The Survivalist: Conan Exiles’ Picts, pets, and pokey arrows


In a world where no game is perfect, I continue to be pleased with the progress Conan Exiles keeps making. I’m also happy that Funcom has been sticking to its promise to keep all content that was expected in alpha free to players. Both of these points were demonstrated in the survival game’s latest major update. But let’s be real, we’re here to talk about the one really important thing. Pets! Yes, pets. That much-desired feature that didn’t make it in before launch was finally implemented, and that makes for one very happy MJ. Along with pets (did I mention pets?) came a slew of specialty arrows, a new religion, a fun (pet-themed) dungeon, new off-hand combos, and more. Or so I’ve been told. I mostly only noticed the pets. Did you see the pets? There may be a few kinks and a few things I’d like to see changed, but I’ve been busy enjoying it all. Mostly pets.

Oh we also got a new DLC full of Pictish delights, which turned out better than I expected. Who knew such beauty was hidden inside Pict hovels? Don’t worry, we’ll get back to talking about pets soon enough.

Pict perfect

I have to admit that when a Pict-themed DLC was announced, I paid it practically no mind. Called the Savage Frontier Pack, I didn’t see it as a style I’d be interested in, so I never looked any further. Hey, it’s one chance to save a few bucks, right? Wrong! It turns out that the building pieces are actually quite nice, a fact I discovered when showing off the DLC on OPTV. The armors stuck to the savage theme I was expecting, as did the weapons. I’m still not overly fond of the armor styles, but I really found the weapons to be quite ferocious and impressive.

Coming up to the exterior of the Pict house also fit in with what I anticipated for the theme, with hardened overlapping plates and spikes. It does look quite cool and formidable. The surprise comes when I went inside: Apparently the Picts have a soft spot for ornate scrollwork! Whou would have thought, tough and savage on the outside, fancy and ornate on the inside. Sadly, other than mounting the cool weapons up on racks, there are no Pict placeables for decorating. I mean, that actually sounds very Pictish to me; why would Picts have any need for fancy schmancy baubles in their houses? Then again, they have fancy schmancy scrollwork. Maybe unnecessary belongings would just detract from that interior. Whatever the reasoning, the beauty of those interior pieces certainly piqued my interest in this DLC much more.

Instead of housing items, the Savage Frontier Pack has pet armors and warpaint to make your warrior and your tamed beasts appear more savage. See? It all circles back to pets! Facing a fearsome bear is frightening enough, but imagine that bear covered in the bones of its enemies. Yup, that’s what this DLC gives. Yeah, I just might need it after all.

Picking out a pet or two… or 10

Now, let’s talk about my personal favorite aspect of the latest update. You’ve got it — pets. Pets! You can finally tame creatures and have them fight alongside you in your adventures. You had to know my first desire would be to find two black kitties to add to my family. As luck would have it, I actually started off with a bear cub, but we did devote Halloween to nabbing a kitty or three.

Taming in Conan Exiles is actually pretty easy compared to other survival game’s I’ve played. You don’t need anything special, you just have to find a baby among the vicious adults that want to tear you limb from limb. First things first, however: In order to be able to catch and raise cubs/babies, you need to complete the new Midnight Grove dungeon. Luckily, it is both incredibly gorgeous and fun, and very worth doing! The catching is easy, if not a little wonky; you have to click E repeatedly around the cub to try and put it into your inventory. This usually means following it around and spamming the E and then confirming it is in your bag instead of just getting away. The hardest part is actually finding the little critters out in the wild in order to catch. The good news is you can get your first ones right in the Moonlight Grove dungeon. Be warned: Before picking up your new pets, be sure you can carry them because each cub weighs quite a bit!

The next part is raising your sweet little wild beasty. To do that, you construct a pen. This in itself isn’t really difficult, but it is labor-intensive — especially if you build a Tier 3 pen. And you need space, lots of space. Now you just have to feed the babies to keep them and help them grow big and strong. If you feed them favorite foods, you can increase your chances of getting a rare adult. Grown adult companions will protect your homestead and follow you on adventures. None of my pets have finished growing up yet, so I do not know if I have lucked out on any rares. B I am pretty excited to build up my menagerie!

As excited as I am, all isn’t perfect on the pet front. One thing that I was disappointed in was the inability to give pets basic commands, especially to set them to be friendly to allies or even neutral. Our server has a number of small, two-person tribes that always work together, but aggressive pets prevent us from ever having them along on our cooperative adventures. I don’t want to choose between gaming with my friends or with my pets! I really hope there is a way to change this in the future. We’d love to have hunting parties with packs of our favorite pets. Alliance pacts would sure be nice, too.

Arrows for every occasion

Enough about pets? OK, here’s a bit on pointy things that aren’t teeth. Another major change was the addition of specialty arrows. Since I am not a fan of using the bow in Conan Exiles, I’d also slightly ignored this change. (It’s not like I was distracted by pets or anything!) That changed when I finally tried some out. And thank heavens for me, these new arrow types don’t necessarily require the best aim to use! I personally focused mostly on healing arrows that create a mist of healing vapors players can stand in to feel better. Of course, you might accidentally short your friends, which will hurt them. Getting hit with the arrow does cause damage, and that same mist that heals you appears to heal the enemies as well! Oops? Maybe aim is still a little important…

Other arrows are also available. You’ve got poison arrows with an AoE poison, explosive arrows that can detonate the pools left by gas and tar arrows, and corruption arrows. Light arrows can help illuminate things at a distance. They are very fun to shoot into things!) Snakes arrows, on the other hand, were heading for a rework to make them more about transmitting poison. The idea for blunted arrows was to have something to knock enemies out from a distance, but those also need more work. Fire arrows are just being turned into enhanced iron arrows since the light and explosive arrows cover the other two planned functions.

I like the idea of different arrows, but I found them a pain to manage multiple types. I also can’t reliably use any that need really good aim (that’s just user error though!). That said, I’ll be trying the arrows out a bit more since the new ways to use them and combinations make it less about just ploinking the pointy end in something’s/someone’s head. How many new ways can MJ die to her own arrows?! Perhaps I will wait until the system gets shaken out a bit more before trying to get a good handle on it. This iteration is not the final one; changes are already in the mix. Specialty arrows are continuing to be tweaked to keep them in the realm of special use instead of being spammed as regular ammo, and it’s planned to have limited stack sizes, higher costs, etc. Until then, I’ve got some pets to keep me occupied. Did I mention pets?

In the survival genre, there are at least 1001 ways to die, and MJ Guthrie is bound to experience them all — in the interests of sharing them with you! The Survivalist chronicles life and death struggles against all forms of apocalypse, outbreak, mutation, weather, and prehistoric wildlife. And let’s not forget the two-legged enemies! Tune in here and on OPTV to see who feeds better: MJ or the Death Counter.
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