When my friend Safiren asked me to write for her Travian blog I had no idea what to write. I have been happily retired for over a year and in addition I was never a top tier player. It took a while to think of something to contribute that would be interesting to read and hopefully a little informative. Eventually I decided to give my thoughts on resource management and then share some of my miscellaneous musings on Travian.
But first my qualifications. I played for 6 years and although I achieved some nice rankings and, at sometime or another, earned every type of medal in the game, its unlikely you’ve heard of the accounts I’ve played so I won’t bore you with their names. I was known for my ability to sim, raid, play for 14hrs+ and get in to a lot of hot water diplomatically. While I played some above-average solo accounts I mostly relied on duals and allies who shared my dedication to the game and desire to be at the top.
So what can I tell you that you don’t already know? Probably not much. Oh well, you’re reading now so I might as well have a go anyway.
When we talk about resources there are four that come to mind – wood/lumber, clay, iron, wheat/crop. But much has been written about these so I won’t bore you by going over them, suffice to say your management of them is what will likely determine your skill level. I want to talk about the otherresources.
Firstly, gold which is limited only by your wallet. Even the best non-gold accounts can be improved with gold meaning that Travian is partially a ‘money game’ i.e. whoever pays the most money wins. Post-T4 the best accounts can get into bidding wars where the winner will be the one prepared to spend the most. For more on money games, I recommend this article.
Time is the next resource and probably the most important. It can be divided into two facets, time in game (which I’ll refer to it as time (IG)) is the amount of time it takes to build, upgrade and move troops. Time in real life (time (RL)) is the amount of time a player can spend in front of the computer screen. I’ll talk more of the latter later. The management of time (IG) is of critical importance. When villages aren’t building, troops aren’t moving or resources are piling up its awaste of time (IG). Travian works because every time the player clicks on an upgrade they feel good and every time that upgrade finishes they feel a nagging sense that they’re wasting time (IG). Travian doesn’t work because beyond a handful of villages it becomes very difficult to keep up with one’s account. The game can be viewed as a war against time in which one’s aim is to make the best account before time runs out. Every second lost is a second further from the perfect account so because of human error the perfect account will never exist unless run by bots. Thanks humanness.
Next there are the RL resources. The amount of time (RL) you can put in to the account will be determined by your work, your family and if you want to have a social life. All of these distractions can also be quite useful. A job will mean you can pay electricity and internet bills as well as purchase gold. Family will often remind you why you spend so much time in a virtual reality and while a healthy social life may jeopardise your account, regular expeditions out of the house will help prevent burnout. Very important. Unfortunately, this means that there’s a balance necessary for the best accounts. If you’re locked in a room with no sleep your account may be pretty good for the first 24hrs but will quickly suffer as a result.
Finally there are your dual(s) and allies. Any account with more than 3 duals is likely carrying dead weight so I found it best to limit myself to one or two. Having people with shared goals and skill levels is of utmost importance. The best way to find these people is to join an elite alliance and work out who’s playing the accounts you admire – then poach them for future servers. In addition it helps to cultivate a lot of skype contacts. Enemies on this server may be valuable allies on the next. Despite being retired I still receive regular requests to join accounts from friends on skype. In a pinch you can use the dual thread on your local forums and its a great tool – provided you know what you’re looking for. The golden rule is that everyone is putting a lot of time and effort into their accounts so treat them with respect. And just because someone is doing better than you it doesn’t mean they’re cheating. Keep your accusations to yourself.
But you’re probably aware of all this so what more can I offer you? How about a phrase I stumbled across that later became my mantra – Travian is only fun when you’re winning. I’ll qualify this by saying that winning takes many forms and will be different for each player. For example winning to me meant being at the top of every leaderboard. When I realised this was unattainable (for me at least) I changed my goals and got joy from building the most efficient account possible. My friend and mentor Geriatrix preferred small accounts with which, using superior tactics, he would harass a large account until they eventually deleted. Another friend and mentor, Cait, enjoyed playing defensive accounts to support her friends. Then one server she happened upon an unique speed artifact and her TT’s became the bane of anyone silly enough to build a hammer. Realising how much she enjoyed playing offensively, she hasn’t played a pure defense account since. So my advice is to find your definition of winning and play to it. Don’t be afraid to leave an account that you are not enjoying or start new ones if you miss that cropper that you just had to have. Conversely, if you get the opportunity to try something new then give it a go – you might discover a love for playing no-gold, cavalry only accounts on Russian servers. Better give it a try.
My 6 years on Trav taught me a lot of lessons including:
– The value of forward planning
– People online are still people so they’ll react badly if you treat them like shit
– How to use spreadsheets
– If I dedicate myself to a goal and try really, really hard I can achieve moderate success.
I don’t regret learning these lessons – only that it took 6 years enslaved to a game to learn them. So my final piece of advice to Trav addicts is: if, like I was, you’re hooked because you’re unsatisfied in real life, identify the problem and remove it. You’ll thank yourself later.
All the best,