Trove is a game we’ve covered before on this site with Matt taking a look at the voxel-based free to play MMO when it was first launching PC. I’m not the biggest MMO player out there, having not touched the genre properly for over a decade, but as the game has now come to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, shedding its open beta status just yesterday, I dove into Trove to see how well it caters to newcomers and novices.
With its voxel-based graphics, Trove may look like a Minecraft knock off at first glance, but it isn’t. While crafting is a part of the game, it plays much more like an RPG with character classes, weapon and equipment types, character levels, and various worlds to run around in and explore. Booting up Trove for the first time can be a little intimidating because of this, simply trying to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, but there is a tutorial that helps you get the basics down before letting you run off and do your own thing.
As with most RPGs, the first thing you do is pick a class, which in Trove varies from a standard Knight or Gunslinger to the more unusual Dracolyte and Candy Barbarian. After flicking through the options, I settled on the Dracolyte, purely because that class has an ability to shapeshift into a dragon. I reckoned that would be quite a powerful ability to have when coming up against enemies. From there, you’re quickly guided into tackling a dungeon in a low level world to get the basics of fighting.
As a Dracolyte, I started off with a staff that sends out streams of flames as well as a small dragon that flies alongside me and can add a few fireballs of its own. The enemies early on are pretty basic in their attacks, running straight towards you and swinging at you with their melee weapons. What I did like is the variety of enemy designs that populate the world of Trove from standard skeletons, to robots, giant parrots dressed up as pirates, gingerbread men, and even a few ice cream based creatures. Trion Worlds really decided to have fun with these designs, and that extends to the worlds too. There are worlds that mimic standard woodland to the more interesting stages set in Neon City and Candyland, where desserts make up the landscape.
Trove lets you explore these worlds at your leisure, though it does encourage you to tackle the more difficult worlds where there are tougher beasts to fight and better loot to grab. Upgrading your loot is necessary to making progress in Trove as world gates require a Power Rank to pass through them. This rank is a culmination of your characters level and the equipment they have equipped. You can also upgrade your equipment, instead of fighting and looting for new kit, and this is where resource gathering really comes into play.
From the press of a button you can switch between combat mode to resource gathering mode, aiming and firing at the environment to gather various types of blocks. It’s really easy to switch back and forth and I’ve yet to encounter a limit on how many resources can be carried. I found resource gathering just as useful as seeking out dungeons to explore Trove, and I had the pleasant surprise on one occasion of digging down into the ground and falling into a cave full of the kind of blocks I needed.
You can use blocks to create buildings, but that doesn’t appear to be the main point of Trove. You do start off with a house that you can summon to any unoccupied cornerstone in a world, and that you can customise however you wish. During the beta I did see some houses by users that had been remodelled into quite impressive structures, but for me, the house was mainly a place to sort my loot out and craft new items for my character.
Crafting is also simple to dip into. A menu pops up with a list of what can be crafted and how many of a particular resource is needed. It’s then just a press of a button and the item appears in your inventory. That said, the menus can feel a little cumbersome at first, and a bit more time explaining how they worked in the tutorial would have been good. You do get a proper feel for them eventually, but time felt wasted early on trying to find particular things. If you are going to delve into Trove, definitely play around with the menus to get a sense of how they’re laid out, as once you’re comfortable with navigating them, the rest of the game feels much more entertaining.
As an MMO it works well especially when you run into players taking on a dungeon and you join them for the raid to take out a particularly tough boss. It happened quite a few times and even though we never exchanged words, we always managed to get the job done.
As an RPG, Trove offers decent fun for free, with a variety of dungeons and worlds to wander and fight through, but it is a free to play game. A steady stream of money does needs to come to the developers somehow, and so the game advertises a store when you start up, where you can buy various wares with real cash, but in the hours I’ve played, there’s never been a point where I felt like money had to be spent to advance.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting into an MMORPG, then Trove is a nice and light starting point. I feel like it puts across how the genre works quite well, while being generally easy to navigate and providing worlds that people of all ages can enjoy. The community seemed fairly pleasant as well, with nothing inappropriate to be found in the public chat. Trove feels like it is the perfect introduction to MMORPGs for anyone, and since it is free, it’s worth giving a go if you fancy a game that doesn’t demand too much of you.