This Guide was written by Benchmark and uploaded/formatted by Steve10. The original copy of this guide can be found here. This guide is quite long so I've split it down into multiple posts because it doesn't fit into one post. This guide is only usable for Travian Version 4 and later and does not apply to any earlier versions.
First a few things about myself. Feel free to skip this part!
I have played travian through several servers. Some of my achievements include, but are not limited to 49th place on the spring comx 2010 and an honorable 191th pop place in the x2 championship qualification server here on .com. I had a really tough time being at the border of my ally and we all fought against 3 quadrants, unfortunately to no avail. Towards the end I lost my capital and most of my villages were crop locked. These were solo achievements and all without any gold being bought!
At the moment I have teamed up with another player from x2 and currently our account is among the top raiders on the T4 open beta (ts9) here on .com. The best position we got so far as top raiders was 5th place, a week ago. On the forums I go by the name benchmark - you may have encountered some of my posts. I try to answer questions when my time allows it.
This introduction was made so you can have a certain degree of confidence that I actually know what I'm talking about. I'm not an expert, but I do know a thing or two. Well enough with this, let's go on with the more interesting things.
So, you finally decided to give it a try and settle in the natar gray area, but you don't know exactly what dangers await you there and how exactly to deal with it. Of course you want to be prepared for the challenge. Well, read on then, it's all in here.
Advantages to Settling in the Grey Zone:
Before I venture forward with my presentation a few things about the natar gray area(there were people asking me things like 'Hey man, why do you want to settle there anyway?'.
- All Oases have a +50% bonus, including wood, iron and clay!
- There are a high degree of croppers in this area. Many 9c and 15c croppers can be found here and because of all the +50% bonus there is a very high probability to find croppers with +150% bonus!
- You'll be close to all WW Villages which in T4 have a fixed position which is known right from the start of the game. Thus you can provide great support to your own WW as well as strike quickly (and unexpectedly) at enemy WWs and their support villages!
- Being close to the center you have a great opportunity for raiding as well!
- Such a position is great for taking artifacts because unique artefact's tend to spawn close to the center of the map!
Disadvantages to Settling in the Grey Zone:
- Any villages settled in the grey zone give no culture points! Ouch! Be prepared to use a lot of artworks and host constant parties to compensate for that. At any rate you probably won't want to have more than 2-3 villages in this area. A way to deal with this inconvenience is to find a good cropper right next to where the grey area ends and have other villages settled a few squares away on normal terrain.
- Being in the center means you'll attract a lot of players so be prepared to take quite a lot of action. A high amount of online time is a must and you should have atleast one dual and some sitters to cover for your account!
- Also, as soon as you settle, the natars will launch catapult attacks at you. This is the part that we'll look into!
Preparing to Settle:
Most obviously these should be done before proceeding to settle. I will tell you what I did and why, but you must be able to distinguish for yourself if you need to do that too or it's not necessary. I wanted this to go as smoothly as possible so I gave it a lot of thought before doing it and actually over did it a bit.
1. Gold is a very handy/useful thing to have. Ok, so you probably don't need me to tell you that, however don't deny it's importance. Like I said, my personal policy is not to buy gold, but that doesn't prevent me from using it, if I have it. In Travian 4 gold is fairly easy to obtain. I simply sold all my items that I found in adventures. I managed to get around 150k of silver from these so that makes plenty of gold for what I needed.
I tried to do a bit of business with items - I sold a sword for 90k and figured that if I bought another sword for 45k I did a very good deal. This did not work for the second sword I paid 45k however I only sold for 20k, meaning I lost 25k! My advice is that if you don't have the gift for trading, just stick to what you know, like I did. Anyway I used gold for plus, resource bonus, got gold club and I activated evasion.
2. Pile up as many resources as possible ready to transfer to your new village. I know that time is of the essence, but waiting a few more hours will definitely not kill you. On the other hand natars might, if you're not prepared that is!
3. Having a high level market can only help. The more resources you can transfer, the better. I had level 10, but I would recommend a higher level if possible. Merchants vary a lot regarding both their speed and carrying capacity, depending on which tribe you are playing. I played romans and they are the worst at this. Slow merchants and worst carrying capacity
4. Talk to your other ally members to help you with resources maybe even convince the leader to get a MM sent out. However if you get help from ally members be prepared to help the others who then need it themselves.
