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Introduction to Travian, the Online Multiplayer Game
One fun thing about the Internet is the variety of games that can be found here. I've enjoyed playing RED, Tumblebees, and now I'm trying my hand Travian. Travian is a game that attracts many players, who interact with one another and build up the strength of their villages and alliances in an effort to eventually dominate the game world. To begin with, there are three active tribes on the map and you get to join one of them. Gauls, Teutons, and Romans. As the game progresses, into what's known as the end game, the Natars, another tribe are released. This tribe is controlled by the computer. A desperate struggle amongst the tribes, and the alliances, culminates when a Wonder Of The World is built in one of the villages; or when the clock runs out of time.
I'm still a beginner at this game. I've only been playing it for about two months now. It's a fun, if time-consuming game. One has to be patient in order to build one's village to its maximum potential. This is done by gathering resources from your (virtual) iron mines, clay pits, forests and wheat fields. With the resulting resources, you can increase your production by ramping up production in the aforementioned four different areas: or you can attend to buildings or troops in your village. And you have a Hero who goes on adventures and can help with resource production.
It's a game that requires patience and focus. It's always tempting to do something like make your stable (where you keep your horses) really, really big. But that's counter productive. You need to discern how to utilize your resources, which resources to grow, and when to increase your troops and strengthen your buildings. At first things move along quickly, and as the game progresses, you have to spend more time waiting and gathering resources (that is finding defenseless villages to plunder) before you can do the next thing on your list to do in the game. For instance, right now, I'm torn between raising up my palace to level 11, and getting my clay pit up to level 11. In either event, it will be about four hours of real time before I can do anything more on the game. That's not technically true, if I wanted to, I could continue to research the neighboring villages (by sending scouts their way) to figure out which ones are vulnerable. That's why Travian can use up lots of time. If you want to, there's always a little tweaking you can do to your village, your alliance; or even your Hero.
A screen shot of the game. No animation in this game just strategy!
Though I am just a beginner, I'd like to share some of my experiences of the game. There is an in game e-mail system. So, whenever somebody attacks me, if I see that they are much bigger than I am (which is generally the case - they are after all attacking me), I send them an e-mail and politely request that they leave me alone. This is one of the most valuable tips that I found out about. People have been quite obliging, and have gone elsewhere with their armies so far. I am a bit concerned about my neighbor to the south though.
It's essential to research your neighbors as well as you can. To do this you need to make some troops known as scouts. Then using the online map system find villages that are smaller than yours; or if you're just starting out, villages that have a population less than 50 or so. As you prepare to send scouts out, the game will tell you how long in real time it will take them to get to the village you've selected. It's best to have different targets depending on how long you will be away from the game. Before I go to bed at night, I sent troops out so that they will be returning to my village in the morning - about the same time I get back to my computer.
In addition to your village and crops, you have a hero. Every so often, once a day or so, the game gives your hero an adventure to go on. After a couple of weeks of play, you'll start to accumulate items. My strategy has been to sell these items on the game's auction. Items are bought and sold with silver, and you also find silver on your adventures. For every 200 silver that you accumulate, you can purchase one gold coin. If you have 100 gold coins, then you can get a gold plus account. You can also purchase gold directly with a credit card, and this keeps Travian from being burdened with advertisements from corporate entities. Whether you use a credit card, or the games auctions, I definitely recommend getting a gold plus account. Some items are very popular in the auctions; if you are willing to part with them, it is easy to make the necessary silver to buy the gold coins.
The gold plus account has many features. My favorite is something called the farm list. It makes raiding other villages much easier. Without it, you have to enter in each village individually. with the farm list, you can enter in a number of villages all one time, how many troops you want to send their way, and then press send. The farm list remembers all the information you given it so when you troops return you can quickly send them out again. It makes raiding and gaining resources that much easier.
Another tip I have, is from time to time I remind myself that it's just a game. It is so well made that it is easy to get caught up in; to worry about your troops, your villages, your crops or your hero. There's no point in doing that! You may grow quickly by having settlers found new villages, producing resources and gathering up a virtual army; and you can probably do all those things if you're patient. Neighbors will attack you, steal resources and massacre troops you have built up. Players will join your alliance, only to leave for a bigger one. Get the game is very forgiving, if you are patient and keep at it you will grow.
There are other games similar to Travian out there. However, Travian's simple design, in game interactivity: auctions, trading, and raids; and the choices you have to make in building type or crop production; and the in game message and report system make it a winner. I believe that the game lasts somewhere between six months and a year. As far as I'm concerned that's another bonus. It makes it easier for me to spend some time on it every day, and know that it will reach a crescendo and then end. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the endgame plays out. I've been told I can get pretty fast and furious and then, and with the game set up the way it is now, I can see how that could be the case. Travian, is not just a game, it's an adventure!