game is like a roller coaster - it has many ups and downs. I feel like we're currently in a down with A12.
For me, Alpha 9 was this game's zenith.
It worked, it was good looking and there were minimal game breakers (but quite a few dupes).
The crafting grid was useful, and recipes readable if you knew them.
Biomes didn't really blend but they were all there and functional, flowing beautifully with hilltops and cliffs and flats and random islands in giant lakes. Rivers existed and wound their way through landscapes randomly. It felt real.
Hordes worked, coming and going as they pleased. They consisted of a good mix of zeds and followed sort-of predictable patterns.
End-game content was (and still is) pretty limited, but there was always stuff to do.
It didn't take weeks in-game to be able to look after yourself and there was no absurdly long list of recipe gates preventing you from doing fairly simple and intuitive things. For the most part, if you had the resources you could do it.
To survive, all you really needed was a good, defensible location and a determination to make it yours.
Everything else you could find underground or a short walk from the front door, past your huge walls and defensive spikes.
Some people didn't like this mixture of easy to learn but harder to master. I loved it and I sank hundreds of hours into A9.
A10 came along and 7DTD changed a little. We got a heatmap. Spider zeds became scouts that came when you did too much cooking or forging and they brought hordes with them if you didn't cap them ASAP. That was the biggest change. It didn't ruin the game at all, it just meant your defences had to be even better. You could still take care of yourself and play the same way (mostly).
Everything else was still pretty good, I even got my feet wet in online MP and discovered things like vanishing trees and new defence ideas. I sank hundreds of hours into A10 too.
Then... the rollercoaster passed its apex and started heading down when A11 was launched.
The world switched to Unity 5 and, I think, became much uglier. Terrain became difficult to navigate and felt much more rigid. It didn't "flow". Rivers were dead straight, cliff-sided and always divided biomes. I could be wrong, but I think this is when devs also added biome blending. This on its own wasn't bad except they also added fog and biome effects. The fog was everywhere, in my house, outside my house, underground, just everywhere. It was ugly and unnecessary. It was like they turned the atmosphere dial past 10 and broke it ... and left it broken. Some biomes became nearly impassable at all times of day with dust and fog in the air all the time.
The devs also introduced dog hordes on day 6 in the 7 day cycle. Why? I don't know. I just knew that without warning on day 6 you would find yourself assaulted by (sometimes) 20+ dogs, usually being mauled to death if ill-equipped.
Speaking of ill-equipped, the devs also introduced item quality into this build... and the much-maligned forge-gate, Forge Ahead.
Great concepts, but hamfisted implementations.
The game became tedious in the first week or so. Your choice of play style was taken from you. You now HAD to survive by looting, because unless you found Forge Ahead, you couldn't do anything. You couldn't even replace your supercrap stone tools with supercrap metal tools that broke almost as quickly.
You HAD to go into caves to find randomly allocated ores.
You HAD to do all of this with utterly crap tools and equipment before ridiculously oversized dog hordes found you. The game became 6 days to die and the rollercoaster sank lower with every hour I played. I devoted significantly fewer hours to A11, but I did get back into MP just before A12 came out.
Speaking of A12...
The devs introduced a great sounding RGEN3. A poorly working RGEN3. Biomes became dictated by height and rivers vanished. Most of the world is desert (which is now THE place to be) and everywhere else is full of bears. In my first few spawns on literally THE easiest, most bludgy settings that still involved zombies I died in under 2 minutes. Most times involved getting eaten by a bear that I spawned next to, the other one that sticks out to me was spawning in the middle of a city and getting eaten by dogs as soon as I had left my "safe" bubble.
I then turned off zombies and found the game to be marvellously enjoyable. I still had bears everywhere to worry about, but the sheer number of game-limiting recipe gates didn't bother me. The fact that I now had to grind for 2 in-game weeks to even find Forge Ahead or another recipe for anything/everything remotely useful wasn't such a bad thing.
The paucity of biomes other than desert is thoroughly disappointing though. The rapidity with which heighmaps change can render entire biomes (like plains) mere metres thick before the next biome up (forest) appears and then disappears into pine forest and snowy pine forest. The game world is a mere shadow of its former A9/10 self.
I am pleased to say, however, that the devs have tweaked the item quality system and you're now endowed with less-crap crap tools at the start. I hear you can still get eaten by dogs on day 6 though. Unfortunately, in truth, I've become so disillusioned with this game that I'm yet to make it to day 6 in A12. It just isn't fun to play now.
Also, my minibike keeps vanishing when I open/close the chassis for the 2nd time. That really annoys me, given the amount of resources one must expend in order to craft it in a vast, sparse and depressingly depressing desert.
Yes, the rollercoaster is going down and picking up speed.
The devs have also heralded further un-fun-en-ing (unfunnening?) with the announcement of their intent to remove the game's core crafting grid mechanic and replace it with a list based crafting menu thingy that sounds like shattered dreams and sweaty, sleepless nights (not the good kind).
And so I must say with much regret and a stabbing feeling where my heart was... I do not currently recommend this game.