Game Design, Weapons, Enemies, Extensive Feedback

Hello, I am SpherisCore, someone who is generally hardcore / try-hard when it comes to gaming.
I’ve played Conan Exiles for a good while, about 2000 hours now, and I am going to explain everything I can about where this game falls short in as much details as possible, while providing some general ideas on how things could be improved.

Note that this is supposed to be Constructive Feedback, and as such, if I may sound rude at times, understand that it is a manifestation of frustration rather than disrespect, “it is such a shame that things are like this” rather than “you are awful developers and I personally hate you”, or similar nonsense.

General Context: I’ve mostly played PvE as I have other games if I want PvP, and here is my general mindset when playing Conan Exiles - This is the main game I use to relax. I go around the map (both Exiled Lands and Siptah) and kill enemies with little to no challenge, I solo all bosses and Dungeons with any weapon, and it’s just fun hitting stuff. I also enjoy farming resources and building, as well as playing “Tower Defense” with the Purge.
As I’ve already mentioned at the start, I am a try-hard, and I’m not here to brag about how I can solo everything in this game, many other people can, but I will be talking about where the PvE challenges are and why it is bad.

That being said, you may also have noticed that there are other things to do in this game than just fighting, and that’s a thing I like about Conan Exiles, the amount of content and diversity that can exist in the game. I’ve spent hours making a Farm to cultivate Grey Lotus exponentially at very low cost for instance, even if I don’t use the Grey Lotus for anything :smile:. Building is very fun, and fortunately you can start building for very cheap with the Sandstone and Floatsam sets. I also love Horse-Riding (IRL too) and I’ve made huge obstacle courses just for the fun of it, or I simply went around the map and enjoyed the ride (but note that you need the Aquilonian Scout Saddle for maneuverability or it feels quite bad IMO).

Enemies: Simply put, PvE fights are not challenging by design. Compared to a game like Hades or The Binding of Isaac (I’m not advertising) where things happen fast and enemies are a threat, in Conan Exiles enemies are slow and very dumb for the most part. This includes the vast majority of Bosses, but let’s go into more details about what makes difficult enemies difficult, and how this difficulty drops quickly.

The Age of War is coming, and as Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” In almost every game with a fighting component, you are most likely going to get rekt the first time you encounter an unknown enemy that you know nothing about, and that’s all okay, you learn and get better at fighting this enemy and eventually succeed.

In Conan Exiles, I would say this is the primary source of difficulty for PvE combat. The first few times you fight something, you will most likely get destroyed, but the issue comes from the next part; when you have figured an enemy out, it is no longer challenging. And I’m going to say that this is bad game design! Again, without advertising, in Hades the fights are challenging and difficult even when I know what is coming for me. In Conan, I know if I can just circle around an enemy, I know when to block, when to dodge, how to manage stamina, and that’s almost all there is to the PvE combat, and if I get hit it’s because I was bored and stopped paying attention :melting_face:.
Generally Speaking, NPCs lack options and variety in their movesets; World Bosses have at most 3 different attacks, and when you know them most are no threat anymore!

Now some attacks are still a threat, and I will talk about these as well, and how those are also bad design.

NPC Attacks: I will separate PvE enemies’ attack moves in 3 categories here:
Easy - Attacks that you can avoid by simply walking around the target, that are generally telegraphed with a windup, and that do not require great reaction.
Challenging - Attacks that are more difficult to avoid, either because they start faster, have a larger hitbox, or are hard to predict.
Unfair - Attacks that will hit you unless you already 100% know how to counter them, and which are generally a pain to deal with by design.
Broken - Attacks that will most likely hit you, and most likely kill you, unless you already 100% know how to counter them, and which are a huge pain to deal with by design.

↳ If an “Unfair” attack can be interrupted, it becomes “Challenging” or even “Easy”, which is the case for most non-boss monsters, but some attacks become “Unfair” or “Broken” due to Elites / Bosses’ Hyper-Armor.

