Trove Progression: Classes, Mastery, and Gear

Trove offers a surprisingly wide array of options for character progression, much of which may be missed at first glance. It may not be nearly as complex as what you find in the traditional MMO, but the layers are there and certainly satisfying enough to keep me playing. I’ve written on Trove’s progression a couple of times already, first addressing the issue of whether it is a shallow grind, and secondly looking at what I consider to be one of the more unique elements of Trove gameplay, movement progression. However I’ve been wanting to provide a general overview for those curious as to what Trove offers by way of long term goals and character progression. That has proven to be more than I’d like to include in a single post, so instead I will break it up over at least two articles beginning with a look at class level, mastery rank, and gear progression.

This screenshot was taken right after I reached level 20 with my first class.

This screenshot was taken right after I reached level 20 with my first class.

Class Level

The first and most basic element of progression in Trove is leveling one of the many classes available. Trove is similar to Final Fantasy XIV in that with a single character you are able to play as all the classes, only they must be leveled separately. Max level for each class is 20 but it is possible to increase your character’s level beyond that based on gear quality. Upon reaching level 20 there is a server wide announcement (or perhaps just within your current instance) of your character’s name and class. I have only one character at max level myself and it was a bit of a grind toward the end, however gameplay isn’t all that different at 20 than it is during the 10-20 leveling process, so I was never in a hurry and didn’t feel as though I was missing out.

To get started, depending on your character level you will enter one of the portals provided by the hub world in order to defeat mobs and complete dungeons for XP. Unlike many MMOs, mobs and dungeons never “grey out” so that you can continue to earn XP in a lower level zone, albeit at a slower rate. This is helpful if you’re struggling with a particularly squishy class. If you are leveling with other players, XP is applied to everyone involved regardless of who tags the mob first. In fact, if you arrive a little late to the final boss you will still be rewarded XP just for being close.

For the most part there is no real advantage to leveling one or multiple classes, it’s up to you which approach you prefer. However, if you want to participate in the hourly challenges with the highest level of efficiency, you will want all of them at max level and well geared in order to get the multipliers applied to specific classes each challenge as well as those for completing challenges in Uber 5 and 6 worlds. If you’re taking a more casual approach, I would recommend getting them all at least to level 10 which will be enough to access Uber 1 worlds and complete the challenges with at least the class multiplier. The cost of a new class is 1050 credits, about $7, however if you are patient and complete the Star Bar every day you can earn one new class every 8-10 days using the in game currency of Cubits. Stars are earned by completing lair and dungeon bosses and the Star Bar is filled after completing about a dozen.

At master rank 20, you receive a set of wings as a reward.

At master rank 20, you receive a set of wings as a reward.

Mastery Rank

Whereas levels are unique to whichever class you happen to be playing, your mastery rank gauges your overall investment in the game. Each tier require one hundred points and points can be earned by doing just about everything in Trove. They are earned by gaining levels, advancing your professions, and collecting recipes, skins, mounts, costumes, allies, flasks—basically if you can collect it, you’ll get mastery for it. Because several of these collectibles can be purchased from the cash shop, it is possible to increase your mastery level by spending money, however many of those cash shop purchases can be made with Cubits which are earned in game.

Each rank of mastery provides a different reward, anything from a permanent percentage increase to a stat, Cubits for the cash shop, crafting materials, mounts, wings, ships, and even Credits which can otherwise only be purchased with real money. For a complete list of the Mastery rank rewards by tier, open up the character panel in the UI by pressing “C” and click the icon of a ribbon in the upper right corner. You will receive a reward for every rank up to 100; after that rewards are received every 10 levels. At first, leveling classes was my primary focus but now that I’ve become more familiar with the mastery system and its rewards, I think I’m more excited about a new mastery rank than I am about gaining a level with a class.

If you work on gear in Trove, not only will your stats progress, but you can look as good as I do as well.

If you work on gear in Trove, not only will your stats progress, but you can look as good as I do as well.

Gear Progression

Obtaining the best gear in Trove requires a little luck, a little crafting, and a whole lot of grinding for materials. Currently there are eight tiers of gear: common, rare, epic, legendary, relic, resplendent, shadow, and the newest addition, radiant. The first four tiers drop within the zone portal of the same color but once you work your way up to the Uber zones gear drops could be anything from legendary to shadow with the chance to drop decreasing as the rarity increases. However the higher the Uber zone you enter, the greater the chance for shadow gear. As you level you won’t really need to worry about gear, it rains down like candy from the lairs and dungeons you’ll be completing and by level 9 or 10 you should at least have a complete set of legendary (orange colored) gear.

Gearing gets much more interesting (and complicated) once you start collecting shadow gear. Shadow pieces start at shadow level 1 and can be upgraded to shadow level 5. Within each shadow level there are also five tiers of upgrading which can be identified by the stars on the item’s tool tip. The number of stars that are full (yellow) will tell you how much the shadow gear has been upgraded. With a shadow level 1 piece it will cost you 15 flux and 10 Eyes of Q’bthulhu for each tier and then 50 Eyes and 100 flux to increase the gear to shadow level 2.

At this point things get grindy. Once you’ve upgraded a shadow level 2 piece five times (all the stars are full), you’ll need to deconstruct two other pieces of shadow level 2 gear to obtain the materials necessary to advance the piece to level 3. This pattern persists all the way up to Radiant which requires three penta-forged souls (three deconstructed shadow level 5 pieces of gear) to craft. In addition to leveling your gear in this way, you can also add additional stats and re-roll the third and fourth stat on every piece. And as mentioned earlier, as your gear improves so does your character level. As a level 20 Dracolyte with fully upgraded shadow level 2 gear, my overall level with the gear is 26. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of progression and customization involved with crafting the best gear in Trove.

