I like to compare Travian to sports. Basketball, for example, is being enjoyed on many different levels, from backyard hoops to TD Garden floor and players in The Garden are not the ones who have most fun, I am pretty sure, it is work for them. There is some rules variation between high school play and NBA play. Why Travian should be different? Current servers structure does not provide different environment for different groups of players and we are different, not only by skills and knowledge level but also by level of dedication and commitment, by playing style or simply by time we willing to put into the game. And often different settings are preferable for different groups. Examples: beginners would benefit from prolonged beginners protection and most experienced players say just get me out of it; on tournament servers defense at WW approaching 100M, a hammer that can even scratch the building above initial few levels can not be build by a solo account yet on a small server it can be done without raiding even.
I want to discuss some sort of divisions system. Please keep in mind that schematic below by no means is a final proposal but rather illustration for the general idea, I think brainstorming it can be fruitful.
1. Beginners servers. They should be crafted to learn account development and basic level of interaction between players. Probably more options to expend BP, maybe attacks restriction (no waves for example), comprehensive quest system, which will include tasks to cooperate with others (sending coordinated attacks for example), more active natars to compensate potential lack of action etc. Not sure if it even needs a WW, some other goals can be set. An account must be played on that server for certain period of time or till certain point (finish all quests, for example) to go on any other level or maybe with exception of level 2. This will also cut number of multies and bots for competitive servers imho.
2. Regular servers. The regular servers as we see them now with standard set of rules and expectations of casual play.
3. Rivalry servers. This will require formal recognition of alliance's leadership, i.e. a code sent to an e-mail(s) that belongs to account(s) registered as alliance leaders. Maybe top 3-5 population/attack/defense alliances from previous level or some other criteria. Once in awhile (3 months?) TG will announce custom servers, recognized alliances will proposed a set of rules (size and type of the map, speed, length of beginners protection, tribes, alliances size, whatever variables TG can deliver, I am willing to go as far as allow multi-accounting as long as there are people who is willing to pick up the glove) and as soon as there are at least 3, maybe 5 alliances registered for proposed set up a server is good to go. Everyone is free to join as long as they are graduated from a level 1 server.
4. Tournament. As is now, maybe with variation of some rules as alliance size and confeds or something else - tournament players are better to say what they want.