Thursday, 5 May 2011

Travian: A Review

I'm a big fan of MMORPGs. Especially browser based ones. The ones that don't require 20gig andtake several days to install, not to mention the ones that you don't pay monthly for. I played World of Warcraft and found it worth paying for, and Rift was decent but still offered the same gameplay. No point in paying double for one product, right?

But in saying that, I've been playing Travian for a few weeks now, and have so far really enjoyed it. I played Tribal Wars for around 20 minutes, but got bored and said "fuck that, I'm outta here". Sure Travian is nothing more than pointing and clicking, but it's addictive and sure as Hell fun. Like on the old Atari consoles, you have to use your imagination. But this isn't just your average browser game though - it's not like Urban Jungle or Hobo Wars where it's all text based. On this you can see how your village is progressing, how your empires are expanding, check upon your hero - it's all there on this very-near-to-awesome game.

So far I've been through three accounts (I'm not doing too bad on my third). The reason why I've gone through three accounts is because:
  • On my first account I made my Roman empire a Trading one instead of a Militant one.
  • On my second account I kept being attacked by one person and was robbed dry of resources.
  • On my third account, I'm finally doing something good as a Gaul.

When you register, you decide what army you want to be associated with: The Romans (good for beginners), the Gauls or the Teutons. Right now my personal favourites are the Gauls (mainly for the ability to use traps).

Each army has different attributes. Some might have:
  • Stronger defense bonuses than others
  • Faster resource gathering than others
  • Stronger troops than others
  • Cheaper building costs than others
  • Faster merchant speeds than others
Who you choose is up to you, but I recommend the Gauls (I think they're more recommended for new players). Why? Because they have:
  • A Cranny that starts off holding 200 resources (equivilant to a lv.4-5 Roman Cranny)
  • Fast Merchants
  • Ability to use traps, so enemy soldiers are instantly stopped before they even reach the city walls
  • Not too great a nerf towards their defense bonuses.

The Objective of the game is rather simple: when your beginner's protection runs out.... panic. While you're trying to get your resource tiles to higher levels, you'll need to think about taking over the world, or saving it. But still, whether you're a Trader or a Tyrant, you'll need lots of defence while doing quests. Quests aren't major and aren't really part of the main objective, but offer rewards that will help with the main objective.


Resources are required to build and upgrade resource tiles (the resource genorators) and buildings (barracks, warehouse, flour mill, etc). You might need a certain amount of wood to build that city wall, or enough iron to train that certain amount of troops. Either way, resources are the life blood of your empire, especially wheat! Your workers will go through wheat like there's no tomorrow, so you need to keep the supplies up so you can upgrade and build more things quickly!

Resources can also be traded with other players or NPCs. Some can be donated just by sending a merchant over to another player's village.


Troops are a major part of the game, whether you're peaceful or not. Troops are needed to keep your supplies around when you won't, and make sure they hold off attackers. Troops are used to attack other villages, defend their own, reinforce others and aid Heroes on their adventures. Troops can be found and captured (especially the nature ones - yep, you can catch crocodiles, bats, tigers, rats, bears, snakes with Cages).


Your hero is practically the the best troop in your village. He's all you have for protection at the beginning. He'll go on adventures or to unnocupied oasises, and if he's at home he'll help gather resources. He can be given ointments (HP potions), steeds, cages, books, weapons and armour - anything to help him pillage and rape his way through the world! If your hero dies, he can be resurrected at the price of a long respawn time and a lot of resources.


It's wise to build an Embassy as soon as possible, for without one, you can't possibly join an Alliance. Alliances will help others keep track of when you or someone else attacks, and is an easy way to keep in touch with merchants. They'll help you especially when everyone's waiting for your beginner's protection to run down to 00:00:00. But that doesn't mean you won't need your soldiers and defences!


A day on Travian for me is like watching paint dry. However, the picture I've painted is one of a zebra (I love zebras), and I could watch that for hours. The moment you log on you'll find yourself disappointed or extremely happy - you'll either have fuck-all in resources, or overfill and wished you'd expanded your warehouse/granary. If you leave your account for around a day or two, it will have its resource pussy stretched beyond belief, and that's no good to you, or the person who fucked it.

So you have to do something right? Well, while you're happily wasting resources on wheat fields, you see what your Hero brought back from yesterday's late night raid, and -ooh goody- he's got some cages! Time to use them in an Unoccupied Oasis! It takes him an hour to get there and he brings back 2 bats, 2 rats, a tiger and a bear. Hmm.... not brilliant, but they'll do. At least it's some more defense, and they don't need feeding so I'm OK.

You're mainly going to be expanding resource tiles, building armies and perhaps doing the odd work to the city wall, but that's about it for a great majority of the time. I guess there is nothing else to do after that. Well, you could try working on some quests but you need a huge pile of resources to do them.... which you don't have.

Travian is all about waiting.... and believe me, this game makes sure you're patient.


This game isn't anything fancy or overcomplicated (Evony), but it isn't too basic, boring and utterly shoddy (Tribal Wars). Travian is colourful, has lots of players aiming for the top and always has something going on war-wise. If you've spent out all your resources, have a look at what you can do for when you have enough. Can you wait another few minutes to build that Academy? Is it worth investing another level into my Embassy? Perhaps I should buy some more traps later, and save what I have now?

You'll always be making tough decisions and you're always having questions bombarding you. It's a tough game at times, but it's a good one. And just because you can't watch your screen all the time because there's always something going on, doesn't mean that you can't do something else. The world of Travian is always changing, and even by waiting, you can make it change too.

My verdict: 96/100

  • Colourful, bright and friendly for everyone
  • A real empire-building game. It makes you feel proud to have such an awesome force
  • It's worth waiting for the good things
  • The moment your beginner's protection runs out, everyone has dibs on who kills you
  • Waiting for resources can be a pain, and sometimes not worth it
  • Depending on your tribe/army, you might suffer in various ways

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