Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game, much like DayZ or 7 Days To Die. However, it has a few differences when it comes to world-building and game mechanics that make it stand out from any other survival game.
In Conan Exiles, you aren’t fighting hordes of zombies or dinosaurs. You are in a world that mirrors our own, only it’s set in the past. Way back when barbarians and pirates roamed the land. Which is why you fight other humans. Everyone from scavengers to barbarians. The enemies can be NPCs or player-controlled characters.
Related read: Is the Forest Cross-Platform?
Now, to the main point of this article. Is Conan Exiles cross platform? Unfortunately, no. As of writing this article, the game is still not cross-platform. You can’t play the game with your buddies who own it on a different platform.
So for example, if you own it on PS4 and your friend owns it on Xbox One, both of you can’t play on the same servers. There are different servers for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. One thing worth noting is that a next-gen version of the game has been announced for Series X and PS5.
Expect improved visuals and framerates if you own a PS5 or Xbox Series X/ S. Of course, PC players can just crank up the settings depending on the hardware they’ve got.
What Is Conan Exiles About?
Simply put, surviving. However, if you delve a little deeper there is much more to the game. You start as a lowly barbarian, unproven, and with no place to truly call home. Over time, you vanquish foes and build your path towards legendary status. You can help people or plunder entire settlements. Through crafting, hunting, killing, etc. you level up and gain new skills.
As you explore the world, you unravel various mysteries. Weird cults, dangerous monsters, and evil men inhabit the Exiled lands. You will never run out of challenges or new places to explore. Progression gives you experience points that you can use to learn skills.
And you can specialize in certain aspects by putting more points into them. While you do all this, you have to collect resources. Primarily food, otherwise your character will die. You also collect wood, stone, metal, etc. to build your own base.
The World of Conan Exiles
Harsh doesn’t even begin to describe the world of this game. Not only are you dropped into a land filled with dangerous predators who will kill you on sight, but you’ve also got to stay wary of other people. There are bandits, scavengers, thieves, murderers, and rival barbarians roaming around looking for people to stab and goods to steal. Conan Exiles has the perfect world for a hardcore survival game, there aren’t any other games that do it better.
Oh, and there are giant spiders that are half the size of a school bus. You also have rhinos that tower over trees and bats that can swoop down and carry away fully grown people. The entire world feels alive, it is dangerous yet beautiful at the same time.
There are grassy plains with rivers and herds of grazing animals, vast oceans, snow-covered mountains, and volcanic caves filled with hideous monsters. As you explore the world, you will find out that creatures don’t just spawn randomly.
Just like in the real world, the creatures inhabiting a certain area are shaped by their environment. There are unique biomes within Conan Exiles, and animals specific to certain parts of the map.
If you wander into the deep canyons or desert plains, you’ll be attacked by giant spiders and scorpions. Head into the jungles and you’ll encounter rhinos. You can hunt gazelles or antelopes for their meat and hide. Crafting lets you make clothing items or weapons with animal bones and skin.
Even the behavior of each animal is different. They don’t follow the same predetermined pattern. For instance, predatory creatures like giant spiders and crocodiles will lunge at you when you are within reach. They will do so without warning.
However, antelopes and gazelles are docile and tend to avoid confrontation unless you provoke them. If you try to harm an antelope that’s grazing peacefully, you might find yourself on the business end of its massive and really pointy horns.
Conan Exiles even has a religion system, in which you can choose to worship a certain god. Each god will have their unique buffs to reward you with. There is an end goal for each religion. As you work towards this goal, your god will provide you with stuff like crafting items, recipes, etc.
Something like this isn’t found in regular survival games such as DayZ or 7 Days To Die. If you ask me, Conan Exiles is closer to Ark Survival Evolved than it is to other survival games. However, it still retains a unique Conan flavor.
There are 8 gods in total. And during character creation, you can choose from any one of them. If you don’t wish to get involved in the religion system of Conan Exiles, just choose Crom at the start.
Also known as the “God who requires no worship”, Crom oversees everything from his place atop the mountain. However, he doesn’t answer prayers or send you knowledge via an acolyte. Every religion has its followers and you can fight followers from opposing religions.
Each religion gives you special bonuses. Like how Mitra’s followers can create sacred statues, healing consumables, etc. Nordheim worshippers are savages who fight with no fear for their own lives. There is a god called Yog who demands that his followers consume ritually purified flesh (often of other humans). In return, Yog gives you armor and weapon bonuses.
Progression and Base-Building
Conan Exiles is very different from DayZ or 7 Days To Die. But I’ve already said that a dozen times, so let me give you an example. In Conan Exiles, you play as a barbarian, yes? And what do barbarians do? They go around beating and murdering for the fun of it. They enslave people.
So in the game, you can raid villages and beat up people into submission with your club. Then, you rope them up and drag them back to your base. Where you set them to work on stuff. Like a giant water wheel, you know- the ones where buffalos are tied to a wheel that pulls up water from a well.
But this is Conan, so you use people to move the wheel. People that you captured during your raids. And eventually, these people will be available as members of your clan to do your bidding. You can train them, feed them, turn them into blacksmiths or warriors.
Talking of subdued populations and slavery, you can task these slaves or clan members with building your own base. You can even command them to build a shrine or temple for your god that you chose way back in the character creation screen.
And if you want your very own fort, go for it. Only, it’s going to take a ton of resources and planning. You can have moats, bunkers, traps, watchtowers, and your very own guards.
Since this is a fully fleshed-out world with deep and intricate lore as well as beautifully designed biomes, you would assume there are tons of factions. And you would be 100% correct. Because Conan Exiles has a ton of factions, each with its own unique appearance and behavior. Not to mention, every faction has its own goals.
There’s the Accursed, a group of people who basically made a deal with strange demonic creatures from a different dimension. As a result of this, their minds are no longer that of normal humans and they are difficult to train. Another faction you might come across are the Frost Giants, these are giant axe-wielding fellows who worship Ymir.
You also have serpent-men, an ancient race of snake people who can use illusory magic tricks. Honestly, there are far too many clans and races for me to list. The game has dozens of factions with plenty of quests that help you learn more about these factions and their history.
Like any other survival game, Conan Exiles has you scrounging for stuff that you can use to stay alive. Food and water should be obvious to anyone, even if you’ve never played a survival game before. You start out with primitive equipment, such as stone axes and wooden spears. These can be used to craft more advanced equipment later on, as you come across better materials.
Unlike most survival games, Conan Exiles lets you do pretty much anything you have to in order to survive. Including raiding dead human corpses for meat. Yes, you can cook and eat human flesh in this game. Some things are very unique to Conan Exiles. In a standard survival game, you can hit stuff with your equipment to get materials. Like hitting a tree with an axe for wood.
In Conan Exiles, you can hit a tree with a hatchet which will give you wood and branches. But hitting the very same tree with a pick will give you bark and wood. You can pick rocks off the ground, or you can get a lot more stone by crafting a pick and using the pick on a giant boulder.
And you don’t just make stuff by pressing buttons and dragging icons. Provided you have the necessary skill points, you will need to actually craft tools and workbenches. You need a tannery to process the hide procured from animals. You need a weapons bench to create advanced weapons. You need a furnace to melt the metal ore you mined with your pickaxe. A blacksmith bench is needed to craft armor and other tools.