Add Huns & Egyptians as "standard" on all new servers
I favor the immediate addition of Egyptians and Huns to all new servers. I do not think it is fair to players who commit to 230-350 day long servers to have to wait until their next, next server to use them. I say this with the assumption the tribes will be rolled out universally at some point. Not doing so would likely foster more frustration and anger in the community. I do understand the decision to utilize them only on "specials" currently, i.e the Birthday Special that ran in Sept and the "New Years Special" that started last month. Doing so increases the amount of players on those servers, increasing the competitiveness etc. which should result in greater gold expenditure ("revenue"). It can also be seen as an additional opportunity to test the new tribes in a WW setting. (Though given the fact the Beta server was not used properly by the Devs, I have doubts as to how much such a thing factored into the decision making process)
However I also recognize that there are concerns about the balance of the new tribes on their own, within the context of WW servers and of the general tribal balance when all 5 are present. Below are some thoughts on addressing tribal balance.
Here are some figures I pulled for tribe distribution, comparing NYS servers to other active (and relatively full) servers within the same domains. I got them from Getter so I don't have info on Hun and Egyptian %, since the tables currently don't reflect the new tribes.
Note: Since I started drafting this post, Travian has released overall NYS stats from across the domains.
The table is messed up and one box disappeared but the missing value is 31%.
Gaul average 53.4%, Tuet 17.6% and Romans 29.2% on non-NYS servers. On the NYS all of the classic d from the average, running at only 31.5% for Gaul 16.5 for Romans, and Tuetons at 11.25%. For a decrease ranging from 36.08% to 43.5% from the current tribe averages. It would be interesting to compare servers at their peak population numbers vs their end figures, and the distribution of who deletes but that is beyond the scope of available data.
Why do I mention these figures? How many players that play a tribe impacts the overall game-play balance of each server. Each Tribe is structured to have different strengths and weaknesses that play off each-other. Currently on NYS servers, classic tribes represent approximately 60% of all player accounts. This actually works out pretty well for a tribe to represent about 20% of a server. In practice some are higher, some are lower but taken together they each seem to have about 20%.
Gauls came in at 32%, Roman at 20%, Tueton at 14% for the global average. This is roughly in line with my above estimations. Over time the distribution may fluctuate, accounting for players trying out the new tribes for the first time and not opting to use them in the future. The number of Huns is below what was I expecting and the Tuetons are higher. Generally I think the following will hold:
Teutons/Huns 15-25% of total server accounts
I think this is largely based on some tribes favoring certain playstyles over others. Teutons/Huns will overwhelmingly be an offensive account. Romans can be either but with double construction can be a bit more gold efficient. Egyptians largely take off from the Gaul player-base and be mostly defensive accounts, but the need for Phalanx and the greater potential need for NPCing (waterworks bonus in cropper capitals) will turn off some players to Egyptians.
To better address the question of game balance I've begun an analysis of the tribes, looking at different things from Attack Power, Effective Defense, Raiding etc. I am by no means done nor is it all necessarily original. I have seen various threads address different aspects that I am looking at, but I think my work is a bit more comprehensive. I hope that it aids in the discussion. Since I lack an organized draft, let alone a final draft, I will keep things as simple as possible, opting for highlights of the data. (usually through graphs) Since the work is incomplete I will note that everything I say in relation to the data is part of a "working thesis". It could be entirely wrong, but based on the information I have now, these are my thoughts.
Since its incomplete I'm also missing a lot of categories for data that I haven't gotten to yet, nor have I had a chance to find real world data to compare to "textbook" data. But I think its important that this discussion start sooner, rather then later.
Daily AP, Daily Upkeep, Daily Training Cost)
Effective Defense = ("Infantry Defense Value" X "Average Standard Infantry AP Ratio") + ("Cavalry Defense Value" X "Average Standard Cavalry AP Ratio")
Effective Defense Crop Efficiency = "Effective Defense" / "Maximum Daily Troop Training Crop Consumption"
- "Average Standard AP Ratios" - This figure is derived from the maximum number of units that a barracks and stables can produce in the same, equal 24 hour period, then averaged across the tribes. Real world values may differ.
- Assumes 1 of each hammer combo. Real world distribution will vary.
- "Maximum Daily Troop Training Crop Consumption" - Based on Lvl 20 Barracks going for a full 24 hrs.
- This chart also does not account for the Natar, which are very Cavalry heavy and kill more troops than most player attacks will over the life of a WW.
Crop & Training times are both limiting factors to defending a WW, which is more important depends on the alliance but both should be considered when looking at game balance.
