This weekend I decided to finally decided to buckle down and expand my MMO horizons a bit and play Trove. I also finally took the time to revisit to Landmark to see how is has been shaping up. The results of both of those explorations were... different than what I expected. So I will be making a couple posts about that. This one will be covering Trove. The next one should be in a few days and covering Landmark.
DISCLAIMER: This is by no means intended to be a in-depth review of either game. Consider it the opinions of someone who played the game for one to two hours for the first time and has very little clue about what he is saying. Another thing to keep in mind is that Trove is in Open Beta but should be released in a few days, on July 9th to be more precise. It is unlikely things will change radically by release but they will most likely add a few new things and certainly correct some bugs.
Of the two games, Trove is the one I had the most fun with. If you never heard of Trove before then just imagine the lovechild of Minecraft and a MMO and you will have something pretty similar to this game. In fact, I will be honest and admit that the first time I heard about the game I was pretty cynical about it and thought it would be a soulless clone of Minecraft with some MMO traps. After playing it for a couple hours though I am very glad to say I was completely wrong about it. Yes, it does have a quite a bit of Minecraft on its DNA but it also has its own heart and soul.
The first thing I thought interesting was the character creation, or lack of one, it just asks your character name and then just drops you into a tutorial area with the initial class (Knight) and some default appearance. Then it does the usual tutorial thing of teaching how to move, how to attack and so on. As you complete each step you earn cubits it is kind of a currency that you can buy stuff in their shop. By the time you finish those basic tutorials you have enough to unlock another class of your choice and the tutorial even teaches and asks you to do so. I end up choosing the Shadow Hunter, a bow-using type of class. This is another interesting part of the game. Since you can only have one character you can just switch between the classes you have unlocked as long as you find a wardrobe to do so. Each class has their own level and equipped gear. And as you switch between the classes the equipped gear is changes automagically. For me this is the best cure for altitis that could exist. :p
After that the tutorial directs you to the dresser where you can change your characters gender (which doesn't make all that much difference, cosmetically speaking, from what I've noticed) and appearance. These are things that you can also change at any time as long as you can acess a dresser which isn't too hard.
Once you are done with those steps the tutorial guides you to the hub world, the place where people spawn when they login in the game. From there you can also find portals to other worlds, each colored for its difficulty and intended levels. The tutorial still keeps guiding through these portals and adventuring. In fact, after a couple hours of playing I still wasn't finished with the tutorials as I reached the step of either joining a Club (it is how guilds are called there) or creating one of my own. Before that I did quite a bit of adventuring, got my own house, a basic mount, some basic crafting and a few other things. This isn't meant to imply that the tutorial is overbearing or too much of a hand-holder. The tutorial steps are short, to the point and pretty clear. And again, they reward cubits once you complete them and with the ones I earned doing those steps I unlocked another class for myself, the Dracolyte.
Combat is pretty action-y requiring moving and dodging around. Or it might just be the case with the Shadow Hunter since as usual for bow classes in MMOs I found them to be powerful but squishy. In any case, I loved the combat and reminded me a lot of the Guild Wars 2. Another similarity with the combat in that game is that everyone who helps kill the mobs get credit and loot for it. So no having to worry about kill-stealing!
One thing I am not sure about is if this game follows the usual Holy-Trinity (the usual tank/DPS/healer) of other MMOs. I only soloed so far and the dungeons I did were pretty small and almost all of them I could tackle on my own. There were a few though where I felt overwhelmed by the monsters. That might have been either by noobiness or choice of class or most likely both! Or it could also mean that those were meant to be tackled as a group. I believe there should be some group-specific content at the later areas too but right now I am still in the noobie areas so I don't suppose there are much of that kind of content for those levels.
Another thing I thought was interesting is there is no quests. The closest thing I found to it so far was when I reached a dungeon it would say something like "Kill this boss that is this dungeon". I really like that because in traditional MMOs it is not unusual for me to avoid an otherwise interesting zone just because the quests there suck or because in another zone the quests give better rewards. With this any direction I pick is as good as any and I can just go towards one out of curiosity to see what is there. For example, I chose to go to an area that looked full of undead just because I wanted to see if there was something interesting there. Perhaps later on my decision might be shaped by the kind of resources I want or some other factor. But right now it is really refreshing and something I wish more MMOs embraced.
Lastly, but not least important, there is the building part. Like in Minecraft the interface for it is quite simple. Just put a block whenever you want or take one away. Much to my surprise this isn't limited just to your house (or Cornerstone as they call it). You can also place blocks in the world. This makes me wonder if that can be used as some kind of strategy when dealing with monsters. Most likely not but it would be interesting for sure!
There is also plenty of props to craft, some gear-enhancing items, mounts and other stuff I honestly don't have the knowledge to speak about right now. Gears can also be deconstructed for some materials and acquiring its appearance. So if you outlevel a piece of gear whose appearance you really like you can just deconstruct it to use its appearance over the item that you are currently use.
All in all I loved those couple hours I spent with Trove and intend to play more of it. It is game that has its own charm, whimsical and most important tries to make it as easy as possible for people to get into it and having fun!
If you are interested in giving the game a try too, I highly recommend you read these tips by Paeroka, of Nerdy Bookahs, where she explains some of the things that aren't entirely clear when you are doing the tutorials. Another good source of info about the game is the Trove Wiki.
Oh, Paeroka is also doing a giveaway for a Carpet Mount. You can participate on it until July 9th, the release date of the game.