Funcom is forging ahead with its plans to launch Conan Exiles for real and for true on all the things come May 8th. And, as the latest dev blog explains, to make that date, the company’s probably going to cut some features from that launch build.
“In the past couple of months, we’ve had to make some serious decisions as to what will be in for launch,” says the studio. “We’ve been going through every aspect of the game (including things still in development) and we have evaluated everything based on a range of criteria. Some features or content simply ended up not being good enough, some things have ended up not making sense for the game, some things have been replaced with other features and content, while some things just turned out to be out of reach from a technical or development capacity standpoint.”
The team behind Conan Exiles has been working hard over the past week, but a lot of that work has gone to the art team over the past week. Sure, it’s important that the vanguard team has been working on making sandstorms do damage to players while also fixing issues with NPC weapons, but the art team has been hard at work giving creatures more expressive telegraphs to work with the combat system.
And that isn’t all the art team is developing; creatures in the world need to feel more expressive in general, so they’re getting more idle animations and environmental interactions to boot. So you’ll see fewer critters just hanging out and more of them doing things that make sense for those animals.
There’s also work being done on the UI to make everything feel immersive, fun, and easy to understand at a glance. Check out the full newsletter to see all of the ways in which the team is working hard to make the game the best it can be.
Happy birthday, Conan Exiles! Yes, Funcom’s blood-and-guts survival sandbox is turning one this week, or more specifically, one year in early access on PC. Funcom’s Joel Bylos thanks players in a brief video on Twitter and teases the game’s new combat system, which has been the subject of much chatter over the last few months while it’s been undergoing overhaul. It’ll be demoed on the studio’s Twitch stream this coming Friday for the first time.
The game’s latest newsletter also explains what’s up with the new biomes; Funcom says it’s all about polish.
“The Jungle biome has about two-three people working on it on the Terraformers team, and they’ve built pretty much everything from the ground up. The layout, the size and shapes of buildings, the size and shapes of the trees, the way the light is filtered through the trees, it’s all them. The art team helps out with textures, creatures and the general building blocks, but actually creating the entire biome is done by a small number of people. It’s a big area, built up from nothing, and it even turned out bigger than we initially planned. Which then adds more time to development. The content rebalance will also have an effect on resources (like what you get when you use certain tools on specific resource nodes), NPCs and creatures in the Jungle, and it’s a time-consuming process.”
It’s hard to imagine barbarians without gigantic weapons that take a whole lot of muscle to swing. So it’s good to see Conan Exiles introduce massive two-handed swords (which come in everything from stone to starmetal). While these weapons won’t be available until launch, the team is planning to add back in sprinting with weapons and tools in hand sooner than that.
The team said that getting Conan Exile’s gold disc finalized is of maximum priority, after which its attention will turn to the day one patch. Work is being done to hit requirements from Microsoft and Sony, shaping up the new perk system, and of course, making sure the hyped volcano and jungle regions are ready to go.
Funcom said not everything will be available on Day One: “The new combat paradigm will roll out on PC before May 8th. Project Content Rebalance will hopefully make it to PC players pre-launch, but may be moved back depending on when the work is finished.”
Sometimes you really want to stick around to the very end of developer livestreams for any surprise announcements. In Friday’s dev stream, Funcom shocked and probably pleased many fans with the announcement of brand-new forum software for all of its titles.
“Moving forward, we’re going to be launching new forums for all of our games,” the studio said. “We’re going to be using the Discourse platform. All of our games will eventually be under this system, so we’re unifying all of our games under one single umbrella.”
Age of Conan should see the new forum software very soon — if not already — with other titles to follow. And yes, Funcom specifically confirmed that this announcement includes Secret World Legends and Conan Exiles.
The lack of official forums has been a particular sticking point with the Secret World Legends community, which has been forced to scrounge around on Twitch, Reddit, Twitter, and the occasionally updated website for official information and discussion.
