So, on the crazy RNG design decisions - this really needs to be addressed in the game

I’ve gotten about ~1700 hours in Conan Exiles. I’ve played since Day 1 Early Access. There was a desert, and three types of armor. Steel weapons were the best in the game.

Now, while I enjoy the game, I really feel as if we have to address the elephant in the room:

There are SO many RNG mechanics at play in this game.

One or two would probably be ok, but nearly every progression point is now tied to some sort of “lottery system” where the wrong “roll” basically wasted all the time you just spent doing whatever activity.

Now, before you just shrug this off with “he wants everything assured”, I’d like to quote a famous game designer:

“Where a game is too easy, where progression is assured, [the game] is wasting all of your minutes - rather than the few minutes that the setbacks are wasting. Because if you’re engaged, and challenged, and accomplishing - [the game] is not wasting your time.”

I’m not asking for assured progression with this post. I’m asking for better design. Because right now, I waste a LOT of time on crappy random mechanics, and I feel as though the designers in this game can do much better if they actually applied themselves to addressing the system.

Thrall spawning

So, what is the actual percentage that a named [smelter] will spawn in Sept City? I’ve played on three servers over the past 3 months to the tune of close to 200 the last couple of weeks. I never play modded servers, so that’s not a factor.

I’ve religiously gone every server reset to farm for a Daya Leaddrinker. I’ve even tried forcing the issue by murdering the entire city repeatedly (and this is NOT a good mechanic).

I’ve seen one in that time. In fact, I got my first named smelter from the purge that hit my base.

I feel like I have a greater chance of winning the state lottery than getting a needed thrall. Either we should be able to “level up” our crafting thralls, or the spawn system needs a bit of a rework to be a bit better.

Now, I don’t mind a bit of RNG, but this just feels nuts. I get that it’s “just random chance”, but maybe it shouldn’t be that reliant on “this spot has a XYZ% chance to spawn a smelter, tanner, dancer, smith or armorer. From that, You have a 2% chance to get a named version.”

Thrall leveling

Whoever came up with the “dead eye” trait seriously needs some counseling, or a hug. Can we do something a little less RNG with traits?

It’s basically a grab bag and has nothing whatsoever to do with what you may have them doing, what you’re feeding them, and how you’re managing them.

Library scrolls

I’m sure everyone has run into this. Why do I have fifteen or twenty Dead Leg recipes and gotten one kiln after weeks of farming the bosses here?

Does anyone find this part of it fun, exciting, or rewarding past the first five or so fragment turn-ins?

Unnamed City Boss Legendary tables

I shouldn’t have to get into this, but there’s a 30% chance at a random legendary. From there, there’s an extensive loot table for the skeletons (I believe around 15 or so items). Obviously, Sword of Crom shouldn’t be handed out as consolation prizes. But when on average the high-level clans in this game have five large crates full of legendaries they practically leave open in their base, there might be a problem. (I’ve looted a lot of decaying bases on different servers, and this has been a constant)

I feel like the Lead Designer can make something better than this. I’ve watched him, he seems like an intelligent guy. A token system perhaps? Introduce smaller loot tables for each boss, rather than some gigantic wheel of fortune?

Abstract:

Tying all of these progression mechanics to an RNG system which can waste your time isn’t the best approach. I think that the designers can come up with something more rewarding for the time invested in this game.

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yeah, a bit of RNG is fine, but lately it went overboard

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Glad to see another voice joining the chorus. Who knows, maybe eventually we’ll get heard.

I’ve been referring to the overuse of the RNG as the “slot machine gameplay”. And when it comes to RNG, I tend to agree with Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of the Zero Punctuation fame:

As I mentioned elsewhere, my key takeaways from this are:

  • Totally unconstrained randomness is not only lazy game design, it is inherently unbalanced.
  • Grind is fine as long as the primary gameplay loop involved is proportionally fun.
  • “If you can think of any way to replace a luck mechanic with skill, then your game will almost always be better for it.”
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Your points are spot on, even though you could do with less focus on the designers’ person. You really don’t need to comment on that in order to get your point across.

Thrall spawning is indeed an annoying feature, especially since T4’s are so much more effective than T3’s, and the T1’s and T2’s are basically not worth the effort of dragging home. Yes, since they’re the best there is, they should be the reward of a lot of hard work - but that hard work should be rewarded eventually. “Keep trying, you’ll get lucky eventually” is a poor reward because theoretically, the RNG might never reward you.

I don’t have an easy solution to this. Simply making the spawn chance higher is an unsatisfying solution because it just makes getting a top-tier thrall easier, thus making the lower-tier thralls even more redundant. I’d like to feel that I’ve earned the best craftsman, rather than won him in a lottery.

Thrall leveling: the perks are more flavorful than effective, and have a relatively minor effect on the thralls’ performance in the end. I don’t think this is a priority. Yes, it’d be nice if the perks were somehow tied to the thrall’s cultural background as well as the activities used to train them, but to me, it’s more like getting to know the person better and discovering surprising details from their past.