5. There are some tricks you can do with your hero. Buy him a pennant and at least one skill book. After you settle the village, build a hero mansion there. Send him there and use the book to put all his skill points into resources. every little bit helps! Warning - do not send him there before the hero mansion is built, because if you do, those resources produced by your hero will remain attached to you main village (or the last village you visited that had a hero mansion in it).
6. More tricks. I love these and I bet you do too. I saved some of the rewards from the task master - what I mean here is I didn't take them as soon as I could. In case you don't know already, those rewards are received in the village you're currently at when you decide to take them. A great way to transfer resources, but there is a small catch - see the warning. Warning - Make absolutely sure you have enough storage capacity for the reward resources to fit into. I will give you an example:
The reward for "Palace or Residence to level 10?" is 3400 wood, 2800 clay, 3600 iron and 2200 crop. In order to be able to receive it in your new village you must have at least level 5 warehouse (this can store up to 4000 resources) and a level 3 granary (which can store up to 2300 crop). Also, you actually must have available space in them to store the reward. If they are full, the game won't let you take the reward ! Seems the developers have taken some precautions and decided to not let you waste the reward resources at any cost.
Settling Your Village:
Get your settlers and send them to your desired location. The game warns you about settling there, but you already did some preparations and you shoukd feel rather confident about it now. As soon as your settlers set foot and settle the village, 14 natar waves will be launched at you. These attacks will arrive around 24 hours from the time your village was settled no matter where it's location in the gray area may be. These attacks do not obey the normal game travel the units have. The reason is rather obvious - if they would be calculated according to the distance of their point of origin (0,0) you would have no chance settling in the center of the gray area. So you practically have 24h at your disposal to do this build. The first wave to arrive is the cleaner which is meant to wipe out all defenses you might have in there. Rest of the waves are much weaker than the first, but still way too powerful to be stopped. All waves have catapults with double target so they will make 28 hits. From the best of my knowledge all catapults attacks are random and not meant at anything in particular (the natars could very well assume that you have a main building because every village starts with that, but they decided not to take advantage of this fact in particular).
My waves were spread in a 4 seconds interval so there is the possibility for inserts in several places. However, these natar attacks are rather strong and they will kill a lot of defensive units for sure (due to their increased stats) so you're better off letting them to destroy a few low level buildings. Actually this is the whole plan. It's very important to note that the attacks are one time only. IF you survive, they'll never bother you again!
Time for even more tricks. Now what could I possibly still have ? Well, there is a special building called the Stonemason's Lodge. It says there that it gives a bonus to resistance for all buildings. This is nice, but unfortunately the natar attacks are so powerful, you have no way to stand up to them. So what else there is about it ? Well, it has the same property as the cranny, you can't directly target it with catapults and it gives population even at level 1. But then again so can a level 6 cranny. Then why bother with the stonemason's lodge which requires a palace and a for the palace you need an embassy and a level 5 main building and on top of that it can only be built in the capital?
I talked in the forum with players far more experienced than myself which have confirmed for a fact that the stonemason's lodge is always the LAST building to be hit by catapults. So it's not a matter of maybe they hit it, maybe they don't. This is a very important piece of information and not many do not know about it, because it is not even documented in game's help. I personally finished several servers without even building this at all so it's definitely not common knowledge. Catapults will not hit it, unless it's the only building left standing in the village. So that's basically the insurance policy to ensure your survival.
What To Build There:
I built the following in my village:
- All resource fields to level 1. Even if you can't NPC, I would recommend doing the resources first because while it won't have time it's the only thing that at least gives your something back!
- Granary Level 3!
- Warehouse Level 5!
- Hero Mansion Level 1!
- Market Level 1!
- Embassy Level 1!
- Barracks Level 1!
- Rally Point Level 1!
- Palace Level 1!
- Stonemason's Lodge Level 1!
- 1 Cranny Level 1!
- 10 Cranny Level 10!
I used about 40 gold during this process, mostly for instant build. I only did 2 or 3 npc in total, but you should know that building is my specialty and I'm really good at balancing resources.
Natar Attack Details:
Total duration of attacks=4 seconds
Oh, I almost forgot!. I survived! Cheers and good luck with the game!