The popular voxel-based MMORPG from Trion Worlds has arrived on console. Although available in open beta since December, 2016, Trove has officially launched on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 14, 2017. Trove is known for combining popular mechanics from MMORPGs with the building freedom of voxels game, such as Minecraft. Now that Trove is available on both PC and consoles, virtually every gamer with an internet connection has access to it.
Trove remains free-to-play with an optional subscription and in-game microtransactions. Currently, the console version of Trove isn’t quite up to date with the PC version. However, Trion Worlds has stated multiple times that consoles will catch up to the PC version shortly after launch. This will include the Dino Tamer class, Jurassic Jungle Biome, new costumes and mounts, and a few other improvements to the game. With that being said, everything else is basically the same and veteran Trove players should know exactly what to expect with the console version.
Worlds within Worlds
Initially, players will be introduced to Trove through the ‘Hub.’ It’s the central area where all players gather and has an assortment of useful tools, such as crafting stations, trade centers, and a Barbershop. The most important aspect of the Hub, however, is that it grants access to the game’s Adventure Worlds.
As players level up and acquire more powerful gear, they unlock increasingly difficult Adventure Worlds, which in turn also grants access to new types of biomes. For example, the first Adventure World (marked ‘N’) is recommended for players level 1 – 3 and only has the Medieval Highlands biome while U3 includes a plethora of biomes, such as Neon City, Candoria, and Permafrost.
When a player enters a more difficult Adventure World, all of the previous biomes they’ve had access to also become more difficult. This is an interesting way to recycle content while making it relevant for players as they level up, but it also encourages players to become stronger in order to gain access to new areas. If content is too challenging, players can always drop back to lower level worlds and farm stronger equipment or upgrade materials.
A Destructible MMORPG
Besides its aesthetic theme, the one thing that separates Trove from every other MMORPG out there is its emphasis on fully destructible and customizable worlds. While in any of the Adventure Worlds, players can mine the land itself for resources and upgrade materials. These allow players to build things like improved workbenches or Loot Collectors, but they can also harvest standard blocks to build up their Cornerstone.
A Cornerstone is an individual 16x16x200 housing plot that players can transport between the Hub and other worlds. It’s 16 blocks wide by 16 blocks long, and players can dig 50 blocks down and build 150 blocks up. Although this isn’t a ton of room to work with, it does allow players a decent amount of opportunity to personalize their mobile home. Cornerstones are also very convenient to bring with you into Adventure Worlds because they allow player to craft new items, upgrade equipment, refill flasks, and deconstruct unwanted weapons.
In order to allow this level of world interaction, each Adventure World is instanced with a limited player cap. This allows for a few dozen players to interact with each other in an instance that grants them full control over the world. While random monsters in the worlds do respawn the monsters inside dungeons do not, which encourages players to continuously explore until all the dungeons have been conquered or it’s time to move on to the next world.
Although persistent, fully destructible worlds sounds like a fun idea, I can definitely understand the complications and potential issues that could arise. This makes smaller, instanced zones a better choice to ensure that all new players can get a similar experience. For players who are interested in having their own little sandbox to play in, Club Worlds allow them to gather a group of friends and build to their heart’s content. Clubs are special worlds in Trove that also act like guilds in the game. A player can craft a Club Card at the Builder’s Bench that creates a world with a single zone. That player becomes the Club leader and the world can be expanded through the use of Terraformers. This greatly expands upon the 16×16 Cornerstone plot that players initially have access to.
Playing in the Sandbox
Technically, there’s no sand in Trove. There isn’t even a sand block, but there are plenty of other types of blocks. There also aren’t quest hubs or any overarching story lines to follow. Upon creating your first character, there is a short tutorial and a single objective-based quest in the upper right corner of the user interface. It usually tasks players with crafting a new item, gathering material, or achieving a certain Power Rank, but it feels more like a progress tracker than a quest tool.
Other than that, Trove is basically about exploring the worlds, building up your house, delving into dungeons, and becoming more powerful. There’s really no driving force behind it all, with the exception of having fun and playing the way you want. There are all kinds of achievements and different classes to unlock. Players also have an overall Mastery Rank that is leveled up by completing certain tasks and leveling up classes. The max level for each class is 30 and players cap out at Mastery Rank 300. Classes obtain new abilities and gem slots while each Master Rank provides increased health, damage, and Power Rank.
Unlike typical MMORPGs, Trove places a significant amount of emphasis on action combat and platforming skills. There are many dungeons that require players to climb a series of platforms while dodging attacks, and there are even items that increase the number of consecutive jumps a player can make. If you think double jumping is cool, wait until you can jump 10+ times in a row.
Each class has a standard attack, single passive ability, two standard active abilities and one ultimate ability. While there are a few standard classes like the Knight and Gunslinger, there are also a lot of unique ones including the Chloromancer, Lunar Lancer, and Pirate Captain.
There’s also a strong emphasis on players having multiple classes unlocked. Players can switch between classes with a click of a button and they share mounts, equipment, wings, and just about everything else. Leveling up different classes doesn’t take particularly long and also increases a player’s Mastery Rank. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a paywall to unlocking additional classes.
The first class a player chooses is free. At Mastery Rank 3 and 25, you’ll receive a free Class Coin. Players can also receive another free coin through the Refer-a-Friend program or spending at least $5 in the cash shop. RIFT players can unlock the Cholormancer class through a specific quest in their faction’s main city. Finally, Class Coins can be purchased from the marketplace with in-game currency, however, they are quite expensive and will take quite some time to farm.
I honestly find the combat in Trove to be generally satisfying. Unlike other MMORPGs, I don’t have to worry about keeping track of quests or reading walls of text. I can simply go out into the world and smash things. However, that definitely detracts from the game’s worth for anyone specifically looking for story-driven content.
