Posts by Llewelyn1966

    The old advert for Arkheim was unduly long, if you can't get your message across in under 30s then it's not a good ad.

    It did however seem to show the actual game.

    The new one lasts a full minute, has a silly voice-over and I would bet good money shows nothing like actual gameplay. If anything I am less likely to investigate the game than before.

    I wouldn't mind a few videos. 20+ a day per server is getting old very fast indeed. If you play on mobile, you can't watch but they time out on 30s and it has the same effect, so I suppose everyone has an equal chance to waste time or not.

    It's just so typical of the way some management thinks. I know what they're doing, they're getting watch numbers up for their ad server in hopes of selling ad space on it - a typical bean-counter plan. Meanwhile the Pollux which could've been a nice addition to the game is just flawed enough that we question whether it's worth it. It wouldn't need to be much better to make me convinced.

    And to add insult to injury, the graphic of the locomotive itself is comically bad. We wouldn't be playing this game if we weren't train nuts, but the number of simple-to-avoid basic errors in the train graphics shows a basic lack of care by whoever is producing them. We have tender locos without tenders (yet the passenger trains have them), several different scales in use (locos appear unnaturally big or small) and now we have the Pollux. The prototype for this engine is BIG. It's a US loco which means it's physically bigger than European or British ones, and it's a big loco even by comparison with other US locos. Amazingly, it DOES have its tender but it doesn't articulate.

    seriously guys, this stuff is not hard to get right and your game engine is capable of doing it: we already can see properly present tenders on the passenger trains, and there is at least one 2-unit articulated freight loco. How hard would it be to have all locos in the game made to the same scale? Makes no difference to the game play, of course, but a big difference to how the game appears.

    I said that right at the first week.

    I regularly play 2 servers, both express, and always with plus account. Even so, on many days I have to watch 20+ videos to get the 2 available upgrades per day. Often I have to watch the full 28. Occasionally, under 10 and once that I can recall out of all the days since Pollux launched, I have had both upgrades in the minimum number of videos (4). The whole process can take up to half an hour EVERY day, and really is starting to become a drag.

    There are 2 issues:

    1) The Pollux is not THAT good. It doesn't compete, era-on-era, with the gold bonus train of that era. By endgame, after 6 weeks if you miss NO upgrades, you still can't quite have Pollux at max upgrades. That's mainly because the ability to haul each era's goods is treated as an upgrade.

    2) The amount of videos to watch (and consider that I always have plus account - those who don't or can't do that must watch even more) is out of proportion to the value of the train in the game. Yet we keep doing this? Of course, because not to watch and to simply ignore the Pollux puts you at a disadvantage compared with those who do. Even so it's become a dreary chore to constantly watch the same few adverts for Travian's own products over and over and over and over again. You can't credibly automate the process and now we even have an extra click to play the **** advert, for no good reason I can possibly imagine.

    How to solve this?

    Make the process more attractive - several possibilities occur to me which are not all mutually exclusive:
    1) make the era goods upgrades automatic and free (so they aren't one of your daily upgrades), which at least would make it possible to max-out the Pollux in time for endgame.
    2) reduce the required number of videos to half what it is now which makes it less of a daily task.
    3) leave the number of videos the same but allow more upgrades per day (say 3 instead of 2 on express server) or per week/era which would make the Pollux upgrade faster. It would start of quite useless, as now, but could be at full strength by era 4, and even if you missed some upgrades, still at full strength by endgame.

    One of the issues I see quite often is that of players who are online intermittently, either daily or off for a few days due to work etc.

    Granted, we have the sitter system which partly addresses this issue. However one problem with that is the fixed 12-hour interval before a sitter can intervene. For someone who's offline for several days, that's not too bad an issue.

    A player who is, for example, busy at work all day with no opportunity to log on, might spend many hours in unproductive hauling, yet the sitter can do nothing. The same can happen at night.

