Month of Trove: This game is trolling me

t1Love this splash screen.

So here we are at the end of my month adventures into the sandvox Trove!  I wanted to finish out by trying out the last (for now) class, the Ice Sage.

t2Where are my legs?  HOW AM I FLOATING?  WHEEEERE ARE MY LEEEEEGS?  I guess I traded them up for wings.

From the initial look of the class, the Sage is primarily a long-distance damage dealer with a cold theme.  Nothing super exciting, but I do prefer ranged classes in Trove over melee, so I’m sure I won’t mind.

t3“Oh hai.  Don’t mind me, I’m just a blogger who’s going to stand in the corner of your house to take screenshots and then not move for five minutes while I add this to my blog.  Nice mount, by the way.”

t4Not too far away, I found “Journey’s End,” a dungeon of sorts.  I heard that Trove lets — or will let — players design dungeons for others, and this definitely had a feel of one of those.  Very big on environmental hazards and platforming, while extremely light on mobs to fight.  Not my cup of tea, especially when I couldn’t find the end or go back to the beginning.  Death port time!

t5Maybe this was my punishment for taking the easy way out, but there was a HUGE mob sitting on top of the graveyard, just waiting to hew any rezzed characters in half.  Seriously, he barely moved from the place and killed me four times when I came back.  I couldn’t beat him, so I had to run like the dickens.  Was Trove deliberately trolling me?

t6You’ve probably noticed that in my Trove adventures hasn’t included an awful lot — or really, any — crafting.  It’s not that it’s inaccessible, but that I couldn’t be bothered with it knowing that I was going to be heading out in a few weeks.  I wanted to see the world, not a recipe screen.  That said, it does look as though there are some pretty nifty things to craft, including many interactive stations.

So I decided to finish up my tour by checking out the featured club worlds of the day.  This one had a gigantic Roman temple.  I can’t imagine the patience it took to make it.

t7This world spawned me inside of an inescapable prison cell.  That was definitely interesting.  Maybe they didn’t appreciate visitors?

t8USE ALL THE COLORS.  Argh.  My retinas.

t9My jaw just dropped at the detail and work that went in to this world — but that was nothing compared to its creativity.  Apparently I stumbled upon a whole new side of Trove that I was ignorant of, the music ride scene.  Trove has these cool vehicles called Mag Riders that can only be used on set tracks, and I guess the tracks can play musical notes when traversed.  So players craft whole songs out of rides and HOW COOL IS THAT.

Also, how sad was I that I didn’t have a Mag Rider?  I was short a number of items to craft it and didn’t know where to go to find them.  That really, truly bummed me out.  I would have loved to have gone on these rides.  Oh well — next time!

Month of Trove: Syp vs. the Mushroom King

c1For my latest Trove excursion, I decided to test drive the relatively new Candy Barbarian class.  At first, the CB seems like your typical two-weapon warrior.  Nice slow and powerful swings plus an optional whirlwind attack.

But apart from the candy color theme, the CB differs from the norm by actually knocking candy outta bad guys (along with decorative candy icons on every hit).  This candy can be consumed to make the CB attack faster or heal him up, so there’s a neat self-buffing mechanic at play here.  I didn’t become a fan of its melee-only style, but I was definitely warming up to it.  Insert candy pun here.

c2I jumped back on my Christmas raptor and ran into the lowbie world once more.  I liked this particular shot of a graveyard statue, although I’m curious what it’s supposed to represent.  Pig?  The founder of the graveyard?

c3Lots of attacking wraiths and skeletons.  Leveled up.  Felt manly and candly.  Should I worry that my character got a diabetes debuff at level 3?

c4Loot was quite plentiful this run as well.  I got two separate player-designed face masks.  The left one, I’m assuming, is based on the Saw movies’ Jigsaw, while the right is just perfect for the upcoming Valentine’s Day festivities.

c5So this was curious.  I was walking along when a stream of water rushed down the hill.  That trickle become a rush of water that kept on flowing.  What in the…?  I had to investigate.

c6Pretty view!

So at the top of the hill is a stream coming out of a small fjord, which is I guess where the downhill flood originated.  However, it didn’t look as though there was a burst dam or a diverted river or anything, so I’m not sure why it started.  For the record, I did try to dam up the stream to see if it would create a lake or overflow, but nothing happened.  Shame.

c7Not too far away from the stream I got a notification that there was a certain Mushroom King in dire need of a good candy wuppin’.  He was at the top of a fairly tall treehouse, so I climbed up and dealt with minions and fireballs along the way.

c8The boss fight itself looked very epic but was in reality a cinch — at least for the vaunted Candy Barbarian.  Several swings of my Thor hammers later, and he evaporated into a nice loot chest (from which I scored a pair of swords).  I AM ALL THAT IS MAN.

c9I ended my session looking down at the world from the Mushroom King’s tree fort.  Can blocks be considered beautiful?

