A long time ago, I published a “Lotro vs. WoW vs. Rift” piece and I figured it’s time to revisit this topic, but with the games I’m currently playing: Rift (things have changed, so it deserves an update), Guild Wars 2 and Trove.
Before you want to smack me: Yes, I am well aware that those three games are very different from each other and they all have something special that the others can’t offer. So of course, I will not tell you which game is superior. Also, please keep in mind that Trove is still in open beta and gets new stuff added fairly regularly, Rift is already several years old with two expansions and Guild Wars 2, while not exactly a baby on the market anymore, will receive its first expansion this year.
I’m writing this to show you which game offers what in which gameplay area, so that you can make a choice of which game to play if you want to give one of them a try. I personally play all three of these games regularly and I play them all for different reasons and in different gameplay “modes”, so to say.
Just as last time, this post here is the start of a series of posts and I am going to cover several areas (lore, PvE, PvP and more will come later).
What is this game about? Short introduction in one sentence
Guild Wars 2 is a “buy to play” MMORPG in a fantasy setting (including steampunk elements) with an open world (but individual instanced zone maps) with action-focused combat, open world events, PvE and PvP.
Rift is a “free to play” MMORPG in a fantasy setting (including steampunk elements) with an open world (with individual instanced continent maps) with traditional combat mechanics, open world events, PvE and PvP.
Trove is a “free to play” voxel-based multiplayer online game with randomly generated instanced maps with action-focused combat, PvE and sandbox features.
How much does the game cost?
||Guild Wars 2
||Up to 35 € for the basic game
|Expansions and/or additional content
||Up to 1400 gems for the content of living world season 2. Expansion will launch later this year.
||Two expansions: Storm Legion and Nightmare Tide. Varying prices.
Guild Wars 2 follows the “buy to play” model. You have to buy the game itself before you can play it. Very rarely does Guild Wars 2 offer a free trial. I looked up the price for the game online and it shows a price of 35 € for the Heroic Edition here in Germany and a price of around $30 in the USA. You can also buy the game from the official website and there have been several sales recently. In fact, there is one right now (75 % off until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time April 13, 2015): The Heroic Edition costs 10 € – not sure about the exact US price. So, it definitely pays off to look for sales first before buying it for its regular price. There are no monthly fees, though!
In-game, there is additional content that you have to pay for if you want to play through it on your own and if you want to get the rewards. You can, however, also play through the content if you tag along a player who has this content unlocked already. This part is maybe a bit confusing: Season 2 of the living story (ArenaNet’s way of introducing new content) costs 200 gems (2.50 €/$ – or gold in game that you exchange for gems) per episode. It used to be free when you logged on during a specific time period after the episode was first released. So, if you only want to experience the content, you can go and play through all episodes with another player as mentioned above, but you will not get the rewards. Here is a Reddit thread about the question whether this content is worth the 1400 gems. We will also get an expansion probably later this year, called Heart of Thorns. This expansion will cost money and cannot be bought with gems.
Additionally, Guild Wars 2 has an in-game shop (just like the other two games). There are no items with stats offered. However, quite a substantial amount of fluff items originally come from that store. Some can be traded, some can’t. Still, if you’re worried about a shop offering in-game advantages, then there is nothing to fear here. You cannot buy such items. Instead, you can buy non-combat miniatures, costumes, items that offer convenience and so on.
Rift is “free to play”: You create an account and can start playing right away. The game has seen two expansions already: Storm Legion and Nightmare Tide. Good news first: All content of the base game and the two expansions is free to play. There is an optional subscription fee which will give you bonuses like faster XP gain (this can be disabled, as well, in case you do not like faster levelling). But it is in no way required to pay in order to play the game. However, there are a few other restrictions if you are a free player: You cannot use the auction house and the bank unless you have spent some money. You need to spend about 5 € (I assume this is about $ 5) to get 1500 “loyalty” at which point the feature to use the auction house is unlocked. You can spend those 5 € on anything you want in the game. As soon as you have spent this amount, you will get to that amount of loyalty.
