There has been many a lament on the Fringe about the lack of a Steampunk MMO. I would have to agree as it would seem that the majority of MMOs nowdays are Fantasy in the vein of Tolkein and Dungeons & Dragons settings. There is just something about steampunk that offers fantasy in a somewhat "fresher" take. Sure, there is magic but there are also Airships which are nods to the long forgotten Zeppelins. There are fantastical firearms and wonderous devices that swirl HG Wells in with the Dwarves and Elves.
No game captured this genre better than Arcanum. It was released in 2001 on 2 cds and with some fanfare which was stolen True there were bugs but those were patched and worked around. And none of it detered the thrill you got from playing in such an engrossing setting. Character advancement really was one of the reasons to keep playing as the development of your character pulled you further into the steampunk world.
Now I know this a lot of late night rambling but I have a really fond memory to share with you about this game. At one point, you enter this town and are warned numerous times about this foul beast that lives in the caves just out of town. EVERYONE is afraid of it and the tales of its vile deeds have you stocking up on your health items and armor because you know sure as shit that you are going to have to go kick its ass.
So after much stocking, I head out to the caves and see all the bones. I triple check my saves and head into the cave. And there it was - the most foul creature I had ever laid eyes on. It had big pointy teeth and a mean streak a mile wide... I mean LOOK AT THE BONES!!! I won't give it away anymore but lets just say I laughed pretty damn hard until the first volley of attacks had me near death. Many Save Restores later, I finally beat the son of a bitch.
Anywho, if you have a hankering for some steampunk - gog.com has it for download at a mere $5.99. DRM free. It runs even on Windows 7. And better still, the community added some custom patches back in 2009 for widescreen resolutions and some other nifty details. Links provided below...
Patches, Mods and Errata