What is best in a multiplayer survival sandbox? To crush your enemy, see him driven before you, and hear the adulation of the arena's assembled crowd because all survival sandboxes must end in a fight club eventually. That's now possible in Conan Exiles even on PvE servers, thanks to a new item added in an update yesterday. The new Battle Standards let players create duelling zones where anyone can issue PvP challenges to anyone. Build an arena, slam down the flag, and start rumbling. The update has added more, but frankly my interest is in the inevitable recreations of Kirk and Spock's duel in Star Wars Episode II: Amok Time.
"A Battle Standard will establish a zone which will make anyone who steps inside it eligible to engage in PvP combat," Funcom explain in the Update 37 patch notes. "Activating PvP is completely optional, so people can't grief you by suddenly plonking down a Battle Standard and gunning for a fight."
Players can't build within a Battle Standard's area of influence either, so it will stand as a fightzone. Make the space look good before you slap that Standard down, mind - once it's raised it'll stop even you. This post explains even more.
The update also added short swords and two-handed axes, for new forms of murder. The two-handed axes lets you spin round and round like a deadly top (a Beyblade?), which doesn't sound wholly effective in combat but surely is a crowd-pleasing move in a murderarena.
Accompanying all this, Funcom yesterday launched a new bit of paid DLC named the Blood And Sand Pack. That includes loads of building parts handy for constructing a good-looking arena, as well as new looks for old weapons. It's £9/€10/$10 on Steam or comes in the Year 2 Season Pass.
That's all only cosmetic, like other Conan Exiles DLCs, but it is a real shame those fancy basebits are restricted to this. I suppose if you stumble blindly into a murderarena out in the wastes, it'll likely have been built by a member of the digital gentry who entertains themself by watching you bleed. That sort always have the prettiest DLCs.