The problem with having people who want to play games with you but are completely broke and didn’t waste their money on a library of Steam games is that they don’t have any money to play any of the many games you have. I have about 160 games on Steam, my brother has about 400 because… well, for starters, he unboxed a €200 CS:GO knife a while back. My sister has 158 games apparently but doesn’t want to play any of them (or she uninstalled them all) and her fiancee has fuck all when it comes to a workable collection of games. This means that we tend to end up looking through the vast cesspool of Steam’s Free to Play games, desperately looking for something to play.
That is how the four of us ended up playing Trove.
Trove is a very weird, pixel-based MMO sort of thing with a vague hint of Minecraft about it. You pick a class but you can also collect resources and ride animals and things like that. Honestly it’s a pretty standard MMO. Except, as of right now, I literally can’t open the game without it crashing. Hence the lack of pictures in this article. More on this later.
But more importantly, this is an MMO aimed at children. It’s your bog-standard “you have been chosen to protect the lands and fight the darkness” sort of thing that you see pretty much everywhere. There’s no real blood, there’s no real darkness to it, it’s all lighthearted and friendly and open. Right off the bat, you pick a class and are hand-held through the tutorial. The tutorial which is blatantly wrong if you pick the Necromancer because your abilities don’t visibly do any damage to enemies but heal the minions you spawn. The tutorial annoyingly also spawns loot that you can’t pick up because the game locks the loot-pickup button and makes you go through a portal.
Once you finish a kinda crappy boss battle, you end up in the hub world and are left to your own devices. You can open your map and travel to other places and there is a list of quests and “adventures” you can do in your journal that gives you rewards. The hub area has no enemies, only other players and a fuckton of shops.
The other areas are open landscapes that can be destroyed and respawn and have various enemies and dungeons in them. I think these areas are randomly generated, I can’t be certain. Everything is in this strange faux Minecraft pixel style. It’s not like actual Minecraft though, it’s more voxel-y with individual cubes being pixels and feels a lot more like those old Minecraft music videos that still pop up on Youtube occasionally. With more voxels.
What is neat though is that you can summon your own tiny chunk of land in designated areas and have all your tools and a little house there and stuff. In fact, Trove has a HUGE amount of things you can do, from quests and missions to farming to looting to building to taking a long and tedious path to unlock a flying mount. The amount of content is huge, and on top of that, there also seems to be a small modding community as well, which is neat.
For me though, it’s just not appealing. Everything is bright and gaudy, yet rather slow-paced. Sure you get given a horse at the start of the game and you have a dodge ability and the ability to glide but the terrain doesn’t always allow for that and you are mostly just wandering around. There’s a ton of stuff to learn and frankly I’m lazy and too distracted by the bright and shiny stuff.
But don’t worry, if you’re lazy, you can always BUY the bright and shiny stuff! Yep, you can buy it all and speed up the process. You also get a free dragon on your first purchase!
Now, I know a F2P game needs to make its money, and frankly not all games are perfect. Heck, my two favourite games, Team Fortress 2 and Warframe, do have some rather predatory measures when it comes to getting you to buy. But neither of those seem to be specifically aimed towards a younger audience and you can play as a F2P player only without any major drawbacks. And according to Steam reviews, it’s now a lot harder to keep up in Trove unless you spend money.
But the other thing that bothers me is the class system. You see, two of us kinda picked classes that we didn’t really like. We didn’t have an option to try them out or anything and the descriptions for each class are a bit… iffy. But to obtain a new class, we have to either reach mastery 34 (which would earn you enough Credits, the premium game currency) to unlock a new class, grind until you get the resources to craft a class or just flat out buy them from the shop.
I mean, alternatively I could just make a new account and pick a better class, but that seems counter-intuitive. Especially when there is the ability to TRIAL a class in the shop but no ability to do so in the tutorial when you pick your starter.
Overall, Trove does have a lot to it, and I commend it for that. But it seems a little too aggressive with its microtransactions for my liking, the setting doesn’t really interest me and I really just don’t like the blocky voxel visuals.
If you’re a kid with access to a debit card though, it’s probably right up your alley.