2022 was another exciting and challenging year for the Conan Exiles team. The game saw quite a few changes in both free playable content, content delivery, and business model. Your feedback and engagement with the game has been incredible throughout these changes. I wanted to share a recap of how 2022 shaped up and where 2023 will be taking us.
First of all, let me introduce myself. I am Rod Harper, the new Project Director for Conan Exiles. I came to the project early in 2022 to manage the production of Conan Exiles. As a long-time player, I was excited about having the opportunity to work on it. Having worked as a game developer since the early 90s, I have seen my share of games being made and worked with many different teams. Working with this particular team has been incredibly rewarding and the sheer amount of support and passion from the community has been equally satisfying.
In September, we achieved significant new milestones for the game. We introduced Sorcery as a prominent new feature, allowing the player to learn and exercise magic for the first time. The second milestone was the introduction of the Battle Pass and Black Lotus Bazaar system. The Battle Pass allowed players to progress and earn in-game items and rewards by completing challenges. At the same time, the Bazaar gave players opportunities to buy cosmetics and in-game items using the new Crom Coins store currency.
In addition to those changes, we further expanded the in-game events, now known as encounters. We improved the building system to make it more streamlined and accessible for all platforms and controllers. The building system has seen some fantastic improvements that have made building structures more enjoyable. Overall, the community has given very positive feedback on these quality-of-life changes.
The new Sorcery feature, as well as the expansion of new encounters, were also well received. However, the new Battle Pass and Black Lotus Bazaar received mixed results; this was primarily due to concerns with the switch from paid DLC to an in-game store model. Even though the Battle Pass allowed players to earn and unlock several free items in-game by completing challenges and earning XP - the pricing of items in the Bazaar is an on-going concern among players. With that in mind, we are evaluating our pricing strategies compared to other games. One much-needed addition that will be forthcoming with the Age of Sorcery — Chapter 3 update, will be regional pricing on Steam. This will allow players to use their local currency to purchase Crom coins, making the currency exchange rates more convenient to our players worldwide.
With the accomplishments mentioned above also came some challenges. One challenge we continue to have is with system performance across the board on all platforms, especially consoles. In 2023 we are focusing more on optimization and bug fixing to improve the player experience. Our development team has already been working on performance optimizations on the consoles, and we recently released an interim performance update on the Public Beta client, which will go live before the release of Age of Sorcery — Chapter 3 that will address several issues on all platforms.
We have also started devoting more attention to the modding community with recent updates. With the release of Age of Sorcery, several last-minute fixes and changes delayed the release of the ModDevKit to modders. This was not ideal and we would have preferred more lead time for the modders to evaluate the changes. Our development team did work with several modders to help them get their mods working with the new release. However, we heard the feedback and in future releases, we will be communicating more about changes affecting mods with better advanced notice, along with releasing updated documentation.
As a community, we saw continued growth with more dedicated streamers on Twitch and YouTube and our dedicated community of content creators. We were also happy to provide some Twitch Drops with Festive Crested Lapdog, a Festive Hunt Trophy and a Snowflake Wall Paint. These were earned by viewing any Exiles streamer that had Twitch Drops enabled on their streams. So, what can you expect in 2023?
We have so far released the first and second chapters of the Age of Sorcery in 2022 which will wrap up with the release of Age of Sorcery — Chapter 3. Following that release, we will move into the next Age with a new set of game features, a new story, and new Battle Pass and Bazaar items, in the same chapter-based release cadence, and these will continue to be free updates to the game.
2023 will be an exciting year with new challenges for the Conan Exiles team, but one we are eager to tackle. The Conan Exiles team is dedicated to this game and providing you, our community, with a fun player experience. Your feedback is always welcome and encouraged. The team looks forward to seeing what new and amazing things you do in Conan Exiles in 2023 and the years to come. Rodney W. Harper Project Director – Conan Exiles