Conan Exiles: The Frozen North
I urged my veteran warrior on through the arid desert for several scorching days. As it was similar to what traversing the Death Valley must be like in the dead of summer, I had my character wearing only the lightest of garments. He carried only his most prized weapons as well as lots and lots of water. Without the latter, he would have perished during the very first day he’d stepped into the blazing, sandy expanse.
Eventually, I came to a large valley which was flanked by massive sand dunes. There were also giant scorpions which I had to do battle with in order to gain access to the valley. After making my way through, the sand under my feet gave way to lush grass and scrub brush. The palms of the desert turned into thick swaths of pine and birch. The unbearable heat dissipated and was replaced by the gnawing bite of cold. I was finally there—the frozen lands of the north.
At first I wandered around and gawked at all of the new creatures of the northern lands—rabbits, wolves, deer, and many other denizens of the colder climes, I went about scavenging about for resources. In short order, I erected a small dwelling on the foothills below a massive mountain. The next day, as the first sun rays of dawn hit my walls I set out in search of fortune and adventure.
My first hostile encounter was with a large boar which sported tusks that looked as though they could rip though armor, flesh, and bone in one swipe. After dispatching that cantankerous critter, I was beset upon by a pair of player characters. Since they were of comparable level, after my initial swipes at them I decided to flee. After all, a 2 on 1 battle wasn’t going to end well for me, and there was no way I was going to let them peel the valuable weapons from my cold, dead hands.
I ran through a dense forest in order to try to evade them, but they stubbornly stayed on my trail. Suddenly, I ran right under a humongous brown, hairy trunk of a body. It was one of the fabled mammoths that I’d heard stories about. When I came out the other side, I looked back at it. The mammoth must have been over forty feet tall, with thick limbs which resembled stout pillars more than living appendages. And if I’d thought the boar from earlier had large tusks, the ones sported by this beast among beasts looked like they could fell the entire side of a building in one swipe.
I’d obviously surprised the creature just as it had me, and it seemed to regain its senses just as my pursuers emerged from the wooded patch from whence I’d just come from. The mammoth didn’t seem to want them to be there. It quickly engaged the startled, would-be brigands, rushing forward with its gigantic front legs and ripping into them with its deadly tusks. That would teach them!
Conan Exiles is full of emergent developments such as these. It’s a world where you have to constantly be on your toes, unless you want to either be ambushed by hostile players, or end up in the stomach of one of many AI beasts which populate the game’s dangerous environs. Its merciless theme and general aesthetics reflected perfectly the writings of Robert E. Howard, and hoped to scratch the itch that the now abandoned Age of Conan left.
Unfortunately, in an example of when high concept meets low realities, Conan Exiles’ debut was plastered by a wide array of condemnation. Graphics bugs, environmental glitches, netcode issues—the game was definitely the poster child for the argument that many Early Access games should simmer in the cooker until they’re nearer to completion. Compounding this tumultuous situation was the fact that many of the game’s most anticipated features were not yet implemented upon its release. These include such elements as city life systems, a magic system, complete character customization, and engaging combat mechanics.
Funcom has been pretty slow in addressing these issues, and a full eight months later most of these problems still exist. In spite of that, they’ve recently released a large update called Conan Exiles: The Frozen North (pretty original, huh?), which I’m assuming they hope will allay some of the negative press.
One of the refreshing features about this new update is the diversity that it offers. The desert realm featured in the core game was getting a little stale, so The Frozen North offers a breath of chilly fresh air to the proceedings. It also comes with many enhancements and new additions, such as improved AI, new crafting and building features, new enemies, and even some new weather (rainstorms).
It also introduces a heat system which players will have to monitor constantly if they are to survive. In the deserts you’ll want to monitor how much heat your character can withstand—the hotter you become, the more water intake you’ll have to gulp down. In The Frozen North it’s the opposite. If you lose too much heat and don’t do anything about it, you’ll most likely end up looking like a two-legged Popsicle sticking out of the snow.
Conan Exiles: The Frozen North is a decent update that can be fun to explore with your more advanced characters (levels 30+). It should keep most people distracted long enough for the developers to finish patching up the many technical issues, as well as completing the promised gaming systems.
Conan Exiles: The Frozen North features great graphics that make its fantasy theme come alive. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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