First off -- a little background about me. I started playing in 2007. I was someone’s farm for two or three servers -- and then I learned the old school strategy of building 200 maces, pushing settlement, and then raiding out of a 15c. That was back in the days of no farm lists. Before farm lists came out, I won top robber medals with all three tribes playing solo or working on large dual teams. It was fun; however, I was also in college with a lot of free time.
Coincidentally, as college picked up for me in the second half of my four years, T3.5 came out (which introduced “farm lists). These lists weren’t like the lists we have today -- it was more of a list of hyperlinks that gave a little information on your raid history on that village. There was certainly no “raid all function.” But it certainly saved a TON of time, and it made me able to play the game a little better.
Even more fortunately, just as I was finishing college T4 and the real farm lists came out. This changed a lot -- now it took much less time to raid as long as you were around to send the units out. I know some old school players that still think farm lists are “broken” or “too easy” -- but honestly who in the heck wants to sit around and click links all day and NOT use the farm list?
This year, the test server came up and I happened to stumble upon a Travian bot. I wasn’t looking for it -- I came across it in a forum. I had never used a bot before, but the idea of using one on a test server sounded innocent enough. I still had to make a farm list and do all the normal things, but the bot sent the farms out every half hour for me. All it did was save me time.
After using the bot for a couple of weeks, I learned a few things that I think TG should consider:
- When I played with the bot, I found myself dedicating much more time to the strategic aspects of the game. I heavily scouted enemies, picked fights with my hero, and searched the marketplace for profitable trades. Why? I had more time and I wasn’t burnt out on clicking a farm list every half hour of my life. What do we want to reward people for in this game? Clicks and activity or strategy and skill?
- When I played with the bot, I didn’t need duals to survive. The only reason I’ve ever needed a dual was for raiding activity. With the bot, I still had to spend my resources and find farms -- but I didn’t have to mindlessly sit around to hit “raid all” over and over again until my brain goes numb.
- Fewer duals means more gold accounts per player. If me and 4 buddies pile onto an account, we only need to pay for plus and resource bonuses once a week (versus 5x a week if we all played solo). More accounts would be spending gold.
- Fewer duals means more accounts per server. If me and my 4 buddies can now all raid 24/7 as solo players, then we’d be fools to not each play our own account. Yes, not every account on a server is piling 5 players into it as duals; but certainly the top 10 percent of every server is made up of mostly dual teams.
- If anyone anywhere can raid 24/7 then the disparity between the top 1 percent of the server and the top 10 percent of the server is much smaller. Servers would be more competitive if the Hun account with 5 duals wasn’t running the show simply because their account logged in more times in a day.
- If anyone anywhere can raid 24/7, then playing anvil is much more fun. Playing anvil is known for being boring in the beginning of a server -- mostly because it’s impossible to have an anvil early in the game. Those players tend to sim production until mid game. Well, pure anvil accounts can raid hundreds of thousands of resources a week using only slaves, ash wardens, phalanx, legionnaires, or spearmen. I know this because I did it with the bot (part of the reason I used the bot was to see if it was possible to do it with only defensive units).
Without using a bot, my knee-jerk reaction to this would be “That’ll ruin the game.” Makes sense. But just remember back in the t3 days when all you had were raid reports. There weren’t even trade routes back in those days. Players had to manually send shipments to WW’s -- but the natural progression has come to value strategy and skill over monotonous activity. This will also kill the use of bots completely (because what would you use one for after this?). Cheating will always occur, but this kills a lot of cheating by leveling the playing field for the least active player.
So I propose the creation of Travian Platinum Club. Since I’ve played this game I went from high schooler with too much time and very little cash to gaining two degrees and a bunch of cash and losing all my time. Maybe for 50 or 100 more gold each month my game experience would be improved significantly, the servers would be more populated and more competitive, and I can focus each of my logins on battle strategy and scouting reports rather than clicking. Perhaps a good way to keep this in check would be to structure it similar to auto-dodge (another in game script/bot that is awesome), and only allow the auto-raiding to come out of the capitol.
Trade routes go out every hour on the hour. Why can’t my farm list?