On May 8th, Conan Exiles will launch on PC, PS4, and XBOX One. That’s right, something that went into Early Access on Steam is coming out of Early Access and actually launching just about a year later. Praise be to Crom! And when it comes, Conan Exiles is coming with a ton of new content, improvements, freeform climbing, new progression systems, a brand new combat system, new biomes, new dungeons, new new new new. Basically, they took the existing systems in Conan Exiles, turned them up to 11 and polished them. And it’s all coming in just about one month on May 8th.
To say that Conan Exiles has come a long way since its Early Access launch would be an understatement. Unlike many Early Access games, Conan went into the EA phase with a real intent to listen to feedback, address issues, build and polish systems and actually launch a year later. The melee combat system has been completely overhauled. You know weave light and heavy attacks with ease, creating combos and ending with finishers that have real impact. Gone is the Elder Scrolls-esque light and heavy combat, and in its place is something that feels a lot more akin to Monster Hunter, and it’s satisfying as heck to play with in practice.
Joel Bylos also admitted during our presentation to (rightly) being highly impressed with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s climbing system. So much so, that Funcom went ahead and put it into the game. Using stamina, you can climb virtually anything in the world, and they even added something called the Heroic Plunge where you run and jump off a ledge and then turn to slide and cling to the rock face, as an easy way to rappel down mountains from great heights. It’s as fun to play as it sounds.
All told, over 400 new items have been added to the game, the map size has more than doubled - with a volcano biome and a swamp biome being added at launch - complete with new dungeons to delve into in each as well. Add in the new revamped combat, the Purge System that sort of “closes” the loop in PVE gameplay letting you defend your base against hordes of onrushing enemies, new loot, new recipes, and so forth… and yeah, it’s safe to see why Funcom feels Conan Exiles is ready for Prime Time. Though its server size is still on the small side (around 40 people), Conan Exiles to me feels a lot like what Age of Conan could have been as an MMO if it were made today and not in an era of Theme Park gameplay. It’s this massive, brutal, sandbox world with tightly polished combat, crafting, and real goals in both PVP (the sieges) and PVE (the purges).
The Purges are one of the coolest new features, and are a great way to add real danger for PVE fans. While they exist on PVP server types too, the Purges are a way to add real consequence and difficulty for PVE fans - after all, PVE servers don’t have the sieges and razing of bases. As you play, you’ll slowly fill a purge meter as you progress, kill, loot, build, explore, and so forth. When that meter fills, you’ll be told that you have x-amount of time to prepare your base (personal or your clan’s) before the purge begins.
You can set up defenses, including AI-controlled minions, and then the sort of tower-defense action game begins. You’re fighting off waves of appropriately region-themed mobs, and if you lose, there’s a good chance your base will be in tatters when you return. No imagine this on a PVP server where you’re not only fighting of NPCs, but other player clans as well.You get the picture.
All things told, Conan Exiles is looking really sharp for its May 8th launch. Hell, it even added farming for your bases, so you can grow different things for crafting, cooking, and so forth. Most games long out of Early Access don’t have that, and as your resident farming-in-games-is-fun guru, I’m pretty stoked about that.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Conan Exiles next month, when we begin our final review of the survival RPG.