Tag: trove

Backpacker: Trove, the MMO concentrate

OK, i’ll just come out and admit it: Trove is really, really fun. Since playing the other night, it’s the only game i launch- mainly, because goals are forming up. Where i was wandering around aimlessly earlier, slowly i gain insight in the game mechanics, the crafting and the goals you can set yourself.

This is also the first installment of my Project-Trinity-copout-column, the Backpacker. From time to time i will write a piece about a zone, landscape, village, npcs, a quest chain, game mechanics or, like today about a game i visit. It is aimed to be an “MMO tourist” series of posts in the wider sense- usually, there should be a focus on the “Trinity games”, though.


First, i wanted to follow the “golden path”, or thread or whatever it’s called here to gain those cubits i needed to unlock another class. I don’t know why, but instead of only the knight, i also have had access to the gunslinger from the beginning. By now, i unlocked the Boomeranger and the Ice Sage, as well. Of course i spent money- i always do; even if it’s entirely possible to play for free- and with Trove, it is, it is not my goal to do so. When i see value in a game, i pay. So i went and bought the Power Pack (for 20$), which gives me wings, a fast mount, a boat, a sail, 2 class tokens and some other stuff i don’t really know about.

Trove does feature interesting scenery!
Trove does feature interesting scenery!

Then, i wanted to find some Primordial Flames to craft a Ringcrafting table. I had 1, but needed 5. The flames seem to spawn close to other ore, but it seems to be on a very rare occasion. Turns out they spawn by themselves in the Dragonfire Peaks biome- only have to find one of those, right? It took a while, though. I don’t know whether biomes are somewhat connected to levels, but i had to enter a level 6/7 adventure zone and explore a bit to find one. It turned out fine, though. Dragonfire Peaks seems to be the biome you should look out for when you’re hunting for ore. There was a lot of all kinds of ore i know by now- and there were even some Primordial Flames.

It is a dark biome
It is a dark biome

The next resource i’m trying to gather up is enchanted wood– the best places to gather seem to be found in the medieval highlands, Fae Wilds and Cursed Vale biomes.

And i need to go fishing for the next step in the golden path, not knowing how fishing works, at all.

Free-to-play game design

As you might know, i don’t really care about business models- i’m fine with subs and i’m fine with free-to-play, as well. I know both models influence game design. But i also have to say that some free-to-play and buy-to-play games, especially those designed to follow that model from the ground up, provide fun gameplay without having too many timesinks. There are “pain points” (great term!) to get you to pay, but often, these games do not try to make your sessions longer and play more than you can.

Trove excels in this regard- it is so easy to launch up and just play. Sure, if you are trying to reach some goals it might take you some time. But you can always fire it up, enter an adventure zone and do something- getting there takes about 2 minutes, and that’s including load time.

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When we’re talking business model, i’d like to say that i also had a look at the cash shop- and found it to be reasonably prized (a class for about 5€) and i have to confess that i’d have trouble finding something i’d really like to buy. Classes would be one way to go, but my guess is, once i can build in a club world, that the building blocks would be the most interesting. And they’re dirt cheap- of course they are, since you could also just go out and gather them. I’ve received 2000 blocks of each primal block as part of the power pack, so i might be covered for some time. Other than that, i didn’t see anything that would be an issue. Lockboxes, sure, but honestly, i think they do fit somewhat in this game- it’s a whole different affair when a game is more serious. Still not a friend of lockboxes, though, so i won’t buy any of them.

The MMO concentrate

Now, Ironweakness has a great post covering this already, so i’ll make it short here: Trove includes almost everything an MMO should have (i have to agree on the auction house, though- i’d like to see one)- fun gameplay that’s easy to learn but will get more difficult later on, i’m sure. Lots of crafting options, “housing”- or building stuff, exploration for exploration’s sake and so on. It’s playable in small groups, bigger groups and solo. It can be relaxing and quite involved. You can have your downtime, as well- when building, crafting, exploring or whatever.

I can’t tell you yet if it is a shallow experience, mainly because i still don’t understand half of it- how does the crafting work, what can you build? What should you build and why? I can say, however, that exploring these mechanics is fun and it takes time. I think early on, half of the fun to be had in MMOs was to slowly get a grasp on these games, their worlds, features and mechanics. Nowadays, these things are usually “streamlined” and “made accessible” for the “filthy casual”- Trove shows that you can be one of those streamlined, accessible, casual games while still retaining some of that wonder that is exploring online worlds.

Trove doesn’t count, right?

Project Trinity isn’t doing too well these weeks. I wrote about having far less playing time than i’d like to have- it’s summer, so even if there’s nothing else real-lifey going on, our 2 yr. old sleeps late. When he’s finally sleeping, i still have some chores to do, so i haven’t been able to sit in front of a pc before 10/10.30 p.m. At that hour, what game do you launch when your usual bedtime is around 11.30 p.m.? In Final Fantasy 14, an hour is basically almost nothing. Sure, you could do a quest or two, but that’s about it. In SWTOR, you could do something in an hour, but my subscription lapsed and while i plan to continue the sub, i won’t restart it on an evening when i know i’ll only have an hour to play. The Secret World would be possible, as well, but it needs attention- the strong points of that game don’t come to light when you’re just “playing around”.

