With just one week to go before its early access launch, Conan Exiles wants you to get spiritual. Specifically, Funcom's released a dev blog on the religion of the Exiled Lands -- and its very much real gods.
"In Conan Exiles you can choose to worship one of the gods and gain their favor," says the studio. "As you play the game you can worship any, all or none of the gods as you see fit. The gods you can choose from at the start of early access are Crom, Mitra, Yog and Set." Depending on your choice, you'll begin the game with different items and skills, then progress and survive by building religious altars so you can sacrifice your captives and their body parts (because this is a Conan game).
The very best worshippers and sacrificers will gain access to avatar summoning, which brings us back to that creepy flying squid that Funcom is fond of depicting.
Update down at the bottom -- Funcom just announced the game will run $29.99 in early access.
If giant squid, oversized snakes, or massive automatoi are among your phobias, seriously, don't watch this Conan Exiles video. It kicks off with a bit about the critters that are planning to kill you, the awful things they're going to do to your corpse, the weapons you'll be using to fight back, and how you'll get revenge by pulling down castles and taking slaves.
"In Conan Exiles, everything is out there to get you," Lead Designer Oscar Lopez Lacalle says, "but the most dangerous enemy is other Exiles."
If you say so, Lacalle. Our money's on that Avatar of Yog and his tentacles.
The new vid and infographic are below. Conan Exiles hits early access later this month.
A little while back, I took a look at the healthiest games in the MMO space at this time. That was a nice, uplifting list, wasn't it? And all of those titles continue to do just fine, even if one or two might have had a few bits of shocking news along the way.
Unfortunately, this is not an industry in which health is assured. Games can be high-quality and beloved, but they can still be shut down by outside forces. And that's not counting games that just come out in the wrong time period or launch in an unrecoverable state.
That may sound grim, but we're already staring at the first two shutdowns of 2017 in the near future, and both of the titles being killed are surprises. One of them might have wound up on this list if it weren't being shut down, but at this point, it is. So let's look at the MMOs with the most unclear futures and start hoping for the best.
Last week, Funcom explained that Conan Exiles will have multiple rulesets for PvE and PvP: purist, relaxed, hardcore, roleplay, experimental, and random, in official and player-run flavors. In response to player concerns, the studio now says it'll offer more -- and will change up how wipes of these servers work.
"We understand your concerns and we've been listening. As a result of your feedback we’ve decided to include three types of official servers to accommodate both preferences: PvP servers, PvE servers and PvP Blitz servers. These settings will only apply to official servers. Admins are free to choose whatever settings they want on unofficial servers. The regular official PvP and PvE servers will not be wiped. The PvP Blitz servers will provide an accelerated experience, but will reset after 30 days. This ensures that players on PvP Blitz servers will be able to experience everything Conan Exiles has to offer before their progression is reset. PvP Blitz servers will be tagged in the server description so you can easily differentiate them from the regular PvP and PvE servers."
And the studio has once again noted that custom, player-run shards can have a wide combination of settings from the rulesets, including accelerated progression.
Conan lore is probably the most contentious thing about the franchise, and Funcom today has clarified the focus of that lore in Conan Exiles when it hits early access later this month. The game is set specifically between Xuthal of the Dusk (The Slithering Shadow) and A Witch Shall be Born, a pair of stories written in 1933 and 1934. You're not playing Conan himself, of course; you're playing a character rescued from certain death by Conan.
"An enigmatic serpent bracelet has been placed around your wrist. It will kill you if you try to escape by crossing the huge Cursewall surrounding the Exiled Lands. The Cursewall is a powerful magical barrier which cuts you off from the outside world. Who has placed the bracelet around your arm? Why have you been exiled to this place for your alleged crimes and not just executed on the spot by those who brought you here?"
Excellent questions! We don't know yet, but that's the point. Funcom is building out the lore and focusing on its strengths: ancient civilizations, thieves and pirates, relic hunters, hidden treasure, buried secrets, abandoned temples, statues imbued with glyphs, decaying shrines, mystical cities, ghosts of the past -- it's all in the synopsis Funcom is spinning, and if you want to whip out your favorite "ALIENS" gif, we say be our guest.
Funcom announced today that it's teamed up with web hosting service Pingperfect both to host Conan Exiles' official servers for Funcom and to offer custom hosting services to players intent on running their own Conan sandbox shard. The official servers will offer both PvE and PvP experiences across six different ruleset types: purist, relaxed, hardcore, roleplay, experimental, and random. Private servers should be a snap:
"Setting up a private server is incredibly easy. A copy of Conan Exiles purchased through Steam comes packaged with a dedicated server tool. Once the game exists in your library you can install a private server on any machine from Steam. Head to your Steam library, go to the tools menu and find Conan Exiles. From there you can install your private Conan Exiles server and set it up. [...] The server settings are available to server admins from inside the game via the options > Server Settings GUI. From here you can enable PvP gameplay, turn the sandstorm on and off, and choose what players lose when they die. Things like the day/night cycle, player health and stamina, resource yield, experience growth and resource spawn rate. Everything can be adjusted and implemented on the fly, without the need for a server restart to activate the changes you’ve made. Just hit apply and the world around you and your player will adjust immediately."
