Feedback on Isle of Siptah for the Developers

Hello all,
Here is my personal feedback on Isle of Siptah. I hope this can be somewhat useful in making the game experience better.
I mostly play solo, so I might be a bit biased, but I think I can still provide a valid perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

THE MAP

The Good

So, the map. The size is more than adequate, I LOVE the way it looks and I also love that it is clearly more “game-y”, being more designed in terms of general game experience rather than by biome. I LOVE the fact that resources are spread more evenly and you don’t have to travel to the other side of the map for some Silverstone (and Goldstone nodes are a GREAT addition). This makes for a more balanced gaming experience overall, both in PvE and PvP (ESPECIALLY the latter), and it makes impossible for players to grief the map by building in a specific place and block access to a resource to the whole server.

The Bad

There’s plenty of nice things to bump into (the rabbit shrine, the secret door near X’Chotl), but the underground of the island is seriously lacking. Whereas in the Exile Lands there are always some cool caverns to explore with monsters and resources, the caves on Siptah range from mind-blastingly cool (Glowing Cavern, The Depths) to outright abysmal that borders on trolling (Fuming Cave). I won’t suggest to add dungeons since that’s the reason we have Vaults, but adding more caves with interesting resources and lore inside would be a great addition. The Depths, in particular, left me amazed; had the Sunken City had such an entrance, it would have been several times more amazing than it already is. This really drives home the sense of wonder and exploration that Conan gives, so that’s where I would concentrate.

Also, as many people have previously stated, this map is an RNG cringefest. It is SO grindy it’s not even funny. AFAIK, the only monster that can drop all the armor recipes is the Judge, a brick wall with a mountain of armor that hits like a train running on nuclear power. Even then, I think I killed him 4-5 times and it NEVER dropped a recipe. Seriously, guys, this is not fun, and it’s one of the main issues on Siptah as I’m sure someone has told you: the grinding takes FOREVER. The problem this map has is that, contrarily to the Exiled Lands, endgame level gear is locked behind RNG, whereas in the vanilla map you can find it at the end of a dungeon. This makes progression less fun and way, WAY more frustrating. To give you an idea, I spawned and killed over 20 Judges (20!) before getting 1 recipe. The average Judge loot looked something like this:

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Compare it with the average loot that the Zombie boss in the Ruins of X’Chotl drops:

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Keep in mind that the latter boss is A LOT easier to kill than the Judge. Sure, it doesn’t have the same loot table, but this is what a boss that I have traveled the whole map over to kill should drop. This DOES NOT mean that the zombie boss should be buffed and have its drop nerfed. Quite the contrary, THIS is how ALL bosses should be, especially when they are a tough nut to crack like the Judge (and why does the Judge drop stone?! There’s plenty of stone on the island, let us get good stuff from bosses, not basic resources).

Also there is no reason to gatekeep the recipes so much. A recipe is not the item, especially when it comes to armor: we still have to grind for hardened leather AFTER we have gotten the recipe. This is why getting the Silent Legion armor is much better: it is a reward for killing a boss, we then have to get the resources to craft it. The grind is in the crafting, NOT in the obtaining.

The Solutions

To make the map better would be “simple” really: all it needs is more content. I would personally add more interesting caves (again, Glowing Cavern and the Depths are a great idea. I thought the Fuming Cave was going to be the same, with gas instead of water, but it was only a dead end, which really irritated me). I know that more areas of the map and/or biomes are coming, but still, I would also concentrate on the underground, not just on the surface. The Depths in particular left me amazed; had the Sunken City had such an entrance, it would have been several times more amazing than it already is. This really drives home the sense of wonder and exploration that Conan gives, so that’s where I would concentrate.

The grinding is also one of the main problems. I would address it by either making the chances of dropping recipes something we can control in the server settings, flat out increasing them to the point where we have a 1/3 chance of dropping a recipe from strong bosses like the Judge, or making the most sought after recipes (Black Knight Armor comes to mind) more available through delving.

THE VAULTS

The Good

Having such a diverse group of dungeons is a massive feature. I love dungeon delving and seeing them all similar in visual style and yet different in layout and navigation is great. Some of them also have puzzles (such as the Harbor of the Drowned, where you have to collect the eggs in order to open the door), which is a great thing since it further diversifies them. Also secret passages and the like would be nice, just like in the Sanctuary of the Snakemen.

