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Massively's first impressions of Trion's Trove

Shawn Schuster

We're really driving home the "first" in "first impressions" with a look at the early-early alpha build of Trion Worlds' Trove. Trove is a voxel-based sandbox game that was first revealed two weeks ago. It's a game that focuses on exploration, building, and adventure, and hopes to do it with feeling. Since the game is still in early alpha, most of my impressions may change when it gets closer to launch, but we still wanted to show off the game in its current state to give you a taste of what's to come.

So first off, let's just get the comparisons out of the way so we can all feel better. Yes, it looks like Cube World, Minecraft, and Borderlands had a love child, but that's not exactly a bad thing. You may already be tired of even reading the word "voxel" by now, but I believe that the surface has only been scratched on what voxel games can be. People say they want freedom in their online games, and Trove is here to deliver.

Think back to that first time you played Cube World. You tried to mine, didn't you? Well, Trove mixes the fun -- often linear -- adventure of Cube World in with the sandboxy dream of Minecraft. Yes, you can build and destroy everything around you, but you can also do dungeon runs and fight huge bosses for valuable loot.

In our reveal-day interview with Scott Hartsman, the Trion CEO told us that there will be both public and private worlds available and that everything around you may change on a regular basis, except for your character and your own plot of land. We're not entirely sure how that will work just yet, but from what I saw in Trove so far, I would certainly welcome a clean slate every once in a while.

As you often see in the starter zone of any true sandbox, the immediate area is littered with a frightening selection of building experiments. Streams of colored towers stretch as far as your 8-bit eyes can see as players build to the sky's edge for a birds-eye view of the world. I noticed someone decided to craft a phone number into the side of a huge castle wall, and someone else made the RIFT logo floating high in the sky. Surprisingly, I haven't stumbled across any voxel penises yet, but if this type of thing isn't regulated in public shards, it would be enough to easily turn off potential new players.

I ventured away from the mess to discover some castles (seemingly dev-built) and forts (possibly player-built) to explore. The dungeons aren't manned with bosses yet, but I noticed that these castles had walls that were more difficult to break. Some players tried digging under the fortifications to enter from below, while others simply built a cube ladder to scale the walls. Guard towers were blown apart from bombs (dropped as loot from mobs currently), and the ground all around was so dug up that it was actually hard to maneuver in a straight line.

I found the enemies challenging enough (meaning I died a few times) and the AI interesting to mess with. Throw a bomb at an approaching skeleton and you can laugh as it gets trapped in an underground cavern.

As far as space to build, the public alpha server I was on allowed you to build deep enough underground and high enough into the sky to make it interesting. The land in all directions isn't quite as vast as Minecraft, but that may be different at launch or depend on each server.

As I ran around the world, I could see the potential, but I came away with more questions. Are there different levels of indestructible blocks to helps us protect what we build? Will these indestructible blocks be crafted at higher levels? Will there even be a more involved crafting system?

All in all, I think the game has potential if the regular creation and rebuilding of the worlds is managed correctly. Trove could be a fun little time-waster, but it could also be a big mess that scares everyone away if left unchecked. I guess that could be said for any sandbox game, but with such a small team working on Trove, I hope that enough attention is given from the start.

  • Addicting and fun. Easy to lose track of time just exploring.
  • Building is easy and destroying is just as easy.
  • Varied biomes add variety.
  • World could get messy and cluttered if left unchecked.
  • Lots of unanswered questions still at this point while we're allowed to play the game.
Want to know more? Check out the video below to see some mischievous fun I had with the game.

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

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