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Steambirds Alliance: Beginners Guide (Tips and Tricks)

This guide covers general knowledge about the game that isn’t explained in much detail in the game itself. As in, a person who finished the tutorial parts of the game may be wondering about such things. Annex contains mostly tables.

Plenty of spoilers ahead, so if you’d rather explore the game on your own, (which could be a lot more fun than reading) the only part you should read because they aren’t explained well ingame, are the ones about commands, shop items, star rule, and about known bugs.

Game Objective

Like many mmos, the final objective is not clearly defined, but most players aim to get maxed level fully geared characters and doing the hardest content. Or just making friends and looking cool.

A good start is unlocking all the classes, or getting T7 or T8 gear and joining high level player groups at events.

Types of planes and controls

The game has two types of planes:

  • “planes” or “single stick”, which always move forward and aim forward
  • “hovercraft” or “twin sticks”, which stay still in place at the absence of inputs and have free aiming
    Controls can be customized as desired. Any combination of joystick/keyboard/mouse is valid, even simultaneously.

If playing with a joystick, there’s two steering modes

  • “relative”, which means, for example, pressing right makes your plane turn right from where it’s facing
  • “absolute”, which means, for example, pressing rights makes your plane do whatever needed to end up going to the right of the screen
  • These options can be set under “ESC > Controls > Gamepad steering mode”

Keys / Hotkeys

What key does what will depend on your mappings, but there’s keys for the following things.

  • Movement / turning
  • Super speed
  • Maneuver
  • Special ability (also called secondary)
  • Teleport to another player
  • Return to rebel base after 3s
  • Emotes, 4 slots, includes “Rally to me” which automatically calls out any bosses/events that are in your screen and have a quest marker
  • Open inventory
  • Use/equip item in slots 1-8
  • Drop item in slots 1-8
  • Drop “junk” (junk are all items in inventory that are of a lesser tier than the ones you’re using)
  • Open the friends menu
  • Open the options menu: Esc or /options

Hotkeys related to UI:

  • Scroll chat up/down
  • Cycle current mission
  • Capture GIF
  • Take screenshot (with the configured resolution settings)

Other hotkeys:

  • Send ingame bug report with logs
  • Disable all hud: Shift+F10

Star rule, Revive, Scaling

Game mechanics that aren’t explained anywhere in particular. Any plane hit by many hits in a short time will become invulnerable to further hits for a small time, and they will show up as stars coming out of the plane.

Any plane that gets healed during the death animation (by a medic, paladin, health pickup, or level up) can be brought back from death (although it seems there’s a cooldown on further saves).

Bosses have defense scaling based on number of player planes close to them, although the damage numbers display the same in all cases. It can be imagined as hp scaling, even if it technically isn’t.

Rebel City

The main player hub of the game. Contains various buildings that the player can enter for different functionality.

You can switch between Rebel City instances from the the options menu.
A list of buildings and their function can be found in the Annex

Classes and weapons they use

There’s currently 14 classes. Some are planes, some are hovercraft. The list and their unlock requirements can be found in the Annex and also ingame when creating a plane or in the skills menu.

Each class can use only some types of weapons. The game is quite bad at providing this information, so we provide a list in the Annex

Some notable information about weapon types:

Snipers: They deal more damage up close.
Shotguns: They deal more damage up close.
Wasps: They deal more damage if you can sit on the enemy to hit with all shots.
Swords: The bottom half deals more damage than the top half.

Item tiers

  • T0-T10 are your usual “linearly scaling” items, although patterns may change a bit.
  • Elemental (ELEM) weapons deal elemental damage and have unusual patterns, some are better than T10s, some are quite bad. Generally they are good in the dungeons where the enemies are weak to the element. They are drop only from elemental bosses of elemental dungeons.
  • Ultra Rare (UR) weapons are either rare drops or crafts. They are very varied in pattern and power, some are better than T10s, some are situational, others you wonder why they even exist.

The drop table for items can be found in the Annex.

Inventory, storage and death

All your planes/characters share the same inventory (called “cargo” by the game). Death will mean losing that plane with its equipment, but also all that is currently in the cargo. Items can be put in storage, where they are safe from death.

Spare items

Spare items can be put into storage for future use, traded with other players (see Trading), or as is most often the case, thrown into the ground if they aren’t valuable. They can’t be sold / scrapped / etc.
If you have an item you don’t want but is used in a crafting recipe (see Crafting), you can “deposit it” in the recipe, in case you later want to fulfill the recipe.

