Trion Worlds’ Trove is an unusual MMORPG, but it’s a lot of fun. While it doesn’t quite embrace all the systems associated with a traditional MMO in a post-World of Warcraft world, Trove finds its niche by embracing elements from open-world games with RPG components, like Minecraft and the often lamented Cube World, and tying the two different philosophies together to create colorful, fast-paced, and interesting experiences. You’re not playing a core MMOPRG, and you’re not playing a building/crafting/survival game either, but something that falls between.
Trove’s free-to-play model lets you start with a class of your choice from a ridiculous assortment of options. While many are based on fantasy archetypes, Trove’s humorous versions of popular classes set the pace before you even begin playing. Classes like Candy Barbarians, Neon Ninjas, and the Boomeranger (a class clearly inspired by Link, featuring boomerangs, bombs, and smashy urns) are not your everyday options. After selecting your class, Trove tasks players with a rather extensive tutorial that teaches the concepts of home development and crafting alongside actual adventuring and looting. You can unlock others classes later with acquired currency.
After your expansive and informative tutorial, you’re free to start exploring the world with other players, zipping from adventure to adventure. This format feels similar to the “instant adventure” feature in Trion’s core MMORPG, Rift, and it mostly works. You can join up and start diving into action immediately, though the combat sometimes gets confusing with so many pixels and particles lighting up the screen.
Whether you’re a solo player or a raucous raider, you have things to do at all levels of the game, and the focus is definitely on the fun. Trove doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you shouldn’t either. If you want to engage with high-level adventure content, that option is available, or you can just try to make the coolest base ever.
The world of Trove is filled with weird situations involving ludicrous dinosaurs and dragons. The comical take on many fantasy and pop-culture tropes works well in the world of boisterous blocks. Combat involves your standard MMORPG hotbar, but it’s fast and more action-oriented. It also follows the modern trend of “fewer abilities, more impact” for your skills and items; you won’t end up with your screen real estate taken over by hundreds of different icons.
On the con side, the game can feel grindy at times (what MMO doesn’t?), so I recommend going into it with a group of friends to tackle more interesting fare than solo gameplay day after day. Veteran MMORPG players may balk at the small ability selection as well. Servers on launch were jampacked and it was sometimes difficult to get through the queue line, but that issue seems to have been corrected. Those issues aside, I highly recommend trying Trove, as there’s very little stopping you from doing so. You should know almost immediately if the eclectic amalgamation of game design concepts works for you. It may not be a hardcore fantasy MMORPG, but we have plenty of those already. Trove is a refreshing, different approach to the genre.