Funcom Full Youtube Link (Starts at 8:24): 10/23/2020 - Written Summary
Hello and good day to you all. Unfortunately, Multigun is currently dealing with some serious health issues and could not finish the summary on his own. I was happy to jump in and help even though my skills are not a match to his. Feel better soon, @Multigun!
Today Funcom’s stream was all about what’s coming in patch 2.1 to Conan Exiles. Just before the stream started, Funcom released an update to TestLive (patch notes links below).
Funcom staff sightings for this stream were:
Natascha (Engagement Director) - On stream
Andrew (System Designer) - On stream
Alex (Lead Designer) - On stream
Nicole (Community Manager) - In chat
Ignasis - (Community Support) - In chat
AndyB (Community Manager) - In chat
Dennis (Lead Designer) - In chat
Andrew started working with Funcom 14 years ago. He started out as customer service in Anarchy Online, then went into QA for Age of Conan. Eventually he became a developer on Age of Conan, as well as Secret World. Finally, he landed in his current role as a System Designer for Conan Exiles. While working for Funcom, he has lived in North Carolina (USA), Oslo (Norway), and Montreal (Canada).
It is currently on Testlive, where Funcom is encouraging everybody who is able to spend time testing out the new changes and leaving feedback. Other than that, the full release date of the patch “should be relatively soon.”
While Alex, Andrew, and many other developers don’t actively post on the forums, they are reading and gathering player feedback on a regular basis. What helps them the most in terms of feedback is structured, concrete, and constructive. Natascha mentioned that short feedback about “how much things suck” is rarely helpful. They see that the player is upset about something, but they don’t know why or if there is anything meaningful that can be done to acknowledge or respond to that feedback.
All in all, feedback that is provided in context, is constructive criticism, and is detailed will result in the best chance of being heard and having changes made that will both benefit the health of the game and the players who leave that feedback.
The producer letter is linked above, but Funcom wanted to discuss the status of Xbox and where they are at with patching the various issues. Alex briefly summarized the letter in discussing the issues they have had with regards to being able to reproduce and see the issues that players are (and the Producer letter goes into depth about this).
Alex talked about how they are pulling in outside contractors specifically for this issue, as well as working closely with Microsoft on the issue. Ultimately, they have shifted significant resources and attention towards this specific problem. They are also going to be updating the Xbox community more often as to the status of where they are at with fixing the problem.
The ‘Isle of Siptah’ map itself, we all know won’t be released on consoles until sometime early 2021 when the expansion is fully released and is out of Early Access. But as far as new features and updates that affect both maps, such as the 2.1 update, Alex wanted to touch on that.
Alex said that on the side, they are working on getting consoles up to the same version as PC. Right now of course, their focus is on clearing up the out of memory issues with XBOX. If they are able to fix the issues in terms of both quality and sufficient speed to deploy those fixes, they hope to bring consoles to parity in the 2.2 update. The 2.2 update has a current goal for release before the end of the year, but that goal could change based on how things look over the next few weeks.
Update 2.1: Crafting and Balance Changes
There are several new crafting stations coming in version 2.1. One of the reasons for this is that they wanted to streamline a lot of the recipes. As they have added more content and new things to make, it’s been filling up the crafting inventory and recipe lists for many of the stations. They wanted to help address that, while also providing more options for customizations at the same time.
The new crafting stations will let you specialize in cost efficiency of resources, or the speed of crafting. They also split up some of the recipes into their own crafting stations. For example, the dye’s have been moved out of the firebowl cauldrons and into the new dyeing crafting stations (which also comes with more dye options). This also helps out with consoles so that they have an easier time finding the recipes that they want since crafting stations are now more specialized.
Some of the various comments coming from the community since the announcement of update 2.1 is the size of the crafting benches. Andrew described the size of the benches and other necessary buildings and placeables as “the economy of space.” Space in itself, as PvPers often understand, is a valuable resource. They want this to factor into your decision making when deciding to make one of the crafting stations and your base.
Maybe you want to optimize your space, and use the Tier 2 bench. It’ll cost you less in terms of base footprint, but you’ll have slightly less benefits from losing access to the Tier 3 or Tier 4 benches (cost of the items and speed of the crafting). If you want to maximize the quality of what is being made, then you will need to factor in the space of crafting stations as well.
Anything that was made prior to update 2.1 will still continue to be there, though certain pieces will no longer be craftable. Flawless and Exceptional pieces have been phased out, for example.