The Bad

They sometimes feel too small. I know they are not supposed to be massive, but still. Also they are not consistent in their rewards: in some of them you can find MAYBE 1 legendary chest, while in others (Asylum of the Fiends comes to mind) there are always 3-4. This goes against what I said about the map: I can imagine experienced players fighting to set up their base there, since they can have a steadier influx of legendary items. The same goes with the Sanctuary of the Snakemen, where you can farm “Obsidian” weapons that deal a lot of damage compared to the items you can craft. This should NOT be encouraged in my opinion: every area of the map should be as neutral as possible in their rewards.

Also, while the Harbor of the Drowned has that cool puzzle, the solution to it is insultingly simple. I’m not saying that you should require players to solve the Einstein Riddle to access the final room of a Vault, but if you want to add puzzles to Vaults, please make them worth the trouble and not a mere nuisance that we have to go through: once again, I think exploration is key.

PS: PLEASE make the Decaying Eldarium inside chests tied to a multiplier we can change in the server settings, if possible. Or make Eldarium nodes that spawn inside vaults.

The Solutions

Normalize the loot inside of them, making it consistent between one another: no Vault should reward you with more stuff than the others. Also make them bigger, if possible: getting to the end should not be a trivial task, but rather a commitment. If you are afraid people might stop going there, improve the Decaying Eldarium gain by making it more likely to appear in chests (or add more rooms/chests).
Also, if the Vault has puzzles, make them more difficult and not something that is stupidly simple.

THE MAELSTROM

The Good

Mechanics- and lore-wise, it a phenomenal feature that I love. And it also looks ****ing amazing. Also the fact that meteors spawn only there makes it easy to understand and makes Star Metal more accessible.

The Bad

Elder Things one-shotting any building piece is the main problem I have with it. Building in the Maelstrom should be difficult and reserved only for the most hardcore and foolhardy, but this makes it absolutely suicidal from an economic point of view. I get the design principle behind it: you can build your base closer to farm resources with convergence traps and you are closer than the others when the meteors land, but you get attacked by demons that can kick your ■■■. This is a great idea, but if demons can one-shot your T3 tower then the result is that NO ONE in their right mind would commit to building there, effectively robbing the map of 1/3 of its building surface. It should be CHALLENGING to build and maintain a base in there, but it should not be IMPOSSIBLE. This more so when you consider that you MUST build in the Maelstrom in order to make Siege Elder Things spawn.

The Solutions

Nerf the damage done by Elder Things to structures. They should be dangerous but not terminator-level engines of destruction. This alone should fix it and make building in the Maelstrom a more challenging but fair proposition. I get it that in order to make the map fair for everyone it should be difficult to do this, but it should still be possible since you are actually encouraging us to do so.

SURGES

The Good

Well, mechanically they work and they are a great feature for creating PvP opportunities.

The Bad

Oooh boy, where do we start… First off, PLEASE reduce the time it takes to convert Unstable ??? to Swirling Chaos: having to wait minutes before the Altar is ready is not fun.

Secondly, for the love of God, either reduce the number of Veterans and un-tameable thralls, or reduce their damage. Trying to solo these is a MASSIVE chore that requires epic-level gear for you and your thrall, makes you burn through 30+ potions, and you still die in mere moments if you get cornered somewhere. I get it, you don’t want to give us too many thralls, but if that is your goal, either nerf the existing Veterans, or create new, un-tameable thralls that don’t do nearly as much damage. Seriously, I summoned a T3 Caravan Surge the other day, and one wave was like 5 veterans and 2 T2 thralls. This is bad, infuriating, and NOT pleasant.

Thirdly, I would personally either reduce the cost of Decaying Eldarium needed to activate the stunning devices, or I would increase the amount given in Vaults. Better yet, tie it to a multiplier we can control.

The Solutions

Nerf the damage/amount of Veterans. This should make it more approachable to solo players, who simply cannot get T4 thralls all by themselves. Another idea could be to have Stun devices damage Veterans if you really, REALLY don’t want to nerf them.

BUILDING PIECES AND ARMOR
Nothing to say here, except that the armor and building sets look stunning. Stormglass is my favorite set ever and I have built a lot with it. Love it!

FINAL WORDS

I am really enjoying IoS solo, although there are some aspects that deserve more polish and attention, though I don’t think it would take much to improve it overall.

