Hack, Slash And Craft In Trove’s MMO Mash-Up

There are few genres on PC more popular right now than MMOs and crafting games, and Trove is an ambitious game that aims to combine those two together. If both of those genres excite you, taking elements from games like Minecraft and MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, then this free-to-play title might be worth a look.

Trove immediately gives you the feeling that it’s an RPG at heart when you jump into it for the first time, with nine different character classes to choose from. A few of them – like the basic knight – are pretty archetypal, but there are also those that seemed very specific with their abilities, and every class seems to have a specialty. You can switch classes later in the game for a fee that consists of in-game currency or real money, but the progress made with any particular class remains intact, and you can switch between them at any time.

At the heart of Trove is a hub world. This is where players can congregate at once to chat with each other, join groups or look for recruits for your own club, and choose from portals of various difficulties to teleport into the various game worlds. There wasn’t much of a need to visit here after going beyond level 10 and forming my own group, but it will remain the place to go if you do need to join up with others or want to do a little bit of trading.

However, once you enter the game world for the first time, you’re immediately tasked with building your cornerstone. This is a small plot of land that you can build on (or below), and it comes with you no matter which game world or biome you enter. It’s also where you place crafting tables, loot stations and storage chests.

During play, you only have to find the designated grey slates of land that are scattered around each world, hit a key right in front of it and presto! Your previously built cornerstone appears right in front of you. Other players can also use your tables and stations, but there’s no real risk of mischief, as they can’t access any of your items.

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Moving back and forth between building/mining and combat is very simple. With a quick press of the tab key, you can go from slaying monsters to consuming voxels of varied substances for building structures or crafting items. Your inventory even changes between the two modes, along with the hotkeys for quickly equipping items and weapons for any scenario. While you can build just about anywhere, it seems like only your cornerstone and club world are saved when you change worlds or leave, so you’ll mostly be using the mining/building mode to grab resources when in the wider world.

You can traverse across the many different biomes on foot, but you’re better off using your mount. You’re given a basic one to start with, but there are loads of others than can be unlocked and purchased, ranging from cats, pandas, hoverbikes, dragons and small dinosaurs. I even found a magic carpet to ride around on.

The biomes themselves are fantastic and go far beyond the basics that you’d expect. There was one that looked like a Tron-inspired world, and another that was pretty much Candy Land. Each biome is littered with dungeons and enemies that nicely match the theme, with each dungeon offering treasure chests of loot upon completion.

You can tackle these areas alone or with friends, and gaming with your friends is about as easy as you could ask for. Friendlies appear on your map if you’re in the same world and they’re highlighted green if they’re near you but you don’t have line of sight, but you can quickly and easily teleport to their location even if you’re not in the same world. Fighting alongside each other has you sharing experience points and resources, while everyone gets their own loot from the treasure chests. If you’re not up for playing with friends, going at it solo (especially in the early areas) also seemed like a viable option.

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Trove does a pretty great job teaching you the basics via simple quests when you’ve just started out. You’re rewarded for simple tasks and progression through the levels moves fairly quick, but once you get past the first hour or two, the game largely boils down to clearing dungeons and looking for ingredients to make specific items. You gather a lot of loot along the way, which can either be equipped or consumed, or you can be broken down at your cornerstone, if you don’t need them or want their constituent resources.

The currency in Trove is a little hard to describe, and in true free-to-play form, it’s broken into three categories. There are cubits (also called glim) that can be earned in-game and used to buy certain items via the in-game store, but most of the content on the store can only be bought with credits, which you have to purchase with real money. That’s alongside the additional packages and timed ability boosts that can only be purchased directly with real currency. Having explained all that, it’s definitely worth noting that in the several hours I spent with the game, I never felt like it was forcing or even pushing me to spend real money.

Trove is kind of an odd game to describe but it’s also very enjoyable. It looks wonderful, and after several hours of play I was still running across new and interesting biomes to explore. The combat does often boil down to basic hack and slash, but the simple mining/building feels really well done, and the multiplayer elements are well implemented and make it easy and fun to play with friends. Pair that with it being free-to-play but not feeling like it’s trying to gouge you for cash, and it’s easy to recommend to at least try it for fans of the MMORPG and crafting genres.