While the content itself is free, some things that came with the expansions have to be bought. For Storm Legion, this is mostly the 4 new souls. Souls are kind of like specializations for your class (called “Calling” in Rift). The mage can use a soul for damage, a soul for tanking (yes, tanking) or a soul for healing, for example. For Nightmare Tide, it is again 4 souls (different ones than with Storm Legion, of course), earring slots (which can otherwise be unlocked by playing the game) and membership for the Manugo League which lets you gain reputation with them faster (I don’t think this is really important but I thought I should mention it anyway).
The in-game shop mostly offers what the Guild Wars 2 shop offers as well. Fluff items, items that offer convenience and so on. The shop often offers you two options: You can buy something with one of the in-game currencies or with credits. Some are credits-only, some other items are in-game currencies only.
Trove is currently still in open beta, but launch shouldn’t be too far off anymore. It is a “free to play” game, so you can create an account and start playing right away. There is no subscription fee (not even an optional one). Even though it’s still in open beta, you can already buy things off the in-game shop. Since it’s new, there is no expansion yet. All content is available for everybody! You also do not have any restrictions if you are a free player compared to somebody who has already spent money like you do in Rift.
A lot of things that are not unlocked in the beginning (like access to all classes) can be bought for real money or for in-game currency! The only thing you can buy in the shop right now that you cannot get anywhere else is a ship that lets you sail on lava without getting damaged. As far as I know, this ship is tradeable, though. So you can theoretically buy it for in-game currency from another player.
How can I make sure my account doesn’t get hacked?
Guild Wars 2 offers two-step verification. You can set up Google authenticator and connect that app with your client. When you want to log on from an IP address previously not “whitelisted” by you, you are asked to enter a code that you can look up in your Google authenticator app. A second method is having an email sent to the email account connected with your Guild Wars 2 client. You have to click a link within the email in order to “whitelist” the IP. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it: Do not ever use the same password for your email account and any other account connected with it!
In case you do get hacked, you can contact customer support. Please note that Guild Wars 2 does not offer character restoration like World of Warcraft does, for example. In GW2, you can have your account rolled back to the time before the hacking happened. Yes, your whole account! ArenaNet will not do so repeatedly, though. So if it happens again, you may be out of luck and may not get your stuff or your characters back.
Rift and Trove both belong to Trion Worlds. You access the games via the “Glyph Launcher”. The basic security is very similar to that of Guild Wars 2. There is two-step verification via an app and via email. You can have an email sent with a code when you try to log on to Glyph from a not previously whitelisted IP address. Or you can use their own app “Rift Authenticator”. It basically works exactly like the Google authenticator, but it’s specific to your Glyph account. Careful: It is called “Rift Auth” in the Android app store, but on the official website they call it “Glyph Authenticator”. This may be a bit confusing. Additionally, Rift comes with the “coin lock” feature. When you log into Rift from a not previously whitelisted IP, you will see an icon in the middle of the screen. As long as you are coin-locked, several features aren’t available. You cannot sell items, cannot delete a character and so on. In order to get rid of the coin lock, you need to open the email sent to you that contains a code and enter the code in the game. This is some additional security for your account, as a hacker cannot delete your characters or strip them off their gold without also having access to your emails (again: Do not ever use the same passwords!).
What can I play (races and classes)?
||Guild Wars 2
||8 (+1 with the upcoming expansion)
||4 callings. A 5th is being worked on. Each calling has 10 souls of which you can choose 3 to build your class.
||9 (more added regularly)
Rift and Guild Wars 2 both offer you different races to choose from whereas Trove offers you customization in how your character looks. The big difference here is that Rift and Guild Wars 2 give you background lore, history and so on to the races. Races in Rift are divided into two “enemy factions” (Guardians and Defiants) but especially on PvE servers, you can work together and even be in the same guild, so this is really only important in PvP settings (and on the PvP server) nowadays. In Guild Wars 2, all races work together and there is no PvP possible with players from your own server. Trove has no PvP to begin with, so there are no factions available.
