Choose My Adventure: Setting up Camp in Trove
Welcome, friends, to another episode of Choose My Adventure: Trove edition. Last week, as you may recall, I took my first steps in the cubist dreamscape that is the world of Trove and settled into my new life as a savagely sweet Candy Barbarian, mostly by way of wandering the land and leaving a trail of voxelated devastation in my wake. This week, however, you folks decided to send me in an entirely different direction by voting for me to take some time to beautify — though as you can probably tell by my screenshot above, I’m using that term loosely — my cornerstone.
So, perhaps out of some sense of cosmic balance, I spent my weekend making up for my previous acts wanton destruction by putting my efforts toward creation. I mean, sure, I may have ravaged entire biomes of their natural resources, upset the delicate balance of the ecosytem, and left the land a barren husk of its former self in the process, and yeah, I may have done those things in the pursuit of what ultimately amounted to a mostly-empty, one-room building that has virtually no artistic merit or visual appeal, sitting atop a tiny, amateurish floating island. But hey, I built something, so it all balances out, right?
OK, maybe not. As I noted a couple of weeks back when I first introduced Trove as one of the contenders for this round of Choose My Adventure, I am — to put it as kindly as possible — architecturally incompetent, so I hope you weren’t expecting the Taj Mahal or something. But I feel I should still make something clear: Despite what you may be tempted to assume about Trove’s construction system based on my pitiful little cornerstone (which, in my defense, I think is still an improvement over the garish little hut that is the default cornerstone), believe me when I say that it has nothing to do with Trove’s expansive building options and everything to do with my complete lack of creative vision when it comes to architectural design.
But more about that later; let’s start from the beginning. As you might expect, the first step in any construction endeavor in Trove is to gather your building materials. As you also might expect, this is done in a way that calls to mind the game’s inevitable comparison to Minecraft. I, however, found Trove’s iteration of ye olde material farming to be a great deal more enjoyable than its Minecraft counterpart, for a few reasons.
First of all, there are no pickaxes or other tools to muck around with; instead, you just hit tab to switch from combat mode to construction mode and start breakin’ down blocks, which are then automatically delivered directly to your inventory. Secondly, also unlike Minecraft’s system, Trove’s resource gathering mechanics don’t put nearly as much emphasis on “mining,” per se. Rather than ask you to dig into the earth and hope to happen upon a mineral-rich underground cavern, Trove ensures that most of its precious cubic resources sit in plain sight on the surface of the world. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have its fair share of underground caverns and whatnot, but most of them are easily accessible from the surface, and most of my attempts to dig deeper in search of hidden subterranean hollows ended up being largely fruitless.
Ultimately, I found it to be considerably more efficient to just run across the surface of the world, harvesting all the visible ore deposits I came across. On top of that, there are a number of useful crafting materials that can be found only on the surface, such as enchanted wood, mushroom chunks, and wild cupcakes (native to the Candy Barbarian’s homeland of Candoria, of course). Although I suppose there could also be just-as-useful crafting materials that can be found only underground, I have yet to come across any in my experience so far.
While I would imagine that some players might say this lack of emphasis on prospecting, excavating, and spelunking deprives the material-gathering system of a sense of exploration or adventure, I’m one of the (probably few) people who find the whole dig-and-hope-you-find-a-cave process to be more tedious than anything else, and I think the change serves Trove’s flow of gameplay especially well, since it means that players can easily gather materials while travelling from dungeon to dungeon over the course of normal (i.e., dungeon-and-combat-oriented) gameplay rather than having to go out of the way to harvest resources.
I also feel that the whole resource-gathering process, which in similar games I tend to find is unexciting at best and mind-meltingly tedious at worst, is made a bit more enjoyable courtesy of Trove’s biome diversity. While the game does have the expected array of “natural” biomes, like verdant forests, glacial tundras, and dusty deserts, it also has some biomes that are more unconventional, so to speak, such as the enchanted woodlands of the Fae Wilds, the Tron-like digital metropolises of the Neon City, and of course, the delicious cotton-candy fields of Candoria, whose chocolate-syrup lakes and candy-striped trees give a good approximation of what the world would be like if Willy Wonka had been a totalitarian dictator. Each biome, of course, has its own distinct flavor (literally, in Candoria’s case) and aesthetic, as well as its own unique variety of crafting resources to be gathered, making it well worthwhile to tour them all.