    So my suggestion, in the sitter settings, let people choose how long they are inactive before a sitter can intervene. Keep the 12h as maximum but offer shorter periods, even down to 3 or 4 hours. For players who know that they can't be online reliably multiple times per day, they could be reassured that they can contribute better. For corporation/association admin, they could remedy an offline player who's not hauling relevant goods more rapidly.

    There y'go, shoot it down in flames. Given that it would remain an option, I see no problem with shorter timeout-before-sitter.

    There's still the point that there are several wins to be had, some of which aren't entirely compatible.
    1) individual win. For this you have to hunt prestige all over as much of the map as possible, regardless of any good or bad effect on individual cities. I don't play this way myself as I suspect that you have to compete with what are commonly called "wallet warriors" - it's possible in the game to gain position and points by spending more money, which I don't have and don't wish to.

    2) City win. This for some people is the big one. To get the city win you need anything from 50-150 players in a single city by endgame time, and for them all work reliably together for the good of the city. This is how I mostly play, my trains are 'most always on RGs to my chosen city, or to the city i intend to support in EG. Rarely I will haul for cash. I do invest in facilities, but mostly only the ones I'm using to ensure company majorities and wait times. If I'm not using a facility but my company has the majority, I usually put one or two clicks on it.

    3) company/association win. This is perhaps less fiercely contested but it's still a goal.

    For at least 2 and 3 it's pretty relevant, as a leader, to be able to see what your company players are up to, and any other players who are supporting your city.

    Yes. Why do you think I used up time and electrons writing it? For me, personally, the group play is more important than PP. You appear to think the ONLY point in the game is to try to get max PP and win the INDIVIDUAL competition.

    Sure, that's ONE way to play. But there are others, including being a deliberate saboteur which you seem to think doesn't exist or you want to call it something else.

    I suspect I either have most of them unlocked already or (with such as the leviathan) I don't ordinarily use them. Nor the Lindworm for that matter.

    However, what I was planning to say is: Bonus codes like this - would it be such a huge loss to RN to make them applicable on more than one server?

    I'd venture to suggest a fair percentage of the player base regularly play 2 servers: for example, I play one US and one SOE, and thus get to play 2 game styles that I prefer. If I wanted to play classic, then I'd regularly play 3 servers. But when there's a bonus, I can only use it on one.

    OK, it's a money thing. But in my case, I will never pay gold to unlock a series. Those I have unlocked, were done with vouchers I've picked up. So they won't make any more money from me by not allowing the bonus code to be used more than once, I'll simply go without it on whichever server I don't apply it to.

    As for "sabotage" - if anyone thinks that doesn't happen you are naïve or ignoring it. Especially in endgames, there is certainly deliberate sabotage. Players from another city will come and haul some goods from all the 12 current goods, just to add wait time. It's clearly deliberate and some players on some servers are even well-known for it.

    This is not about gaining prestige. They would gain more PP by hauling a large amount of goods in their home city than by hauling a small amount in another city - one big source of final prestige is the rewards for hauling in EG - and of course, if you're in the winning city you get a PP boost right at the end.

    It's all fine to say a good caller can work around it, but then again, a good saboteur (or maybe 2 or 3) can thwart even the best caller. It takes very little to mean that instead of clearing 3 short goods easily in an hour, you only clear 2, or instead of clearing 1 hard good within the hour, it takes an hour and a half - and that, if done cleverly, can essentially decide the outcome of the endgame.

    myself, I choose to play a team game and aim for a team win. I freely admit this is partly because I'm not online enough to successfully challenge for the personal win - and I also suspect that, with the degree of competitiveness, on most servers I'd need to spend more actual cash than I wish to in any case.

    "This game is all about collecting prestige"

    I disagree. The game has much more to it than that. Prestige per se is not relevant to whether your city wins the endgame. That is done by hauling all 48 goods faster than the opposition - sure, you get prestige for doing it, but you'd still win the EG even if you didn't.

    If you want to win as an INDIVIDUAL, then that's clearly only about prestige but if that's ALL you see in the game you're missing a large part of it.

