The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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6:40pm on Sunday, 28th July, 2019:
I finished playing Conan Exiles yesterday.
I'd been playing it in local sandbox mode, rather than get-beaten-up-by-gangs survival MMO mode. There's very little story to it: basically, you're dumped in a large wilderness surrounded by a magical barrier that you can't get through because you're wearing a bracelet. Taking off the bracelet kills you. However, if you collect six artefacts then you can combine them to create a keystone which will remove the bracelet safety and end the game. This (after maybe three months of pottering about) is what I did yesterday.
It was actually quite a decent game, given that the gameplay is essentially just collect resources, kill stuff, build stuff, repeat. I quite liked setting up little camps and putting supply caches in them, and building steps and lifts to get over awkward mountains and so on. I also liked the fact that the weather actually had meaning, at least in terms of temperature. The game is by Funcom, and I wish they'd done something similar in The Secret World (bikinis in snow-covered Romania really should lead to hyperthermia). Rain and other precipitation effects were tedious, though, as they added nothing but screen darkness.
The game did get really rather tiresome in the snow zone where the best metal for weapons and armour could be found. This was for three reasons. Firstly, the metal comes from meteors that only land occasionally and are really hard to find when they do (and you need to use expensive-to-make explosives to break them open). Secondly, there are sabre-toothed tigers, mammoths and wolves in the area, all of which are fairly easy to beat by that stage but they attack relentlessly and just slow down play. Thirdly, it was some distance from my base, which wasn't a problem in reaching it as there's a teleportation pillar nearby, but was a problem returning because there wasn't such a pillar near my base. If I didn't want a 15-minute trek back, I had to throw myself off a cliff to die and respawn there instead.
The final piece of the keystone I neede was in a volcano. I needed top-of-the-range armour for that as it was the only sort that didn't lead to heatstroke. However, to get there meant going through snow-covered lands that needed warmer armour instead. This is why the volcano was my last port of call. I never did find the pillar there — I just slogged down to the boss, killed him (easy) then fell in some lava on the way out and was teleported to civilisation.
The actual end of the game is a bit of an anticlimax. You make a tricky climb up to a forge where you create the keystone from the components, then when you use it there's a short cut scene of you walking through the desert and that's it.
Still, it was worth playing. I haven't really played a survival sandbox of this depth before, so I got to see some things I don't normally see. I won't be playing the multi-player version, though.
Oh, here's my character, Madifer, in her Silent Legion gear just before I went off to the volcano.
I kept the helmet on as she has a permanent scowl.
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