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So first a brief introduction. Travian is a free online web based browser game, meaning nothing to install, you just sign up and start playing. There are currently 7 different servers running and all in different stages of the game.
-----So what's it about?-----
Well when you register you are given the oppurtunity to choose between one of three tribes. The gauls, romans and teutons. These all have the pro's and cons:
Gauls - Their troops are the best at defence but lacking in offence. Cavalry is insanely fast compared to others and so allows for more strategic play. Gaul's Crannies (used to safehold resources during attacks) can also hold double the normal capacity
Romans- Easiest for newcomers. You are able to develop resource fields and build buildings at the same time (you can only do one or the other with other tribes). They have good attack and defence stats with their troops but weakest against cavalry plus troop production is lengthy and expensive.
Teutons- Troops are skilled in attack, because of lack of military discipline however they are relatively slow however in the hands of an experienced player some serious damage can be caused with this tribe.
After picking your tribe you must then choose which sector of the map you want your starting village, NE NW SE or SW. This is a useless choice for newcomers but for people starting on their second server then they may have built up a group of friends and want to stay together.
This is relatively simple, advance your tribe by improving resource production (clay, wheat, iron and wood) and build and improve buildings, but remember the higher the level you reach the more it costs to improve and the more time needed to improve. When you start things will take roughly 20 minutes to upgrade, when you have reached level 10 of something you can be waiting roughly 12 hours but it does mean you keep going back to the site and is not something that requires a major amount of time to play. As well as improving yourself it is also wise to try and join an alliance of someone nearby so you can offer each other protection and organise attacks as a huge group. What many players do not realise though is that after the server has been running a year a secret tribe known as the Natars is released, these are the most powerful tribe in all the land and their purpose is to finish the server and allow one player to claim victory, this is achieved through capturing a Natar village and building a wonder of the world which requires millions of resources and almost a month of construction time in total, it may sound crazy but it sure is fun.
For people that think that it is all too much time to stay focused on one game, then perhaps the speed server is more of your thing. This server runs at 3 times speed so does require more attention during the day but is more fun to play.
So it all sounds pretty impressive for something thats free, but like everything in life theres a downside.
-For starters if you join late in a server you don't stand a chance.
-You can be doing really well and then suddenly someone decides to wipe you out and months of work can be obliterated by catapults in a few days
-You can get farmed, to advance you need resources and for some the easiest way is to find a lower level player and raid non-stop all day and theres very little you can do
-The worst thing about travian is Travian-plus, this is a membership which gives you certain perks, for example for 20 gold on a speed server you can increase your production of all resources by 25%. Which works out at roughly £1, doesn't sound much but not everyone wants to spend money to be able to play well, meaning the players that do pay will advance much faster and very likely win, so slightly unfair.
For something thats free, it's very good, its given me a year of great play and I'm currently on 2 servers, one I'm losing at and one I'm doing relatively well on. The idea of the game is very interesting and its easy to make new friends and fun coming up with tatics to try and win.