Conan Exiles free to play
The world of Conan is one steeped with plenty of lore to get absorbed into, and many different aspects of that lore that can be looked at; something that while for me, personally, is not what I would do as I have never found the Conan lore that exciting. I can say it is put to work extremely well in Funcom’s latest game that just recently went into Steam Early Access, Conan Exiles. Conan Exiles is an open world sandbox survival game, and with the constant updates from its developer, there is always something new to see, so let us wander the wastes to explore its vastness together.
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The minimal story and its impact are the first element I would like to touch on. The base story is vague and very wide open, something some people may call laziness, but I actually think it’s one of the most redeeming qualities, and why I like the character creation system that follows after it. Us, as the player, take the role of an exile from one of the game’s numerous clans, now bound to a cross in the middle of a giant desert, until a wandering exile frees you and sets you on your way. That is the basis of the story, and the reason why I find this redeeming is you get to ultimately build your own legacy from square one, something most games do not offer, especially not to this depth as the game progresses. I would like to point out my only real negative with a story like this is it can feel too wide open in some instances, and with Conan Exiles, it gets close to doing that, but never fully crosses the line.
Our next area of interest is the character creation system the game uses. I find the character creation system can be lacking in its current state of the game as not all the gods have been added in yet if the worshipper stones in this screen state anything, but I can see where, towards the end of development, it could become much more fleshed out, and more open to creative play. I also feel like the options you have for character designs, while very fitting to the Conan universe, are limiting to the player. That is not to say I think the character creator system as a whole is bad, more that it feels like there could be more options for changing how you look, and with mods being a feature for the game, mods could add some new options we may not see yet.
Coming in after is the overall gameplay and some of the good, as well as bad things, that I think it has in its current state. Conan Exiles has some of the best gameplay when it comes to the gathering, crafting, and leveling systems used in the game, the crafting and leveling being tied together as one entity for preview purposes. I say this because as you level, you gain two things each time; you gain a skill point to put into a stat of your choosing, and you gain a crafting point, which can be used to learn different things to craft as you go along your journey. Utilizing this system to its fullest will save your life as learning to build certain items first may help with early survival, but ultimately hurts you later in the game where a stronger weapon may be needed. This brings up my only bad point about these systems, the fact that when you build with certain skills it locks you into certain crafts. It is not as punishing later but early, it hits you hard, and to an unfair degree.
The only other major mechanic I feel needs to be talked about here is the combat, which is also tied back into the crafting and leveling system. This mechanic depends on what weapon you plan to go with for that character; so where one character may utilize accuracy to be a bowman, who will have a stronger chance at range versus up close, someone who utilizes strength may survive longer in combat due to pure melee damage alone. These choices will also affect your crafting route where someone with accuracy may go a bow heavy route, and avoid any melee weapon, but also use a dagger for minor protections, versus someone with strength, who may focus on the variety of melee weapons the game offers.
Single-player content is our next field of discussion, one of the areas I feel needs the most care with future patches. The single-player and co-op experience that Conan Exiles offers was good for the most part, though a few bugs have ruined what some would consider fun in the mode. The biggest draw to the single player mode I have found is you have more control of where you can build, and what you want your character to be.
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You are still required to focus on survival, and this does impact your effectiveness later, but it is less noticed as depending on how you set up the game, you shape your leveling experience, and ultimately your final goal. Co-op can be fun, I will admit, as I did dabble in it for a few hours with a friend, but it has a multitude of connection issues not seen in the online area of the game that can ruin the experience. I think the worst part of it is co-op can feel impossible, with distance glitches and disconnection issues galore; it can be quite frequent as well, but since it is in early alpha, I can not wait to see what this mode can really become. The times I did get it to work, I had a blast just exploring the lands around, me and fighting for our survival as a team.