Characters had been wiped, which was a tad surprising. I think the highest level I've yet achieved is around 9th and that was probably right back in the pre-Alpha last March. Consequently I have now played through the various revisions of the Tutorial perhaps a dozen times, done the whole of the introductory quest line four or five times, seen a great deal of the level 1 to 5 dungeons and not much else.
|Wait for meeeeee!|
The biggest and most obvious development is the appearance of Dwarves as a playable race. That was one of the "Stretch goals" on the Steam-o-Meter, all of which have already been met. There are more, as yet unannounced, to come in Open Beta, whenever that is. Since my goblin had been forcibly retired, I decided to go Dwarf for Summercrest (Which is the name of this beta weekend. Yes, the beta weekends have names. Let's get on, shall we?).
Dwarves in City of Steam are somewhat atypical. They are grey-skinned and appear to be cyborgs. I'd love to tell you more about them but they don't seem to have their own section on the wonderful Races page of the CoS website yet. Up until now, in game, Dwarves have come across as a rather disturbed, almost incoherent "race". I wasn't even sure they were organic at all - I thought perhaps they were Clockworks of some advanced design.
All that delicious uncertainty is only compounded in the excellent introductory sequence in Denton and Nexus. Whoever writes the interstitial text for CoS is doing a bang-up job. Almost every line is laden with subtext. I frequently need to re-read and that's a good thing.
|Cue Benny Hill theme|
Story is apparently going to be a big deal in CoS. There's been some controversy about it on the forums but since Mechanist Games have repositioned the whole thing as "an online RPG with MMO characteristics" it's pretty well bound to have a story, isn't it? I swing both ways on story in MMOs (or MMO-likes). I don't need one but if there is one and it's good enough (/wave TSW) I'm more than happy to go along with it. I'll certainly go along with this one.
City of Steam continues to impress mightily. Each iteration builds on and improves the one before. It's remarkably ambitious. The one thing I really want, though, is a character that hangs around.