Month of Trove: Godwin’s Law of MMOs

wo1One of the options in the central hub is to take various portals to “featured” club worlds, which is a good way to see what people who have far, far more time than you ever will do with said time.  Basically, you walk around with your mouth open, just trying to estimate how long all of this took.  And how much patience was expended.

It’s pretty cool, tho.  I liked the pixel art on the wall (although, to be fair, any art in this game would be pixel art).

wo2“Uh guys, I think we’re going to run out of room here…”

In all seriousness, this place was so impressive.  It’s like running through a giddy child’s dreams.

wo3All I could think of when I saw this is how much of a shame it was that you couldn’t actually move the pieces around to play.  Unless, of course, there’s some way to do that that I’m missing.  Sandboxers seem to love to make their life-sized chess boards.

wo4I abandoned my exploration of that club world to embark on another novice adventure with a new class, the Neon Ninja (coolest name ever?  Yes.  Yes it is.).  It’s a nifty sword-wielding class that builds up throwing star counters so that you can backflip and launch them.

However, I made the mistake of hitting the “meet up with another player” item, as that sent me in the middle of an ocean.  This would be okay — the ocean was only two feet deep in all directions — except that the borders with the zones surrounding it were approximately five hundred feet tall.  Haven’t we heard of shore lines?

I ported back to the hub world and re-selected the novice adventure portal, but it sent me right back into this ocean.  I rode around a while, but couldn’t find an easy way up.  Then, putting on my thinking cap and my mining mode, I started to carve steps up the side of a hill.  I got about a fourth of the way up after ten minutes and declared this effort as, quote, “dumb.”  A few more trips back to the hub world finally reset me to the middle of this world.

Finally!  It was time to see some more player creations with their cornerstones…

wo5After chess boards, getting some giant swastikas up is another huge priority of the edgy sandboxer.  Stay classy, Trovers!

wo6Swastikas aside, I enjoyed mindlessly running across the landscape and beating up skeletons in their graveyard homes.  Combat may be simple, but it has a good feel and sound to it.  Satisfies a small primal desire within me.

I found a spot to summon my cornerstone and set to dismantling the default template so that I could build something more appropriate to my neon status.  Alas, right when I leveled it to the ground, my toilet in real life decided to overflow (I blame gremlins) and the Neon Ninja had to transform into the Practical Plumber.

Month of Trove: Geek goggles

tr1As I said in my new year’s resolutions, I want to push myself out of my typical MMO comfort bubble to try at least one new game a month or return to an older one that I haven’t seen in a while.  My January pick, Trove, is a bit of both.  I’ve played a spotting of it here and there, but nothing serious and nothing for quite some time.  Now that the game has soft launched (non-wipable open beta state) and has a lot of additional features, I thought it was time to check it out again.  I’ve seen some good word-of-mouth from several bloggers and commenters, and I’m wondering if Trove might be a tiny sleeper hit this year.

Upon logging in, I’m right next to the barbershop (new to me) and I choose my character’s look.  Because why WOULDN’T I be a robot with “cool goggles”?  Seriously, there are so many hairstyles, you guys.

It turns out that this is the beginning of a new area, the “Tutorial Temple.”  It’s a nice quick runthrough of Trove’s features: refillable potions, lava hurts, how to build stuff, and that I should find a cornerstone for my house.  The whole temple takes maybe 15 seconds to run through.  I appreciate succinct tutorials.

hatI’m kind of wondering where the old world hub went, however.  I would love to change my class.  In the meantime, I fiddle with my inventory and open a few freebie boxes to loot this weird “fiend” hat.  One monster kill nets me a… mace, I think, that was designed by another player.

Ah, there’s a hub portal — that takes me back to where I want to be.  The hub is full of Christmas decorations and plenty of people, not to mention a lot of services.  One class change, coming up!

classesYou can unlock Trove’s classes via premium or in-game currency.  I had a few unlocked (including the Dracolyte, for some reason… PAX card maybe?), and the rest I snagged with the remaining premium currency from my pre-order.  I’ve already seen the Knight and Gunslinger, so I’m going to go through them one-by-one, starting with the Fae Trickster.

I did a few laps around the hub, checking everything out.  There was the community chest (Trove’s take-a-penny, leave-a-penny of gear), an ice pond (whee… slippery), and several portals that went to featured club worlds.  I’ll save all that for later, as the “novice adventure” portal is calling my name.

Inside the novice adventure world is a “rally blade” clickable that apparently transports you to a random player — handy for grouping, I suppose!  In practice, it ports me to a field where nobody’s around, so… nice thought, I guess.  I do take on a few skeletons to get a handle on the Fae Trickster’s style.  As with all of Trove’s classes, it’s pretty simple.  The FT has a “glitter bomb” magic attack and can do a quick blink forward while dropping a decoy behind to occupy bad guys.  Apparently its ultimate is a faerie pet summons, but I’m not quite there yet.