It's a given that players in Conan Exiles will spend no small amount of time facing off against one another; that's part of the nature of any survival game. However, you won't always be stuck facing off against other players. You can also face off against a variety of creatures inhabiting the Exiled Lands, many of which want to tear off your face and feed it to you in new and interesting fashions. The latest article on the official site details some of these creatures, many of which have all sorts of pointy and ouchy parts on their bodies.
Look, it's not really a Conan game without all of that.
Of course, not every animal in the area is made of lethal materials; shalebacks and rabbits can be harvested for their hides, gazelles are positively full of meat, and rhinos have even thicker hides and trophy-worthy heads. But where you find these animals, you'll find dangers like crocodiles, imps, and the lethal inhabitants of the Unnamed City. And many of these creatures will fight you tooth, nail, and horn to kill you should you strike them (they're rather attached to their hides). It's a dangerous world out there, full of critters that might want to kill you. That's what is best in life, as you can see yourself toward the end of the month.
Following up on last week's building-themed Conan Exiles video, Funcom hosted a Friday afternoon stream showing off the building tools in depth.
Community Manager Jens Erik and Creative Director Joel Bylos captain the stream, in which they explore building materials, material storage, the crafting tools and stations, and the chunk placement system, building up a tower from brick to multi-story structure.
They also vandalize signs, visit a sweatshop, play with explosives, and watch thralls dance. Just another day in the Funcom offices!
Conan Exiles is still expected to launch for early access at the end of January.
January's the month: Conan Exiles hits early access on the 31st as Funcom's latest Conan-franchise game, this one an unabashed survival sandbox with a bit of MMORPG flair. (Xbox One players will be waiting until spring, unfortunately!) The team has a new video out today in which Joel Bylos and Lead Designer Oscar Lopez Lacalle talk up the game's building gameplay, tools, and mechanics.
The duo say that outposts and homes are mission-critical not just for keeping your loot and your guildies safe but also for kicking back and playing the decorating game. Players will be doing much more than just plopping down a prefab house; in fact, you'll basically be building it brick by brick, voxel-style -- and tearing your enemies' buildings down the same way.
"They say home is where the heart is," Bylos deadpans at the end, "but in Conan Exiles, home is where you keep the hearts of your enemies."
In an unexpected move, Conan Exile's combat system will play out abstractly using dice and lengthy columns of hit tables and damage effects. Just kidding; of course this survival sandbox will contain brutal hand-to-hand fights that favor the prepared, the skilled, and the bloodthirsty.
"Combat has a strong tactical element in Conan Exiles," Funcom lectured. "Instead of flailing around, just attacking in rapid succession, it is instead wise to fight with measured swings or thrusts at opportune moments. All main-hand and two-handed weapons have a quick light attack and a slower heavy attack. The trick is to know when to use which and what you stand to gain."
There is a huge arsenal from which to choose in this game, including spears, claws, swords, shields, throwing axes, and war hammers. All of these can and probably will result in a gory display of savagery, so here's hoping that you won't be on the receiving end of a slasher film audition.
Do you have any money left after all of that holiday shopping, travel, and dining out? Steam would very much like to have what remains, if you please, and is willing to trade you some discounted games in return.
Yes, the annual Steam Winter Sale is up and running, which means all sorts of deals for the frugal MMORPG player. We've compiled a huge list of all of the deals -- including discounts of up to 90% off! -- to help you navigate the holiday promotion. The sale ends on January 2nd. Hope it helps!
Funcom's getting the crew back together for Conan Exiles! Well, part of the crew: The studio announced today that it's roped in Age of Conan composer Knut Avenstroup Haugen to write Conan Exiles' doom-filled melodies.
Haugen's AoC soundtrack won multiple mainstream awards and is a fan-favorite around here -- in fact, the last time we asked you what your favorite MMORPG soundtrack was, Age of Conan literally topped the list, beating out World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, WildStar, and the rest.
You can pick it up on Amazon or catch snippets in our own Jukebox Heroes column and the Battle Bards podcast while you wait for the new game, due out in January. Here's a favorite tune plus a sample from the upcoming tracks!
What are MMO NPCs good for, really? Usually they're either part of the quest system, trainers or vendors, or targets for our sharp, pointy weapons. Conan Exiles is looking to expand on those interactions by allowing players to capture certain NPCs and drag them back into their camp to install them as thralls. Slaves. You're capturing slaves.
The thrall system will be NPC-only during next year's early access while Funcom figures out the best way to handle player thralls. In a new video, you can see the first display of the thrall system in the survival sandbox in addition to a tour around a player-created village, crafting, and combat.
Check out the making of a village and hear about all of these systems after the jump! The thrall capture action starts at the 42-minute mark.