RECAP: AMA with Dennis Douthett

Question 1 - Endgame

jestersuave: “One of the only issues I (and our community players) have with Conan is the lack of investment after you’ve essentially completed the content. We love that Conan keeps pumping out new dungeons and other stuff for us to complete, but it ends up being short-lived.
What plans, if any, is there for some sort of continuing end-game after we’re uber powerful wrecking machines that can breeze through the current offerings?”

Douthett: "This is something we’ve talked about a lot internally actually. We have plans for a system we hope will address this, and give you a reason to come back and play even if you’ve seen everything there is to see - it’s probably obvious, but I can’t talk about that system yet… if I do, it becomes a promise :stuck_out_tongue: Sorry this is a bit of a non-answer, but we know it’s a route we can pursue and we have talked about how this works thematically in the Conan universe!

Question 2 - Game Modes & Communities

mr3LiON: " It is hard to ignore that around the game grew three different communities that are completely disconnected and distanced from each other: PvP, PvE and RP. All these communities play the game differently while play the same (for the most parts) game. But I can’t help but notice, that the devs mostly cater towards RP communities on PC, while the survival aspect of the game is mostly gone for all game types.

Is it something that the dev team does deliberately – slowly but steady turns the game into a social simulation sandbox? Or it is a false image? What your take on separated communities and what the team is going to do about it? (I mean, do you have plans to somehow unite the community and push forward your vision of the game making all of us playing the game that you want it to be? Or maybe you have resources to support and develop all three communities at the same time? Or you really have some preferable game style that you want all of us to embrace?)"

Douthett: "Great question actually! This gives me the opportunity to say that we completely recognize that some players like PvP, some players like PvE, some like to RP, some want it to be a survival simulation… by making a sanbox game, we’ve made a game that attracts totally different groups of people to the same place, all for different reasons.

That said, when we make decisions as far as gameplay changes, design, new DLCs, balance changes - whatever it may be, we do our best to keep all communities in mind. We do not favor one community over the other. If there is a change we could make to PvE, but it would destroy PvP - we won’t make that change for example. It all comes back to the sandbox, and options. We want to give you guys the tools to form the sandbox into the perfect way YOU want to play. If we need to add more options to help players who prefer hardcore survival, throw me some suggestions and I can take them back to the team :)!"

Question 3 - More for Exiled Lands?

FreyjaAdventure1: "Are there plans to continue updating, adding content, expanding dlc/in game content for EL as well?

Seems communication with the community slowed for some times, will this be picking up now?

Also, could bug fixes and optimizations be put higher on the list?"

Douthett: "Yeah absolutely, we’ll keep updating Exiled Lands. We do have to be careful about what we place in the map however because there’s a finite amount of space. What we would like to do is continue to produce new DLC / Expansions, and keep Exiled Lands up to date with the dependencies of those features, for instance making sure that Isle of Siptah recipes are largely available on EL, maybe adding Thrall Rescue to EL. Those are all new things introduced with IOS that wouldn’t naturally be part of EL.

We recently did a QOL / Bugfixing update, and we’re working on another one right now - you’ll see this manifest as patch 2.5 (more details to come later, of course). We want to keep communication high with the community - I love talking to you guys, and I get a lot from everyone’s unique perspective, and this will help us keep putting out the fixes that matter the most.

Typically you have to chose between developing new content, or bug fixing old content - we do our best to balance both of those so we can continue to give you guys new stuff, and fix problems we’ve created while giving it to you :smiley: Internally we have recently moved to a structure where we have one team working on new content, and another team fixing bugs that are currently live as well as developing features that help support the live game. I know we have our fair share of bugs out there, and we’re trying our best to squash them."

Question 4 - Xbox minimap?

Cmdr-Pel: "Firstly thanks for all the hard work…love conan to bits.

Can xbox players get a minimap…puhleeze?"

Douthett: "Hello Pel! Excuse me, Commander.

It is unlikely, but not impossible. One of the design goals we have in Conan Exiles is to avoid using a UI wherever possible, and that’s part of what has kept a minimap out of the official version of the game. If you guys wanted it badly enough… I could see adding it as an opt-in feature you have to enable from the settings menu."

Question 5 - What do you think of classic Conan stories?

amararena: “Also, one other question; How familiar are you with the Conan stories written by Robert E. Howard? What do you think of the Conan tales written by other authors?”

