Trove: Mantle of Power is a gem of an expansion

    
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As you read this, the head start for Trove’s first expansion, Mantle of Power, has opened its doors to players who purchased one of the sandvox’s new packs (everyone else will be admitted in on April 26th for the official launch). The team at Trion Worlds is treating this like a full expansion rather than a meaty content update, as Mantle of Power contains entirely new ways to progress and grow your character.

So how do you improve upon a strange little game that already has player housing, 15 classes, flying dragons, and sailing? You push the current boundaries of character progression out, add new places to explore, and more ways to grow.

Trion Worlds told us that the expansion was designed in response to the players who had already “beaten” Trove to an extent. Without the freedom to completely change the rules and mix things up as the devs could during the beta period, they found that the logical conclusion was to add more challenge on top of the foundation that had been laid since launch.

I have… the powah!

“Power and progression” is the mantra of the expansion. Mantle of Power provides three paths for characters to grow beyond their current limits, starting with a level cap increase from 20 to 30. While this won’t contain any new abilities, it will boost a character’s stats and give them access to new areas.

The second avenue is the addition of a gem system. Starting with level 10, players will begin unlocking gem slots. As gems are acquired — mostly through the newer areas, although some can be found in the “prime” adventure worlds — players can equip them for various bonuses. Small gems contain bonus stats only, large gems have stats plus skill modifications, and class gems contain a major, positive change to that class’ playstyle. Slotting gems allows players to create a build that is tailored to their playstyle as well.

The third way that Mantle of Power will help characters grow is through the acquisition of hard-to-find stellar gear. Stellar rarity tops the gear progression ladder, offering both impressive stats and a silly or fun aura that blazes over your character’s head.

All these worlds are yours except Europa

Along with the additional levels comes access to the expansion’s new elemental-themed worlds. There is the Cursed Skylands (air), the Drowned World (water), and Igneous Islands (fire). Each of these adventuring worlds will offer new landscapes, the possibility of gem drops, and ways to acquire the elemental dragons.

More dragons? Oh yes. Trove does love its flying lizards, after all! There’s a trio of additional dragons that correspond with the new worlds. The water dragon can blast pools and waterfalls onto the landscape; the fire dragon has a whole lot of offensive firepower; and the wind dragon is not only the fastest mount in the game but can help boost other flying mounts who head into its tailstream.

There’s an additional elemental world that must not be named. OK, it’s Shores of the Everdark. This shadow world is incredibly tough and not for casual adventuring. In fact, you have to find a key just to access it, and even then you’ll only be going into the zone to complete an insanely hard fight for some epic loot (such as, oh, your class gem). How hard is it? The developer on the livestream got swarmed and clobbered within seconds, even with all of the power of a barbarian’s candy hammers.

Contests and rewards

Regardless of whether or not you’ve bought into the head start, you and every other Trovian will enjoy some quality-of-life improvements. The big change is improved procedural world generation. With Mantle of Power, zones now flow a lot better and have more “cohesive elements” tying them together.

Also with the expansion comes contests that are tied to the leaderboard system. Each week contests will be announced for certain leaderboards. Depending on how you place on those leaderboards by the end of the week, you’ll have a chance to win some great loot. The devs even stress that these rewards are just as good if not better than some of the stuff you can find on the store.

Trove isn’t taking it easy after the expansion’s launch, either. The team hinted at another expansion in the works, this one dealing more with the story and lore behind the game.

For now, there should be enough of a challenge to entice bored players back into the colorful and boxy world of Trove and enough goals that adventurers will have plenty to do for a long time to come.

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