Trion Worlds kindly provided us with a key to try the beta for Trove, a new MMO that takes cues from Minecraft and Everquest Next but manages a style all of it’s own. The preview code included some in-game currency, a mount and various other bits and pieces so we had a chance to try much of the early part of the game.
Trove starts off a little more generously than most survival builders. You go out into a world covered in ‘plots’, big grey squares on the ground. You can simply walk up to one of these, select it and bam, you have a simple house. As soon as we made ours we realised we had a very excitable neighbour, he jumped all over the place, said hi and then never spoke another word, but he did follow us for a long while. You can see him in some of the screenshots. Our first impulse was to build a giant effigy. I’m not sure where that urge comes from, something primal, but it was always a fun past time in Minecraft and it’s just as effective here. I went to look at what else I could build at my crafting table and was intrigued by the class changer, considering I had been told our preview would include all the classes, this seemed important. To make it we needed some seeds that can be found on monsters and in plants, so I took my sword and headed into the nearby forest.
Hacking away at plants and skeletons all provides you with the seeds and with a tap of ‘Tab’ you can use builder mode where you can plant down blocks or mine them using some kind of energy beam. It’s quick and precise to both build and mine, making gathering materials an absolute breeze. Combat involves a few different attacks that unlock as you level up, and you level up by killing things. We spent some time murdering things in the forest, picking up items that dropped all over the place Borderlands-style, from a kebab we could use in place of a sword to a little helicopter hat.
Heading back to the house, I could build the class changer and the hub portal from my crafting bench and then plonk them down wherever I liked on my plot. The class changer allowed me to take on many roles like a ninja with a dodge attack, a fairy that fired magic orbs or even some kind of dragon wizard that could spread out impressively blocky looking fire. There’s also a sharpshooter class that use dual pistols and the basic knight class. Heading through the hub portal we were transported from our surprisingly unpopulated world into what appeared to be a bustling metropolis filled with other players and amazing buildings. From here you can go to other zones of different levels to find monsters, pick a new plot or just go looking for adventure.
Graphically Trove is like a high-res smooth edged version of Minecraft. It all looks clean cut and has a distinctive style of it’s own, but it wears its inspiration for all to see. The item and character design is worthy of mention with an odd mix of fantasy tropes and some brilliant visual jokes and novelties. By the end of our time with the beta we were riding around on a unicorn dressed as a magenta ninja wielding a kebab. It was brilliant.
Overall Trove isn’t going to set the world on fire, everything it’s doing has been done before in various ways. What it is doing right is making everything quick, entertaining and liberating. It really feels like you can go explore wherever you’d like and you’ll find things to do. It gives you a place to build and doesn’t limit you too much in what you want to do, it gives you easy access to a large community to play with. Trove is about fun and when it releases (as a free to play title with microtransactions) it’s easy to see how it’ll gather an audience with those who have tired of Minecraft and want something a little more structured but with plenty of scope for creativity and expression.
We’ll bring you a full review when Trove launches. For now you can check out the beta (open today) yourself here: http://www.trionworlds.com/trove/