Trove’s Dragon Patch

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.

A sneak peek at the upcoming class from the livestream provided by Matthieux on the forums.

A sneak peek at the upcoming class from the livestream provided by Matthieux on the forums.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Treasure Trove of Trovian Treasures: Collaborative Multiplayer

Last week I wrote a post on 10 reasons why you should consider playing Trove, however as my notes on what I love about the game or the details I find interesting continues to grow, I don’t think a “top ten” article covers the game well enough. It’s not that I think Trove is the best game I’ve ever played, but I do think it is underrated largely because most of us don’t know enough about the game to risk giving it a try. With a market as saturated as the MMO genre, it’s understandable that we all want a little more information be it from the studio or via word of mouth before we dive into a new title. So rather than a “10 more reasons” follow up post, I’m going to do a series of articles that will hopefully paint a better picture of what the game is like in order to give anyone interested the intel needed to decide if this game is for them or not. For today I’d like to point out some of the multiplayer-friendly features that give Trove a nice “we’re all in this together” feel.

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Gathering Crafting Materials

When you are gathering materials for crafting, any player close by will receive duplicates of those same materials. For those of you who have played MMOs without shareable nodes, you’ll understand why this is such a jewel feature.  It’s even better than shared nodes because so long as you stay close you can tag team an area. I like this approach to gathering because it encourages players to stick together and there is no animosity if someone gets to a node before you. For example, there are these giant sunflowers you need to harvest sunlight bulbs from for the gardening profession. It’s a bit of a pain to do alone, but a lot of fun with a group of players. Instead of a race, you get a community activity!

And while we’re talking about gathering, I’ll mention a couple of other noteworthy conveniences. First of all, unlike Minecraft, you don’t have to go pick up the materials you gather, they automatically come to you. So if that bit of shapestone you just blasted with your laser falls off the side of a cliff, it will rebound right back into your inventory. Additionally, for several of the crafting mats like mushroom chunks, sunlight bulbs, bottles (which grow plant like in the open world), and enchanted wood, as long as you are mounted you can run right over them to gather. Same goes for anything you plant in your cornerstone as a part of the gardening profession.

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Lairs and Dungeons

Similar to the group-friendly status of gathering, when you reach a dungeon you may find that a group of players has already reached the boss, however even if you don’t make it to the final chamber in time you will still receive the XP, loot, and dungeon completion credit toward the daily quest. You’ll still need to physically navigate to the boss in order to pick up the loot (which is unique to your character by the way, no fighting loot ninjas for your rewards), but you don’t even need to tag the boss to receive credit. Yes, this opens up options for players to abuse the system and simply follow others around while they do the work but functionally I haven’t seen that happen. You’d have to be pretty engaged to follow people around (so no AFK) and so most players do the right thing and help each other out for the kill as much as they can. Overall it’s another design decision that favors camaraderie over competition and I for one am a fan of that line of thinking.


One of the more surprising choices made by the developers was to omit an auction house or even a universal gold-type currency from the game. Instead, a lot of the crafting materials are tradable and the primary currency used to determine an object’s value (flux) is itself a crafting mat. Basically the economy is a bartering system. Some of you might find this to be an inconvenience; I know I tend to prefer auction houses and as such I haven’t made much use of the trade system. However what I have observed while reading trade chat is that this system encourages players to interact with one another in the same way that group materials gathering, group dungeon crawling, and group shadow arenas do.

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Shadow Arenas

Shadow Arenas are Trove’s end game for those focused on combat skill. They are group instances with a high difficulty level that are accessed by portals that must first be found out in the open world in the Uber 1-5 zones. Gameplay involves fending off wave after wave of monsters and ultimately defeating a final boss to earn loot and shadow shards that can be used to obtain a variety of desirable items. The portals require a key to enter and the keys can either be crafted (which takes some time to amass the materials) or purchased with real money. Initially I was concerned about the keys being purchasable from the cash shop, and some of you may still fine this a bit too much “Pay to Win” for your liking, however I have recently spent a little more time participating in Shadow Arenas and I find the cash shop keys far less problematic now.

