I had taken a long break from Conan. It was probably a solid year break until the new horse update came out on PS4. My buddy and I, both low levels in the basic light armor, decided we were going to fight a dragon today for some demon blood to knock out some journey steps. We’re not the greatest players but we have fun on our official PVE server in our small 2 person clan. We kited the big red dragon to the king rhino and lost 2 fresh greater bears in around 30 seconds (they really weren’t worth bringing because they did absolutely nothing). King rhino didn’t last long either and seemed bugged to where he could only attack in 1 direction away from the dragon beating on him. Point is, my buddy and I had to do the work to beat this thing. I died 8 times and my clan mate died 11 according to the event log. King rhino died 3 times and was bugged all 3 times. That was hard! We really had fun having to dodge the attacks on time which couldn’t be blocked. Some might laugh, but we weren’t at all specced for this either. Awful weapons and armor, and everything in encumbrance and survival with 0 vit and 0 in strength just so we can haul our loot when we farm. We had fun that wasn’t there prior. The fights now, especially with big enemies, feel more engaging. We have to at the very least come in with proper tools like a shield however low quality they might be and dodge when appropriate or get severely punished… like 90% of our hp in 1 hit gone punished.
After the Dragon we decided we would go kill the Barrow King who was a joke as always, although he did hit pretty hard with 0 in vitality. Managed that boss flawlessly as one might expect. Getting confident and being in the area, we decided to go see if there were star metal nodes we could snag. That turned out to be a complete disaster, but one we still had fun experiencing.
The big cats now for low levels are very very scary (playing PVE official server). They are really fast and can 2 shot you and sometimes come out of nowhere like a real ambush predator. I love having to always watch my back when in the Savanna. Corrupted ones will 1 shot you. Anyway, we didn’t realize there were 4 sabretooth guarding the path to the Ymir religion teacher where meteors can be found. We both probably died another 13 times each trying to get our stuff and having the cats run us down each time until we started to play a little smarter. The first 1 respawned after we had killed off all of them and surprised us with more death.
Some people might read this and say it doesn’t sound fun at all. I come from the souls series as my introduction into gaming. I like games that punish stupid and sloppy. I like games that throw a challenge my way that feels rewarding once conquered even though I sometimes have to come back to it later after numerous failures. Is Conan a souls game? No. I am not comparing the two. I am only stating where my mentality comes from. PVE servers late game can get very boring. Once you’ve done all there is to do, there is little reason to stick around. Some might say leveling thralls fixes that, but it really doesn’t in my opinion. Honestly, in PVE, thralls kind of ruin the experience for me making the game far too easy. These momentum changes have really made the progression a lot slower and a lot harder/engaging for those who just want to play the game and not rush to the end. Funcom said they wanted the changes to make the exiled lands less forgiving and they were successful in doing that. I think it needs more rebalancing to maintain difficulty for maxed out characters, but the changes for me were welcomed!
EDIT: I feel I should add my reply in here. The way I understand it, the dodge is not an escape mechanic anymore. It is an evasive maneuver. You won’t be able to dodge out of range of attacks and certain attacks you won’t be able to dodge at all and will have to either block or run from as best you can.
Example: The dragons stomp with his front paws have a lot of AOE. You will not be able to dodge the AOE reliably so we brought shields to deal with that. The fire breath attack where he moves his head side-to-side can be both blocked and dodged. However, the straight fire breath and tail swipes cannot be blocked. We dodged the tail swipes and had to move out of the way of the straight fire breath to avoid that damage since it couldn’t be blocked or dodged. That is good game design in my honest opinion. We had to experiment to figure out how to deal with these attacks.