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Conan Exiles

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This is my initial review after just putting in 15 hours of play in the last 24 hours.

Prior to it's release on the 31st I had not heard of it what so ever. I saw it up on popular releases in the Steam store and read that it was a survival builder set in the theme of Conan and it's early access. I'm a fan of the genre of game and the theme of Conan so I figure I may keep and eye on it. Later that night my curiosity got the better of me and I went to Twitch to see if anyone was streaming it. To my surprise yes there was and it had 50k+ viewers total checking out the game. After watching 2 hours of game play I purchased it.

Loading in they have a disclaimer of it being early access and what to expect and what they promise to add to the game over the coming months of development. It all sounds very nice and it sounds to be a very true to the Conan world. I also hear the sounds building in the background of the all so familiar music starting to come to life and then on the title screen it hits in full. I am inspired to get in there and crush my enemies, see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of their women!

 

Ok so on to the gameplay....

 

There is so much going on in this game already and I have only tickled a fraction of it. There is only a set world to play in, no random gen. I would like to be able to tell you all about the world but I can't. I have only made it to the initial area into the world near where you start. There are so many baddies everywhere it is a little timid to really venture forth with your completely naked body. You are also near starving and thirsty. Who wouldn't be after being latched to a cross in a desert for however long. In fact in my first start I died in no time due to starvation cause eating a handful of insects just wasn't enough. Until I discovered the turtle eggs to live off from to start the game. So I have only stuck to the river valley checking out building mechanics and game play feel and flow.

Building mechanics are snap placement. I find this a little limiting as of right now simply cause I am so use to the voxel system of 7 Days. There are also some bugs at work effecting the snap placement that may be preventing me from building in a similar manner that I am use to. Right now you have to put a foundation block down and build up from it. Building sideways seems to be very fickle and if you go out of order it has a hard time allowing you to fill in the gaps in a wall or ceiling. Some times it takes placing another piece down or flipping the wall around to face backwards. It's really a minor issue but annoying and effects aesthetics. Now what I like is you have complete freedom of angles and where you want to put down your foundations or placeable objects. Also building scale. There is no small little dwellings. You can start out with something of a hut, but the size of the blocks is going to make it fairly big, and with all the stuff you are going to want to make it means you are constantly going to be adding to and working on your place. There is not going to be maxing skills out or just living at bedrock after day 2 and then wondering what to do with yourself. I've done 4 restarts spent 6 hours building my last building testing out bridge work and it still isn't finished as a basic building. So I feel the longevity of play with this is going to far out weight what we currently seem to get out of 7 Days on each restart.

Harvesting is all done on the surface. There is no mining down to bedrock. All ground and solid cliff faces are indestructible. Rocks, Trees, Bushes all respawn after a certain time. The only thing that prevents them is an immediate area around your building constructions. On creatures there is a loot window and sometimes there's some loot most of the time your are hacking at the body to get stuff much like collecting meat and hides on 7 Days from critters.

Graphically this is a very beautiful game already. Much cleaner than 7 Days in that your character moves and looks like a human should. I also am playing in third person view which I recommend doing for this game since there is dodging, blocking and really nice character movements. The lighting is really well done, sand storms perform really well and add an ominous feeling. Night time is very short but is beautiful with the moon and stars and campfires lighting the otherwise pitch dark. And then my favorite is actually dawn as you see the sun rise and the depth of light changing from darkness to full light. 

Bugs there are some. As I've mention already the snap placement is fickle currently. There is a little lag hiccups here and there but nothing that's been really game altering or stopping. Hit detection seems a little off. It could be the third person view and not really lining up strikes properly but it's hard to strike objects on the ground like smaller rocks or corpses. 

Pros-

I can see this game being a very strong game with a community playing it. There's a lot of options and things to do that really requires more than one person trying to handle it all. I could also see something if there is enough people where you could break off into communities of each religious sect and live against each other in different parts of the waste as homelands.

There is A LOT of depth to this game and hopefully they continue to add what they say they are going to.

I feel immersion into the game world. From the music to how things look and work. I feel like I am in the world of Conan.

A lot of server options from renting, hosting, and game play setup to appeal to a lot of ways to play.

I also see a tab in the main menu that says Mods. So hopefully they are going to have things open for the community to do stuff like Valmod or what ever.

Madawg can fully run around as a naked wild man living off the land with his hunting knife and man meat flopping around.

Cons-

There are some bugs and lag that go along with an early access release.

