Conan Exiles – or Real Life Exiles

So I was trying out and playing the new Conan Exiles game.

As I progressed I became a tad frustrated with the lack of hand holding which, really, is not a bad thing. I prefer being frustrated with just not knowing enough to progress quick enough, vs being guided along each and every step without being allowed to “find my own way”.

Well, my frustration led me to watch a few YouTube videos about the game. Something I’m starting to regret doing in general when trying out a new game. But in any case something I did to try and pick up some tips on how to progress a little quicker.

As I was watching, the game play seemed to remain fairly repetitive, only really increasing in complexity and quality of gear, stuff you can build, and enemies you face. And then it occurred to me that this game actually seems a lot like Minecraft, only hidden within a better looking world that I could relate to more. I was never a fan of the blocky art of Minecraft, which ultimately is what put me off the game. I know that it’s purposely what they’re going for, and I guess it has a place. I just don’t like it. I am of the belief that technology should be exploited and progressed in order to make game graphics more and more beautiful and awe inspiring – not hearken back to the 8 bit days. But that’s just me.

So anyway, I like the graphic style of Conan Exiles, even if it still is just a tad on the simplistic side. I can live with it. It’s good enough to not scar my eyes. So to speak.

But the realization of it’s similarities with Minecraft was a bit surprising. I had a totally different idea about the game. It led to wonder about something else. What, really, is the end goal and purpose of this game? Does it have a main plot? A story line to follow and fulfill and reach the end of? Or is the whole purpose of the game the same as what you start off with, in essence: Survival?

So I did a quick search and came across a quote by a steam user, paraphrasing the words of the developers in essence to read thus: “What we’re looking for is to find the line between Skyrim (my favorite all time game thus far, so kudos there) and Minecraft”. Well I’ll be damned.

On paper this sounds amazing. A sprawling open world where I as a player can have a real impact on the world and feel a part of, yet have the wonders and adventures I found in Skyrim of going out and questing and discoveries stories and plots to make it a really interesting experience.

In essence, I realized that this game is basically setting out to bring into existence everything that I eventually missed in Skyrim and wished it had more of. Interaction with other players online. The feeling of having a true and real impact on the game world.

It also seemingly aims to bring about those things that I missed and wished Minecraft had more of: more beautiful graphics, a relatable world, a storyline, quests of discovery.

So, in theory and on paper, it seems like an absolutely awesome game. AND it has the option of having “realistic” nudity built in. Something I sorely miss in games today as it’s a fact that the majority of gamers today are, in fact, adults in the prime of their lives. Not pimply faced geeky teens holed up in their mom’s basements. I’m saying majority here. Of course there are exceptions across the entire demographic spectrum of people. But the nudity is an “option”. You can choose to have it, or don’t have it. They’re giving you the choice upfront instead of choosing for you. I respect that. I like that. Kudos.

There is a problem though. The main plot, the engaging story, the quests, seem to be lacking at this point. It’s fairly clear that this forms part of the games vision, and I truly hope it gets fleshed out much more as development continues. And yes, I do realize fully that the game is still in alpha. So I’m not knocking it. In fact, for an alpha game it actually looks pretty amazing as it stands right now, though it’s quite clear that the “fleshed out” parts are still lacking and in need of further development.

But I look forward to seeing how the game develops and may end up investing a good amount of time into it purely to satisfy that curiosity. If it comes in and is able to grip, this is potentially a game that gamers can sink their entire lives into. Again, kudos.

But. My reason for writing this is this. This whole little escape has opened up a more philosophical question for myself. What, truly, is the main purpose and end goal of us human beings having our own, real world lives? If so many are prepared and willing to dump their hours and energy into a game such as Conan Exiles, with the hope of finding true purpose even when there is none at this point being promised, then how does that differ in any measurable terms from real life? What do gamers hope to find in a game such as this that cannot be found out there? And why choose the virtual world instead of the real?

I’m a gamer myself, mind you. I willingly choose to do exactly this even with little to no promise of reward. But this game has revealed to me this fundamental question. Why do I do this? How is real life any different? Why choose one over the other?

I have my personal ideas, but I pose this question to you now. If you care to think on this topic, post your comments below. I would be curious to hear your thoughts and see the potential discourse that may develop.

Otherwise, try Conan Exiles. It’s cheap, easy to install and run. And fave fun!

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