Library scrolls: Yeah, this one needs a different solution. Maybe the Archivist could act as a shopkeeper who sells a selection of random scrolls for fragments of power, chosen from the list of feats the player has’t yet learned. The cost of scrolls could increase the more you’ve learned if they want to keep it difficult to obtain all feats, but it would be a predictable amount of effort, rather than based on random chance.

Legendary drop tables: Again, I don’t think there’s an easy solution to this that wouldn’t dramatically increase the odds of acquiring the “best” items. On one hand, I’d like to see a Sword of Crom once in my lifetime, but I guess there are already more than enough of them in the hands of thralls on official servers.

One idea that some games do is replacing all random drops with tokens you can use to buy items in a dedicated shop. Better equipment would naturally be more expensive. So if you want a Sword of Crom or Reach of the Red Mother you’d need to grind a lot of bosses, but each kill would take you one step closer to your goal. However, this also completely removes the “getting lucky” experience. It’s a great feeling to get that ultra-rare prize on your first try.

As much as I like predictability in all things in life, I cannot deny the thrill of a happy surprise every now and then, which is why I don’t instantly promote the “store coupon drops” solution without reservations.

And yes, I have many rooms with walls filled with weapon racks displaying my collection of legendary items, and most of my meaningful thralls (ie. those who are more than just wall decorations) are armed with legendaries, so I’m now dumping duplicates into the Dismantling bench - but still no Sword of Crom.

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I totally agree that this system is too random, but I also don’t like the dedicated shop with tokens… I don’t know, that’s a really hard topic.
Also I don’t think that, until we give a real suggestion about what to do, they will ever consider this matter seriously

What if…your thralls could be levelled through experience? Such as, a T1 fighter could level up to a T4 fighter, at each new tier there would be a development or training cost as well as a cool down inbetween Tiers. Crafters could gain xp by crafting (x)products. At each tier, the follower would still have to get to level 20. Would this satisfy the development of thrall investment? Would it be viable? Could it be implemented?

Just the ponderings of an old gamer!

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Something like this has been suggested before, and I think it’s an idea worth investigating further. That would not remove the chance to find a T4, but by spending time and resources you’d be guaranteed to “level-up” your T1 or T2 into something more useful.

This was discussed before Thrall leveling became a thing. Back then, there was the worry that someone could grab a T1 fighter from the Noob area and then afk until the thrall reached a Spinas/Daicas level, and then “win” the game with their super-thrall they got without effort. However, the way they made thrall leveling work prevents this - even a fully leveled T4 Exile fighter is a weakling compared to a T4 Volcano thrall, so letting people upgrade a T1 Exile thrall into a T4 Exile thrall wouldn’t give an unfair advantage. And as there are guaranteed, easily accessible spawns of T4 fighters for most Factions already, there’s no real argument that “upgrading” a lower-tier fighter would make getting a T4 too easy.

So why not do that with craftsmen too? If the progress was slow enough, and cost an increasing amount of materials, and maybe required a higher-tier workstation too (say, a carpenter couldn’t progress past T3 unless they were stationed at an Improved Carpenter’s bench, to put a minimum player level requirement for creating endless T4’s) it wouldn’t hand out T4’s too easily. But it would remove the dependence on luck and would feel like something the player has achieved by investing resources into that thrall.

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To the scrolls and legendary weapons:

  • Fragments should have different versions with different loot pool - maybe consisting 4-5 possible outcomes at the library. Probably they would differ in colors, but which one you get would remain random, so this way you could predict what you get if you have enough (like me, I have 2 wardrobes…), and so you could trade with others.
  • Every world boss should have a unique chest with specific weapon types. For example there are multiple rotbranch and crocodile bosses and lot of legendary swords/daggers. Crocs would have chests that only contains random daggers, etc. Rarer bosses should have rarer weapon type (or shield) containing chests.
    Keys? Eeeh… good question. If you have the “every-skeleton key-opens-every-chest” stytem you could kill easier bosses and run to the desired boss’s chest to open it with. I think it’s fine. You still have to kill a world boss for it.

I’m not an expert by any means but I can see it would require a complete rework of these aspects of the loot system.

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I like the idea you have a thrall that you are found of because of what they say or the way they look you could eventually level them to T4 stats over a period of time. Not make it easy. I keep a T2 named Queen Killer because early in the game we killed the Witch queen together

This is exactly what I had in mind.

This is a tuff one. On ones side, it sucks to have bad RNG luck. But on the other, the PVE content is so easy, making things straigh recipe, buying, or crafting would be just a step above admin spawning in meta and OP items. You would have to balance the cost with the item, and well, that woudl mean more balancing…

As for thralls, I do like the idea that leveling a thrall (even crafters) would be very cool. But how do you incorporate the different tiers? Maybe each tier starts with a pre-set startiing level, T1-Lvl 0, T2 LVL 2, T3 Lvl 4, and named level 8…but all could over time get to level 20.