The Thralls now will grant bonuses to the gear that you are using, based on the tier of the Thrall. Tier 4 Thralls also now have profficiancies so you can customize the gear. For armor, you can customize them to have more armor value, more durability, or less weight. For weapons, the customization options are damage, armor penetration, or more durability. The examples listed by Andrew here were for tools, you would probably want more durability. For an Axe, it doesn’t have any armor penetration so you would often look to increase it’s base damage.
Your existing Thralls “should” also inherit new specializations. It’s fixed (unchanging) so that the same Tier 4 Armorer or Blacksmith will always have the specialization, but they should receive one of the three specializations once 2.1 is released.
One of the things that Funcom wanted to change was the fact that players needed a reason to build dozens upon dozens of fish traps. One of those major driving factors was the way players need certain resources in order to build. Players needed Ichor in order to make stone consolidate in order to make tier 3 building pieces.
This didn’t give players much active involvement in creating their bases. This was changed instead to need Resin, which can now be harvested from any tree found on Siptah or the Exile Lands. Ichor is also only acquired from Exotic Fish now.
Alex proceeded to elaborate a bit on their development process. He explained that they had a certain amount of time allotted to work on the economy update after the Siptah’s launch which he admits was not a lot. They have been evaluating how people are using the different aspects of the game, they have introduced a whole bunch of metrics both for Siptah and the base game to keep track of default resources such as resin. They are aware that there are differences between what can be achieved by a clan of 10, a clan of 5 or a solo player, however, they are tasked to find the sweet spot that is fair for everyone because all these paradigms exist in the same server. Alex emphasised that they are continuously working on balancing the game in their endeavour to reach a state which is engaging, fair and challenging for all the different play styles.
Even though the use of ichor for crafting alchemical base was not commented on, Alex proceeded to describe the current most efficient building process from creating your new character to constructing your T3 buildings which involved passive collection of resources such as ichor needed for stone consolidant. Update 2.1 takes a bit more active approach which requires the player to go out and actively gather the resources needed to build their base. Alex commented that they are still in the process of fine tuning the system with their intention being to reach a rate of progression that feels fair in relation to the time investment. Once more players are being encouraged to install TestLive, test the changes and provide their feedback on the forums which would help Funcom make not only educated decisions based on metrics but also based on player’s feedback.
Alex was quick to reply that the changes were necessary as fish traps are an unlimited resource generator other than the amount of space to be put into which is very difficult to balance and it negatively affects server performance. He confidently stated that this is the right decision in the long run for the health of the economy.
Andrew explained that some of the bonuses that have been primarily under the purview of the thrall have been moved to some of the new benches. We should be able to get the same if not more than what we were able to get before with a thrall but now it will be based on the combination of the thrall and the bench we are using.
According to Andrew, all existing T4 crafting thralls should get one of the new specializations assigned to them because what they have done is basically take the list of existing thralls and evenly distribute the specializations to them.
Natascha answered that with the new economy update there will be no difference between a purge blacksmith and a standard T4 blacksmith. Andrew re-confirmed that this is technically correct aside from potentially their specialization. He further clarified that each specific thrall has a fixed specialization assigned to them. If you want to get a different specialization, you will have to get a different named thrall by potentially engaging in a different activity.
Alex answered that for now the items will persist in the game but they are removing the ability to craft new ones. What they are hoping for is that over time, through natural cause and effect, these items will leave the circulation of the economy but they may re-evaluate the situation at a later stage.
Natascha confirmed that the changes of the economy affect the game as a whole, not only Siptah. The update will be applied to the base game as well.
Even though it is a question that has been answered in earlier streams as well, Natascha re-assured everyone that Funcom has no intention of wiping the official servers. Regarding private servers, it is up to their owners and administration to decide whether they want to perform a wipe or not.
Natascha commented that they are focusing on 2.1 which is currently on TestLive. Depending on the collected feedback, she is hoping that they will be able to push it to live relatively soon.
Update 2.1: Thrall Balance Changes
The overall balance changes to Tier 1-3 Thralls will make it more beneficial to have lower tier Thralls than before, which will make it more helpful to places like Siptah where acquiring Thralls is more difficult. In addition to that, Tier 3 thralls can now appear in Wild Surges.