Douthett: “I’m not as deeply familiar with them as our writers are (I do own them, and have read some number we consider to be essential to work on the game) - for instance I’ll always go to Joel when I have a story related question, but to be frank the Howard stories are the only ones I’ve personally read because they’re the core of what we tend to base our work on. There is absolutely value in Conan pastiche and comics, but Howard stands apart as what is definitive for the universe because … hey it’s HIS universe :smiley: but that’s not to say you won’t see something from a comic, or a de Camp story in Exiles.”

Question 6 - Survival & Difficulty

drachenfeles: "Good day Dennis,

“Conan Exiles is the open-world survival game set in the brutal world of Conan the Barbarian! Survive. Build. Dominate.”

How come we have to rely on mods to play Conan Exiles as survival game? despite it being labeled and sold as such?

What are your plans to remedy this situation? when will you overhaul survival mechanics - especially needs and environment systems - so they would constitute game’s label and CE will finally be fun to play as survival game?"

Douthett: "I definitely understand what you mean - the difficulty of surviving for seasoned players is virtually nonexistent with the default settings.

We have made some recent changes intentionally to reduce the difficulty of survival because we wanted to make the starting experience less frustrating for new players. By large, we try to offer options for everything in Conan Exiles, and I think this is one of the great things about the game. If there’s a system in the game, it probably has at least one slider (if not five or ten!) to tweak how it works.

One thing I do think we could do a lot better is our difficulty settings, playing on a higher difficulty should mean it’s much more difficult to satiate your survival needs, and that harsh conditions are more extreme. We could look into updating those settings, but when it comes to additional systems that make survival more difficult, I’m all ears! We haven’t spent time to sit down and talk about how to make survival more of a focus for elder players, but we certainly can talk about the value that might add."

Question 7 - Work vs. Play

SailorSat: “Do you actually play the game yourself, or do you prefer to keep “work” and your “spare time” appart? :)”

Douthett: “Yeah I do play! It’s not exclusively the only game I play, but I firmly believe that to be the lead designer of a game, you have to be invested in it - you have to care about it, and you have to be familiar with it.”

Question 8 - RNG

nokosa (me): "Hey Dennis! Thank you for doing this AMA.

Context:

I understand the Isle of Siptah is still in early access, set to release soon, so things may change in the future. That said, there is growing concern over how much of a grind the RNG is when it comes to vault chest recipe drops. Not only are the recipes you receive RNG based, but so is the chance to actually receive a recipe. This double-RNG system, coupled with the RNG system of schematics fragments, from a design aspect, makes for a very not-so-fun grind for recipes that are otherwise easily obtainable on the Exiled Lands, some requiring nothing more than a simple interaction with an NPC.

Question:

Is there a possibility of this being changed before launch to a single RNG based system, whereby there is a 100% chance to receive a recipe but the recipe itself is RNG? Or, perhaps, another system to obtain these recipes? Thank you for your time!"

Douthett: “We definitely can look into making that a single layer of RNG instead of two, I’ll have a chat with one of our content designers about it.”

Question 9 - Future plans?

Scharamantis: “Hi Dennis! What DLC’s or Expansions are in plans? Will the game continue to have long-term support or a majority of resources went to Duna? Thanks and have a good day.”

Douthett: “Hello! We are currently working on our next big feature internally, but I can’t tell you what it is yet q.q! I’m EXTREMELY eager to talk about it, and even though that day isn’t today, it will be a great day when it comes. At this point in time, we have no plans to stop development on Conan Exiles, it will continue forward with its own team and we will keep making hot & fresh Exiles content!”

Question(s) 10 - Cosmetics, Rating, Animations

Scharamantis: "Got more questions! :slight_smile:

  1. Will you bring back cosmetic DLC’s which would have at least double the amount of content or at least unite with some good quality modders to make their additions part of the official release and help them to optimize the sizes of their mods?

  2. The game is rated M but it seems to me that you are not fully utilizing the rating you acquired and not bring enough Mature content to the game. Are you planning anything that will expand the game with Mature content?

  3. Are there any plans to introduce more animations, joined group animations, or even a photo mode?"

Douthett:

  1. "We do not have plans to double the amount of content in the game with a cosmetic DLC, but as we continue to introduce content over time you’ll get more visual styles for sure. We are not currently working with modders to release any content as “official” - but it’s another thing we have very briefly touched on. One great thing about this idea is that it helps get mods to console players which adds so much life to the game.