I have heard concerns that a roll out of Egyptians to all WW servers will result in an explosion of Egyptian garages/tech accounts sitting out in the boonies holding EGH/WWK troops. This is due to the large crop bonus that can be generated by the waterworks on high level 15c. Having not played Egyptians on a WW server, nor playing among players who use exclusive garages or tech accounts it is hard for me to say how prevalent such a style of play would be.
1. I have two mutually-exclusive suggestions in terms of balancing the Egyptian waterworks bonus:
- Reduce total bonus to 50% - Cuts the bonus in half. Still offering an advantage as a unique building but reducing the overall impact.
- Eliminate waterworks - Replace w/ Unique Building similar to Horse Watering Pool - Except instead of reducing the crop consumption of horses, it reduces the crop consumption of infantry.(preferred suggestion)
- Lvl 10 = 1/2 Crop Consumption of Slaves, Lvl 15 = 1/2 Crop Consumption of Ash Warden, Lvl 20 = 1/2 Crop Consumption of Kopesh
- 3/4 Crop may also be acceptable
The first still leaves the potential abuse, but not to the same degree. The second eliminates it but could be potentially unbalancing on its own. While I LOVED having the extra bonus from the waterworks, I can understand how it can be abused. So I have a strong preference for the second suggestion.
2. I also think Egyptian offense is severely under-powered:
It has the most expensive resource cost of troops per day (assuming equal 24/7 building) and the lowest AP per day of any offensive unit combination. The AP is per day is 56,135, while the next highest is a Sword + TT combo at 57,785. However the Sword + TT combo also costs 139,155 (575,495 vs 714,650) less to produce and has 85 (1150 vs 1065) less crop consumption per day trained. The next closest combo for AP is the Imp + EI, with 63,290, still lower crop consumption of 1,124 and still lower resource cost of 701,970.
Egyptians heavily favor playing as an anvil. While I generally I have no issue with it, I think playing as a hammer should be a legitimate option, if only to make Egyptians less obvious as anvil or garage accounts. How can we achieve making Egyptian offense more capable? Here are some simple solutions:
- Increase Resheph Chariot attack from 110 to 130. It will still be the weakest of Unit 6 Calvary but would increase daily AP by 4,380 to 60,515.
- Decrease Resheph Chariot training time from 54 minutes to 52 minutes (lvl 1 stables). This would put their training time in line with Haeduan and add an additional 1,040 AP per day for a total of 61,555.
These changes would put the Kopesh + Resheph combo above Swords + TTs but remain less than Imp + EI. This would be a total AP increase of 5,420 per day or 9.7% increase. I think this would improve the ability to use Egyptians offensively and improve, rather than hurt overall server balance.
3. Another Idea - Change Sopdu Explorers to an Infantry Unit
I think combining this with the unique building to reduce infantry unit consumption would add some options to the way Egyptians play. I think it would also be good for the game to have another 1 crop scout unit. No one likes 2 crop scout for defensive purposes! Perhaps a camel unit? Using only 1 crop?
4. Militia - Overpowered Defense Unit when crop is no object / Name Change / Raiding
I recently conducted an analysis of infantry defense units and found slaves to be an powerful defensive force when crop isn't factored. (They are terribly crop inefficient) When comparing their daily training number and approximate "effective defense" (for those unfamiliar ED = actual defense of a unit in a battle, equal to the sum of = attackers Infantry to Cavalry Attack Power ratio X units infantry and cavalry defense values), they produce the highest average total effective defense against all hammer unit combinations (think Club/TK, Bow/Steppe etc.)
It might be advisable to make them a bit more in line with other tribes defensive units. This could be accomplished by increasing training times by 10-20%.
I am not sold on this, but in the interest of fairness I figured I would bring it up.
Back when Egyptians came out, people asked that the unit name be changed. 7 months later and no progress has been made on that front. Changing the unit name should be a fairly simple affair. I know not everyone thinks it needs to be changed but it looked to me that those asking for the change were sufficiently numerous. To me its a toss up on what should be done but I thought a reminder of the issue was in order.
Early game raiding is terrible because the slave militia only has a 15 res carry capacity. Kopesh make a surprisingly good raiding unit due to their 7 FPH and moderate carry capacity and Chariots will get the job done. However getting to the point to use both those units takes time, since both are expensive to train. I think the following would be reasonable:
- Increase Slave Militia Carry Capacity from 15 to 30
- Increase Slave Militia AP From 10 to 15
Gives a bit of a boost to using the SM for early game raiding. While this be something the minority of Egyptians engage it, it shouldn't be something completely off the table.