One aspect of this progression that I really appreciate is that while it may take you much longer, even by playing in the lower level Uber zones you will be able to make some progress toward gearing your character, if you like that sort of progression without the challenging combat encounters of Uber 5 and 6. You are also able to buy some of the crafting mats from the cash shop (the Eyes of Q’bthulhu) but the shadow gear itself must be earned in game. With the dragon caches rewarded during challenges there is no reason to ever buy the Eyes unless you are in a real hurry as both flux and Eyes of Q’bthulhu are rewarded in large quantities. For example, in only a few nights I’ve pushed my gear through all the level 1 and level 2 shadow tiers (five stars each) and I am now working on the pieces needed to create the forged souls for shadow level 3.

Believe it or not, there’s actually more that I could mention regarding classes, mastery, and especially gear progression, but this should serve as a solid primer for anyone getting started in Trove or curious about what kind of progression the game offers. Next I’ll be taking a look at leveling professions, fishing and ship crafting, and building a Cornerstone and Club World in Trove.

High Rez Images: Photo-bombed

Once again my featured screenshot for the week comes from Trove because… that’s pretty much the only game I’m playing right now. A new patch dropped this week and with it a new form of gameplay, Challenges. Every hour on the hour players are given 20 minutes to clear a certain number of dungeons in a specific biome in order to earn a variety of rewards. The jury is still out on whether this will be fun over the long haul, but for now I enjoy the hourly race with other Trovians.

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However I’m easily distracted and would often find myself taking a detour mid-flight to the next dungeon. Most of the time it was to mine infinium, but a few times it was to take a screenshot of an interesting dungeon design I had never seen before. Enter the Trove pinball machine. I thought the old arcade game dungeon was pretty cool but this pinball machine takes the prize. My first shot went well, I captured the name “Trove” emblazoned on the side which was what first caught my attention. I didn’t realize it was a pinball machine right away, but oh buddy, once I did I hopped on up to the top to take a look.

The dungeon itself is inside the pinball machine and you can view it through the glass top. It’s not terribly interesting to look at, but I definitely give the developers credit for their overall dungeon design. There are often little (or big) nods to the history of gaming— an appropriate direction for a retro-style voxel based game— and they can sometimes be a little tricky to maneuver the first time through with maze-like features and platforming elements.

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I didn’t have time to actually try the pinball machine dungeon, so I went for the quick screenshot so I could get back to my challenge and that’s when I got photo-bombed, literally. I think I must have been standing near the boss which caused it to spawn one of these mini-cannons. Although the boss must have been beneath the glass the cannon spawned next to me above the dungeon and took a pot shot at my head while I was trying to take a selfie. It’s okay mini-cannon, I kind of feel the same way about selfies.

Once the photo-bombing culprit was dealt with I was able to get the intended screenshot however now I’m fonder of the one with the little guy. It’s so hard to capture action screenshots in Trove because you have to physically type in /screenshot which is why most of mine are pretty basic. Having anything more than just my character in the image is a welcome change. I almost feel bad about blowing him to voxel bits.

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Seven Tips for Completing Challenges in Trove

  1. Make sure you are mastery level 30. You won’t be able to participate until you reach this mastery rank.
  2. Work on leveling all of your classes to at least level 10. There are bonuses applied to each boss kill if you use one of the two bonus classes listed for each challenge. Completing the second challenge tier is impossible without these multipliers so taking advantage of them is key. Without any bonuses, each boss kill equals one point. For the first tier you need ten, for the second forty, and for the third, one hundred. However with the 3x multiplier from using the bonus class, each boss is worth three points. This way instead of needing to complete 50 dungeons, you will only need 17 to complete the first two tiers. The class multiplier alone won’t get you through the third tier, but it will at least get you through the first two which means four caches each challenge instead of two.
  3. Mobility is key for keeping up with the crowd. Make sure your gear has plenty of jump, and that you have wings. You automatically receive a pair for mastery rank 20, so you will have them by the time you reach mastery rank 30, but don’t forget to equip them for all of your classes. Lastly, if you don’t have a mount faster than Slow Sebastian, get one. Every bit of speed counts.
  4. Work on obtaining and upgrading a magic based damage set of shadow gear and a physical based damage set along with one of each weapon type if possible. There are two other multipliers available but they require access to the U5 (3x bonus) and U6 (9x bonus) zone and will require some gearing and leveling to obtain. For the most caches during each challenge, your goal is to have all the classes at level 20 with gear powerful enough to enter U6 zones. That will grant you all bonus multipliers and thus allow you to work through the higher tiers of rewards.
  5. Stick with the group. When you zone into a map, check where the correct biome is located and then stay with the crowd of players heading in that same direction. If you work through the dungeons together it will go much quicker. And if you happen to be in the lead, I recommend being courteous and letting other players catch up if they aren’t too far behind before going all out on the boss so everyone gets credit (you only have to be close, you don’t need to tag the boss).
  6. Three star dungeons are your friends. You don’t get bonus points for defeating a three star boss, but there are generally two other bosses in the same dungeon which allows you to get three kills without a lot of travel.
  7. Change maps quickly once one has been completed or if the biome isn’t close to the spawn point. Sometimes you’ll be in a map with a small biome for the challenge and all the dungeons are completed quickly. Other times you may find the biome you need is too far away. When this happens you want to change instances quickly. The best way to do this is to port back to your club world and use the portals there. If you don’t have a club world, you’ll need to port back to the hub, build your cornerstone there, then use your personal portals. If you try to build your cornerstone and use a portal to the same Uber level within the map you are trying to leave it will not switch map instances.