'Conan Exiles' Beginner's Guide: Tips And Strategies For New Players

Conan Exiles - New Character
Conan Exiles Photo: Funcom

Conan Exiles is absolutely dominating the Steam sales charts this week, driven by some key changes to the survival formula we’ve seen repeated ad nauseam over the last few years, but many players are struggling to survive and make their mark on the wasteland. So we’ve rounded up some tips and strategies to help guide you through the opening hours of the game.

This isn’t the place you’ll find specific damage numbers for the handful of weapons currently in Conan Exiles or details on the end-game meta. But the information below should keep you alive long enough to find some friends and figure out what you want to prioritize during the earliest stages of Conan Exiles’ life. Here are our suggestions for those diving into Conan Exiles for the first time or still struggling to find a foothold in the game.

Find A Server That Fits Your Play Style

Server hosts have a surprising amount of control over everything from the game’s day/night cycle to how frequently local resources respawn. Some even change the experience gained from different activities, like mining or crafting. If you’re struggling in PvP, switch to PvE for a few hours and try to work on the areas where you’re struggling in a lower-stakes environment. If you’re looking for big clan vs clan battles, don’t join a server with a low clan cap.

Once you’ve made your selection, add your preferred server(s) to your list of favorites, even if there’s a chance you’ll removing them down the road. If it’s one you know you’ll want to revisit, it might be worth writing the name down somewhere outside the game client. Funcom’s server selection interface does not currently include a designation for servers you’ve already created characters on. Favoriting is pretty much the only way to ensure your progress isn’t lost if the game and/or server crashes. And even that doesn’t feel very reliable.

Find A Better Source Of Water

Food and water are some of the most important resources to monitor during your early hours with Conan Exiles. Players always spawn next to a water bottle that will keep you going for a short time, but you’re going to need to find somewhere to refill it pretty quickly. Large bodies of water are also great places to hunt for additional food. But you should probably stick to rabbit hunting at least until you’ve got a working bow and decent supply of arrows.

Press M to open your map and locate the nearest source of water. Once you’ve traveled to that source of water, hold E to drink or (with a bottle equipped) fill your canteen.

Conan Exiles - Watering Hole
Conan Exiles Photo: Photo: iDigitalTimes

Take Every Branch And Clear Every Bush You Find

See that branch on the ground?

Grab it. And the one next to it...and the all the rest of them you see for your first few hours with the game. Branches are damn near a currency in the early hours of Conan Exiles. You’ll need 50 to build a campfire, and more to keep the fire going, and dozens more to build your weapons and tools. The same goes for bushes. They’re great sources of seeds, plant fiber and insects. Seeds (when cooked into gruel) and insects will help keep your belly full while plant fiber can be used for basic armor, making twine or as an inefficient fuel for your cooking fire.

Build A Bed (Maybe Two)

Before you worry about tools, your own house or even clothes, gather the materials for a bed. Nothing is more frustrating than getting yourself partially geared, finding a decent spot to make camp and then succumbing to hunger, thirst or your fellow exiles before you finished building a respawn point. Once you’ve found a place worth respawning, gather up enough materials to build a few beds and make sure you assign one as your current spawn point (by interacting with it) after it’s been placed.

Build A Fire

Fire is an important resource. It gives you a way to cook the meat pulled off rabbits, or anything else you manage to kill, and a use for all those seeds you’ve been carrying (toss them in with some plant fiber). You can learn the cooking fire recipe at Level 3 and it should definitely be taken over the basic stone masoning recipe.

It’s also important to remember that food spoils pretty quickly in Conan Exiles. So don’t try to hoard more than a few days worth of food at any one time. There's a good chance some of it will spoil before you can eat it; however, some players have reported slightly longer preservation times for food stored in shrines. We recommend hunting frequently though to avoid wasted effort.

Hunt NPCs For Early Valuables

Now that you’ve built a basic camp, it’s time to start improving your arsenal. If you haven’t already, get to Level 3 and learn the sword and shield recipe. You can probably take on a few low level NPCs with your hatchet but proper weapons will make the task much easier. We’re also big fans of the bow and arrow too, available at Level 5, because it makes hunting for food much easier.

Just make sure the camps you’re raiding are really owned by NPCs until you’re comfortable with the game’s combat mechanics. It’s also good to remember that your health regenerates after you’ve been out of combat for a short period. So try to kite individual enemies away from the camp and kill them one at a time, taking a few moments to heal up in between, to minimize your risk of death while raiding.

Conan Exiles - Raiding
Conan Exiles Photo: Photo: Funcom

Learn To Build A Furnace ASAP

After a bit of raiding and mining, you’ve probably started to accumulate a variety of metals that you don’t have much use for in their raw state. If you’re struggling to gain experience and level up, start hunting the biggest animal you can consistently defeat. Most of the creatures met early in the game should be pretty easy to take down by the time you’ve started building Tier 2 armor (which begins to unlock at Level 6).

As soon as you hit Level 10, learn the Blacksmith recipe and build a furnace. Building a furnace opens up a new tier of items and starts you down the path to smelting steel, the strongest metal currently available to Conan Exiles players. The new armor and weapons you can craft will also give you a measurable advantage over those new to the game/server.

How To Smelt Steel

The process for smelting steel remains a frequent question among new players. Once you’ve built a cauldron, put some Brimstone Tar inside to get Steel Fire. Add Steel Fire to a Furnace with some Iron Bars, and wait for your steel to finish forming. You’ve officially reached the top of the food chain. All that’s left is to keep farming experience, start building your own fort (if you haven’t broken ground already) or start hunting other Conan Exiles players.

Conan Exiles - Palace
Conan Exiles Photo: Photo: Funcom

Other Tips

  • Beds are consumed during the respawn process. Don’t forget to build a replacement if/when you are revived. Unless, of course, you like being permanently separated from all the stuff you worked hard to build and collect.

  • The scroll wheel on your mouse can be used to reorient walls, doors and other items when building or decorating new structures.

  • Different tools can yield new materials from old resource nodes. For example, using the hatchet on trees yields wood and branches but switching to the pickaxe will increase your stock of tree bark. The same goes for animals that offer multiple resources.

  • Arrows have to be paired with a bow before it will fire. Once you’ve equipped a bow, drag arrows into the same slot of the toolbar and you’ll be able to draw/fire without issue.

  • Press Num Lock to auto-walk.

  • If you want to toggle the game’s UI, for screenshots or any other reason, press Alt + Z.

  • If you forgot to choose a religion during character creation, or want to change later, you can change your religious affiliation by speaking with the priests you encounter.

  • Here’s a gridded map of the wasteland. If you keep tabs on your current location, while exploring, it’ll make finding your dead carcass a bit easier if things go south.

Conan Exiles is currently available in Steam Early Access. The game will make its Xbox One Game Preview debut later this year.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes and follow Scott on Twitter for more Conan Exiles news throughout 2017 and however long Funcom supports Conan Exiles in the years ahead.

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