Creativity triggers that artful side of our brains to work some incredible wonders with the tools around us. With some, it could be a paintbrush. With others it might even be on a musical instrument. That same creative feeling has been around in video games too, with games like Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet satisfying that niche.
So what does Trove, developed by Trion Worlds (of Defiance and Rift fame) add to the table?
For starters, Trove is a free-to-play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or MMORPG. Not content with having a square-go against the Swedish blockfest, Trove is also jostling for space between the likes of World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Quite a crowded fight in this ring that Trove has set up then!
To give it the elevator pitch, Trove is an MMO set in a procedurally-driven realm where players hunt through randomly generated dungeons to find tasty loot from which to create more epic things with.
Or even shorter: Raid the loot and build the stuff.
The game retains many features that MMO fans will be familiar with. Guilds in the form of Clubs can be set up to collaborate and create larger clubhouses, whilst each character can explore in a selection of classes that can be swapped at will. I found myself playing more with the Dracolyte class, as its ranged magic spells reflect what I usually go for when I have the freedom to create a character. I generally like to go for the mages that blow s**t up.
Worlds are split by level range, meaning that you can quickly get to the spot that best matches your character’s current level. Each world is, as said before, procedurally driven and refreshes itself once all the dungeons have been cleared in a world. Interestingly, these dungeons form part of the overall world and are not separate like in other MMOS. This means that you can jump in and out of them at will, especially if you find your gear to be a bit below par.
Like most MMOs, gear can be found all over the place to boost your stats. They can drop from bad guys out in the open world and (more commonly) in those aforementioned dungeons. The interesting thing though is that pretty much all of the loot I encountered in my travels were user-submitted. Over at Reddit, there’s a sub-reddit where people can submit weapons/hats/boots/etc. for the community to judge. This place is actively monitored by Trion, and those that really hit the mark are invited to refine their work for inclusion in the game and rewarded with tasty digital goodies.
It’s a really great initiative to get folks creating in all aspects of the game. Imagine bumping into someone that’s armed with a sword you made. That’s some chest-puffing stuff right there.
Once you’ve exhausted the usefulness of a world and are ready to progress to tougher areas, it’s a simple of case of returning to the hub and travelling to a portal that’ll lead you to a more challenging area.
There is but one constant in every single world that you can hold. Vast quantities of ‘plots’ called Cornerstones are available for players to claim. The contents of these Cornerstones remain constant whenever you lay claim to an area in a new world, meaning that any crafting benches or chests that you’ve created will carry across from one world to the next. Nifty, if you have a lot of goodies stashed.
Given that Trove is an Open Beta, the game is extremely well put together. The voxel-based design is as colourful as you’d expect, with the ‘enlarged pixel’ style giving the worlds a rather solid and chunky art pallet to work on. The solid scheme gives the impression of land being of one entity, until you start mashing away at some voxels.
Here’s something I made earlier, GGS style!
There is but one omission that struck me during my time with the game, which was the absence of a story to tell. I suspect this is by design, allowing stories to be almost created through the play and interaction with other players. If you’re on the hunt for a game with a wealth of stories to tell you off the bat, then this one might not be up your street.
In saying that though, it is free-to-play. The possibility is there that you go in to the game expecting one thing and not getting it, but instead discovering something else which you think is pretty awesome. On that basis, if you’re an MMO fan then it’s definitely worth a punt.
Conversely of course, if you love creating your own structures (or even your own gear) and like teaming up with people to make even bigger ones, then Trove could be the exact MMO for you!
Either way, you can try the game out for yourself totally free by visiting the Trove website. You’ll be directed to download Glyph (a central portal for Trion’s games) and to create an account if you don’t have one already from the likes of Rift or Defiance.