My Thoughts on Travian 3.6 (part 2)

I wanted to follow up on my earlier post about my thoughts about Travian 3.6. This time, I want to get into some further thoughts about how Travian 3.6 was announced and the timing of the update.

Now, I know that Travian doesn’t have a professional P.R. department, and whoever makes these decisions usually doesn’t talk to the players themselves. But still, I think the announcement of Travian 3.6 was handled very poorly.

Let’s start with the Rally Point Restrictions. No doubt, limiting players to 4 (or 5) attack per level will have a major effect on the game for some players, and the more time you spend playing the game, the more likely it will majorly affect you. No one can argue that this will restrict the actions of what expert players will be able to do.

Now, if someone had given an official explanation about why this change is necessary, or why it’s good for the game, that probably would have made this change a lot more easily accepted. If you’re going to change the rules of a game after it’s been out for several years, and many players are enjoying playing the game as it is, you should at least put out an official explanation as to why. Travian Games completely screwed up by not doing this.

Some of the moderators and admins at Travian.com tried to explain why the Rally Point restrictions were necessary, but the people who make the actual decisions about Travian should be the people who explain those changes. The admins and moderators at Travian.com can try to explain these changes, but their word isn’t official and players know it.

I searched forums in other languages, particularly the German Travian forums, where the game originated and where Travian Games is based,  to see if there was an official explanation given there. It was the same as the Travian.com forums and the other English speaking forums – no official explanations, just moderators and admins, who don’t actually work for Travian Games – trying to explain this change based on their own reasoning. No official word anywhere (I’m not trying to criticize the admins and moderators at any of these forums, it’s not their fault they were put in this position).

When a new feature is introduced to the game, such as artifacts, or the Horse Drinking Trough, or the Brewery, no explanation is necessary. It’s obvious that adding new features to the game is good. But when the actual rules of the game are changed, the people who play the game, and pay money to do so, deserve an explanation. They need to hear why this is good for the game, and they need to hear it from an official source.

 The introduction of auto-recall (which fortunately seems to have been reconsidered) and auto-dodge (which looks like it’s still here, at least for now), likewise should have been explained and justified from an official source. These are major changes to how the game works.

I feel sorry for the moderators and admins at the various Travian domains around the globe, who had to be the ones to deal with the angry players. Those moderators and admins are unpaid, and they perform their tasks because they love the game and want to support it. They shouldn’t have to be the ones who angry players direct their anger to. It creates bad blood between the moderators and the forum users, and it no one is satisfied in the end. I feel especially sorry for the moderators of the UK forums who try very hard to make them fun for the Travian community by holding special events. This really pulls the rug out from under all the good they try to do.

(I should mention that you can contact Travian Games and let them know what you think. Here’s the link: http://www.traviangames.com/content/contact. Thanks to Black Paladin from the Travian.com forums for regularly informing players about this).

Travian 3.5 was announced back in January of this year. When it was announced, they went through all the changes point by point and explained what the new features were in great detail. Here’s the post from Travian.com (similar posts were made on other English Travian forums): http://forum.travian.com/showthread.php?t=107670. Everything was thoroughly explained and players got a chance to digest everything that was coming, and then they put the features onto one new server at a time. This time around, Tschena seemed mostly surprised about the changes. Other admins who made the announcement had a similar tone, some almost apologetic. If you care about your game, you should care about how a major change to it is presented.

Like I said, Travian Games doesn’t have a professional PR department. But they should at least try to give a good presentation and rationale behind major changes they make to how their most succesful game is played.

Another thing that was very poorly thought out about the changes was that this is the second major change to the game in the same year. Travian 3.5 just started less than 11 months ago. It was too soon for a major rules change. That’s another topic I’d like to write about, and hopefully I’ll finish that later tonight.

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