Friday’s livestream on Trove provided some much needed clarity on the Dragon patch coming this next Tuesday, June 16th. For a full rundown of what was covered during the live stream on June 12th, I recommend you look at this post on the official forums or watch this video by Koba Games. While there are some aspects of the patch I’m a little confused about, overall it’s looking to be quite meaty and from what I can tell there is still more to come before the official launch of the game on July 9th.
Personally, I’m most excited about the teaser on the new class. I’m an alt fiend; I love trying new classes in this or any other game so no matter what I was going to latch onto this bit of information. However knowing that the new class is likely a necromancer of sorts nearly overshadows all the new features coming next week. Almost. My only level 80 character in Guild Wars 2 is a Necromancer, it’s a class theme I really enjoy but that isn’t represented in a lot of games I play. Granted, Trove’s version will likely be a little campy and paired down (there’s only four active abilities and one passive per class) but nevertheless I’m still anticipating a new main.
As for next week, I think the most important thing to gather from all the notes available (especially if you’re still new to the game) is that the options for gear progression and the movement progression I spoke of earlier today are expanding quite a bit. As is the grind, unfortunately. Not long ago I stated that I was okay with the grind in Trove, and in some ways I still am. The activities you have to do to earn the crafting materials needed for all the various gear upgrades, professions leveling, and club world building are ones I enjoy regardless. That said, it’s become painfully apparent to me that all of these pathways of progression require many of the same materials (and in large quantities) such that you will have to make decisions on what you want to accomplish. That’s not a bad thing, it extends the life of the game and gives weight to the choices you make, but I’m afraid in the long run it will lead to burn out.
I’m sure the new gear upgrades are a welcome addition to those players who have been dedicated to the game since early beta, however as someone only recently committed to playing Trove I find it daunting. I have to keep reminding myself that we are in beta and that (hopefully) the official launch will bring with it an influx of new players for whom all of these progression paths will be new and I’ll feel less pressure to catch up to the veteran crowd. For now I’ve got to make some decisions, which means I will be ignoring the new gear grind (I’m not ready for it anyway) and focusing on class leveling, professions leveling, farming basic sets of shadow gear for all the class types, and participating in the challenges that will award the materials necessary for “training” a dragon.
I’m a little disappointed in how the dragon rearing is being introduced, but that’s mostly my own fault. Rather than waiting to hear what the system would actually entail, I started imagining a system similar to ArcheAge’s mounts but more extensive in which you receive a dragon egg as a drop and then through some type of crafting system, progress you’re little guy from cute and cuddly to destructive and terrifying. Instead, players with a level 30 or higher mastery rank will be participating in challenges made available every hour in order to earn dragon caches. Each cache will have a chance to drop a number of different items including large quantities of flux (which I suspect will greatly affect the economy), Penta-Forged Shadow Souls for gear upgrades, and Dragon Souls.
Dragon Souls are permanent consumables that stack with each use. With your first stack you get a dragon pet, at five you receive a “fledgling” dragon which functions similarly to wings but at a slight disadvantage (so as not to replace wings entirely). At fifteen souls your dragon becomes an adult and then finally at thirty souls it becomes a Legendary dragon with the ability to destroy dungeons and the surrounding landscape with fireballs. I see this last stage as the next level of “movement” progression as it will change the way players gather materials and breach dungeons. There is another tier of Dragon Soul collecting after Legendary at 40 Souls, but it provides your character with a permanent stat boost rather than affecting the mount.
How will you keep track of the number of Dragon Souls you have collected? I’m glad you asked. Trion is also introducing an achievement system, referred to on the livestream as “badges” which along with tracking your Dragon Soul consumption (is that like counting calories?) it will reward you for various achievements like number of blocks destroyed, days played, dungeons completed, and who knows what else. It sounds like an extension of the Golden Thread quest chain, allowing players to continue earning rewards long past the tutorial phase.
The last feature of note is actually tied to the shadow gear upgrades. I won’t go into the details of upgrading because I’m a little fuzzy on them myself and unless you are currently in the process of improving shadow gear it will probably sound foreign anyway. What I would like to point out are the shiny visual effects that will be made available with the new tier of Radiant gear. Radiant gear is higher than Shadow 5 gear (which is also a new tier, I believe) and if I’m understanding this all correctly, crafting a radiant weapon will also unlock a visual effect that you can place on your weapons. The effects listed on the livestream were lightning, fire, magic, undead, and frost but there may be more in the future.
What’s unfortunate in all this is the incredibly sloggish grind that will be required to craft the Radiant gear and thus obtain the visual effects. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the details, maybe the Radiant effects are earned or crafted separately. If not, this means a significant form of cosmetic progression is locked deeply behind a wall of challenging combat and the grindiest of gear crafting grinds. If that is the case (and we’ll just have to wait and see), I may hop on the forums and suggest some “scrub” visual effects be made available for those of us without the time or skill to obtain the radiant gear. I would even be okay with these being sold on the cash shop. For the sake of those who earn the Radiant effects, I’d be okay with the cash shop versions being a little less flashy, different color schemes, or whatever it takes to make sure those who earned it the hard way still get the recognition. But come on, who doesn’t want to duel wield flaming peppermint battlehammers?
Other than that last point which may or may not be problematic depending on the details, I’m excited about Tuesday’s patch. It will further flesh out the end game in Trove by providing players with so many new options for personal goals to set and achieve. I may not be able to interact with some of the new features much right away, but I’m glad they will be there waiting for me when I’m ready. In the meantime, I’ll continue leveling the classes and professions I have available as I’m dreaming of dancing with dem bones, dem bones.