Interview With Brian Clark, Art lead of Trove
Last week we got the chance to talk with Brian Clark, Art Lead for Trove, and this is the result: a very interesting interview in which he talks about upcoming Trion's latest title. But before you start reading it, don't forget to check out the first look gameplay commentary we published a couple of days ago.
First of all, thank you for giving us the chance to interview you about Trove. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers?
I'm Brian, the art lead for Trove. I basically try to keep the visual direction of the game consistent but I handle things like character design, lighting, environments, along with high level direction for VFX, UI, and other visual aspects of the game. I also manage the player created item submission process.
How would you describe Trove to someone who has never heard of it before?
Trove, I feel, is a unique combination of some of the more classic elements of MMOs within an sandbox style game. We let you build whatever you want, explore cool locations, and adventure in dungeons and lairs created by the community. We update the game constantly and are always adding new content, classes, and tons more.
What makes Trove stand out in the MMO market? Why should a player choose to play Trove over any other free-to-play MMORPGs?
Trove offers something for everyone. There's lots to do in adventuring, professions, collecting, getting better gear, end game content, the mastery system, cool things like your cornerstone which is your own personal plot of land that you get to build whatever you want on and we are always adding more and more to do at an incredibly fast rate. We update every week with
something cool. Just like all of Trion's other games, we offer a game play experience that you normally don't get in the free to play market. We don't constantly ask you to buy things and we don't make it impossible to play the game without purchases. We don't do that here and I feel that's a big deal in free to play.
Can you tell us something about the available classes?
Currently, we have five classes: The Knight, Gunslinger, Fae Trickster, Dracolyte, Neon Ninja, a sixth that is coming very soon, the Candy Barbarian, and we have a solid plan to keep adding more. Trove isn't about leveling up just one character and that's it. Trove is about experiencing
the game as a whole. We want players to tryout and level all of the different classes available to them. They all offer different styles of play and complement each other in pretty compelling ways. From ranged classes like the Trickster who teleports to stay out of trouble and do damage from
far away, to the Dracolyte whose main goal is to burn and blow up everything, or the knight who stays close, can take hits, and deal damage; there is a class for each type of play style with many more on the way.
What about the character progression? How will we be able to customize our characters?
Character progression is account based within our mastery system - an achievement-style system where you earn points for everything you collect and every level you are. On top of that, every class in the game has its own set of levels and abilities to unlock. In addition there is an immense
amount of character customization. You can choose the style of your weapon, hat, face, head, costume, mount, and mag rider (a type of mine cart/roller coaster ride) at any time.
Now a tricky one, what can't we do in Trove?
You can't do PvP! We're a PvE focused game that is all about cooperation and working together. Directly competitive systems don't fit with the community and style of game we're building.
How many different environments or Biomes can we explore or create in Trove?
We take the same approach to the environment as we do with everything else. We want to keep adding more and more so our players are always satisfied and have something new and fun to do. Right now, we have about eight different biomes but we have more coming. We are actually going to release the new candy biome alongside the candy barbarian. The plan is to constantly make compelling -- and sometimes crazy -- new landscapes. We don't want to just create the Trove version of the real world, we want to produce a constant flow of creative, fun, and colorful new ones. There will always be something new and imaginative to explore.
How deep is the crafting system? Is there any limit when we create something?
You can craft almost everything. You can craft decoration, block types, new crafting stations, mounts, terraformers, plants, and equipment. There are also professions which are crafting stations with progression, so for example you can get better as a gardener or ring crafter.
The game allows players to have access to their own home/base of operations, the Cornerstones. What can you tell us about this interesting feature?
Cornerstones are really awesome. It's a plot of land that you get to claim right there in the open world and make whatever you want. It's all yours and no one else can build on it. Cornerstones are the players personal space to craft, build, and live. They hold all your crafting stations and can be moved instantly from plot to plot all over the world. It's your own personal traveling house that you keep coming back to for breaking down materials, refilling health potions, planting plants for professions like gardening, storing extra loot, and a whole lot more. I've seen some amazing
cornerstones in game and it's really cool to see what players come up with.
What can you tell us about the combat system?
The combat system is all about fun, real time, action combat and fulfilling the fantasy of being your class. We have a wide range of classes like the mischievous Fae Trickster and the stalwart Knight which let you play the way you want to play the game. We also have new enemies, traps, and dungeons coming online on a weekly basis which always keep the game fresh.
How is the PvE going to be structured? Are we going to see quest chains, instances, raids? Is it possible to explore whatever we want without limits?
The entire game world is procedurally generated along with lairs and dungeons created by the community that are randomly assembled so your experience is never completely the same. We also have group content! Up to 8 people can participate in 'Shadow Arenas' which are basically our end-game. We have more plans for these which include expanding them to be community
created. Ultimately, there's something for everyone in Trove and more is always on the way.
Can you tell us something more about the PvP elements of the game? Will there be open PvP or instanced battle zones?
We are very focused on PvE. We like the community that it fosters and feel that PvP encourages a type of play that doesn't currently fit with the game we're building in Trove. There may be some type of it in the future, but it will need to feel like it fits with the rest of the game.
Let's talk now about the Club Worlds. What are they?
Club worlds are separate worlds that belong to only your club (Trove's version of guilds). A club world is yours to build whatever you want as crazy as you want and it is a great place for clubs to share resources with their members, plant large farms, and really build whatever you can think
of. Players can even craft special chests just for their club that members can store items in. Leaders can also set portions of the club world to only allow certain members to build there. You can also add new areas to your world and physically grow its size or even alter existing landscapes to be a different biome theme. It doesn't matter if you create a club all by
yourself or are in a club with lots of players, club worlds are a unique corner of the Trove universe.
Will you implement a cash shop into the game? If so, what can players expect to find inside?
The game already has an in game store and I feel the designers have done an amazing job of steering clear of items that give you too much of an advantage but are worth buying. We as a company don't subscribe to the whole "pay to win" concept and we're really proud of that. We want to give items to players that they want -- like awesome looking mounts -- but not items
they need in order to even compete. You can get everything you need to have fun and get better in Trove through playing. We are interested in coming up with unique things you want to purchase to have fun not items you have to purchase to be able to play.
Do you have a release date already planned?
We haven't announced the release date yet, But the enters Open beta today so from this point on anyone can jump in game for free.
Thank you for all your answers. Would you like to add anything?
Something that I really love about this project, and I think anyone who experiences this feels the same way, is how closely we work with the community. The entire team is on our forums, the Trove subreddit, and reading emails from the community every day. Not only does the community
create the bulk of our dungeons, lairs, weapons, props, and other gear but we have open conversations with other players and really take to heart what people want to see in Trove. This is the first game I have worked on where I truly felt that the community is helping us make a game we all love not just a game developers build behind a curtain. Trove really has a ton to offer even in beta and everyone on this team works insanely hard to make the game the best it can be. I honestly don't think you find this kind of development anywhere else.