Image from Conan Exiles cinematic.

‘Conan Exiles’ Early Access Launch: What You Need To Know

Conan Exiles is launching into Steam Early Access extremely soon. What should PC gamers look forward to when it releases? Read on to find out what will be best in life for those that dare to step into the Exiled Lands of Hyboria.

What is Conan Exiles?

Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game in the same vein as Rust, Day Z, and ARK: Survival Evolved. However, it has a distinctly Conan twist and is set in the world of Hyboria and takes place between Robert E. Howard’s short stories Xuthal of the Dusk(The Slithering Shadow) and A Witch Shall be Born.

The game comes with all the trappings of an open-world survival title, such as harvesting, crafting, building, and raiding other players. However, it is very much steeped in the lore of the Conan universe since it is from the same developers that brought you the MMORPG, Age of Conan. Every item in the game has a description with a story and the larger world has story bits that are revealed as players explore, open chests, interact with ancient items, or gain new items.

Aside from the Conan lore, the major differentiators include a religion system, brutal and bloody combat, plus the NPC and Thrall system discussed below.

When does it launch and how much does it cost?

Conan Exiles will hit Steam Early Access for PC gamers on Tuesday, January 31. The standard version of the game will cost $29.99 at launch. There is also a “Barbarian Edition” that will be available $59.99 and comes with six digital Conan The Avenger comics from Dark Horse, one Conan Exiles digital comic, The Coming of Conan ebook, two Conan RPG core digital books, a digital artbook, three soundtracks, digital wallpaper and Twitch streaming overlays, and one physical t-shirt. There’s also a 25 percent lifetime discount to server hosting provider Ping Perfect, which should quickly pay for the added cost of the “Barbarian Edition.”

How does the game start?

Conan rescues a crucified Exile in Conan Exiles.
[Image by Funcom]

Players wake up crucified in the Exiled Lands. Conan appears to cut you down from your cross and free you before he continues his journey. It is here players will choose their character’s race, gender, appearance, and which Hyborian god to follow – Crom, Mitra, Yog or Set.

The Exiled Lands are surrounded by a gigantic Cursewall. The serpent bracelet worn by your character prevents them and others from venturing beyond this magical barrier. However, different NPC factions have formed in addition to those created by players and you are all trapped in the same area together, fighting to survive.

NPCs and Thralls

Exploring the Exiled Lands will reveal ruins of an ancient civilization, various beasts and creatures, plus NPCs from other factions. These NPC factions include the Darfari Cannibals, The Black Hand, The Dogs of the Desert, and various Stygian mercenaries.

NPCs can be fought while hunting for resources or venturing into ruins for treasure. Additionally, human NPC characters can be knocked out and dragged back to your base. If a Wheel of Pain has been built, the captured can be placed on it to turn them into Thralls.

Thralls serve various purposes in Conan Exiles. Some can be placed on walls to serve as defensive archers or inside a base to serve as defensive warriors. Others can be placed at crafting stations to open different styles of armors and weapons. For example, players may have chosen a Sumerian character and a Stygian Thrall at a crafting station will unlock new items to craft.

Some Thralls can even be turned into entertainers. These are necessary as the dark magic that emanates from parts of the Exiled Lands and from undead creatures has a corrupting effect on characters, which reduces character stats. Entertainers will remove this corruption.

Religion

Mitra and Set Avatars fight in Conan Exiles.
[Image by Funcom]

Conan Exiles doesn’t quite have a magic system yet. Instead, it has a religion system with each God granting certain benefits. Players will choose the god to worship at the beginning, with Crom being the “atheist option,” but can worship additional gods by building altars to them.

The altar is the center of power for the three religions and is necessary to build to begin currying their favor. This is where players will craft their religious artifact and make sacrifices to the gods, human hearts for Set, purified souls for Mitra, and cooked human flesh for Yog.

There are three tiers to alters with each level opening up additional recipes to craft strong religious weapons, such as Set’s snake arrows, or food that gives your character bonuses.

The final alter tier open up the opportunity to summon an avatar of the god being worshiped. It will require some resources and a Thrall priest to summon, however. This towering Avatar is nigh unstoppable and can decimate an opposing clan’s defenses.

Funcom does provide a couple of counters to the Avatar. First, its resources are expensive to summon and the altar and priest will be lost once complete. Second, a beam of light will highlight the player doing the summoning and a server message will be broadcast. Lastly, the player doing the summoning will be vulnerable during the brief time the Avatar is causing destruction.

Official Servers

PC gamers seeking to jump into Conan Exiles will have a few options to choose from to play with others. 70-player official servers from Funcom will come in both PVE and PVP flavors that will persist, but there is an added twist with PVP Blitz servers. These Blitz servers will be reset every 30 days to wipe all player progress and structures, forcing everyone to start from scratch.

Additionally, Funcom will provide different styles of server communities for players to narrow down their playstyle. These filters will cater to those searching for a Purist, Relaxed, Hard Core, Roleplaying, or Random experience.

Combat

Fighting a Shaleback in Conan Exiles.
[Image by Funcom]

Conan Exiles offers a variety of armaments in the one-hand and two-handed variety. There are swords, pikes, daggers, shields, bows, and more to craft at different tiers and different styles. Attacks can also be varied from standard to power attacks that can break shields or cleave limbs.

Building

A cliff side base in Conan Exiles.
[Image by Funcom]

Early Access for Conan Exiles will start with three building tiers for players to climb. In the first tier, sandstone can only be destroyed by iron weapons. Meanwhile, the second tier requires steel weapons, and the third tier will need explosives or an Avatar to destroy.

Funcom made some welcome tweaks to construction, such as the ability build up the side of the mountain and clear indicators on which direction a wall is facing. Players will also be able to craft tables, chairs, banners, and other decorative items to spice up their bases.

Private Servers and Mods

Naturally, Conan Exiles can be setup on a private server either through a rental through Funcom’s server partner, Ping Perfect, or with their own custom server. Admins will have the ability to customize the game to support the settings they prefer. This means the ability to tweak harvest and experience gain rates, turn Avatars and sandstorms off, alter player health pools, and more. Per Funcom, these can be changed on the fly and do not require a server restart.

An Admin Panel will also be available to server owners where they can spawn weapons, armor, structure pieces, NPCs, and more.

Mods will be supported out of the gate as well via the Steam Workshop. Funcom will also provide a custom Unreal Engine editor to give creators the opportunity to modify the game or add to it.

Other Tidbits

It’s important to remember this is an Early Access game so expect to see bugs, missing features, and still early animations. For example, the mount system and sorcery will not be available when the game first becomes available and will come later.

Additional items missing include more biomes, the ability to farm, more building styles, plus more Gods and avatars.

The map size will start at approximately 53 square kilometers.

Nudity will be an option in the game. Server admins will be able to choose from full, partial, or no nudity when setting up their servers.

An Xbox One version is planned to release to the Game Preview Program this spring. A PlayStation 4 edition is planned as well, but no release has been scheduled.

Minimum System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64 Bit/ Windows 8 64 Bit/ Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel Quad Core i5 or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 (2GB) or AMD equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 35 GB available space

[Featured Image by Funcom/YouTube]

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