Conan Exiles can be pretty confusing when you’re starting out, but one way the game teaches you how to play is to present you with a series of Journey Steps to be completed. A list of three Journey Steps will be displayed on the top right of your screen and as each one is ticked off it will be replaced by a new one. There are 100 steps in total divided between 10 Chapters.
The first 20 steps of Chapters I and II are pretty easy, and completing them will help you level up quickly. Below are notes on how to complete all the Journey Steps in the first two chapters, with a few extra from Chapter III thrown in for luck. The instructions are for PS4, but should be easily translatable for XBox and PC.
At the beginning of the game (after the character creation) you’ll be dumped in the Southern Desert at one of the Broken Highway locations (there are six of these, all pretty similar). Stay in this area to complete the first three steps, then head north towards the river (on the PS4 the right-hand directional button will call up the map). The river is where the fun really starts.
Journey Steps: Chapter I
Climb any surface - literally any large rock, cliff-side, ruined building or stone slab. Near your starting point on the Broken Highway you’ll see a large upright slab with writing on it. Go up to it and press ‘square’ to interact. The slab starts talking to you (which completes step 1.8). Then walk up to the slab and press ‘X’ to climb it.
There’s a waterskin lying on a boulder a few steps away from your starting point (don’t miss it, it’s useful) pick it up by pressing 'square' and it should go into your wheel-menu (or radial menu, if you want to get fancy about it). Press L1 to bring up this menu, then select the waterskin to drink. If you miss the waterskin, do this step at the river. Stand or swim in deep water and press 'square' to interact with it.
Run into any of the bushes you come across and use ‘square’ to harvest plant fibre, seeds and insects. The insects should go into your wheel-menu. Interact with the bugs to eat them.
1.4. USE A BED OR BEDROLL
Use some of the plant fibre you collected in step 1.3 to make twine, then pick up branches from the ground (walk over them and press ‘square’), and collect more fibre (if needed) to make a bedroll. These materials will end up in your Inventory. Press the central pad to access the Inventory and you'll see a list of crafting recipes to the right of the screen. The bedroll will be one of them. Once made, the bedroll should end up in your wheel-menu. Place it on any area of flat ground to complete this step. It might be best to place it somewhere safe when you get nearer the river. If you die you'll be given the choice of re-spawning at this bedroll or back at the Broken Highway.
1.5. CLOTHE YOURSELF
Use more harvested fibre to create a tunic, trousers, hand-wraps and shoes (all found in the Inventory recipe list). Once they’re made they’ll automatically appear on your body.
Gather up branches and pieces of stone (five of each) to make a hatchet, then do the same to make a pick. These are harvesting tools, but each can be used as a weapon. The easiest things to kill at this stage are baby Shalebacks (these look like beefed-up turtles the size of a dog), rabbits, and imps (squat, man-like creatures). You’ll encounter all of these by the river. A light attack is R1, a heavy attack is R2. Once you’ve killed something, keep hacking its corpse to harvest its body parts. Make sure you get some feral flesh from one of these creatures. You’ll need it later for 2.3.
1.7. CRAFT A TOOL
You did this in step 1.6.
1.8. FIND SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE
You did this in step 1.1.
Put away any weapon or tool you might be carrying and press ‘L2’. It’s that easy.
Press the ‘O’ button. Again, very easy.
And that's the end of Chapter I.
Chapter II Steps
2.3. SPEND KNOWLEDGE POINTS
Press the central pad to get to your Inventory, then use R2 to cycle to Attributes and then Feats. The game gives you recipe points each time you level up and here’s where you spend them. The Feats menu lists all the recipes you can buy. Some will be locked until you get to the right level; others will have three dots on their icon to show they’re available to buy. Essential first purchases are Primitive Cook, Warrior and Apprentice Mason.
2.2. GET A DEDICATED WEAPON
Buy the Warrior recipe (see step 2.1) and make a Stone Sword out of stones and branches.
2.3. EAT A FILLING MEAL
You can just about survive on insects and berries, but you’ll soon be starving if you don’t eat properly. Feral flesh (see step 1.6) makes a good meal, but will give you food poisoning if you don’t cook it first. To do this, buy the recipe for Primitive Cook (see step 2.1) and make a camp fire - your first crafting station. Once the fire is placed on the ground, harvest some wood (whack a tree with an hatchet or pick) then place the wood and feral flesh into the fire. Press L2 to get it going, or stop it again. Once the feral flesh has changed to ‘shredded roast’, you can press 'square' to interact with it and eat it.