I will end with a suggestion: many official servers are generally unplayable due to bad player behaviour. DO NOT make the same mistake with Siptah by leaving it be. If you do not want to go back to PvP Blitz (which was an awesome mode) or do not have the resources to monitor all of these servers, I would advise you to introduce in Siptah a server-clearing feature in the hands of the players: if players gain control of the tower, they can wipe the server clean and “win” the game. Tie it to a number that makes it impossible to scour the server before that amount of days has passed since the last scouring. This way, cheaters and griefers can be punished for their actions by the players themselves, and there is an actual “endgame” to look forward to. Tie it to a Steam achievement to encourage it (“Scour Siptah X/Y/Z times”), and you’re golden.

General Bugs I Encountered

  • The game (at least for me) currently refuses to spawn Siege Elder Things in the Maelstrom, even with the required building pieces set to 0. This is clearly a bug and I have seen it reported elsewhere.
  • It is currently impossible for me to get the head of ANY Siptah creature. This is also a bug that I have seen reported.
  • The infamous bug that spawns empty chests inside Vaults. While I haven’t been getting it lately, getting to the end of a Vault and opening the final chest only to see it empty is INFURIATING. This is a really, REALLY bad bug, guys.
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I’m not sure that IS the design principle, though. Buildings in the Maelstrom take constant passive damage - if the storm nukes a load-bearing foundation, it’s just as sure a base-breaker as Elder Things. The design principle appears to be that there isn’t supposed to be any permanent building in the storm, but rather only temporary bases built to lure 3-skull siege elders to kill for Greater ???, where you’re trading a pile of resources for rapid access to surges. Of course, that’s broken b/c you can stretch bases from outside the storm into it and only lose the forward tip made of sandstone or wood. But the design principle appears tied to surge farming as an endgame loop rather than area control or access to mats.

Again, this appears to be by design. The intent was fairly clearly to make Greater ??? the optimal resource - it converts incredibly quickly, to the point that I’d rather farm more Greater than use the Unstable that I already have. Funcom seems to have overlooked the ease by which Greater can be acquired, however - at this point it’s fairly well known how to collect Greater far more easily than Unstable, at least in PvE. If anything, unless they do something to fix what appear to be design flaws re: the ease and speed of Greater accumulation, it would make more sense for Greaters to be changed to convert 5-25x slower than then they currently do instead of speeding up Unstables.

I’ll admit that I don’t like to solo T4 surges, but they’re definitely doable - even reasonably easy with practice and planning. Stepping outside the “melee above all” mindset helps a lot. Archery is stronger in PvE than most people are willing to give it credit for.

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@AstemioDaBirra I like most of your ideas, but as a PvE player, the thought of others being able to force a wipe of the whole map would be a huge turn-off. Remember, any tools that legit players can use, griefers can too – often in unforseen ways (e.g. exploits, hacks, etc).

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I think that the largest constructive feedback that I can add to some already well-laid out points is that global changes to the items and mechanics in the Exiled Lands and Siptah both can have a more marked effect on Siptah in some cases.

As mentioned above, Siptah makes it incredibly difficult to gather the resources for the top tier Surges and then a dangerous proposition to fight through those Surges, with a very low chance for a T4 crafter to spawn in the Surges, and an even lower chance to get the desirable perk on the crafter.

Because of this, changes made to craftable weapons and armor globally have a much more drastic effect on Siptah. I would suggest that Funcom focus on that aspect of balance when making changes to “global” weapons by complementing the Siptah Eldarum recipes further to offset the T4 thrall scarcity (within reason, of course).

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Well, first off, I didn’t imagine it as a feature that is permanent and always active. Just like the Sandstorm and the Maelstrom, it could be a system that can be activated at the players’ discretion.

Secondly, this is obviously not a feature that will thrive in a PvE or RP server, obviously. Like you said, the idea of someone coming along and nuking the whole server can be pretty hardcore (although there are ways it could be mitigated, like having a timer before it happens, so that enemy clans can rush to destroy the guy trying to do scour the server clean).

As you might have guessed, however, this is more a feature intended for PvP, and I think it might work for a series of reasons.

