This week Funcom gave their official date for early access to Conan Exiles. The game was expected to host early access back in the autumn, but Funcom has moved the date into January 2017. Well, that is right around the corner. As big fans of Conan here at the site we are very excited for this game. There are still some questions about how the Hyborian Age will fit into the survival game genre. In many ways Conan is the perfect fit, harsh and brutal just like the stories, Conan’s mythos lends itself to a very hardcore crowd. That audience is perfect for the survival genre and vice versa, survival fans may be in for a treat with a tough fantasy take on the genre which has been embedded in the zombie zone for years now. So, with that here are the Top 5 hopes we have for Conan Exiles.
5. True to the Lore
With every Conan game you have to stick to what works. The original stores work, and still work incredible well almost 90 years later. Conan predates Lord of the Rings as far as fantasy goes and Tolkien was documented as being a fan of Robert E. Howard’s stories. So, the point here is, stick to the lore. You play a character in Hyboria and while you may run into Conan, it is really the harsh world that is the true hero of this game. Taking all of the swords, sorcery, and survival into a fast paced experience for gamers is a great mix. Now, Exiles does take place outside the normal Conan locations, so don’t expect to find the Tower of the Elephant anywhere to climb. However, keeping true to the lore with some great game play will introduce a lot of new people to Conan in 2017.
4. Hack and Slash
In our politically correct world, there does need to be some games that take the risk and walk on the edge. Funcom has always been about the more adult content in Age of Conan and we expect much of the same with Exiles. The thing is, combat and attacks should be fast and furious in this game but, not too fast. If you are dying too quickly in a survival based world that is no fun. Especially when you have a lot to lose. Combat is important to any sword and sorcery fan so making sure the balance and play style works for fans really has our expectations high. Age of Conan did a great job of changing up the traditional MMO hotbar when it first launched. Let’s hope that Exiles adds a bit more to the survival genre. No one wants to be one shot killed like in DayZ.
3. A Crafting System that is Fun
Dear Funcom, make your crafting system Fun! So many of these games recreate traditional crafting systems and force players to go through what I call a “craft grind” to make the best gear. After all of these games have come out, maybe it is time to change the crafting system up a little. Hopefully, Funcom will get this message and put some joy or rewards into their crafting that can surprise players. Survival games always follow the set, gather rocks and stones, and then make a club, etc. format. Let’s see what Funcom does with this system and hopefully it breathes new life into a game mechanic that is in desperate need of a change.
2. Logical PvP
Logic and PvP are never used in the same sentence, yet here we are… Exiles needs to have a system that makes sense when it comes to PvP. Most survival games are kill or be killed. It is simple really, if you see another player, you are in trouble. That will hold true in Conan Exiles I am sure, but perhaps adding in some more layers to PvP would enhance the experience. The game is already talking about player built cities and enslaved NPCs. If these pieces exist, then it would sucks if someone comes along while you are offline and destroys everything you have worked for (see ARK: Survival). Hosting servers that are a free for all is fine, but players may want a more structured environment to PvP and let’s hope Funcom has some different levels for people to join.
Like any survival game you are joining a world at the bottom. It is the lowest common denominator of gameplay. You start with nothing and must survive. I remember playing DayZ and finally making it all the way to the airfield to find guns. I considered that a major win. There is nothing epic about survival games, the victory comes in beating the small challenges in the moment. Goals like finding food, making a weapon, and surviving your first fight mean a lot more to the player than any epic MMO. Conan Exiles has a lot of these little victories built into the game. Hosting altars and finding lost artifacts are two of them that will be awesome to witness during the game. When you break any game down to the core human emotions of survival, you have to make it fun. We’re sure the development team can pull it off and we’re excited to see what they have to show. Only about two months until early access, see you then!