VVV's Monster Thread of Ideas, Suggestions, Recommendations and Assorted Rambling...

  • Oh, well, that idea didn't work. Let's just roll with it...


    OK, firstly, I'll hit the positives. I've come back to Travian after about 18 months away, and gave kingdoms a go. I really like the overall concept - I've already found that several of the accounts around me that would normally have been farmed into oblivion have instead been nurtured and given a chance, as they were more value as a contributing member of the kingdom than as a farm. ++ for player retention there.


    Secondly, I cannot express how happy I am to see the equation for resource cost to production boost fixed for higher level fields - I hated the fact that in T4 and earlier, high level field cost to build was exponential, but wasn't matched by production increase, whereas now it's a perfect exponential equation. Thank you, thank you, thank you...


    Thirdly - thank you for some of the added options on filters and sorting for reports and farm lists, makes the game easier to play.


    And as much as the long timers don't like the daily quests, card game etc..., in the new casual gaming market, I don't see you had much choice.


    Now, to some things I don't like or would like to see changed:


    General thoughts:


    • You really, really need a decent app. The current app (found on some third market website, but published by TG) is a really good start, but there are still too many functions not present - things like no chat, no rollover functions work on a phone/tablet etc... make it problematic. The mobile site is a dog, I tend to load the full site on my phone, it scales really badly, it's slow and laggy, but still a better option than the app or mobile site in most cases.
    • Farm lists as part of plus - while I don't care, I buy stupid amounts of gold, merchant multiple runs and master builder can be unlocked independently. Just get rid of plus and add farm lists as another buy for the whole round - probably 50 or 100 gold.
    • F5 as the solution - I realise it's beta, but it gets ridiculous when that's the answer to every problem. Also, the farm list itself never refreshes on clicking send - it's annoying that every option ticked remains ticked after sending, it would be great if sending refreshed the farm list, on the open farm list, all tick boxes cleared.
    • Cities are a bit craptastic from what I can see - how's about you add the two extra building slots in all cities, and for villages people can use that card reward there?
    • Change the attack mechanics so you do not ever lose troops on an empty village - I think it's the residence that provides defence points - either that or the wall. Change it so both are just a % boost to defence, but 0*x% should be 0. You cannot reward accounts for having no troops. Furthermore, it discourages troop building when you're going to need them when siege starts rolling.
    • Robber Hideouts - they scale up ridiculously quickly, where the loss of build time and/or resource in troops killed taking it make them a nuisance rather than useful.


    Gold Whales:


    Firstly, I'll state that I tend to buy the top package at least once a month, so I *like* gold. But it does push a little too far towards pay to win, even pay to play. So...

    • Insta merchants and insta build should be disabled 24 hours/world speed after any successful attack containing siege for that villa (so merchants going to that villa, and insta build in that villa).
    • Hero should regenerate full health on levelling up.
    • Artworks should go the way of the dodo.
    • I'm sure I'll think of more, I'll come back to this and add when I do.


    Metas and attack mechanics.


    This is the big one that causes most of the problem. What I suggest is that Alliances be increased in holding to max of 5 kings, but then get rid of NAPs as a diplomacy option, and get rid of Confederacy (if it still exists). Secondly, make it that you can only reinforce villas in your kingdom, and your alliance. No exceptions, not WW, not treasury villas, nothing. Whilst I'll miss enemies reining my village instead of attacking like they did yesterday on US4, that's a price I'll pay.


    I was also going to suggest capping number of Dukes and Kingdom members, but I've decided a better way to do this is via altering the attack calculations. I've gone looking through this site, and a few others, to see if I can find a calculation of morale based on size in Kingdoms (as that did exist in T4 and earlier), but I can't find it. I'd suggest comparing the two players in an attack, and finding the smaller of the two, measured in number of villages. This comparison should occur across alliances, if one of the two is not in an alliance, then it's the two kingdoms. I'd suggest all players must be in a kingdom as a default for this to work.


    Then if the smaller player is defending, their defence bonus is multiplied by the number of the opponenent's villas (again, alliance level first, if no alliance for either player, then kingdom level) / their number of villas. If the smaller player is attacking, same calculation, but the bonus is halved.


