Lack of Story Telling. Does anyone else care about this?

This is not a rant, more of a deconstruction of what in my opinion is missing in the game.

The thing that I’ve asked the most (as many others) since early access has been the addition of more narrative content which gives more motivation to the players outside of PVP. Although I know that multiplayer is the main focus of the game, narrative is something that gamers can get back to everytime depending on their mood, because they watched a movie or read a book. Funcom has not been very caring about this aspect of the game, and while is understandable, it’s a huge missed oportunity to widen the market of this product.

To me the lack of story telling is not linked to the lack of a huge central narrative. it’s about character story telling, a bit of questing, visual story telling, fighting story telling and dungeon story telling.

For example there’s a huge cave feel with giant Crows at one side of the mountain at the east edge of the frozen north, the cave itself is massive and full of enemies, you can take up to 20 minutes traversing it, suffering from wounds of the fights and frostbite, it’s pretty well done level-design wise and at the end you arrive at a big bunch of nothing, no reward, no scroll, no dead or alive NPC, no boss, no story telling… is just a big cave filled with monsters… 99% of dungeons in Conan exiles are designed this way.

Another example, the NPCs both friendly and hostile… the friendly NPCs are pointless in Conan Exiles, they give way too little info about themselves and have almost no interaction with the player outside a couple of stories, you don’t have any kind of relation with friendly NPCs… they are not allies, nor potential enemies nor interesting characters (with very few exceptions), which intrinsically means that the only way you can have companions in the game is by enslaving them, is impossible to rally NPCs into your city by diplomacy or common goals, as for the hostiles, they are the same, you have visually interesting tribes and enclaves with a big bunch of nothing at the end (with the exception of the Pirate ship in the Jungle and the captain at the end maybe)… another missed opportunity for Story telling, since there’s no way to have amicable relation with some tribes and others as enemies creating a live faction system, there’s no way to come in peace to this people or give them tribute or nothing they are basically the same as a pack of hyenas conceptualy speaking, they hate you because you exist, it’s not that you attacked them is not that they want to rob you, theres not a single story telling element justifying their hostility… they just are.

Again with the Combat, 99% of the boss fights are just damage sponges with no fighting Story telling (with the exception of the jungle witch), unlike Darksouls (even though I know is a different genre) in which each combat against each foe is a story in itself also the enemies are easy to loose since they don’t climb, jump or swim making the combat pretty straight forward and not very interesting narrative wise.

Another Example, the Thrall system, the impersonal relation between the player and the thralls make them little less than living towers with no personality, life or even dialog, they are glorified furniture (even though now they have to be feed but at the same time are unable to get food themselves making them more like unwanted babies). Other than a big pair of boobs, there’s no bond between the player and his people, no hierarchy or chimestry… no moral, no treason, no nothing they are just there (outside of the fact that they make for very useless followers for battle or exploring).

Another example, the wave based purge system which is nothing more than an annoyance, again, because of the lack of story telling elements to it… a couple of spiders hitting at the first fundation they encounter is hardly an exciting experience, in fact is a little puzzling that there are animal purge at all… there’s no reasoning behind this attacks, no strategy no organization and no dialog or story telling whatsoever.

And the most ambitious thing that I think the game is lacking is the fact that NPCs don’t build, raid or call on avatars (this would be a technical nightmare to make, but it would make the game completely inmortal and very alive on it’s own) it would be interesting to blur the line between player enemy clans and NPC enemy clans but I know this particular suggestion is a handfull of coding, and overall work.

Most of the things that I’m pointing out have no conection to a huge central narrative or plot, nor would they break the survival nature of the game itself… they are the very little elements of story telling that make games like Darksouls 1 a diamond in the rought, and the lack of these elements make Conan Exiles a piece of carbon that could be a Diamond in the rought…

The problem is not the light nature of the RPG elements, the problem is that such light elements in Conan Exiles are very lackluster, poorly concieved, half baked or completely missing in some aspects, and while you could argue that every Survival game is like that, Conan is a very character driven property from it’s very conception, everything, from the fights to the eating has a story behind it, a small narrative. Conan is not very plot driven in literature it’s about the characters, the fights and the settings.

