I started playing Conan Exiles on March 11, 2017 - about a month and a half after Early Access release. I have just above 1000 hours played, so I have my fair share of experiences playing this game. I only note these things because I think it’ll better my stance on the state of the game.
First, I would like to say I love the combat update, it breathes life into using a variety of weapons, but I feel like this doesn’t hit the mark for PvP. Polearms/Spears are undeniably the best weapon for PvP - nothing else comes close. Sure, you could make a case for 2h swords, but 9 times out of 10, the spear will win. Daggers, sword & board, 2h maces and bows have absolutely no place in PvP, and that can be frustrating for people that want to change it up. In a game where PvP is so prominent, counter-options for certain play-styles should be available. Right now, a spear wins in all circumstances, which shouldn’t be the case - and is rather boring.
Back in the beginning of Conan Exiles, before the combat update, the 2h mace reigned supreme. When used correctly, a player could permanently stun a player if the opposing didn’t use what the “roll” option is now to escape from the full duration of the stun. This resulted in many interesting 1v1 situations where stunning and stun-breaking were in constant use. This was nerfed after some time, and the ancient khopesh became the best weapon - resulting in the non-stop spam of left click to kill someone - again, boring. In my opinion, the 2h mace stun game was MUCH more fun than the current iteration of constant running and spearing.
I would love to see a combat system similar to that of DC Universe Online (DCUO) - without spell abilities, of course. If you haven’t played DCUO, the combat is like this: A player has a light attack and a heavy attack, like Conan Exiles has now. They also have a block and block-breaking abilities. Lastly, they have stun, and stun-breaking abilities. This would result in mind games played between players, having to choose when to attack, block, or stun.
Light attacks would be quick and the most efficient way to do damage, but heavy attacks were used to deal slow, but burst heavy damage - with both light and heavy attacks ending combos stunning/knocking a player down. If a player was stunned, they could stun break, which would have a ~5 second cooldown (only could be used once every ~5 seconds). To counter stuns or damage, another player would block. The player attacking the blocker would be stunned/knocked down if the attacking player had 2-3 light attacks blocked. To counter blocks, the attacking player could "break" the block by using a heavy attack, which was slow, and if the blocking player stopped blocking to not get knocked down, they would take a very heavy hit.
While confusing at first, I urge whoever is reading this to look up DCUO PvP - it’s by far the most interesting combat system I’ve played with.
Conan Exiles currently has all it needs to adopt this system. We already have our light and heavy attacks, though I believe damage and speed changes need to be made to adapt to the system. Allow every weapon to block, however, 2h-weapons would have slower block breaking animations - to strengthen the use of daggers and sword & board. The dodge option can be used as a stun-breaker if stunned; and lastly, the kick mechanic can be used as a block-breaker. If you see a player using their block mechanic, you can go for a kick to knock them down as a counter play.
Unfortunately, the Bow has no place in PvP outside of the bomb-arrow usage. Even with the target lock, and an enemy -walking-, it’s still nearly impossible to hit a player that is moving from left to right.
Sorry for the extremely long post, I just feel like Conan Exiles can easily be the go-to survival game if PvP hit the mark. Counter-play is an extremely important factor of PvP, but Conan Exiles currently doesn’t have much of one. The polearm/spear madness is lackluster, and I just wanted to vent my possible alternative to the matter. If anything at all, try to give more to the underused weapons in the game, or just make the spear much slower until something else can be thought of.
Thank you for reading!