    That way, people can meta to their heart's content, but they take an attack and defence penalty that is proportional to how many accounts they are trying to stack on one side. You will need some sort of warning to Kings when sending invites to their kingdom that they will take a penalty when attacking smaller kingdoms.


    I think that's probably a start for the moment. I'm aware that the attack mechanics is a little basic, there's a good chance it needs to be a logarithmic scale, but I unexpectedly had sick children home with me the last couple of days so I never really got round to modelling the numbers as thoroughly as I would have liked, and I'm missing too many parts of the equation anyway. If people are that interested in me going full throttle on the modelling, yell at me and I'll think about it.


    Cheers,


    VVV

    Edited 3 times, last by VVV: Last minute proof reading... ().

  • I've already found that several of the accounts around me that would normally have been farmed into oblivion have instead been nurtured and given a chance, as they were more value as a contributing member of the kingdom than as a farm. ++ for player retention there.


    You say that about player retention - but the important part about player retention is not whether they make it through the beginning phase of the game, but whether they come back at all on next servers. That's player retention. In older versions, player retention happened regardless of how many were farms or catapulted from the server. So does it happen in TK?


    If you look at TL, travian.com had 24k players around this time last year. Right now it has 10k. Now that could be attributed to factors such as tournament servers, servers restarting/ending etc, but it's obvious enough that TL hasn't stopped the decrease in playerbase - and that decrease is going fast, has been since roughly 2010. One of these days I'll write a little program that can calculate the amount of players in TK as there's currently no way to say anything about player retention in TK. Servers that you can no longer register for aren't visible anywhere, so you can't count the players the way we used to. Has to go through the API. Either way, I'm not convinced that this player retention you're talking about actually translates to keeping players in the game beyond the first phase of the game. But I am very curious about it :)


    TG has made many attempts to make the game more casual with the idea that if you keep casuals in the game, the playerbase will therefore increase. I'm still unconvinced this is actually true, for this game it's historically inaccurate. The game has always kept losing players since ~T3.5 no matter what TG tried to do to make it simpler to play. Don't forget that since T2, a billion changes have been made to make it easier to play - a less extreme CP calculation, causing people to have less villages, a nerf to Teuton raiding ability, a buff to Gauls (trappers, increased cranny size), heroes and oases in T3, unconquerable capitals, higher level fields in capitals, further buffs to heroes, cages and other auction items - they basically removed the beginning of the game - ... I agree with some of those changes, disagree with others and I'm probably forgetting a lot of things here. Bottom line is: TG once had a nice mix of hardcore, semi-hardcore, and casuals in this game which worked really well. Now they have this fixation on keeping ONLY the casuals in the game while it's so freaking dependent on that mix of players. The mix is what they should be striving for. Yet they really don't do anything for the other types of players. They've forgottten they exist at all.


    • Cities are a bit craptastic from what I can see - how's about you add the two extra building slots in all cities, and for villages people can use that card reward there?


    I don't know about extra buildings slots or cards, but I see cities as being really, really strong already simply because of the indestructable water ditch and the 200% loyalty - and then it also gives you added CP prod. Have you considered the strategic advantages of these things?


    • Change the attack mechanics so you do not ever lose troops on an empty village - I think it's the residence that provides defence points - either that or the wall. Change it so both are just a % boost to defence, but 0*x% should be 0. You cannot reward accounts for having no troops. Furthermore, it discourages troop building when you're going to need them when siege starts rolling.


    I figured you'd be all for this. A farmer who consistently loses 1 or more troops while gaining no resources should never come back. Doesn't that help newer players?


    • Robber Hideouts - they scale up ridiculously quickly, where the loss of build time and/or resource in troops killed taking it make them a nuisance rather than useful.


    No argument there about the nuisance. I consider them to be a nuisance no matter the reward they give :) But I think you'll see that after a certain point (on COM1 for me it was after maybe 16 days?) they don't really hurt too much anymore if you're buildings troops at all times anyway and your hero has gotten a bit stronger. They're still freaking annoying - I HAVE to use my hammer on an NPC thingie instead of on a player. I will probably end up buildings multiple hammers and then having one of them used only for robber hideouts. It's my robber hammer. How stupid is that? And god forbid I ever lose the hammers for some reason. Especially when the robbers have catapults. Robbers is probably the feature I hate most about the game.


