Conan Exiles Dev Stream - Isle of Siptah
Funcom Full Youtube Link (Starts at 8:34): 09/11/2020 - Written Summary
Hello and good day. I hope everybody is staying safe out there, as current events in different parts of the world have made life indeed hazardous and difficult.
Today the Funcom stream covered the newly announced expansion to Conan Exiles, the Isle of Siptah.
Funcom staff sightings for this stream were:
- Natascha (Engagement Director) - On stream
- Scott (Project Director) - On stream
- Joel (Creative Director) - On Stream
- Dennis - Lead Designer in North Carolina (Alex is Lead Designer in Oslo) - On Stream
- Bruno - Lead Artist at ZPX in Portugal - On Stream
- Nicole (Community Manager) - On stream
- Ignasis - (Community Support) - In chat
- Andy (Community Manager) - In chat
- Funcom_Ato (Marketing Manager) - In chat
KiahOnFire (Conan Exiles Content Creator) - On stream (voice only)
Before starting into the stream, here are some important links that contain useful information.
Isle of Siptah - Announcement ($19.99 USD at Early Access launch, price goes up to an unannounced number after full launch). Comes out on September 15th for PC only, with both PC and Consoles receiving a full launch in early 2021.
Testlive Patch Notes - Note, Isle of Siptah is not part of Testlive.
Conan Exiles is on a Free Weekend that ends in 2 days (at the time of this writing) and is 65% off on Steam. All of it’s DLC’s are also on sale at different discounts.
Some Technical Details for the Isle of Siptah Update (posted by Glaucon, one of Conan Exiles developers)
Multipmap Functionality Documentation (posted by Glaucon)
Hosting a Dedicated Server for Isle of Siptah (post by Ignasis)
Post Stream, Ignasis had this to say via the Conan Fan Discord
There were some questions that were unfortunately not covered on stream. We’re in talks of preparing another stream with more Q&A. Ideally before or on launch day. We’ll also be releasing blog posts over the weekend with information on the expansion. Lore, contents, and all that. Keep an eye out.
Finally, as usual I did try and grab screen grabs as I felt fit. However, many of the images and gifs can already be found in the reveal trailer, so players may just want to watch that to get a better (higher quality) idea of what’s coming.
Today’s stream focus was obviously about Siptah. Natascha directed the stream, and brought in various Funcom staff, new and old, along with a surprise guest, KiahOnFire.
With that, here we go!
To start, Natascha informed us that many of the people on stream are working from home today due to covid in their appropriate states and countries. She also outlined what subjects would be discussed during today’s stream which were: Welcome, Why Siptah, New Ways to Play, The Visuals, and Community.
She further acknowledged the lack of streams this year. Natascha said that they want to engage with the community and enjoy doing so, and will work on adding more streams.
It wasn’t stated on this stream, but it’s been noted in past streams that covid and working from home has had a great impact on streams this year. It’s safe to assume the delay between April and September in a stream would also be affected by covid.
First up, we have Joel Bylos and Scott Junior appearing on stream. Last we saw Scott in April, he was still in North Carolina. He finally has been relocated to Oslo, where he appeared together with Joel on stream.
Scott started off talking a little bit of the development background of Siptah. They started working on the expansion in November of 2019. He said that Siptah was supposed to have been a little bit different than it ended up being, such as a smaller map.
But covid caused some delays that made it end up to where they added some additional features. Both Portugal at ZPX, and their North Carolina offices continue to work at home, with some or most of the staff returning to work in the office in Osla.
This has caused some issues with not being able to work in the offices, and not being able to communicate with each other correctly sometimes. He further added that their testing team and external testing partners such as Testronic (misspoken to be based out of Romania, but they are actually in Poland as Scott later corrected himself to me in a DM) have all been working remotely as well.
Joel added at that point that there was one bonus to covid, in that Scott had to quarantine with Joel for 10 days in late August since Scott couldn’t gain access to his apartment at the time.
They are both still the same game, in which the crafting system works the same, harvesting systems, how Thralls work, etc. But a totally separate map. Natascha made sure to point out that you are starting a brand new character on this map, and won’t be carrying over your current character or any of their stuff.
