Of course, the first thing I need to discuss after a month is, well – what *have* I been doing the past month, anyway?
Well, Travian, mostly…
This has been one of the stranger MMO-type games I’ve ever been involved with, for the following reasons:
– Totally played on a web browser. It even has embedded chat and forums available for ‘clan’ groups (aka alliances), though larger alliance clusters use external forums.
– It is both very slow and very fast at the same time. This is hard to explain without your spending a month on the game yourself; If starting from scratch, you *may* have your first village about 60% done by then. But once your involved in alliance-level combat, folks start to work on co-ordinated attacks, down to second and sub-second accuracy. Its kinda unreal, and at times unnerving.
– It is (or was) primarily free, or at least reasonably inexpensive. You originally could play the game for free, or pay US$20 for a year of what’s called ‘Plus,’ that gave you a couple extended features that were useful for the part-time player. Now, with recent server restarts (each instance ’round’ lasts about one year), they’ve integrated the ‘Gold’ system: You buy Gold from them, and you’re given access to many different features that use that Gold. Many of those features are unbalancing to those who decide not to use Gold though – more so than ordinary Plus players did – so there’s been a backlash from that. And there’s also the fact that an above average player can easily rack up Gold purchases greater than WoW’s US$15 per month…
So, the server I’m on today is expected to go into its ‘endgame’ phase any week now. And with that completion, will be the last I’ll have to do with Travian. I will not get involved in the Gold system, but not because its unbalacing – but because I’m *definately* an above average player and would end up using more US$ than I’d normally be willing to pay out.
More on who I am there and what I’ve done will be revealed after the server completes. There is a lot of intrigue and spying associated with the game at the higher alliance levels, so its best to let my SysAdmin instincts kick in here for now. ;)
One last thing – server groups are instanced by country – its not just the com group. Click on the flags at the top of my link to switch server groups.