Posts by BlackBlade

    and very, very different types of players

    /me walks into the line of fire. I will start by saying I have friends on both sides and have opted to skip this round. I also have a very short history playing on COM, so a I have minimal baggage. That said I don't see the types of players as very different.

    • Both sides have good people, both sides have bad people
    • Both sides have cheaters, both sides have honest players
    • Both sides have drama queens, both sides have reasonable players
    • Both sides have players consumed by hatred for the other side
    • Both sides are willing to waste time on the forum and use that hatred to rage at the other side
    • Both sides generally don't understand the concept of friendly banter & competition

    The greatest threat to this game beside under-investment by TG is the players themselves and Com1 is a great example of that. Just thought that was worth pointing out.

    I have a lot of comments but I'm going to just put a few since I only have a little time right now.

    ALSO, please when you ban someone, tell them what the IP was for the device at fault. In most cases, there are multiple duals and no one owns up to it. Only the MH can him/herself tell us who caused the ban to occur. If they dont, we are left clueless and the cheater will most definitely repeat it on the account he/she plays next. Causing another few people to lose their time and money due to his/her incompotence. Its extremely important to get this sorted, as i do understand that there are some specific laws which prevent MH's from revealing IP. Be that as it may, you need to get it sorted.

    One way to get around the privacy issue would be a universal account. Everyone would have a single "master" account for the game and forum. Then like Kingdoms you can start individual "accounts" on each server and others can connect to that account as a dual. Have the system log activity of each universal account and then you can more readily identify who is at fault. (not full proof but nothing is)

    This would also allow for greater overall security. Bad actors can be more easily tracked from server to server. Duplicate universal accounts can be deleted before they even have a chance to register on a server. Again not full proof to all the problems but it has the potential to make the game and forum a better place. Not to mention benefits in general data collection to monitor various metrics like how often players do X or Y. Those metrics can be used to improve the game + improve marketing. I facepalm each time I get an email about a server multiple times because I've had an account on more than one server on a domain in the recent past - even though they all had the same email. Its a minor redundancy but it has always struck me as unprofessional that there isn't a CRM system in place to avoid that.

    No tolerance policy towards FFs. Ive discussed this before here already, so will just quote it.

    Confed system update definitely helps as you said but isn't full proof. A rule change is possible but it would take very specific language to make it a "universal" rule aka a rule. This goes back to your earlier point RE: MH. I do think they should be paid as well. Might it mean less of them? Sure. But there could be a complete restructuring of the "support" hierarchy where less MH isn't necessarily an issue. Consistent rule enforcement is absolutely paramount. However what you suggest could potentially open up a ton more work for MH, which as you pointed out they already seem over taxed given the length of responses. Good points thought and definitely something that needs discussing.

    That's all for now. I'll be back for more comments soon.

    A few observations:

    • I'm hearing that the "security" to prevent multiple votes is easily bypassed. Nothing can be done about it this year but hopefully a more secure process can be implemented next year. I have some thoughts on this that I will put together for the powers that be. The general gist is they need to leverage multiple measures to prevent and detect multi voting, rather than the one or two that appears to be the case currently.
    • Tournament definitely needs its own slot for a representative
    • Given the international nature of COM it might make sense to assign it 2 spots (in addition to the Tournament specific one)
    • There should be a limit imposed on how often someone can go. While COM is competitive, many of the other domains are very likely to send the same people who went last year. Sending so many of the same people will diminish the value of what can be learned from the representatives.
    • I would suggest next year they include a "free" day of sorts after all of the workshops. A day where the representatives can explore Munich. Using this years schedule as an example, people would start flying home on Sunday the 12th instead of Saturday the 11th. Why? See the above regarding the diversity of representatives. From an outside perspective it would seem a limited number of qualified candidates applied (despite the large number of applications). A day in Munich could be an additional incentive to get others to apply. Yes we all love Travian but in a lot of ways this is like a "work" trip, a little more fun might help convince qualified people to apply.
    • The process as a whole is an improvement over last year, it is important that the community has more of a say in who goes. There are still other modifications I think can be made though to further improve the process.

    These are just some early things I've noticed. Like I said this year the process is an improvement, but there are always things that can be improved on. This is a learning process and to be a bit cliche, perfection is a journey not a destination.

    One good thing they did was add an option in your settings to "Don't display images in reports." This removes that big image at the top but leaves the rest.

    That said I think many of us would appreciate other settings to modify the appearance. I'd love to be able to turn off Images of the Attacker / Defender, leaving just the colored bar saying Attacker and Defender.

    • Add ability to turn off image of Attack / Defender on the sides of the report
    • Condense Attack / Defender bar height - Decrease "ATTACKER" font size and pixel height of the box around it (for when images are disabled as above)

    • I have a few more things but the general idea is to allow players to toggle different elements to create more streamlined and basic (graphically) reports. I would also extend this to other elements of the UI but one thing at a time.

    With the new report format being rolled out to servers today I have noticed an uptick in chatter about them. A lot of people were taken aback at the sudden change and didn't even know they have been in trial on PTR and PtP for several months now.