Offensive & Raiding Hierarchy
The Club/TK hammer build still reigns supreme as the strongest hammer build in the game. (assuming equal 24/7 barracks/stables training) It does however require the most crop consumption, which can be less of a burden for a heavy raider but still requires significant effort to properly feed. (Unless you are continually splatting)
AP = Teuton
Infantry Raiding = Teuton
Cavalry Raiding = Hun
On the subject of infantry raiding, the club is formidable. However the Hun Merc is very similar. Capacity is only 10 less, the difference in amount trained per day is only 98, AP is only 5 less. The FPH comes in close at 6 vs 7. The Merc can also double as a nasty defensive surprise. Cost is also only 40 more per unit. Obviously 1v1 the clubs will out raid the Mercs. But when you factor in the cavalry advantage, I think the lead will collapse.
I have seen reports of Huns heavily out raiding Teutons in both the BS (Birthday Special) and NYS (New Years Special). The additional resources raided can make it easier to train and support multiple hammer villages, potentially erasing the Club Hammer AP advantage. Say a Teuton can build 2 hammers off their raiding income, and a Hun can train 3, that would clearly give Hun accounts the AP advantage. Particularly when factoring in "effective defense", that tends to favor defending against Infantry and the fact Huns have an above average Cavalry AP. This situation is only worsened by the decrease in Gaul accounts in favor of Egyptian ones. (Based purely on infantry units, cavalry could change that picture)
Steppe hammers are also insanely cheap to train, even compared to Club/TK hammers. This is a bit ridiculous for a tribe that has such a raiding advantage. They also create less daily upkeep than a club/TK hammer.
In terms of raiding, EI and TT are the Roman and Gaul Cavalry units that also double as units to ghost with. TT are the fastest unit in the game still, but their lowest in type AP and carry capacity make them and Gauls in general less valuable from a raiding and offensive perspective. I would suggest a little bump in TT to improve the units general position in the raiding / offensive hierarchy. EI seem generally well placed given their high carry capacity, medium speed and High Unit 4-5 Cavalry AP. Roman cavalry in general seem undervalued given the introduction of Huns, when before this was one of the selling points for hammers from working to end game ones.
This arguably means some sort of adjustment needs to be made to retain game balance. Here are some suggestions. I think they all work best if all are enacted. I haven't actually worked out how these changes would impact numbers like daily AP, daily training cost etc. so they could be unbalancing in their own right. But then that is why I'm opening this public discussion vs simply submitting my ideas to Travian one on one.
- Increase TK speed from 9 to 10 FPH
- Increase TK AP from 150 to 160
- Decrease Paladin Carry Capacity from 110 to 80 (I am unsure how this came to be in the first place, its just odd)
- Decrease Marksman AP from 115 to 100
- Increase Marksman Training Cost from 1,050 to 1,150
- Decrease Marksman Carry Capacity from 105 to 90
- Increase Marksman INF/CAV Defense from 80-70 to 85-75
- Increase Steppe Training Cost from 895 to 1,000
- Reduce Steppe Carry Capacity from 115 to 110
- Increase TT AP from 90 to 100
- Increase TT speed from 19 to 20 FPH
- Increase TT Carry Capacity from 75 to 80
- Increase Haeduan AP from 140 to 150
- Increase EI AP from 120 to 130
- Increase EC AP from 180 to 200
These changes combined are meant to do the following:
- Decrease Hun cavalry value
- Increase Gaul cavalry value
- Increase Roman cavalry value
- Increase Teuton cavalry value
There is also the question of the Mercenary. They come close to the Club in multiple categories but greatly exceed them when it comes to defense. When factoring training time and cost and excluding crop they are a pretty powerful defense unit. In my mind they are the superior Hun hammer unit. I think at least some alteration would be best to put them in line with other game units.
- Increase Mercenary Training Cost from 290 to 350
This keeps their value but makes them more expensive. They are probably the most balanced unit in the game but while they don't "specialize" in anything, that utilitarian role (and superiority in some, like carry capacity vs bowmen), that multitude of roles should come at a cost.
Here are some other general balancing issues and ideas that come to mind that don't fit in the above sections.
- Merge Gaul Cranny & Trapper - This could be more useful for inexperienced players to defend themselves and protect resources. I think it makes the trapper a bit more valuable than it otherwise is by reducing the number of building slots used.
Tribe / Unit related things I haven't gotten to yet but will at some point. These include data stuff, as well as sections of the post that I don't have the energy for at the moment.
- Discussion of Tribe Infantry / WW Defense
- Cavalry Defense Analysis - Comparing speed, effective defense, training cost, upkeep
- General Defense Analysis - How do the tribes stack up defensively?
- Additional Raiding Analysis - Evaluating raiding potential i.e estimation of daily raid income based on different attributes like average farm field distance, unit speed, units trained per day etc.
- Overall Analysis - How do the tribes unit combinations compare based on different play-styles and "overall". Considering all information, raiding, defense, offense, cost, upkeep etc.
