Monday, November 3, 2014

City of Steam v2.8.1 - Walkthrough / Levelling Guide

For the most part, City of Steam (v2.8.1) is really straightforward, but there are little optimizations you can do to advance and get more "hidden" rewards.

Main Quest
Basically, follow along and do as you are told. In general, the Main Quest and Optional Quests are quite easy, and you should pursue them as far as you are allowed by your level. Once you are around late Level 30, you might encounter level requirements to advance the quest.

The Main Quest will take you to Arkadia at some point, and the automated Training there gives you 10% more XP per 30 seconds than anywhere else. If you haven't reached that point in the story and need to log off, there is a way to reach Arkadia earlier -- After Delton, you will end up in The Refuge. If you go to the north, there are houses for each of the races. Some houses can be entered. After a short fight you enter a special basement with a portal to Arkadia. Many things will still be level-locked, but you can at least park yourself there before you log out.

Enhancing Gear
You will be introduced to enhancing gear with metal quite early. Do ONLY the MINIMUM for the tutorial, and towards 100% completion for Daily Tasks to get lucky scrolls and your collectible Stamp. You will not be able to transfer the enhancement till much later, so if you go crazy now you will end up wasting metal and you will probably level so quickly that you can find better gear shortly.
Hold on to your gear for Transferring later.
Also, do not use too much Metal each day. Keep a bit in reserve to fulfill your Daily Tasks so that you do not end up buying lots of overpriced metal in the Mystery Market.

Mining and Fishing
The Main Quest will also introduce you to fishing and mining and force you to fish and mine once. Do so only ONCE, or a maximum of two times. If you level up fast enough, you can reach level 15 before server reset, whereupon two new Daily Quests will appear, requiring you to mine 3 times and fish 3 times. Save 3 attempts for those if you can reach level 15 before the day ends (i.e., before server reset at server time 0000h).

Vanquish and Heroic Challenge Quests
You will receive access to the Normal and Heroic Challenges before you actually receive the Vanquish and Heroic Challenge Quests at level 14. Do NOT do the Heroic Challenges before your receive the quest, unless you will not hit level 14 before server reset. This is because you have only 1 Heroic Attempt per day on the early Heroic Challenges. If you do it before getting the Heroic Challenge quest, you will be out of attempts and be unable to complete that quest before server reset.

The Vanquish and Heroic Challenge Quests should be done early when you receive them. Always turn in your Vanquish missions first. Typically the Vanquish quests are easy, so do them all first. Doing each Normal Challenge at least once unlocks the associated Heroic. But do not skip ahead to do all the Heroics first because you will waste Daily Rewards.

For example: If you are Level 41 and you haven't started your Level 40 Vanquish mission, you can do it in this way:

1x Level 40 Normal Challenge
1x Level 40 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest
9x Level 40 Normal Challenge + turn in quest (10 required for level 40's Vanquish missions)
1x Level 41 Normal Challenge
1x Level 41 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest
9x Level 41 Normal Challenge + turn in quest

Total Daily Rewards 22.

The above schedule gives you XP quickly without wasting any daily rewards.
If instead you focussed on the Heroics and did this:

1x Level 40 Normal Challenge
1x Level 40 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest
1x Level 41 Normal Challenge
1x Level 41 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest

You will get XP faster, but you will discover that you still need 10x Level 41 Normal Challenges to finish the L41 Vanquish mission because you didn't yet turn in the L40 Vanquish mission. Therefore, you end up with this:

1x Level 40 Normal Challenge
1x Level 40 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest
1x Level 41 Normal Challenge
1x Level 41 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest
9x Level 40 Normal Challenge + turn in quest
10x Level 41 Heroic Challenge + turn in quest