Conan Exiles have this only in a superficial level, the characters are void, the fights are repetitive and the setting, while beautifull, feels empty and lifeless after a while, and the worst thing is that there are a few glimps of the intention to have light BUT AWESOME small story telling elements, but they stopped caring about those very early in development, giving priority to Multiplayer focused mechanics and game breaking bugs (that they brought on themselves for realeasing a product that was years away from beign ready for release).

Conan Exiles is not just another survival, it’s a game with one of the greatest american fantasies attached to it’s name, there’s no room for it to be like the others, is would be simply not respecfull to the source material, and while is already very different on its own the lack of story telling is very noticesable. A little love to the way the Exiles land speaks to the player (a bit of questing and more lore… like 200% more) could go a long way, a little revamp of the very dissapointing and seemingly unfished dungeons (remember that nothing at the end of Hanuman cave? or the eternaly closed door at the end of the giant crocodile cave?) could bring up a lot of magic, and a little personality to the Exiles land inhabitants (including Thralls) could make this game something especial.

To me Conan Exiles is the best survival game I’ve played, which makes its flaws more obvious to me, story telling is its weakest point (outside of technical issues) and one that can be fixed with less effort than a dye system, or a pet mechanics (outside of the NPC building, raiding and calling avatars of course)… unlike these very superficial additions, story telling could make this game everlasting, right now it’s a life simulation without life in it. And giving the very high quality of the map, atmosphere and mechanics (climbing was and still is the biggest homerun of the devs) is a very sad case… the bare bones of greatness are there, but the focus post launch (again outside of mechanical issues) is misguided, creatively dead and extremely dissapointing regarding story telling.

Not before long the servers will be empty and the solo aspect of the game would not be enough to justify replayability. Unless funcom change this mentality and focus in the conversation between the player and the world, this game is destined to collect dust in the steam library of all its player base (it has already happened since launch, many player are gone for good).

In my opinion, Conan fans don’t like this game because is perfect, we like it because we have no other option with the brand when it come to video games… we have 2 mediocre and old hack and slash, a dead MMO and Exiles… the choice is pretty obvious.

Maybe I’m asking a lot, maybe not, but these things to me are holding this game back from greatness.

Leave your thoughts, try to be nice and sorry for my bad English.

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At my place I got 2 large campfires stuffed to the brim with cooked human body parts.

I don’t need more story telling :slight_smile:

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good for you :slight_smile:

Agree 1000% with the OP. IMO, the game that will hook me for life is probably going to be one that combines the quality RP elements of a Dragon Age type game with the building mechanics of Conan and the combat mechanics of Dragon’s Dogma.

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The great thing about a game like this is it lends well to RP servers. No developer can match the story telling of a group of players actually roleplaying their characters. So RP servers are your best bet for an immersive and story telling experience, something the devs simply will never be able to match.

However you only get out of RP what you put in. So it requires a bit of effort on the part of the player. You can’t simply be a fly on the wall and expect story elements to come to you.

You also need to find such a server. Which there are quite a few. Some of the #1 servers in Conan are RP servers. So they’re not hard to find.

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These are not official servers right? I mean, your point is good, but the “fly on the wall” argument goes both ways, does the developers have to and expect the story elements to come only from us? I mean obviously we as players put a lot of imagination into the game. But our hands are tide in some aspect. There’s not much the player can do RP wise with the empty dungeons for example (you can’t build inside them) or with a Darfari tribe (we can’t make them our allies) or with our favorite Thralls (we can have any type of relationship with them). There’s obviously a lot of aspect that are closed to the player as far as interaction or RP and are specifically tide to what the devs do with them. The players can only RP with other players, and this is very cool, but everything else is in the devs table and that’s not by mistake, it was a creative choice, one that the devs have to own now (or continue to ignore like they have so far).

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Its a survival game. The fact we have little notes on the ground giving a bit of flavor is already heads and tails better than others. But I’d argue those aren’t really needed other than to explain the purpose of the exiled lands itself in the Hyborian era. If you story references, they’re in novels written 80 years ago.

Suffice to say, this isn’t a singleplayer RPG like Skyrim. You’re dropped in the Exiled Lands, given hints about what they are, and you get to write your own stories.

As for the purpose of the official servers. That’s just to dick each other in creative ways with low-moderation.

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So the servers you reffer to are not official then? I’m just asking.

