Updated Fri, Dec 07, 2012 by jeffprime
Combat is quick and easy and there is some complexity to your character due to your specific abilities and talents. While there is cash shop, City of Steam doesn't squeeze you to buy healing potions like Asian grinders because your character naturally regenerates. There are locked chests in the game that offer lots of loot if you unlock them. You can buy keys from the cash shop (like in Guild Wars 2) but you can also get keys from drops and a daily supply quest. The fact that you can get a number of keys every day is a good sign and shows that Mechanist isn't trying to nickel and dime you to death.
Quests are usually finished in ten to fifteen minutes, while challenges only require two to three minutes on the average. The challenges are enjoyable mini-games that keep the dungeons from getting stale, but....
The biggest issue with challenges is that they require a certain number of people, usually two. If you're playing with friends, then it's no big deal. If not, then you have to wait for someone else to queue up for the challenge (and hope they're good) or start asking for help. I also wish you could continue playing PvP matches when you're finished as opposed to being forced out and having to re-queue.
I've already mentioned that you can't adjust the UI and there is no key binding in the game currently. I hope Mechanist will consider addressing the UI customization issues, but I can live with a fixed UI if I have to. Movement can be linear in that you have to follow paths in the game, but this is fairly standard with action-style F2P MMOs.
The sound in the game could definitely use some beefing up. Right now, most of the sounds are ambient background noise. There are some voices, such as at the train station in the first zone, but the game could use some more talking in it to really help immerse players into the fantasy steam punk atmosphere.
I'm also hoping for more character customization in the future. Since many F2P games use costumes as a source of revenue, I hope that City of Steam follows suit. I really want to deck out my character in some sweet steam punk duds to look the part. Every player wants their character to look as unique as possible, and the possibilities for fantasy mixed with steam punk are endless. My goblin gunner needs a bowler hat with goggles and an exoskeleton frame on his arm!
Certain abilities need to be more fully explained. My racial ability has no in-game explanation (it's a chain that pulls my enemies to me). In fact, the nature of your racial ability, or the fact that you have a racial ability, isn't mentioned at all during character creation.
Lastly, the game needs more quests. Playing in the first beta weekend, I had to grind out xp to gain the level needed to hit the next zone. There were a number of quests that I couldn't fulfill because they were all dungeon challenges and I usually couldn't find anyone to help me out. I got some help on a few occasions, but we were unable to fully complete the challenge most of the time. The challenges really require you to work efficiently, which is good, but trusting that requirement to the whims of random grouping is not ideal. The devs have posted that they'll be beefing up the content in future beta weekends, so I'm looking forward to that.
While there are areas that need polishing, City of Steam is an enjoyable and fun game. It's easy to get into and you can do a few dungeon runs in a short amount of time. Plus, as a steam punk junkie, I like the look and feel. I thoroughly expect to be listening to a steam punk music stream while I play the game in the future. While it won't make me cancel my subscription to my primary MMO, City of Steam provides a nice alternative when I want to do something different to do.
If you want to give the game a try, Mechanist will be doing additional beta testing this December. Grab a beta key from Ten Ton Hammer and give the game a whirl.