Letter to Funcom - Most Significant Issues


#1

There are a couple of things in Conan Exiles that I feel are extremely profound problems, and that will be the biggest turn offs to players that want to enjoy the game.

First, about me, I’m nearly 50 years old, and have been playing competitive PvP games online since the days of dialup on my 300baud modem on a local BBS. I’m no stranger to how things happen in the play environment we have - the internet. Nor am I surprised by the actions our fellow humans take in this environment…I’ve seen it all. I bought Conan the day it was available, and have roughly 2200 hours invested. There are few things I have not seen.

That said, I do feel eminently qualified to speak about what I think are the two most glaring and off-putting problems facing CE as it exists now, and how it seems to be destined to exist upon release, as neither of these issues has been clearly and definitively addressed in any of the communications from FC.

The first is the rampant cheating and lack of administration on the official servers.

Every online survival game seems to have this same problem. If FC wants to compete then I think it needs to be the new trend-setter by dedicating the resources to police these servers, take direct action against players as they are caught, and not ruin the play experience of the vast majority of the players…the honest ones.

When new players buy CE, they’re going to play on Official Servers. This will be the most obvious and direct path to get in to the game. If that experience is negative, they will not continue to play. They will give the game bad reviews. Word of these experiences will spread, and this will affect other potential buyers’ decisions. We already see this now in EA, and it will only be more pronounced upon release.

I urge FC to not hide behind the “servers are maintained by a third party” line and take an active role in maintaining the community on the official servers. Break new ground for this genre by creating an environment on the official servers that people want to be a part of, not an environment that drives people away (either to ‘private’ servers or away from the game altogether). Have active administration that observes and polices the servers and is empowered to take action against folks that are found to be violating rules, either by cheating or toxic and abusive behavior.

I challenge you, FC, to raise the bar for this genre and do it better than the others. If you don’t, if you release with how the Official servers are now, this game will not flourish.

Second is the disparity in time/effort required to build relative to that required to destroy/raid.

The ‘tagline’ for this game is “Survive. Build. Dominate.”

As the game stands right now, one third of that line is pointless. Building is a waste of time. I can wreck what took you weeks to build with a few hours work. So why would anyone Build?

FC, you seem to have set a very clear focus and direction on how you want this game to work and be played. The building aspects of this game are fantastic, considered by some to be the best part of the game.Between what was clearly a priority in your development resources from the very beginning and your Build tagline, it seems clear that you did not intend for Building to be completely invalidated by cheap and quickly made tools such as the trebuchet and orbs.

Please consider making this a priority. Many of the things you’ve shown us in the last few weeks streams and letters are great, “nice to have” things, but this should be made a “must have”. Your new players on release will tell stories of how their beautiful cathedrals and fortresses were wrecked in 15 minutes by people that were on their server for an hour and built some trebuchets and orbs, and they will not want to play anymore. As with the issues on Official servers, these stories and experiences will reach the ears of other potential buyers, and they will very likely spend their money on a game that rewards their time and diligence in building with something positive.

Rebalance this. There are likely many potential paths to fix this, but something must be done to not invalidate building.

Thanks for reading, FC. There are certainly other issues and balancing and tweaking that are sorely needed, but those two things are what i think will be the most impactful on new players when the game is released. Those new players will talk, and if they have fun, then others will come too. I want that, and I think you want that too.

Very Respectfully,

Bob - Hopeless Game Addict and Hopeful Conan Exiles Lover


#2

Thanks for posting this here! I’m the one who suggested you do so.

I have had some really wretched experiences on Official servers with truly vile people. Not just hackers, but people who will endlessly harass the server by spamming really messed up text on Global chat.

The internet is a strange thing, and it is a place where sometimes the strangest people bubble up to the surface, unafraid of any backlash for what they might do.

There are players who do not have jobs, who are able to be always online, and always grinding away to create more raiding items, more walls, and ruin any semblance of balance between them and casual players. I know of one player who played not just one server, but three, and was despised on all of them.

How is Funcom going to address this? The behaviour of just a few players can wreck the experience for many.


#3

Well there are some tools created to fight this. New players need to know some of their weapons against cheat and abuse:

Press escape and open a player list.
Right to all player names there is a chat and a microphone icon. Click on them to mute/ignore a player. Speech can really hurt people but luckily we can make them silent over the internet. I wish we had similar options in real life.

If that is not enough for you then on the same player list left click that player name. This will take you to his steam profile. Here there is a “more” icon that you can select and choose “report violation” option. There are various options for you to choose and a description is required too. Now you might think “this won’t get him banned…” and you are probably right if you are the only one reporting it. Even if a group of people do that it probably won’t spark an immediate response. But is same violation reports repeat from distinctive users then it will make actions happen against the user. I know alot of you would want an immediate reaction to the hurt that has been done to you but as in real life you have to understand that it is not easy to prove your accusations 100% valid. Systems like this can be abused and the last thing wanted is to punish an innocent, this sucks way more than unpunished culprit. The more a violation is being repeated the more chances it will eventually get caught. You need to have patience.

Abusive behavior in game (not cheating/chat abuse - just being a dick) should not be restricted by any means on official servers. You want to be despised? You like attacking whoever gets into your sight? Why should you not be allowed that in a survival, open world, PvP game. It feels bad to be on a recieving end of raid or kill. But this is how the game is meant to be played.

Always online. I think official servers limit building damage to certain hours (not on testlive). So you have the option to defend your base by your enemies being limited to certain part of the day. Nothing can (nor should! - at least by game developers) be done to people who have the ability to spend more time in the game to gain an advantege. I know it sucks to leave the world of conan in favor of dull and boring job and the spite is high for people who game all day (and probably live of our taxes) but again: know your avaiable weapons, vote responsibly and put pressure on your goverment! Don’t be a lamb awaiting slaughter!

There is a slider in server options to reduce damage done to buildings. Maybe some official servers could swipe that more to the left? We have seen variety being introduced to the official servers already. I would love to see servers with such option.

If all this fails thankfully there are private servers with various rules, options and administrative powers. You can even start your own!

For people who cannot cope with all this there are PvE servers. I like playing those every now and then when I feel like building something constructive, time consuming and don’t want it destroyed.

One more thing regarding the beginning of the topic: Everyone, regardless of age and experience, is eminently qualified to speak about what they think.


#4

What solutions can you offer to these issues? Specifically, what have you seen work in other open-world survival games to combat the scenarios you have described?


#5

Again as said on reddit. This game needs a report feature like in Rust, so an operator can come in and investigate cheaters.

But exploits is such a vague concept, lets ban anyone who stand on rocks to kill monsters and npc because is an exploit? Let’s ban every lvl 60 that kills a lvl5 player because he toke an unfair advantage by being hi level?

Exploits are devs faults so the blame should be put on them, not the players…


#6

Exploits mean exploits being used to do harm to other players without getting harmed yourself. At least I guess those are meant.
If some exploit or even cheat/third party stuff is used to raid people and maybe even teleport/speedhack… That has nothing to do with pvp. That just sucks.

As for your examples I agree those things should get fixed. Though I would be way more careful as I am an archer…