The ability to destroy and harvest blocks from the Adventure Worlds is a fun touch and grants players a ton of in-game freedom. Even though it might be temporary in the Adventure Worlds, there’s always the option to create your own persistent home with the Cornerstone or Club Worlds.
The biggest downfall of Trove’s gameplay is its repetitive nature. Without a meaningful quest system or lore, the game is essentially all about grinding, gathering, crafting, and building. There are a lot of things to do and areas to explore but much of it feels the same. For this reason, I can see it targeting a younger, or more casual, audience that isn’t going to treat the game like a second job. Trove can be a fun place to visit but probably isn’t going to satisfy gamers who want an MMO that they can put 10 hours a day into.
The PlayStation 4 controls feel excellent. It’s almost like Trove was designed with a gamepad in mind by keeping the combat simple but satisfying. When it comes to building, the PS4 controller is slightly more clunky than using a mouse and keyboard, but I didn’t find it to be too difficult.
It’s not that Trove does anything that’s particularly mind-shattering on its own, but it is the only game to truly combine the key aspects of both the MMORPG and voxel building genres. There are quite a few other multiplayer voxel games on the market, but none really encompass the class system or leveling structure that Trove does. Furthermore, the class designs in Trove managed to be more than the cookie cutter classes that we generally see with MMOs; there is variety and uniqueness abound.
Trying to work cooperatively with other players on a console has always been a challenge. This is even truer for MMOs. Typing out anything is incredibly time consuming and trying to invite others to voice chat can be a complicated mess. It’s great if you already have a ton of friends who play and can easily start a voice conversation, but it does seem to be difficult for a new players to make in-game friends.
That being said, Trove does have an option to teleport to other players while in an Adventure World. So even if you’re not chatting, you can immediately join in on a group that’s currently working on a dungeon. This makes the game feel a little less lonely, even if you’re short on actual friends.
The Club system is also a great addition to Trove if you can find a good group to work with. The Club Worlds are the only persistent feature in Trove that players can modify to their liking. If you’re going to get involved with this game then I highly recommend you find a Club that meshes with your play style.
Being a voxel game, Trove’s visuals can become a bit repetitive. There are tons of themes, biomes, and cool looking weapons, but in the end they’re all just a bunch of blocks. It’s simply the nature of the game and doesn’t make anything look particularly good or bad. However, there is a lot of emphasis on crazy colors and particle effects, which does give it an advantage over your typical voxel game that focuses on more earthy tones.
Upon entering each biome, players will be greeted with a unique melody that feels like a blend of orchestra and retro fantasy. The composer did a good job with matching the music to the biome theme; Desert Frontier definitely has a western theme to it and Cursed Vale has some seriously spooky undertones.
While I enjoy the slower, peaceful tracks for grinding, there is quite a bit of similarity between many of them, which can make the overall soundtrack feel repetitive. Additionally, the constant ‘thud’ sound effect from striking enemies is enough to drive anyone mad. I recommend turning the music up and the SFX down, unless you happen to be streaming your own music in the background.
The single biggest issue with Trove is its business model. Although it might not be as oppressive as some MMOs, there are a lot of restrictions and grindwalls placed on free players. In Trove there are four main types of currency: Cubits, Credits, Glim, and Flux.
Cubits are used for a variety of items in the shop and are obtained through achievements and mastery levels. Credits are the premium currency that can basically purchase everything from mounts to random loot boxes. Glim is the most common in-game currency and usually used for vendors and crafting. Flux is another common currency that players use for upgrading equipment and for trading items on the marketplace.
One of the major problems with the free-to-play model is that a lot of very important tools, especially for new players, can only be bought with Credits or purchased from other players on the marketplace. The worst restriction is on player classes because only a handful can be unlocked for free and leveling different classes is important for earning a higher Mastery Rank.
There are also a lot of immediate upgrades, such as better flasks and emblems, that can be purchased for Credits or Cubits. However, Cubits take quite a while to grind and are generally limited per day, which can be very restricting for new players. It’s not that using Credits will necessarily get a player and unfair advantage, but it does help them skip a ton of grind and limits important aspects that could turn off new players to the game. New players who waste their handful of free unlocks on classes they don’t enjoy will likely either spend money or quit the game altogether.
Additionally, there’s a monthly Patron Subscription ($14.99) that has a significant amount of bonuses including additional experience, more flasks, better magic find, and a bunch of other benefits. While I’m not against monthly subscriptions, they should at least unlock the entire game. The Elder Scrolls Online and Wizard101 come to mind when considering games that offer either DLC purchases or a monthly fee to unlock all the game’s content. However, with Trove, there are still a lot of important things that can be purchased with Credits, mainly classes, that the Patron status doesn’t supply.
If you want a game where you can run around killing enemies, leveling up, mining blocks, and building your own dream world, Trove is it. For the most part, the combat is well done and feels great on a gamepad, even if it’s rather difficult to communicate with other players in the game. There are quite a few interesting classes that you won’t find in most other MMOs; it’s just unfortunate that players will only get to experience a few before needing to buy the rest.
Trove is an interesting merger between MMORPG and voxel world building that has a few flaws, which aren’t necessarily gameplay driven. If you can get past the nickel-and-diming of the cash shop then it can actually be a really fun game. It might not be hardcore enough for your typical high-end MMO raider, but there is a lot of content for the casual crowd, those who enjoy building their own worlds, and newcomers to either genre.
- Fully destructible environments
- Create your own worlds
- Entertaining combat
- Tons of content
- Business model
- Repetitive nature
- Lack of quests or story
Related: Console, MMORPG, Playstation 4, PS4, Review, Trion Worlds, Trove