S2.com: What went wrong for Panexus? (Updated)

One interesting discussion taking place after the S2.com endgame about the northern alliances in Panexus and how they played the game. Players are analyzing why Panexus was beaten so badly, what they should have done differently, and what they where things went wrong. It’s been a great discussion with a lot of intelligent thought shared by several players, and I thought it would be good to highlight some of the thoughts that have been shared on this on the Travian.com forums, before they get wiped out so the new S2 game can start. As the expression goes “you learn more from when you lose than you do from when you win.”

I’ll mostly be quoting from other players who actually played on S2.com, especially from the thread “A Critique of s2 Enemy Forces“. The thread started after a player (DJ Wave) who led one of the alliances in Panexus asked the following:

1) WHY DO YOU THINK … PAN FAILED / (WHAT IS YOUR) OPINION ABOUT PAN AND EXTREME?
2) WHAT MISTAKE DO YOU THINK THEY (MADE)?
3) WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR PLAN IF YOU WERE IN THERE PLACE?

Terron from MDA had a simple reply:

They accepted the 60 player limit the game imposed on them. It was 15 groups of 60. It should have been one group of 900.

I think that answers all 3 questions.

What Terron seems to be saying is that Panexus didn’t play as if they were one team, but instead as if it was 15 different teams each looking out for themselves. MDA, on the other hand, played as a group. Just for one example – I don’t think Panexus had their own forums where everyone got together to talk to one another. MDA on the hand had a very active private forum.

Zarthustra from Project Mayhem talked about how PAN let PM have their own safe haven on the Northeast, which ensured that getting rid of them was an impossible task:

To PFTF/Nemesis, I would say some of you fought well, but your start of moving 90% of your good accounts to the boonies was a huge mistake. That enabled PM (I was in PM btw as HC) to clear our respective areas of all the less powerful accounts you left behind and gang up on the few big ones. After we had our 8h+ safe radius our brilliant def coordinators were able to crush the majority of attacks. If you had kept 50% near the center we would have been zerged easy.

This is why moving to a “safe area” in the boonies is a double-edged sword. It keep you alive and safe for a time, but you also surrender a valuable part of the map. Speaking from my own personal experience, I’ve played in an alliance that did that before, and we made it to the end of the server and had a good time. But the alliance that I’m currently playing in stayed where it started, and instead of moving to a safe area, we made our area safe by forcing everyone else to leave it. I think this is the more rewarding strategy for a would-be top alliance.

Zarthustra had this to say about Extreme, the other half of Panexus:

To Extreme… you are just bad,the way you folded so easily and were so easy to trap… Failure to secure own quad’s artefacts, and when PAN players got them you demanded to get a few of them back, only to lose them hours later.

Lord Porky, the largest player on the server, is surprised that PAN wasn’t packing more large armies come endgame:

One thing that surprised me – early on we heard from our extremely-worthy recruiter that PFtF was known for having players well out from the Center, making very large armies to attack World Wonders in the endgame. Didn’t see that….

I guess they just failed to materialize. I’d be curious to hear a PFtF’s player’s response to this (PFtF stands for “Poland First to Fight” – they’re one of the main alliances that made up the PAN meta-alliance, and they have a lot of players from Poland in their membership).

Prism Sunshine, who I believe played as Heatmiser on S2.com, gave a long response to DJ Wave’s questions and really got the discussion going on this topic. Here’s some highlights from his long reply:

Here’s my critique of our major enemy forces in S2.

Extreme:
For Extreme, I think there wasn’t much that could have been done. Once MDS began our offensive, that basically thrust them into a two front war. They were already located in the chaotic center and then with MDS attacking, they were caught in pincers from two sides. It didn’t help that the leadership came across a bit arrogant and demanding with some of their players. MDS exploited that for some pretty high quality intel in the form of spies and sabotage.
I want to say that initially, even with the chaos of center, they did pretty well. But on the heels of Dark Falls defection and subsequent loss of offense when they tried to take him out not knowing that his capital was full of MDS / PM / DA defenders, then followed by the knockout punch of a highly organized MDS offensive which destroyed leadership and killed dozens of capitals on the same day, it was just too much. Morale was destroyed as was their ability to plan and execute an effective counter attack.

So mistakes?
When you know you have problems in ranks, address it quickly and make an honest effort solve problems and complaints. If that doesn’t work, destroy your dissenters quickly. Don’t let them gain control, or set you up.

When attacked, organize and counter attack!

Avoid a two front war at all costs.

PAN

Failure to control the quad. With PM, that might be easier said than done, but still, it had to be done.

Poor recruiting. If you’re going to take recruits that fall below standards, isolate them into a wing where potential intel leaks will be less damaging. Give them limited forum and skype access. The less they know, the better. We had a lot of spies in PAN (PFtF)

When attacked, organize and counter attack! I will note that overall, PAN (PFtF) did a better job of countering than Extreme and a marginally better job defending. Both were lackluster defenders. Some notable offensive players we saw were popbreaker #20 offense, okno #33 offense, sza #6 offense, and juzek_haski #55 offense. Bottom line, you needed more players like these.