Joel went on to explain that the character on Siptah finds themselves there as they are being transported to the Exile Lands, but crash on the island of Siptah instead. It runs in parallel as far as the timeline of the Exile Lands characters. He further added, spoiler free, that there are other mysteries on how the two locations are linked together that players will have to find out for themselves.
If you have previously purchased DLC’s for Conan Exiles, they will work on Siptah as well.
As well, when you buy Siptah, you can build the two sets of buildings in the Exile Lands, you can use the armor that comes with Siptah, and you can use the rhino mounts.
Either sometime this week or early next week, they will post a guide on how to set up your server for Siptah. Essentially though, it will require a small edit to the Engine.ini file.
Along with the launch of Siptah, they are adding easier functionality to allow players to use custom maps using mods. They use an in-game map UI to select which map you want as the player. Scott said that they will release some basic documentation on how to get started setting up your own map, but it will largely depend on the skills, experience, and determination of the mod creator to see their new map be made. The team is excited to see what people will do using these new features.
Speaking of mods, it was said during the chat and here on the forums a few times, but thought I would add it again here. Mods will work on the Isle of Siptah, but you cannot modify the map itself. Just like other DLC content, assets unique to the Isle of Siptah are not accessible or modifiable.
Pushed to Testlive prior to the stream were 4 specific changes that will impact the entire game, and one of those was a quality of life change to the Temperature Changes (which you can also read about in the previously provided link at the top of the page).
Armors that have heat or cold resistances will no longer negatively impact you. If you wear something that really helps you out a lot in the cold, it won’t hurt you in the heat anymore. However, in extreme weather locations that are very hot or very cold, you will need to dress using the appropriate armor.
Funcom has done a couple of stages of testing, in particular in the last couple of months. Much earlier in the year they had some testing with a very small group of people, and recently in the last couple of months invited a larger group of players to help beta test the new expansion. Scott said that feedback provided in closed beta has been invaluable, to where they completely redesigned one of the systems based on that feedback.
Funcom wanted to make an island, when they were doing brainstorming sessions. Joel referenced one of the “classic” stories of the pull of the black one, but he added that it was too defined exactly what was on that island. I asked our local Conan Exiles fan Discord moderator, Jimbo, to add some further thoughts, since he has extensive knowledge and passion for the lore of Conan.
What Joel references here, is that the story of the black one is too descriptive. You know how everything is, how it looks, and what it does. Too restrictive and predictable, and doesn’t allow for any creative freedom.
They specifically wanted to find something that was an unexplored experience because it gives them more room to maneuver with the lore. It allows them to both lean into the existing lore, and develop the game lore that Conan Exiles world has. Joel brings up “The Gem in the Tower” as inspiration for Siptah. Jimbo further clarified the connection.
The Gem in the Tower is the original story where Siptah was written about. Hence where the connection between Joel’s acknowledgement of the story, and where the inspiration for the Isle of Siptah was born.
The Isle of Siptah, what you can infer, is that there is a sorcerer named Siptah (people whisper about him in the dockside taverns of Argos). They speak about that if you sail too close to an island, there is a magical storm that will wreck you along the shores. And the character the player plays gets caught up in this. From there, like Conan Exiles, the player can piece together the stories of the island finding Journals of Siptah (his writings) and other lore scattered across the island. It all gets pieced together of how the tower in the center of the island is involved.
There is a dropdown panel in the server browser in which you choose which map you want to load.
There aren’t any new changes or overhauls to the Feat or Attribute system. There are new weapons and items to find however. If Funcom were to make any changes to those systems though, it would be game wide and not specific to Siptah.
Yes. They will “probably” work on both maps at the same time. Their feelings are that it would be more valuable to add new features (tools to the toolbox) that can be utilized on both maps, versus adding new content to only one of the maps.
Players were reacting to the trailer reveal for the expansion, and Joel noticed some players asking for Red Sonja (as players often do). Red Sonja isn’t in the game, but they have added Valeria to the Isle of Siptah (and is featured on the cover art of the expansion, as seen above). Valeria is a member of the Red Brotherhood of pirates, and is voiced by Larrissa Gallagher. Joel said that fans of the game Firewatch would recognize her voice.
