Tuesday 14 July 2015

Troy of the Trovers

Lacking any particular gaming inspiration, I was meandering around the Steam store the other day and noticed Trove, a voxel-y Minecraft-esque MMO-ish sort of thing from Trion Worlds that launched last week. I picked up Space Engineers in the recent sale, but that has a rather forbidding interface. I’m sure it allows for deep and complex space construction, but I haven’t managed to summon up the enthusiasm to watch a ten minute tutorial video yet. Something nice and simple with bright colours seemed more suited to my usually addled state of an evening, so I thought I’d take a look at Trove.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with that idea, with a queue of 1000+ people waiting to join the server and an estimated time of an hour or so, but fortunately the marvellous Only Connect was back on BBC Four, and by the time that had finished I was at the head of the Trove queue, ready to pick a class.

From subsequent thorough in-depth research (briefly glancing at the Wikipedia article), it seems Trove has been in testing/early access for a while, but it’s slipped under my MMO-radar until now. That’s not terribly surprising, as my MMO-radar is rather obsolescent and would scarcely register news of World of Warcraft shutting down these days, but it can be fun to go into a new game completely cold. Having no idea what any of the classes particularly do, I picked Pirate for the following logical and well thought-out reason:

Q: Why are Pirates the best class?
A: Because they ARRRRRRRRRRRe!

Q: What do pirates drive?

Q: Why did the pirate film have a disjointed narrative?
A: Because it was nonlineARRRRRRRRRRR!

Q: Are you just googling “words that end in ‘ar'” and constructing so-called pirate jokes around them?
A: Yes

Q: Pardon?
A: I mean ARRRRRRRRRfirmative!

Q: That doesn’t even work…
A: Yeah, well, there aren’t any synonyms for ‘yes’ that include ‘ar’, ARRRRRRe there?

Q: That question was a statement and that answer was a question, the whole structure of this section is failing, quick, let’s do another pirate joke so nobody will notice: which of the Merry Men was a pirate?

Q: What about Pirate Will Scarletbeard, Pirate Terror of the High Seas and Pirate?
A: Him too

(If you’ve enjoyed these hilarious jokes, you might also like: a pack of 24 ballpoint pens, some flip-flops, or Mr Biffo’s excellent Digitiser 2000)

Anyway. Trove itself seems to be exactly what you’d expect from a voxel-y Minecraft-esque MMO-ish sort of thing: adventuring and defeating mobs for loot in a MMO-ish manner, then upon pressing Tab switching to a harvesting/building mode where you can (temporarily) demolish the landscape and use the resulting blocks to build and craft things in a Minecraft-esque fashion (on a small plot of land of your own). Five or six years ago, it would have been staggering; today, it’s perfectly good, but with such an array of building, crafting and adventuring games out there I’m not sure it’s something I’ll particularly stick with. Still, you never know, it has a lot of nice touches. The Pirate class has a rather cute pet parrot, and seems to have some similarities with Engineer-type classes in other games such as a deployable turret ability. Rather than some automated system, though, the turret is a cannon manned (parroted?) by your companion:

Admiral the Hon. Polly von Featherington Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, ready for battle

Admiral the Hon. Polly von Featherington Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, ready for battle

Overall, then, positive first impressions; dusting off the old Second Wilson Cabinet Rating Mechanism, I would award Trove a highly creditable Reginald Prentice.

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