Trove is a free to play, class based, MMORPG brought to you by Trion Worlds. It just released for PS4 and Xbox One, and honestly, I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.
Trove’s story is impossibly simplistic. Dark forces have overrun the once peaceful realms of the sun goddess and it’s up to you (and thousands of others) to drive them back. I found this to be rather a shame. A lot of the enemies, NCP’s and locations you come across seem interesting, but lack context. The lack of narrative does little to hurt the game overall, but I wish the developers could have added just a little bit more.
Trove utilises a fairly conventional MMO combat system, you have a selection of abilities (specific to your class) on a hotbar with cooldowns. The crucial difference between Trove and say, World of Warcraft is that Trove’s combat is fully real-time. You can run, jump and dodge to your hearts content. I like this style of combat. It adds a feeling of agency that I feel is lacking from turn based or other non real-time systems. The basic gameplay loop is similar to that of Diablo’s. You run a dungeon, get new loot and become stronger, and then you run a tougher dungeon. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the quest for new loot, you will feel right at home. Dungeons are randomly generated, which keeps things fresh and there is a decent amount of enemy variety. New worlds also unlock new areas and biomes. This helps to keep things interesting.
But combat and exploration are only part of what Trove has to offer. There is also a Minecraft-esque building mode. In the main game you can build a house on a small plot of land called a cornerstone. In private worlds however you are free to let your imaginations run wild, building whatever you like. I’m always a big fan of games that provide moments of quiet and reflection to break up the action and the building does exactly that. If you’re tired of running dungeons, you can relax and build that conservatory you’ve been dreaming about.
Graphics and Sound
Everything is light and colourful. Possibly the greatest strength of the overall aesthetic is the sheer variety. There are a wide array of biomes in the over-world, each with its own distinct feel, look and sound. There are desert worlds, neon worlds, candy worlds and fae worlds (and many more). Everything about Trove is imaginative and a joy to look at. It may be far from photo realistic, but it looks damn good.
In combat or traversal the controls work fine (although wings can be a fit finicky). It’s the UI that lets Trove down, at least on console. There are simply too many menus, meaning that to access some of the ones you need you have to press and hold the d-pad. And using workbenches or loot collectors involves a lot of awkward use of the analog stick. These are niggles, but still, things could have been optimised better. As I said though, in combat, the controls are simple and responsive.
When you first start playing, Trove is a cakewalk. You likely wont even realise that you have healing potions. But things gradually get harder as you move up to the bigger worlds. You may have to start thinking more strategically, manage your mana better, and chug a few potions. There will eventually come a point where solo play isn’t really an option, but that’s really far in. I would recommend playing with friends though. Loot is instanced so there are no arguments and I feel like having someone along with you is a great way to learn the game faster. There are some slightly obtuse systems and two heads are better than one. The tutorial however needs work. The objectives it gives you can be frustratingly vague and if you complete one early, you have to do it again. Both me and my friend had to craft a workbench twice.
Trove, like most MMOs is designed to be a perpetual experience and I can absolutely see myself logging on a few times a week for an extended period. It’s a game that you can play for hours, or minutes. You can run a huge, endgame dungeon, or you can tinker with your homestead. It’s the variety that Trove offers, especially for a free-to-play that keeps me coming back.