    Gold Whales:


    • Insta merchants and insta build should be disabled 24 hours/world speed after any successful attack containing siege for that villa (so merchants going to that villa, and insta build in that villa).


    I'd go even further than that and say that besides that constraint, there should be another one which says that if there's still any kind of incoming attacks within x amount of hours, insta merchants and build should also be impossible. The insta merchants and insta builds should be for simming purposes - to save time - not for fighting purposes (to save a village or account). I'd LIKE them to be removed completely but I know that'll never happen, so...



    Metas and attack mechanics.


    This is the big one that causes most of the problem. What I suggest is that Alliances be increased in holding to max of 5 kings, but then get rid of NAPs as a diplomacy option, and get rid of Confederacy (if it still exists). Secondly, make it that you can only reinforce villas in your kingdom, and your alliance. No exceptions, not WW, not treasury villas, nothing. Whilst I'll miss enemies reining my village instead of attacking like they did yesterday on US4, that's a price I'll pay.


    That's a start, except that metas right now usually don't reinforce eachother to begin with anyway. It's not like they're highly organised teams that work together, much the opposite. The problem isn't that metas are so strong because of all their defense, the problem is that treasures/VP are stolen in a friendly way between alliances and that that's the optimal (strategically) way of playing right now. Also, since everybody is in a meta, everybody else has to also be in a meta, which screws with individual player activity. No fun if you can't attack anything because everybody is supposedly friendly.


    Doesn't matter if you can reinforce eachother anymore or not. You can still attack together and share treasures. More importantly, you can ensure there are no enemies by putting everybody you see in a friendly alliance. That's the most important part and it's a mindset of the players that TG needs to change. The NAP itself is unimportant and always has been, it's only a thing on paper much like the confederacies.


    What you're suggesting is basically a morale bonus for alliances/kingdoms. I like it, but it'll lead to metas that are divided up into smaller alliances, not to less metas. Still an improvement though.

  • Ammanurt,


    I should probably quote your reply as well, but I won't because I'm lazy and I like to ramble.


    Firstly, player retention. I'd disagree with you there. I'm not talking about a player who had a reasonable run, maybe a month or so, I'm talking about the players that were farmed mercilessly from day 1 out of BP. That is somewhat less likely to happen, providing you land in a passable kingdom. I don't believe that players who got their arses handed to them from day one really did fire up the next server.


    Cities - I still think they look good on face value. I haven't played Kingdoms long enough to decide whether the water moat makes it worthwhile, but 200CP extra day is less than you'd get from a developed villa, and 10 to 12 is less extra production than you'd get from a developed villa. Again, I might just the simmiest simmer that ever simmed, but I'll go for the long term greater benefit, and in most cases, with the exception of the water moat, I don't see cities working.


    As for metas - I generally see two reasons for metas forming. The first is the safety in numbers, the second is that most players want to win. Given this is my first TK server, I'm generally ignoring VP and treasures, as I don't know the mechanics well enough, but I can see your point about friendly treasure capture. Maybe change the VP calculation, get rid of the 10 points for alliances above and 50 for #1, and change it to treasures stolen/defending troops killed? Or even defence points of defending troops killed? Again, might need to change it to a log scale or something to make it work. And that would take care of the com server recently (com2 from memory) where a rogue King let the opponent steal a ton of treasures?


    Whilst I'm on this, how's about - treasures give a base victory point a day. Treasures stolen from other alliances given base victory point a day + number of troops killed in attack when stealing divided by treasures stolen, again on a logarithmic base - 10 seems a touch high, 2 seems a touch low, maybe base 5? Rounded down to the nearest integer.
    So if you kill anything up to and including 4 troops per treasure, it's 1 point a day for those stolen treasures, 5 to 24 it's 2, 25 to 124 it's three, and so on and so forth.

  • I think the ones that survived the initial farming onslaught - by getting ingame help, by simply building crannies etc. - stayed in the game just fine. Especially because farming in the old versions was REALLY competitive, everyone was doing it so you could guarantee that if you weren't playing the way you should be, you would get incomings and even though it was so competetive, the playerbase grew for the longest time. Sure you still lost a lot of players because of the heavy raiding, but the players that left because they got farmed were never meant to be playing this game anyway, would never be active enough to have fun later on. Also, the players that got farmed and deleted were often interested enough in the game that they just started another server and tried again. I should know, that's what I did.