Most RP servers are private servers because the admins can exert some control over griefing and enforce at least some adherence to lore.

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That would bee a match made in heaven… It’s weird some of the responses I get as If I were craping in the current game instead of voicing elements that I believe would make it better.

The tipical answer of “it’s a multiplayer game and it’s more than ok as it is” always puzzles me. I don’t know, maybe working in the industry make me overthink about games. But it’s still weird to me.

Like I said in the OP, I think the bare bones of an everlasting game are there, and of course I understand the importance of dealing with the most game breaking technical issues, but the big updates like pet system and that kind of things I believe do little to attract new players or make old ones return, I mean those of us that are here since Early access has already done and seen all… pets are not changing that really. Trying new things out over the base engine it’s just good business at this point, all of us here are already Funcom fans and we are more than willing to call our friends to join if the game makes something amazing and bold.

I think some of my suggestions could justify for others to try the game and for old players to replay in Solo or with friends in a more controled environment. I already did everything that could be done in PVP, I was a loner on the run, part of the Alpha clan of a server, raided with gods, the works… I don’t think that redoing all that with the hope that I find some interesting guy from Austria that is a hardcore Role Player to have a couple of good interactions when he is online, it’s gonna make the game inmortal or give it a couple of more years of life.

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So those of you looking for a story by Funcom, they are making a singleplayer campaign for Conan Exiles.

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If you don’t think playing with the right kind of roleplay mixed with PVP adds to the experience of Conan Exiles I suggest you give this server a try. GAME OF THRALLS Season 5 - NEW SERVER 17th August 2018 It is full on PVP with admins that are extremely fair and the well thought out RP available really makes the game for me. Nothing is scripted, just a lot of great people to make your experience nail biting.

More or less. The Exiles team is making a Single Player game with Conan as the main character, but is not a campaign for Conan Exiles, that was said during the financial report. I expect it to be announced Q2 2019. The Strategy game from Petroplyph also looks kind of cool, at least the trailer is awesome… let’s see what happens when they show gameplay.

Never the less I think that with more light elements of story telling (not a full narrative) Conan Exiles could pull more people back to it, just for the exploring part. Don’t you think that would be cheap and good?

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While I agree with most of your post, I maintain what I think, Conan Exiles is a game ahead of it’s time, most of it’s mechanics require a powerfull engine much more optimized than what we have today to fully achieve greatness.

That said, the game is good even as a single player game, what it currently lacks the most is the purge as a real threat to players, if that mechanic is enhanced and made a real threat, it will gain miles of ground already!

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Agreed, the purge could be the focus of a big update and it could give a lot to the game. But I also think that funcom can do a lot with what they already have, I mean there’s really no reason for the lackluster un dungeons, the lack of reward at the end of them or the fact that most are just one corridor with a big cave at the end. I mean they already have bosses and treasure chest but none of them are inside dungeons, there are human populated dungeons but no badass leader at the end of them, there are tribes but no leader in them, the list goes on. These are things that could be fixed without adding additional mechanincs, the very barebones of a narrative element. A bit of personality to an already great setting.

And yes, the game can be played in single player, heck, my first 40 hours I was all by my self before a friend joined my server. But there is much to be made with the mechanics the game already possesed. At least that’s what I think. But I don’t believe that Funcom is actually thinking about those kinds of things… I mean mounts, sorcery, the eternal settlement system, plus the bug fixing, clearly story telling of any kind is waaaaay down in the priority list as of now.

This looks good, I’ll might check it out. Thanks!

One of main reason older players came to Conan Exiles is that it is an open world, where you can do what you want to do.
This is how it was, before the dark times, before the WoW.

Its hard to explain to young folk that have grown up in an MMO world that holds every ones hand along the way.

Ask games over 35 what thier favorite games were, and they mostly will tell you Altima Online and Star Wars Galaxies.
Why? Because you did what you wanted to do. In fact Star Wars Galaxies failed and went out business trying to convert an open sandbox MMO to a follow the story MMO. They wanted the under 25 crowd to leave WoW and come to them. Doing this they jettisoned 80% of the players, we all left, it died a silent death.

Today I asked the Mrs what she wanted to do. She said lets go the the frost temple, then kill a few bosses. We did, it was a blast, and there was no story to slow us down.

