After almost a full year of playing the online game Travian, gameplay is over for me on our server. One of the other alliances successfully built their Wonder of the World to level 100.

After almost a year of gameplay, Travian is over for me

The player “Steve the Spiffy” referenced in the message above was a member of our alliance (SE Meta) and the player we had HOPED would be able to build his wonder to level 100 first. I think he must be a college student because he seemed to be online playing Travian almost 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. I know from one of his messages that the number of hours he spent playing the game really took a negative toll on his health. I am sure he is VERY bummed to have lost the race to the top on our server. I am disappointed, but I didn’t invest NEARLY the amount of time playing this game as some of the leaders of our alliance clearly did.

Travian Endgame - US Server 4

I ended the game with 20 villages, and some pretty respectable production levels in my capital.

Final Travian Capital

It is rather amazing to consider that almost every day for the past 10 months, with only a few exceptions, I’ve been online at least a few minutes each day to play Travian. “Playing Travian” has meant logging in to:

  • Build up fields and construct buildings in my cities
  • Check messages and send messages in-game
  • Build troops and most recently send troops to our alliance villages building wonders
  • Scouting other villages and sending raids on neighbors
  • Checking and monitoring attack logs
  • Trading resources with other players
  • When I was leading a small alliance, monitoring player activity, admitting new members, messaging others who attacked our members, organizing defensive and offensive attacks, etc.
  • Settling new villages in new locations

I have learned a GREAT deal playing Travian, as has my 10 year old son. It’s been so fun to work with him on understanding a coordinate grid system, and helping him learn to graph on a coordinate grid so he could plan expansion of his own villages. I’ve seen him write more email messages than he ever has before in his life, as he had to respond to inquiries from other players, and most recently (during our endgame struggles to assist our alliance members) messaging our offensive alliance leaders to send his “hammer” (large force of offensive troops he built up) on strategic, coordinated attacks with other alliance members against our enemies.

Alexander and I recorded two podcasts during the past ten months, in December 2007 (“Podcast209: A 10 year old discusses Travian, an online simulation war game”) and in March 2008 (“Podcast240: Travian Tips and Lessons Learned After Four Months Playing Online.”) Those have been two of the most popular podcasts I’ve ever recorded and published. As of tonight, Podcast209 has been downloaded 5371 times, Podcast240 has been downloaded 2212 times. (According to my PodPress stats.) I am sure we will record a final “debriefing” podcast in the next week or so while the game is still fresh on our minds. We’ve learned a GREAT deal about a lot of topics during the past 10 months of gameplay together, and it will be interesting to hear what he has to say at the end of this “era.”

Personally, although I have enjoyed playing Travian, I am also relieved the game is over. The game is setup so that if you are not “active” on your account during a period of time (I think 24 hours) your account goes “red” and other players can see that you are inactive. Going inactive can result in getting kicked out of your alliance (which protects you from attack from others) and potentially being raided and attacked by other players. I’m relieved Travian is over because since I finished the game with 20 different villages, maintaining each of these villages at the end of every day has really taken a fair bit of time. I didn’t actually time this, but I’m pretty sure each night I would spend at least 20 or 30 minutes on Travian doing all the things I needed to do to maintain my resources, troops, buildings, and alliance members.

Here is the thing which seems so weird now that Travian is over, however: Besides my own son and my cousin, who played Travian on our same server for awhile, I have NO IDEA who the other players were/are that we played with in our alliance and against on our server. In the alliance which we (Alexander and I) joined for the last half of the game, we did have an online forum which I had to register for with my actual email address. It would have been possible to ask one or more of the players in our alliance “Who are you in real life?” but I never did, and don’t plan to. Everyone played with a screenname. The player profile area lets players indicate their location, so I know most of the players in our alliance were in the United States, but some of them live in Australia. One of my best buddies/friends in Travian, actually, who was the person who acted as a “sitter” for me when I had to be offline from my account for more than one day, does live in Australia. I have no idea who he is! This is so weird.

It almost seems as if I haven’t been doing something “real” since I don’t have any idea who these other players are that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with communicating, collaborating, problem solving, and virtually “fighting” against other players and alliances. This HAS been real, however, even though the gameplay has all been virtual and online. The experiences have been real for my son and I. We got in the “doghouse” with my wife after only just a couple months of playing, because one evening another alliance launched a massive wave of attacks against our small alliance and we ended up being late for an event that night because we had to send out a lot of messages to our alliance members before leaving the house. (My wife had difficulty understanding why that was a good and necessary decision at that point.) This was a REAL gaming experience, and actually the longest / most sustained gaming experience I’ve ever had. Yet because of the anonymity of it all, it has a different feel than I have when playing a “normal” game face-to-face with others.

Lots more to reflect on when it comes to Travian, but overall I’m glad it is OVER.

What am I going to do with all my evening free time now?

Maybe I’ll actually write my dissertation at last….. :-)

Farewell Caper, Swampeater, Cupperous Tin, Killer Mike, piscespixie, addramyttium, and the other members of SE Fox!

Final Travian Ranks for Eomer and Legoarf

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On this day..

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  • http://myspace.com/piscespixie Piscespixie

    I have been playing with you probably as long as I’ve been on Travian, and I have had a wonderful, but surreal time. I was just thinking as you have, that these people I have come to know and trust on the game, and tell my husband about them, but I don’t really know who they are. I think you were the first to extend the olive branch to me in-game, and here, we made it to the end. I logged in about 2 hours each evening, between my account and the couple I sat for. It was a real shame that we didn’t make it. I know we worked hard to get there. Farewell, eomer. In real life, if you would like to know, I’m a 36 y/o married teacher, with no children. I teach in an inner-city school with a lot of daily stresses. Travian got my mind off of work, and I could escape with all of you guys. I’m trying to find ways to occupy my time now, and found out that I have a lot of housework to do! haha…

    Piscespixie
    aka: Thoma

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  • http://school20.siglersite.com James Sigler

    Welcome to the surreal world of MMOG. Get get to know and become friends with the people you play with, but outside the virtual world you have no idea who they are. In-world you are a completely different person. Unless you trust someone enough to share your real-world identity or they with you, the two worlds do not cross. You don’t really understand it until you experience it.

  • Addramyttium

    I had an amazing time playing this game, because of the people and the interactions that occurred within the game. I’m also wondering what to do next, as I’ll be having a little break. Travian took up a fair bit of my time, and I also had trouble getting my wife to understand why I was playing a game that would last the better part of a year, to the point of taking my laptop with me when we went to visit her mum!

    Thanks for bringing me in when I was brand new to the game, I’ve learnt a lot from the last few months. The thing that really did interest me was that so many people, anonymously playing from all over the world and from different cultures and backgrounds, could co-operate on such a time consuming and demanding objective. It really does say a lot for us (people).

    All the best!

  • Britrock

    Thanks for a fascinating read, I only began playing around with Travian a few weeks ago, but can already understand the deep appeal and community spirit the game embodies.
    What’s most interesting is the bonding you write about with individuals you’ve not met yet trust implicitly with the lives of your villagers. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Caper

    Farewell Eomer. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Glad to see you reallocated your Travian time wisely on your dissertation. I remember you and Alexander and am glad you are well.
    Caper – Consul, Fox Co. (retired)

  • http://www.speedofcreativity.org Wesley Fryer

    How fun to read your comment after so many years… Alexander is now 16 and very into “Scrolls” – he’s enjoyed Minecraft and it’s pretty cool to see how his learning about online gameplay, strategy, etc has evolved since these formative days with Travian! I hope you are well, Caper!

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