Total Daily Rewards 23 - one wasted

Normal Challenges typically don't give you a lot of XP, so I wouldn't bother doing them unless you have extra. Even then, it is probably better to spend your daily rewards on Heroic Challenges to get Orange Material Fragments.
Each day you get 33 Daily Rewards for Challenges -- 1 per hour except at 1800h server time, when you get 10 -- and you cannot bank more than 20 at a time. If your schedule is such that you can't level up quickly enough, then use up Daily Rewards such that you won't lose any from not having room to bank them.
The order in which you should use them up is:
  • Doing Vanquish Missions
  • Doing Heroic Challenge Missions
  • Doing your daily quota of Heroic Challenges
  • Vanquishing Normal Challenges
Some people say to always do your quota of Heroic Challenges first, but you shouldn't do that unless you have no more Vanquish and Heroic Challenge missions to do. Do the missions for the huge amount of XP first, or you will get stuck with your levelling.
Once you are around late Level 30's, you might still be stuck for XP to level unless you also do the Multi-Dungeons. At this time, because you will be held back by your level, you will probably have enough Daily Rewards leftover to do your daily quota of Heroic Challenges for Orange Fragments.
You might think you should do the Normal Challenges for XP, but the XP reward is so small that it is unlikely to affect your levelling. Instead, go for Orange Fragments since an orange gear of Level X is typically better than Blue gear of Level (X + 10).

Heroic Challenges, "Ask For Help", and PVP
When you start a Heroic Challenge, you can go with 0 to 2 other persons. The "Ask For Help" (used to be called "AI Sync") button allows you to bring in clones of other players. These are basically AI-controlled bots. Your available roster depends on who is near you in the PVP rankings (not the 1v1 queue, but the PVP menu where you choose who to fight and where the top three are sitting on thrones).

Therefore, unless you have friends or Company members who can help you with your Heroic Challenges, you should always try to get the best PVP rank possible every day.
Sometimes you will get lucky and a high-level player working their way up the queue will end up in your list. But if you are a new character, you will start from the bottom and will likely encounter for the first week (or more) very low level bots from new and abandoned accounts.

Your first couple of days will probably see you too weak to easily win, but once things get going you will easily squash all the abandoned accounts and steadily make your way up the rankings. Skip any high-levels on their way up if you are not sure you can defeat them. Other than that, try to rise as quickly as possible to make your Heroic Challenges convenient.

You can also ask a high-level player to help you. If their Daily Rewards are at 0, they can be Invited into your Heroic Challenge room (Add them as a Friend,  then choose them using the Invite Friend button). They won't get any rewards if they have already finished the Challenge themselves that day, or if their Daily Rewards are 0, but they can zoom straight to the boss and kill it to end the Challenge quickly, saving you a lot of time.

Multi-Dungeons and BossRaids
As early as Level 10, there is a Multi-Dungeon. Do NOT do it yet. You get only 3 Multi-Dungeon attempts each day. You can quite rapidly get to Level 20 or 30, so as you get closer to server reset, if you can't get to Level 20, then do the Level 10 Multi-Dungeon. Likewise, if you can't get to Level 30, then do the Level 20 Multi-Dungeon.

These allow you to "Ask for Help" or invite high-level players, similar to a Heroic Challenge, so see our notes about how to get good bots if you can't find someone to help you.

The BossRaids are really long and boring if you are not going with a higher-level party who will basically short-cut a lot of fights. With the Level 30 Three Wizards, level 50's will typically rush for the bosses. This means you typically have to wait for them to finish their own Bossraids before helping you, so by level 30 you will want to be in a good Company and get that help. It's possible to play through them, but they are long grinds and even at just 2 runs per day, it sucks up way too much time.

If you are stuck, as long as you haven't failed the mission, you can exit out WITHOUT losing your daily attempt.

Time Management
Have a plan for what to do while you are Vanquishing. In the early game, Vanquishing dungeons won't take long. But later it will be 5 minutes per Normal Challenge, and up to 15 minutes for some other types of Vanquishing. Your ability to enter dungeons will be pretty much zero during that time.