  2. Nope, we’re leaving that up to modders :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  3. Yeah we will continue to add animations, emotes etcetera, but we don’t have plans for multi-character emotes at the moment. We do have the vanity camera which is a really low budget version of photo mode - I would like to do a full photo mode, especially because of all of the amazing vistas and set pieces you can find in the environment, but that’s not slated for development. One of my favorite things in Fallout 76 was that your photo-mode images became your loading screens."

Question 11 - MODS??

amararena: “I’d like to add on to this question to second the, “PLEASE HELP OUR MODDERS!” idea! LOL Being able to optimize mods and make them “weigh” a lot less is something all us private server folks desperately desire. I’d have 20 more mods on my servers right now if I could possibly fit them in without reducing performance to a slideshow!”

Douthett: “We have been treating the mod dev kit as a separate product along side Conan Exiles - meaning we have people focused on keeping the dev kit up to date and when we develop new features we try to keep mods forward in our minds so we don’t create something that can’t be easily modded, which we have been guilty of in the past. In some cases we have retrofitted old systems to have new moddable functionality and that’s something I’ll be completely supporting going forward as well. There is literally endless value in mods, and the more mods we can get to more people the more unique experience we can have! At the end of the day that’s what we’re all here for.”

Question 12 - Fast travel?

isteria17: “Now that IoS is almost as big as EL, do you have any plans of adding fast travel?”

Douthett: "Hey Isteria! I totally agree, ISO needs fast travel now. In the short term we don’t plan to add a Map Room or similar system to IOS, but we hope to put out a modular system that will enable fast travel on all maps which you have control over.

It would be similar to the Waystones mod if you’ve seen that. This is still WIP and has no set release schedule, I just want to the community to know our intentions with fast travel."

Question 13 - Release date?

Awkward_Ad4206: “Hi, sorry for the question, but the Isle of Siptah realise date as confirmed for 27 May?”

Douthett: “That’s right, May 27th!”

Question 14 - Cultural DLCs?

amararena: “Shoot I hope I’m not too late! Will we be seeing the return of the cultural DLCs?”

Douthett: “Definitely! We don’t plan to stop making them, but for the most part we’ve been focused on major features with the new expansion that has prevented us from releasing more. We are working on one right now as the bulk of development on Isle of Siptah winds down, details on that will probably come some day :D!”

Question 15 - Relgions and races?

Sirzaion: "any plans on doing some thing more whit the religions and the races in the game ?

the goods are cool and all but whudent it be even cooler if you cud summon an extra hard army of a surten religion to send on your fellow players :P"

Douthett: “This is something we definitely want to expand upon. Religion was originally meant to be a big selling point, but I don’t think it got the attention it needed to really become that. We don’t have any plans in the pipeline right now, but I know it’s something a lot of people (including myself) want.”

Question 16 - …the elephant in the room

RickVilante: "Thanks for your time!

I’m gonna beat a dead horse here but I gotta ask:

Is Sorcery still on the table?"

Douthett: “Haha, yeah it’s still on the table. On it, under it, and making it levitate in the air. We haven’t forgotten!”

Question 17 - Creative mode?

Imperialvirtue: "Hey Dennis, love all that you guys have done!

Are there any intentions for a “free build” or a “flat land” mode, such as Minecraft has? Some kind of “blank slate” map?

Give my best to the team! I’m so impressed with what Funcom has achieved with turning Howard’s work into games. Whatever their success or how the team feels, as something like a casual scholar of the Lovecraft Circle (REH included), I have nothing but praise."

Douthett: "Thanks so much! I’m glad you’re having a good time in Exiles.

We have discussed making a creative mode / free build mode. It was one of our super-stretch goals for the Isle of Siptah, but we didn’t quite stretch that far. This is definitely something that we still want to do at some point in time, but it’s not slated for release/work presently."

Question 18 - Building systems

vstojkovic: “As things stand now, it’s possible to build something that takes up several map grid squares and then spend only 10 minutes a week to refresh it. Are there any plans to come up with a system that would help limit the overbuilding on official PVE and PVE-C servers, or at least act as a strong counterbalance? Or is it something that’s off the table?”

