Return to Travians

In my downtime between Travian servers, I have been playing a couple of casual browser based games to fill the time. One of these was the previously mentioned Nile Online, another is Travians. As many may or may not remember, I previously gave Travians a try and then gave up on it due to general boredom.

The game at the time didn’t really seem to have much point. You farmed to get crop, sold it, farmed to get crop sold it, and every now and then you would break for a mini game or two. Well all that really hasn’t changed, however, I don’t know, maybe it is that there is more organization or knowledge amongst the players, but it seems to have more promise than it did before.

Specifically, it seems to me that because you know there are things to work towards and what those things are, you would be more willing to sit and deal with the early junk. For instance, I now know that on day 50 (which I recently passed) you get access to a large portion of the map that allows you to use stoves and wheat fields which give a 10% bonus to your efforts. Also having access to the map gets you access to more locations where NPCs spawns and it turns out that killing NPCs is a major source of experience, so I’ve been gaining more xp than I used to. Also at about day 35, you gain access to a second profession, so that you aren’t just farming anymore, you can bake or do something else as well.

In fact, this game largely seems to be of the variety where the longer you play, the more you do. You get access to cool baths and furniture, bigger and better beds which let you regenerate Occupation points faster, banks, gift shops and more. Certainly when I hit age 50, it became far more busy of a game than age 49. I think it is very strange and in drastic difference from Travian.

Travian actually has a really good first 30 – 60 days of the game. The first week goes rather slow due to lack of resources to really upgrade. They solved this to some extent however with the quests that they added that not only give you something to do, they give you resources to work with in this slow period. But after the first week, the game continuously picks up. The game is actually very addictive in the first few months…

Travians however is not addicting at all until the the first few months are over. When Travian is starting to slow down and get more boring, Travians is picking up and becoming worth playing. The problem is suffering the initial experience and getting to the meat of the game. I think this is why the game suffers and doesn’t gain many people. Most of the time when designing a game, you want to make a game that is at the very fun up front so that you bring people into the game but the designers of Travians failed on this utterly. They made a game that was fairly ok once you’ve sat there and tolerated it for a few months. This isn’t good for an on-line game however.

The developers have also been busy adding things over the course of the last two years, slowly but surely. Shortly after I came into the game again, they added a day/night function so that you can see night time. I also believe they have added an achievement portion to the game so that you get medals for doing various things in the game, like harvesting x amount of grain. They’ve added a few mini-games including Poker. Stationary for messages. I’m not sure if they added generations later, or if people just found out about it as it came. And of course they added more Diamond features.

The other real contention I had with it was that the game seemed like a big money grab by the developers. They wanted to get more money from their players than they ever had from Travian, and this point I feel remains true. Many of the nice furnitures costs money to get, and this I don’t actually mind. They have some furniture that is free so it is a luxury to get them. But honestly I wish that the furniture did something more than just look pretty for the money I spend on it. Baths and beds are one of the few functional pieces that actually cost real money. All baths cost at least a little money, beds are free unless you want say a double bed, that will cost money.

Besides furniture, you can just look at the list of things to buy in the features list and see that they really are trying to milk money out of their customers with this game. There is a list of 20 things to buy instead of 5.  And then there is redistributing Occuptional and Action Points in Travians, which I consider to be extremely similar to redistributing resources in Travian, a whopping 40 diamonds in Travians compared to the 3 in Travian. Now don’t get me wrong, I agree that it is a far bigger deal in Travians than Travian, but I still don’t see the value topping 10. In fact, if they did it at a value of say 6, I believe that people would use the feature a lot and they would probably make more money out of it overall.

I think that I can look down the list of diamond features that Travians offers and say that they are all a little overpriced. They aren’t bad things to pay money for the most part for, they just over did on the price for what you get. A lot of the other ones that may not be badly priced are just not described. Cheaper resources may be good but no idea what price cheaper is. It could be 1 copper less or it could be half price what you can get on the market. I think it is probably somewhere in between but who knows. I did buy a treasure map for 5 diamonds at one point just to see what I got, I got about 1.5 gold. I didn’t think this was worth the 5 diamonds and again, if they said “you get 1.5 gold” I probably wouldn’t have done it, especially since it still took me like 10 minutes to get the exact right spot for the treasure.

I do think the game can be pretty fun, but I think it is fairly sad that I benefited greatly from giving up on the game and coming back later. As it added 15 days to my life which really sped me through the quests and gave me access to the stuff faster. First generation players seem to matter less if you don’t level fast so that isn’t a big deal. I would say for new people to go play the first week, and then to just stop playing for a week or two and come back. You’ll be happier with the game overall than if you tried to suffer through the slowness of the first couple of months.

In my downtime between Travian servers, I have been playing a couple of casual browser based games to fill the time.