Where MMORPG's are concerned, Trove has always endeavored to do things a bit differently. To start, the game is a cube-based adventure much like Minecraft and while there is a definite emphasis on crafting and exploration, this has never been more apparent or prominent than in the newest expansion, Geode, which doesn't just give the players a new land to explore, it gives them an entire planet.
First and foremost I want to thank Trion Worlds for making it easy to get to the latest expansion unlike many other MMO's I've played. It's right on the atlas map, so if you're confused, just run up to it and hit E. Now, with all of that aside, what is the expansion like? What can you expect from it? To start, Geode is a world under siege by Q‘bthulhu and his shadow army, a force that you'll be facing later on. For the moment, you'll be using non-violent means to conquer the world of Geode. Honestly, if you're going to visit this place then you'll have to think of yourself as more of a guest than anything.
Arriving on Geode
When you first arrive on Geode you will land in the Sanctuary hub which serves as your home base on the world of Geode. Admittedly this will be confusing at first, but once you learn where everything is you'll spend less and less time wandering. Basically, the top floors contain your crafting areas and quests while the lower floor contains portals to the mining areas. For example, one of your first quests will take you to Moonglow Grotto, where you will be responsible for feeding the hungry critters that wander through the mines.
Life in the Mines
The mines below Sanctuary are filled with creatures, resources, and a wealth of other things to discover, and the best part is that it's nowhere near linear. The caves sprawl out in all different directions and really allow you to explore, unlike the dungeons you'll find in other MMO's that encourage you to walk in a particular direction and do specific things. I should also mention that the caves encourage three-dimensional exploration through the use of a grappling hook built into your discovery suit, which brings me to the Discovery Suit.
The Discovery Suit – A New Means of Surviving
If you got used to your wings, mounts, or jumps on Trove, then you're going to have to get used to an entirely new way of life while you're exploring the mines beneath Sanctuary. Rather than using the abilities that you've been relying on throughout all of Trove, you will instead use the new Discovery suit which features modular abilities that can be swapped out as you earn them. The first thing that you need to know is that the mines themselves are filled with poison gas and as a result, you will only be able to stay within the area until your Geode Acclimation System (GAS) runs out, at which point you will be returned to the Sanctuary hub. When this happens, canonically, trained workers from Sanctuary come to retrieve you. In reality, it simply kicks you back to your starting point.
The game does allow you to upgrade your suit so that you are able to stay within the tunnels longer but at the end of the day you are always working against the clock to find the resources you need, complete quests, and raise your power level.
Along with allowing you to stay in the mines for longer periods of time, the Discovery suit permits you to equip tools that will allow you to better explore the mines. For example, the first one that you are going to get is the Omni tool which gives you the ability to harvest Geodian blocks as well as resources. You will also have the grappling hook which not only makes you feel like Batman but gives you that extra edge you need to reach the highest spots in the mines and even find secrets that you missed the first time around.
By itself, the suit is pretty impressive, but there are multiple addons that will make it a bit more effective (and will always be active). The omni-tool, which we mentioned before allows you to mine Geode’s resources, while the N-Charge powers up module abilities. While these default modules will help you move through the most basic areas of the Geode expansion there are four other modules which can be crafted. The thumper, for example, will reveal hidden crystals and other resources in the area that may help you to move further along in a questline. Rocket boots will come in handy if you want to quickly reach the top of an area, especially when you delve into the tier 2 and tier 3 areas.
Though you might not be violent yourself in the mines, you will need to protect yourself from time to time – a feat that you can accomplish with the suit’s barrier generator. This addon will allow you to block both projectiles and aggressive creatures which might not be a huge concern in tier 1 areas, but can certainly become a problem later on. Once you update your suit, you will be able to stun animals in higher tier areas, which will help you on your journey considerably.
A New Experience
If I had to compare Geode to anything in particular I would definitely hold it up to the platformers of old. There is quite a bit of jumping, plenty of strategizing, and much more, all in the name of getting to your objective whether it’s up high in the cave or down lower in the caverns. Speaking of ‘lower down’, do you want to have some real fun in Geode? All you need to do is find a pool of water near a cliff and destroy the blocks around it. Believe it or not, the water does not dissipate even if it was only a simple pool. As a matter of fact, you will quickly watch it turn into a full-fledged waterfall as it flows down to the next level, and the next. I actually had quite a bit of fun flooding random caverns and watching other players try to make sense of the watery hell that I’d created.
Ultimately, in my opinion, Geode is a great expansion to a great game if you are interested in exploration and finding ways to solve your problems without violence.
Geode isn’t a combat-centric expansion and if you can live with that, you’re going to have quite a bit of fun. Ultimately your goal will be to traverse the underworld and collect the crafting materials which you will use in the crystology center up in the sanctuary.
Honestly, it’s Trove. They do nothing BUT innovate whether it’s graphics, gameplay, or music.
Learning Curve: 5/10
There isn’t much of a learning curve here; it’s Trove, even if it’s on another planet, and you still do all of the same things you did before. The learning curve comes in when you are adapting to the suit and the fact that you cannot be in the caverns beneath Sanctuary for more than a few minutes at a time before your GAS runs out and you are sent back to the start. In addition to that, you’ll have to get used to using your grappling hook to explore the higher areas, or even using it to propel yourself across a chasm. Get ready to be creative in your exploits.
Graphics / Sound: 8/10
Other than potentially giving me a seizure every time I look at the cell shaded world, the game looks very nice. The shading on the new tunnels is beautiful and it’s a very aesthetically pleasing way to pass the time.
While there are definitely things to buy (especially classes), there are also plenty of things that you will be able to experience for free when you enter the world of Geode. There really is enough here to keep you busy for a while, especially if you like to explore.
While it might not be the most stereotypical MMO expansion, there is still quite a bit to enjoy here. There is nothing quite like exploring the caves with friends and like I said before, it plays a bit like an old platformer when you’re harvesting and collecting crystals in difficult to reach places.
+Discovery Suit Changes things Up
+Vast Underground World to Explore
-Sanctuary can be Confusing at First