Trove is an open-ended voxel adventure through countless realms filled with quests, chests, and enemies great and small. It’s a potent, cube-shaped brew of RPG features combined with the thrill of exploring procedurally-generated worlds – and the unlimited creative freedom to build your own!
Developed by Trion Worlds, the company behind other MMOs such as RIFT, Defiance, and ArchAge, Trove is a departure from the standard MMO. It’s most easily compared to Voxel-based open world RPG Cube World, although while Cube World is still in an early alpha state, and the fate of its development remains to be seen, Trove moved out of an open beta and launched on July 9th of 2015 as a Free to Play game.
At first glance, Trove may be compared to games like Minecraft or Cube World, and while the games do share some similarities, Trove is much more than just another clone of a popular block-based world building game. After several hours of playing, I’ve come to see Trove as a combination of dungeon crawling loot-based RPGs like Diablo, and crafting/building games with a well-defined, linear progression such as Terraria and Starbound.
Dungeons themed to the present biome dot the procedurally generated landscape. Biomes are all uniquely themed, from the basics like Medieval Highlands and Desert Frontier, to more interesting biomes like Neon City (a Tron-style city full of robotic enemies) and Candoria (with cotton candy grass, chocolate lakes, and gumdrop mountains).
While there aren’t a large number of dungeon layouts in each biome, there are a wide enough variety to keep things interesting. While smaller, single-boss dungeons are more common, there are also much larger three-boss dungeons spread through the world. Each of these larger dungeons contains two bosses of a similar difficulty to the single-boss dungeons, as well as a much harder end boss.
As you run around the world completing these dungeons, the loot will begin to pile up. Much like in Diablo, the majority of equipment that you come across will be of little use to you. You won’t be getting anything that isn’t for your current class (thank goodness) but most of it won’t be an upgrade either. Fortunately, the game is designed to have a purpose for all of that excess loot. All of your unwanted gear can be broken down into crafting materials via a Loot Collector installed at your home.
This is where the Minecraft elements come into play. You’re given a plot of land called a Cornerstone, which follows you around the world, and can be summoned from scattered locations in every world.
The home building in Trove is one of my favorite aspects of the game. Games like Minecraft have certain elements that see at odds with themselves. Exploration is rewarded, but you’re also encouraged to build up structures for storing your crap and general self-preservation. Trove solves this issue very simply, by allowing your home to be access from almost anywhere. You’re not tied down to a single location and you can go and explore the world without having to worry about finding your way back, or rebuilding everything because you found a nicer hill to bulid your house on.
All of your progress in-game goes towards building more advanced structures back at your Cornerstone. In the beginning, you’ll be building different portals that take you to higher level worlds. Very similar to Diablo’s difficulty settings, the enemies and the loot scale to the difficulty of the world, ranging from Novice, Adept, Elite, and Master, all the way up to the Uber worlds which go from Uber 1 to Uber 6 (again, similar to Diablo’s Torment difficulty settings).
You’ll gather the resources from mining and deconstructing loot in order to build to portal to the next adventure zone, where you’ll fight stronger monsters and get better loot and progress towards making the next adventure portal. At the endgame, Trove offers some different adventure zones to mix things up but I’ve not yet reached a high enough level to go into this in any detail.
As much as I enjoyed my initial experience with Trove, it was marred by some serious server issues. There was an entire day where the game was down, and even after coming back up I’ve been experiencing a variety of different lag types, including block lag (where you’ll mine a resource, only to have it pop back into existence moments later) and issues with hit detection, resulting in un-killable enemies.
There are several things which I haven’t been able to fully explore yet, such as the Marketplace where you can trade items to other players (this unlocks after a certain Mastery level), and the microtransactions, of which there seem to be very many (although not nearly as in-your-face or pay-to-win as other F2P MMOs).
While I haven’t felt the need to pay any money to the game yet, I have noticed a few instances of UI elements being held behind microtransactions, which I’m never a fan of, although for almost every item or service in the game that is available for the premium currency, it is also available for an earnable currency, albeit for a higher price. Still, I don’t like the idea of having to pay to unlock additional slots so I can sell more than two items at once on the marketplace.
Network issues aside, I’ve very much enjoyed my first several hours with the game, and plan on spending several more hours with the game very soon.