Some things to do are:
  • Queue in the 1v1 PvP queue. It can take a long time before you get a match.
  • Adjust your gear -- transfer enchantments, merge mods, smelting, revamping, etcetera.
  • Sort through your cosmetics and sell the duplicates.
  • Check Bounties, which refresh every 30 minutes.
  • Do Fishing, Mining, Scribe's Maze, Gold Smash
  • Don't spend your Transmuter Orbs every day. Save up maybe 200+ and 5-10 Transmuter Coolant and work on it during a long Vanquish period. Having many orbs and Coolants also helps you work toward a bigger win (more matches on the Transmuter).
  • Chat with others to arrange Multi-Dungeon and BossRaid teams.
  • Watch the Cargo Delivery screen for ships to intercept, or send your own ships.
Daily Rewards for Challenges can be lost if you abort a Vanquish, so do not Vanquish more than one at a time. This lets you switch to something else after each Vanquish, in case a team is ready for a Multi-Dungeon or BossRaid, for instance.
If you exit a Normal or Heroic Challenge (or your internet connection is lost, etcetera), you will also lose the one Daily Reward you spent entering the Challenge. This does not apply with all the other Challenges such as BossRaids and Monster Lairs.

There are two ways to go: Perfect smelts, and maximum smelts.
After 10 Stars, the slots reset to Moons, the percentage bonus increases slightly, the cost per smelt increases a lot, and the percentage chance resets to 100% for the first Moon.
So, you can either leave your failed smelts, or try to squeeze every fractional percentage by going for a perfect 10 successes on Stars before continuing on to Moons. It's up to you whether the small percentage lost is fine with you because once you are on to Moons, there's no going back to clearing up your Stars.
At the same time, the cost in Lucky Stones to ensure success is staggering compared to your ability to get Stones.

You have to Smelt twice (any two smelts on any two items, not just Weapons, unlike what the instructions say) to get 100% Daily completion and your completion Stamp collectible. If you fail, leave it instead of wiping. Get ready with enough smelting Alloys before you wipe and redo.
Remember that you get an additional bonus for smelting all your gear to 5 stars, so you may want to keep an item you do not wear to smelt once, wipe, and smelt again. This lets you do your Smelting Daily Completion for just 2 Alloys per day.

Before you settle on an Orange attribute, be sure it is one that you want. Locking in an attribute raises the cost per revamp attempt to 10. Locking in two or three raises it even more. So, for your first Orange per item, keep going until you get an Orange of the type you want. If you are not specialized in Parry, for example, an Orange Parry attribute is ultimately worthless.

Gold Smash and Scribe's Maze
The gold you get from Gold Smash, and the XP per book from Scribe's Maze, are dependent on your level, so do them when you are sure you will not level up anymore before server reset.
Having a jetpack helps a lot, especially in Scribe's Maze, but wait for the Shop ("Y" key) to be at half price before buying one. The Shop is often half price during events as a special promotional incentive, but it is also half price once a week. Click every day to check.

Copper Wastes 
Once you get to Arkadia, you can also go into the Copper Wastes. Bosses spawn periodically -- Maestro, which gives typically blue or purple gear, and the Skeleton Prince, who always gives Orange gear. Each member of a team get the gear as long as they are in the map, so try to go in teams of 3 to get the maximum drop per boss.
Skeleton Prince -- if you can beat out all other contenders and land the killing blow -- is the fastest way to get Orange gear, faster than collecting Orange Fragments from Heroic Challenges. With Heroic Challenges, however, all gear you create will be usable by your character. With the Skeleton Prince, this is not guaranteed. Therefore, an Arcanist could end up with a Warder's sword, which they cannot use.
You can try to sell your finds in the Market, however. You can list in Bound Electrum but you must buy with Electrum. This is also a way to cheaply give gear to friends and Company members: Sell it to them for the minimum price of 1 Electrum. Just make sure you are both at the Market to quickly complete the transaction before someone else grabs it.

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