Maybe i just chose “wrong” for this month- or maybe, just like the guild project i’m doing where we play a free-to-play game for a few months, Project Trinity should have a summer break. Of course i won’t give up so easily, but there will be cop-outs. Another one is going to happen tomorrow, when TERA launches a new server. Can you believe that? A 3-year old game opening another server? This is great news and TERA isn’t so bad- it’s not on my usual rotation because of the european publisher and the quite generic questing. The Steam version is the NA version, as far as i know, and i’ll join the masses for the new server to take a look- is lag really that bad? And also, launch hype- and a new server is one kind of “launch hype” makes me curious. I’ll justify that by creating a new “series” for this blog….oh right, Trove.

So Ironweaknessseries of posts regarding Trove made me curious and yesterday, when our son slept surprisingly early, i gave my possible selection of games a thought, but i also knew i was tired- so going for a story heavy MMO didn’t fit the bill. Also, i kind of hoped- it was sunday, after all, that i could meet Ironweakness in game- it would be a first. He’s my partner in writing the Dual Wielding series which proved to be great fun with the small caveat that we seem to have similar opinions on a lot of topics. Sometimes, there’s enough differences to make the reading of both posts interesting- or so i hope- sometimes, like with our 12XP post, it seems as if we were talking about the posts beforehand. We don’t.

And luckily, we really met up! He invited me to his cornerstone and we talked a bit before heading off into an adventure world and did some dungeons while he explained some of the games’ mechanics. Because, to be honest, i don’t understand Trove.

There seem to be multiple gameplay elements on focus here: the building, although your cornerstone is quite small and doesn’t really offer a lot of opportunity to build. The adventuring and exploring, where the point seems to be to enter one adventure world and explore the heck out of it- which is good, because really, there are impressive sights to be seen, but with the early worlds, you do outlevel them quickly, so maybe the exploring stuff will become more interesting later. Of course, one could explore an adventure world anyway, even when outlevelled- mobs don’t grey out, you’ll get xp just like before and of course, exploring is its own reward. And finally, there’s the crafting component. The problem is, i don’t really know where to start- there are many craftable objects which is a good thing- but it isn’t that easy to know what one should build first and where/how to get the materials for building something.

But fun it was, especially going out as a team and finally meeting up with someone who i’ve been in contact with since…well, is it four months already? Crazy! Of course we e-mailed, but chatting is a whole different thing- remember, this was the wonder of MMORPGs- that you could meet up, chat and play with people from all over the world. Thankfully, Trove doesn’t seperate players by region, so you can meet pretty much everyone without it being a hassle for someone. Usually, when you try to meet people from another continent, you’d have to join another server, which might lead to lag or time-zone issues. That’s not a problem with Trove, though. I’ll continue to give it a look and i promise to take screenshots next time- it seems there’s no keybind for that yet, and i haven’t made use of the chat command.

Project Trinity: ESO out, something in

So may is gone and with it goes the first month of my “Project Trinity”, where i choose three MMOs to play in a given month. For may, there have been varying results. Let’s take a look at the MMOs i played:

  • Star Wars: the old republic – 14 hours
  • Age of Conan – 2 hours
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 2 hours
  • Trove – 2 hours

All in all, i played about 24 hours in the whole month, which is a very low number, even for me. Reasons are the mentioned strike in the nursery/kindergarten, but also that when i limit myself to three MMOs and find me not wanting to play any of the three, i simply don’t play.

Trove is in there because of Ironweakness– he made me curious and so, one evening when i was looking for something casual (and also something to replace ESO in my trinity), i launched Trove.

As you can see, there’s not much to feed this blog on in this month. There are topics, of course- Wildstar’s free-to-play move, for instance. Lately, i’ve also (re-)found the urge to play many, many different MMOs. There’s Lotro, The Secret World, Guild Wars 1 & 2, Rift and now even Wildstar- all of them are possible successors for Elder Scrolls Online, which i’m also hesitant to drop.

There’s a reason for this, as well- for one, it’s nothing unusual that in times when you can’t play as much as you’d like to, the games you miss become much more desirable. I’ve also stumbled in continuing to play FF14 as well as SWTOR in a significant amount- with FF14, i usually need to put a little effort in first (as in: play x hours), before it becomes sticky. With SWTOR, following the 12XP put a dent in enjoyment.

For june, the third spot will go to The Secret World. I was tempted to leave SWTOR out this month, because i feel current play times don’t really justify two subscriptions. But SWTOR just felt so fitting to me in these last weeks that i don’t want to let it lapse. I might opt out of the 12XP, though.

Another nice addition to TSW
Another nice addition to TSW

Good news on the strike, as well: nurseries/kindergartens will open again on monday, after four weeks. I can’t imagine how parents with less flexibility coped with that, it was difficult even for us; and i’m quite flexible.

All that gives me hope to be able to put out some of the more “column-like” posts this month; i really want to do some of those. All three games on my list are capable of filling those in, and i’m excited to get some more time in MMORPGs this month. Let’s hope it works out.

I have a break-out-condition, though. If there’s news about either Lotro’s “episodic content” or on the release date of Guild Wars 2’s expansion, i might switch things around before the month is up. But my guess is that won’t be necessary.