My concern was that players who purchased the keys would have an advantage in earning powerful gear and crafting mats for upgrades, however in practice it’s not really an issue because the Shadow Arenas are a group activity. Just having keys of any origin is a benefit to everyone. For example, last night I grouped with seven other people for a string of Shadow Arena runs. Four of us had keys available for the group to share and I never did find out whether they were crafted or purchased; it didn’t really matter. Eight people were able to get loot four times regardless of whether any of us used the cash shop or not. Additionally, I could have continued to run SAs all night without spending a dime as there was a steady stream of requests for people to join groups. Had I been focused on gearing up through SAs I could have easily done it by using shared keys. Because Shadow Arena keys benefit more than one person, the importance of whether they were purchased or crafted is negated. What matters is that keys are circulating; big spenders and F2P players alike benefit from the general pool of keys available in the game at any given time.

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Club Worlds

Despite the fact that I have spent a little more time exploring club worlds and even joining a Club myself (although I don’t think I picked a very populated one), I still don’t know a lot about them. What I can say is that Club Worlds offer another form of group activity by allowing players to work together toward creating an environment all their own. Some of the worlds I have visited are thematically consistent. Others look like a buffet of nerdy pop culture references. Whatever the group’s intention, Club Worlds provide an avenue for joint activity that is about creation rather than destruction, a welcome change to the traditional MMO end game content.

As you can see there are a number of features in Trove that promote a wide variety group activities. Whether you want to craft, build, trade, or take on challenging bosses, there is plenty of opportunity to do so with friends and strangers alike. Based on the design decisions behind these group friendly mechanics and features, I expect this trend to continue as a core part of the game. I certainly hope it does, it’s one of the reasons I find the game so inviting. There is a solid community vibe once you get properly oriented in the game.

I hope that gives any interested persons a good overview of Trove’s multiplayer functionality. Next time I’ll be looking at some of the progression systems in Trove. While the game may be perfect for short, casual play sessions, there’s also a lot of character development providing deep gameplay with lots to work on over the long haul. Trove’s end game is not for the faint of heart.

10 Reasons to Play Trove

I started playing Trove a couple of weeks before the game went into open beta and I’ve never regretted the ten dollars I paid to get in. My approach to the MMO has always been casual— I rarely play for more than 30-40 minutes—however each session is always a lot of fun. The more the game grows the more I’m excited about it, especially now that there are so many class options to choose from. However despite the fact that the game is so well done, I don’t think it receives the attention it deserves. Like many other critics, I assumed at the start that Trove was a Minecraft clone, attempting to ride on the coattails of the survival sandbox’s success. However Trove is something else. I would describe it as a cross between an action combat MMO, a voxel builder, and a dungeon crawler. Place all of that in a whimsical world that does not take itself very seriously, and you have an idea of what playing Trove is like. If you need more convincing, then here are ten reasons in no particular order as to why I think you should be playing Trove.

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Trove is accessible in many ways. The game is easy to pick up and takes very little time to understand the basics. The tutorial walks you through all you’ll need to know in order to enter a level appropriate world and start looking for adventure! It’s also an excellent bridge between the Minecraft and MMO genres. My kids love the open world elements of Minecraft and I plan on Trove being an introductory MMO for us to play together because it touches on gameplay elements we all enjoy.

2. Depth

While the game is easy to pick up, there is quite a bit of depth available. As you level up you’ll definitely find challenging circumstances between the platforming required in some of the lairs and dungeons as well as the boss fights themselves. There’s also plenty of breadth to crafting, gearing, and building on your cornerstone (portable, personal housing). If you do decide to plant roots in this game, there is plenty to keep you busy.

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3. Custom Appearance

Trove allows you to customize your character’s appearance (and change it for free!) including hair, eye color, and gender. Additionally, every piece of gear you pick up can be saved for future cosmetic use. For each of the three gear slots (hat, face, and weapon) you can choose from a list of saved skins how you would like your currently equipped items to appear. Lastly, your character’s costume can be changed out, however additional costumes must be purchased for real money from the cash shop.

