In Conan Exiles, you are an outcast, downtrodden and sentenced to walk in a barbaric wasteland where the weak are crushed and only the strong can live. Here you must fight to survive, build, and dominate the world alone on your own server, or with enemies and allies in online multiplayer.
Survival in the post-Atlantean Hyborian Age of Conan is supposed to be tough. Conan Exiles takes that concept to heart. I suppose my experience to date has been made harder going into it blind. I have a tendency to do this – not read instructions the first time through. It think it can be a good test of the game developers’ user interface design. In hindsight, I don’t recommend this approach with Conan Exiles. Your survival early in the game demands you have some advanced knowledge. After an hour of play, I went looking for help.
You start the game with nothing but a loin cloth and couple hints to what your current situation is. From there, it’s all about collecting resources to build tools, weapons, shelter… Etc. You will then need to collect more resources. You can make and improve items which will help you collect resources faster. I’m OK with the resource collection mechanics, but improvements could be made.
Visually, Conan Exiles can be striking one moment and flat-looking the next. The PC version has a moderate number of settings available, but I noticed some of them made very little difference or, in the case of the lips, no change at all. I suspect this will change. Character load screens are painfully long – it does warn you that it can take several minutes. They are correct. I timed one at 86 seconds.
The game offers PVE and PVP options. You can either join a global server or host your own game. You have a lot of flexibility on gameplay on your private server. I did not venture into the PVP realm. After reading some posts of other players’ experiences there, I knew it wouldn’t be a place for someone new to the game.
I like the Co-Op play option. I didn’t get to exploit it but any time you get to play with friends is a plus. At one point, after a couple hours of play, I had a moment where I died. I should have respawned at my bedroll but I didn’t. This meant my respawn point was in the desert near the starting point – and with no resources. You to have to run back to the point where you died to pick up your stuff.
I see a great deal of potential for Conan Exiles. If you are a fan of survival games and are willing to put up with some of the issues playing a game that is a work in progress, then you might want to consider giving it a try. You will be able to sink many hours into the game. It is a large sandbox with many diverse areas to search and much lore to be discovered.