First impressions: Trove

Trove Alpha Screenshot

The path up the trees leads to a boss.

A few days ago, I was idling for a bit before it was time to leave and catch my bus to the doctor’s office. I had decided to check Twitter and saw a tweet by mmorpg.com which had been posted a few hours earlier announcing that they were giving away Trove Alpha Keys. Not really believing in my luck, I still went there to check if any keys were left and actually got one! I immediately made bookahnerk aware of it, so he could get one as well.

I have spent quite a few hours playing Trove now and – as a tl;dr version of what my first impression is: I also now spent 18,99€ on the adventurer pack, so obviously, I enjoyed my time playing the game enough to give them some of my money.

As usual, this “review” has “first impressions” written in front of it. It is going to be subjective and about my experiences within the first few hours of playing this game. Read the following post accordingly, please.

Trove is a sandbox game currently in alpha which will be free to play once it gets released. I haven’t followed it too closely lately, so I’m not sure which features will still be added in the future. I do remember that when Trion Worlds first announced the game, people called it a Cube World clone. I had never heard about Cube World, but it does sound like it belongs to the genre of Minecraft and Terraria – as does Trove now. As far as I can tell, Cube World is more about adventuring (and questing as the developer has added or is adding a questing system to the game) and not so much about crafting, creating and collecting resources. In Trove, you do adventure, kill mobs and collect better items to advance to more dangerous areas, but you’re also collecting various resources and will probably spend quite some time crafting, most of all items for your homeworld and your cornerstone – more on that later. Let’s just say: Trove has got housing! :D

After installing and launching the client, I had to name my character (“Paeroka” in case anybody wants to add me to their friends list) and that was all there was to the character creation. Off my little (male-looking) avatar went into the tutorial hub. This is just a very small region which introduces you to the very basics of the game like moving, switching between adventure and building mode, etc. After leaving the tutorial, I got thrown into another hub where I quickly found a barber shop. Here, I could finally change my look and make Paeroka female – as female as it gets with those avatars – with reddish hair and green eyes as most of my main characters have.

Trove Alpha Screenshot

The class changer with the three classes currently in the game.

I had automatically become a Knight, but I knew the game has more classes than that. In fact, three are released already and there will be more. A quick internet search told me that I can change classes in the hub and that the Gunslinger is free now (this was added with a patch which also hints at how they’re handling classes in the future: Some will be free, some will require a purchase) while the Fae Trickster costs something (in-game currency or credits which are bought with real money). When I had created my character, I actually got some in-game currency. I am not sure if that is something like a daily login bonus or what triggers it. However, you can also earn more of this currency by playing the game and defeating bosses. I decided not to save the in-game currency for the Fae Trickster and bought myself a mount instead. After that, I rode through the hub to finally find the class changer. One click and I was a Gunslinger! You level each class separately, by the way. I got the Gunslinger to level 5 at which point bookahnerk suggested I should try the Knight because that’s usually what I enjoy more than a ranged class (but the dual pistols of the Gunslinger are quite awesome!). The Knight was still level 1 and she is now level 6. The current maximum level in the alpha is level 20 for each class, so I still have quite some content ahead of me.

Speaking of content: What is there to do in Trove? You start in a central hub where you and other players gather. From there, you can take one of several portals to the adventuring world. Those are divided into level brackets. You can go to a world that is higher than your level, but mobs will hurt you a lot more than if you were even level.

Once in such a zone, you can stroll through the world and will probably get attacked by mobs that roam around in the world. All mobs are hostile. There are no quests, but something like “events” in some areas. Sometimes, those are bosses, sometimes, those are waves of mobs spawning to attack you after you started the event. Some of these events have something like jumping puzzles to get to them. Nothing has been very challenging so far, but I’ve only gotten to level 6, after all. Bosses drop chests which give you loot (equipment) which makes your character stronger. Standard mobs can also drop such loot but this is rarer.

Altogether, you can roam the world to farm bosses and earn XP and loot to advance in levels and get stronger. However, the other part of Trove is what I enjoy much more: There are resources in the world. Some are, for example, tree stumps or mushrooms that you destroy to gather the resources. Then there is also ore. You need different kinds of ore to craft different items. And most of the world can be destroyed as well. It mostly consists of cubes which you can collect and use for building yourself.

Trove Alpha Screenshot

This was the way my cornerstone looked before I destroyed the building on it. The glowy thing on the left lets you refill your healing potion.

