Shortly into Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, you’ll unlock the Steamworks in Seliana. The Steamworks is a bizarre mechanic, but it’s a great way to fill your stores with items. It’s also completely random and a little time-consuming, so it’s important to chip away at it between missions.
How to increase the steam
The Steamworks is a big machine in your new town, Seliana. You’re tasked with keeping it fueled, so all of the new hunters can stay warm in the frozen tundra. To do this, you’ll need to pump fuel into the Steamworks (we’ll get into acquiring fuel later). It takes 10 fuel for every attempt to increase the steam level.
When you sit down to actually increase the steam, it may seem daunting. You’ll see a panel on your left, a big steam gauge in the middle, and three small boxes with buttons on them below. The truth is this system isn’t complicated. You just need to hit the buttons in a random order. If you get the order right, you’ll see checkmarks on the boxes. If not, you’ll get an X. Checkmarks increase the steam level, and X does nothing.
You can’t see the correct order to input the face buttons. It’s completely random. We spent our first few attempts trying to guess the order until we discovered the right trigger. Just holding down the right trigger will run through the order and burn fuel. As far as we see it, it’s just as likely to get you checkmarks as trying on your own, and it’s much faster.
Increasing the steam level isn’t just for the benefit of the town. Each time you get three checkmarks, you’ll get a new item to add to your storage. Sometimes it’s something you can sell, but it’s mostly just more potions or resources. When you complete three full steam bars, you’ll see a cutscene and earn some higher-tier items.
After the cutscene, the Steamwork resets and you start back at zero.
There are special events that randomly occur while you’re burning fuel.
There is a chance that the camera will zoom in tight and every checkmark will count for even more steam. The fuel is also free.
Another event has Palicos pop under the button boxes and point to the correct order, taking the randomness out. Note that you can’t just hold down the right trigger for this one. You need to follow the cats.
How to input fuel
You can’t run the Steamwork without fuel, but getting fuel is easy.
When you return from a mission, the Steamwork will have accumulated some fuel passively for you to use. That means you can run the Steamwork a few times after each mission — or let the passive fuel pile up for a few missions and then use it.
You can also spend some of your ore resources on fuel. The ratio with this isn’t great, so we don’t recommend it unless you have tons of unused fuel to burn. However, Iceborne will ask you to turn in certain items for fuel when you open the Steamwork menu. The Steamwork uses some ore pieces that are only useful as fuel, and the game will auto convert it for you if you accept the prompt. You can find these fuel pieces out in the world, so make sure you mine every crystal.
When your fuel stores hit zero, step away for a bit and wait for more fuel to accumulate on its own. Even if you’re close to a new upgrade, it’s not worth it to burn your own precious ore.