Real World vs Theoretical Hammer AP Ratios - Compile battle reports to compare real world hammer use to the theoretical standard.
- Use to offer additional insight into defense value comparisons
I feel like there should be more but this is all that is coming to mind that falls within Tribe specific game attributes. If anyone has anything else please offer them up.
It is important to remember that these are simply options. They do not constitute anything that must be done but they may help address various community concerns. The addition of the tribes across all servers is the thing that I absolutely 100% support.
Huns and Egyptians should be added to all servers by default immediately. Regardless of what any of us think, the best place to evaluate the current balance of the tribes is in the real world. Servers across the globe, hundreds of hours played. I do not believe the BS/NYS are enough to really evaluate things. What may pose an issue from the current limited run, might be overcome by player adaptation through regular play.
Adjustments to the new AND existing tribes should be considered and tested. Ideally potential changes would be run through the Birthday/New Years Specials and frequent Beta/PTR servers. This is veering into another topic, but it is absolutely vital that Travian use these kinds of servers properly. Doing so would create material feedback from the player community, which can help avoid taking actions that frustrate, demoralize or otherwise offend the Travian: Legends community. An responsive and open Dev team + material feedback = A better game = happier players = more players = more revenue. The Beta server last year was not run properly. Three, 1 question surveys do not constitute a sufficient amount and type of player feedback. Perhaps there was extensive data collection of in game activity behind the scenes, this is certainly part of the point of such a server but without material player feedback its worth is drastically reduced. The willingness of the community to offer constructive feedback will vary by player. Some will be more outspoken than others, but it is important to hear from all corners of the community and give that feedback weight.
There are a lot of things that have hurt this game. Overall the new tribes are a step in the right direction. Please make them available to all of us and not just those of who happened to be looking for a new server at the time the specials launched. I do not want to have to wait an entire year just to get to play with the new tribes again. Also please be open to change, the Tribes should not be set in perpetual stone. Games need to evolve or they die. Most MMO and competitive games have frequent, if minor tweaks to make the game a better player experience. Travian has not adhered to industry best practices, at least in the eyes of the community. Many of us are here in spite of the issues we have with the game, please reward our time (and money).
We didn't develop this game, we don't maintain it. However we do spend our time and money on the game, which allows it to generate revenue for TG. We also provide value that cannot be measured in dollars or cents. Many people that I know started this game because it spoke to their interests. In a game that can otherwise get pretty stale after multiple years finds them still playing. Why? Because of the community. The players they choose to play with, communicate with, wage war with every day. Even in the darkest corners of the community where players sling words at each other, decrying the others to be scoundrels or the like has value. Not every part of this game is for everyone, but for the people who are here it isn't just limited to what the game itself allows you to do.
I understand the frustration, anger and even worry that the community has experienced over the years. I may not have been here for a few years but I read back through the forums and I was here for several big changes. I started during T3.0 and was here for the implementation of T3.5 /3.6 and T4.0. I read about the development and spinoff of Kingdoms/T5, as well as the region servers and tournament servers. I was here for the addition of Huns/Egyptians. I was here for the forum merge. I have played this game at the peak of popularity and at its current low. I have talked to dozens of players over the last year about the state of the game. I care deeply about this game because of the people I have met and played with over the years and its why I'm still here. I'm here despite my concerns about the game.
Regardless of what TG does with the game, as long as we play it is our game. We make this game possible. So we need to do our best to offer substantive feedback and be pro-active. The depth and quantity of what I have written does not need to be undertaken by all players, or even the majority. But it is important that some of us do this work and that the many respond to it, even if its as simple as saying "I agree" or "I disagree". Reading and saying nothing does not show TG the support behind an idea or a proposal. More is better of course. If you are willing and able to constructively engage in discussions about improving the game, you should.
Note: This post has been added to all English language domains. I will try my best to respond in all threads, but depending on the depth and quantity of the responses this may prove difficult to keep up with.
What I have written here is in part a derivation of work I began 10 months ago with a simple list. The list asked a basic question, how can Travian be improved. Over time this list has grown to become a project devoted to proposing and advocating for things to improve the game. Right now I call it the "Veteran Legends Project". I hope soon to have a dedicated thread on the subject but the project is rooted in the same concept as my original list and the sentiment that I have expressed above. I am looking for people to help with this project, I have be accumulating a list of community leader names who may have both the ability and willingness to aid the project. That list likely won't be enough as the project is ultimately a reflection of the community's answer: "How can Travian be improved?". More voices and more hands will improve the efficiency and value of the project. I also understand that this game is something we do for fun and this project involves a bit of work. I also understand that game communities worldwide have done things above and beyond for their games, regardless of the cost in time or money.
If you are interested in learning more, or aiding the project in some way, please send me a PM. I'll be happy to chat.