    Coming back to how people play: When investing facilities to gain PP, you can do that at any time before it levels. But time and again we see people making big investments right after it levels, and thus breaking the majority - which then slows down a whole bunch of people whose main aim was to advance their city. If that is not disruptive, then what is?

    I constantly see "well you should take care of your facilities" - which is code for "you must invest IMMEDIATELY so that I can invest and gain PP; and somehow it's the OTHER person's fault that the PP-hunters can't be bothered to wait a while, or to ask for investment room, or to invest moderately and respect majorities.

    Which being so, and since creating content costs Travian nothing, why not make the Pollux more appealing? For example, give 3 bonus parts per day within the 14 bonus videos, so it upgrades faster and thus becomes more useful (at present, it's hardly relevant in era 1 at all). If players see they are getting something worthwhile for their efforts, they will be keen to spend the time and effort.

    The other thing they could do is make the actual engine in-game more realistic. That doesn't alter the arguments about time to watch videos, but it has to be said it's comically bad. It's about 2/3 the size it should be, and, despite that it DOES have its tender unlike most of the locomotives, the tender doesn't articulate. Yet we know that they can make articulated locomotive models, because there are some that do - and the passenger trains have tenders, while almost all the goods have none.

    In fact, an overhaul of all the locomotives in the game to make them consistent scale and fitted with tenders where appropriate would improve the visuals of the game a lot for not much dev-time. There's really no excuse for them being so far wrong.

    Coming back to the Pollux and videos...

    I had been of the opinion that pushing us to watch a pile of videos (typically, at least 20/day on a x2 server with plus account, and more than that with no plus) was a move to increase ad revenue.

    However, after looking into it, the ONLY videos I ever see are for Travian's own games. Since I already play RN and have no interest in any of those shown on the videos, there's no benefit in it for Travian that I can see, except I suppose a small number of new users might see some other game they fancy.

    This being so, I repeat my assertion that the benefit of upgrades to the Pollux is out of proportion to the time used up in getting them. You can't even get the Pollux to max upgrades before endgame, as 5 upgrades are used up in adding the goods for eras 2,3,4,5,6. At full upgrades (or as near as you can get) it's a competent engine but not outstanding.

    I'd be much happier if the guaranteed upgrades came within, say, 8 bonus videos and not 14. I'd also be happier if the era goods were applied automatically, so that by watching videos every day I could actually get the Pollux to max upgrades. It's a minor thing, but unsatisfying, to fall short by just a few.

    Yes, as support pointed out to me at some point, I don't HAVE to watch any videos, nor use the Pollux at all. But then that puts me at a disadvantage compared to other players that do, so I'm kind of unlikely to do that even if it is irritating. The other prizes from bonus videos are not exactly stellar either although of course everything helps in some way. Until the advent of Pollux, I'd already decided that the return for my time from watching videos wasn't something I felt worth doing as a rule.

    What the game needs is more tools with which to defend against sabotage. Sabotage is not against the rules, fine. The majority players who are trying to win the EG thus need better tools to defend against it: right now, there are essentially none - the only (weak) tool is to declare an association/corporation hostile, and thus slow them down. But that isn't much use against a solo player who may not even be in an association - nor can it be used if there are 2 saboteurs, since associations can only "hostile" or "friend" one other association.

    The solo saboteurs could be handled, possibly, by being able to declare individual players hostile. Might be that could be a short-term thing which put a very high wait time penalty on them, but only for an hour, say. It would limit the damage they could do without eliminating the sabotage option entirely: saboteurs would have to be clever to avoid anyone noticing what they were up to...

    Making it so each association can friend/hostile 2 others would, in my view, improve the game by allowing better co-operation between groups in a single city and making it a bit easier to defend against hostile moves.

