Is the Rally Point Restriction on its way out?

The latest servers to start on Travian.com will not have the controversial Rally Point Restriction that was first introduced in Travian 3.6. Server 6, which started a new game on March 12th, was originally believed to include the recently introduced restriction that limits the number of attacks a player can send from their rally point which they use to control their city’s troops. This made it the second server on Travian.com to remove the much talked-about restriction, following the new Server 1 which started on January 29th. The Speed Server restarted shortly after it, and it also lacked the Rally Point Restriction.

Now, other servers on Travian domains around the world are also removing the restriction. The new Speed server on the India Travian domain (Travian.in) is a recent example.

The Rally Point Restriction would have limited the number of attacks and raids a player could send to 5 attacks per level, to a maximum of 100 attacks at level 20. Before the introduction of the Rally Point Restriction, players could send an unlimited number of attacks from a single city. Because offensive troops cannot be exchanged between cities in Travian, this cut down on the raiding abilities of players during the early game.  

The Rally Point Restriction has been met with strong reaction from Travian players ever since it was first announced last October. Many veteran players are against the change and say that it will have huge negative ramifications on how the game is played (click here to see one example). Other players have spoken in favour of it, claiming that it will help cut down on people cheating by using bots to send their attacks while they’re logged off, and that it will also benefit smaller players (click here for an example of this argument). It was the most controversial of all the new features and restriction introduced in version 3.6 of Travian. The instant recall feature, which allows players to use in-game gold to instantly return their troops to their home city after an attack, was also removed on many servers since the introduction of Travian 3.6. This feature only lasted for one round on Travian.com (Server 10) before being removed.

While the Rally Point Restriction would likely help smaller players survive the early game, most top-level players agree that the Rally Point Restrictions will have a huge effect on strategies in the game’s later stages, when sending fake attacks of only one troop to many opposing cities is an often-used tactic to divide the defenders of an enemy alliance so that attacking armies can hit their targets without being killed.

I spoke with C0unse1, one of the leaders of the winning alliance from the most recently finished Travian.com game (server 7), who is now leading a new alliance on Server 6. He had a mixed reaction to hearing the news of the rules change just days before the new game started.

“Overall I’m pleased, as the impact [the Rally Point Restriction] places on mid game offensives is too onerous, in my opinion. However, it was implemented to disrupt the prevalence of “bot-raiders” who now, it seems, will have an easier ride. I’d hope that now the anti-pushing rules are sorted, the Multi-Hunters will have more time to look for bot users and ban them. All things considered I welcome the news and I know that upon hearing of it, a spontaneous party erupted in several Skype rooms containing the hard-core raiders to be.”

Girasoul, one of the leaders of the winning alliance from the previous Server 6, who is also returning for the new S6, was pleased to at the news:

“I’m glad to see the rally point restrictions lifted for s6 as they were for s1.  The new changes made to Travians servers … that specifically target the botters sound like a much better solution than did the rally point restrictions that penalize everyone.  It will certainly be an interesting round and I’m looking forward to it.”

Speed Server Restart on Travian.com

Today is the start of the newest Speed Server on Travian.com! Good luck to all the Speed demons out there on the new server! Click here to register if you want to join in the fun!

This new Speed Server will use Travian version 3.6, but similar to the recently started Server 6, it won’t have the Rally Point Restriction. This seems to be part of a continued reaction to the massive outcry of players on Travian.com who didn’t like the new changes introduced in Travian 3.6. I’m sure the competitive players who like to raid a lot and the alliance leaders who like to send a lot of fake attacks will be happy about this.

There were some problems with some of the pre-registration links but hopefully they’ve got them sorted out now.

I’m just putting the finishing touches on the Hall of Champions entry for the latest Speed Server today and it should be done in just a little bit. (I would have finished earlier but I had some problems with WordPress that screwed up my first try, and I had to start the whole thing over)

Travian.com Server 1: Rally Point Limit Removed

Here’s some news that I’m sure many top Travian players will be happy about. Server 1, the next server to start on Travian.com, won’t have the Rally Point Limit that was introduced in Travian 3.6.