If Funcom tries to make this a story line game, We will all leave.
They know that because CE is so similar to SWG it is remarkable.
They can keep a greater pile of gamers happy.

Dang smart of them.


Side note, hey FUNCOM the world F LOCKED is not a bad word. I had to change it to came, which could be a bad word.

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I miss SWG - and you’re right, SONY kept changing the game to make players ‘happy’ and lure over WoW players instead of just adding content.

This game has a lot of potential for content in adding new dungeons, I think.

You are absolutely right just yesterday was playing Pillars of Eternity, dropped it a bit to build some on single player CE, sometimes you just want to kill stuff or build.

And yes ultima online was great.

While I agree, I think the point of the topic is not necessarily story in regards to main quest story type, more of a completing the game elements like he mentions most dungeons are pointless caves with a handfull of monsters you never need to enter.

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Well to me Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima is still young folk games… I’m pre-MMO generation. Galaxies was good, an even bigger example of my point (which clearly escape young folk). In classic Galaxies you could joined factions, place bounties on other players, join a bigger rich conflic without any kind of handheld narrative, and had a living economy that depends on the players, obviously this kind of subtleties escape young folk that think that story telling elements is tide to a central plot line ala WOW or like what SONY did when they killed Galaxies.

Older players (cleary way older than the ones you refer to) understand these subtleties since they clearly know the intricacies of story telling outside the narrow view of a hand held central plot. It’s hard to explain this to the young folk from Ultima and Galaxies generation, they loved them, but clearly have no ideaq why :confused: Story telling through level design, visuals, combat and even mundane actions (all which Conan Exiles lack) have their roots in literature, something that young folk harly know about.

The Galaxies change comparison is an extreme… obvioulsy tide to millenial mentaly. Since again, the subtleties of storytelling out side central plot escapes this generation. This is why Sony could not find a balance when they change the game… they went to trying copying WOW formula and alienate the original fanbase (very similar to what Disney is doing now with the movies with little to no success).

Perhaps the light RPG elements that I brought up in the OP weren’t clear enough for young folk. So here is again in case someone missed them while reading diagonal:

“The problem is not the light nature of the RPG elements, the problem is that such light elements in Conan Exiles are very lackluster, poorly concieved, half baked or completely missing in some aspects”

“Conan is a very character driven property from it’s very conception, everything, from the fights to the eating has a story behind it, a small narrative. Conan is not very plot driven in literature it’s about the characters, the fights and the settings.”

And now in simpler terms that accomodate the understanding of young folks:

Conan Exiles don’t need a central hand held plot, just an overhaul on the little things that made it great in the first place.

The dungeons feel incomplete and empty for the most part.

The non-hostile NPCs and thralls are souless and pointless for it.

The tribes and factions (Darfari Cannibals, Black Hand, Exiles, Dogs of the Desert, Lemurians, Heirs of the north, Forgotten Tribe, etc) do nothing, change nothing and are nothing really.

There are no random events… each creature, hostile, monster and animal appears after set amount of time in the same spot.

The list goes on… again, young folk rarely comprehend this kind of elements as story telling, since for them a movie-like narrative ala COD is as far as the term storytelling goes.

Yesterday I venture again into Hanuman’s groto. No sacrifice at his feet, no action from the player, no messing around the statue unlocked the eye of Hanuman object, nor the dungeon took more than 5 minutes to complete. The underwater passage is cool but the dungeon itself resembles something made by an intern as a level design first exercise. Basic rule: if it looks boring and short on paper, no matter how beautiful it is visually, it’s gonna be boring and short non-the-less.

If Funcom don’t polish the light RPG elements the game does not justify replayability out side of redoing what you’ve done already. Slowly dying day by day (as it have happened since realese. The drop numbers speak for themselves)
They know that because CE content is pale compare to the behemoth that SWG was. They just don’t focuse on this type of content anymore (the company made a lot of money out of CE… they’ve moved on to other projects now).
They loose more and more players becuase of this on a daily basis.

It is in fact dang smart, since they already made the invested money back plus a lot of revenue out of CE, and since there’s not subscription nor microtransactions (thankfully) they aren’t really obligated to do anything with this game… outside little cosmetic DLCs that have not a great investment impact and the ocational bug fixing to secure the remaining fanbase not to hate them enough to skip their next game.