City of Steam: Sneak Peak
By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Journalist
Earlier today I got the chance to get a sneak peek at the Steampunk/fantasy browser MMO City of Steam before the first Alpha weekend starts on Friday. My guide was Andrew Woodruff, Marketing Manager at Mechanist Games. This indie game has come a long way since its early days as a pen and paper book that a group of friends thought would make a great PC game.
You start out on a train which is where the character creation takes place. There are nine races to pick from. Though this weekend only the Human races will be available. Your starting stats are based on which race you pick. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. There are also four classes to pick from. Each class will also add to your stats depending on which one you pick. Arcanists are the mages of City of Steam, armed with a staff, wand or repeater as they unleash the fury of the elements on unsuspecting little clockwork bugs. Gunners are armed with pistols and muskets and can even get turrets. Warders are the knights in shining armor carrying swords, axes and even polearms. And finally there are the Channelers. They come armed with hammers, lances and scepters Customization comes in with a variety of options you can combine to get different hairstyles.
From character creation you’re sent wandering through a moving train defeating various enemies and learning about healing and accessing your inventory. While working your way through the train you come across several boxes which you can kick to get things that are inside. Movement can be done either by clicking or using WASD. After a bit of trial and error I found that using WASD was easier while I used the mouse to move the camera.
Once I left the tutorial train my guide was there waiting to show me around the first area which is called The Refuge. The first thing I noticed was a giant blue vat with all sorts of pipes coming from it. This is storage access, an incredibly ingenious way to explain how you have so many things without dragging a million bags behind you. Each storage access point is connected to the others in the zones. So if you put something in at one station and take it out in another you can imagine that item winding its way through all sorts of pipes to get to you.
Another feature in the city which really made me smile was the quest board. They’re in every section of the city and have quests for you to complete. So if you’re looking for something to do you go to your local bulletin board and find out what is going on.
Not far from every quest board there is a big white street sign. If you click on one of the symbols on the sign you will run to the destination you selected. This was put in place after people started getting lost a lot. Though I found after running around for a few minutes that the city was quite easy to get around.
When you get close to a dungeon door there will be a pop up that starts counting down giving you a chance to leave before you enter. It also gives a suggested team size and level for successful completion. If your team hasn’t followed you into the dungeon you don’t have to worry. You can invite your teammates to meet you there and they’re transported to you no matter where they are.
There are so many other features I could go on to talk about but I really don’t want to spoil it for everyone. Other features include a global auction house, book collecting, newspapers from different races which all have different things in them, crafting, modifications.
I did ask what were some things we could look forward to in the future, looking beyond the Alpha weekends, maybe even beyond beta. They really want to see mounts sometime in the nearish future. The examples of some ideas they had were a steam powered jetpack and a bicycle.
There are over 100 different mobs some of which are the most adorable things and you actually feel guilty for killing. Evil spiked dogs will whimper when defeated. Clockwork creatures break down. The music and sounds in City of Steam are fantastic and just add to the feel of the scene. Gears on doors rotate as they’re opening, and more gears are seen all over the city. The steam train which can take you from zone to zone has ticket machines. There are blimps and other flying steampunk themed machines.
As someone who doesn’t play many browser games I was completely blown away by the complexity of City of Steam. This game is well deserving of all the hype there has been. I can’t wait until this weekend when I get to play in a city full of people all around the world who just like me love steampunk, games and are exploring a new world. There really is nothing like that first glimpse into a game. Come back on Monday when I give my review of the first Alpha weekend.