  1. The problem Conan has is that there is only one resource in the game which is finite, and that is space: you simply cannot keep building forever. The only way to solve this problem is wiping the server clean, which is what PvP Blitz did. It is something that NEEDS to be done, because if it is not done, powerful clans can just grief official servers by effectively taking charge of them and preventing other players from enjoying the game.

  2. It provides an automated tool to prevent server griefing that Funcom needs not to manage themselves.

  3. Wanton destruction is always fun, ESPECIALLY when done against some one else we despise. The idea of multiple clans banding together to wipe the server in retaliation to a dominant clan’s actions feels epic AF.

The design principle appears to be that there isn’t supposed to be any permanent building in the storm, but rather only temporary bases built to lure 3-skull siege elders to kill for Greater ???, where you’re trading a pile of resources for rapid access to surges.

While I can get behind the principle, I personally don’t like the result. The Maelstrom effectively covers 1/3 of the map, meaning that we have less room for bases. As I said, I’m not saying that it should be easy to build your base (and not a main base, but a forward base) in the maelstrom, but making it impossible does not help. And the “trade a pile of resources for Greater ???” argument is not very effective, in my opinion, since you are not spending high-value resources to build your base, but only wood and stone.

Again, this appears to be by design. The intent was fairly clearly to make Greater ??? the optimal resource - it converts incredibly quickly, to the point that I’d rather farm more Greater than use the Unstable that I already have. Funcom seems to have overlooked the ease by which Greater can be acquired, however - at this point it’s fairly well known how to collect Greater far more easily than Unstable, at least in PvE.

I’m happy for people that play on PvE servers, but currently in my solo game I have yet to find Greater ??? since Siege Elder Things simply refuse to spawn despite me building a big fortress in there. This leaves me to rely on Unstable, which makes me wait 2-3 minutes when making a T3 surge.

I’ll admit that I don’t like to solo T4 surges, but they’re definitely doable - even reasonably easy with practice and planning. Stepping outside the “melee above all” mindset helps a lot . Archery is stronger in PvE than most people are willing to give it credit for.

I’m not saying they are not doable, I know that archery is strong in PvE, but optimal strategies should normally not exist in these situations. Then again, I play solo so my perception might be biased, but Veterans simply do too much damage to me and my thrall, to the point where a Caravan T3 Surge almost killed my lvl20 thrall with epic-level gear. I doubt a bow would have made a lot of difference in that specific scenario.

Great review mate, i would like to point out one part that stood out for me:

That seems like a perspective from someone that played the single player mode, as an one and only experience (which you confirm by the end). Bear in mind that Conan Exiles is a survival game like Rust or Ark, where players will usually hop in dozens of servers through several new characters and playthroughs, for hundreds of hours. No matter how interesting your puzzle is, your average player will get tired of it by the third time. And on this game we farm for content inside dungeons and from bosses, so having to clear a puzzle every single time won’t change much. It will be the same puzzle over and over again, be it a good or a terrible one. That said i don’t really think that there is a better solution, the problem comes from the fact that most players run the same content multiple times, and not the content itself.

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None of the siptah servers I’m playing on seem even remotely overbuilt, so I’m not sure why it’s a concern that 1/3 of the map is effectively a no-build zone.

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I understand why you say that, but I’m not sure I can agree with the sentiment. Judging from what you’ve written so far in this thread, you seem to be more PVP-focused, so it might be that you’re overlooking some aspects that PVE(-C) players have to deal with.

Since the release, I’ve been playing PVE-C almost exclusively. I had a brief stint on a private PVE server, and I played only single-player while the base game was in early access. Other than that, it’s been PVE-C for me.

During that time, I’ve seen crap that makes me extremely grateful that nobody can make a permanent base inside the Maelstrom area. The trolls and the griefers are so much more inventive than anyone gives them credit for. On a PVP server, you can blow them up. On a PVE(-C) server, you have to live with them until they either get bored, or Funcom deigns to deal with them.

So while I agree that the available space for bases might end up a bit tight eventually, I’m glad that there’s a plethora of resources that no griefer can pave over. And believe you me, if you make it possible for them to do so, no matter how much effort it takes, they will do it sooner or later. Their sole reason for playing the game is to ruin the experience for others, so you better believe they’ll apply all their ingenuity and hard work, no matter how insane it seems to you.

