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In older versions of 7D2D, zombies (it seemed to me) would not attack the ground, nor even a hatch that they were standing on. Even crawler zombies seemed to only attack blocks in front of them, and not ones they were on top of. Is that still the case?

Is building a base completely underground, with a hatch level with the natural contour of the ground a practical option? Looking for some feedback prior to embarking on this massive undertaking.

  • Aren't you basically answering your question with that update, and isn't that information already given in the existing answers? – Joachim Jun 19 '19 at 21:12
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    I guess I am answering the question, but none of the existing answers are new enough to be correct now. None of them say "yes they can attack downward". I'll revert the edit and make it an answer. – Tim S. Jun 20 '19 at 19:59
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In older versions of 7D2D (earlier October of last year) zombies couldn't attack/dig vertically down, and or break ground hatches even if they were present at the surface. The only way they should be able to "attack down" is if they were to get wedged or stuck in a hole somewhere around the hatch.

Similarly they can't attack up, so if for example you're suspended above iron bars over an open ground, they'll just crowd under you while you hover. Some factors you've got to keep in mind is of the feral horde's weight that may be on your hatch, as that could cause it to cave in.

To answer your question though,even if the hatch appears to be on the ground, it still is using that one block above ground where it is placed. So technically the hatches hit box is waist level and that's why they are able to hit it.

Just a quick tip, but digging at an angle until you hit bedrock is fairly effective if you can manage. By then, you'd be a long distance from your entrance. When a horde spawns, they want to go directly to you, where you're standing at. So yes, they'd be above you, but away from the hatch, which could prove to be useful.

  • Is that to say that digging a divit in the ground (surrounded by ramps) (something that looks like this \_/ ) would be sufficient to keep them from hitting it? If the hatch occupies the block above it, that block would be even with the ramps... I might have to test this, sounds promising based on that logic. – Tim S. May 6 '16 at 15:16
  • That sounds like a good technique actually, I don't see why it wouldn't work as the hatch would be below level surface for them to hit. If it's below waste level they shouldn't be able to reach the hatches hit box. Of course there's the exception mentioned before (if they're wedged or stuck in a hole around your hatch). I'll test this myself as well, and get back to you with my findings, but it does sound promising and very possible. – Izayuh May 6 '16 at 15:53
  • Didn't work. They still attacked the ramps, even when the ground was leveled so that there was no gap between the ground at the top of the ramp, they still damaged it. Almost died, should have made another exit.. :) – Tim S. May 7 '16 at 20:34
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Adding an answer now that none of the existing questions are correct due to gameplay changes.

Zombies can now (posted as of Alpha 17.4) attack downward. I'm not sure when exactly this went into effect, but they can now hit the ground or block that is directly underneath them. This includes, dirt, stone, hatches, and any other block. It has definitely changed the strategy I employ in dealing with the zombies, as their new AI has much more effective pathfinding and can get to you much easier.

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I have had zombies dig underneath a wall by digging down one block then forward under the wall. They only dug down one block, so only crawlers could go through the gap, but they did it. Similarly, I have also had zombies dig through a bunch of sand after falling into a pit, then dig up through my floor. I don't know about older builds (only started playing recently) but it seems in current builds that yes, they CAN dig up and down.

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they can dig at angles above or below them if the terrain is shaped in a way that puts the hit box somewhere "in front" of them

they can not dig in a direct vertical line above or below them

in order to take advantage of this fact the dirt/floor the zombie is walking on must be 100% smooth and have nothing to change their elevation as they move around on it

if you have any kind of ramping or bumps in the dirt or tiny hill effects in the terrain it can change what blocks are considered "in front" of the zombie and then they may end up taking out blocks slightly above or below the walk path

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