Conan Exiles isn't a survival game for the faint of heart. It's a deadly and unforgiving experience, particularly during your first few, mostly-naked hours of play. Here are some tips for the freshly exiled on how to survive your first few hours in the brutal world of Conan.
Start with a drink
The first time you spawn, take a quick look around the desert. Nearby, you'll always find a waterskin and a note sitting on a flat rock. It's not going to keep you hydrated for long (the waterskin, I mean—the note won't keep you hydrated at all) but out in the desert even a few glugs of water are welcome, especially since it's going to take you a while to make your way to a permanent water source.
Collect every branch, stone, and shrub you see
Your first instinct is going to be to sprint out of the desert along the broken road and make your way to the river, where you'll find plant and animal life, as well as fresh water. Not so fast. It won't do you any good to arrive on fertile ground empty-handed. As you make your way through the desert, collect every single branch and small stone you see: you'll need lots of both to begin crafting your first few items. You should also grab handfuls of every shrub you pass, not just for the fiber (useful for crafting) but also for the grubs and insects you can snatch, which will provide a small amount of nourishment. Yeah, you're gonna be doing some bug-eating, and it won't be the worst thing you do.
Become an Apprentice Craftsman
All the while you're collecting sticks and stones and cramming bugs into your mouth, you'll be gaining tiny amounts of XP, and by the time you reach the river you should have gained at least one level. At level 2, you can unlock the Apprentice Craftsman recipe, which will give you access to three essentials: a stone hatchet, a fiber bedroll, and twine. And, thanks to the branches, stones, and fiber you've been collecting to earn that XP, you've got enough material to begin crafting.
Of course, now that you've reached the river, there's a new problem: you're no longer alone. Say hi to the locals, who all want to kill you.
Remember: you're the only one good at swimming
What is best in life? Being the only one in Conan Exiles who can swim worth a damn. Once you've escaped the desert, you'll find the rest of the world is heavily populated with NPC tribesmen, monsters, and animals, and they pretty much all want to murder you. Luckily, you have one big advantage, at least for the moment: everybody except you completely sucks at swimming.
You can outrun most enemies, but if you get into a jam, just run into the water and swim away. At this early stage of development, pretty much none of the AI will follow you into the water, and even if a gator does, it'll prefer to keep its feet on the sand. Swimming across a body of water should discourage pursuit, though some of the more dedicated enemies will still try to find a way around. At best you'll escape, at worst it'll buy you some time.
Eat plenty of eggs
Like many Early Access survival games, Conan Exiles goes a bit too harsh on eating and drinking requirements. There are servers that tweak hunger and thirst so they don't drain that rapidly, but you're still going to need to feed yourself regularly. For a the newly exiled, that's not easy: killing creatures for meat requires weapons (tools like picks and hatchets aren't especially great for combat), and cooking the meat requires a campfire. You can craft those items, but it's going to be made much harder if you're on the brink of starvation the whole time.
A great source of nourishment is Shaleback eggs. If you spy something that looks like a giant bird's nest lying on the ground, it will usually contain a few eggs, and those eggs will respawn fairly often. The nice thing about eggs is that they provide both food and water at the same time. Collect 'em whenever you see 'em.
Build a bed, stat
If you die in Conan Exiles, you'll find yourself way back in the starting zone, all your collected items gone, and you'll have to sprint your way back to lusher pastures all over again, gathering branches and stones as you go. To avoid this, you should to focus on building a bed as soon as possible, which will act as a respawn point.
There's a fiber bedroll that can be crafted from a small handful of resources, which is a good place to start, but keep in mind it's a single-use bed—once you use it to respawn, it's gone. You'll either want to make a few of them, or better yet, craft a reusable proper bed as soon as you can.
Don't forget that once you've built and placed a bed, you need to interact with it to manually set it as a respawn point. Otherwise it won't work, and you'll wake up back out in the desert again.
Along with a bed, building a storage box is important. You can't carry a whole heck of a lot in Conan Exiles, and when you die all your stuff drops with your corpse. You'll want somewhere to stash all the extra crafting materials you find, especially the heavier items like stones, so you can begin stockpiling for future crafting.
Don't wander too far
Having spawned in the southeast portion of the map, you might find yourself amidst other (often hostile) players. Your instinct may be to put some distance between you and them by heading deeper into the map to find a more secluded spot, but don't go too far. The farther north and west you roam, the more difficult the game becomes, as tougher and deadlier creatures appear the farther you travel. As difficult as it may be to survive in a heavily populated area, you're better off than if you deeper into the world, where survival is even tougher.
You've got a bed to respawn at, a few crafted tools, a pocketful of eggs, a box to store your loot, and you alone possess the riddle of swimming. So, it's time to stop dodging the danger and start standing your ground. Combat is the best way to gain XP, and now that you've lasted a few hours and have crafted some death insurance, it's time to begin leveling in earnest.
You don't want to tackle every monster you see, and it's best to avoid human NPCs altogether for now, but Imps (seen in the image above) are a good place to start. They're not too tough to beat, even using tools instead of proper weapons, and they aggro from a great distance so they're easy to kite to a secluded combat spot. Your stamina drains quickly in a brawl, but Imps only take a few shots to defeat.
You'll want to kill as many Imps as you can until you've risen to level 10, at which point you can begin to use Conan Exiles' thrall system, which will let you recruit followers. We'll cover the Thrall system, and how it works, in a future guide.