Structure of the Island Map

It’s a round island, divided into different areas in the form of rings or ring segments.
The center of the island is the starter area, and is a circle. The first ring is the next in difficulty area, and so on. Some of the lower level rings have various themed subareas.
The edge of the map contains the hardest enemies, and flying way past it teleports you back to rebel city.


Whenever you’re in the same map as another player, you can teleport to them after a 3 second delay. You’ll be invulnerable for 3 seconds after arriving, provided you don’t shoot, or use items/abilities before/after the teleport.

There’s various methods for teleporting:

  • Looking at a player’s green portrait and pressing the hotkey
  • Clicking on a player’s green portrait
  • Using the /tp “playername” chat command
  • Clicking on a player from the friends menu

Upgrades and upgrading your plane

Upgrades are consumable items that boost a certain stat on your plane. All upgrades applied are unique to that plane, and lost if said plane dies.

Upgrades are obtained from particular bosses and enemies, you can check at the loot table in the annex for more information.

There’s a cap to how many upgrades you can use on a given stat.

If you press “esc->stats” you can see how many permanent upgrades you have spent on that plane, and the cap.

You can consume upgrades past the limit, but it’s just a waste as it does nothing but still spends the item.

Some upgrades are more common than others. The hardest to get are “Fusion Capacitor”, “Armor Stiffener”, “Barrel Dopant” and “Self-Repair Juice”. Armor stiffeners, fusion capacitors and barrel dopants are among the most useful upgrades, and are also used as trading currency between players.

The current list of upgrade types and values can be found at the Annex.
The drop table for upgrades can be found in the Annex.


The game has en elemental damage system.

Player weapons can deal elemental damage of certain types, it’s detailed in the tooltips.
Players can gain % elemental resist, either from certain UR armors or consuming upgrades.
Some enemies are elemental, meaning they deal either none, partial or full elemental damage, and have elemental resists and weakness. Elemental enemies are resistant to their own element.

An enemy resistant to an element will only take half damage from said element (and in rare cases, resist all damage), while an enemy that is weak to an element will take double damage from that element.

Elements and properties:

  • Fire : Weak to water
  • Water : Weak to shock
  • Shock : Weak to ice
  • Ice : Weak to poison
  • Poison : Weak to fire


Mostly explained after the tutorial.

Some missions (starting as early as level 7) also give scrap, which is a game earnable currency, and copper, which can be crafted into T8 items.

Daily bounties and daily login rewards are also missions that need to be acquired at the Pilot’s Pub.

Missions can be automatically obtained while at the island, but the details of how this works are unclear. It seems being close to the mission target or next to a player with the mission are relevant factors.

For missions that require you to kill certain enemies, the trigger is proximity based, so don’t wander too far when the enemy is about to die or it won’t count, even if you still get loot.
While the ingame store sells “special mission plans”, those aren’t actually missions, but consumable items that spawn a dungeon entrance.


At the rightmost building of Rebel City you can craft. The system is such that you accept a crafting recipe, you then can deposit items in the recipe. You don’t need to have them all at once to craft.

Recipes can’t be cancelled, there’s no downside to accepting extra recipes, but expect some visual clutter if you do so.

Note that if you have an item that can be used in a crafting recipe, the crafting recipe will turn yellow and move to the top of the menu. Items currently used for crafting are copper, colored steels, and UR/ELEM guns.

Treasure chests

Treasure chests spawn in various places in the game, and can drop some decent loot depending on which chest is it. Chests are on a timer, so after anyone hits it, the chest will open after a few seconds. It’s common courtesy to try to call other interested players to chests before you start hitting them, although some high level players only care about certain particular chests these days.

Bosses and setpieces

When an island is spawned, it has a considerable amount of setpiece bosses in it, each in a corresponding setpiece (a fixed shape part of the map, shows as a red square in the minimap).

If all of the high level ones are killed, everyone who was in the island gets sent to the final boss, who is as deadly as rewarding.

Bosses weaker than Doctor Octo are not needed to close the realm, and will actually respawn if nobody is around the setpiece area for 10 minutes or so.

Also killing any setpiece boss has a chance to spawn a random event boss.

Also there’s some chance that an island will spawn with an unmarked treasure setpiece. This setpiece is not part of any quest markers, and contains a treasure chest in the center, which becomes vulnerable after completing a small mission that you obtain when you hang around it. The reward of the chest is deposited directly into your inventory if you fulfill the mission, a random T9 item.

