As some of you might remember, Funcom released their Mmorpg “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” back in 2008. Well, the game received some pretty good grades shortly after its release (the game also sold 700K units via retail pre-orders). However, “Age of Conan” lost its momentum over time…And that resulted in players leaving the game for other Mmorpg titles. Even so, Funcom still managed to keep the game alive with the “Rise of the Godslayer” expansion (May 11, 2010) and the Savage “Coast Of Turan” (August 31, 2011) and “Secrets of Dragon’s Spine” (September 3, 2012) adventure packs. Furthermore, when “Age of Conan” became a free-to-play hybrid (F2P and premium subscriber) the game gained quite a few new (and old) players.
So even though “Age of Conan” is over eight years old, the game is still alive and kicking (nowadays the game goes under the name of “Age of Conan Unchained”). On a personal level though. I do remember that the game suffered from numerous bugs and a pretty bad economy. Nevertheless, I did still enjoy the game for quite sometime before I went over to other MMO titles. I still have to admit that I miss the world of “Age of Conan” from time to time. That´s also why I got super excited when I found out that Funcom is working on a brand-new Conan game called “Conan Exiles” (for Windows and Xbox One, there “might” also be a PS4 version in the works):
“You are an exile, outcast and downtrodden, sentenced to walk in a barbaric wasteland where the weak are crushed and only the strong can live. Here you must fight to survive, build, and dominate the world alone on your own server or with enemies and allies in online multiplayer. Journey through a vast, seamless world filled with the ruins of ancient civilizations and uncover its dark history and buried secrets as you seek to conquer and dominate the exiled lands yourself. Start with nothing but your bare hands and forge the legacy of your clan, from simple tools and weapons to gigantic fortresses and entire cities. Enslave the bandits of the exiled lands to do your bidding by breaking them on the grueling Wheel of Pain.
Sacrifice the beating hearts of your enemies on the blood-soiled altars of your god to seize true power and glory. Summon the colossal avatar of your god and see them lay waste to your enemies and their homes. Just remember: in this brutal land of vengeful gods, bloodthirsty cannibals, and vicious monsters, survival is more than tracking down food and water. Explore mysterious ruins in search of treasure and knowledge, but beware the risk of your mind being corrupted by the dark forces of the world. Traverse vast sand dunes and seek shelter from scouring sandstorms sweeping across the burning sands. March into war against your enemies and unleash your savage fury in brutal combat. Go in unprepared and it will be your head rolling and limbs flying. Conan Exiles is not an empty sandbox. It is a world rich in history where you must discover the knowledge and secrets of ancient civilizations as you struggle to build your own.” – Funcom
Sure, I don´t know about you, but I really like the sound about that. Especially since the Early access version of “Conan Exiles” is set for a release to PC (Windows) on the 31st of January next year (the Xbox One preview version won´t launch until Spring 2017). Furthermore, I also enjoyed the announcement trailer, and the two streams for the game (“Conan Exiles Stream #1: Your first steps in Conan’s world” and “Conan Exiles Stream #2: Thralls, crafting and combat“). As I like the idea of being able to build houses, craft armors, weapons and whatnot. For example, you can craft clothes and a mask that protects you against sand storms. In other words, you don´t have to search for cover when a sand storm hits you really hard. Hell, you can even go out on hunting trips, and since “Conan Exiles” is an open-world survival game that takes place in the brutal lands of Conan the Barbarian. So it sure isn’t no joke that you have to fight, build, gather and dominate in-order to stay alive (online and NPC characters can either be your friends or your foes, so don´t ever let your guard down!).
It´s also worth pointing out that “Conan Exiles” allows you to dominate your enemies in both single and multiplayer. In other words, “Conan Exiles” appears to have dodged the “multiplayer only fail” bullet. It was also wise of Funcom to turn the game into a +18 title (yes, there will be plenty of violence, gore and nudity in “Conan Exiles”). Because I just don´t like the idea of having a kiddie version of a new Conan game. As it would ruin the whole Conan universe completely, but enough of that. Let´s talk about “Conan Exiles” features instead.