The vaults on the island (discussed further down) offer interesting settings in the game. Joel continues that Conan lore is interesting in that it has culture after culture that rises and falls. He says that Siptah is no different from the Exile Lands where players will be exploring layers of the past into those cultures. He thinks players will really enjoy finding out all these mysteries and what’s going on.
Howard (Conan author) and Lovecraft were both close friends and pen pals in the time of Conan being written. Joel says that Conan has half a foot in the “Cthulhu Mythos,” and that players will see those influences on the Isle of Siptah. Natascha adds that there are many influences and elements of Lovecraft’s work to be found on the Isle of Siptah, and that she is excited for it since she enjoys the universe that Lovecraft created.
Joining us on stream for the first time is one of Conan Exiles Lead Designers, Dennis, who hales from the North Carolina office. Natascha was prompt to point out that Alex is also still a Lead Designer for Conan Exiles, as the role is now duel shared between Alex (Norway) and Dennis (United States). Dennis has been working closely and hard with a lot of the new and exciting features coming to the Isle of Siptah.
Dennis has been working for Funcom since 2008, when they first launched Age of Conan. He started out working in customer service, going onto holding 13 different jobs with the company. Dennis eventually found himself as a developer, which has always been his goal since he was in 2nd grade and wanting to be a game developer. Earlier this year after Dennis returned from a brief vacation, he was promoted to Lead Designer, hand in hand with Alex. He adds that this is because they have two sets of teams working on Conan Exiles, and they need two Lead Designers to manage the two sets.
While Conan Exiles is known for it’s different weather effects (Sandstorms, snow, and rain), the Isle of Siptah will be a bit different. Siptah is a bit less natural. Dennis says that, as Joel alluded to earlier in the stream, a storm specific to Siptah is one of the causes to the player character finding themselves shipwrecked on the island. This storm is one of the many mechanics unique to the island. Like the Sandstorm, it is an event that will occur periodically on the map, and won’t be there all the time. It also has unique effects compared to the Sandstorm.
One of the original ideas of the Sandstorm was to have creatures spawn in the Sandstorm and attack you. This didn’t happen for the Sandstorm, but they wanted to bring that to the island. While the player is in the storm, they will find themselves under assault by monsters. These monsters are inspired by the previously mentioned Mythos universe, so you will find that they are weird and otherworldly compared to what players are used to.
During the storm, lightning bolts hit the ground, and causes a monster to spawn.
This feature connects to the various vaults on the island. Dennis said that all the systems on the island are interconnected. Without giving too much away, he says that by doing one event, it allows you to do other events, and so on. The vaults are the new dungeons of the map, and there are 14 of them.
The vaults feature many new types of monsters. Dennis says he lost count of the number of new monsters that they added, with new attacks and dangers. As you venture into these vaults, you will face these enemies, but also new treasures. In addition, each vault has its own theme. How you face the challenges (puzzles to solve, how you move about such as vertically instead of horizontally), types of boss monsters, even how they look.
Natascha slightly hints that the loot you find in these vaults are very important to the island. But in addition to those, you will find schematics and legendary weapons in the vaults. But doing the Vaults is important for the next feature of the island to be discussed.
The Surge is the game system on how you acquire Thralls on the island. Unlike the Exile Lands, there won’t be static NPC camps where you can pick and choose what you want. You have to initiate the Surge event to cause Thralls to be sent to your location. From there, you can knock them as you would normally do.
Alternatively or in addition to The Surge, there are Leyshrines to summon Thralls. Using the Ley Shrines could cause Thralls to be placed into the world in very obvious, theoretical ways. Natascha adds that you can control how tough and strong the Thralls are summoned. You can even influence which region the Thrall comes from. The strength of the Thralls summoned of course means more of a challenge to defeat, but also comes at a cost. The higher the quality of Thrall, the more it will cost and be of a challenge. There are even bosses that will come from the event as well.
