PVE, PVP, difficulty and some loose toughts

I have been thinking alot recently about Conan Exiles state and i wanted to share some of my toughts, I hope somebody will have the energy to read this essay :slight_smile: .

I am atm playing with a friend on a private server Isle of Siptah, we play only PVE, not interested in PVP.Long ago we played the base game but got bored out of our minds after reaching level 60, there was just nothing to do.We had a lot of fun in Siptah but recently after leveling to level 60 and getting some decent gear we started getting bored again and only after massive addition of mods and massive changes to sliders ( atm dmg we do to npc is at 0.4 and NPC dmg to us is 1.4) did we start again having fun.

I think part of the problem with this game is that it got such a broad range of target playstyles.You can play PVP, you can play PVE, you can play solo , you can play with 20 friends.Thats why imho its really hard to make it fun for everyone specially that some features are very needed by one playstyle and would seriously harm other playstyles.

For example vanity armor/weapons (you equip one armor for funcionality but in another slot you equip the armor that will really show, so you can look like you want and have the stats you want ).For PVE its for me very important, and we use fashionist mod to achieve this.It gives us so much fun to experiment with looks, not having to worry that our stats will be bad.It also adds some depth to the game and allows us to experiment with mixed armor parts, without looking like idiots.
I would imagine tough that for PVPers it would be very detrimental cause you wouldnt be able to assess other players armors and weapons.We are happily on a private server but poeple on official ones cant install mods.

Another example I think most PVE players want harsher survival elements, and NPC/vaults more challenging with more complex mechanics.Its for us the whole game.For pvpers i think its not important or even detrimental because its just a side show, their real fun/endgame is in pvp.

Also how do you balance NPC elemnts for one player solo and 20 players? Sliders are something, but its far from sufficent as on same serverpoeple can play solo and in big clans.

Having said all that the only solution that comes to my mind is to not try to make one same game (I am talkign from customer perspective, it could be same code with switches) for every playstyle:
Rules and features should be switchable, and should vary between PVP and PVE servers.Vanity could be on on PVE servers and switched off on PVP. Dark nights and harsh temperature effect could only be switched on on PVE.

Now for diffculty the only solution i have come up with is following:
Keep the sliders as they are now for finetuning but :
1- All features should be balanced for solo player (or solo player with thrall) and should have a varied scope from 0 level to 60 level endgame, with a lot of features for 60 level endgame, as you get there pretty fast.
2- There should be as it is now also 3 or more buttons for difficulty, that would just move the sliders.
3- Now for the hard part, to make it challenging and fun for 1 person and 10 player groups: imho the only way is to make special locations like vaults/dungeons/bosses/camps auto scaling in relation to number of players.
(only to number of players, NOT to power of players, players need to feel the need to get better, gain better gear and see they can win more, and making it autoscale relative to players level/power kills it).
So imho in vaults/dungeons/bosses/camps the difficulty of enemies should be auto scaled higher relative to number of players doing it but also at the same time increase the number of npc relative to number of players.
On top of that would come the difficulty from the chosen difficulty level described in point 2.

So for example:
overall difficulty novice, 1 player → weak crocodile boss.
overall difficulty medium, 1 player → medium crocodile boss.
overall difficulty novice, 2 players → weak crocidile boss and 4 regular corcodiles.
overall difficulty medium, 3 players → 2 medium crocodile bosses.
etc.

4- Prolly for all this to work the special places would have to be instanced, so only one group of players can do it at one time.Or maybe there is another solution.

I know it would be a lot of work, but Vallheim sold 3 milion copies+. I would say there is a big market for survival games and Conan has got some features that no survival game got atm: Adult, realistic world lore based on a known franchise, ability to play 1- infinity players, good graphics and often gorgous places/monsters.
I know we with my friend seriously considered jumping to Vallheim after all the postive reviews, the only thing that stopped us is the fact that for us the art style is not acceptable, it seem very fairy like, as if for children.
(nothing wrong with adults playing it but it does seem very fairytale, we wouldnt enjoy it)
So maybe it would pay off the make Conan really good, to grab the players when they are bored with Vallheim or those who dont like its art style?

If you soldiered trough till the end, thank you:), plz write whats your take on this.

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I have no interest in valheim because it removes all of the survival elements and still has the audacity to call itself a survival game. If not eating doesn’t kill you why do you call it a survival game? That said I personally don’t like vanity armor as an idea and I play pve. I like the challenge of balancing stats and aesthetics. I think you might be asking a little too much because of just how much work would have to go into this and how much it would cost but I fully agree that difficulty needs to increase. Sadly industry standards for difficulty don’t actually make fights more difficult. Increasing hp and damage doesn’t help at all. Feints and speed do way more. If you have an enemy with an attack that hits up close for heavy damage and an attack that hits far away with a wide range but both have the same tell you force the player to make that last second judgment call. If the enemy can suddenly move faster or slower then avoiding damage and landing hits becomes more challenging. Increasing hp just makes it take longer and increasing damage just makes it more punishing. So what actually counts as difficulty needs to be redefined as well. Personally my favorite fight in the game is the man on the wall solo. I fought him naked at level 15 with no weapons and it was great. Give that a try sometime!

TLDR: I agree the game is too easy because everyone wants to do their best Leroy jankens impression then blame funcom when they die but I don’t know if what you suggest would 1 be possible or 2 solve the problem.

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Fair enough, I know it wouldnt be easy i just dont see another way for Conan to becoming chalenging.
Regarding difficulty as in making more complex fighting mechanics , I fully agree, it would be awesome and is also lacking. sadly this is maybe not as complex as what i was suggesting, but would also require considerable work, so chances arent great.

There is two major flaws with the PVE difficulty in Conan Exiles. Neither of which will really be solved with extra sliders. Well one kinda could, but then it would just be frustrating rather than fun.