Well, these are the listed features for the game so far:
SURVIVE THE BARBARIC WASTELAND
In the world of Conan the Barbarian, survival is more than being well-fed and hydrated. Here you must weather scouring sandstorms, save your mind from being corrupted and going insane, and fight vicious monsters from the darkest holes of the earth.
BUILD YOUR LEGACY IN A VAST, SEAMLESS WORLD
Journey through a huge, seamless world filled with danger and opportunity, exploring everything from sand dunes to towering ruins. Harvest resources to craft tools and weapons, then build everything from a small settlement to entire cities.
DISCOVER THE DARK HISTORY OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS
Explore shadow-haunted ruins of ancient civilizations and discover great treasures and knowledge. Learn about the people who inhabited this world before and what led to their demise through inscriptions, books, and the environment itself.
CALL UPON THE POWER OF THE GODS
Drag the beaten bodies of your enemies back to your settlement, cut out their heart, and sacrifice it upon the altars of your god to earn their blessing. Summon impossibly huge avatars of the gods and see them crush the homes and will of your enemies.
DEFEND YOUR LAND WITH AN ARMY OF SLAVES
Enslave the criminals of the exiled lands and force them to join your cause and defend your territory. Put them through the grueling Wheel of Pain to break their will, then turn them into archers, crafters, entertainers, and more.
DOMINATE YOUR ENEMIES
March forth to war against your enemies, use explosives and see their fortifications crumble to dust, then unleash your savage fury with brutal attacks that will see heads rolling and limbs flying.
PLAY TOGETHER OR ALONE.
Play alone locally, or fight for survival and dominance in persistent multiplayer on public servers. Host your own server and invite others to join you in a world where you have full control of the rules and settings.
Well, so far, so good right? Yes, but I still took the liberty to write my own list of things that Funcom could improve from their previous game and things I want to see in Conan Exiles:
1. I would like to see smoother combat. Well, sure. I don’t know if I was just a noob during my “Age of Conan days”, but the hit-em-up combat aspect of the game felt very clumsy (especially during the pvp). As it was extremely easy to juke combos, and some classes felt very unbalanced. (I don´t know if it´s like that anymore). So, a Skyrim-like combat system with shield bashing, staggering, counters and death/finishing animation would be very fitting for “Conan Exiles”.
2. Among the things that I liked in “Age of conan” was the environmental landscape which you found yourself in. As the setting included everything from exotic jungles to big goldy deserts. However, the best part was with no doubt (whatsoever) the npcs in them. You see, you could really feel the culture from their speech, behavior and clothing. So I truly hope to see that again in the world of “Conan Exiles”.
3. I really want to see an advanced, fun and unique leveling/skill system, because for me (and many others, probably) the leveling and skill system is what makes you keep on playing. So I hope they will bring something new to the table that will stand out with the other similar games.
4. The questing in “Age of conan” was another aspect which I liked a lot. As I got to do everything from clubbing crocodiles to raiding bandits and saving damsels in distress in dark caverns riddled with giant zealots sacrificing virgins to their dark gods. Yes, it sure was quite a really fun experience. So if Funcom adds those types of activities to their new game, I assure you it will be a success.
5. Crafting is something which I really look forward to test out. Crafting makes you want to explore new areas to find material for you need so it’s a huge push to make you explore. I just hope they will have an enormous sortiment of different crafting you can do.
Nevertheless, I can´t deny the fact that I´m really impressed with what I´ve seen from the game uptil this point. So I truly hope that Funcom will be able to give us the best Conan experience to date with “Conan Exiles”. Well, we will know for sure once the early access version kicks-off for PC by the end of January next year. Other than that, don´t forget to check out the awesome “Conan Exiles” digital comic book!
And with that said, what do you think about “Conan Exiles” so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor and co-writer.
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
Jonas “O.J” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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