2.4. FIND SHELTER
You can either run into a cave (which is likely to be full of imps) or make a shelter. Buy the recipe for Apprentice Mason (see step 2.1) and make yourself a house. The smallest house you can build has a single Sandstone Foundation, three Sandstone Walls, a Sandstone Doorframe, a Simple Wooden Door, and a Sandstone Ceiling. This step usually completes once the building is half-finished. Building a small shack like this will also complete step 2.9.
2.5. PERFORM A 'HEAVY FINISHER' WITH A WEAPON
With your Stone Sword (from step 2.2) try a combination of heavy attacks (pressing R2). The sequence of blows will end with a Heavy Finisher.
2.6. USE A TORCH
Create an Improvised Torch. Add it to your wheel-menu (if that's not already happened automatically) then select it. To add things to your wheel-menu. Go to your Inventory and highlight the object you want move, then press L2 to bring up the wheel-menu. Select the menu slot you want to use and press X to confirm. If you choose a menu slot that already has something in it, that item will transfer to the Inventory.
2.7. SCOUT AN EXILE CAMP
There are lots of camp-fires along the river with two or three NPCs gathered around them. Just get close enough to trigger this step, then run away if you don’t want to fight.
2.8. STORE GOODS
Buy the Boxmaker recipe (see step 2.1) and make a box from wood and twine. Then place the box on the ground, or in your house, and put something (anything) in it.
2.9. CREATE A HOME
You did this in step 2.4.
2.10. BLOCK AN ATTACK
This one requires a bit more effort. Buy the Defender recipe, then make a wooden shield. Find an NPC to aggro and, when they attack, press L2 to raise your shield to block them. This can take a few tries.
And that’s the first 20 Journey Steps of Chapters I and II done, most of the remaining steps require more work and the use of more crafting stations. However, the following are some Chapter III Steps you should also be able to complete early on.
Chapter III - Odds and Ends
3.3. SCOUT A DARFARI CAMP
The NPCs you’ll find near the river are not members of tribes. The tribal camps are usually much larger and more dangerous. If you explore the west of the river, you’ll soon find a location called the Shattered Bridge. Follow this to the north bank of the river and you’ll come to an area called Shaman’s Rise. Look for a small camp next to a cliff-face and you’ll find Nunu the Cannibal (who’s much nicer than he sounds). Nunu willl teach you the Yog religion (talking to him completes step 3.5). High above Nunu’s shrine is a Darfari Camp called Howling Plateau. It’s a steep climb, but you’ll make it. You only need to get close enough to complete this scouting mission, then run off if you want to.
3.4. OBTAIN AN IRON BAR
These are hard to make until you find iron ore nodes (these are further to the north), but if you attack a large NPC camp (like the one you find in step 3.3) anyone you kill is likely to drop something useful. Sometimes they drop iron bars. These Tribal camps usually have a few boxes lying around the place and these are often full of goodies too.
3.5. FIND SOMEBODY TO TALK TO
You did this in step 3.3.
3.6. SHOOT AN ENEMY
Buy the Archer recipe and make some simple Flinthead arrows. Then shoot an enemy (you can't just shoot at them though, you have to hit them).
3.8. GET A HEAD
If you're lucky, you might have already completed this one. To get a head you have to chop up an animal with a hatchet. However, only large adult animals drop heads, and many only rarely. For a guaranteed head, find a Kudu antelope on the north side of the river (these are the large male antelopes with twisted horns). The Kudu will put up a fight, but a head is virtually a certainty once you give it the chop. However, heads aren't much use to you at the moment, and they weigh a ton, so don't bother keeping it.
3.9. THROW AN ORB
These are complicated to make, but you might find one on a dead enemy or in a camp loot box (see step 3.4). If you find an orb, equip it like a weapon, then find an enemy to lob it at (press R2).
3.10. USE A PICK TO GATHER BARK FROM TREES
Easy peasy. Just hack at a tree with a pick. Bark is very useful for tanning and drying food, so don’t throw it away.
And that's it. Once you know what the easier steps are, burning through them takes no time at all, and by doing them and discovering new locations it's quite possible to reach Level 20 in as many minutes.
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