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

    
8
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!

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
zoward

Trove is becoming less fun over time. Which is to say, the original game was pure fun. All of the recent changes are made with an eye towards monetization: lootboxes, timegates, and seasonal events that heavily push daily logins. If you can ignore all that, the original game is still under there somewhere. You can level your classes, build to your heart’s content, grind for dragons, etc.

Reader
Robert Mann

I must say one thing: Voxel need not mean blocky.

I’ve seen several very amazing projects that were rather darn smooth. Sadly, most of the developers decided to chase the “Blocky is in” train instead of continuing on a unique path.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

I do love building and mining games, and I like voxel stuff. I like MMORPGs, though I played Trove for a lot of years and am off of it at the moment.

I was getting that builder itch recently and looking what games were out there. It’s too bad that there are so few actual MMORPGs doing this. There are lots of limited server survival games, but that’s not what Trove is, it’s a real MMORPG and is a builder not a survivor (though there is lots to do besides building in it and they had many expansions over the years).

I tried this huge free demo on Steam for Dragon Quest Builders 2 and by the time the demo is over you’ve played about 15 hours. If you get to the end, you sort of want to keep going, so I purchased the game. The main part of it is single player, though it does also have limited multiplayer shared building. It’s a fairly amazing game and I’m hoping that if they do another sequel that the multiplayer aspects get expanded a lot.

I’m not usually that into JRPGs but the quirkiness of the single-player story just drew me in and the builder stuff is really excellent in the game (you open more as you go along, it takes a while to open all the features).

I really very much hope that they do an expanded multiplayer version of the game in the future. I’d like to see the entire game able to be done co-op and let people set up Minecraft like servers, though that’s probably just a dream.

Reader
Sorenthaz

It’s a fun game but if you try to dig deeper into it the problems start to show.

Basically, it’s got a casual exterior but once that candy coating is removed there’s a pretty ridiculous level of grinding and part of it is also tied to how much stuff you’ve collected, which includes cash shop mounts/costumes/etc.

That’s the trouble I’ve always had with it is I have loads of fun with it initially when I get into it, but then I start trying to go after things that inevitably burn me out. But otherwise the game’s loads of fun and Bomber Royale is the most fun I’ve had in awhile when it comes to PvP content.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

But you don’t really have to grind for that stuff. That just is a part of the game for people who play all the time so that they have things to do. You can get most all of the stuff just playing normally, and then the last of it is mostly just different cosmetics for things that you are able to grind for. If they didn’t have that part there would be no reason for the hardcore people to still be playing all this time. Should they remove the entirely optional hard-core part of the game so that casual players don’t feel bad that they can’t get every cosmetically different dragon and mount that exists?

When I played, I’d see people like you in the game all the time. Casual players that haven’t played long that suddenly want all the content and late-game stuff as fast as possible.

There is stuff there that is supposed to take years of playing to earn but these casual people come on and want it right away and want people to bring them through dungeons they’re not strong enough for all the time (and to be fair, I actually did bring a lot of people through those dungeons when I played, but hearing casual players who hadn’t spent many hours in the game constantly begging to be brought through was an annoyance).

If you just play as normal eventually you’re strong enough to actually be of benefit to others going through the more difficult stuff and even be able to solo it if your twitch skills are up to snuff. Just play the lower content of your level and eventually, you’ll get there. You don’t need everything all at once.

That said even the grinding stuff isn’t too much of a grind because there is a cap on how often you’ll get high tier rewards going through dungeons. You basically go through each instanced dungeon one single time per week. They need this kind of longer-term goal stuff in the game to keep people playing. People normally do it in a single day over a fairly short time. It irks me to hear people who haven’t really played that long or casual players whining and wanting everything all at once when it’s supposed to take a lot of time to get the top tier stuff (which totally isn’t needed for play at all and is just something for the hardcore people to do).

There are guild goals that may seem grindy if you’re not in a big guild, because they’re community goals meant to be done by a huge number of people all doing little bits.

The game is a perfectly fine casual game if you don’t yearn for every single thing that exists in the game in a short time. I don’t see how the game is at fault for giving people who play more goals and things to do in the game at the high end. I in fact was a long term casual player myself that just earned things over time rather than playing and yearning for everything all at once. It took me years of casual playing to get to the higher tier stuff and I was fine with that, as most casual people should be.

Reader
Sorenthaz

I mean I’ve certainly put my nose to the grindstone in that game before and plugged in a good amount of time to it. My Dracomancer is quite beefy and can solo the Shadow Arenas/Tower? on Normal or whatever, and a few of them on Hard. I just haven’t been able to maintain that interest and usually get turned off by the long haul because I get bored in most games when I have weekly checklists or whatever.

Usually when I dip into Trove I’ll play it for a month or two fairly regularly and then the interest wanes and I move on to something else.

The actual RNG grind at endgame though does become problematic when I’m looking for Radiant or Stellar? or whatever the top stuff is and it’s basically like your typical loot grinder. And gems can start to become quite costly to upgrade as well. If you play it at a casual pace daily or weekly then yeah it’s not that much of a bother, but I like to feel like I’m making progress on stuff and hitting RNG grind walls gets annoying after awhile.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

It is fun but I always had problems finding folks to team up with for certain events.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

I really like the way this game looks and love Creativerse and Minecraft but my account issues with Trion kept me away before and I hear Gamigo is no better so haven’t given it a shot yet. It certainly has appeal based on what I see about it though.