Here’s the text of the announcement from the Travian.com admin:

UPDATE: We all get the chance to show that the rally point restriction is not beginner friendlier than the old system and does not help to keep beginners playing. Therefore traviangames agreed to start this server exceptionally without the rally point restriction for testing issues. Many thanks to traviangames for this.
So now it’s up to you to show how beginner friendly you can be

Regards
Tschena

Ever since its announcement, the Rally Point Restriction has been heavily criticized by many players on the Travian.com forums and the other regional forums (US, AUS, UK, etc.). Many of these players also wrote to Travian Games directly to say why they felt these changes would hurt the game. Elite players were very concerned about how it would affect those who rely on a heavy raiding strategy, and how it would limit alliances ability to launch fake attacks which are an important part of wars between large Meta-alliances.

What we’re seeing here is hopefully a sign that the people who make Travian (Travian Games GBMH) are listening to the feedback of their experienced and dedicated players and are reconsidering some of the controversial aspects of the Travian 3.6 upgrades.

Let’s look at the evolution of the last three servers on Travian.com, starting with the first Travian 3.6 Server, S10.com:

S10.com:

  • Rally Point Limit: 4 Attacks per level
  • Auto-dodge
  • Auto-recall

S8.com:

  • Rally Point Limit: 5 attacks per level
  • No auto-recall

S10.com:

  • No Rally Point Limit
  • No auto-recall

In my opinion this is evidence that Travian Games is listening to its players and their feedback about what they didn’t like about version 3.6.

With the Rally Point Limit gone, I think Server 1  might be one of the best Travian games of all time. The talent pool for players is going to be phenomenal. Players who were in endgame alliances on the last S1.com, S6.com, and S7.com will all be taking part. And I would be surprised if some players on Server 8 who don’t like the Rally Point limit decide to jump to this server as well. No doubt about it, this server will be epic.

The server is now open for pre-registration, and play will begin on January 29th.

Travian Crewchat Report Part 1

The Travian Crewchat took place on December 9th. Like the last time I covered one of these, I’ll be picking out the highlights from the chat event that are the most newsworthy and summarizing them in this post.  I’ll also give my thoughts on some of the things that were said. 

If you want to read the entire chat, you can go to this page to see the complete chat record.    

Unlike last time, I’m going to be doing this summary as two posts, instead of splitting it into a whole bunch of different posts. Look for part 2 later today, or tomorrow at the latest.    

These chat events are a lot of fun, and a lot of the questions asked in the room are goofy questions and just people having a good time with the crew. I won’t be posting very many of those, and I’ll just be focusing on the newsworthy parts of the chat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the goofy questions, those are some of the best parts of the crewchat (and a lot of the crew members are quite witty).    

Version 3.5 as a Classic Server?

    

Let’s start with some of the biggest news. Version 3.6 is very controversial and many players have been quite vocal about how they don’t like it. The good news for those players is that there’s a chance that version 3.5 servers might be retained as a classic server. But there are no guarantees.    

<@Interview> Question from JVMorrow|Heldenhammer: Can we have a Travian 3.5 classic (server) to prevent all the crying about 3.6?

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: It’s being considered, but nothing can be said for certain for now. 

Question from IRCmeet556: Any chance of there being “Classic version” servers using Travian 3.0 or 3.5? <@Interview>   

Answered by Tschena: This is already under discussion but not yet decided   

 Just to know that they’re considering it is positive news in my opinion.    

 

Travian 3.6

    

Obviously, a lot of people wanted to ask about this.    

Question from buggystick: Ok, I think I will get right down to it… There has been a lot of criticism of the 3.6 update, especially the Gold Club bonuses. Have you seen any positive feedback from the change?   

<@Interview> Answered by buzzball: Sure I love the new thing way more options than before and they removed the unfair 10% advantages   

Question from IRCmeet803: (Do you) like the new version of the T 3.6? <@Interview>   

Answered by Tranq: Yes I do to be honest. I think it requires advantaged farmers to adjust their tactics and improves the chances for newer players. All by all I think T3.6 is a good step towards a more fair game for all parties.   

None of the crew members had anything bad to say about version 3.6, though some spoke more positively about it than others who were mostly neutral.   

Question from IRCmeet556: Has the majority of the reaction to Travian 3.6 been negative, and what do the developers think of the reaction from the players?  

Answered by Tschena: That’s not really true – the majority of the forum reactions was negative: at least at the beginning. If you read now you see that most people like the features the upgraded server got. Btw: the majority of the email reactions was always positive 😉     

I’m sure the overall reaction hasn’t been as negative as on the forums, but it surprises me to hear that the e-mail reactions have been positive overall.   