She also asks Dennis if the Surge is a combination of “Storm” and “Purge.” To which he replied that he believed that was just a coincidence and were named before he started working on the project.
You trigger them in a specific way that is linked to the Vaults. In PvP, there is a danger in doing so since other players can steal or disrupt your attempts of gaining those thralls. It’s a very obvious event when it occurs, and everybody on the server knows it’s happening. There is, however, a deployable defense of some kind Dennis says.
One of the recipes you gain when you learn how to interact with Leyshrines is the ability to make a Delving Bench. This bench lets you use materials that you find on the island to learn how to research schematics for legendary weapons in order to craft them yourself, and repair them yourself.
Another new face enters the arena, Bruno of ZPX, based out of Portugal. Bruno is aLead Artist at ZPX. He has worked on Conan Exiles since 2015, working on the Exile Lands map, various DLC’s, and now the Isle of Siptah. Prior to joining Funcom (via ZPX, which has controlling stake over the company), Bruno worked in animation for 8 years. He started in the game industry in 2005 or 2006, and has been working in game design ever since. Recently this year, he was named lead artist on the project. This helps him work closer to various people, producers, other artists, giving time estimates, and a lot of meetings (he laughs at this as he says it).
As previously mentioned, each vault is unique and theme. Bruno says that the Vaults are refugees for other races, and went there to protect themselves from the island hazards. They also knew they would be living in those Vaults for thousands of years. Each vault has its own race and theme. Bruno also says that the Vaults were heavily inspired by Gothic architecture. They are built large in scope to make the player feel small as they (some?) were built by giants.
Used around the map are new effects, such as with the fog and lighting. Bruno says they are making use of volumetric light and fog, which is most noticeable on the outside of the Vaults. The Vaults have it’s own dedicated lighting based on the type of Vault visited.
Light Armor Concept Art:
The armors were used by the elder races to enslave and control humans. They tried to bring those inspirations into the armors, along with similar color schemes and materials found in the Vaults. The Light armor is meant more for a dancer or entertainer.
Medium Armor Concept Art:
Bruno points out that they all wear masks to hide their humanism, their facial human characteristics. This armor set is more meant to be worn by a craftsman, such as a blacksmith. He also adds that these armors were worn in a way that were meant to be never taken off, and locked into them forever.
Heavy Armor Concept Art:
This armor is meant to be used by the best human slaves of the elder races and only they would be granted to use this armor. Bruno said it’s meant to look aggressive, with all the pointy ends, and mimics the Vaults in materials used as he mentioned previously. And like the other armors, it has the locks on the back, the warrior would wear this armor forever.
The armor stats Natascha didn’t want to go over until a later time due to the new temperature changes to the game.
Tier 1, Flotsam Building Pieces:
The building set is inspired by what the player is surrounded by when they first wash up. They have a lot of shipwrecks in their area, so it would make sense for the character to scramble and improvise to put up shelter using what was available.
Natascha really loves this building set, and I can personally say from the available images, I concur. Natascha said that resource wise, it’s the same as Sandstone, but reversed in the stone and wood counts.
Tier 3, Stormglass Building Pieces:
This is the first time they have introduced glass on a building set. Bruno said that they wanted to recreate the vaults on a building set. Using the same materials and golden ornaments. There are roof windows made out of glass, along with wall options of glass. The glass is viewable on both sides, light shines through the glass like you would expect, etc. Bruno said that it was built with vertical construction in mind, where players could be inspired to build skyscraper designs.
Yup, all you mount fans out there, feast your eyes on your new favorite walking tank, the Rhino mount. According to Bruno, all the animations were adjusted to make it feel like the player was driving around a tank. They come in a variety of skins and saddles, just like the horses. There are three travel saddles, light, medium, and heavy, with impacts to speed and stamina depending on which is chosen. As expected, the Rhino will be more difficult to control, but comes with more health, and a less chance of being knocked off compared to a horse.
Natascha wasn’t sure if the Rhino can cause building damage. It does have two types of attacks. The first being a charge, which will knock your enemy down and damage them. The second is a swipe attack. If you are not sprinting, you can use space (default key) to initiate the attack and will hit all targets in front of it’s horn.
