Conan Exiles debuted back in 2017, and by all accounts was a severely troubled product. It shipped with a substantial number of bugs, glitches, and was horribly optimized as well. Being a big fan of Conan’s brutal Hyborian world, I overlooked many of these issues, even though playing it right after release was akin to watching a slideshow whenever I attempted to move my character around.
But Funcom surprised just about everyone by releasing a steady stream of bug fixes, patches, and free content updates, as well as cosmetic DLC packs over time. The free content included new biomes that were added to the map; such as a vast swamp, frigid arctic wasteland, lush forested area, and highly volatile volcanic zone. However, perhaps the most monumental addition that the developers added was a new combat system that really ushered in a new era for Conan Exiles.
Not one to rest on their laurels, Funcom have continued to support their open-world survival gem, offering such things as a pet taming system, improvements to the thrall system, and myriad new boss creatures which are scattered across the now expansive map.
Recent updates (as of March 2019) have greatly tweaked the overall Conan Exiles gaming experience, and have made everything much more brutal and unforgiving; which is what the Hyborian world should be all about. Human NPC camp numbers have been increased and they have been made stronger to boot. Likewise, animal and monster difficulty has also been increased and now spawn “Elite” versions of themselves.
Purges—where bands of powerful creatures or NPC humans will attack player-made settlements at certain points during the game—have been reworked. The Purge Meter, which fills up gradually as players drain their surroundings of resources and/or kill too many native animals and monsters, now work more reliably. Additional types of Purges have also been implemented within the game to make it more unpredictable.
A couple of gaming pals and I recently dove back into Conan Exiles in order to see some of these changes for ourselves. After creating a couple of bases and making it to around level 20, we realized that things had been much harder to accomplish than they had in the past.
Whereas previously, we’d simply wade through lower-to-mid-level creatures such as crocodiles and rock demons, they were much more challenging to vanquish this time around. But what surprised me the most was how hard the human NPCs were to fight. The first couple of NPC camps we invaded proved to be too much for us and we died several times due to the better AI present in Conan Exiles. This included such things as the NPCs utilizing more unpredictable combat tactics such as rolling to the side to evade our oncoming attacks, or ganging up on one of us (i.e. rat-packing).
Since we’d heard there had also been some dramatic changes to one of the game’s major dungeons—The Unnamed City—we decided to do a little dungeon crawling. After our initial entry into the cursed place, we quickly became lost since the dungeon’s area has been significantly expanded. After destroying a few Skeleton Warrior guards, we lured a human NPC onto an alter and sacrificed him in order to access the vast sewer system located beneath the city.
The sewers were truly labyrinthian, and as we tried to figure out where to go next we were beset by all kinds of monstrous denizens. Luckily, we’d packed plenty of healing potions and bandages (highly recommended) and so were eventually able to make it to one of the eight main bosses within The Unnamed City; a gigantic serpent which emerged from a pool of acid. It immediately began spitting its venom at us as powerful undead guardians attack us from our flanks.
In the end, we emerged victorious—but just barely; a testament to the new and improved levels of challenge present in Conan Exiles. To us, this proved that the latest updates were truly a re-shaping of the world, and have made it a much more dangerous place. This also means that merely playing on PvE servers can be hard, let alone having to contend with other players in PvP.
Conan Exiles has come a long way from its inglorious origins. Its enhanced levels of difficulty, improved optimization, and overall polish have propelled it to the top of my open-world survival game list, and it could just be yours too.
Conan Exiles features pretty great graphics that make its fantasy sandbox gameplay truly shine. 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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