Hopefully the game continues to fully get developed as I would like to see everything that they say they have planned but who knows

There's no hand holding to tell you what's going on for tutorials. Which is kind of good but you are left as a new player to trial and error to getting started.

 

All and all I think this game is worth 30 dollars. There is plenty of content and game play hours to make that price well worth it. If you've got an eye out for it, great, you won't be disappointed. For others keep an eye on it, watch some streams and I hope we get some good interest for this as I really feel we could have a lot of fun with it even in it's current state.

 

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Review #2  Multiplayer and more Core Mechanics

 

Servers

Right now they are what you can expect out of a freshly released Early Access that has become unbelievably popular more than expected. There seems to be a variety of issues with load handling on most. A lot like what we faced with our 7 Days several alphas ago. Memory loss, frequent restarts to fix server crashes, a few roll backs that lose maybe 30 minutes of progress now...they patched recently for the servers to save a little sooner than they were so roll backs wouldn't hurt too much right now. 

The server I have gotten on does experience a little rubber banding and lag hitches at times, but overall it really isn't hurting the overall game play for me. It's actually a pretty minor annoyance to accept. I think it has been restarted  5 times overall in the past two days. Twice for patch updates and 3 times cause of a server crash that isn't allowing anyone to join.

Some servers however are performing very well as some people say they have had no issues. So it could be provider issues as I think most that aren't seeing many problems are privately run and not rented.

 

Playing with people in this game is unbelievably enjoyable. Skill wise it really wants you to group up as one person can not unlock all recipes. So it gives people a sense of importance to the group and a role. There are some issues with the current system. You can not see where each other in your clan are on the map and name plates only appear when you are right on top of each other. In a world where player and NPC look alike it leads to a lot of friend fire incidents. lol  It's more comical than a threat of accidentally killing someone. Exp also is not shared. It's only given to the person who lands the killing blow. So for looking to level up people really need to hunt solo. However, there are soo many places in this that is really better to go in with a buddy and you tend to both get the same amount of kills with how many mobs come at you.

 

Mechanics

There are some things that need tweaking to give a better progression. Right now only 3 of the 7 attributes actually have impact. The others just have a very minimal boost to them. Mostly this is revolving the way they have weapon damage and enemy health setup. Weapon Damage is solely base on tier of the weapon. Stone, Iron, Steel. All variations in a tier do the same amount of base damage. So it's kind of useless right now to unlock any other than the primary one in each tier. Strength also only effects damage like this. [Weapon Damage + (Weapon Damage * (Strength / 100) = Total damage.] So the base weapon damage for a stone sword  is 30 and for iron it's 45. So according to the math you would have to have a strength of 50 to make the stone sword do the same damage as the iron sword with 0 strength. In relation to enemy health a antelope in the game has around 200 health. With the stone sword it takes 7 hits with 0 strength. The iron it takes 5. Iron sword becomes available at level 12. So you could shave a little bit more damage but your not going to see it because the swing count would drop to 6 but you can now make iron which would have a greater impact. And same goes for the iron sword until you get to steel. You could have 12 points to drop the swings down to 4 but to see it drop again you'd need over 30 points and it's level 30 when you can just make steel to get to that next point of killing. So they have some work to do with the numbers before you can get a more fluid feel for your character getting stronger each level  instead of only at certain crucial points with long time in between. Vitality, Encumberance, and Agility you see a more direct influence as those level up. Vitality gives you more health allowing you to take more hits. Agility is a direct 1 to 1 for defense rating points reducing damage you take and encumberance allows you to carry so much more stuff. Having weapons in each tier do more damage as you unlock them would also help and probably give strength a bit more meaning.

Most of the bugs are crafting related and building. There are fake duplicate items being queued or appearing in inventories. And building has tempermental issues with block placements and some bugs with where you can build cause it's saying the land is being claimed already.

 

Honestly though I know I've been reporting most of the issues, but I can not say enough good things about cause there are just too many. It is taking things from other survival games and mixing it into a wonderful world. I am already 57 hours into it in 6 days and I have no plans of stopping. I have also only gotten to level 26 and 50 is the max level right now. You do the math of how much more game time I am going to have ahead of me along with the building aspects before I max out and feel like I am done.

I highly recommend anyone to get this and at least start playing single player until servers become more stable and enjoy the world that is being created here. Watching a sandstorm come through is absolutely something to see for yourself as the wall envelops bluffs and other structures along with you. And also the Thralling system and having an army of npc slaves to defend your place and help speed up production of goods is just a really awesome touch to always be looking for.

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