Once I had an inventory full of various crafting items, I headed back to my cornerstone and put on my workin’ gloves. The first order of business was to craft some new building blocks. Aside from the “unique” crafting items like the aforementioned enchanted wood and mushroom chunks, the majority of the resources I had gathered in my adventures fell into one of two categories: primal color blocks and ore blocks. The ore blocks — Formicite, Shapestone, and Infinium — are used to craft just about everything of import, and over my time in the game I had begun to think of them as crafting catalysts of sorts because, although they are rarely the primary materials in any given crafting recipe, they are necessary in varying amounts to craft just about anything.
The primal color blocks, which come in every color of the rainbow (sans indigo, and with the addition of grey) can themselves be used for construction purposes, but unless you want your cornerstone to look like a toddler’s lego creation — all reds and greens and yellows and blues — you’ll need to take them to a cube converter. The cube converter is a crafting station at which, as the name implies, you can convert primal color blocks, occasionally in conjunction with other crafting materials such as ore, into a number of different blocks in a range of hues, tints, and textures. Although many of the especially fancy blocks are initially locked off until their respective recipes have been collected — and I, of course, have collected very few — even just the basic selection of craftable building blocks provides a pretty ridiculous range of options for a variety of architectural endeavors of any style.
I, personally, decided to keep things simple (read: I knew that if I tried to build something grandiose and complex, it would end up looking like an Escherian nightmare), so I settled on building a simple, one-room hut out of metallic grey-blue blocks to which I had rather, pardon the pun, taken a shine, with an accent of glowing blue blocks. Yes, I like blue, so sue me. But just a basic one-room house wasn’t going to cut it for me because despite my previously established lack of artistic vision and ability, I still wanted at least something a little more interesting than what is ultimately a hut, albeit an especially shiny one, so I figured what the hell — I’ll build a floating island and put my shiny hut on that.
This is a good point to talk about a minor detail that I found equally interesting and frustrating: There are no grass blocks that can be crafted, or at least none that I had unlocked. This was a bit irritating to me because I didn’t want my floating island to be nothing but a big, anti-gravitational clod of dirt, but after a bit of Googling and querying the community, I discovered that there is, in fact, a way to get grass on your earthen structures. Simply enough, you just lay down your dirt, and, over the course of time, any dirt blocks that are exposed to sunlight (and, according to some sources, adjacent to an existing grass block) will eventually become grass blocks.
As neat as this mechanic is in principle, it ended up being kind of a pain in the ass in practice, as by the time I figured this out, I had already constructed my floating island and begun construction on the house itself, and in order to get my floating island to grow a lawn, I would have to find a very particular cornerstone spot at which my floating island would be at the same elevation as, and adjacent to, an existing grass block, which as of this writing I have failed to do. It also means that certain portions of the underside of my floating island, which I intended to remain as dirt blocks, have become grass blocks beyond my control.
So it’s not perfect, but hey, I did my best with what I had, and now I have a little metallic hut to call my very own. The question is, of course, what will I do next? On the one hand, I could continue my creation spree by either crafting some furniture and decorations to add a little hominess to my spartan dwellings, or I could go big and create a club world in which to build something on a larger scale than the little plot of land provided by my cornerstone. On the other hand, I could get back to the Barbarian business and work my way to level 10, at which point I will be able to access the first of Trove’s high-level areas, so-called Uber Worlds, and perhaps even try my hand at a challenging Shadow Arena in the hopes of getting my hands on some new gear. Alternatively, I could combine the pursuits of combat and crafting by hunting down one of Trove’s recipe dungeons in hopes of unlocking some fancy new designs.
The choice, as always, is yours. Cast your vote in the poll below, and make sure you do so by Friday, September 4th, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, and I’ll see you again next week. Until then, friends!
CMA: Pull my strings, O Puppetmasters
- Sharpen your candy-swords and get to level 10 (57%, 45 Votes)
- You call that a cornerstone? Interior-design that thing! (13%, 10 Votes)
- Hunt down some recipe dungeons and expand your crafting repertoire (30%, 24 Votes)
Total Voters: 79