The current list of setpiece bosses can be found at the Annex.
The current list of event bosses can be found at the Annex.


Dungeon entrances drop from certain enemies randomly, but can also be bought from the shop using gold. Their name in the shop is “Special Mission Plans”

The dungeon entrance looks like a dropship and the number displayed in the front/deck of it is the tier of the dungeon. The number displayed at the top is the timer until it disappears.

The current list of dungeons can be found at the Annex.
The drop table for dungeons can be found in the Annex.


Anyone who is near a mob as it dies is given exp, even if . Everyone gets the same exp, nothing is divided.

A plane may never get more than half the exp it needs to get to the next level. So for example, if you’d level up with 3000 exp, a single mob will only give you 1500. This number can be checked at the stats screen.

At level 20 however, the constraint is lifted, and you can obtain any amount of exp from a single enemy.

The amount of exp each enemy gives can be found in the Annex.


To qualify for loot on an enemy you need to deal an small amount of damage on it, somewhere around 1 to 3%.

All loot dropped by enemies can only be seen and picked up by you. You can tell because the loot seems to be drifting away.

All loot dropped by players can be seen and picked up by anyone. You can tell because the loot stays in place.

Items that have a description of “soulbound” can only be seen and picked by the player that has them, even if dropped. You can tell because the loot seems to be drifting away. They can still be exchanged between players using the trading feature.

Player commands

/help – Shows all the available commands
/tp “playername” – Teleports to the player, if they are on the same map. Put the name between quotes if it has an space. An alternative to the other three teleport methods..
/die – Suicides your character.
/tutorial – Redo the tutorial, may be useful if stuck.
/newportrait – Used to give you a new portrait. Now said functionality can be accessed by the interface submenu in the options
/options – Bring up the options menu, useful if for some reason you accidentally lost the keybind
/friend “playername” – Add player to your friend list. They don’t need to accept the request.
/trade “playername” – Makes a trade offer to the player
/resetbindings – Resets the keybinds in case you have lost a way to access the options menu
/block “playername” – Similar to ignore in most mmos, you won’t receive messages from the blocked player. They need to be online for this to work.
/blocklist – Shows the list of blocked players.

Pilot skills/levels

Your plane’s lifetime exp gets transformed into “training points” when you die. Said lifetime exp is displayed at the exp bar after a plane reaches lvl 20.

With enough training points you’ll gain a pilot level. Certain levels will unlock certain pilot skills. At the pilot school in Rebel City you can assign skill points to skills.

Respecs are free.

You can buy more “skill loadouts” if you want to quickly switch between skillsets.Players have created a pilot exp calculator and a skill simulator, they can be found in Annex


Bounties are special daily missions that appear on set days and give colored steels as rewards. They can be anticipated in the “upcoming events” menu which is show on login and can be accessed from the options menu.

Colored steels are used to craft/upgrade elemental and UR items.

Bounties can be picked up from the Pilots Pub every day. They refresh at 5pm pst.
The current bounties and their rewards can be consulted in the Annex.

Where to powerlevel?

High level dungeons, if you can find a group that clears them instead of rushing them.
The Dig can’t be rushed, so it’s a nice place if you can survive.

It’s recommended that you wear at least a T8 armor and have some decent understanding of enemy patterns if you’re attempting powerleveling.


Trading is done using the command /trade, or clicking on a player on the friend list. The player initiating the trade will show a circular pulsating effect on the screen of the player receiving the trade. Said player can then move into the circle (or also try to start a trade) to commence the trade.

Certain items have a trading fee associated, which is “spent” in the trade. It can be paid either in gold or scrap, and either have one player pay all of it or pay half and half.
You can also trade gold.


Gold: Purchased with real $
Scrap: Obtained ingame for doing certain missions, killing meowza, and at plane death based on your total exp

Shop items

Some of the things for sale in the shop get automatically applied, others are given as an item and put in the player inventory, then the player needs to consume them to use them (or can trade them with other players or whatever else you can do with a normal item)

Be careful of not dying while carrying shop items, they will be lost!
Special mission plans (dungeon keys) are tradeable one use items

Skins (plane variants) are tradeable one use items. After using one you permanently gain the ability to choose the skin on plane creation. Also the “epic” versions of skins (15k gold cost) currently also come with special fx for the plane abilities. For a preview check the Annex

Trails are tradeable and come with unlimited uses. It used to be that if you used them once you couldn’t trade them anymore, but apparently that restriction has been lifted.
Paints are tradeable and come with 5 uses, however, using them once makes them untradeable.

