Full Steam Ahead
It’s been three months since anyone outside Mechanist Studios got to have a peek at City of Steam. And though Closed Beta may not start for another week, today I got to be one of the first to see all the huge changes that have been made in those three months.
I hadn’t even started making a character when I came across the first new addition. An introduction to the history and world that is City of Steam. The narrated video explains the world and the different regions that make it up before focusing on Nexus, the City of Steam. The music is by the amazingly talented Daniel Sadowski. I won’t give away too much of the details on this though, you’ll have to see for yourself on Friday.
After watching the video I made my way to character creation where I found some amazing changes which make character creation easier while adding a few things that weren’t there before. First and most obviously there were Dwarves. They won’t be available to play the first couple of closed beta weekends but it is hoped they’ll be ready later on. The first thing I noticed about them was that there weren’t any females. And why would there be? Female Dwarves? Pah! No such thing. But the Dwarves in City of Steam aren’t male either. In City of Steam Dwarves are genderless, but of course they are just so manly that they all look male, as proper Dwarves should. I also got a sneak peek at the racial clothes which even my tour guide Andrew was surprised to see. The pipes, hats and goggles which players have earned early access to with the Steam-o-meter we’re easily my favorite part to play with. Giving even more customization to your character. But the biggest new part of character creation is the Perks button. Perks are bonuses that players can unlock and apply to new characters. You can get these perks from a variety of ways, everything from getting certain classes to certain levels to inviting a certain number of friends. Now, that does mean that you won’t have perks for your first character, but it is certainly a good way to encourage people to have multiple characters. As if the huge variety of choices isn’t encouragement enough.
Once I finished rolling up my female Hobbe I entered the tutorial. During Alpha this is where you would have found yourself on board a train getting attacked. Well not anymore! After having listened to the community and alpha testers Mechanist decided to make a tutorial which better represents the game. Have no fear though, if you enjoyed the train it isn’t completely gone. And if you’re comfortable with the game, or rolling up a second or third character you can even skip the tutorial. Though that was where I discovered the next batch of changes.
The ability tree has undergone some big changes. When you select a new ability you can also add oil to it to make it better. The effects can range from doing more damage to having a new nice looking effect. Oil can be bought in the store, collected from drops or even in the Transmuter. Something new I’ll explain a little bit further on. For higher level characters looking for even more customization there is the Prestige tab of the ability tree. There you will be able to pick abilities from one of two options. Racial abilities have also been added which again gives more customization.
So that brings me to the Transmuter. The first Transmuter you come across is where the storage tank used to be in the Refuge. The storage was taken out because low level characters couldn’t use it anyway. So, what is the Transmuter? Well, think of it like a slot machine. You take a Challenge Orb (chorb) which you get from doing challenge dungeons (I’ll explain those next) click on the center of the the Transmuter screen and wait to see what you get! You have a chance to win anything from Electrum, the in game store currency, to clothes, pets, and even the steambike if you’re really lucky!
But to use the Transmuter you need chorbs. How do you get them? Completing challenge dungeons. These aren’t regular dungeons. They’re timed instances in which you have to complete tasks like smashing boxes or opening chests. Successful completion earns you chorbs which you can then use in the Transmuter for sweet loot. I only ran one during my tour but I could tell right away that I would be addicted to them.
Have I mentioned I got to ride a steambike? No? Well…I got to ride a steambike. Never in my life have I felt like more of a badass than when my lady Hobbe posed on her bike. The bike is upgradeable to do things like make it faster. Oh and you don’t have to worry about finding wide spots in the road to turn around. These babies turn better than they would if you got off and picked it up yourself. Look at me, I’m on a bike.
With only a week left until the first Closed Beta weekend the excitement is really starting to kick up. If you want to take part in Closed Beta the only way to absolutely guarantee a place is to buy a collaborator pack. Otherwise you can subscribe to the newsletter which gives biweekly updates on the status of the game. A huge thank you to Andrew for taking the time to give me a special tour after working a 16 hour day.