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A little RNG is fine, but the game is becoming a skinnerbox with how much of the core gameplay is now tied to RNG.

Feats should be removed from Thralls, or standardized for classes and animal types.
Or at the very least, remove the negative feats…


Thrall spawns, loot tables and library scrolls are just a lazy mechanic designed to enforce a gameplay loop, rather than actually create compelling reasons to play the game as it is.

If they want to keep these skinnerbox mechanics, they need to at least make them more predictable and standardized. It’s just so lazy to do this crap this way.
A better system would be to have bosses drop a recipe for the legendary gear (unlocks all of the items they usually drop), and then that same boss has a 100% drop rate for a unique crafting component the for the item recipe they drop. Different items require different amounts of this specific unique crafting component.
This way you can keep the grind, but you remove the RNG.

Fixing loot tables doesn’t fix the issue with “catching” pokemon thralls, but I’m of the opinion that named thralls shouldn’t be unique, they should just be standardized T4 thralls of their particular class/career.


For example: the recipe for “JeffyJeffy’s Dagger” drops off the Big Mean Skeleton Boss Guy.
“JeffyJeffy’s Dagger” requires 10x of the “Big Mean Skeleton Boss Guy’s Finger” to craft.

So if we know Big Mean Skeleton Boss Guy ALWAYS drops 1 “Big Mean Skeleton Boss Guy’s Finger” per kill, then we need to farm Big Mean Skeleton Boss Guy 10 times before we can craft the item.
No RNG, no high roll luck, just plain and simple grinding and crafting.

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Personally the way I think it should work when finding thralls isn’t that you get lucky and find a T4 thrall. Its that you’re GOOD enough to get a T4 thrall. Right now its luck based, but it should be skill based.

First thing they should do is normalize the thralls. T1 from the noob river is equal to every other T1. They would be quite common and found easily. T2 is the same thing, but they would require a bit more effort to get your hands on. T3 the same thing, they’d be deeper in areas and even harder to get. T4 would be always up, you don’t get lucky to find them, you were good enough to get to them. They are well guarded and they are nightmares to fight even by themselves.

To make this work, they would need to redo the thrall camps. This way even a T4 exile camp would be difficult and require gear to get to. The differences between the tribes would largely be cosmetic at that point.

One way to make this happen is give these NPCs their thrall’d HP and damage modifiers. So if you find a Dalinsia in the wild, she has 9,000 hp and hits for 200-300 dmg.

This would do two things:

First it would make things more challenging, but not more time consuming. You could get the thralls you want as well, while not being limited to the meta.

Second it would make human npcs the most dangerous foes in the exiled lands. Which would add to the aesthetic of being an exile.

That’s an interesting idea to be honest.

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Talking about fighting thralls specifically, I think not all thralls need to reach the same top performance. I think it’s okay that a T4 Exile thrall will be forever weaker than a T4 volcano thrall because a volcano thrall is a lot harder to catch. The T4 Exile will remain useful on low-to-mid-level regions.

It’s the current T1s to T3s that I’d like to see grow up a bit. Most, if not all, Factions have guaranteed T4 fighter spawns, and somehave guaranteed T4 archer spawns as well, so currently, there’s really no incentive to capture and train T1s to T3s because even at level 20 they’ll be significantly weaker than corresponding T4s. Then again, as those T4s are guaranteed spawns, maybe there’s no real need to train up the lower tiers, everyone can get T4s anyway.

As for craftsmen - all Factions are equal in this regard, they all have T4 craftsmen of all trades (at least I believe this is the case). You can farm the Noob River and eventually get T4 crafters for everything, including armorers who can craft very useful “cultural” armors. So even now there’s no competitive advantage to going for higher-level Factions for craftsmen.

That’s why I don’t think it’s unfair, at least no more unfair than it is now, that everyone could grab whichever craftsman T1 to T3 they come across, and using a lot of time and resources, raise him/her to become a T4. If anything, this would make people actually use the lower-tier craftsmen, rather than brutally murdering them for not being Enis Ironwrought or Werk of the Lost Tribe.

But for those who’d rather play thrall lottery, Funcom could still leave those rare T4 spawns in place.

As to the randomly dropped super-weapons etc., yeah, I agree there’s no elegant solution to that. Most ideas that reduce randomness would also make obtaining those items too easy. The best I can think of is, keep the random chance as it is now, but also give each boss a 100 % drop “token” for a particular rare item. So you could have a 2 % chance to get Reach of the Red Mother on every kill, but you would also get the Left Third Molar of the Red Mother for every kill, and with 100 Left Third Molars you could craft the Reach of the Red Mother. So while waiting for the RNG to strike home you’d know you’re also making guaranteed progress towards the item. Adjust the numbers as necessary for balance and fairness.

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I agree, the factions could be the main difference of the underlying stats like now. And possibly tie special perks at level 20 to the named of each faction to make them unique as well.

And give the named crafters differing unique recipes from non named and even each other. Flawless versions of things like legendary armor pieces and weapons would be cool.

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