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PAX East Trove Preview - Voxel MMO in Sea & Sky

Posted on March 7, 2015

Trion’s voxel MMO Trove has been on our radar since last year’s Game Developers Conference, largely because of its vibrant presentation inside a cooperatively-driven game. For followers of our Cube World coverage, this would be the most comparable title. Our very own Keegan Gallick and I caught up with Project Lead Andrew Krausnick to learn about some of the newest features and what to expect in the months leading up to Trove’s late 2015 release.

About Trove

For those new to Trove: Trove is a free-to-play, massively-multiplayer online voxel game that lets players craft a variety of structures, including their personal homes, massive fortresses, and dungeons. Players travel the various procedurally-generated environments and collect loot and item-crafting resources by defeating enemies and completing quests. The game is entirely PVE, encouraging players to work together to collect more loot and rare items. We discuss Trove’s various worlds, crafting items, classes, player classes, and more in our PAX Prime preview.

Mastery System

Trove’s beta features a Mastery system – a 100% game completion equivalent – that increases the level cap and deepens as more content is added to the game. Every time a player collects something, the player gets Mastery points. Points unlock rewards like increased crafting speed, digging, and new crafting items. It essentially encourages a “go do everything in the game” experience by rewarding players for collecting new mounts and discovering new item-crafting formulas. 

Take Flight

Last month’s Take Flight update added a more fleshed-out dimension to the game. Referred to by Krausnick as the “Sky Realm,” this piece of the world contains new quests and crafting resources.

Players access the Sky Realm in the Adventure world by stepping on a specifically designed surface that launches the player into the sky upon pressing the jump button. A club can also purchase a portal that jumps players to the Sky Realm from the club world. Once airborne, the player can glide around with one of Trove’s many snazzy wing designs.

The Sky Realm is, as Krausnick noted, the “Zen” area because there are no airborne enemies that will attack the player. There are some large, formidable foes that populate the sky islands, though, so players still have combat options. Eventually, Trion may put in a “bombing run” attack so that the player can attack land-bound enemies.

Inside the Sky Realm is a quick quest called Dark Heart. Smashing open a Dark Heart triggers a series of Dark Hearts that the player must smash in 45 seconds. It’s similar to the red coins in the Super Mario series. Each Dark Heart broken gives the player a crafting resource. Adding more players to the quest increases the chance that the team can unlock all the loot.

Piñata Parties and the Bloodhound Gang 

Krausnick noted that he did not anticipate updating the beta build once a week when it first went live last September. Now his team is adding just as much content as when the game was played by a more concentrated alpha audience – with updates patched in once a week.

One of Trove’s most community-facing features is megaphones. These let a player broadcast messages to everyone playing the game – and in a way that benefits everyone. For example, the Club Phone broadcasts for 60 seconds that a player is having a “party” in his self-created world. A party host can put out loot-stuffed piñatas for players to bash open (“loot drops”), mag rails that trigger songs for dancing, and host a space for people to trade items with each other. Another megaphone is freeform, a more restricted announcement opportunity for community-recognized Twitch streamers – many of whom host occasional in-game item giveaways.

Some of the other zany additions since we last saw Trove include emotes (animated emotions & actions), light cycles, the Ice Sage class, and a disco floor mag rider (transport vehicle). Krausnick even showed us a series of mag rails that, when ridden over, play a user-created version of The Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch.” The composer is Major Tom, one of Trove’s most avid supporters, who is constantly reaching max mastery.

Fish and Ships: March 24

Trove’s next major update, Fish and Ships, will take players to the water. Players will be able to fish for resources and items, trade with seafaring NPCs, and sail in self-created ships in pursuit of treasure chests and spear-throwing man-sharks – honestly, I’m not making this up.

Fish and Ships also marks the debut of the Pirate Captain class, one that Krausnick likened to the engineer in Team Fortress 2. The Pirate Captain does the most damage by deploying a parrot-controlled cannon during battle. He’ll also have decoy cannons that will damage enemies when destroyed.

Trion plans to launch Trove by the end of the year on PC and Mac. They currently don’t have plans to publish it for consoles, although it could be a possibility in the future.

We’ll have more Trove coverage in the months ahead.

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.