Conan Exiles Building Guide

Latest posts by Emily Parker (see all)

There are two types of gamers in the world. Some players will play Conan Exiles and eventually be let down by the relatively small amount of end-game content, essentially non-existent story, and mediocre combat mechanics. The other type of gamer rejoices in the sandbox. They enjoy the challenges of the world around them, but at the end of the day, they’re in it to create something through adversity. They still cannot decide which flowers they want in their planters in the guest suite foyer.

These players will find a lot of value in the builder. Conan Exiles has a complex building system with incredibly detailed and functional items. You can create nearly any structure you want and build it in a way that makes it work as a defensible base. This combination of function and the ability to customize is what makes the whole game so addictive. Sure, there are better builders out there, and of course, there are better multiplayer PvP games, but this game has a unique combination of form and function that scratches the itch for many people. It feels really satisfying to spend hundreds of hours building a beautiful base to log in the next day and discover it has defended itself against a raid.

TL;DR: Conan the Builder

Building a base in Conan Exiles is kind of the whole point. Bases can be built nearly everywhere on the map and are only limited by a few game-breaker rules and your imagination. Build one on the edge of a cliff, on the side of a lake, or tucked into a crevice in the desert. Bases are meant to keep enemies out, both of the NPC (the purge) and real player variety, and to shield you from environmental elements like sandstorms and extreme temperatures.

The list of Conan Exiles building materials is long, especially if you own any of the DLC, but the critical thing to note is that buildings come in three tiers. The tiers are set apart by their base health per structure and what destructive powers they are immune to. Tier one is the only tier that can be destroyed by weapons, though they must be quality. Tiers two and three require explosives and have much higher base health. Tier three has such high health that players will likely not attempt to break in without siege equipment or a God on their side.

The purge (hostile NPC attacking party) spawns according to where your base is built, so it’s best not to skip around on the map until you’re sure you’ve got a strong enough tier to withstand that biomes purge. When it comes to defending against other players, drawbridges and elevators can help you build bases in hard-to-reach areas, and special building techniques like honeycombing and sandwiching can make your walls the toughest in the land.

My Experience With Building in Conan Exiles

I have joined and played many new servers in Conan Exiles, which means I have built all manner of structures. I usually go through all the tiers unless I’m starting on a brand new server, and time is imperative. I love building on or very near the water, and my favorite zone to build in is the Highlands. My favorite base includes my clan, and it’s fun to know how many will be playing so you can plan out rooms ahead of time.

I am a big fan of traps, and many of the outer sections of my base include mazes, pitfalls, explosive panels, and other dangerous elements. Even a tiny base can have a honeypot chest. I will blow my entire base to oblivion for just the chance of killing one person. A game with significant consequences and an elaborate building system is perfect for me. Everyone pours their heart into their base build, and that’s great for thieving from others, causing mischief, and blowing things up.

Conan Exiles Building Basics

New recipes in Conan Exiles are learned via feats, and building items are no different. You’ll find your first building recipes under the apprentice mason feat, which can be learned almost immediately at level 3. Building a sandstone structure isn’t required, but it is fun to have a place to store your treasures, even at the beginning of the game.

Craft the building pieces in your inventory crafting menu, and then add them to your action wheel to place them. In order to build a structure, you must lay the foundation. Walls snap into foundations, and they give you a level area to begin. You can level out pretty severe grades with foundations in Conan Exiles, which opens up most of the map to build on. If the ghost of the item is red while selected from your action wheel, it cannot be placed in that spot; if it’s green, you’re ready to go. You can always try rotating the item if you’re having trouble or if you’re just going for a different look.

Sandstone Structure

Once you’ve placed some foundations and walls, you may then add either floor panels (for a two-story structure) or a roof to the top of your walls. As long as you remember to leave a wall panel out for a door frame panel, you will now have a usable structure that can be used to shelter from sandstorms and the purge, get dry from the rain and run from NPCs and low-level players. If it is made from sandstone, high-level players will have no issue knocking out one of your walls, but they may not bother.

Player-built structures inhibit resource and enemy spawning in their general vicinity, so you won’t have to worry about plants growing through your house or enemies spawning inside (unless certain conditions are met for the purge, but we’ll talk about that later). You can only build so far out over rivers and lakes, and you cannot build near enough to thrall spawns that you de-activate them. Almost anywhere you build will attract a purge spawn except for some areas along the southern river (for beginners) and some glitched-out areas in the north of the map.

Keep in mind that an open window is still easy to loot through. Funcom places the responsibility squarely on the player when it comes to creating a secure base. When it’s time to upgrade your base, you must tear down the entire structure and start a new one. You are able to place crafting stations directly on the ground, so you may consider combining fences and structures to keep your items safe.

Material Quality

Building materials are separated into different quality tiers. This determines how much health each structure panel has and what weapons they are immune to. There are three building tiers or T1-T3.

Tier One can only be sandstone in the base game. Sandstone can be learned through your feats menu. Tier one buildings are immune to weapons until you reach steel or higher. They will be easily flattened by explosives. It’s nice to use tier one buildings to keep out other low-level players, but keep your entry points in mind. Doors and gates may not be as durable as the walls they are set in.

Stonebrick Material Quality

Tier two buildings include stonebrick and insulated wood. Stonebrick and insulated wood can be learned through your feats menu. Stonebrick buildings cannot be damaged by weapons. They must be breached with explosives, though you should be wary of your entry points. Stonebrick is a great first base for keeping random passers-by from messing with your things or snatching an easy iron stack. It takes quite a few explosives to break into a tier-two base.

Tier three buildings are the best-in-game solution to base building. These include reinforced stone and black-ice reinforced wood. Both of these types of building material can be learned in your feats menu at level 30, though you likely won’t be building them until much later. This tier cannot be damaged by anything but explosives or higher. Tier three is not a huge jump from tier two, but it is an excellent way to pass the time when you’re maxed out and can easily farm the resources. Most players would not consider raiding tier three without siege equipment.

Conan Exiles has quite a few DLC packs, and they include other base types to build. All but one of these other bases are tier three. Flotsam is an additional tier-one base option.

The World is Out to Hurt You

What if you’re playing a single-player game? Are there any other reasons to build a base besides other players? Funcom has a solid list of reasons to build yourself a home that has nothing to do with your neighbors. This is a survival game, after all.

The Sandstorm

The sandstorm will be the first environmental hazard you will encounter on your adventure. You’ll know it’s coming by a dimming sky and some flying debris (shadows). If you start to hear the storm, then you’ll only have moments until it arrives. The sandstorm will kill you, and rather quickly, especially if you haven’t built up your armor and health.

Sandstorm Conan Exiles

The best way to get out of a sandstorm is to find shelter. The best way to find shelter is to build yourself one. Once the roof is placed on your first structure, you’ll notice your shelter bar is full, and you’ll no longer have to worry about sandstorms, as long as you are in range. I highly suggest checking out how far under cliffs and tents you need to be to fill your shelter meter for when you are not.

Temperature – Insulation Properties

As you progress into the Exiled Lands, you’ll start noticing that temperature is nothing to be neglected. While hunger and thirst won’t be much of an issue after your first couple of hours of gameplay, the temperature will be a concern that remains. While there are many ways to combat the temperature while you are logged in, there is only one reliable way to handle it while you’re logged out, and that is to build a base that insulates against it.

Your tier one base, sandstone, is meant to insulate against the heat. As this is the temperature you will fight most in the early game, it will serve you well as you focus on leveling and conquering the desert.

Your tier two base options are stonebrick, which insulates against heat, and insulated wood, which insulates against the cold. The cold will begin to be an issue as you explore northwards, and if you choose to build a base in this location, you may consider constructing it out of insulated wood. This will keep you comfortable inside the structure, even after you’ve logged off.

Tier three base options: reinforced stone and black-ice reinforced wood, are split similarly. Reinforced stone will work best in hot climates, and black-ice reinforced wood is great for the Frozen North. Don’t make the mistake of building one of these expensive bases without considering their insulation properties.

The Purge

The purge is one of my favorite elements of Conan Exiles. As if other players were not enough trouble, every player with a structure on the map enters a rotation for the purge. You’ll notice a purge meter on your UI that fills slowly as you progress in the world. Once you reach 75%, it is only a matter of time until the purge spawns. Any structure you create can attract a purge, so check your map to see if they’re heading towards your main base or if they are distracted by an outbuilding.

Conan Exiles The Purge 

Purge difficulty is determined by where your base is located. The southern portion of the map will spawn purges that can be held off by T1 buildings, the middle of the map will spawn purges that need T2 buildings to hold them off, and if you build a base in the northern section of the map, you should be building with T3 structures. Some areas of the map don’t spawn purges at all, whether it’s because they are in the very beginner area or because of a glitch.