Attack Examples:
Easy - The Spider World Bosses’ basic lunge attack, which is slow, telegraphed, with a windup, that you can avoid by walking around the boss, and that you can dodge reliably even if you are a bit late.
Challenging - The Rotbranch’s explosion, which has a huge windup time but hits a massive area, making it so you have to react fast to get away, or dodge with good timing to avoid getting hit.
→ The Scorpion Queen/King’s spinning tail whip, which has a fair windup, huge hitbox, special animation, and that you generally have to dodge at the right timing to avoid.
Unfair - The Alpha/Boss Snake’s only attack, which is fully homing and will hit you regardless of range or positioning, which you must block with a shield!
→ Any attack that despite having a windup animation will still hit you due to the enemy rotating towards you during their windup, such as the Rotted Hulk’s big slap.
→ Any attack that is clunky and does not make sense in its hitbox, making it really annoying to deal with unless you already 100% know about it, such as Rockslide’s spin attack.
Broken - Siptah’s Harpy ranged attack, which has a huge hitbox, has a super strong multi-hit that will most likely kill you, and that if you block will take away your stamina and still hit you after and put you in a terrible / near-death situation.

In addition to this, any attack that is combined with a clunky collision-lock becomes Unfair, such as when the Crocodile or Rhino World Bosses rotate into you and you get stuck inside their head unable to move away at all, making any subsequent attack unfair. This is clearly bad game design right there.

In general, you will find very few Challenging attacks, a large amount of Easy ones, clunky bugs that make some Unfair, and few Broken ones as well. That being said, I can deal with all of this because I already know how to counter each and every attack, even the broken and unfair ones which bring me to the point of Artificial Difficulty in this game. Indeed, the remaining difficulty after you learn enemies’ attack patterns is to deal with the unfairness of some badly designed attacks. It is not “this is a difficult fight because I have to react fast to the enemies’ options.” but instead “this can be a difficult fight if I’m not fast enough to react to the enemy bugging into me.”

On this note, I will say that the bosses I enjoy fighting the most in general are:
Child of Jhil - With or without shield, it’s about stamina management with two challenging attacks.
Thag - The skeleton summoning is challenging and I really love the ground patterns attack.
Rotbranch - Shield stamina management with two fair unblockable attacks.
White Tiger - It is fast, hits hard, but nothing really unfair, and it does not have full stun immunity.
Red Mother / Undead Dragon - Variety of moves makes the fights decent, with fire breath too.
Scorpions - I honestly just enjoy dodging the spin attack, the rest is kinda boring.
Demon Spider - It’s not the best but variety of moves is there, with that mist attack on top.

The True Unfairness: This is something that you do not fall into after you’ve played for a while I would say, since you just have to be careful and take your time to approach, but I have to say it nonetheless.

Fighting a boss is not difficult, fighting 20 mobs can be much more deadly, and some mobs’ attacks are generally harder to dodge than bosses’ :smile:
What is more dangerous between that slow 3 skull skeleton boss which you can easily dodge, or 5 silent legion skeletons who attack fast, in group, and have full stun immunity?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fighting multiple enemies (although AoE weapons are a must, Great-Axe for Strength, Katana for Agility) but it feels very unfair that some enemies have full stun immunity (will have to see what changes in the Age of War on that part) while coming in hordes, while the equivalent bosses are extremely easy and even boring to fight?

On that note, the Corrupted Wolf has generally been the most deadly enemy for me due to hitting very hard, very fast, with full stun immunity. Don’t worry, I manage every time, but it’s a big weird that this 1 skull elite feels more threatening to me than any 3 skull boss.

Inconsistency: Some things are most likely overlooks, some things don’t make sense, like how the Perfected Heavy Armor’s description talks about it as if it is a Medium Armor, but I understand with how many entries are in the game that some overlooks happen, and I don’t care that much for items’ descriptions, aside from the Ladder one :innocent:.

What it more concerning, is how The Arena Champion hits much much harder than the True Champion of the Warmaker… I am not sure if this was an overlook, if you decided to roll with it and say it was not a mistake, but it truly feels like their attack damage should have been swapped around… The Arena Champion is a 1 Skull Boss, she is fast and has terrible attack design, like all human NPCs, so it is just another annoying human NPC with a mace… But she hits harder than anything and will 2-tap you.