When I first started playing, I found a cornerstone. If nobody else has claimed it, a simple click on “E” on your keyboard claims it for you. You can have one cornerstone in the world. It is basically a tiny piece of land that you can build on. It can also host different useful things like the healing potion refiller (your healing potion has 15 charges and can be refilled for free here). I had claimed a piece and then gotten attacked by a mob. I realized that there were two or three mob spawns right next to the cornerstone and I didn’t even have a calm minute before another of them showed up and attacked me. I was a bit upset because I hadn’t seen how I could switch the cornerstone yet. So, I left it and went to explore the world. The further away from it I got, the less I remembered where it actually was. So at that point, I wasn’t just disappointed about the location, I also had no idea where the location actually was (it shows up on your map, by the way. I’d just been too blind to see it!). However, by now I know that a cornerstone is not meant for you to claim a specific location in the world. You can do that, I guess, but that’s not using the cornerstone to its full potential.

There are lots of places in the world and in the different zones where you find empty cornerstones. As soon as you find one, you can click “E” and the cornerstone moves from the previous position to the current position. A cornerstone can house, as mentioned above, the healing potion refiller (handy to have in the world out there, right? ^^), crafting stations, a box where you can store some items, or even a crafted item that lets you destroy looted items (you can’t sell them anywhere but you can destroy them to get a resource that you need to upgrade your items). So, the cornerstone basically follows you wherever you go and lets you conveniently do whatever you want to do – as long as you have crafted the respective stations and put them on your cornerstone. You can also build on it, of course! And if you happen to die, you will get resurrected at your cornerstone (or the starting point for that world if you haven’t claimed a cornerstone).

Trove Alpha Screenshot

A small part of my homeworld where I’ve started building a modest little house (with a garden, at least).

One bad thing is that the cornerstone is tiny. Your homeworld, on the other hand, is pretty big! And that’s where you can build to your heart’s content. But first, you need to build your homeworld portal which creates your homeworld. After that, you can jump to it from anywhere in the world (the homeworld is an instanced area). Since the cubes are pretty big, placing items in your homeworld isn’t rocket science (oh, the amount of rage items in Rift have already caused when I wasn’t able to align them properly …). One may argue that the graphics are ugly, too blocky or whatever. I guess this is a case of “either you like it, or you don’t”. I like the graphics and I think they’ve got a certain charm. It works for games like this one.

As mentioned above, I bought a supporter pack now. I like knowing that I support the development and that I spent about the same amount of money that I would have spent on the game had it not been “free to play”. It is not a required purchase, of course. The things I got as bonus items are things like a pet or cosmetic items. It doesn’t look like I’ll get anything that’ll give me an advantage and I hope that this is where the shop will also go. No f2p without an item shop, right? ;) At the moment, the shop mostly has mounts, pets and the Fae Trickster class (for credits or in-game currency) available. But the Knight and the Gunslinger are free, so you do not have to spend money on it.

So far, I would say that if you don’t mind the graphics and enjoy gathering resources, crafting and building on your homeworld, then Trove is a game to check out. If you’re into challenging fights, collecting items to make your character stronger, etc. – then I’m not sure if you’ll have tons of fun in the game or not, because I haven’t seen enough of the bosses yet to judge that part of the game properly. ;) One thing I do not like is that apparently, you don’t have a wardrobe or a cosmetic item system where you can choose a certain look but wear other items for their stats. With the amount of funny looking items, I would have assumed they have such a system in place!

Since it’s in Alpha currently, you either have to sign up and hope you get an invitation or buy your way into it (it starts with 18,99€) – or, as in my case, be lucky to win a key in some giveaway. If you’re patient, you can also just wait for beta to start (5€ gets you a guaranteed spot in the beta – yes, unfortunately, it seems that the best and easiest way to get your hands on the game in alpha or beta is to spend money) or even wait for the game’s launch since joining the game will be absolutely free then! We will also know a lot more about which features will be in the finished game then. And, of course, the whole experience will be more bug-free than it is now. I haven’t encountered a lot or anything game-breaking, but still. It’s not yet a finished product and you notice that, of course.

Weapon Master…

We have successfully moved and most of our stuff is in the new place. I have also been ill for the last three weeks – yes, my timing is impeccable. However, now that most things have settled, it is time to call for an end of our summer break and you’ll see me blogging here more often again. :)

Some time ago, I wrote about my favourite “profession” which is actually not a profession per se, but a weapon and a specific playstyle (especially in Guild Wars 2): The one-handed sword.

I’m very close to 10.000 achievement points and had a look at the various categories to see where I could get some more points when I found the weapon master tab. As I said in that post, I really love the sword, but I had no idea how much I love it, especially considering that I actually do have five professions at level 80 already!