Better coordination with confeds. It seemed to me that the confeds PAN (PFtF) made were really more NAPs than anything. There was no real communication, no large scale mutual support, no joint offensive operations, etc… If you’re going to confed, confed. If you’re just going to agree not to attack each other, NAP. What you guys had were NAPs when you needed confeds.

Obviously, even if they were sharper on all those points it still may not have changed the outcome. PM threw a real monkey wrench into the machinery in the NE and I don’t think their impact on the game can be understated. And at the risk of sounding biased, the MDS and later MDA offensives were the most organized, well planned, well executed, and largest scale offensives I’ve ever seen in Travian.

Zarthursa talks about PAN’s disadvantage at military intelligence, a sometimes-overlooked important factor in Travian:

The fact of the matter was that PAN didn’t even attempt AT ALL to ferret out spies. …Wouldn’t have been hard to demand sitting rights and inspect accounts. You would think that after their attempt to plant spies were ferreted out by our various methods, that PAN would have used them in turn after seeing how effective they were.

Cyntlen thinks that PAN wasn’t making wise decisions on their attack targets (this led to a long discussion, but I don’t want to get into a tangent, go to the forum thread if you want to see the full debate over his comments. I’ll just post what Cyntlen said and let my readers decide if they agree or not)

I really hope y’all PFtF/PAN folks learned what NOT to do next time: Wasting tons of troops trying to take out feeder villages.

I can’t tell you how many times I ran the combat sim, with the armies you’d sent at us, versus our capital instead of the feeders you sent em at. You guys would’ve run right through the defense. Naturally, you would’ve lost an army or two in the process (considering what you lost on our feeders this shouldn’t have been a problem) but you would’ve brought our account to its knees.

I think I know what you were all expecting…that by ruining our feeders we’d simply delete. That strategy only works on weaker opposition though.

DJ Wave was one of the leaders of the 21st biggest alliance on the server, and so he’s in good position to talk about the disarray that the Northern Alliances were in:

As the diplomat of Alphyne I can tell u that even though (the) north got united in the end…  in that unity also they were never united. My alliance had the duty of sending troops to Strypa (pan) and The_falcon (US). But I often (got) conflicting requests like the Pan would ask me to ask our members to pull out troops from The_falcon and send to Stypa. There was no co-ordination between the US-PAN-EXTREME leadership. US would say they had maximum chance so they should get max (troops) so did pan and extreme. Their plan and co-ordination were never together.

Another post by DJ Wave furthers the point:

Even during the WW time when Panexus meta was formed, I still knew a large section of Extreme and US who did not like each other. The leaders of the 3 alliances were always in conflict about various issue. Most of the time they appeared confused on their plan.

Shenorock, a player from Project Mayhem, tells of another incident that led to divisions in the north:

PFtF should have made a much stronger effort to make the Nemesis players feel like they were an important part of the same team. Snatching up PAN I while Nemesis was in the middle of talks with them definitely stepped on some toes and got some leaders annoyed. I’m not sure if it would have been doable due to clashing egos but I think if PFtF could have absorbed the Nemesis players right off the bat and put a few of them into leadership instead of being isolated confeds for several months they might have had better cooperation and been harder to deal with.

Ad1witold, a PFtF player, was clear on what he thinks was the biggest problem:

The biggest problem we were ourselves. Many quarrels = good players leave.

I give Ad1witold some props here, because often admitting you have a problem is the hardest part. Many players always blame their losses on other factors, and then go on to lose again for the same reasons.

My conclusion is that there were a lot of things that went wrong for the alliances that made up Panexus, but that means that they have a lot of room to improve in the future and I believe that if their players and leaders try hard and keep what was said in these posts in mind, they can accomplish much more on Travian.com in the future.

If people want to keep this discussion going after the S2.com forums are cleared, I encourage them leave comments after this post. And even if you didn’t play S2.com, you’re welcome to leave your thoughts as well – everyone’s who plays Travian loses at some point and we can all learn from each other’s mistakes.

CORRECTION: I mistakenly listed Shenorock as being a player from Panexus, when in fact he was in PM. Sorry about that.

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3 Responses

  1. just fyi, Shenorock was playing in [PM] as part of Livid acct., and he was not a part of Panexus…

  2. Shenorock was actually one of the coplayers of Livid, and a member of the HC for PM.

    -Azael

  3. I think attitude and communication also played a role on why PAN failed.

    Some of their confed members (or NAPS?) were scrambling during the end game. They were hitting some of us (MDA) when they should have been concentrating on supporting their WW

    Attacks from Extreme, PM, SA M and others were hitting us left and right while we continue to ignore their attacks concentrating instead on building a solid defense not just in our village but in the WW as well

    Second, when they were first hit, instead of fighting back, they gave up completely. I was surprised that they didn’t put a solid defense in their WW.

    Alea, MDA S

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