This week at PAX East we got the chance to catch up with the Conan Exiles team. It is great to see the Conan franchise back in video games and Funcom has done a solid job combining survival elements into the open world format. Rough and brutal as always, the game pulls no punches. We spoke with Oscar Lopez Lacalle about the state of the game and some upcoming changes. He also shared some survival tips with us, if you are like me, your first few runs did not go very far.
Oscar explained that the game is tricky at the beginning. Armor plays a huge part in staying alive so the faster you can make armor the better off you’ll be. The ability to fight and survive is directly tied to your gear. I made the mistake of crafting out a base camp and really you can go through the game without it. Also, dodge is your friend, make sure you practice it a lot while gathering rocks.
The game map slowly pushes you north out of the desert. As you go through there are really three tiers of play. The south being tier one moving into the snow-capped mountains of tier three. Once you get to the mid-range tier and collect iron weapons and armor, it is great to go back to tier one and dominate to collect resources. The “stone tier” as Oscar called it, is more experimental than anything else. It is where you learn everything and try out different options. By tier two, players should have a solid understanding of the game and know how to make the most of resources and dangerous situations.
Oscar went into the lore of Robert E. Howard’s world and said that they wanted to include as many story elements into the game play as possible. The world is open and players make the call so putting in heavy story lines or linear quests takes away from that freedom. Howard’s works can be found in the landscape, religion system, and brutality of the world. They want to do more with the gods as right now only four exist in the game. Even though Oscar laughs that Crom doesn’t count, because he doesn’t care.
Not only are the team working on more gods, they are also working on mounts and pets. As the game has done so well, they are re-investing heavily into design. These will not be out for a while, but Oscar was excited to share the information. We also talked about expanding weapon selections and he said that spears are coming! Also, the combination in which you use weapons makes a big difference. Daggers can deliver poisons where as maces will do well against armor. Two handed maces will eventually bring in knock down mechanics for a battle. All of these are in the works and the team is keeping a close eye on how the players use everything.
Oscar mentioned more work being done on the siege system. They want to bring in a lot of features for players to enjoy. One of them is catapulting corpses into a keep to spread decay. The siege platforms will be important as several options will be available for players. Whether you want to build towers or weapons, a lot is about to come into play.
Conan Exiles has been a solid hit for Funcom and Howard fans. The team is now able to really polish the game and bring in a lot more features. Oscar’s quote about where Conan is going is: “We’re not just a survival game, we want to expand the mechanics of a survival game with Conan.” If Funcom keeps to a solid schedule these updates will be coming in fast. Players should have a lot to look forward to in the coming months as more fans continue to join the fight in the wastelands.