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Red Thomas Posted:
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I am having a ton of fun in Conan Exiles, despite the relatively small amount of time I’ve had to play it.  It helps that the online server that I’ve been playing on is well moderated and includes a pretty relaxed community.  If I had any complaint, it would be that I think a bit more aggression would be nice.  It’s always good to have server bad guys to fight against, but there is something to be said for being able to be a bit more relaxed, too.

The last couple weeks have seen the expansion of Wolf Den, which I’m now calling Wolf Hall.  I’ve noticed a few more clans have built bases near me, but resources haven’t been problematic and no one is really so close that it’s an issue.  I’d be hosed if there were any sort of confrontation between us, though.  Lone-wolfing it has its advantages, but some of these guys are leaps and bounds ahead of me in capturing thralls and building up their bases of operations.

While the lightning effects are a little weak, the rest of the game’s environmental ambiance is really well done.

I’ve seen a bit more of the post-release game as I’ve worked my way down through the pseudo technology tree.  Working through the crafting options highlighted a few aspects of the game for me that I thought might be worth a share.  For one, there’s just so much stuff to build and Conan Exiles is generally a much more expanded game than the one I had quit some time back.

A whole lot of the stuff you can unlock via the feats system is flat out useless, and I think that’s awesome.  So much of it is purely cosmetic, that it gives each individual and clan an opportunity to create their own culture.  Sure, the basic exterior of bases are relatively bland in many cases, but the interiors on the server I’m playing on are starting to really develop unique flavors with respect to interior design.  I’m not the HGTV type like my wife, but I still really enjoy seeing that sort of variety in the game.

I’ve often said that truly dynamic content only comes from players and isn’t something developers can really contribute to other than obliquely.   Games like Conan Exiles are the ultimate in dynamic experiences, and purely cosmetic unlocks are a great tool for enabling that sort of thing.

Another thing that Funcom executed well in Conan Exiles is spreading out resources.  I think some resources are a little too common, but many are fairly unique to specific locations on the expanded map.  That creates an additional sense of culture as clans building in one area will tend to adopt certain unique tools, as opposed to another.  Players might see more explosives from desert clans and more siege equipment from the clans in the jungle or forest biomes, for instance.  On my server, I’ve noticed players working out trade deals to acquire resources from other regions, too. 

Wolf Hall has expanded from a covert base of operations to a forward operations facility. All the thralls even make it feel like I have friends!

That kind of gives me a lot of hope for expansions on down the road.  I’d like to see an expansion of unique materials and an expanded tech tree to increase the diversity in NPC and player clans.  The only problem would be figuring out a way to optimize the net-code a little more.  I’d heard after my last article that a lot of people were having issues with latency and disconnects.  I thought it was likely a problem with the third-party networks, since these issues seemed way more common among console gamers, and let’s be honest…  No one really cares about folks who can’t be bothered to game on a real platform.

I did notice as the server I play on began to mature, some issues developed for me, too.  I’ve had problems clicking the build all button, though the build 10 button usually works and the build one at a time button only fails rarely.  It could be an issue with latency, but I haven’t really noticed other issues that would support the theory.

More likely, I think it’s probably an issue with the server itself, because these problems seemed to be a little worse with more players logged in, as well they seem to be consistently getting a little worse as players build new bases and expand in the game over time.  The problem with this theory is what it means for the game if it turns out to be true.

To expand the game world, Funcom is going to have to address the latency issues created by the third-party networks that console gamers are forced to use, as well as addressing resource efficiency issues in the server code.  Those issues will need to be addressed at the least in order to support the additional map-size and inevitable player structures.  If they can deal with those problems, then the future of Conan Exiles could look really good.  Maybe it’ll even be good enough to push survival games back into the limelight.

My fingers are crossed, but I have work to do in the meantime.  One of the local clans raided a Nordheimer village and took a chef that I’ve had my eye on.  I want her back.  Those bastards are about to learn that they’ve messed with the wrong Cherokee.


Red Thomas

A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture.