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


No admins on Officials
#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…


#7

I agree with Malagant 100%. I’ve been on several PvP servers and have seen (and experienced) alphas and higher lvl players easily praying on the newer players using their ample resources to simply wipe them to prevent future competition. Game play balance should be tweaked to curb the huge advantage. First, I would suggest a variation of public server settings. The Funcom website for Conan would list the servers and specify the settings of each. Players could then find the right server that fits their tastes/schedule. For example; a smaller raid time window for some servers or weekend raiding only for others. Bombs powerful/Bombs weak… etc.
Secondly, I would require a building time for new structures. The higher the quality and size, the longer time it takes to build. This would limit siege/obstruction structures that currently can be built in minutes.
Thirdly, I would increase the weights of objects and resources so that it’s much more difficult to amass stockpiles and move them easily from one place to another.
Lastly, I would suggest having expiration timers on orbs and bomb supplies so that noobs arnt easily attacked when they step foot on a server.
Also, I’ll mention that I like the idea of Admins on officials since it would cure any harrasment/general nasty troll business.


#8

While the OP is really, really old, I want to point out that requiring a building time for new structures would unfairly place limitations on those playing in PvE or solo/co-op mode. I believe it important that it is remembered there are several modes of play, not just PvP.


#9

Then server options could have a setting for the build time for pieces. Set to 1 second per piece. For various pvp servers, set build time to anything between 1 sec and 10 minutes for example. I’m just trying to make suggestions to improve the game.


#10

Long crafting times for building pieces will also hurt the players you want to protect … as when they see someone is starting to build next to them they will also be slowed in building better defences against the potential threat. It will make a new player/solo small clan be at greater risk as their their first buildings will take much longer to complete and longer to upgrade.

We craft on our character and then can store the pieces … so slower crafting will just mean the attackers will have planned in advance and also made the pieces ahead of time.

I know Timsh123 has proposed a construction workbench to make new structures slowly but that would need a complete reworking on how building is done in this game.


#11

I understand. While it might seem that I am in opposition to your suggesting improvements, I am not. I am attempting to assist by showing, revealing, another side of the game that will be subjected to the same changes you are suggesting.

When we have a plan that all modes can agree on, then we have a great plan.


#12

" as when they see someone is starting to build next to them they will also be slowed in building better defences against the potential threat. "

If a player sees that an enemy building is being constructed, they can destroy the construction bench and Thralls assigned to it and the building won’t get built. Building would be constructed sections at a time. Very vulnerable until they are completed. Scaffolding could indicate where buildings and structures are going up. The builder and their clan would be the only ones to see the ghosted pieces assembled before actually built. I’ve been attacked with 3o foundation high t1 towers with catapult at the top. First, the thing just looks ridiculous. Second, how could a structure like that be created and not fall over? Third, how could it be made in minutes? The building system as is, is way too mine craft!


#13

Most ridiculous thing I’ve read in ages lol


#15

Thanks for the post. I am new to the game and since I saw the post you have given above, wanted to give the experience I have had PVE and PVP that relates directly to your post. Here are my FIRST IMPRESSIONS (I know, it is long, I don’t think there is any other way to convey my experience though).

I have been playing for a few months. PVE-Conflict was the obvious choice for me at first since I didn’t know anything about the game. I choose official servers initially since I am in learning mode and did not want to risk being kicked out of someones server and losing progress.

PVE-Conflict Experience: I joined a clan with some other new players in these servers, we learned off each other, lvled up to 60 as quickly as we could. Explored and defeated bosses as fast as possible, and tried to learn some efficiency methods. We built some bases mainly for aesthetic purposes (this game is beautiful, so who wouldn’t). We became friends with other clans. 5 of us decided to join a new PVP official server since it is 4x XP currently.

