A thought struck me earlier and I wanted to mention before I forget. Maybe as you guys work the kinks out of the game and add polish, you can gradually try to rebrand the game as a quality singleplayer experience with mulitplayer, rather than a mutliplayer experience with singleplayer. No need to take away online play or change the actual mechanics already built into it, just maybe put subtle cues in the rhetoric of the games’ store advertising, site ads, and menus to help the new players see that game really shines solo or with a friend.
Why do this? Well, to save the players time in getting to the best part of the game in my humble opinion. Looking for a good clan can be tedious and finding a server of good people even more so, but playing alone or hopping in a co-op with a friend is near seamless in games these days (without bugs galore). What a tactic like this can do for Funcom in the short term is take peoples’ attention away from the failings of the servers, online related bugs, etc. and in the long-term, build a loyal cult following of people who absolutely love the game for its gameplay versus promoting the game to a target audience of people just trying to jump on the latest PVP trend and likely to demand refunds when they can’t knock little timmy’s fort over. These fickle players will never have your back Funcom and will drop the game as hastily as they have picked it up, but the true fans will be forever (ok not forever, but they’ll stick around more so).
In regards to why singleplayer is just better, my main reason is not bugs, but that the raid-revenge-repeat cycle of PVP (being the both the aggressor and non-aggressor at times) besides getting old quick, started to feel really immersion breaking because all of a sudden clan politics were more critical to survival than living off the land and just being a barbarian, which is generally what the cinematic trailers portray and the mental picture the player has before going into the game. It felt inconsistent and there was a disconnect between what Funcom was pushing for its players (pvp and pve) and the singleplayer which i found to be superior.
With lots of pvp experience in other genres, but little survival genre pvp experience in my repertoire prior to Conan Exiles, it was not hard for me to get suckered into the seeming thrill of pvp, and likewise the pve servers sounded cool, but people with more than a few hours invested in it are still complaining about building decay, missing loot, land rights, etc and it sounds like just as much of a headache as pvp. There are also people building monstrous eye sores like gigantic walls blocking off areas for example, which seems super immersion-breaking as well. I am even willing to posit that without lag, bugs, or griefers, maybe the pve would be better than the singleplayer, but I have yet to see this ideal state of the game.
Therefore, since singleplayer is the best mode currently, are you guys going to still continue to shoehorn multiplayer into being the focus? If so, PVP and PVE will need tons of iterating to get them to be better, right? Ha! That seems like too much work with not enough time to do it in. But, maybe that is just you guys’ cross to bear, in which case you have my sympathies. If I am flat out wrong about anything mentioned here, I apologize. It is just my current perception of things as of 6/5/2018 and I am only one console player and do not run a gaming company or have major marketing chops, just trying to do whatever I can to help. Even if you never read this, I wish the best for your company in making this game the best survival experience it can be.