I know, my first post here and I am starting with such a negative topic. What can I say? People don’t go to internet forums to tell you how everything is fine.
I’ve been playing this game for hundreds of hours at this point. I have convinced quite a few friends to join me. I have played in single/co-op, on a private server and on a public. I’ve played on both maps. Between me and my girlfriend we have almost all dlc’s I think. There is a lot to like in this game. The climate, graphics, music, building, animals, dungeons, PvP, storytelling. There are really fun moments in this game. So, what is wrong with it? Everything.
It is hard to do it in orderly fashion… The discpace this game consumes is enormous if you consider what is inside. I haven’t dig into the files yet, but it is bigger that Cyberpunk 2077. What takes so much space?! Why is that a problem? It is hard to convince people to join you if that means they have to spend few hours downloading and they have delete few other games. This is bad for the company, bad for current players, bad for future players. Optimise the size of this game please. This is the least important, but you know, it would be nice.
Size aside, this game is not well optimised and it is not stable. It does not run smoothly. Players building can quickly run performance down, game client and servers can crash. Servers need a restart at least once a day or they get glitchy as hell. Players need to quit and re-enter the server quite often after first log-in because random pieces lack collision/physics. Today this game crashed on me so hard Steam lost the path to the game. I had to remove the files manually and reinstall it. There are tons of visual glitches, poping, issues with LODs… The list of technical issues is long.
And there are hackers… People are having a lot of problems with them, all the time. Recently there was a patch that meant to fix the issue with people building their bases beneath the terrain mesh, where other players can not reach them. There are still two such bases on the server I am playing right now.
If the game was stable and there were no obvious glitches I would say that it’s biggest technical issue is relatively short loading distance. Even with maxed settings you will clearly see huge construction appearing out of nothing everywhere around you. I know it must be hard to improve that, since players can build everything everywhere, but this is your main feature so it has be the best. And there are ways to make it better. The fact it works as it does right now affect the game quite a lot. You can hide a base in the open if the perspective is right. You can see what people hide in their bases because interior is visible before walls.
Talking about building. It is always fun to create something, but Conan has very basic and buggy construction system. First, bugs. You may not be able to place certain piece randomly. You build a wall, simple thing. You think you are finishing it, but the last piece does not feat. Why? Because. Destroy other pieces around, build them again, nothing changed, but it suddenly fits. And you have wasted your time and resources. Sometimes you can not rotate your price. You want you stairs to go straight, but they can go all other direction, but straight. Why? Because. Destroy stuff around, maybe travell the map for a while and come back. It may work next time. On top of that the design is rather poor as well. You can not design your structure first, so you need to guess if something will fit, connect, how much pieces you will need. On top of that other player can not see what you want to build, so they can not contribute. Pieces you place on the ground are done, so any mistake will cost you a lot. There are pieces that would be very useful, but are not there. There are sets that have a lot of pieces that are not needed that much, or look very similar to other sets. And AI is defenceless in face of player-built structure. Small curb I’m often enough to stop an army. Speaking of which…
The game has the most basic, yet still severely broken AI I have ever seen. Your followers and enemies can not find each other even on a flat, empty ground when they are 10 meters apart. Your follower never hope to follow your tracks, even on a straight path, they will glitch and teleport all over the place. If you have two of them they will try to occupy the same spot, pushing each other, bumping you out of the cliff, blocking you inside of them or environment, preventing you from reaching other objects or mounting them. all followers seems to to be trying to keep the same distance from their root to you. The problem is there are some big ones, so they will be constantly pushing. Enemies, who have no routine behaviour, will activate few seconds after you walked just by them, and they will rarely find a path to actually reach you. Dungeons glitch a lot rendering all enemies static punch bags. There are very few options in terms of controlling and interacting with your followers. Just the bare bones, like be aggressive or don’t attack anyone. They can also glitch completely from time to time so they can not even teleport back to you.
Dungeons are really nice distraction. Different vibe, some puzzles, some bosses and a bit of storytelling. This game definitely need more of them. There are places where you would expect them and you will find just empty ruins. There are places you would not think to look for anything really, while they contain the biggest dungeons in the game. But that is small problem in comparison to the glitches and to the fact that they where designed for a different game. Seriously. Three most unique aspects of Conan Exiles? You can build stuff, climb anything, and ride on cool mounts. None of this is possible in a dungeon. For no reason. Imagine the happiness and joy of a new player who is going to a dungeon for the first time and they learn that most of the things they’ve learnt stays outside. This is bad design.
But design is not a strong suite of Conan in general. User experience is horrible. Most of the actions are under one, “context sensitive” key. Pressing E may mean open inventory, mount, attack, or tie up an enemy. Quite often you will mount you horse when you wanted to see it’s inventory. Quite often you will order your follower to move instead of attacking, or you will instruct them to kill your capture instead of putting rope around their legs. Fun times.
There is no anti-grifting mechanics. There is nothing that would smooth out new players experience. There is no rubber banding if some clan would dominate a server. There is no easy way to report players, so servers are full of super toxic, racist, homophobic people. If you don’t have the biggest clan or you are new and don’t know how to avoid them you are up for few hours of misery.
Also, this game some pay-to win mechanics. Some DLCs give you clear adventage over players who paid less.
Conan Exiles is a survival game, but this set of features is very primitive unfortunately. You need to eat and drink, you need to keep proper temperature. There is a storm in a middle of the map that moves a bit, but most of the map is not affected. The visuals, seen from afar, it looks amazing. It would be nice to have more of such storms. Why high-level areas have no weather effects that can affect gameplay? Why all armors give you the same level of protection for the elements? Why it makes no difference what you build your base from to keep it warm/cold? This is a survival game, technically. In reality it is pvp- instruction game with some annoying features and one storm.
To be continue…