Here are the screengrabs of what was shown on stream.
Walking Around Preview:
Running Around Preview:
Swipe Attack Preview:
Swimming Around Preview:
Light Travel Saddle:
Medium Travel Saddle:
Heavy Travel Saddle:
Calvary Saddle (high max speeds, but runs out of stamina faster):
War Saddle ( I wasn’t clear on this, I think Bruno said this was based on, or is some sort of Shaman design?) (Meant to be used in combat)
White Rhino (This Rhino is only available to EA purchasers of the Isle of Siptah expansion)
Nicole started off with Natascha for this segment of the developer stream. This is also at the point where KiahOnFire entered the stream (voice only). KiahOnFire, who is a Youtube Content Creator for Conan Exiles, was part of the Closed Beta test of players. Nicole also wanted to make sure and say how amazing everybody in the Beta has been, and how invaluable their feedback has been throughout the process.
KiahOnFire first started playing Conan Exiles in 2018, for a total of about 2 and a half years. What peaked her interest in particular was the variety of ways in which you can play Conan Exiles. But how she learned about the game was from Firespark81. The two of them had a friend in common, and Kia worked for that friend as a community manager. The three of them decided to do a mini series together on Conan Exiles just before full launch, and in episode 3 got annihilated by the giant black spider boss. The rest is history.
At one point somebody in chat asked how they could join the Beta. Natascha basically summarized that to have joined the Beta as a content creator, it’s about recognition. If you are a content creator, Natascha would love to see what you have and are making. Whether that’s via video, or images. She’s great for being reached at via her Twitter, which can be found here.
Further into the discussion, when Kiah was expressing how happy she was to be part of the Beta, she said how thrilled she was to also see so many modders in the beta. Natascha said that Funcom really appreciates the modders and want to make sure they are recognized and appreciated. While mod developers do have a mod discord where they can engage with developers on various questions with specific regard to modding, from the community side of things, they have plans to highlight modders better. Natascha went on to label modders as the bread and butter of Conan Exiles, in particular for creating RP content for the community. She also once again expressed her excitement to see what new map creations people come up with using the new map importer.
Nicole talked a bit more about the beta experience, and how it was important to get a variety of player perspectives. From building, to RPing, to PvP, to modders, and to streamers and content creators. Natascha asked Kiah what kind of experiences she felt being able to interact with the developers and giving direct feedback as a tester in the Closed Beta while things were still in very active development. She said she really enjoyed being able to give full feedback and to know it was heard and read. She further added it was nice to see that when a bug was reported, it would be patched a few days later. Largely, it gave Kiah a new respect for the development process and just seeing how things work on the inside a bit more.
Natascha said that what Kiah described was one of the advantages of the Closed Beta. Having a longer lead up time in order to respond to direct feedback. When things are more in concept stages and malleable, it’s easier to adjust and make changes. Versus a strenuous planned out development stage where it’s much more difficult, or often impossible to respond to new feedback from players until further down the road when new opportunities open up. You have deadlines to reach, milestones, and cutoffs for specific features or fixes, and that makes it difficult to respond directly to new player feedback. With Closed Beta, it gives them more leeway to be flexible, and react on the fly quicker to player response and make new plans.
Nicole later asked Kiah what her favorite part of the Closed Beta experience, or playing on the map. Kiah said she had a couple. One of which was the Elder Vaults (that have been talked about a lot in this stream). She said, such as the climbing one as shown on the trailer, because of it being so different with all of it’s puzzles. Her other particular Vault of note was the “really scary one that filled up with water.”
The final question for Kiah from Nicole, she asked what is one specific hint she would give to new players playing on Siptah. Kiah’s suggestion is when first starting out, be sure to check all the shipwrecks as there are hidden chests and loot to help you get set up to start. Her other suggestion was to probably avoid building in the middle of the map.
Seen in this segment were several screenshots taken by Closed Beta Testers. I took the liberty of screen grabbing them all since they aren’t seen in the announcement trailer.