They also bumped up the chances of seeing a Tier 4 thrall in the Tier 4 surges. For the lower tier summoned surges, they are still the best way to acquire Thralls as they will still have the greatest quantity of Thralls when compared to a Wild Surge. They also have a better chance of seeing Tier 2 and Tier 3 thralls then before.
Natascha referred to the earlier discussion about the ongoing balancing and that they have to consider and cater to both the solo players and the big clans.
On the request from chat to keep some thralls harder to find Alex commented that they really wanted to see how the game will play when the content delivery mechanics are much more dynamic as opposed to the static locations in the Exiled Lands. He also confirmed that the current state of Siptah is not the final state. Tweaks are still being done, thralls are made easier to get, requirements for eldarium lowered and so on. However, they have taken a different direction with Siptah and they would like to see how it contrasts how the community receives the game play between the two maps. Siptah is an experiment for Funcom to see which way is the best way to deliver content to the different groups of players.
Updated 2.1: Character re-customization
Natascha expressed how happy she is that they are finally able to bring this highly requested feature to the base game which used to only be available via mods. Alex further clarified that now that they have the base system and infrastructure they can focus on providing more content and further modding support in this regard.
Alex explained that gender change is currently not available, at least not yet, due to technical difficulties in the way the character data is saved. Even though Natascha was not sure whether this feature is being planned, she also stated that the devs will look into it.
After a brief moment of confusion, Natascha proceeded to explain that further to the possibility to re-customize your character, they have also added new faces, hairstyles and facial hair options. Natascha clarified that the faces are still work in progress and they are aware that some of them are very “interesting” looking. She also communicated that some of the faces were already adjusted with the latest patch on TestLive.
Update 2.2 Information
The 2.2 patch has a current goal for release before the end of the year, but that goal could change based on how things look over the next few weeks.
The 2.2 patch focuses on PvP and combat. There aren’t any other specifics given at this time but as usual they will share that information when the time is appropriate.
After providing some insight on update 2.1, Alex revealed that update 2.2 will be focused on both player and npc combat. Even though the focus of the development will be shifted and the economy update will take a lower priority, Andrew will continue working on adjusting the numbers based on metrics and player’s feedback.
Natascha shared that she is a PvP player herself and she understands how passionate PvP players are about pvp, combat, balancing and flavours of the month. Both Alex and Natascha were confident that PvPers will find the upcoming update 2.2 very interesting. She encouraged everyone to test the update properly and provide their feedback when it is released on TestLive.
Subject to changes and feedback, 2.2 is planned to come out before the end of the year.
Update 2.3 “New Land”:
Alex couldn’t resist leaking some information about update 2.3 even with the risk of getting in trouble with Scott. He shared that internally, they call update 2.3 “New Land”. No further details were provided.
Alex feels that it would be unfair to tease the community by providing a detailed roadmap and then end up not being able to stick to it due to some unforeseen circumstances. He used as an example the XBox problem which proves to be very difficult to solve and requires a lot of their resources to be reallocated to tackle this specific problem instead of being able to focus on the content updates.
Even though it was talked about in the previous streams as well, Natascha re-confirmed that there is more game play content in the works for Siptah.
Alex jokingly suggested that for this type of feedback and questions, people should ping Andrew’s twitter which was displayed under his title on the stream. As Andrew was obviously starting to feel nervous, Natascha saved the day by clarifying that suggestions should be posted on the forum. Later in the stream, she mentioned that even though they are not very active in the suggestions forum section, they definitely look at the topics posted there as well and bring them to the rest of the team.
Natascha was excited by the idea of players hunting for those hard to find easter eggs planted by Robert.
Natascha firmly stated that this is an ongoing task that they are constantly working on.
There are some changes done to the elevators that prevent them from resetting to default position after leaving the elevator’s relevancy range.
N: Twitch Chat Questions:
Player: Here I was hoping for a fishing system.
Funcom_Dennis: Maybe some day
Player: Can we please have the ability to shave our body hair? Frazetta’s women never had hairy armpits …
Funcom_AndyB: Isn’t there a mod for that?
In her closing statement, Natascha provided a recap of the Economy Update 2.1 which is currently available to TestLive for testing. It includes a big economy change, a lot of new crafting stations and in combination with the new thrall specializations players can customize their gear. The recipes are also organized by crafting stations in a more simplified way to reduce the recipe list clutter. There are changes to resources and base game recipes such as ichor, resin and fish traps. The update also includes the possibility for character re-customization. Funcom would really appreciate receiving feedback on it on their forums.