    That's the thing about a competetive game - you want to improve and a competetive player, when faced with a disadvantage or setback, learns from mistakes and tries again. So honestly I've never seen the heavy raiding as the biggest reason for the decline in playerbase, and definitely not as a problem. TG obviously has as it's the main thing they've been focussed on. But the problem with casual players is..They're casual. They don't login much. They, individually, don't spend much money on average. They rarely talk to other players and defintely are not going to install skype on their phones or tablets, login to forums. They're not going to send a bunch of attacks out or think about what they're doing on the account or the server. They just login, click a few buildings, logout and you don't see em for days. By allowing these players to simply survive without doing anything you get a completely inactive playerbase which never does anything. Which is one reason why most servers feel so dead - possibly with the exception of the current com5? -. You CAN"T have only these kinds of players in your game, but that's exactly where we're currently headed! Also, it remains to be seen if these casuals are in fact more likely to stay beyond 1 server or not. But I digress..


    You should try fighting sometime, it's fun. Although I might be the..fightiest guy that ever fought? For me, I don't consider the higher level resource fields that much in deciding whether I want a city, or any long-term benefits really. Servers are only half-length now anyway, there's no time for that. I think about how defensible my city would be and how important that is. I will almost always go for more villages instead, but I'll always have at least 1 or 2 cities: My capital and my 2nd biggest offense village. The indestructible moat/added 100% loyalty are extremely good, don't underestimate them. Sometimes I'll have cities because I have CP but am too lazy to build another village, lol.


    Concerning the VP, you're actually saying stuff that's like things I've come up with in the past. It's been ignored by TG since they don't want anything except a casual game though :) I wanted to make VP (well, influence at the time) at least partially dependant on fighting, so having the attack points/defense points/# villages conquered or destroyed factor in somehow. I don't believe I factored in treasures that much. Either way I'm not sure a successful op is something where a lot of troops get killed off necessarily. Perhaps don't base it on troop deaths but more on population deaths/population conquered or something.


    The problem with friendly treasure capture is not just about stealing VP directly but simply having treasures shared between several alliances, so if you have A1,A2,A3, all of their treasures are simply given to A1 if you get my point. So their VP production is insane. The second problem is of course that with friendly alliances A1 A2 A3, A3 could steal VP from A2, then A1 could steal from A3, causing A1 to have most VP in the end. And then they can merge, or keep doing the same thing. Stealing VP from higher ranked alliances was in fact meant to help smaller alliances have a chance by being able to attack the metas that are higher in ranking by stealing VP from them, but it's had its adverse effects too.


  • Cities - I still think they look good on face value. I haven't played Kingdoms long enough to decide whether the water moat makes it worthwhile, but 200CP extra day is less than you'd get from a developed villa, and 10 to 12 is less extra production than you'd get from a developed villa.


    Enabling the Great troop buildings makes a city important for a hammer, the defense bonus is also nice for important villages like a capital and a hammer. But those aren't really important for a regular feeder. While going from 10 to 12 is less than than the production of building a second identical village, the reality is you can't always build a second identical village. Players tend to be packed in, trying to get croppers or good oases while staying in the kingdom territory to get the tax boost. Eventually you reach a point where your choices for a new village are not as good as the villages you already have. At that point, nearly doubling the production of the old village will give you more resources than settling a new village.

  • Tineren,


    I wasn't aware the tax boost only occurred for villas inside the kingdom - that does make a difference. And yeah, was always planning on cities for Cap and for Hammer villas. I think an early city cap would help with the 500 CP - I'm planning on doing that myself - but after that, later in the server?


    Ammanurt,


    OK, the detailed answer is starting to make your thinking a lot clearer. I get where you're coming from around competitiveness and the rest. I guess it depends on where you define casual gaming, and exactly what gamer profile is being targeted. If the only player that can play Travian successfully is the sort of 8+ hours a day that I typically wind up doing, the game is doomed. If we're talking about logging in once every few days, the game is equally as doomed. But if you make it playable in a few short bursts a day, away from a computer via a decent app, then we're talking real possibilities. Don't get me wrong, I don't think a game you can not log into for several days as a routine regular occurrence, without having organised sitters with your alliance is something that can work for Travian.