Douthett: “Definitely not off the table, but it will have to be included as part of a major update so we can get all the details right. We do have a desire to reduce the amount that anyone can possibly build for the sake of server performance and to get rid of a lot of the land claim spam that happens. I can’t say officially we’re doing anything yet - but it’s 100% on our radar.”

Question 19 - Boats?

Wicked_Piiper23: “First off I was hesitant playing Conan but I really like it. With the addition of Siptah will boats be introduced at some point? Nothing major but if Exiles can build a blacksmith surely we can build a boat haha. Also I love building. What are the chances base game could add a frozen north DLC with ice building pieces and maybe some 45° beams or pieces for better building?”

Douthett: "Hi Wicked_Piiper23! I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. Those are all great suggestions. Adding boats from the development side is a lot of technical work, and they wouldn’t be a great feature to have on ALL maps. The Exiled Lands, for instance, doesn’t have a lot of water where you could take advantage of them. If we were ever to introduce boats, I think you would also see us make a new map that supports that feature so you could play with them to their fullest potential.

Fun fact, I’ve made a rudimentary version of what you’re suggesting just to test it out with the ice buildings =) It looked really cool, but we would have to invest the time making sure transparent ice buildings don’t cause too much framerate loss. This might be something we add in the future.

I think the foundation for our building pieces is pretty much set in stone (no pun intended), but we might be able to explore 45 degree beams that aren’t cosmetic only, which is what we have now. All great ideas for us to explore, thanks!"

Question 20 - Stygians (Guest answer)

amararena: I was wondering about the creative choices involved in featuring the Stygians so prominently. Which is not a complaint because I LOVE Stygians and play them almost exclusively. My first and main character in Age of Conan was Stygian.

Joel Bylos(!!): When I wrote the design for the Exiled Lands I was specifically interested in the Giant Kings and their culture as a precursor to Stygia. A lot of what makes the world of Conan really interesting is that it is both post-apocalyptic and pre-apocalyptic so exploring the cultures that came before and after is a lot of fun.

In terms of time frame it takes place between Xuthal of the Dusk and a Witch Shall be Born (following the Dark Storm chronology) so it also makes sense that Conan would be crossing Stygia or nearby regions at that time.

For Isle of Siptah it was much more practical. Isle of Siptah is off the coast of Stygia and it made sense to have Stygia play a large part in controlling the oceans near their homeland."


Misc. Questions (Added by AndyB)

Favorite Horror Movies?

Summary

EllisDsc2: What are your top 5 horror movies?

Douthett: Aww yeah, here we go. I’ve never had to make this list, so I’m just gonna list the first ones that come to mind with the caveat that there are a lot of different KINDS of horror :stuck_out_tongue: Body horror tends to be what messes me up most. I had nightmares for days after reading Uzumaki.

1. The Thing (1982)

2. Suspiria

3. 28 Days Later

4. Alien

5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Horse ears?

Summary

Mekatha: Dennis, would you fix the horses ears? They currently flap while running…

Douthett: Haha - we’ll check it out :D!

What do you do you in your free time?

Summary

Quaglon: What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Douthett: I’m a man of a million hobbies - my FAVORITE thing to do is probably actually still making games. Before I had the responsibility of taking care of other humans I would often continue working hours into the evening out of the sheer enjoyment of it.

I also play guitar, draw/illustrate, obviously play video games, watch movies with my wife, shoot stuff, love going on road trips, and I explore music constantly. Most nights you’ll find me watching twitch (Moon2SMUG) or youtube and either making or playing a game though.

Writers?

Summary

SpiderBait111: How do you find writers for a game?

Douthett: Our writing team is pretty small, but any time we’re looking to fill a role there’s a posting on jobs.funcom.com - we do use recruitment and talent scouts also.

Roving bandits & Kenshi?

Summary

ScruffyWhiskers: How about some roving bandit groups like Kenshi has? The maps need to be more dynamic.

Douthett: That’s what the Purge was originally designed to be! I think it would be great for us to look into again. We actually talk about Kenshi internally pretty frequently :stuck_out_tongue:

Minor design decisions?

Summary

ArnoCatalan: Good afternoon Dennis! Love the game and even introduced it to my brother a week ago and now we’re always talking about it. I have a question regarding minor design decisions in the game. Are there any particular reasons why some weapon sets are incomplete? For example, the serpent man weapons don’t include a Greatsword, while the obsidian weapons(being recolored models) does include it. Genuinely curious.