PVP Experience: Those of us that started anew in the official PVP server have now leveled up to 60, no problem. I think this was a nice feature, though pointless as I will explain below based upon our experience in official PVP servers so far. We built one larger base in the North-West side of the map, high ground, mildly accessible. We also built some additional smaller bases for grinding resources/thralls. Within the first couple days our smaller bases were demolished (while we were offline). Just last night, our main large base was attacked, map room destroyed, resources plundered/destroyed. Etc. My clan-members were online, but just about to log off. I had just logged off. It seems a low blow since I was off line but they saw us all online a bit earlier so I can’t say that it was completely uncalled for. But the Clan has the largest presence in the server, rare to find an area without one or two of their bases. By my estimate, their scouts found it and they attacked it within an hour or two after finding it. We also noticed that 2 or 3 other clans in the server had names with the same mega clan initials.

I asked one of the attackers what that was about, he admitted that they had all known each other since Game Preview and suggested most servers have a similar understanding. He recommended reaching out to other clans to make alliances straight away when joining a new server. (This was a Red Flag for me).

I agree with @Malagant that something needs to be changed here. I don’t know what, and I know that we just started in this server.

But I immediately realized that the only way for me to get back at that clan, was not to build a base and try to defend it. But to go back onto the server, and just menace them by logging on when they are offline, build a trebuchet, and start destroying their buildings, one by one. I wouldn’t need a base for this, or anything for that matter. I am lvl 60, I can easily do this and it would take everything away from them. All their efforts and work would be taken away. (This seemed… gamebreaking, since building is so much harder than breaking… so it would seem)

We noticed that some of the areas had been blocked off in the server (Obelisks) etc. My clan-mate asked people on Facebook Community page about this and they said they had a recent war, so they had to block off the obelisks to prevent the other clans from using them. (by other, it sounds like they had a situation similar to what I had determined was the only way to get back at the massive multi-clan alliance. This leads to the following, which my clan-member also experienced when trying different servers. Large Clan that has control of majority of server, does a server wipe. They destroy any and all enemy bases, then they build walls around the dessert spawn areas so that new players or re spawning players will have absolutely no chance to get into the playable map (Since all the beds and bedrolls have been destroyed).

This is inevitable what will happen If I try to retaliate. Not that I should, or will retaliate in the above manner, but this is the cycle that would continue. This all leads to my summary.

The game is beautiful, PVE-C is fun to play, but feels minimal to no risk, so long as you log on and keep your bases from despawning. PVP is only playable for the clans that have been in the server since the beginning, and seems to create a vicious cycle that is game-breaking and not intended by the Devs. I am sure there are some ways around this, Join a mega-clan, build your base on tall vertical mountains that are not accessible etc. By no means am I done with this game. These are merely my first impressions, I will be looking at different ways to play the game for sure. But I do feel that much of the fun aesthetics are lost when you have to build in a certain place (like huge stone structures in Trees that I saw all over the Jungle LOL).

Is there a solution? I don’t know, but here is an Idea:
I don’t know if this is a solution to some of the problem, but I would be interested to see PVE-conflict changed a bit, where each clan has one base area that cannot be destroyed (and this is not allowed in certain areas of the map) but anything built outside the radius of that Structure can be destroyed. This would allow for clans to still wage war with each other, but not completely destroy someones base, and yes. so maybe a 3D shape 25-50 Blocks (or some other better determined Size). This way, you could still have that fun base destruction option for all the small bases clans build, but not have to worry about every single resource and base being destroyed every time you log off. The reason I am not recommending this to PVP is because PVP veterans are obviously not going to go for this. But most PVE-conflict players probably would enjoy at least some kind of way to have a purpose for destruction items (trebuchets, fire orbs, etc.).

Wow… that was long, thanks for Reading (to those of you who did) :slight_smile:


#16

Very well put. I prefer PVP Private servers because of the rules put in place, such as no offline raiding and no complete wipes of other clans. I would play PVE-C if I had to play officials, but the base destruction is very fun, although abused on officials.

The limited base destruction on PVE-C (or a PVP Tame mode) that leaves you with one safe base to horde materials is not a bad idea for casuals. If you feel the need to wipe somebody completely from the map, you might need to seek psychiatric help.


#17

I will definitely be looking into some private servers to hopefully find one or two with decent rules and good administrators. Thanks for the suggestion.

Btw, if you know of any decent private servers that you would recommend (On Xbox) that would be welcomed as well.


closed #18