Meanwhile, the True Champion of the Warmaker is a 3 Skull Boss, he is slow, has telegraphed but huge attacks… And those attacks feel like a mosquito bite compared to the Arena Champion?
I will be honest, the first time I did this dungeon was with friends and with fighter thralls, and after we did the Arena Champion and how I saw their HP super low which never happened this fast before, here is what I said when we entered the True Champion’s fighting room: “You know we’re going to lose our thralls to this, right?” Because it only makes sense that the next boss hits harder than the previous one! I thought the Arena Champion was a warning, it was the “you are not prepared!” before fighting Illidan… But in that case, the final boss was very underwhelming in comparison.

I’m not going to point out every single thing I can think of, some are mundane, but some affect gameplay.
Still, some of those things are very easy to fix, such as Eldarium Recipes (I know how recipes work, I used the modkit) all being the same for all weapons, instead of integrating unique components! How do I make a Fiend Bone Shield without a Devolved Fiend Bone??? The resource is there, I don’t understand why it isn’t being used in the crafting recipes :melting_face:.

Weapons: I really dislike the recent change dividing weapons between Strength and Agility, but maybe not for the reasons you think. First of all, I like playing almost every weapon, aside from the boring Spear with no moveset that is only useful for PvP, and the super slow Great-Sword.

What the division of weapons accomplishes is that depending on how you want to build, which perks you want to have, you will be forced into specific movesets based on the available weapon types. If you build agility, you’re not going to play with a Great-Axe for optimal damage, for instance. I get this design choice, and it’s debatable, I’m not fully opposed to it but it feels a bit limiting in my very personal opinion.

What I think is more problematic, is which options people actually have when it comes to the best weapons if looking at agility only, or strength only.
→ If I build Agility, my general weapon will be Daggers, my AoE weapon will be a Katana, my One-Handed weapons with Shield will be either a Short-Sword or a Javelin, same for water options, and I can have a Bow if I want.
→ If I build Strength, my weapons will be Great-Axe, War-Axe, Sword, Throwing-Axe if I need Projectiles.

↳ For Agility, some bosses have to be fought with a shield, but a short-sword does not hit them reliably, so I have to play with a Javelin… And here is the issue, the best Javelin (Riptide) is already rare, but it also falls short in damage compared to weapons you can buff with modification kits! And for short swords, you don’t get good ones unless you’re on Siptah, which also means that you are not going to have Riptide there… So depending on the map, you either have no Legendary Javelin or no Legendary Short-Sword… And the Javelin is underwhelming despite being more reliable for bosses?

↳ For Strength, One-Handed Mace is okay but not my thing, Spear is mostly for PvP, but Two-Handed Hammer is just overall bad, Two-Handed Sword is close to it, but more importantly there is only one Legendary Great-Axe for each Map, and those are rare specific drops. On top of this, craftable ones are only good on Siptah, Exiled Lands do not have good craftable options. Aside from this, War-Axe and Sword are okay and have plenty of legendary or strong craftable options, thus making them the generally most attractive option when using a shield for bosses.

→ Another thing to mention, which is extremely weird to me, is how throwing axes interact with the main-hand weapon… Throwing axes do not influence the damage of your attacks at all, so you can have a legendary axe and a stone axe, it will be the same as having Akbitanan Knives in your off-hand. Special effects are also not applied, and it is the same on testlive with the new effects, so using a dragonbone or obsidian throwing axe does not apply sunder or bleed on your main combo, those are only applied when throwing the axe. That’s a choice, but what comes next is much much weirder and I do not think it is deliberate.
↳ The damage of a Throwing-Axe is influenced by the damage of the main-hand weapon… So yeah, throwing an Akbitanan Knife while your main-hand is empty, throwing it while you have a stone sword in hand, or throwing it while you have the Predatory Blade, all these result in different damage for the Projectile of the Throwing-Axe. I do not think this is intentional, maybe I will make a separate bug report for this one.

Loot Levels: Alright this isn’t so difficult to be honest… I do not understand why you made the Legendary Chests in the first place, and it is clear that on Siptah many weapons are specific to some bosses, which should be the general system being used!