It’s best not to try and outsmart or cheese the purge. If you build your base in a location where the computer determines that there is no way to reach it, the purge will spawn inside your base. This means they will bypass most, if not all, of your defenses and proceed straight to wrecking your valuables. The purge can be made up of all kinds of creatures and NPCs, and thralls taken from the purge are more powerful than those found in the world. Consider that you may try to knock some of them out when building your base’s defense system.

Resource Considerations

Where you build your base depends on two priorities, outside of just looking super cool. The first is whether it is a viable location to defend itself from the purge and other players, and the second is how convenient it is for resources. Many players choose to focus on the first over the second, but I am convinced that a base convenient to resources is the winner overall.

Different stages of the game require different kinds of bases. It would take an experienced player to skip into the most dangerous parts of the map and build just one base for the whole game, but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. Most players build three bases throughout the game (which coincide with the base tiers) and each will have different resource considerations.

Conan Exiles Castle In River

Your first base, or river shanty, will be in the beginner area just north of the Broken Highway. Your primary concern for this base will be proximity to water. Water will keep you alive, provide you with fish, and allow for easy escapes from local bad guys. Your second consideration should be ironstone nodes. Ironstone will allow you to progress into a much better grade of armor, tools, and weapons.

There are none in the low-level area surrounding the river, so you could either consider moving closer to the jungle in the east or finding a corridor into the desert in the north. I suggest you consider the desert as opposed to the jungle; the tigers there are more difficult to spot and much harder to take down than the hyenas will be to the north. Your path to the desert will be bottlenecked by cliffs, and each path has a different set of challenges. Before setting up a base, finding one you like is a good idea.

Your second base has a much broader selection of locations to choose from. You could basically build your T2 base in almost any biome. While water and iron should still be your priority, it’s also a good idea to consider bark and wood when picking a location. You’ll be able to start stockpiling resources in a stonebrick or insulated wood base, and you’ll also be able to transport big hauls more easily.

Advanced bases can go anywhere on the map, and resources are less of a consideration because transportation is much easier. Your proximity to resources will depend on your end-game goals!

Elevators and Drawbridges

Not only that, but you can make most trips convenient with the help of elevators. You can build elevators at level 19 by learning the elevator feat. While it might be common sense that they would go vertically, you’ll also learn how to build a horizontal elevator. Before deciding on where you’d like elevators around your base or in the world, it’s important to note that they move slowly. They are still useful to traverse difficult terrain, but there is a tipping point where it would just be quicker to climb the obstacle.

Elevators can extend up to 32 blocks. If yours is stopping short of your goal, it means there is likely some terrain in the way. Vertical elevators must be placed at the top of their intended path, which keeps players from accessing zones they haven’t “earned.” When they are placed, a ground pad will automatically be generated, which will clearly display whether you’ve installed them successfully or not. Similarly, vertical elevators will place a landing pad at their destination. Try rotating elevators to get your desired result. Elevators are easy to pick up, so don’t worry about losing the materials if your placement is off.

Conan Exiles Drawbridges

Interact with the skull to use your elevator!

It’s also important to note that anyone can use your elevator. For this reason, they’re not great solutions for base building without some modifications. It sounds odd, but the easiest way to keep your elevator from helping your enemies is to pick it up before you log off at night. If you’d like it to be a permanent part of your base, you can also build structures around its platforms. Most players won’t bother breaking into an elevator unless they are planning on raiding your base.

Drawbridges are a quick way to cross short distances in difficult terrain, but unfortunately, they are not a very convenient solution for an entryway to a hard-to-reach base. Currently, they can only be operated from one side, meaning that your gate would always remain open while out adventuring. They can be used effectively in a cheesier manner to sandwich in between walls (they have 200k health). They can also be used to set up a palisade mote for purge attacks if that’s something that sounds fun to you.

Defense Systems

The best base defense is a good line of archers and well-built walls. The internet is full of arguments over what the perfect way to build a base is, but these are the two items you will never regret. Any base can be broken into; they are only meant to buy you time and discourage poor or under-leveled players from even trying. The game would be no fun if there was an un-raidable base build, but losing all your things to a small mistake is obviously frustrating.

Building Technique

When constructing your walls, there are two items you need to be worried about: their strength and how easy they are to climb. Their strength is not as straightforward as you may think. To defend against potential raiders, you should consider employing a sandwich and honeycomb technique. This involves sandwiching foundation blocks between fence blocks to form a thick wall piece with far more health than a simple fence structure would have.

