Conan Exiles has some of the best-looking character models in the survival genre.
Compared to the horrors that populate titles such as Ark Survival Evolved, 7 Days to Die and Rust, Conan Exiles remains virtually uncontested, with only Atlas offering any real competition when offering players customisable and attractive character models.
Unlike most survival games, there is a decent plot to follow for players who wish to play without the company of others, and while it falls short of being a rich narrative, following in the path of those who come before you and interacting with important NPCs and enemies gives players something to do beyond farming materials and raiding NPC camps.
I feel that survival games are not worth playing solo or offline; however, if I were to play any survival game offline, it would be Conan Exiles, as the world and its inhabitants, when coupled with unique survival and building mechanics, are interesting enough to keep me entertained
As of October 2022, Conan Exiles has over 3000 modifications available.
Admittedly, hundreds of sexy outfit/body mods offer some form of variation of sexy armour. Still, among the pages of bikinis and jiggle mods, you will find some genuinely game-changing modifications such as the popular Age of Calamtis mod, which essentially turns Conan Exiles into a high fantasy survival game with unique races and mechanics, and the Kalimdor Exiles mod which turns Conan Exiles into a World of Warcraft themed survival game with custom races, props and items.
Lingerie and the total conversions aside, the Conan Exiles modding community have created hundreds of quality-of-life modifications, such as the outstanding server management tool Pippi, which has allowed server owners to create quests, cinematics, dungeons and more for their communities and Fashionist, which offers players a fully functional transmog system, perfect for the barbarian who likes to look their best while slaughtering foes and enslaving the locals.
Pictured: The Age of Calamitous Total Conversion Mod.
The secret to Conan Exiles’ longevity may not be so secret at all, as much of its continued success can be attributed to the diversity of the player base, from builders to dungeon runners and hardcore pvpers to causal roleplayers; Conan Exiles appeals to a wide demographic, and if not for its mature content would have something to offer the entire survival community.
If Funcom were to disappear today (very unlikely), the private server and modding communities would keep Conan Exiles vibrant and engaging for years to come, something that few other games can boast of, even when unofficial servers continue after the developers have moved onto other projects.
While many survival games have nude mods created shortly after launch, Conan Exiles is one of the only games to embrace nudity fully, something we first saw in Age of Conan: Unchained, one of the first mainstream titles to allow topless female characters in a competitive and social setting.
Conan Exiles allows full-frontal male and female nudity with “realistic” anatomy.
While this can be disabled via user settings, players adamantly opposed to such content may wish to give Conan Exiles a hard pass.
While crafting is the bread and butter of the survival genre, Conan Exiles DLC and a massive array of craftable furnishings and cultural weapon and armour sets contained within create opportunities for players to specialise in individual crafting disciplines, allowing for the creation of an economy in which players can purchase crafted items from DLC they do not own, while providing crafters with raw and processed materials to fill their coffers.
While it’s common for a single publisher to hold a third-party IP for multiple years, such as EA’s exclusive 10-year contract to publish Star Wars titles, Funcom has gone further by purchasing the Conan The Barbarian IP.
While this does not ensure that Conan Exiles will live forever, it certainly ensures that Funcom has full access to the world, lore and characters created by Robert E. Howard, when looking to expand Conan Exiles, as well as having the ability to introduce new lore elements without oversight from a third-party rights holder, something that often results in drawn-out and costly negotiations by lawyers who wish to ensure the integrity of their client’s intellectual property at the expense of creativity and innovation.
We had seen this happen before in titles such as Lord of the Rings Online, where player vs player content was deemed detrimental to the world’s lore, resulting in the creation of player vs monster pvp, an altogether unbalanced and less enjoyable affair.
Pictured: Statues of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian from the 1982 movie of the same name, which are available as part of the Riddles of Steel DLC
As of June 2023, Conan Exiles offers players ten primary dungeons to explore, each with unique loot and learnable feats that can be found nowhere else; while these dungeons can be defeated solo by over-levelled players, they serve as a great way to meet other players by encouraging grouping in the open world, to secure the converted materials, and items within.
While a survival game at its core, Conan Exiles borrows heavily from the MMORPG genre by incorporating elements commonplace in the genre, such as world bosses, PvE dungeons, boss mechanics and dungeon-specific loot drops.
While the relatively low server capacity and small (by MMO standards) map would not lend themselves well to the MMORPG format, I cannot help but wonder if Funcom should make a sequel to Age of Conan Unchained by utilising the lore of the former and assets from Conan Exiles.
While Funcom has made no indication they are considering such a move, It is certainly something I would love to happen now that they own Conan The Barbarian IP.