The reasoning is simple, there is no reason to bother with a Rotbranch or Rockslide if you can kill an easy Spider or Crocodile Boss. They all drop the same thing, a skeleton key, with the same pool of legendary weapons within their chests! Simply have the bosses drop the weapons directly in their inventory, like many more unique bosses already do, and that way you can split different loot levels based on which areas and difficulty the bosses are in!

I enjoy fighting for the sake of it, but if one’s goal is just to get legendary weapons, they will not have to bother with more difficult bosses! Meanwhile, if you made Rotbranch drop better weapons than Crocodiles, it would give a good reason to fight it, aside from the challenge.

On the other hand, there are also bosses that drop nothing at all? Why bother fighting the Green or White Dragons, when they drop nothing? If you want dragonhorns and dragonbones, the small dragons are enough to farm them :smile:.

Siptah is a bit better at this, but the legendary chests are probably something that needs to be thrown out the window so that bosses can directly drop weapons from a chosen set based on the difficulty of the boss itself.

I think that’s all for today, I may come back with more feedback later, and I will be there to tell you what I think is wrong when the Age of War drops :smiling_imp:
I hope you will understand that, despite all those things, I still love the game and have a lot of fun with it, but it simply feels like “it’s such a shame” and “it could be so much better” as well as “it has so much potential” and I really hope you take whatever helps you in this feedback to make the game truly great!

Regards, Spheris.

PS: Whoever made all these special animations for the Katana when you stop attacking, you rock!


Well, nice feedback, thanks and congratulations! You have some valid points but you will allow me to exchange some different opinions, mostly not because i want to have a disagreement but because i have seen things from a “more” general view!

Before i start i will say that Conan exiles is not a game that demands great fighting skills when it comes to pve, but knowledge, patience and why not cunning and bravery. So i think devs represent the name Conan in this game!

Hello i am stelagel :blush:

Please to meet you m8 :metal:. Every title i play must be played in the hardest category because ONLY then you respect- understand ALL the work devs did in this game.

Lucky you :wink:! I won’t counter to this because it would sound like bragging, but i will say that even these hours are more than enough to represent this feedback of yours. You could make this feedback even with 500 hours! So this was not necessary, you can hide it on your post if you wish it’s unnecessary!

Yes it’s true, from day one i played this game i said this a lot of times. But the game keeps updating and changing. Some updates i like, some others i digest harder than i should, but i keep rolling, so we’re good i guess. Yet allow me to tell you what i do all these years. I dream out loud in here and many of my dreams came true :slightly_smiling_face:. Not my way but their way, yet it works just fine for me. So stick around exile, we need you!

Yea, i really hope it will remain this way, but heads up nonetheless!

Well, don’t get me wrong here, but this is a “weakness” of fully understand the game and why some mechanisms work the way they do. Like i said countless times in here after 2.4 i haven’t played pvp anymore. And even if i played pvp in this game i never embraced the general pvp mindset. My goals even in pvp servers was always the happiness of online gaming and “difficult pve” .
Keep in mind that in pvp and pve-c servers you harm your followers and your teammates, so there’s NO spamming on team fights, every attack must be done swift and careful giving a different beautiful taste on pve! Then again the thrill of returning to your base safe and find a base untouched :rofl:, puts more taste in this game. These are experiences pve cannot give my dear friend. I am just speaking for these because the list of pvp fun and mechanics is huge and pve so far cannot even think of! Trust me, it worth the shot, play pvp!

This and many other “farmings” mostly existed for pvp reasons. Age of sorcery gave a good reason of grey lotus on pve too.

I believe this game has the best building system i’ve played so far and by far the best builders i’ve seen so far. The building community of Conan exiles is huge and it holds the humongous percentage of “pve players”. Pc and mods have taken building to a whole different level, but even the non mod builds have nothing less, the creativity this building system has, still after all these years have seen no ceiling, it is still rising non stop!

I love horses but i don’t funcy riding them in this game. The freedom i have on sprinting, climbing, swimming, cannot be replaced by horses. Maybe because i learned the game this way, maybe because horses are no flexible and the terrain is full of traps for horse riding, i prefer to role play with horses than actually use them as my main transportation way.

