At PAX East, there were few games in alpha quite as polished as Conan Exiles. With gorgeous textures on even starting characters’ gear and outfits, Funcom’s new title is an open-world survival game steeped in the rich lore of the Conan universe. Players can craft from early on with ingredients found or scavenged in the world, with certain recipes requiring a crafting station to be created first.
One of the more intriguing things about the game is how players are able to host their own servers with a slew of options for customization such as time of day, loot rules, PVP/PVE, building, hunger/thirst conditions. The sliders available on the server administration window offered many robust options to tweak to make your server as easy-going or as hardcore as you might want. However, if you’d prefer to join someone else’s server, that’s also an option.
Still in early access, Conan Exiles will have an Xbox game preview in third quarter 2017, with everyone else getting the preview in first quarter 2018. Another of the interesting features of this game is its corruption mechanic. If you venture into places full of the undead, your character starts acquiring a corruption debuff that can be removed by an entertainer NPC that you have to capture. The thrall mechanics are also pretty intriguing. As you encounter certain NPCs in the world, you can capture them and bring them back to your base or settlement and force them to work for you in various capacities such as guards or crafters. If you want to improve your crafting, go out and nab yourself a crafter and make them a thrall. Unlike many other games, most of the enemies you will fight are fellow humans, not fantasy monsters.
The game has other mechanics to make it a challenge to survive, such as realistic weather. In the current desert biome available, if you don’t have a certain special mask, you can’t go out in sandstorms. In the upcoming highland biome, the cold will be a danger to all.
We spoke with Lead Designer Oscar Lopez about the game’s future and the features the team intends to add. One of the first things he revealed was the advent of siege engines. Conan Exiles is, after all, a base-building and survival game, so you need a way to tackle an opponent’s lavish settlement. I asked him what makes this game different from others in its genre, and Lopez immediately replied that the Conan lore was the key. With such a huge base of lore to draw upon, he said that there really wasn’t any need to create new stories. As we were playing, he pointed out the religion system that affects gameplay as well. The gods in Cimmerian lore created by Robert E. Howard can manifest as avatars and huge statues that you can use to wreak havoc on opposing players.
Future content will be available coming later this year. This early access game is currently available on Steam.