Conan Exiles, the new title from the creators over at Funcom, was released in Early Access only a day ago and is gaining massive popularity with gamers worldwide. On January 30th Conan Exiles was the 4th highest streamed game on Twitch, with chat rooms bursting at the seams as gamers eagerly watched their favourite streamers whilst waiting for the game to officially unlock on January 31st.
After being granted early media access to the game and having played Conan Exiles each day since, I can positively say that Conan Exiles is going to become an even more popular game without a doubt. First off, many gamers instantly pick apart the graphical qualities of a title, and Conan Exiles is no exception to this. As soon as I spawned into the map, I was surrounded by vast deserts without a great deal of items around me, so at this point I was slightly underwhelmed until I ventured into a more populated area of the game and instantly noticed that, for a game that is only in Early Access, the foliage was highly detailed. Even the animal textures looked as if they could be worthy of the final release of Conan Exiles. Funcom do have some work to do optimising these graphics as they seem to slow down even powerful systems, but it is still very playable.
Conan Exiles offers various playstyles to suit a player’s needs right from the start, including PVP and PVE servers. You are also able to select a subcategory that defines the kind of experience you will have with Conan Exiles. You can select modes that encourage you to become the best player possible as fast as possible and kill anyone that challenges you, or you can stick with the purist option that is for players that want to play Conan Exiles the way that the creators intended. This is something I liked as you will be able to select these options on each server you join, giving you some flexibility in playstyle. The same goes for your character, each server lets you create a completely different character model with a lot of customization options for an Early Access title, right down to the size of your, ahem, junk. Such a level of detail is rarely seen in Early Access games and is certainly a step in the right direction for game developers.
Keeping gameplay in mind, due to Conan Exiles only being in Early Access, there is plenty of time for Funcom to improve any problems that I experienced. The main things that bugged me when trying to get started in the game was the large aggro distance on some of the animals and enemies in the environment, making it frustrating at first when you have nothing to defend yourself with. The other main problem I ran into was during a co-op game hosted by a friend, we seemed to have a set distance that prevented us moving away from each other, instantly rubber banding both our characters back towards each other until they were both within the allowed wandering area.
The addition of a mini-map right from when you spawn is another good idea that game devs should pay attention to, as it makes it easier to find group members instead of running about frustrated in new surroundings. This helps greatly as Funcom have added clan functionality to Conan Exiles, but you need to actually meet in game to select the player you want to grant clan access to, thus giving them, as far as I can tell at this point in the game, shared access to buildings. Playing as a clan also gives you the opportunity to advance faster if each member takes a different skill tree, including skills like armourer, blacksmith and mercenary to name a few. Just looking through the admin control panel in your own privately hosted server shows how far you can progress, as you are granted the ability as admin to see and use all weapons, armour and gods that are already included in the Early Access stage. Conan Exiles has a lot of potential to become an amazing and even more enjoyable game than it already is in this Early Access stage, as long as the developers keep listening to the eager community and realise where and when improvements need to be made.