And another question is why some animal head trophies don’t exist in-game like lions, elephants, reptilian monstrosities, white dragons, those vulture demons in the mountains, etc.

You guys do amazing work and I’m so exiting for Siptah, have a great day!

Douthett: More often than not these are budgetary restrictions - OR something we overlooked.
In some cases we might just decide a certain race or creature doesn’t use a particular kind of weapon. The Serpentmen pre-date my time on the project, so I don’t know exactly why it was excluded there.

We do know about the missing trophies and we even have tasks in to actually create them, but they get down-prioritized in favor of more in-your-face content most of the time.

Gardening?

Summary

PMeirelles: Hey Den! I would like to know about news dlcs, if will have some dlc with more plants to build a garden. Is it possible? Like a “Eden Garden DLC”. Its so bornig to use only “hops” for decor.

Douthett: Haha, funny you should ask this, everyone who wants it can get behind me :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve been telling Scott I really want to make an agriculture based DLC at some point in the future. The idea being it focuses on adding a proper farming system, animal husbandry, and all of the building pieces and decorations that go along with it :slight_smile: I think there are a lot of people who would get a lot from that. Nothing in the pipeline yet though.

The burning question

Summary

JimboJambleL Does pineapple truly belong on pizza? The age-old war rages on

Douthett: YES.

Admin & Decay systems

Summary

Sirzaion: Any plans on making a tool so the stuff that an admin build on a server is not [affected] by the Decay system ?

i ask this just [because] i make [a lot] of my own dungeons :stuck_out_tongue:

Douthett: We don’t currently have plans for that, but it’s a cool idea. If you find yourself making a lot of dungeons in-game, you might also want to try your hand at making a mod with the dev kit on the Epic Games Launcher!

Favorite munchies

Summary

CommercialMushroom26: Favorite late-night meal at Sheetz?

Douthett: How can you have one favorite Sheetz meal? If I absolutely have to chose, it’s probably boneless buffalo bites and fried mac n cheese, mmmm, calories…

Juice?

Summary

BigStepJono: Whats your go to juice?

Douthett: Monster Mango Loco, nectar of the gods! but if I’m just being a juicer, and not a chad, I like cranberry juice

Food from the game?

Summary

MisterTam: If you could eat any food from Exiles, what would it be and why?

Douthett: I want to say Feast of Derketo because it’s LITERALLY described as titillating but the context of that feast makes me uncomfortable… also it’s made of lobster bread and absinthe… sooo Exotic Feast because it’s decadent!

Favorite…child?

Summary

Tamtor: Which of your children is your favorite?

Douthett: Frank.

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Took the liberty of formatting the post with a table of contents. Hope ya don’t mind! Thanks :slight_smile:

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That’s fantastic!

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Thank you nokosa!

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Thanks, @nokosa! That’s awesome! :smiley:

Also, the forum now has an option to add a table of contents? :star_struck: :tada:

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Yes! It’s a new module we added recently: Table of Contents module added

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Shame question 1, (will console get text chat got passed over…) (I’m mute) been waiting for this happen for so many games that out right ignore us. T_T

May it be All Race Dancer Pack. =3(or even part 1)

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Added a bunch of other ‘fluff’ questions from the AMA that weren’t necessarily about development or the game.

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Wow…he actually answered my question!

I’m at work so I couldn’t pay attention, but yeah. Cool!

BTW loving the format of this post.

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Hah. I love it. Thank you for adding these in Andy!

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Got to say, im not happy with any of these questions.
If i write anymore, ill get banned.

He answered my question…yay

I read question 6 like this:
Q: “Can you make it harder for us to fill up our food en drink bars?”
A: “Maybe we can put in a slider!”
:man_facepalming: How about doing something creative with the food system instead of just using food to fill up these bars. Honestly, leaving the healing system where it was (which is practically when it was first introduced) after virtually no play testing and ignoring the food system still boggles the mind to be honest.

There was an interesting question by someone called LPMeirelles:

Hey Den! I would like to know about news dlcs , if will have some dlc with more plants to build a garden. Is it possible? Like a “Eden Garden DLC” . Its so bornig to use only “hops” for decor.

Check out D’s answer:

Haha, funny you should ask this, everyone who wants it can get behind me :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve been telling Scott I really want to make an agriculture based DLC at some point in the future. The idea being it focuses on adding a proper farming system, animal husbandry, and all of the building pieces and decorations that go along with it :slight_smile: I think there are a lot of people who would get a lot from that. Nothing in the pipeline yet though.