Question from Saviro: How do you feel about the T3.6 update? Do you share my point of view; Travian Games is willing to help all kinds of players, as long as they’re paying ?   

<@Interview> Answered by Tschena: I like that it helps new players to stay longer in the game.   

I think there were other ways to help new players besides the Rally Point restrictions and the Auto-dodge, but I agree that it’s a good thing if new players stay in the game longer.   

<@Interview> Question from anakib: It’s obvious the gold club favours members who have more money. This is unfair for the other players.   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: That’s exactly the same as was being said about Gold when it was introduced. Yes you have an advantage when you use Gold. Yes Travian is kept running with the money from this gold. No, you are not obligated to buy it and it’s still possible to play without   

Question from anakib: It’s obvious the gold club favours members who have more money. This is unfair for the other players   

Answered by firestorm: I disagree on that one. Maybe it looks like the gold is favoring players, but you still need to be a skilled player to do well, and you just can not buy a good account by spending lots of gold. Skilled players can do very well without the gold.   

 Question from IRCmeet556: Why did Travian change to version 3.6 so soon after version 3.5?   

 Answered by Tschena: The duration between T3 and T3.5 was that long that it just look like it was changed soon again, in reality half a year was between the changes.   

I suppose it depends on your definition of “soon”, but personally I would say half a year is too short of a time to make major changes that will affect how the game is played.     

Question from IRCmeet556: Is Travian 3.6 finalized now, or is there a chance the Auto-dodge and Rally Point changes will be taken back? <@Interview>   

Answered by Tschena: It is not yet finalized, the auto evasion function may still get dropped and the rally point restriction still get adjusted   

This is something that players should keep in mind, things can still change. If you don’t like some things about version 3.6, by all means keep saying so, but don’t think that these changes are necessarily permanent.       

Speaking about the Auto-dodge, here’s another question that was asked:   

<@Interview> Question from vbo1: Tschena : Obviously you’ve seen all the controversy about the auto-dodge function…. what are your opinions on this… because now ‘n00bs’ that are rich can dodge .. like me I spent months perfecting my dodging and waves, and it has always taken skill, but now you can do that with gold.   

<@Interview> Answered by Tschena: I can not say something about this – I never played on a real T3.6 server and did not see the influence. It may be helpful for new users and 1 Gold is just some cents – so it’s not that you have to be rich to use it. In case you have a very pro player beside you it will never help you I think.   

Tshena’s answer mainly focused on how the auto-dodge wasn’t just for rich players because it only cost a little bit of gold per use. But she seems to be forgetting that you have to pay 100 Gold to get the “Gold Club” before you can use it.   

One piece of really good news is that the Auto-recall feature seems to be gone for good on the .com servers:   

<@Interview> Question from IRCmeet556: Is the Auto-return idea for Travian 3.6 gone for good, or will some servers have it and some not?   

<@Interview> Answered by Tschena: I think .com will not get it for another server – for other countries I can not speak.   

Unfortunately other servers around the world will keep the feature. This means that different domains of Travian are going to have very different rules, but they’ll all be refered to as the same version. That’s going to be confusing for players who switch from playing one region to another.   

 <@Interview> Question from Mickey: Is next s8 3.6? <@Interview> Answered by monkey7: Yes all new servers will be T3.6   

Travian 4.0

Not much new information was revealed about Travian 4.0, but some of these questions and answers were interesting:       

<@Interview> Question from RyzzyK: T4.0 expected relase date?   

<@Interview> Answered by Phanttis: As you might have noticed the speed of travian development has sped up drastically; new versions are coming up in tight schedules. More I cannot tell about T4, sorry. ^^   

Question from IRCmeet039: Do you guys work already on T4.0 and are there any big changes there you have some idea about ? if so could you please share some 🙂  

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: I don’t know about any of the new features for T4. If it’s not on the public forum then I wouldn’t be able to tell youQuestion from IRCmeet039: Do you guys work already on T4.0 and are there any big changes there you have some idea about? If so could you please share some 🙂  

Answered by Phanttis: Yes. But we cannot leak any information about it yet, sorry. :/  

Question from IRCmeet039: Do you guys work already on T4.0 and are there any big changes there you have some idea about ? If so could you please share some 🙂  

Answered by BlackPaladin: When T3.5 was announced they specifically stated it was the stepping stone between T3 and T4. 😉 So yes, they’ve been working on it since T3 came out. As for features, not sure. :p       

Question from IRCmeet556: Do you guys have any news about what will be coming in new versions of Travian?  