GW2_Weapon Master

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (June 25, 2014)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch and the first Geekwatch in 2014! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

I’m going to take a quick break from our summer break to post, because there have been two quite cool announcements today. For one, we finally heard something “official” about the next Rift expansion. We have already gotten the new crafting profession (Dream Weaver) as well as the four new souls and the PvP dimensions. But as far as I know, we hadn’t yet heard the name of the new expansion or what the new content will be about. A new producer’s letter was released today: The expansion is called “Nightmare Tide” and the new content will be free. There will also be new equipment slots which you will have to unlock on a per character basis by playing the game. They also announced a “digital edition” of Nightmare Tide with no further details. It will unlock those equipment slots for your account immediately. We will see what this means exactly, I guess, how much it costs, how difficult or time-consuming the unlocking process will be in the game and so on. For now, I’ll remain excited about the fact that they did announce their expansion and gave it a name and even said that it will be here “this year”. Hey, you never know… ;)

Let’s switch over to Guild Wars 2. By now, the whole Maguuma trailer is old news, I assume. But that’s not the news piece that I meant anyway. Guild Wars 2 now has a tumblr account as well. I had already seen that account before today’s announcement, but I really like what they are planning to do with it. It is not just another page where they mirror their news posts, etc. Instead, they want to use it to promote fan art! The good thing about tumblr is that you can submit your work to them. So, you won’t have to wait and hope for anybody at ArenaNet to spot your creations. Point them at your art instead! If tumblr is totally your thing, by the way, we are mirroring all our posts over there. ;)

And now, let me go back to stressing over the upcoming move. If all goes well, we will have uninterrupted internet access, at least! :)

Summer break for Nerdy Bookahs

GW2 Skkia in Divinity's Reach

Skkia, my thief and 4th asura who made it to level 80.

The days are getting warmer and warmer and summer is fast approaching. But unfortunately, this is not the reason for this post’s title. For the next month or two, both bookahnerk and I will be very busy in that thing called “real life”. Additionally, we are going to move to a new flat which also needs some renovating first. We decided it’s finally time to switch our basement flat to one with more sun coming in! :D

I just thought our regular readers should get a heads-up on why it’s going to be really quiet here for a while. We’re still here, we’re still invested in Guild Wars 2 and we’ll continue blogging once we have finished moving. But for the time being, we decided that the little free time we’ll get, we will use for gaming instead of blogging. ;) I’m not saying we won’t post anything at all in the next weeks, but it won’t be much. So, don’t worry, we’re fine and we will be back in a bit more than a month (if all goes well… especially with the internet provider!).

Guild Challenge: Map for Deep Trouble

We were just doing the guild challenge “Deep Trouble” again tonight. For those who don’t know what it is: It’s a guild challenge in Mount Maelstrom where you have to rescue quaggans from krait. It’s a bit tricky as there are several quaggans that need to be saved and once you free one, they start running and krait spawn. You definitely need more than one person to escort the quaggan. The quaggans are always in the same spots, but it’s a bit difficult to coordinate your groups as some are quite close to each other (so saying “the one in the east” is misleading).

While trying to coordinate which group should go for which quaggan, we realized that the map on dulfy’s website is outdated. Apparently, the quaggans were repositioned at some point. So, in order to help our guild coordinate, we made a new map and we figured: “Hey, we’ve got a blog. Let’s share this new map with other players!” :p

GW2 Deep Trouble Guild Challenge

Map for the guild challenge “Deep Trouble” showing the locations of the captured quaggans.

When doing this guild challenge, make sure that your party is close together and moves on when the quaggan does. Ignore the krait, just follow the quaggan (and kill the krait when the quaggan stops moving and starts to fight them)! And don’t free a quaggan if your party isn’t close to you. Those krait are tough to fight alone. If even one quaggan dies, the guild challenge is failed.

Rebuilding Lion’s Arch…?

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt crafting stationsWhen the latest patch got released, I headed over to the forum to read the patch notes as I always do, but when I read the part about Lion’s Arch, I logged into the game to see it with my own eyes. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was – and yes, I may have ranted and raged a bit here in front of my PC. But let me explain what happened.

When, before the patch, I had read that the Zepyhrites would be offering their help to rebuild Lion’s Arch, I had imagined that we, as players, would be helping as well. I thought that this meant that with the next few patches, this would be part of the living story content. Imagine this: helping the citizens of Lion’s Arch out and with the next Living Story release, the bank would be back in place. After that, the lion statue, then the Trading Post. Up until in the very end, the portals would finally be back and fully working!

Or why not let us all collaborate? Make it a race between the regions: EU and US servers – which region gets Lion’s Arch back on its feet first? Different challenges, activities, etc. drop and award different special materials that are needed for the rebuilding process. Make it a game, give us a mini lion’s statue that is placed in our home instance as a reward. Make it fun!