Simple as it may be, there’s a visceral fun to it — blasting enemies long-range, then blinking past them while dropping a decoy, turning around, and blasting their backs while they are pre-occupied.

cornerWhile I didn’t find players right away, I did scout a cornerstone spot and plunked down my house.  It used to be that the cornerstone came blank, but here it’s already pre-built for my convenience with handy signs.  There’s a crafting station, a class changer, and other basic utilities.  Don’t like the hot-dog-and-mustard color scheme, however.  Also didn’t like how mobs freely wandered onto my plot and attacked me while I was crafting — I thought these were supposed to be safe zones.  Oh well, I could always build walls or something.  Doors.  That’s what they’re called.

The handy signs around the house tell me that I need to craft a hub portal for my cornerstone to finish up this world, and for that I need a lot more basic mats (some from mining, some from fighting.  Oh Trove, I see what you did there).

stoneI’m still in that “I have no idea what I’m doing so I’ll just bumble around” stage that makes even the most consummate MMO player feel like a noob.  So I stumbled my way right into a teleporting boss (which I killed) and then bumbled into the middle of a mushroom that turned out to be a mushroom-shaped dungeon.

Actually, this was pretty dang cool.  It used two jump stones to launch me up into the bulbous area, where several mobs waited to fight.  Unfortunately, the Fae Trickster is crap in small quarters and I quickly died.  I changed to the Dracolyte class instead and did much better.  The Dracolyte is a fire-pumping machine, with both a staff and a familiar that belches out flame.

Once I cleared the bulb, I used a portal in there to take me to an underground area, where an “ominous totem” started summoning waves of bad guys.  The Dracolyte does a great job with short-range AoE, so I survived in style and cleared the dungeon, netting me star points or whatever those are.

gamefaceMy game face.  Know it.  Fear it.

hubA little more wandering around helped me find the sourcestone I needed to craft the hub portal for my cornerstone.  I’ll tell you, that was a satisfying little moment to wrap things up and feel as though I started to get a hang of this crazy cel-shaded voxel world.  Plus, I got a chef’s hat.  All in all, a good first session back to the game.

Trove: Take a penny, leave a six-shooter

Thanks to it’s incredibly speedy login and light-hearted play format, I’ve been jumping in and out of Trove in these little 10-minute spurts more often.  The Gunslinger is so much more of a fun class to play because pew-pew and jump shot rocks (it even rawks).  Since you do have to aim, it’s tricky and engaging to try to tag mobs as far away as possible and see if you can down them before they get up in your face.  The Gunslinger needs at least a step back or two to hit something, so if a creature is in melee range there’s a lot of back-pedaling needed.

Anyway, just a quick post to gush about a cool little concept that Trion’s put in a recent patch, which is the community chest.  Gear in Trove is very temporary — you lose it upon world resets, server resets, patches, etc.  It’s just meant to be that way to encourage a never-endings cycle of adventuring and loot gobbling.  It’s not like there’s a ton of different gear slots anyway; I just use a weapon and an emblem (usually a +health), along with a mount.  I’m not even sure if there’s more than that.

The community chest is there for players to dump in gear they’ve found and don’t currently need, as well as to grab items that would be helpful in that day’s run.  It’s very take a penny, leave a penny in its concept, and it actually seems to be working really well.  I loved logging in yesterday to grab an overpowered six-shooter that would take down level 4 mobs in a hit or two, and I appreciated so much that someone left it there that I made the trip back at the end of my session to dump a purple emblem I found and some other random weapons.

I’m sure this sort of feature would be incredibly abused in a larger game with more permanent gear, but I really feel a bond with other players through it.  It reminds me of how Kingdom of Loathing has vaults with its clans that allow depositing and withdrawing upon need, kept in check by a karma counter.  Give players the tools to help each other out and then see what happens, studios.

LOTRO, Trove, RIFT, Deus Ex, and the day of little things

trove1Yesterday was a strange day for gaming in that I didn’t do any one big thing but a lot of small things.

I added to my library as I picked up a few titles on sale: Wizardry 6&7 and Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition.  Seriously, Deus Ex for $2 — and it came with the full soundtrack, which I’m discovering is a pretty awesome OST.

I’m making great headway on finishing up my virtue deeds for Moria on my Lore-master in LOTRO.  A few more and I’ll be done with there for good.  I must admit that my kin is a strong motivation for logging in every day, as they’re very friendly and chatty.  It makes riding through the Foundations of Stone a light-hearted experience.

I had intentions of giving RIFT a serious try last night.  I created a new mage and ran her through the streamlined tutorial, but then when I tried to log on to my other characters to transfer funds and the like, the game kept hanging on the loading screen.  I don’t know what that was about, but I got frustrated and logged out since it was getting late.

So instead I moved on to another Trion Worlds title: Trove.  The extreme alpha-ness of this game keeps me from logging in, but I can already see the potential for some serious fun here.  Already my character has pets and some outfit options, and I just ran around checking out what others have done with their cornerstones.  The Knight is a pretty boring class, so I can’t wait until they bring in the next one (Gunslinger), but he was pretty happy to find a player-designed sword during his adventures.  I never did find a place to plant a cornerstone of my own, but I also haven’t accumulated a lot of building materials yet either.

All in all, not a bad day.