If you had a childhood like mine, seeing Arnold take on the role of Conan the Barbarian and the glorious haired James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, or reading the original stories of Robert E. Howard, or even sneaking a few peeks at the comic books, then this is the game for you.
As of May 08th of 2018 Conan Exiles has fully launched. In this article, we will talk about the good, the bad, and the silly from its time in Early Access.
What Is Conan Exiles?
Conan Exiles is made by Funcom. A company that has had its own ups and downs over the years. And a company that you either love or hate. From Anarchy Online to Age of Conan, to The Secret World, and many more games over the years. Now, what is Conan Exiles? Well on the surface it is a survival game set in the Hyborian Age of Conan.
What sets it apart from other such games like ARK or Life is Feudal, Dark & Light or 7 Days to Die and the myriad of other survival games is the game’s focus. What would be a Conan title without visceral combat? Probably not very much a Conan game. While there is building massive fortresses in Conan Exiles, it is the combat that sets it apart.
Not only do you battle the elements from the arid desert to the steaming jungle, the fog-shrouded highlands to the icy peaks, and the blistering heat of the volcano. But you must also face the enemies of the Exiled Lands. From other exiles, both AI and Player, if you play on a PVP server, to the uncaring wildlife and eldritch enemies of long-forgotten ages.
All must be fought and survived if you are to make it through the Exiled Lands. The current release so far is stable with very little in the way of bugs and a plethora of things you can do.
What Can You Do? Well, A Lot Actually…
I will do my best to keep from spoiling anything. You can build fortresses and towns. The construction system being similar to other survival games of placing down square or triangle foundations and then building from there.
Each foundation is a few feet long and wide with the height being adjustable up to about 6ish feet. There’s a large number of crafting stations, each with their own unique uses and even hidden recipes. Fighting, dungeon crawling, raiding the bases of your enemies (on PvP servers), Role Playing (on RP servers), scaling the cliffs and walls with the Climbing System to see breathtaking vistas or in aid of raiding an encampment, and even simply just decorating things.
Each server owned by a person can have even the smallest of settings tweaked in some way or another, and with modding support, even more, things can be added in or tweaked.
How Does The Game Begin?
The game starts you out as all games do with character creation. Then from there, you can do what you wish. Currently, the races that are in the game are only cosmetic and flavor for if you want a different look or to role-play.
From proud Cimmerians such as Conan to Stygians like Toth Amon. The Khitan, cannibalistic Darfari, Pict, Nemedian, tribal Himelian, Hyrkanian, Turanian, Kushite, Shemite, Vendyhan, Zamorian, piratical Zingarian, the Aesir and Vanir of Nordheim, to the Hyborians.
Such as the Aquilonians, Brythunians, Hyperboreans, Koth, Ophir, Argosseans, Corinthians, and the Border Kingdoms. There is hope that one day these picks will add some extra flavor to your choice. The combat system was changed before release to make it more interesting.
The Previous Versions of Conan Exiles
In previous versions, it was much like any survival game. With left click being light attack and right click being power attack. In the beginning, it was simply a “Click until either you or your enemies HP drops to zero.” Then it was tied in with stamina. So you had to balance out your HP, your attacks, and your stamina but was still much the same.
The combat update, however, changed it all. Combat is still tied to stamina but now you chain combos together mixing light and heavy attacks and each weapon type has their own animations and benefits. Two-handed swords have wide swinging arcs and give you a real ‘barbarian’ feel as you sunder your enemies armor.
Daggers are fast hitting acrobatic type fights which can cause your foes to bleed out. Which made things doubly dangerous with the addition of poisons. Those favoring the bow can now aim for an enemy’s leg to cripple them. Or, even, try and trick shot arrows by making them ricochet.
These are just a few of the weapon types in the game. Funcom devs also seem to be supporting the game as well even after release through hotfixes and potential expansion/DLC in the future.
Conan Exiles Did Have a Few Rough Parts…
In Early Access, and a few interesting bugs that were good for a laugh. From the update that made the undead do no damage. Which was funny and a little sad to see the great Undead Dragon trying it’s hardest to hurt you only to just push you around. To the update that made it impossible to die. To starvation to dehydration, leaping off the tops of mountains, and running through the ‘Ghost Fence’ the boundary of the map; death would refuse to take you.
Or the update that brought in the Frozen Northlands, the animals there would spawn in large clusters and all of them, from great wolves and bears to lowly Rams and deer, would aggro you from miles away and launch themselves like player seeking missiles with such a berserker fury as if you were their family’s long hated blood enemy.
Some bugs, however, were less fun. Such as placing something that took a fair bit of farming and resources to make only to see it fade to dust as soon as it was placed. Either instantly crumbling or just dropping through the world.
…And A Rocky Start
Early Access launch also had its rocky start through the players themselves on the official servers. From trolls building massive walls to keep players from getting into the starting area, to even camping the spawn in point for new chars to repeatedly kill them.
This is just a small sample of many. Through it, all though the developers seem to have learned through each update, each patch, each tiny tweak.
Let’s hope they continue to show as much love for the game now as they did then. Sadly, not everything the developers were wanting to add in was able to be done so at launch. From the Sorcery system, the better Thrall AI management, to even animal taming to try and break creatures such as the mighty Mammoth’s in the north or the Rhinos of the desert.
This all said I must warn that the game is definitely not kid friendly. From the option to pick full nudity, to even just the visceral combat such as lopping off limbs and heads or slicing your enemies in half at the waist. You can send the body parts flying.
If none of this bothers you and you still want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women then Conan Exiles may be the game for you.