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4. Short Play Sessions

Trove is easy to play in quick bursts, making it the perfect casual romp. Once you have logged in, all you have to do is pick a portal appropriate for your class level and off you go! There is a daily reward for completing several lairs and dungeons which can be completed in 20-30 minutes and rewards currency used for purchasing additional classes along with a few other cash shop items. Even with a short play session, you can accomplish a lot.
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5. Small Download

I couldn’t find the exact number, but I know the hard drive space required for Trove is tiny compared to most MMOs. For comparison, my Rift folder contains almost 20GB of data whereas Trove is showing a measly 430MB. This may seem like an odd fact to include, but if you’re like me, you have to clean out old games on your hard drive to make room for new ones which means eventually some titles have to be uninstalled. However Trove is so small, you won’t even notice it’s there so even when you’re trying something new you can keep Trove around for later.

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6. Generous F2P

Seriously, I don’t even see how Trion is making money with this game it is so generous. With the in-game currency (Cubits) you can purchase all available classes and a few mounts, wings, and other miscellaneous items. A few cosmetics and collectibles require real money but I’ve been content without them. Some F2P games are prone to get you with inventory space, but so far with Trove I’ve had plenty so that isn’t even problematic.

In the later levels you may want Shadow Keys to enter Shadow Arenas for better gear rewards and these keys are purchasable from the cash shop. They can also be crafted in game but gaining the materials takes a lot of time. For some people this may be problematic, but I’m fine with it. It isn’t necessary to enter SAs in order to enjoy the game and you are still able to make the keys for free if you are patient. Since each key allows up to 8 people to enter a Shadow Arena, you can also try playing with a regular group where each member takes a turn supplying a crafted key. Keep in mind, this is only for those serious about min/maxing their gear. If you are playing Trove casually, you’ll definitely have plenty of content to enjoy for free and will never need to purchase or craft a Shadow Key.

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7. Quirky Aesthetics and Themes

While playing Trove you will see characters wearing plungers, spoons, squirrels, and spatulas. You will conquer cupcakes in a pool of fudge, wrestle wraiths in an eerie crypt, and descend upon dragons in the belly of an active volcano. The game does not take itself too seriously, and you shouldn’t either. Trove’s themes evoke the limitless surrealism of childhood stories, games, and role play. It’s whimsical and ridiculous; I love it.

8. Frequent Updates

I couldn’t tell you exactly how often Trove is updated, but for example in the last two months there have been two new classes introduced, fishing and boating were added alongside new biomes, new mounts, the Golden Thread quests, and several other changes and improvements. It’s astonishing to see just how much this little game has added in such a short time.

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9. Cornerstones

Cornerstones are player created housing that travels with you. Whenever you enter a new instance of the open world, you can place your cornerstone in one of the designated spots. Anything you have built previously within that space will show up every time you place your cornerstone. What I love about this take on housing is that it blends qualities from both instanced and open world housing systems. It is open world in that you can walk around and visit other cornerstones as you play, however it is like instanced housing in that you can “return” to your house almost anywhere in the world. Looking at what others have created for their cornerstone is part of the fun of this game.

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10. Player Created Content

Most of that cosmetic gear I mentioned earlier? Designed by players. Several of the lairs and dungeons you’ll run into out in the open world? Also designed by players. A few of the costumes purchasable on the cash shop? Designed by players. In addition to assets in the game created by the community, there is also the club worlds, entire instanced worlds built by “clubs,” which are Trove’s guild equivalent. I’ve not spent much time exploring these worlds yet, but what I have seen is remarkable.

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That’s ten reasons but I could go on. I’ve mentioned in other articles how much I love the end game design because it essentially blurs the line between leveling and end game. There’s never a rush to “finish” a class in Trove, because what you’ll be doing along the way is the same as what you’ll be doing at level 20. I’m also a huge fan of the class design. Right now the Candy Barbarian is my favorite but I also enjoy the Shadow Hunter, Neon Ninja, and Dracolyte. While they are quite simple, all of the classes are unique and you’re bound to find one you like. And it’s so easy to earn the end game currency to purchase them, within 2-3 months you could probably have all of them (currently) without spending a dime.

Ultimately what it comes down to is that the game is fun, plain and simple. Whether you’re running around looking to pick a fight in a lair or dungeon, designing and decorating your cornerstone, or crafting rings and mounts, it’s going to be a good time. If any of this sounds appealing but you’ve never tried Trove before, I strongly recommend you give it a shot. In the world of MMO development this game is the little engine that could and it has a bright future ahead. Trove may have largely gone unnoticed over the last year but give it time; Trion has a sleeper hit on their hands with this one.

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