Owning a full Ip has its benefits, and one of those benefits is having access to the iconic soundtracks from other games and movies in the Conan Universe; having played multiple Conan titles, certain tracks are as iconic and memorable as the Star Wars theme, and being able to experience those melodies while exploring the Exiled Lands helps to immerse players further into the brutal and unforgiving world of Conan the Barbarian.
While many RPGs allow players to choose a religion, and a few even provide static buffs or cosmetic gear for doing so, religion rarely takes a serious role in competitive content, and that is exactly what happens in Conan Exile, from powerful potions and exotic weapons to massive avatars of destruction, religion plays a massive role in Conan Exiles.
Conan Exiles has always been a very controversial game, and first and foremost among those controversies is the taking of slaves.
While slavery in the Exiled Lands is not dependent on race, slaves of all races can be found and taken throughout the world; in a world fraught with racial tensions, allowing the player to act as a slaver is going to raise a few eyebrows, at least.
I must stress race is never an issue when it comes to slavery in Conan Exiles, and a dark-skinned player can enslave light-skinned characters; however, the southern half of the map is predominately populated by Darfari tribes, which are portrayed as stereotypical dark-skinned savages, a portrayal that could be very offensive to some.
Slavery aside, players who can force male and female exiles to dance naked for their pleasure have their own set of problems.
Conan Exiles is the perfect storm for a thriving role-play community, attractive character models, an expansive open world, a fleshed-out building system, frequent cosmetic updates, a thriving modification community, and an ever-growing private server community.
Unfortunately, many of the largest role-playing communities are erotic role-play servers. While standard role-play servers exist, they are often far smaller and less active than their ERPG cousins.
In addition, many non-erp role-play servers utilise mods created for the erp community, such as butt/breast jiggle mods, which for some may be uncomfortable.
In 2022, Conan Exiles moved away from a DLC monetisation model to a battle pass model with seasonal updates and a mostly cosmetic cash shop.
While many veteran players pushed back against these changes, preferring the former DLC-only model, due to the Conan Exiles premium battle pass returning enough premium currency to purchase the next pass upon its completion, purchasing a single battle pass with real money (around 10usd) grants players access to around 4 DLC packs each year essentially for free.
Players who do not wish to grind the battle pass can store up a week’s worth of XP-boosted challenges and burn through them in a matter of minutes via single-player due to many of the challenges requiring players to kill x amount of a certain creature or visit a certain location, and being able to spawn in the required enemies and teleport anywhere on the map makes even the most difficult (and rewarding) challenges a piece of cake.
Using this method, I was able to unlock roughly 1/3rd of the battle pass in only 30 minutes, meaning that completing the entire battle pass in as little as 2 hours (spread over 3.5 weeks) is possible for even the most casual player.
Funcom has continually updated Conan Exiles since its early access release back in 2017 and utilises a business model similar to the one used by Paradox Interactive, meaning with the launch of every paid DLC, there is a substantial free update to the base game that keeps it feeling fresh while ironing out any wrinkles that have proven to be unpopular with the community.
Many of these updates have been far more meaningful to the average player than the DLC accompanying it; from rebalanced combat and thrall systems to entirely new religions and tamable mounts, Funcom has consistently over-delivered on their promise to maintain Conan Exiles.
While we do not know how many play Conan Exiles on most platforms, we do know that it regularly peaks at 13k players each day on Steam and supports cross-play with Epic Game Store and Microsoft Store (PC Game Pass), making it the largest overall Conan Exiles community.
It is safe to assume that the PlayStation community is roughly on par with the Steam community. In contrast, the Xbox community is significantly more active due to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass.
Conan Exiles continues to do well on all supported platforms and receives frequent substantial free and paid updates as it enters its 6th year.
In June 2018, it became the best-selling Funcom title in history, with over 1.4 million sales. This has undoubtedly been eclipsed in the years since, thanks to continual updates and successful launches on the Playstation and Xbox platforms.
On average Conan Exiles takes between 32 and 100 hours to complete.
Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.
Conan Exiles supports:
Conan Exiles offers the following matchmaking options:
The Conan Exiles in-game store sells:
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Conan Exiles is rated PEGI 18+ and contains the following:
Conan Exiles is an exceptionally good survival game that allows players and server owners a near-unprecedented amount of control over their experience; from hardcore pvp servers to small, tight-knit role-play communities, there is something for everyone in Conan Exiles.
I fully recommend Conan Exiles for all gamers who are 18+ or older and are not offended by the mature content Conan Exiles offers.