That’s awesome. I’m really looking forward to something like that - and why not take the chance to link a farming system to a new food system? :exploding_head: I think that would be a good idea.

P.S. Question 14: Finally! :partying_face: Looking forward to it!

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The more I see interactions from funcom with their community, the more respect they get from me and my gaming circle. Really feel Dennis cares a lot about the game, thank you so much for the write up.

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What?! no question about Mortal Kombat! Sad.

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This is exactly how I feel. There’s nothing more encouraging than actual, true-to-life interaction with the team responsible for the game you love to play. It is reassuring knowing your feelings and thoughts are being taken seriously.

And the write up was my pleasure.

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Sou lerdo na compreensão das coisas , mais você deve ser um dos chefes lá da equipe programadores Fucom , eu tenho uma ideia e gostaria de compartilhar , talvez ajuda deixar jogo mais desafiador.
Sobre sistema de habilidades que seguidores ganham , todos tem porcentagem de ganhar tributos tipo guerreiro universal tudo sistema aleatório.
Porque o mesmo pode ser aplicado a criaturas do jogo exemplo posso citar se um dia conan liberar dragões como pets, para pegar ovo desses dragões matar mãe rubra , e quando nasce filhote esse mesmo ao treinar pode ganhar característica que no nivel 20 se tornar uma variante dos dragões gelo , vermelho ou verde , até mesmo um dragão voador que pode até mesmo carregar jogadores. Hora isle of siptha exemplo não há obelisco usem mapa coloquem criaturas aéreas, que voam e podem levar jogadores em suas costa. Se falei algo errado peso desculpa mais uma ideia e uma oportunidade para jogo.


Google Translate added by Andy:

Summary

I am slow in understanding things, but you must be one of the bosses of the Fucom programmers team, I have an idea and would like to share, maybe it helps to make the game more challenging.
Regarding the skills system that followers gain, everyone has a percentage of winning universal warrior-type tributes, all of which are random systems.
Because the same can be applied to creatures of the game example I can quote if one day conan release dragons as pets, to catch the egg of these dragons kill red mother, and when a baby is born this same one when training can gain a characteristic that at level 20 becomes a variant from ice, red or green dragons, even a flying dragon that can even carry players. Hora isle of siptha example there is no obelisk use map place aerial creatures, that fly and can take players on their coast. If I said something wrong, I’m sorry for another idea and an opportunity for a game.

Let me add my thanks nokosa! And also to @AndyB for the additions! Those few of you who know me perhaps know I’ve always been a harsh critic of FC while loving and playing the hades out of first Age of Conan and now Conan Exiles. So I want to take this chance to say what a pleasure this AMA was. THIS is the kind of thing players really want. Actual engagement and answers from people who actually have both the knowledge and authority to make things happen. Those who participated in the AMA were polite, attentive, and asked both intelligent and a few funny questions. Showing, I think, that this player base is far from a rabidly hostile mob that just wants all the things. Most of us are indeed cognizant of the limitations game makers labor under. And we really do make allowances for those things. I feel like there was a lot of valuable back and forth and I was really happy with most of Dennis’ (and Joel’s!) answers. My only “complaint” is that it wasn’t about two hours longer! LOL My hope going forward is that this will become a regular thing and we’ll get to do it again! So many thanks Dennis and Joel, you guys were great! I appreciate you.

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i missed it posted on Twitter and questions in the conan exiles reddit but did not make it to ama

Ni words regarding server transfer and thrall cap

Or about the sugestión having braziers with the same functionalitu as radiant torches. (with different flame colors,)

Thanks to @AndyB and @nokosa for this ¡

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I agree.
Valheim uses food to create you Stamina bar and health bar levels. Doesn’t need to be that drastically but can maybe tie some perks to higher tier food where you get +10,25, or 50 stamina for 5 m8ns, 10 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour. that right there would be 12 combinations you could have on 12 different food items. Do something similar to health bar. Again not for every food, but the higher tiered more complex recipes.

you add in the different situations of food and water “bars” that already exist and yo can get a lot of foods with varying buffs.

Would not be able to stack the different types of buffs, but better version would override on each type. Ie I had a +10/10 min stamina buff from one food, I eat a food with +50 stam/ 1 hour would override and take effect.