TLDR: play at your own risk and accept that Funcom does not care. I do however hope you read my novel though as there’s a lot to unpack.
Conan Exiles is a beautiful game and quite unique. While it shares some similarities to games like Ark there are still many things that set it apart.
It’s like the diamond in the rough but it’s worn, chipped and abused.
I have over 6k hours in the game, mostly Official PvP and have an interest in the ToC and all that comes with it. So I’ll do my best to impart my knowledge and provide my opinions with reasoning. If you’d like a history of some of the things I’ve outlined visit my profile for posts and you’re welcome to pm me. @nighght has succinctly explained but I will elaborate a bit.
Let’s start with the Terms of Conduct itself: Official Servers - Terms of conduct, guidelines and procedures. This was updated about a month ago with the onset of Age of War. Here are my thoughts on it: Updated ToC, finally.
Additionally, this post has been integral in explaining what could be considered land claim violations: Land Claim Abuse on Official Servers.
The points to remember for building:
- Must have a purpose
- Don’t impede other players - as in, blocking pathway, preventing others from building, etc.
- Avoid exploits such as undermeshing, skybasing or others that are specific, especially for PvP if that is what you play
- Take care of not including too many placeables that drain the server, like torches, chests full of loot, decorative pieces, etc.,…
There are very few explicit examples in the ToC itself. Many have concluded that the ToC is written in such a way as to allow the admins consideration of the specific reports. So, even though the ToC may technically be followed, it is a case by case basis and all other considerations are taken into account.
You will not get an answer from Funcom. You will get opinions, ideas and apologetics stroking their egos.
Many had asked for better enforcement. There are posts upon posts on the forums of issues with land claim spam, exploits of the building system and performance issues that prompted the ToC.
The ToC itself has been a working document for years and has gone through many iterations. While there have been changes within the game itself to eliminate or mitigate certain issues*, ultimately they have not/cannot/will not fix or define everything.
Back in fall 2021 they changed the ToC and it led to report meta. Around November 2021 we started to see reports here that Funcom may not have been entirely fair in their enforcement. So winter 2021/2022 was really rough, especially for PvP as players started to realize they could abuse the report system to get rid of their enemies. This led to mass reports and went on, unchecked, for the better part of 2 years. Many on the forums did not believe those who blew the whistle. Some have changed their minds thankfully.
In fall of 2021 if you sent a Zendesk inquiry to ask for the reason behind the suspension/ban you were given a reason; they elaborated with specific examples. They required you do this in order to know the reason. Then around spring 2022 they stopped giving reasons and also removed the general inquiry option** via Zendesk. They also implemented the in game notice*** for a suspension/ban.
Should you find yourself suspended or banned and sending an inquiry through Zendesk, they will repeat the in game message of the reason. They do not elaborate. They do not give reasoning.
There’s an important distinction between a suspension and ban. Suspensions are temporary and last dependent upon the offence and a ban is permanent. Many forum users call both bans regardless. Keep that in mind.
You will not be actioned on for any real or imagined building violations by virtue of having committed them. You may be actioned on for specific reports for your build or reports for the server in general.
People like me, who cared enough to read the ToC and followed it, were also actioned on. Despite our inquiries and cries to this day we still do not know why we were suspended.
You do have the option to report threats.
So my advice:
Do your best but just play the game with accepting the possibility that any time on Officials you may be suspended or banned without reason. Watch the development of the server you’re on carefully and be ready to bug out. It has been over a year since my last suspension and I have successfully avoided it (without presumed violations).
You also have the option of private servers by making your own or joining them. There are caveats to this option; mostly regarding server dissolution, admin abuse, too many mods or poor administration.
Additionally, don’t report anyone for building or land claim violations. Should you do this, even if you know without doubt they’re doing it, it brings admins to the server and you can see yourself and clan plus multiple other clans be actioned on. It’s like a cascade effect. My suspension I mentioned above? It resulted in 10 clans being actioned on due to mass reports against us.
A recent development has been realized. Funcom did not notify us of this huge change and it’s not in the ToC: World boss blocking on official
*Removal of fence stacking - while you can still technically do it, it is not possible to circumvent the building system via specific steps to have fences nearly touch each other
*Now the only way to request additional information is via Ban Appeal. Except, you can’t have a suspension appealed as per ToC so it confuses people.
**When you are suspended/banned you receive an in game notice upon attempt to log in to Official servers. It states the length of time and the “reason”. This feature is bugged and often doesn’t work.