I’ve mentioned many a time that I like Funcom quite a bit. I want to like Funcom quite a bit. Heck, I want to be excited about Secret World Legends, but every day or so I get reminded that such a course of action will be very difficult at the least. Because quite frankly, Secret World Legends seems to want me not to be excited about it, as evidenced by… oh, every single thing that Funcom is doing around it.
Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.
Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.
Funcom’s Joel Bylos features in a Twitch interview on Gamasutra this week talking up Conan Exiles and explaining the core difference between server-based survival games versus Funcom’s “old MMOs,” as the interviewer put it. Bylos’ answer actually makes a lot of sense.
“[In] The Secret World, we focused very strongly on making really cool and interesting content and story, and the idea was to make it interesting to play. The thing is, with an MMO, a lot of focus goes into repeatable content. A lot of focus goes into things like ‘I’m gonna run this dungeon six times’ or 20 times or 200 times, right? So we need reward systems that give you tokens, that let you build or buy better items. There’s a lot of itemization discussion in MMOs. In a game like Conan Exiles, people are going to lose stuff, and we know that. We need to make it so that they can keep rebuilding stuff, keep creating stuff, keep progressing in the game, but not necessarily wanting them to go, ‘Oh, I want you to go grind this dungeon 50 times so that you can do the next dungeon – slightly harder.’ So [Conan Exiles] is not so much about this very small percentage of power increase to increase your character’s progression. That’s what I would say is a big difference in these type of games.”
DualShockers has a new interview out with Conan Exiles’ Joel Bylos. It’s from GDC, but it’s still worth a look given that it includes info on this week’s patch. For starters, expect to see the new decay system (it’s been renamed as the “ruins system” now), the planned dye system, new weapons, and the promised thrall updates — eventually, players can expect alchemists, engineers, sorcerers, and beastmasters as thralls. Don’t expect mounts until summer, though. Crafters, a heads-up for you: Since crafting progression is getting a revamp, “players will get to repick all of their recipes.”
The Purge is also a hot topic for future updates — basically, it’ll be a massive AI invasion with special thralls and an eye toward wrecking your server’s best stuff. Can’t let that happen, now can we.
Meanwhile, following player outcry over the excessive duping and exploiting going on there, Funcom has announced it will partially wipe the official servers.
As it stands right now, players in Conan Exiles may stride across the land with mighty swords or short stabbing implements held high in the breeze, and also you can pick up a sword if you want to. But it appears that players on Xbox One (commonly shortened to “Xbone” because sometimes life loves irony) will be unable to thrust forward into the unknown. According to creative director Joel Bylos, the team was told outright that there were to be no rods dirtying up this game of filthy, scrabbling violence.
Bylos is unsure whether the ladies will still be able to go tits out for being exiled in a wasteland and trying to kill other people, but he knows that the dongs will be gone as surely as they are omitted from LEGO games. There’s also no word about whether or not PlayStation 4 players will be able to enjoy the simple joys of having their digital bits flapping in the breeze. Of course, you can enjoy that in the PC verson, so if that’s a selling point, you needn’t feel limp and weak.
Though it’s fun for the broader industry, GDC has been a bit of a dud for our genre for years now. If you’re willing to expand your horizons past pure MMORPGs, however, there’s plenty of juice. Exhibit A: Funcom’s Conan Exiles presence at the show. PC Gamer has a report out today on Funcom’s plans for the game, including the clothing and armor dye system (coming this month), mounts and taming, PvE purge events stuffed with iconic Conan NPCs, better thrall micro-management, a lush foresty biome (bring your warmer clothes!), trebuchets that hurl rocks and dead bodies, and a new sewer dungeon.
Funcom’s Joel Bylos even sneaked in a dig on unspecified games that launch early access and linger there indefinitely while charging for DLC. Conan, of course, has vowed to launch by this time next year and has promised to avoid paid DLC during early access.
Massively OP will be meeting with Funcom at this weekend’s PAX East, so stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, check out the videos below.
The hype meter is rising for Funcom’s Conan Exiles, which launches early access tomorrow. Community Manager Jens Erik and Creative Director Joel Bylos ran another stream this past weekend, showing off the world and desert setting, character inventory, recipes, object interaction, in-game maps, swimming, and even underground lairs. It’s definitely worth a skim through if you’re still on the fence about whether to jump in early.
We’ll be streaming the game ahead of time — check back in on our Stream Team’s antics later this afternoon! For now, here’s the archived dev video and a peek at the art book.
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.”
Wanna see Conan Exiles in action — no filters, no fluff? Funcom is gearing up to demo the survival sandbox live tomorrow so you can do just that.
“This Friday, December 2nd, Funcom takes it one step further by unveiling live gameplay for the first time ever in the inaugural Official Community Stream on Twitch. […] Creative director Joel Bylos and community manager Jens Erik Vaaler will guide you through the Exiled Lands and show you some of the things Conan Exiles has to offer. They will also talk about how development is progressing and whatever else might be on their minds at the time. Maybe some other Funcom devs will join them as well?”
The festivities begin on the studio’s Twitch channel at 1 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CET) tomorrow. The game is still scheduled for early access launch on January 31st, 2017.
With Conan Exiles’ early access launch just around the corner, you can better believe that the community has a mountain of questions about the survival sandbox. Funcom’s Joel Bylos stepped into the Xbox One Reddit yesterday to tackle many of these, although some, like queries about pricing, he declined to answer (Conan Exiles won’t have microtransactions or a sub, however).
Bylos said that the primary inspiration for the game comes straight from Robert E. Howard’s books. “Conan Exiles has a tighter focus on melee combat, a world that can be explored to find lore and stories, a religion system that allows access to magic and god avatars, a thrall system that allows you to enslave and turn your enemies into allies,” Bylos said. “Oh and no flying mounts, because those tend to make the world too small.”
Players will have a wide range of rulesets from which to choose, with each server hosting up to 70 players apiece during the early access period.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we started speculating wildly as to what fomer Wargaming developer Chris Taylor might be up to with his new studio. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Elsword, Crowfall, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
October is finally here. That means Halloween is this month! I can’t even describe how excited that makes me. I know I’m not alone in having been waiting with bated breath for any word about The Secret World’s Samhain holiday event. So when Romain “Titly” Amiel, game director, started teasing chunks of an image, many of us thought it would an announcement about the best Halloween celebration ever. It turns out it wasn’t, but maybe it was. The announcement is related to TSW. However, it might also be a tease for what will actually await us in TSW as well. It’s all about a new Secret World spin-off game.
Can Funcom’s upcoming Halloween title Hide and Shriek top last year’s The Park? Does it even need to? And what will it have to do with The Secret World? If these questions are floating around in your head, you’ve come to the right place for answers. They are:
OK, so maybe you’d like a few more details than that. Can do! Of course, we mainly have speculation at the point, but following the path that the past has laid out brings us to these very answers.
Things are looking up! I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly feeling more relief– and not just a little extra excitement — when I consider the future. Even though I have always had an optimistic outlook for The Secret World, there was no denying those clouds of troubles that would creep in and try to overshadow things. A bit of uncertainty would tug at me here and there as I pondered the fate of my favorite game. The one cloud that tried its darndest to encroach on my hopes was the whole financial troubles ordeal at Funcom. So I can’t even express how happy I was to hear that the studio secured some major funding! (I might or might not have flipped a few happy handstands in celebration! No, there’s no video.) I see the game flourishing in the months ahead. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some misses, but I truly think the future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.