Guild Wars 2 has five playable races: Human, Norn, Asura, Charr and Sylvari. The game currently offers 8 classed called “professions”: Warrior, Guardian, Ranger, Thief, Engineer, Mesmer, Elementalist and Necromancer. The 9th, the Revenant, will arrive with the expansion “Heart of Thorns” later this year. Explaining all races with their lore and professions with their mechanics would take too long, so I have included links to their descriptions instead.
For those who don’t know, the mesmer in Guild Wars 2 can create clones of itself.
Thief with the legendary pistol “Quip”
Rift offers six races and two factions. Dwarves, High Elves and Mathosians create the Guardian faction whereas Bahmi, Eth and Kelari are the Defiant faction. Mathosians and Eth are humans. High Elves and Kelari are elves (don’t let the lack of “elf” in the second name fool you!). Dwarves are the “small race” and Bahmi are the “large race”.
The classes in Rift are a bit more complicated to explain. The game offers four callings: Warrior, Mage, Cleric and Rogue. A 5th one is being worked on, but we don’t have any official information as to what it will be (“Monk” is being speculated). Those callings sound rather boring and standard. However, each calling has 10 souls (8 are free, the other 2 belong to the two expansions and have to be bought first). Out of those 10 souls, you choose 3 to build your class. By now (with the expansion souls), every calling can fulfill every purpose: Damage dealer, tank, support, healer. Choosing your souls also leads to very different play styles. The Druid (belongs to the cleric calling) is a damage dealing pet class. If you choose the Warden, you have a healer that heals over time. The Justicar lets you tank instead. Your main soul determines your main role and play style. The other two souls that you choose give you some extra abilities and buffs that complement that play style.
Cleric as Druid with one of its pets
Cleric as Tank
Mage as Chloromancer with a Necromancer pet
Trove doesn’t have races like Rift and Guild Wars 2 have. You can create looks for a Lady, a Guy, Undead, Robot, Dragon and a Ghost pirate which is mostly just a different face and skin colours. Since you only see your character from behind most of the time and the graphics are quite blocky anyway, I don’t think those differences are too important.
The classes, on the other hand, are very different from each other and even your character changes appearance a bit. The Candy Barbarian is taller than the Pirate Captain, for example. While the Dracolyte has a dragon tail, the Pirate Captain has a wooden leg. Also of note is that you can only have one single character in Trove. But you can change the class quite easily (and for free!) as often as you feel like. In fact, you’re encouraged to try out and play all classes.
At the moment, there are 9 available classes: Knight, Gunslinger, Fae Trickster, Dracolyte, Neon Ninja, Candy Barbarian, Ice Sage, Shadow Hunter and Pirate Captain. More classes are added regularly – I would guess we get a new one every two months or so.
Dracolyte dragon form, dragon ally, robo raptor mount and rascal raptor ally
Trove Candy Barbarian
What does the game look like?
All three games have a very distinct look if you ask me, although Rift is probably the most “classic” one and I really like the look of the world. Trove is a blocky game with blocky graphics. I wouldn’t call it “beautiful”, but rather “interesting” or even funny, sometimes awesome considering how rough the blocks are and what you can achieve with them. But if I had to choose “the best”, then this would be Guild Wars 2 by far. I just really love the look of every single zone and every corner of the world. Since it is a subjective question of taste, I’ll show you pictures of different zones and let you choose for yourself if you like the look of the game or not. I chose three zones to show off here: Something dark, something icy and something with islands and a beach.
Trove Undead Viking Biome
Guild Wars 2 Malchor’s Leap
Trove Snow Biome
Rift Tarken Glacier
Guild Wars 2 Snowden Drifts
Trove Treasure Isles Biome
Guild Wars 2 Southsun Cove
Rift Ember Isle
Conclusion so far
I’ve only covered the very basics of those three games yet. So it’s really hard to say anything about the games themselves. When it comes to their price, Trove is the cheapest game to play if you have no money at all for gaming. Rift comes second, especially if you don’t want or need the souls that came with the two expansions. If, however, you want to have access to the expansion features, then it gets more expensive. Guild Wars 2 is the most expensive of the three with a base cost of 35 €. For something like 10 €, however, this game is a steal if you ask me.
This is all for the introduction to the games now. The next part of this series will look at the worlds: Lore, history and so on. :)