Friday, April 26, 2013

Full Steam Ahead: City of Steam

No doubt everyone already picked up on this from Massively but I thought I'd mention it here anyway. I was hoping the City of Steam Open Beta would kick off before I go on holiday in June. Well, it's going to. Kinda.

If that sounds vague it's because Mechanist Games never like to do anything the easy way. All their betas so far have been complicated affairs and this is no exception. The full details are on the website but here's the gist.

On the the tenth of May something called a "prelude" to Open Beta begins.On the face of it, this would seem to be another round of Closed Beta since a key is required but on reading into it further it doesn't seem to be closed all that firmly, if at all.

Anyone who has subbed to the Newsletter or who does so between now and (presumably) May 10th, who bought a Collaborator Pack or who had a key for any previous stage, be that Beta, Alpha or Sneak Peak, will automatically get an Early Access invite. The phrasing is slightly ambiguous but I take that to mean May 10th.

The beta runs 24/7 from the start and they don't plan on wiping any characters if they can possibly avoid it. The "Prelude" should morph seamlessly into official Open Beta which (also presumably) will eventually slip seamlessly into Live.

That's close enough to a soft launch for me. I'll be starting what I consider to be my first permanent character on May 10th, assuming I've read the Mechanist runes aright. I'll take my chances on a wipe.

Even so I still won't really be able to get stuck in to what will most likely become my focus character until some time after that because they are staggering the introduction of both classes and races. The first tranche is all Human races but I want to play a Goblin. Or a Hobbe. Or an Orc. Oh alright, any greenskin.

City of Steam has probably the best set of races I've seen in an MMO for years, though. I'm more than happy to play one, if not all of the Human variants, something I certainly wouldn't be able to say in most games. I'd even play, almost certainly will play, both races of elves and that's positively unheard of.

Classes I'm not so bothered about. I have yet to develop a preference. I just want to get in, get a character made that will stick around and get on with it, and in three weeks' time that's just what I plan on doing. Let's get this train rolling!


  1. I abhor even a slight possibility of my characters being wiped out. Too much emotional connection. Call me wierd. I think I'll pass on this beta.

    I'm actually surprised you liked the races, quite frankly. They don't feel...Different enough for me. I'm sure as I dig into the lore a bit more, they'll differentiate themselves, but just based on physical appearance, it gets a mmeh out of me.

    TESO can't come soon enough, but I suppose this is worth checking out as GW2 winds down. I shall be eagerly waiting your thoughts on your experiences.


    1. I ought to qualify my comment on the CoS races. I don't think they have the best races per se of any recent MMO I've played. Charr and Asura are both better by a margin, or more appealing to me at least and I'm sure there are plenty more examples (although none come immediately to mind).

      What CoS does have that few if any recent MMOs have offered is a) a lot of choice in what race you can be and b) an original take on most of the standard choices. All four Human races have more detailed and better developed and differentiated cultures than I remember seeing for Humans since Vanguard. The elves are about as un-elflike as I've ever seen, coming across more like Steampunk fin-de-siecle aesthetes and/or vampires than elves. The Goblins are witty, amusing, debonair, intelligent and heavily family-oriented . Although elements of that have appeared elsewhere attached to the name "Goblin" I can't recal seeign this particular combination, which works very well. The other two Greenskins I haven't paid so much attention to but they didn't seem cliched, at least. And then there are the Steam Dwarves who I can't yet figure out.

      I don't want to oversell City of Steam. In one light it's a hub-based, instanced action rpg that runs in a browser, good for a short session when you're in the mood and maybe not much more. From another angle, though, it's a very well done, detailed, intriguing virtual world that might just turn out to be somewhere worth spending a good deal of time.

      I don't think we'll find out which way it will fall until it's been out for a while. There's no doubt in my mind that it's worth giving it a fair go, though.


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