MMO Cartographer: Gamigo’s voxel MMO Trove is a blocky treasure


Trove was not entirely new to me when I decided to return to its shores for MMO Cartographer this fall. I’d toyed with it a few times back in the Trion days, but I bounced off it immediately each and every time. I have never been particularly interested in voxel games, so that aspect alone couldn’t grab my attention. But after listening to MOP’s Bree talk about it on the Massively OP podcast, my curiosity about how things are going under the Gamigo‘s management finally lured me back into the game.

And this time was different. Much to my surprise, there’s a fun game under that blocky exterior.

My 14-year-old plays Minecraft, and my 4-year-old loves to watch her play, so it caught his attention immediately when he saw me playing Trove. He crawled up into the chair next to me and asked me if in fact it was Minecraft. It does look a bit like it. We shelter him from violent content, but Trove is cubically cartoonish, so I felt comfortable letting him hang out and watch while I was playing. He asked me 10000 questions: “Why did you kill that bee? Where are you going? How do you make a house? Why is your house so small?” I may bring him into the game to play together when he gets a little older, but for now, I’ve decided it’s best to play after he’s in bed!

Working on my house in Trove

I logged in my character, a Candy Barbarian, and was delighted to find that I was wearing a chicken hat and wielding flowering vines, as one does. Trove has a wide and wild variety of items, many designed by players as part of Trion’s and now Gamigo’s creator program. If you’re the creative type, you might want to check out Trove Creations on Trovesaurus to contribute your talents.

The aforementioned Barbarian was standing in Peaceful Hills, also called “the Hub.” The Hub is a meeting place, the center of the world, where there are crafting stations, adventure portals, and portals to club worlds. Club worlds are player-created worlds that are accessible to club members – or to everyone, if they so choose it. As you may have guessed, clubs are essentially guilds.  Players were running all over the place like ants at a picnic. Having looked around the Hub, I was ready to move on.

I noticed there was a quest tracker in the upper right corner of the screen to get me moving in the right direction, telling me to do things like “go to X area” and “do 6 dungeons.” That was a good thing since I had no memory whatsoever of what I had been doing the last time I played, nor did I have a clue what I should be doing now. It suggested I should go to Permafrost, and who am I to argue with the quest tracker?

This is where I hit my first snag. The controls are generally easy enough, but some of the hotkeys are not especially intuitive. For example, to bring up the interface that lets you move between biomes (or maps, if you prefer), you press Crtl-A. I opened that window, selected the Permafrost biome, and off I went.

The next objective was to complete some dungeons. Dungeons are conveniently marked on the compass with a tower icon. You’ll likely run into some other players around the dungeons, and everyone nearby gets credit for completion (and access to the loot chest!) when it’s done, whether you’re grouped or not, so it’s usually in everyone’s interest to work together. When you’ve made it to the end, having defeated all the monsters, avoided all the hazards, and figured out how to get from one place to the next, you’ll usually get to fight a boss. Right there, you will also see a box and an exit portal. Smash the box to get at the goodies inside, then hit the portal to go back to the entrance. Most dungeons are pretty quick endeavors, and you’ll be off to the next one in no time.

Once I finished the dungeon task, I had leveled up and moved onto the next biome, the Cursed Vale, which was crawling with undead creatures.

At that point, my inventory was full. (By default, inventory is “B” for “bag.”) I went to a relatively safe area and claimed the first empty housing lot I could find. Conveniently, when you claim an available plot, it moves your house to the new spot, along with all your crafting stations and whatnot, just the way you left it. I ran into my house and activated my loot collector to deconstruct all the stuff in my bag that I didn’t need and add the items to my collection.

It was about then that I realized one of the things I had stashed in my bags was a class unlock coupon, probably left over from years ago. Who doesn’t love a new class now and then? I changed to the Boomeranger, which, as you may have guessed, is a ranged class. And I was level 1 again. Back to the Medieval Highlands (newbie) biome to level up again.  I messed around as a Boomeranger for a while but ultimately went back to my original Candy Barbarian, just to get back on track.

Being able to change classes while out adventuring is definitely a feature that will appeal to people who like to do everything on one character, under one name. There are even bonuses for each class depending on which others you’ve leveled up across your account.

The game moves at a pretty good clip, and I looted upgrades along the way. It wasn’t long before the game told me to go to the Desert Frontier. That biome is exactly what it sounds like: red mesas, cacti, and bleached bones.

Despite looking like any other blocky voxel game and having some of the same gathering and building elements, Trove truly is a real MMORPG. I realize now I’ve barely scratched the surface of it as a solo player. There are a lot of other aspects I tried out, such as crafting, that appear to have much more to them than I ever got around to. I hope to explore those things more thoroughly in the future.

I wish I had gotten an opportunity to look into the club world system. I am certain people are making amazing things out there. There are houses that are bigger and prettier than mine for sure. (If you’re interested in scouting around, check out the public club listing on Trovesaurus! You can teleport into any of them using their ID numbers and save them to your in-game “liked worlds” list.)

This game has enough charm that I will be back. In my limited experience, it was friendly for short play sessions, which is exactly what I need when my life is hectic and I have children swarming all over me. (Do two kids count as a swarm? It feels like a swarm.) I played a few longer sessions too and found plenty of things to do. If the blocky, childish look has turned you off… well, to be honest, it might just keep turning you off. But if you can get past the superficial, this might be a good side game for the busy parent. And you might even bring the kids.

Every other weekend, Massively OP’s Mia DeSanzo opens up her satchel of maps and decides where to go next in MMO Cartographer, Massively OP’s journey through MMO worlds, be they old or new, ordinary or unusual, or well-loved or long-forgotten. Expect the eclectic!
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