Conan Exiles; Infinite Gathering, Minimal Slaying – Early Access Review
Conan Exiles is developed by Funcom (who made Anarchy Online) using the Unreal engine. In this open-world survival game set in the Conan the Barbarian universe you have to survive through building and dominating.
The game opens with your character hanging on a cross crucifixion style. The selection for your characters attributes are broad – not only 11 races from the Conan universe to choose from but hair-and eye colour, physique and also increase/decrease breast or penis size! (How that adds to the gameplay other than immature giggles I am yet to find out).
The gameplay centres on the theme of survival. Your character will need shelter, clothing, weapons, food, water and the skills to combat the environment and enemies.
The tools you use will wear out, so you always need to stock up on wood, plant fiber and stone to keep that blade sharp and the fire burning.
Crafting and Building
You begin by gathering rocks and wood (get as much as you can because you are going to need loads of this later on). This is one of the games faults – you spend hours gathering rocks, sticks, woods and plants to build tools and weapons. This takes away so much from the game experience for me as I want to get out there and start the mission! The game lacks variety and objectives – give me a quest!
With tender loving care your primitive shelter can turn into a small empire through enslaving thralls that will look after your house, dance for you and craft your weapons.
The shortcut commands (number 1-8 on the screen) makes building faster and you can create a queue for what you need to create in your inventory.
Religion and worship play a big part of the game as showing your devotion will reward you with an Avatar – a god in the body of an enormous creature that will fight alongside you on your conquering.
You can choose from playing single player where you can play around in your own sandbox and adjust the settings on your server to enable/unable sandstorms and resource spawn rate. Here you can really wallow in the gameplay and take your time building and get familiar with the game. Some things you may discover through trial and error, as it took me a few times to kill hyenas and figure out that if you slash the corpse you can collect more hides from it.
Multiplayer is fast paced and deadly and you’re objective is to dominate other players with the help of your very own pet – the Avatar. You can choose between PvP (Player versus Player) PvE (Player versus Environment).
By joining a public server I quickly realised that a lot of people were on the same page as me when it comes to building. The sense of community and helping each other is strong and I can see how clans and forums are developing. Though it’s all fun and games until someone gets their settlement smashed to bits so choose your alliances wisely.
As it is an early access game, be prepared for bugs along with server connection issues, which was very obvious when joining public servers – and talking to other players I understand that it is a common problem.
In this hostile world you can either enslave your enemies or kill them – whatever suits your needs.
To acquire your own slaves you firstly need to build a ‘Wheel of Pain’ to break the slaves into submission. To bring them to your settlement you need a good old fashion truncheon to knock them unconscious and Fiber Bindings (rope) to drag them home. This can be quite tricky! You will come across enemy settlements with several inhabitants that will all attack at the same time.
Who is the game for if all I see online are uploaded photos of enlarged breasts and willies? They are underestimating our intelligence, I think we deserve better than this. To make the game more playable; they could add problem solving, instead of harvesting I want a problem to figure out.
I spent 5 hours building an Armorer’s Bench! Now when I have it I can’t use it as I don’t have enough hides. It is too time-consuming to chop wood and stones when you get so little for it. Right now I’m trying to save up for the Wheel of Pain and I am ready to give up. What the developers need is to catch the players early on to keep us playing the game.
The developers took on a big brand name and along with it you adopt the Conan Universe, which started out as a fictional character in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales Magazines. We have also seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscly take on this heroic figure in films like Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer. With the name Conan comes great responsibility, as they have the title to attract the players – don’t waste it.
It’s clear that a lot of work is still ahead in getting the final version. This game has huge potential to become a massive multi- and single player game. The quality of the gameplay needs improvement. Graphics need to look better and the combat needs more variety. I’m cautiously hopeful.