With an official May 8th launch date looming over Conan Exiles, Funcom has a lot of work ahead to get the survival sandbox ready for release. “We’re now at the point where we need to start working on the build that will be put on the discs you can buy at your local video game store,” the studio said. “The build needs to be ready at the end of January so the testing and certification process can begin.”
Bug and crash fixes for both the PC and Xbox One remain a priority, with the latter still scheduled to receive Update 32 at a later date.
The team is also testing out the new combat system, which it is trying out internally before releasing to the wilds. This combat system involves more combos, status effects, and more differentiation between weapon types. Other projects include the Volcano dungeon and special royal armor imported from Age of Conan for all early access players.
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
Avast, feast your eyes here, ye swabbies: Sea of Thieves be settin’ sail for the waters of closed beta on the 24th of January for both PC and the Box of X. Hoist the mainsails and prepare to have your senses bedazzled, as no shroud separates ye from the testing, nor any NDA. Ye can even read up on the intelligence what governs those fancy skeletons that be dancin’ about, or ye could pick up a fine new hand-held controller for a heft spot of dubloons.
Other news for betas? Aye, ’tis a fine time to discuss the other ships what sit full in the water.
Now, I’ve told my tale and told it true, so ye ought let me be. But first, cast your eyes to the horizon, and ye can see our full list of games what be in beta testin’ right now! Aye, a beautiful sight; take a fine boat below, and keep your eyes peeled if one of those salty dogs what slipped into a new test phase without us recognizin’ it ahead of time.
The Funcom team is back in business after the winter holiday, and that means a fresh Conan Exiles newsletter for the community. What’s on the horizon? Combat, combat, combat – the “feature complete version of the new combat system” is coming to the test servers in February.
“The Berserkers are putting the finishing touches on the new combat system,” Funcom writes. “They’ve added the ability for players to dodge out of hit stuns, sacrificing stamina to escape chained attacks, and different blocking and stagger animations based on which weapon the blocker is being attacked with. We are planning two internal tests over the next weeks to test the new combat system in PvE and PvP scenarios. The first test is with the devteam and the second test includes devs from other teams. The third test will be in the middle of February (as mentioned above) when we invite you guys to check out and give feedback on the new combat system on our Testlive servers.”
The newsletter touches on the most recent build (with tweaks for the lootbag freeze bug, the temperature system, and fall damage), the volcano and jungle biome, the walking-through-walls bug, the state of console, the decay system, avatars on console, desync, art polishing, new emotes and idles, and the “content rebalance project.”
With 2017 officially over and done, Steam’s taking a moment to report on its best-selling games over the course of the whole year. While there are no specifics shared as to which title sold how many copies, Valve does roughly rank games according to overall sales.
In the “platinum” category are several familiar online titles, including ARK: Survival Evolved, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, H1Z1, Warframe, and Dota 2.
Moving down into “gold,” we find Elder Scrolls Online crowing happily. “Silver” sellers mark Conan Exiles, Black Desert Online, War Thunder, and Path of Exile among the third-tier titles. The list is rounded out with other MMOs and MOBAs like Paladins, Elite: Dangerous, and The Division.
Steam’s Winter Sale, which contains many of these games and more, is ending on January 4th.
Massively OP’s not-so-serious end-of-the-year awards continue today with our blooper award for Best thing that isn’t in an MMO. And the winner is…
A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.
There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!
December’s many article roundups and awards always remind us that it’s hard to remember what happened last month, let alone what happened way back at the beginning, so this year (as in 2015 and 2016), we decided to poke through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we launch into 2018.
If you were still reeling from the devastating loss of EverQuest Next in 2016, the announcement in January of this year that Landmark was being kicked the curb too was salt in the wound. In fact, the beginning of 2017 was a dark spot for MMOs, with Firefall in limbo, Marvel Heroes rolling out an unwelcome patch, The Repopulation being sold to the company that almost snuffed it out, and the Asheron’s Call series on the chopping block. Even Nostalrius had regrets! We did, however, see the launch of Conan Exiles and get our first whisper of Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind.
Read on for the whole list from January of this past year.