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If you had to build inside the storm for base size to count for spawning purposes, you’d not be able to get away with only using wood or sandstone - at least not at a size that is practical to cover with thralls. That’s the point. We can do that now b/c we can hook cheap, disposable platforms to expensive piles of spawn bait outside the storm.

If absolutely nothing else, you can get 2-4 Greater ??? per storm from the static-spawn dragons. And if you’re playing solo and can’t get 3-skull siege Elder Things to spawn I don’t know what to say. If you were on a shared server, I’d understand why you couldn’t for reasons that should be obvious, but solo? It’s just a matter of building an expensive & expansive enough base.

Distance is key. If they can’t reach you, they can’t hit you.

There’s also a few players I know who do more traditional melee solo T4s. I have no stomach for that, and would rather round up a partner, but it can be done. It just takes more effort. As you’d expect when soloing content designed for multiple players.

Also, though it really shouldn’t need said… I agree with the other above re: a wipe “achievement”. Creating a player-controlled server wipe mechanism to “combat” griefers is 100% putting a fox in charge of guarding a hen-house.

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Well, what do you know, coming on the forums and whining in a thread about it actually made them spawn for the first time! Of course, the structure I build to attract them immediately detonated when that giant fungi-covered giant arrived, but I did it catch this one.
The dragons spawn statically, you say? Do you mean that they spawn in fixed places? If so, where?

They’re both along the ridgeline in the SW of J9. They don’t necessarily spawn immediately when the storm starts, but they sometimes do - and if they get killed early enough they can respawn during a single storm.

Lets see if I can give feed back with out a wall of text.

We paid $40 for it, FUncom is happy. I went back to Exiles, I have had enough.

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They’re both along the ridgeline in the SW of J9. They don’t necessarily spawn immediately when the storm starts, but they sometimes do - and if they get killed early enough they can respawn during a single storm.

OK, so I just tried this and they actually do spawn. Also, a ton of fish-men in armor with bows and spears spawned, something I had NEVER seen before. Are Elder Things tied to spawn in certain areas of the Storm, and not in others?

The static storm spawns are regional, yes. On the north side of that ridge you’ll find demon grubs. Further north still is an area where there’s a few big ugly giants with hammers. The MiGo (humanoid dragonfly things) and their wasp underlings are on the NW side of the storm. There’s a few different types of small humanoids in different areas as well. The dynamic spawns are the same everywhere, however.

@AstemioDaBirra, excellent review.

I do not agree with the server wipe idea, but, as I play exclusively PVE and I suspect that would be a PVP mode, we can just have a different opinion.

The thing I wanted to highlight is the grind factor of the current release of the game.

Specifically, after reaching 60, there’s nothing to do but farm for surges which, as you stated, is a massive exercise in frustration in the hopes of getting a T4 thrall. In the Exiled Lands, I can travel to different dungeons to pick up interesting things, side trip to camps to see if a desired thrall has spawned, and, basically, make any server log in worth my time and enjoyable.

After hitting 60 on Siptah and upgrading my base to the very best DLC building material, Stormglass, there is nothing to do but grind for Surges. Worse, when I get all the T4 thralls I want, I will never do another Surge. I may fight the Maelstrom, because it can be enjoyable, but Surges? A massive resource sink with a very low return on investment.

Also, as has been noted elsewhere, on public servers, you are not even guaranteed the miniscule ROI as any player can get involved in the surge and walk away with the T4 you’ve spent hours upon hours grinding to get the RNG to pop in your favor.

I realize the game is early access, but, currently, the map does not make me excited to play. With Exiled Lands, the diversity of what I can do, along with the challenge of managing Purges, keeps the environment fresh, even after years of playing.

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I see your points, but farming the storm is a lot easier then people realize. But for me personally doing Surges is a huge trade factor for me, I trade Fighters/Archers/Crafters for Hardened Brick usually to expand my base and never have to farm stone myself.

Just to give you an idea, I was up to 52,000 Hardened Brick just from trading Thralls. So for me it was a very high return on investment.

How many hours did you spend on getting the T4’s you traded. My bet is i can farm hardened brick faster.
520,000 stone----I can get that in 3 hours of farming
52,000 consolidant–maybe 5-6 hours.
My guess is you spent way more time farming the Maelstorm to get the extra thralls you traded.
That is what is meant be return in investment. The difference even if times are comparable, i know i get hardened brick, the RNG process means you have to get thralls people want by chance.

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Precisely.

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