 Answered by monkey7: If we do you’ll see them on the forum as soon as we’re allowed to release them 🙂   

Question from buggystick: Will there ever be any rules placed to keep really large players from destroying new players as soon as they are out of BP? (Besides the usual strategy of crannies, diplomacy… etc)  

Answered by Tschena: The rally point limit is for sure a step in this direction, but whether really an attack protection will get implemented I can not say (to) you as it’s not know until now.   

Gameplay Questions

Question from IRCmeet540: I was gold user in travianspeed.com but I lost all villages do you know why? because strange attacks, 14 atatcks in same time with catas, it’s not justic    

<@Interview> Answered by Chrisvc: Have a look here, it is possible: http://forum.travian.com/showthread.php?t=117820   

Sending multiple attacks in the same second it something that can be done, but a lot of players suspect that it is cheating when they first have it happen to them.       

I’ve put a link to a guide in this site’s Strategy section that describes how to do it, written by Blackpaladin, one of the crew members. And I’m going to work on editing it to make it even better.       

<@Interview> Question from Mickey: Why was it decided to make romans more powerful than teutons?   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: They aren’t. The teutons are very powerful when played actively, especially at the start of the game   

I agree with Monkey7 here. I don’t think that Romans have been made more powerful than Teutons. Teutons were too powerful in version 3.0, they were clearly the best race in the game. Romans were made more powerful in 3.5, but I don’t think they’re hands-down better than Teutons or Gauls now. Things are more balanced now.       

<@Interview> Question from Mickey: With Romans now the powerhouse with troughs, what is being done for the others to make up for this?   

<@Interview> Answered by Odinsstaff: Romans may have received the trough but other tribes aren’t worse. Roman troops are still the most expensive in the game and they still take the longest to build.   

It’s not like the Horse Trough all of sudden turns Romans into juggernauts. It takes a long time to get that thing to level 20 and until then you’re still stuck with the most expensive troops in the game. Romans were definitely inferior in version 3.0 and the Horse Trough and other changes in 3.5 make them a lot more on par with the other tribes.   

<@Interview> Question from IRCmeet105: Can anyone be the top 20 player of the server without using gold ??   

<@Interview> Answered by Odinsstaff: It can be done. I have alliance mates who did it.   

If you’re really skilled you can still go far in this game without gold, but you’ve got to be really clever.   

Question from IRCmeet413: Is it possible to destroy an enemy completely and capture his city? If so how is it done?   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: No it’s not possible to destroy a player completely. The worst you can do is reduce his population to zero.   

Question from scilla: when the rules are they really the same in all countries?   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: No, the rules differ from country to country   

I don’t like that there are different rules in different countries, but I guess that’s just the way it has to be because different players in different countries want different things.   

Speed Servers

<@Interview> Question from DennisGeorge: Can you have a Lightening server. Where everything is very fast. e.g. People in christmas holiday finish the sever?   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: In theory it’s possible, but it’s very intensive to maintain. Multihunting would be practically impossible so cheaters would reign.   

<@Interview> Question from misja056: Why we don’t have 2 3x speed servers?   

<@Interview> Answered by monkey7: Because they are quite intensive to maintain, both by costs and manpower   

I’m not sure why they would cost more, but it’s true that it’s a lot more work to be a Multi-hunter or a Support member on Speed Servers. That’s something that a lot of players aren’t aware of.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to part 2 of my summary of the crewchat: https://travianchampions.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/travian-crewchat-report-part-2-2/

Not Exactly a Ringing Endorsement…

One thought I’d like to add to my post from yesterday about how Travian 3.6 was announced.

If the new version a game is first introduced with the words “So here goes, and brace yourselves as the changes are… enormous.“, you know you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.

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.

Quote of the week

I posted Imram’s piece on why he’s in favour of the Travian 3.6 changes earlier, but I thought this part is worth repeating, with emphasis:

It now promotes simming and focuses less on aggressive farming. But then again, how aggressive you are depends on you as a player and not the game mechanics.