I like A11. My impression is this from playing multiplayer last night - it’s more luck based than ever at the start. There is absolutely amazing quality loot to find now but you won’t find it fast. The game is much more rewarding now towards exploring but POIs in random gen are as scarce as they’ve ever been. I would say the main difficulty comes from how rare guns are now. It is no longer possible to craft guns easily by taking them apart then building molds to make more pieces. Now you need to find each piece to make the gun along with the ‘recipe’. We played all last night and only have a small amount of guns. Each player might have a recipe or two to build some but no one has access to everything. We didn’t have enough parts except to make a gun or two. The crossbow is also gated now behind leather and forge books I believe so that isn’t possible to craft within minutes of starting. The new bow replacement is fast to craft but only about 30-50% effective as the crossbow. The blunderbuss (new gun) is very easy to craft but is only useful as a emergency weapon when fighting close.
It is possible to find better quality, more effective loot randomly day 1. Leveling is required to craft high quality items yet to level combat is all but required. Some experience is gained from crafting but not enough. Levels only increase as far as I can tell so the more time played the more leveling regardless of efficiency of the character. Wellness is a huge feedback loop, play well it rewards, if dying players get trapped with a character with (50% stamina/health reminds me of Souls games). Given the drastically slower start and how wellness works the game difficulty has by my estimation at least doubled early game. Yet if players can tough it out and last long enough by late game characters should now be much stronger (2-3x as strong?). A more combat and exploration play style oriented is vastly more rewarding now.
I should also mention zombie AI has increased decently. Our base was tunneled into on day 6. That type of attack had never once happened before. A horde of ~20 dogs also attacked the base during daylight on day 6. I’m enjoying the new challenges but be prepared to die much more.