Conan Exiles was launched in Early Access two weeks ago, and it has already been quite a ride! Following some disappointingly ill-prepared pre-release live streams by Funcom, which only served to dampen our enthusiasm for the game, we decided to proceed with caution. We originally planned to play on the official servers, however it soon became apparent that this wasn't going to be a viable option and we quickly moved to setting up our own Conan Exiles server instead.
Despite choosing our gaming server host carefully, our server was up for less than six days before it went offline, never to return. Conan Exiles, it seems, requires far more server resources than had been anticipated, and many hosts were caught out by overselling their server capacity from day one rather than spreading the load and steadily scaling up their customer base over time. Thankfully we were able to recover our server backups and switch to a new host relatively quickly with no data loss or roll-backs. Since then, our new server has been performing very well, with no server-related lag or performance issues.
Tech Support: "Yup, here's your problem. One of the ball bearings in the fan jammed..."
Running our own gaming server presents its own set of challenges and rewards. First up, and most important, is uptime and patches. During the first two weeks Funcom have released 11 patches, each requiring a manual server restart before players will be able to find and connect to our server again. These patches are released at random times and with absolutely no prior notice, meaning that if we aren't online when one is released our server may be unavailable until we are able to update it. This is quite a stress, and has required us to set up an alert notification system so that we can respond as quickly as possible. Thankfully we haven't missed one yet, but it would help if Funcom were to release their patches at scheduled times instead!
On the flip side, running our own server will open up new possibilities in the game that would be unavailable to us on an official server, and certainly gives us closer ties to the people we play with. Most importantly, we are able to provide a much more personal and hands-on level of support to our players than can be found on any official server. We are able to tailor the game to suit our collective playstyles and hopefully improve on the quality and activity of our community. We can host server-wide special events, competitions, whatever we can think of. And by maintaining this control ourselves, we can be assured that there will be no abuse of these powers, while hopefully others can be assured by our longstanding reputation in multiplayer gaming.
Server rules: no exploits, no glitches, no spawn blocking, no bad hombres...
ABOUT THE GAME
So, how is the game itself, you impatiently ask? Well, it's... it's... I don't really know yet! Our server is a 'PvP Purist' server, which means that the configuration settings are mostly set as default. Levelling XP, gathering, crafting, etc is a huge time sink. The game is advertised as "Survive, Build, Dominate" - the "Survive" bit takes around 10 minutes to figure out, and we have been working on the "Build" part for the past two weeks! Everyone is diligently working on building their base, which is a relentless task of harvesting and crafting materials in a constant cycle until you unlock the next upgrade, at which point it all starts over again but with added bells and whistles. You will spend 50 hours gathering coal, bark, ironstone, hides, etc and then realise you have to also start grinding giant spiders and making twine. It can start to feel endless, but when you do finally make that all-important breakthrough and begin to see the upgrades on your base, there is a real satisfaction in what you've accomplished.
So what of the PvP? So far this hasn't been a focus - we've had one occasion when a group of Russians attempted to attack our base, but we quickly squashed them and haven't seen them since. Other than that, apart from sporadic 'open world' chance encounters, it has been a most civil server! I think this is for two reasons - first, everyone playing with us is invested in seeing the server become a success, and we therefore want to give new players a chance to build up and form clans. Second, the lure of that XP chase and the sheer gathering grind to optimise our bases is keeping us distracted. We know that at some point building will naturally tail off, and that is when the destruction can finally begin!
Ahh, a lovely home made for two... It looks so preedhy - who would want to tear this down?!
So far we have managed to attract a very friendly community of regular and active players. Clans are forming and everyone is welcoming and helpful. We hope that this will continue, and our server will become a successful PvP stomping ground. While the focus is certainly on building for now, at some point the tides will have to turn, and that's when things will become interesting!
At every point during our server's lifespan, we are committed to ensuring a fair and level playing field for all players. We want to ensure that new players can join and establish themselves in the future, and not be overwhelmed by higher-ranked players. We will offer double-XP events in the future, and will always try to ensure new players are welcomed and able to fit right in either to a new or existing clan.
Cyrus Gaming - always extending a helping hand! (What, no! That's not a sword, that's just a letter opener!)