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt mapInstead, after logging into the game, I found that everything we need is already back. Yes, Lion’s Arch itself is still in ruins! But it’s fully functional again. 3 crafting areas, 4 banks, 4 trading posts, the portals, mystic forge, etc. One could say that it’s better than before – or more convenient, as you can choose which area of Lion’s Arch you want to spend your time at while putting items into the bank. This isn’t “helping rebuild”. In fact, I fail to see why they would need any help from the Zephyrites or anybody else. The amount of vendors, banks, trading posts (just think of all the trading post fees we’re paying!) should be more than enough to pay for the rebuilding of the rest of the city.

This was a swoosh with a wand and some fairies granted us a wish and made it flawlessly perfect. But at the same time, at least for me, utterly boring. I had been looking forward to getting the rebuilding process as content, to tell all the future newcomers: “I was there. I saw this city before it was attacked, I saw it and defended it while it was attacked, I saw it when it was in ruins and I was here helping rebuild it! This is partly my doing!” Instead, I was handed everything on a silver platter within a few minutes.

We can maybe help make the city look pretty again, but for me, there’s no sense of urgency to it. And yeah, while it may be good to give citizens back their homes, I have to admit that as long as I don’t get my own house, I don’t care where the NPCs are living either. ;) At the same time, I do hope that we will be asked to help out in some way in a future patch and get to rebuild something. Maybe not a trading post or the portals, but at this point, anything would be nice.

And this is probably also why I shouldn’t assume and imagine things. Expectations can lead to great disappointment…

GW2 T-shirts giveaway!

GW2 shirts size L and XL

Update June 1, 2014: This giveaway is closed now! Congratulations to Aurora and tankitout. You have won the L and the XL t-shirts!

I have been hinting about this on Twitter already. We’ve got two Guild Wars 2 t-shirts to give away! They are some “leftovers” from the German Foostival. Of course, they are fresh and new! I also did not even unwrap them for the picture of the t-shirt’s logo below. That shirt is ours. ;)

GW2 grey tshirtWith this giveaway, you get a chance of winning one of two t-shirts! When leaving a comment, please tell us if you want to get into the drawing for the size “L” or the size “XL” t-shirt. Unfortunately, there are no other sizes. I usually wear mine at home exclusively  since it’s a size XL men’s t-shirt and it looks just a tad silly on me. But it’s still very comfortable! As you can see on the right, the t-shirt is grey with the Guild Wars 2 logo on it. The back is simply grey with nothing on it, I think. So, it’s a very simple but cool shirt!

Please read the following rules carefully to see what you need to do in order to enter our giveaway and have a chance of winning one of the t-shirts!

1. We want you to comment and present us a scenery* screenshot of either Labyrinthine Cliffs or the Crown Pavilion – that you took yourself, of course.
*With “scenery” we mean that we do not want to see the UI or the chat.

2. Leave a valid email address when commenting. It will only be used by us for contacting the winner and nothing else! Enter said email address into the “email” field, do not add it to the comment field as that one is public!

3. From all screenshots, we will choose the ones we like the most. Those will be divided into “L” and “XL” groups. One winner per group and of course, as always, we will choose the winner randomly.

4. The winners will be contacted by email. Please reply within 10 days and give us your real life address, so we can send the t-shirt to you. Do NOT leave it in the comment field! If you do not reply within 10 days, we will choose another winner.

5. One entry (and one screenshot!) per person! We reserve the right to exclude entries when we think you’re trying to cheat by entering multiple times. Stay fair, please. :) What you may do is change your mind and upload a different screenshot as long as it is before the deadline. The newest screenshot you post is the one that will count!

6. No debating about the outcome! We will draw randomly and everybody who presents us a scenery screenshot has a chance of winning. :)

7. The giveaway is open for participants until Sunday, June 1, 2014, 22 pm Berlin Time (this should give you the time for your time zone).

8. Last but not least, a word of warning: We have probably all made our experiences with “snail mail” and lost parcels before. We really hope you will receive your t-shirt and the post behaves, but we can’t guarantee it. So far, each of the things we have sent because of our giveaways have reached their destination, though. *knocks on wood*

Last but not least, if you’re wondering where or how to upload the picture, read the following instruction (written by Tilion from DragonSeason):
1) Go to http://tinypic.com/ and select Browse.
2) Find your picture from your PC at the pop-up window. Once you select it, click Upload Now.
3) Fill in the CAPTCHA code that will appear on your screen and click once more Upload Now.
4) Once you’re through with that, copy the Direct Link for Layouts that has been given to you and come back here and leave a comment.