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Funcom's survival RPG Conan Exiles will be leaving Early Access on May 8, 2018. And going by this developer blog post, come full release, the game's map will be twice as big as it is right now, the combat system will get a complete overhaul, and you'll be able to enjoy a number of new features, such as farming, fast travel, and greatly expanded character customization. A few snippets:
Swamp and Volcano Biomes
When we launch Conan Exiles, the world will be twice as big than it was when we first launched Early Access. Starting May 8th players will have full access to a vast new swamp biome, full of new monsters, new crafting recipes, weapons and armor, new locations, building materials, and more. The swamp will be an integrated part of the main map and can be found on the eastern side just above the southern desert.
A new volcano biome will also be added to the Frozen North area.
New combat system
When we did our Easter community survey last year, improved combat was the single-most requested feature. In fact, the overwhelming majority told us this should be the number one priority of the development team. Being a game based on Conan the Barbarian and his savage world, melee combat was always something we wanted to make sure was a step above other games in the genre and your feedback confirmed that should be our focus, so we set out to work.
The new combat system is a complete and total overhaul. It changes everything. It feels a lot more visceral, it relies on thought and tactics, and most importantly it makes combat a lot more fun. To get an impression of how it all look and plays, check out the recorded livestream above.
The new combat system also introduces a brand new HUD and several significant improvements to several of the user interface elements in the game. We will continue to improve and iterate on the HUD towards launch based on the feedback we receive.
The purge was one of the features we talked about early on and it’s been important to us to make sure we get it ready simply because it’s a key ingredient to closing the gameplay loop.
The purge was initially conceived as NPC armies coming from outside the Exiled Lands to attack players. As we decided that the team working on this should spend more time polishing and optimizing the general AI on all creatures and NPCs in the game, we had to go back and rescope this feature in order to make sure we could launch with a solid implementation.
The important thing to close the gameplay loop is to have a purge mechanic that sees creatures or NPCs present a danger to your base. In PvP you already have the danger of players coming in to attack your city, and you need to build smart and you need to set up defenses to keep attackers at bay. In PvE and single-player we haven’t had such a threat, which means there has been a certain lack of meaning to building a fortified base.
The purge mechanic at launch will see creatures and NPCs attack your base, even when you’re not logged in, so you need to consider traps, walls, thralls, and other defenses. It can be a lone hyena trying to knock down your door, or it could be a group of bandits coming in to break down your walls. The purge mechanic will be active on all official servers, and private server admins can choose to turn it on or off on their hosted servers.
We look forward to showing you more of this as we get closer to launch.
Looking beyond launch
They say ideas are cheap and that execution is the hard part. That’s doubly true for game development. We have had a lot of great ideas both before and during Early Access, and we’re very happy that we have been able to execute on a lot of them. Unfortunately, there have also been ideas that we in our excitement communicated early on that just weren’t possible for us to execute on.
So far during our 12 months of Early Access we’ve put out 32 major updates that have introduced new features, new content, and a whole lot of polish and bug fixes (visit www.conanexiles.com/updates for a full overview). Some of that content represent parts of the greater designs we envisioned. For instance, we have added the trebuchet and siege defense mechanisms, but we have not added things like corpse lockers or siege towers like we wanted to. It’s fully possible that in the time after launch we can return to some of this content and these features and flesh them out further.
A great thing about Early Access is that you have the opportunity to organically discover what your game needs while you’re actually making it. New ideas come up and player behavior and feedback tells us what the game is missing (as mentioned earlier, improved combat was the most requested feature in our survey, so naturally a lot of our attention was turned in that direction).
There is a lot of content and several features we have added during Early Access that we weren’t originally planning to do, but saw during Early Access that we should be prioritizing. Some of those features and content include climbing, orbs, and the avatar defense domes to name a few.
What we do want to make very clear is that we will never lock features we have talked about for Early Access behind paid content updates. If at some point after launch we can implement mounts, sorcery, or any of these features that we wanted to introduce in Early Access, we will make sure these are available freely to everyone.
Our focus now is launch and making sure that’s rock solid on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and that we make sure as much of the content and features we envisioned make it into the game. Once we’ve launched we can start making plans for what we can add to the game in the future.
Our hope is that Conan Exiles can live on for a long, long time.
The Conan Exiles Development Team