I had the opportunity to go on a tour of City of Steam with Mechanist Games’ Gabriel V. Laforge this morning. Before we began, he asked me how I wanted to approach this tour. My answer was simple: Show me whatever will help me inform my readers about how City of Steam is meant to be played.
City of Steam is a browser based game that uses the Unity plugin. There is no download (other than the plugin). In fact, you just log into your account on the site, press play, and the game is streamed directly to you. I consider this CoS’ greatest strength. There isn’t anything shady about getting into the game, and their site doesn’t remind me of a typical F2P game made by a company in China — yes, there is a stigma attached, but rightfully so.
Read on for more from my tour of City of Steam.
After completing a brief and elementary tutorial, I entered the Refuge, a “suburb” in Nexus, the city of steam. This acts much like a hub for quests, shops, crafting, and the economy. I got the impression that players are meant to spend a great deal of time in this city and its many sections. I specifically asked if players spend a great deal of time in the Refuge or if they progress away and he responded that you will move out beyond this area because the “refuge is not that nice looking of a place.” I assume grander things are in-store. For progression, Gabriel explained that there are different types of quests: Orange quests are one-time and main quests, and blue quests are dailies. The process of questing appears to be very standard.
During one of the quests I did, I was given a house related to my personal story. I asked Gabriel if the house was meant to act as player housing, and he told me that a more customizable house of your very own will be given to your characters in Beta.
One feature in particular was really neat. In the city there are signs with pictures of locations. You simply click on the location and your character will automatically navigate for you. I thought this was a clever way of helping players avoid getting lost.
Next stop was a little bit of combat. We went into the sewers where I experienced some solo and/or group content. Combat is active-based, meaning I didn’t feel like there was any auto-attack or automation to the process. I needed to activate abilities, and physically click the monsters like in an action rpg or press a hotkey (Q) to swing my weapon. City of Steam also allows you to play in isometric (think Diablo) view, or go into the 3rd person traditional MMO driving camera angle. In isometric view, the game felt very similar to Neverwinter Nights. I felt like the game could be played comfortably either way.
During the tour it appeared as though content in CoS is instanced. I asked if any part of the game (outside of the cities) is open to everyone to go and hunt and run across other players, and learned that “for now” everything is private for the individual or group.
After the tour I picked Gabriel’s brain with a few questions. I asked what the end-game was going to be like, or what Mechanist Games envisioned the player doing later on after they’ve done the questing and content. He told me that right now the end-game isn’t fleshed out yet, but they plan to have high-level instances and PvP. I get the feeling that there won’t be raids. In my opinion, with a bit of educated guessing, I think CoS will be a game about small content done with a group.
When I coyly asked about the cash shop giving players who purchase something an advantage that players who abstain from the cash shop will not have, Gabriel quickly complimented me on my nice way of asking of CoS is pay-to-win and adamantly assured me that, quote, “We actually are totally against that model[Pay-to-Win]. We’ll only sell aesthetics in the store, which will be exclusive. Anything else in the store is non-exclusive, and can be found from drops in the game.” I picked an item at random from the store that had some +stats to it and asked “Can this be found”, and he said yes.
So there you have it! That’s what I learned during my tour of City of Steam’s Alpha. I would like to thank Mechanist Games for offering me the tour, and thank Gabriel for being a good sport answering my questions.
If you have any questions for me, I’m happy to try and address them.