City of Steam: The First Alpha Weekend
By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Journalist
This past weekend saw the first major public look at indie browser based MMO City of Steam. Last week I got to have a sneak peek at the game before they opened the servers to everyone. It was such a different game with people running around and chatting with each other about the game. Admittedly I didn’t do much in the way of teaming. Partly because I became obsessed with one quest that had me running in circles for hours and partly because the quests were easy enough, and I was awesome enough not to need people. I focused a bit on the family quests, ran through a few dungeons and an outdoor instanced map.
The very first quest I took after climbing off the train was the tour around the refuge where my new home would be. Now, I could have run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off in search of these places but that would have taken forever. I also could have used the street signs to have them take me exactly where I needed to go for each part of the quest. But instead I decided to make use of the quest tracking UI. Some, not all of the quests you can click on and there will be a small arrow on the ground telling you exactly where to go. Admittedly the pathing isn’t the best but in some cases it is a matter of taking two steps forward from the point where it says to go. My husband slept in on Saturday morning and I swear that 90% of the time he was asleep was spent on one quest. Not because it was difficult. In fact I didn’t die the entire weekend. The reason I was so occupied was I needed to have them all. A morbid man whose sole purpose in life was to hide these little trophies all around the refuge told me to find them. I happened to be wandering around when I found my first one. And from that moment I was hooked. I spent hours hunting in every little corner of the map for these things. Nevermind that my house was a mess, or that there were rats in the sewers walking on two feet, I had to have those trophies. Eventually I found all but one. I ran through the whole map 20 times at least and never found that last one. That was when I decided to stop messing around and cleaned up my house. You see every race has their own house. Each house is an instanced version of the same building for everyone. Outside, same building, inside all different. Why? There are quests and little things you can do to change your house. First I cleaned up a mess in the dining room then I discovered the pantry was empty. So I went back to the main section of Refuge and looked for someone selling food. So after getting the food I went back and stocked the shelves. My home actually was looking not bad. The table was set, shelves full of food. There isn’t any bedding on my bed yet, but hey, I’m a refugee with my family. Can’t have everything.
This was about the time my husband got up. He hadn’t seen the game yet so I gave him a tour. The first thing he said was, “Wow. I didn’t know browser games could look so good.” This is something I’ve been saying since I got my hands on the game last Thursday.
All fighting happens in an instanced map. This is something I didn’t notice until someone pointed it out to me. Then I was like…huh, yeah there is no combat in the main area. This means you can run around the city without worry. The first dungeon I went in took me to a very classic MMO spot, the sewers. Down there you find the rats walking around on their hind legs and these cute giant tadpole like creatures. And this is where my love of kicking boxes came into full swing. We got a brief bit of it in the tutorial but this is where they really shine. They have money, gear, books…you name it you can find it in those things. And its not just boxes! The sewers had floating barrels and another instance had vases that may have also been spittoons. Instances also have secret doors. In what looks like just a wall of buildings with doors from time to time they actually open giving you more areas and often the best loot comes from these hidden chests. There are also dungeons within dungeons. Other floors which are much harder than the starting ones but you still have to work through the first one to get to them. I also learned that loot is basically a free for all. It drops and well if you want it before your teammates you better be on the ball. Or just ask them nicely if they pick up something you want. This doesn’t apply to everything though. There are some things that are specific for one person and they simply don’t appear for anyone else.
Overnight the world saw some additions. Signs and questboards are everywhere now. There was even a new store though when I visited it there wasn’t anything there. I did get a screenshot of it though because in this run down part of the city it looked amazing.
This last weekend was all about trying out the Humans. And for me all about trying the quests and Dungeons. Next weekend is all about the Elves. I can’t wait until next weekend my focus will be on the weapons, marketplace and various modes of transportation in City of Steam. Congratulations to the Mechanist team for having such a smooth first run.