Like i said in the beginning, pve fighting in this game is not based on skills but in knowledge and patience. Now the reason this is happening i cannot say for sure. But i believe it falls to the age that this game is addressed. We have a Full nudity game, with survival aspects, building mechanisms, open world based on the “power of knowledge” ! So no skills required actually. Like you said in the beginning…

So we come to the conclusion that this is a game for adults, that wants to play something interesting and creative and balance the challenge as they wish because the main goal is to relax and enjoy after all.

Exactly this! But i see nothing bad in it so far. My question is… How many times you lost until you come to this conclusion? :wink:
So there is a “reward” after all from these “boring” npcs and world bosses!
Worth to be mentioned that every move set this game has from player till world bosses is constantly changing through the years, not a lot, but it changes. The age of sorcery was my best of all, because my toon was literally the greatest beast of all times. In this update, anyone could take a stick and kill everything in this game, all he-she needed was the knowledge you mentioned above.
But here’s a question? What do you think is the percentage of players that knows what you know about pve fighting? Is it so easy after all?

You know what? I will stop it here, i already said too many and they are not enough, since your post is wonderful and true to many, yet not so accurate but only for me.
Generaly i agree that it “needs more”, yet we are on the sidestep of a new update so i believe that it’s best to see the new content first.
Let’s hope we’ll download without issues and play without issues too :pray:t6:.
Nice to have you around exile, please stick around, thank you!

About PvP, just on a side note, my single player games are always PvP enabled with friendly fire at 1.0 multiplier instead of the base 0.1 (or 0.2 I don’t remember) because I agree that not being careful with your clan-mates / followers / pets felt too easy since you could just gang up on a target without care :smile:

I honestly think that in most games Friendly Fire is always an option you want enabled, as it will increase your accuracy and even let you develop some specific tactics in some games (see Super Smash Bros 2v2 competitive, hit your teammate to save them from falling off, just an example!)

Going back to Conan, I’m the kind of guy who considers everything from a PvP perspective even if I don’t play it :rofl:, I’m just this kind of analytical person… I’m sure my judgement is not fully accurate since I only played a little PvP, especially when it comes to weird exploits that I would hate using, or more specifically things like siege and raids which I barely experienced, but I always understood the importance of Grey Lotus for instance as you mentioned.

Let’s indeed hope that the Age of War will be an upgrade and not a downgrade :melting_face:.

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So far the posts i read are not so encouraging. But i wait to decide on my own about it. What i know is that there will be surely things i will like and things i will have to digest, it’s always this way. But i always try to stay positive in updates!

Some interesting points, and very well thought out.

Legendary Chests are a very old legacy style feature. When they were introduced, the only bosses available were the few you needed to craft the keystone and leave the exiled lands. At that point bosses were meant to be done once for the story and to ‘beat’ the game. Not to be farmed. Outside of the Kinscourge, there was no reason to actually farm these bosses.

As a bit of a stop gap measure and to get people to run around the map, they made the world bosses drop keys with chests for loot. That was at the time, the ‘end game’ if you weren’t playing to ‘beat the game’. And for its time, it kind of worked. I remember playing on a non-modded PVP server at this time and running into people. Sometimes we’d have a fight, and sometimes people would just avoid you. It was kind of lackluster. But this was early 2018 so we weren’t expecting much else.

Sometime after we got more dungeons and because we had these world bosses already they had to make new weapons and armors that were in some cases better, and most cases different than their world boss counterparts. The unnamed city got a rebrand and its bosses were like a next tier of world boss or somesuch.

Then Siptah came out and they did a little more thought to the whole gaining legendary item paradigm. But even that was a trial thing. So we’re likely going to see a bit of a revamp of this stuff in Chapter 2 of Age of War.

Right now the difficulty of the game in Age of War is easier. In the lead producer’s own words, it will be the easiest Conan Exiles has ever been until the second chapter. There’s supposedly some other systems and revamps coming there to make the whole thing come together. I don’t know if every goal will be met by then, so I am sort of holding my opinion till then while giving feedback in the mean time.

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