    And for the record, I refer to myself as a simmer as I tend to wind up building hammers that go splat on WWs, so I don't attack as heavily as others during the course of the server. I'm weird that way, I'm more than happy to sit on a big troop count for months until it's the right time to pull it out. In the meantime, that gives me plenty of time to help the newbies in the alliance out, give them advice, sit their accounts temporarily to have a look and make suggestions.


    Finally - the reason I went for defensive kill for VP is that's the only way I can think to avoid friendly treasure moves. And it needs to be sufficiently steep to rule the friendly meta crap out immediately. If you make it chiefing, or pop destruction, then you'll still get the same behaviour - the gold whales will meta, and just insta build pop destruction back up, and will friendly chief back and forth.


    VP based on a calculation of def killed makes it much harder to game the system. And if they're wasting their hammers and anvils on themselves, they're wide open to attack from others who aren't. I think that the def killed has to be a function of defensive points - or only count for troops designated as defensive troops, otherwise, you'd get friendly VP transfers by killing clubbies by the bucketload to pure cavalry hammers.


    Anyway, you've given me more food for thought. I'll think about it and get back to you, I'm unlikely to get a job before the new year, so it's not like I've got anything better to do...

  • That''s why VP should also be allowed to drop for the alliance losing the pop :) Fighting should be half of the VP production of alliances. If that's the case I'd think it's only beneficial to be in a meta if you can organise it well - otherwise you'll just end up getting attacked everywhere and keep losing VP. You're right it wouldn't stop friendly conquering/destroying though, but I'm not entirely sure how big of a problem that would be as long as multiaccounts are always detected and stopped. It's one thing to give treasures away with no real drawback to your own account, but allowing entire accounts and alliances to be destroyed or conquered? That's something else. Also, pretty detectable that something fishy is happening if they're staying alive, slowly dropping villages without fighting back.


    It would also be an incentive to fight. Of course you'd need to balance this out somehow, but I think the idea in principle is good.


    -

  • I like the idea of counting victory points as a function of defense killed, mainly because the cheapest way to kill a lot of defense is to catch someone's hammer at home, or to skillfully time a follow-home. There is no better fun than that.

  • Following home is certainly a lot of fun but by itself it isn't war. We need more catapult and chief usage too :D


    That's true. It would be nice to see the victory more closely tied to successfully demolishing the enemies' villages.


    Control of territory has been suggested before, and I think that could work well with the kingdom system, perhaps. It is thrilling when a whole alliance works together to knock out strategic assets of another alliance.


    - - - Updated - - -


    .... like an epic game of RISK.

  • Maybe designate (by declaring war) a specific kingdom/alliance you're going to try and take VP's from? And only then can you conquer VP's from them? Maybe have it be tied to a timestamp, so you can conquer VP's for a week or so before you can't fight for VP's against that kingdom/alliance for x amount of time after?

  • Reading back, some of these ideas are interesting. I think the most workable is to tie VP taken to pop drop. If you catapult villages the population drops substantially, chiefing a village drops the pop of an account even more substantially. I don't think I like the idea of rewarding players for killing troops - killing troops means losing troops, and a successful team op includes attacking in such a way as to damage or take a village with as few losses as possible. (Adequate intelligent faking being necessary).

  • DanielHart,


    I know where you're coming from on this one, and at first glance, I agree with you. The only problem here is around gaming the system - the moment you remove troop kill out of it, you're opening the door to the friendly chief & catta option. Now personally, I wouldn't go down that road, but I've seen it happen way too often in this game to ignore. You know that people will set up two alliances, and close to the end, one will suddenly have all it's villages chiefed or 0 popped, coincidentally when no troops were home defending...


    That's why I insist that troop kills, measured by defensive points of the killed troops, has to be included. Otherwise, the VP system is open to abuse. But having modifiers in for territory controlled, or pop loss/chief along with troop kills, or official war etc... are all good suggestions worthy of consideration.