Welcome to October 1st, and to our first installment of 30 Days of Game. This is where I play a game for roughly a month, and then review it.
First up: Travian. From their own page…
Travian is a browser game featuring a world with thousands of other real players. One begins the game acting as a chief of a tiny village.
To get a decent idea of what the game is like, I suggest running through the tutorial. It only takes a minute.
Basically, you start with an empty village surrounded by resources. You place your town hall and then get to building. Each resource field (woodcutter, clay pit, iron mine, cropland) produces a set amount of its resource, which you can increase by building up the level of the resource. In town, on the various plots, you can build a variety of buildings, from armories and stables to warehouses and crannies (for hiding resources from attackers). As you construct buildings and upgrade them, you unlock new troop types and other abilities. Eventually, you can raid and even conquer other players. Yes, its a PvP game.
Its like a real time strategy game, only slower. Every building, upgrade or troop training takes resources and time. And while each building’s ability is independent (can be researching new armor, new weapons, training foot soldiers, horsemen and building siege devices all at the same time), setting your people to work on building or resource upgrades are only allowed one at a time. So you need to plan, which buildings do you need first? Do you go offense and raid other players for supplies or do you go defense and protect against other raiders?
You can join alliances with other players which allows you access to a private message board on the site for your alliance. And each server is generally allowed to run for 300 days (100 for speed games) before it resets and starts over. So, yes, this is not your traditional neverending MMO grind. The game has a finish, and leaderboards, and enough servers that you can pretty much always guarantee that one is going to restart soon or has recently restarted, so there is less worry about jumping in and being so far behind the curve that you can’t possibly win.
Now, technically, I’ve been playing for more than 30 days, because I couldn’t think of a new game to start and I was already playing this one. However, I’m enjoying what I am now referring to as a Lazy Time Strategy game. Early on, when build times on things were very short and didn’t cost too much, I visited many times a day to keep my peasants working. Lately, I visit two, maybe three, times a day, trading goods with other players and kicking off my next project or sending out armies to do my bidding. Through my alliance I have heard other players talk about getting bombarded and overrun, but I haven’t had any trouble with that just yet, and I might not before the server resets. I am just now getting to the point where I might be able to found a second city, which took longer than it would have if I’d gone straight for it.
Travian isn’t a deeply enthralling game, but I definitely think it is one I am going to continue playing because it is enjoyable and doesn’t require a dedicated hardcore player to enjoy it, although I am sure more hardcore players could find something in this game – be it min/maxing the build orders, or just crushing your neighbors.