Most of us are well aware of how popular Minecraft has gotten. As voxel games and survival/building games grow in popularity, we’re bound to see a lot of studios looking to cash in on the newest craze. Recently, Trion Worlds – responsible for bringing you RIFT and ArcheAge – has joined the fray with Trove, their new voxel survival game.
Trove is yet another voxel based game, but what sets it apart from others is that Trion has taken the whole thing a step further and merged all the things we love about Minecraft with the fun and social interaction of an MMO. You’ll notice when you load up that you only have one character to play and many classes to choose from. Don’t worry! As you play, you’ll be able to earn the currency to unlock other classes. Your single character can swap between classes whenever you like, so don’t worry if you pick a Candy Barbarian and decide later that you’d rather play as the Ice Sage. You’ll be able to do it all if you play enough. Each class seems well balanced so far, and as long as you’re careful, you can solo them without too much panic in the lower levels.
Interestingly, Trove doesn’t have a party or group system like you would expect. Since loot is different for each individual player, all exp and loot drops are based on player proximity – meaning all you have to do to receive credit for a kill and some loot is be within a certain radius of the monster. Say, for instance, someone near you was mining some ore. If you hang around them for a bit, you’ll get some too. The same goes for bosses, loot chests, and anything else you might find. Because you don’t find yourself locked into a group with someone you don’t know, many people are finding it more enticing to tag along and help people they don’t know or otherwise wouldn’t play with. Trove even encourages this idea by placing a teleporter in the game that will send you to a random player somewhere on that map. Not sure where to go? Hit the teleporter and run around with someone new till you get bored!
Guilds are another common staple of MMOs that Trove does just a bit differently. Clubs are personalized and private worlds that are, essentially, invite only for you to share with whomever you please. You can make your own or invite others like you would in a guild, but the best part is that you can belong to multiple clubs. So if you’re playing with a friend who doesn’t care for your dark, otherworldly sense of style, he can go make his own club full of giant pink candy hills or snow covered icy peaks. Club worlds can eventually host everything you need, from a barbershop to world portals and if you like your world enough you can even throw a party which allows anyone to come visit you for a while. Though there’s a central hub for everyone to use that has all those things already, a club is a nice, quite, and private place to go to, drop off your stuff, and run back out to the world. Plus, it was kind of nice to avoid the rush of people when you’re just out farming materials.
Unsurprisingly, crafting seems to be Trove’s main focus right now. Nearly everything can be broken down into blocks or materials. Equipment and weapons can be broken down into flux, which you can use to upgrade other weapons or create new things. There are crafting stations depending on what you’d like to focus on such as building, adventuring, or even gardening! Because Trove is so focused on creativity and community, you will often find items in the game that were created by players. Trove doesn’t have any plans to stop doing this, and they even set up a reddit subforum just to make it easier to submit designs and ideas. Most of the decorative items require hunting down recipes in the main worlds. It can be a little frustrating though, since some items require multiple recipes to complete. You might find “Left Neon Couch Section” and not find the right side for quite some time.
Combat in Trove is simplistic and fairly linear, with only a few abilities for each class to utilize. It feels a lot like the MMO combat we’re used to, except for one key thing. So far, the game seems to lack the traditional roles you’d expect. There are some classes with more health than others and different tactics, but similar to Guild Wars 2, there is no set tank or healer. The Candy Barbarian can take a lot more hits than the Gunner, but that’s mostly because of how they’re played, nit because of how their stats are arranged. Gunner is about staying at range as long as you can and avoiding getting hit in the first place. Instead of a healer, you have a set number of ‘flasks’ you can use to regain health, and some abilities across the classes can help you out as well. As someone who normally plays a healer, this left me a little out of my comfort zone, so be prepared for that. Everyone is DPS, everyone is a tank in their own way, and everyone is their own healer. This probably ties back in with the fact that Trove doesn’t use groups or parties at all, so healing would be challenging at best. Still, many players may find it a big snag in the game to not have a set role to fill.
The best part of Trove’s combat and equipment system is the fact that they’re not afraid to have fun, to make something silly, and to work in many different pop culture references. You could carry around a cool looking sword, or you might find yourself wielding a pair of forks with waffles on the ends, or tongs holding grilled cheese! Helmets can range from normal hats and crowns to a Sims style plumbob or a Portal turret that sits atop your hair. Even masks get in on the action, with items like a giant pair of candy lips or a scouter lens of your very own. Trove obviously doesn’t want to be taken super seriously and seems to strive to reconnect the adult part of their player base with the inner child who loved playing with LEGOs. All they want to do is turn off that part of the brain that reminds us that a doughnut isn’t structurally sound enough to do any damage whatsoever. Don’t worry if you out-level your favorite piece of gear, though. By breaking down weapons and armor you’ve already found, you not only get materials for building, but you also add that item’s look to your collection, and you can change your currently equipped item to look like that favorite piece. You may find yourself clearing zones you’ve outleveled just to fill your collection.
Trove is a very grind-heavy game, like most building or survival games (or MMOs for that matter) tend to be. It’s an aspect of the genre you can’t really get away from. Go out, gather materials, come back, and make more stuff. If you don’t enjoy a grind, chances are you’ll get bored with Trove pretty quickly. There is a quest/achievement tracker, which will guide you through key points of the game, but a majority of the tasks seem to be to explore, gather, and figure things out on your own. That said, Trove has only been out on Steam since July 9th, and already they’ve shot up to the number three spot for most popular free-to-play game on Steam, falling just behind DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2. They even had to roll out a substantial number of new servers just to try and handle the load. At the moment, there’s still pretty high lag and numerous server crashes due to the sheer volume of people wanting to play, but I still highly recommend checking it out if it sounds like something you’d enjoy. The developer team is working as hard as they can to fix the server issues while offering a few incentives for those who stick it out through the bumps with them. They’ve got many new features planned, including pvp worlds, so even if you don’t try it now, Trove is definitely a game to keep an eye on.