    In an effort to bring those Skype and Discord conversations public I'm making a thread for people to make their feelings known.

    The fact that we don't have an answer about this is rather disturbing. This is certainly something that should have come up when coding the new map size, so there should be a readily available answer to copy and paste.

    First it is impossible for the original spawn spiral to function as is since some go beyond the 200 mark.

    Second if the spawn on the edge simply condenses with no other changes they will be a lot of Arti depth in the "boonies" and encourage people to settle out there, which begins to defeat the purpose of a smaller map.

    So today I was cleaning Getter and making a list of accounts that need to update. Next step was to IGM all of them, there were many that needed messaging so I utilized the function to IGM more than on person at once. This got the first batch done but then I had another couple of batches + a few odds and ends IGMs to send out regarding duplicate accounts.

    Easy right? Well not at all. After I sent the first group, I got hit with a 10 minute no IGM spam notice when trying to send the second. Eventually got that one out, then sent a single IGM to another person a bit after and less than a minute later went to send a similar message (personally tailored) to another. Again got the spam message. What should have taken 5 minutes has instead eaten up over 30 minutes of my time.

    So my question is what is the criteria for when this spam protection activates? Right now the way it is set up makes it extremely difficult to personally IGM people to conduct alliance business. Obviously I think it needs alteration but to craft a better suggestion for alteration it helps to know a bit more about how it works first.

    I may need to poke a MH for an answer (assuming it isn't covered under the ever expansive NDA) but figured I'd start here.

    For fun I decided to check the number of days between servers on the English domains this year. I only looked at the vanilla 1x servers.

    COM Average: 55 days
    UK: 56.33
    US: 58
    AU: 61.5

    Longer than I expected, but when you factor in speed and specials I expect the average would decrease. That said 60 / 65 days might be better to ensure there is always a 1x Legends server available. Of course this could be modified if other actions are taken, like rolling AU/UK/US into a single domain and off-setting those starts with COM and perhaps a single registration popup for on the homepage from the combined domain & COM (or the individual AU/UK/US and/or COM).

    Server registration should absolutely be shut off earlier in a server. There is absolutely no good reason to leave registration open this late. A new player will find themselves quickly devoured after BP runs out and veterans will find plenty of accounts beginning to open up that need new ownership. With the generally frequent restarts that occur there are plenty of younger servers for players to register on. All registration this late does is add farms (not a bad thing for existing players but definitely bad for newcomers) and be open for abuse by plants or bots.

    Regarding the other points, the rules of BP need to be adjusted and automatic exit out of BP on settling village 2 is a very reasonable accommodation. That said I think BP in general needs a much larger overhaul but that is beyond the scope of this thread.

    In this case the situation could be easily avoided by simply closing registration sooner. For a 1x server I would suggest closing registration on Day 50, exactly halfway to the first major server event and between 20-25% of the minimum server length.

    ugh, ok then I will register to see it then quit eventually, that is TOOOO slow for me. So if anyone has a team they want me to go by and a tribe let me know.

    While I don't like 3x, I do think 2x would be advisable on the Beta, since the intention of a Beta tends to be to test things out and at best there will be 6 weeks between Beta start and the actual servers.

    Too late to do anything about it this year but something to keep in mind for next year I think.

    My feedback:

    The Good

    • Standard: This has been needed from the beginning, glad to see it has been done.
    • Artwork: This is fantastic. Not quite the method I would have chosen but any limit is a good limit.
    • Alliance Bonuses: HQ has listened! Again something that should have been sooner but glad to see they have done it.
    • TS and TO Bonuses: Double bonus remains, that is good to see.
    • Statistics: Have always been greatly undervalued, glad to see them seeing some love.
    • Region Unlocking Population: Kept at 4k, a lesson learned from last years Beta. Glad to see there were no changes made this year.
    • Confederacy: Excellent changes. There will be a lot of whining from certain players but that’s okay.
    • Building Artwork: A low priority suggestion but it's nice to see the variety added.
    • Troop Forwarding: This feature is nirvana for a DC. Glad to see it remains. Though I do wonder how “fair” it is to attackers.

    The So-So

    • Conquering: I’m on the fence about this one. On one hand it meets a long running demand of the community. On the other it poses challenges to both running an account and an alliance. “Oh we have a Gaul with 20 villages they should be able to produce us ~600 Phalanx / day in at least 10 villages. Oh but wait 18 of the villages are Roman.” Obviously this is more likely to impact attackers aka the ones most likely to chief. That said it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Also I agree with the fact its going to be a big thing around chiefing from friends and such and diminishing the choice of your initial tribe.

    This will also be a nightmare for Getter tools, a KEY tool for any alliance. One also has to wonder if it will negatively impact reports from Travian Reports.