After you’ve perfected your sandwich wall, consider learning how to honeycomb. Honeycombing involves using alternating wedge foundations and multiple fence panels in an alternating pattern that requires far more explosives to break through than a standard fence/foundation sandwich. It also decreases splash damage due to the small pockets between panels. Check out this video for a straightforward explanation of how to combine sandwiching and honeycombing.

It won’t matter how strong your walls are if an experienced player can figure out a way to climb right over them. The only obvious climb-proof base is one with a roof, but this can be very costly to do well. The other method is to make it as dangerous as possible to climb your walls.

This method involves palisades, spiked walls, black ice, and traps. Be careful how you construct your anti-climb walls, you don’t want to sacrifice strength for damage, or your raider will just blow your wall up. It’s best to have tall walls with defense measures starting halfway up. This way, they cannot disable them on the ground. It will also be a far more frustrating experience for them if you make them climb for a while before they hit spikes. Any damage will cause a climber to fall, so the important thing is that your wall is completely surrounded as opposed to the quantity of damage on particular panels. You can also sandwich some components to make them more durable.

NPC Defense

An arrow from one of your defense archers will also do the trick when it comes to other players trying to climb your walls. When looking for the perfect archers, pick thralls that come off your wheel with high default agility and high agility growth percentage. Agility affects the damage your thrall will be able to do with a bow, so their base stat is important. The percentage next to the stat is how likely they will level that attribute each level.

Keep in mind that just because a thrall is labeled “archer” does not mean they will have high agility or high agility growth percentage. You may find a fighter or a named thrall that makes a better archer. Once you’ve found a nice thrall to turn into an archer, put a load of cooked fish into its inventory and take it out into the world to level it. Cooked fish has the highest chance of increasing agility at each level.

Conan Defense

When building for your archers, take time to consider blind spots and choke points. The most accessible point of entry should have the highest concentration of archers, and it’s good to give them a long run of the wall to operate from. I would discourage you from providing them a path to get down.

You can place melee thralls as base defense as well, but keep in mind that palisades and traps will also damage them. I suggest an army of animal followers to round out your server cap. While they may not be as powerful as thralls, they are ridiculously powerful for how easy they are to acquire. If you have all the resources in the world, you can skip right to leveling and equipping the most powerful thralls, but until then, a base full of panthers will keep your valuables safer than they would be without them.

Hard-to-reach and Hidden Bases

There are many players that will argue that hidden or hard-to-reach bases are far more valuable than tough, well-defended bases, and they might be right. Of course, all it would take is for someone to stumble across your things or manage to climb to your location for this plan to go sideways.

Conan Exiles players have figured out how to build on water, underground, and at the tops of the highest pillars. Conan Exiles have also figured out how to get into bases on the water, underground, and at the tops of the highest pillars. Additionally, the purge will spawn in the middle of your base if you make things too hard to reach. You can always load up a single-player admin server, build the base you’re thinking about, and launch a purge attack to see exactly how that will play out for you.

Long lists of hidden base locations already exist, but if you’re willing to look hard enough, it’s obviously best to find your own. If it was a pain for you to get to, then other players will likely not bother.

Trickery: Trappin for Life

My favorite method to employ when building my base is the most ridiculous of all: tricksy. Try false entrances, fake rooms, honeypot walls, and dangerous mazes to make your raider’s experience as terrible as possible. Commit all of your resources to being the most annoying base builder possible!

False entrances are the first addition to consider. Building an elaborate, incredibly strong set of gates that leads to absolutely nothing will have your raiders quitting before they even get started. Imagine spending the number of resources required to break down four gates and a drawbridge to find there is no base behind them. Maybe there is only an unlocked chest with a piece of paper inside that reads “Kohl’s Kash.” I don’t know; it’s up to you.

Conan Fake Rooms

Honeypot walls attached to fake rooms are a valuable second addition to your base. Whether you design the wall so that a raider thinks that it’s easy to climb or you design it so that it looks like a breeze to break down, whatever is waiting on the other side for them should be worthless or dangerous or both. If you manage to kill them in your trap, all the better. Consider vapor traps, exploding traps, and palisade pits when building your fake room. Don’t forget to decorate it or they won’t want to come inside!

The maze is a commitment, but as you are likely to kill a raider that falls for it, often worth the effort. It’s nice to implement a maze far enough inside your base that it will be difficult for them to retreat. Consider the monsters that you would like to inhabit your maze. Maybe a sandreaper queen or two will guard the corridors. Maybe spiders will spit on them from pillars. Perhaps an elephant will be your maze ball, smashing things along its path. Funcom has promised to implement thralls opening and closing gates someday, and I dream of trapping raiders in long, complicated, and dangerous mazes.