First one is thrall damage and their survivability. With 6,000 to 10,000 hp, thralls are not very threatened by most content in the game. The idea you can sic the thrall on any boss and go afk isn’t much of an exaggeration. This one used to be worse. They were some months ago cut by 30-40%. But before then, the highest hp thrall in the game had 750. There were no baby steps taken boosting them up. In addition their damage is quite high. This is due to a modifier of 1.3 to 2.21 being applied to fighters via a hidden stat that can only be found by an admin using console commands. Luckily all these values are in a table on the wiki.

The fix to this is easy. For the devs anyway. The players would need to adjust, at least those who rely on the thrall for much of the fighting. That fix is to reduce (effectively eliminating) the MDM/RDM stats to 1.0. And then change their STR stat to be equal to a players. So if you give a thrall a 50 dmg weapon and they have 25 STR, they will do 75 dmg (25str times 2% is 50% extra dmg).

In addition they should change their base HP to something lower, and then adjust their VIT bonus to something predictable across the board. Like MDM/RDM its a hidden stat. They don’t get a base value per point like players. They should. And this is mainly so you can predict how much HP they will get if you equip them with VIT armor. Right now you have to craft and throw it on or so some math involving some crazy looking numbers from a wiki.

I would shoot for around 3000-5000hp tops for the toughest thralls. This would ensure that the player has to take a more active role in doing damage and taking some of the heat off their companions if in a tougher fight.

The second issue is the complexity of the fights. When the Witch Queen was added some time ago, we thought that was going to be a baseline of boss complexity going forward. It was a great start. Its complex, but not so much that it isn’t still a level 30 fight. But none of the bosses added except for Thrag had anything like that. Thrag was even nerfed.

In many other games, the complexity of Thrag and the Witch Queen is considered low level. In Conan leveling terms, like 10th level. That’s an issue. And that is contributing to the boredom the OP is referring to. Bosses in Conan are not challenging or engaging affairs. They’re resource nodes you hit with weapons instead of tools. And they take more hits than a normal node and occasionally damage back. We have alot of resource nodes we’re hitting already.

Now the reason sliders isn’t enough here is you can’t simply make bosses have more HP. They don’t get harder. Hitting something 100 times instead of 60 isn’t harder. Just takes longer. Making them do more damage doesn’t make them harder, just makes slip ups more punishing and more tedious.

Instead there needs to be attacks that takes clever thought from the player to exploit. Perhaps there is a big attack that is telegraphed and the player can dodge normally, or they direct it towards a part of the environment to stun the boss and open them to attack to take more damage. Right now its attack attack block/dodge and repeat. But imagine the feeling if you cleverly stunned the boss and can now get two 4-hit combos in. You’ve stacked bleeds or sunders, and now dealing extra damage, making the fight shorter by using positioning and clever thought.

This isn’t the only way to do this. But the idea is each boss should be a puzzle the player solves. And each time the player engages the boss, they find out a way to solve it quicker and quicker until they’re challenging themselves to find ways to do it as quickly as possible without failure. I definitely would avoid any puzzles that make the boss immune to damage unless its like the Degenerate and they take so much damage during vulnerable phases that the invulnerability doesn’t make the fight longer.

Eventually stuff like this becomes routine, there’s no way around it. But things shouldn’t be routine by the time you are 59 hitting 60. It should be some time after hitting 60. These two things should help with that.

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I’ve been watching games get wrecked for 20 years because game developers stubbornly refuse to acknowledge this simple fact. They keep trying to balance for 1 side and ruining the other side. It’s just stupid.

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We are exclusively talking about pve here. That means using thralls is 100% optional so this issue doesn’t need to be addressed by the devs at all. It is a choice each player makes to lower the difficulty by making the thrall do everything for them. That said if you actually learn to fight without one the game is substantially easier and fights are substantially faster without thralls.

In the case of pvp thralls are less of a choice because not having one makes you an easy target but this thread is pve focused. If people want to use a thrall that is fine but if they want a challenge they leave it at home.

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Using a thrall to go afk is not gameplay. Period.

And neither is right clicking something over and over with an occasional move left or right when you don’t use a thrall.

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Fully agree.

This tactic won’t get you as far as you seem to think it will. You are right but not every enemy is the same and tactics need to change based on the enemy.

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Totally agreed. IT would add so much. I would also like some other stuff, like for example having to drop a fire orb on a boss and only then can you do dmg to it for 30 seconds, or having to aim at certain parts of the body etc.Something to make the fight different with each boss, to make you prepare for it, even if it isnt that complicated.Or for example a boss that got very high armor so you need to sunder it… Clues to this could be in notes all around the place, instead of the funny but mostly useless stuff that is now.

I got mixed feelings about this. While stirctly you are correct, it feels weird to limit yourself artifically to have a challenge. Imho the most rewarding feeling in a game is if you got a tough obstacle and you got to use every tool available to beat it, and when you finally succed, the feeling is great.

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I think i agree. There is i think a mod that also nerf thrals, we might take a look at it. Tough with 1.4 dmg of npc and 0.4 dmg mutiplier against NPC, the Thralls already feel much less pwerfull.

Another idea for making them not so powerful but prevent from feeling you can loose them to easily: nerf them but instead of dying at 0 hpm they are wounded inconcious, and if you “first aid them” within for example 2 minutes they are saved with a coniderable debuff for 4 hours or maybe you need some expensive potion to end the debuff. If you wont be able to first aid them in 2 minutes, they die for good.

Hmm sounds a bit like fortnite, maybe you get their reboot card? lol

Never played Fortnite:).Anyway doesnt matter if its somethign similar to what Fortnite or whatever games has if its a good idea, and its anyway just a proposition.

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