Could Trove be the sleeper hit of 2015? Signs are looking good already. While the sandvox title lingered in open beta for quite some time, it took launching to propel the game to new heights. Trion Worlds recently announced that Trove has already crossed the one million monthly active users following its July 9th launch — and there’s no telling where it could go from here.
We sat down with Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman to talk about Trove’s success, what the numbers mean, and what is next for the colorful game. Read on for the whole interview!
Massively OP: Congratulations on the milestone for Trove! Can you clarify what “one million active users” means? Are these unique players and accounts or does this number include multiple logins from a single account?
Scott Hartsman: Thanks! [Those are] unique accounts who’ve played at least once since launch. And it keeps going up…
What do you think contributed to hitting one million players so soon after launch?
Quality and fun in the game and the overall positivity of the community are the biggest drivers. These are the core that allowed the rest of this to stand a chance at working: Positive word of mouth and friend-to-friend recommendations are a big channel; launching on Steam to show the game to a whole new audience first time; and the “beta” tag coming off helped all on its own, as it also made a lot of Trion game players just tab over and check out the game.
I’m extremely happy we took as long as we did to iterate on it in front of an extended open beta audience. From a player-friendly, developer-friendly point of view, it’s almost always the right answer. Seeing it work out like this has been fantastic.
How many monthly players did the game boast pre-launch in its open beta (for comparison)? Since the game was essentially soft launched back then, why the huge uptick now?
We were running 10-20% of where we are now. We intentionally didn’t do any large scale promotion or partnerships during the open beta, since we were genuinely using the beta to make some pretty sweeping improvements to the game. The team redid the UI twice, added most of the classes, redid the new player experience what felt like a half dozen times, redid the way the item system works, added entire gameplay systems in places people were falling out of the game, and so on.
I’d say this was a beta that did exactly what it needed to do: [It] showed the team what was great, what had promise, what people found engaging, and what they didn’t. It let the team react and adapt smartly, from actual player behaviors and desires.
With Trove’s success, has Trion reevaluated how it will market the game? Are there advertising pushes planned?
Yep. We’ve had a post-launch advertising plan set to go, and we plan on making it a bigger one over the next few months as we continue scaling the game up.
With the Steam public numbers, you can see that from their users alone it’s gotten around 60k, then we have a healthy number of direct users on top of that.
How many servers does the game have now, and how many players can each server hold?
One of the things I love about the way the team built this game is that it’s one global world that’s virtualized across 100+ physical servers on two continents, so we don’t have the “per-gameworld” types of limits to worry about from a more traditional server-based MMO.
Since Trove relies a lot on player-submitted content for items, dungeons, etc., how is the team holding up with the potential increase of submissions with a far greater playerbase?
I’m actually on the internal submission mail list myself, so I get to see them fly past. It’s fun to watch. So far so good. There’s been an increase, but not a massive one, which does make sense: While Trove does have both adventure and creation, it’s vastly more a game about the adventure and exploration gameplay. The majority of people coming in have been there to play. Some will eventually go on to submit creations. Seems like a pretty sane ratio’s being maintained.
What’s next for Trove? How can Trion get it to two million monthly players?
Capacity’s in good shape right now. Staying focused on performance and stability. The team’s also done a consistently amazing job in engaging very closely, frequently, and honestly with the community. It’s been a dream to be a part of. Much of the community feels like partners, which is really ideal for everyone. As long as that’s being maintained, the game’s well on its way there whether we increase advertising or not.
Thanks for sharing, Scott!