Great Locations

You can find precise lists of ideal locations to build in Conan Exiles, but knowing the trappings of a suitable base spot is going to get you further on a populated server. Unless you are starting a brand new map, many of these places will be taken.

What is essential to look for are permanent components in the game to build around. Whether it’s a crevice in a cliff face, inside some jungle ruins, or against a large section of aqueduct, the more of your base wall that is taken up by indestructible game formations, the fewer resources you’ll need to use to build a defensible structure. You can tuck your especially valuable items even further into the formation until they’re such a pain to get to that no one bothers.

Conan Great Locations

If these spots are all crowded or just not your style, you can also consider a pillar style base. These perch on top of hard-to-climb locations, whether that be a formation in the desert or an island in the jungle. Once you’re done with your build, there will ideally only be a couple of places to access your base. You’ll also have the high ground when it comes to defending and spotting enemies. The biggest downside to this build is that it is often a hike to get resources. It also may be easier to get into than you realize. It is easy to make a mistake with a pillar build.

If you can manage to be both high up and backed against something indestructible, then even better. My personal favorite base location is in the Highlands, backed against an aqueduct overlooking the meadow and lake.

Skipping Sandstone

While I wouldn’t recommend this method for beginners, there is a point in your progress as a Conan Exiles player where you may start to consider skipping T1 builds altogether. On an intense PVP server, you may not want to waste time and resources on this step.

The idea behind this playstyle is that the only thing that other players cannot take from you is your character’s progression. You’ll explore the world and level your player with just essential gear until you know where the biggest bases and enemies lie. Throwing up a furnace, tannery, blacksmith’s bench, and armory only take an hour or so, and if you hide them well, you should be able to use them to get a couple of sets of equipment made. You may even try an animal pen for a nice cargo follower.

After that, you’ll be leading a nomad lifestyle with minimal hidden chests and crafting stations. It’ll be just you and your bedroll against the world. When you’re ready to put down roots, skip straight to stonebrick or insulated wood. While a T2 base isn’t the most secure base in the game, it will keep many players out while you stockpile more resources.

Base and Trouble

Base And Trouble

The best bases are designed with attackers in mind. Whether this is the purge or other players depends on your server settings and where you’ve decided to build. Spike pits and hard-to-reach bases are an excellent combination for purge defense, but defending against other players is much trickier (though you can still employ a well-hidden spike pit). To build a viable base on a PVP server, you’ll need to learn how to sandwich and honeycomb your walls for strength and then how to trap them to make them un-climbable. Additionally, securing a great location could be the difference between success and starting over.

Aren’t you excited? Don’t let that little flame die. It’s going to hurt when your first base gets bulldozed. Some people take that personally, but in a game about barbarians, it’s just business. There are always more resources to harvest and bigger and better bases to build. Don’t get jealous of the monstrous mansions around you; they all had a base smashed at one point or another. The important thing is that they got up, probably made some allies, and started again.

FAQ – Conan Exiles Building

Question: Is there base building in Conan Exiles?

Answer: Yes, in fact, it’s kind of the whole point. The game itself doesn’t have a ton of content, but you’ll have a different experience on each new server you join. This will be due to the players you’ll “meet” and the structures they’ve created. Conan Exile’s end-game content is building elaborate bases, defending them, and raiding other people’s creations. Even players that don’t enjoy PVP can enjoy the game’s in-depth building mechanic.

Question: Where should I build my base in Conan Exiles?

Answer: You should build your base either against or inside an indestructible object in the game or pillar style in a hard-to-reach location or a combination of both. The idea is to shorten the number of walls you’ll need to build yourself and limit the number of entry points to your base. Check out inside ruins, crevices on the sides of cliffs, and aqueduct pillars for some game formations to build against. Prioritize the high ground so that you can easily see advancing enemies. Put your pillar-style base on the top of hard-to-climb islands and desert formations.

Question: What is the best building material in Conan Exiles?

Answer: The toughest material in Conan Exiles is either reinforced stone or black-ice reinforced wood. Conan Exiles’ building materials are split into tiers: T1, T2, and T3. As these are both T3, there is no difference between them as far as their hit point pool goes. Check out their mats and see which you’d rather farm in your area to determine which will be the easiest to build. If you are in a harsh environment temperature-wise, then you’ll need to consider which insulation you need. Stone is best in hot environments, and wood is best in cold environments. There are many other T3 building materials in DLC content.

Recommended Reads:

Scroll to Top