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.
Ideally when the game gets more popular a lot of this information will be in the wiki.
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
- “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
- Movement / turning
- Super speed
- 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)
- Send ingame bug report with logs
- Disable all hud : Shift+F10
Star rule, Revive, Scaling
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.
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
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
- 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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
Bosses and setpieces
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
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.
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
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.
/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.
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
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?
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.
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.
Scrap: Obtained ingame for doing certain missions, killing meowza, and at plane death based on your total exp
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.
Class tier list?
Why do I see people spamming “Rally to me!” in dungeons?
Terminology / Acronyms / Slang
- 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: Class weapon table
🔧 Indicates there’s a skill requirement
Annex: Class unlock requirements
If a class has two requirements, they are both mandatory, it’s not “one or the other”.
Annex: Upgrade types
While resist upgrades list as giving 1% resist each, the number is actually slightly lower as it takes 25 upgrades to get 20% resist.
Annex: Setpiece boss list
- Big Dog
- Fisher Crab
- Time Ghost
- Temple of Ra
- 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
- 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)
Annex: Drop table
Annex: Pilot exp table
Annex: Bounty list
Annex: Crafting list
Be warned that this list is maintained by players and may not be accurate in the future:
Each 1% attack increases the attack stat by 1.
Each 1% steam regen increases the steam regen by 0.004 (due to planes having a base regen of 0.4).
Damage dealt seems to follow a formula like this, with some variation in rounding:
[ physical base damage * (attack/100) + elemental damage base damage * ((attack+elemental damage bonus)/100) ] * multipliers
Annex: Useful links
Main website and mailing list signup: http://www.steambirds.com/
Forums (soon to be eliminated): https://community.steambirds.com/forums
Steam Forums (replacing the old ones): https://steamcommunity.com/app/386010/discussions/
Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/spryfoxgames
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiBF7Jj9i8-k_f7M2m_N-pQ
SBA Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteambirdsGame
Spryfox Twitter: https://twitter.com/spryfox
Support page: https://support.spryfox.com/hc/en-us/categories/202699708-Steambirds-Alliance
Community run links
Deprecated Wiki: https://steambirds-alliance.wikia.com/
Up to date Wiki: https://sba.wiki/wiki/Main_Page
IRC: #steambirdsalliance on irc.sorcery.net (quite dead)
Skill simulator: https://meowzadb.com/skill-builds/
Exp calculator: https://tiffit.net/SBAInfo/
Meowza is the nickname of the main artist, much like Oryx provided the sprites for RotMG.
- Zed & Meta – Drop list
- Hishimiya – Crafting list
- Tiffit – Exp table and calculator
- Galaxycat – Skill simulator
- Duck – Class popularity survey
Written by BNeutral