    The Bad

    • Waterworks: Increasing the Waterworks cost is not a balancing solution. It's at best a half-measure. The bonus needs of the building needs to be changed in some fashion to really balance.
    • Map Size: 801x801 map size on COM. I’ll reiterate this is unnecessary. Last I checked (last year) the other domains listed are roughly 2x the size of COM. COM may be the “main” domain but it isn’t populated enough to justify the 801x801 map anymore.
    • Troop Merging: The fact this feature wasn’t eliminated or changed at all shows the company is more interested in revenue than game balance. Merging is entirely ridiculous and gives an entirely

    Parting Thoughts

    • Market should allow for trades to confederacy only as well as alliance
    • Friendly chiefing is going to be more difficult. You need to drop tags to do it and that will open that person up to enemy attacks for at least 72 hours. There needs to be a new mechanic to make friendly chiefing operate within the new confederacy system.
    • Change the Waterworks bonus, please. I've outlined suggestions before but increasing costs isn't enough.
    • More stats please! And for the love of all that is holy the color pallets need changing.

    Overall some good changes. But definitely some missed opportunities.

    Why didn't we see efforts to re-balance the tribes? The half hearted attempt at the Waterworks doesn't count. There are serious issues with Huns and Egyptians and taken together the 5 tribes in general probably need some general re-balancing against each other.

    I think it also would have been interesting to roll out a new map. Europe has been used for how many years now?

    When will we see some of this stuff rolled out to regular Travian?

    We are still waiting on the new tribes... Now we can add the standard, artwork, building artwork, stats and confederacy changes to the list. Doubling TO and TS would probably make good inclusions as well. I've always been partial to troop forwarding as well but I think it would require some other sort of change (NOT MERGING).

    The point being while the special is supposed to be "special", some of these are much sought after features in the regular game. Some of us also won't play the specials for various reasons. I realize the info was released just today but as a primarily regular Travian player I can't help but think about it. We don't need a date but at least some consistency would be nice. I don't recall what the change was but around April of last year something was added to the regular game from the 2016 special. This April we didn't see anything.

    The new tribes need updated balancing (which has been essentially passed on despite the prime opportunity to address it) but they are still generally desired on all servers. Yet they remain held hostage under the "special" category. I know its a marketing trump card but things like the tribes need to trickle down to the rest of us in a reasonable time frame.

    Beta / Special Map Size
    So we've got some details as to the launch of the Beta. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact its an 801x801 map size. Last year it utilized the 401x401 map size. Frankly the 401x401 was fantastic, it seems odd to be to deviate considering the 401x401 was difficult enough to fight over. We only get so many villages to settle and chief. Of course what was conveniently left out was whether the map is Europe or "Flat" as has been used to describe the typical Travian map. However given that it is 200 days long we can assume it is the Europe map and includes regions, unless we will get a huge curve ball on the style of the server.

    Regardless, 801x801 seems too large regardless of the game format. While it may officially be hosted on "COM" (and thus seemingly unaffected by the official reduction of server sizes taking place on US/UK to 401x401 on all servers), the 401x401 format is far superior particularly in a "closed" server format. It encourages fighting between alliances and if includes regions improves logistics for accounts and alliances. Presumably the servers launching in September will share the same details (minus any alterations made on Beta like the reduction in population needed to unlock regions last year), so while even if Beta can't be adjusted those in September ought to be adjusted. While there may be certain efforts to increase player numbers on the servers launched, I don't expect them to be significant enough to justify such a large map.

    COM Map Size
    Which brings us to another related topic. COM seems unaffected by the reduction to a 401x401 map. While COM is more populated than domains like US/UK, it is still not large enough to justify an 801x801 map. The golden days of 10k+ real players on a server are long gone. I would recommend reducing COM to at least 601x601, 401x401 may be just a bit too small. Similar benefits that are gained from the reduction utilized in the specials last year would be had here (though obviously minus the region specific benefits).

    That put steppe's ghost ridder at the same level as TT

    Yes I believe that is correct. 16 fields + 3 = 19 which is TT speed. The other bonuses, boots, TS etc. are all the same for both TT and Steeps.

    So same speed as TT, just higher FS.

    It is a test. We will see how things work out. I see the Discord as complementary rather than supplementary. It may not work out but we won't know until we try.

    And I've seen reports of servers that manage thousands, so if they can I don't see why we wouldn't be able to.

    Conceptually I like it. But as has been expressed, how do you do it in a way that doesn't make servers even smaller than they are now? I don't have an answer to that.

    I think this system would also require a single account / lobby system in order for it to work at all. So things like who has "graduated" from a lvl 1 server can be easily tracked.

    I also am not sure you can run a beginners server that really prepares players to step up. They might learn the basics and a few other things, but they will still not be prepared for regular servers unless the best of the best stick to Tournament or "Rival" servers as you call them. I don't think they would. Some will take pleasure in smashing less experienced players on a regular server. You've also got the complication of the Birthday servers and any other specials.

    I would nix the Beginners servers in favor of a more robust tutorial etc. for "Regular" servers. I would also change "Rivarly" servers to "Championship" servers. Run 1 per year (per domain or group of domains in the case of smaller ones) and clearly mark them. You could also restrict registration with a lobby system, for those who haven't completed a regular server for instance. I suppose you could also limit registration to alliances that organize to go, but I'm not sure if that is ideal.

    This would all be easier with shorter WW servers too. A lot of people I know only do 1 server at a time. 8-9 months essentially means 1 server per year.