City of Steam – A Browser Based steampunk MMORPG
I do love me a bit o’ Steampunk! Not sure why, it is not as though the fashion is practical, and everything seems very difficult to clean! I was gratified to discover City of Steam, a web-based MMORPG from Mechanist Games.
First things first. When they say ‘browser-based’ don’t let that put you off. City of Steam uses the Unity plugin that allows stunning 3D content to be streamed and played directly into your browser. I have some experience of this, and I have to say it is very impressive. (Check out the Unity webplayer here.) If you crank up the graphics and play in full-screen, there really is no big difference to many of the top rated MMORPGs out there.
The browser model also means that the download of the game is non-existent. Simply visit the website, register, and then hit the play button. They have obviously kept the areas relatively small (although they don’t feel that way) and the load time on my set up was akin to what I would have expected for a game installed on the hard-drive of my PC.
This is true next-gen gaming for the cloud generation. And it still looks and feels as good as the best of the rest!
The games designers themselves confess that they have deliberately designed the areas so that players are not running great distances to get to the next quest. This leads to quick-fire action, however there is less emphasis on exploration and the open world feel is almost non-existent. However, things are kept going by the story line, and it has certainly kept my interest to date.
Some MMORPGs have got this so, so wrong. Neverwinter was especially disappointing, with a myriad of way in which they were encouraging people to log in and spend their money. City of Steam has a much more balanced approach. The techniques are still there, but camouflaged beautifully by in game machines and mechanics.
I urge you to check out City of Steam. It is still in beta, so we can expect things to grow and change. I will let you know how long it grabs my attention.