Storage/Hangar space/Emotes gets automatically used.

Why do I see people spamming “Rally to me!” in dungeons?

The rally system doesn’t call to anything that isn’t your quest objective or a setpiece. This means in a dungeon it can’t differentiate between treasure chests/mid boss/boss. So some players use the amount of rallies to signify the type of thing they are calling.

Terminology / Acronyms / Slang

A lot of lingo comes from RotMG, and some acronyms have developed, here’s a few.

  • Rebel City = RC = Nexus
  • Island = Realm
  • Stiffy = “Armor Stiffener” upgrade (+1 max armor)
  • Dope = Dopant = “Barrel Dopant” upgrade (+1 damage)
  • Juice = “Self-repair Juice” upgrade (+1 armor regen)
  • Cap = Fuse = “Fusion Capacitor” upgrade (+1 max steam)
  • Rare upgrade = A stiffy, dope, cap, rarely also a juice
  • Special mission = Dungeon
  • UR = Ultra Rare = Untiered = UT = Refers to ultra rare equipments (not to be confused with upgrades which the game also marks as URs)
  • Fire/Water/Elec/Poison/Ice <weapon> = The purely elemental variant of a weapon, for example, “fire wasp”
  • x/y = Used after a boss to say what loot you got, for example, “2/0” would mean you got the guaranteed two upgrades and nothing else.

Important known bugs / issues / interactions

  • When the game first starts up, keys are captured, so switching to a different window before it finishes loading may result in you doing unexpected things in the game (as terrible as accidentally buying hangar space)
  • Shop oddity: Buying the starter pack cancels the “first hangar/storage slot purchase” discount of a new account.
  • Can’t enter a dungeon: Sometimes the dungeon server breaks and the dungeon entrances fail to activate. If the broken dungeon came from a key, you’ll get it back automatically. Supposedly.
  • White spider minions divide after any damage is done to them, but won’t divide if one shot. It’s a good idea to let the people who can one shot the minions do so during phase 2, if you’re unable to do so. This also sort of applies to the enemy “pleasure drone”, although someone may be intentionally trying to spawn a lot of them for exp or to fulfill a mission.
  • You can shoot and damage enemies that end up “elevated” on walls, but loot may drift away if you do, so it’s not advised to do so at some dungeon outer walls.
  • The first time you enter the hangar, the game crashes.

Annex: Rebel City Buildings

  • Hangar : Change planes/characters
  • Storage : Store items safely. It’s also present at the entrance of most dungeons.
  • Store : Buy things with currency
  • Pilot’s Pub : Get / turn in missions
  • Pilot School : Assign skills
  • The workshop : Craft
  • Entrance to the island(s) : Enter the world

Annex: Setpiece boss list

Vaguely ordered by difficulty. The events needed to trigger meowza are T7 and up.

  • Big Dog
  • Fisher Crab
  • Time Ghost
  • Temple of Ra
  • Berserker
  • Pharaoh (T5)
  • Gargantua (T5)
  • Doctor Octo(T7)
  • Jester (T8)
  • Lobbyist (T10)
  • Noble Politician (T10)
  • Ra Generator (T10)
  • Ambassador (T10)
  • Dr Notra (T10)

Annex: Event boss list

  • Mysterious Black Box (harmless enemy, spawns a dungeon 100% of the time, T10)
  • Judge Chariot (T7)
  • Great Trawler -> Kraken (Water, T10)
  • Jinn (Fire, T10)
  • Kai (Water, T10)
  • Rei (Lightning, T10)
  • White Spider (Poison, T10)

Annex: Dungeon list

Current list of dungeons (and their main element):

  • Bomb Factory
  • Laser Playground
  • The Arena (T5)
  • Home for Special Children (Lightning, T6)
  • Crypt of Cathulu (Water, T9)
  • Temple of Bast (Water+Fire?, T10)
  • Corrupted Egg Temple (Poison, T10)
  • Super Secret Base (Ice, T10)
  • Iron Lair (T10)
  • Frozen Owl Monastery (Ice, T10)
  • Elder Arena (Lightning, T10)
  • The Vaults (Poison, T10)
  • The Dig (T10)
Written by BNeutral

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