    There's another issue we frequently see, that of the player who logs out before EG starts, leaving trains hauling from 3 or 4 facilities, and doesn't log in again for a day. Often it's a player in our own group - and it needn't be planned, could be something like a medical emergency kept them away from the game. There is no way to deal with this at present. One possibility there is for the chairman to have a limited power to force-park a member's trains. Might be it could only be used once in 24 hours, or something.

    Game is nearly as unreliable as I've seen it, the worst since the launch of the HTML5 version.

    constantly see "an error occurred", constant lockups and need to reboot for almost every change of routes in endgame.

    If you don't get this fixed, I'm going to re-assess whether I want to play and spend money on your game. I play games for fun not to be constantly frustrated.

    It was pointed out to me by one of the helpdesk staff that I don't HAVE to upgrade the Bollux. This is of course true, provided I'm happy to be at a disadvantage compared to other players who do upgrade it - it's kinda poor to have such a choice.

    I hadn't realised (since I always run plus account) that non-plus-account people are even worse off, when it comes to how many videos you have to watch in order to get the upgrade(s).

    In my observation on 2 x2 servers and about 8 weeks total play between them; on ONE occasion across both servers I got the 2 available bonuses in the minimum number of videos. On many occasions it takes the maximum number. Hence my suggestion somewhere that the maximum number be reduced.

    I'm also now at a point where I believe i can predict that it's impossible to reach the maximum upgrades for it in a game rounds. There are only 3 more days until endgame, and having not missed any upgrades, my Pollux is not 19 cars, 95% reliable, 17 accel and 170 km/h so I count 11 more possible upgrades, and only 6 more video opportunities to earn them. Of course, 5 are used up in getting the era goods which seems unnecessarily mean to me - without those, I suppose it would hit max on the other 4 stats.

    Considering the gain is mostly for RN by making their video ad system look more attractive to potential advertisers, I don't see why the feature can't be a bit more generous. Would it really be so bad if by era 4 you could max out the Pollux, and then use it in the last 2 eras? Or, it could have more upgrades overall, making it more useful in every era and still only max by endgame.

    Having played now most of 6 eras on one server and most of 3 on another, both x2, I can say one thing. I've not missed any days of upgrades in all those and once only have I gotten the 2 available upgrades in the minimum number of videos (i.e. 4, to get 2 bonus videos). However, too many times for me to remember, it's taken all 28 (2nd upgrade on the 14th bonus video).

    Bollux would be a better name. The videos are about 30s long on average, but you can't watch 2 in a minute as you have to wait for it to open, then click on whatever reward, etc. I've not actually recorded it, but I would say the average is at least 16 videos per server per day, might be more. Tedious.

    BTW, the max upgrades go to 20 on each item, so 20 wagons, 100% reliable, 200 km/h, etc., except for goods class of course which maxes at 6, obv. Making that goods class upgrade one of your daily upgrades also sucks, IMO, they should automatically add that each era.

    With 3 days to go on the X2, It currently shows 19 cars, 95% reliable, 17 accel, 170km/h so there are 11 more upgrades in theory, but only 6 more I can get. I guess you can continue watching videos in EG, but that only adds 2 more days at best. So you can't ever max the thing.

    If you're in graphic design, maybe you can help get my pet complaint fixed:

    The graphical appearance of the engines in-game is flawed in 2 annoying ways:

    1) The scale of various engines is wrong. Some look huge, some look small. The early era engines ARE smaller, but some later era ones look tiny, like the new Pollux which in real life is BIG. Could do with revisiting all the loco models and adjusting them to all the same scale.

    2) most of the steam locos with tenders are not shown with their tender. The few that are, the whole loco+tender moves as one unit. (again, the Pollux). The exception is the steam passenger trains, which have tenders where appropriate and work correctly.

    It's not important to gameplay, of course. But it should also be a pretty easy fix - I know the game can cope with freight/cargo engines with a pivot in as there are some 2-unit diesels which articulate correctly.

    My thoughts are this:

    14 bonus videos to get 2 parts is annoying for those of us who don't watch many videos. Twice in a week (which is all I've played on a server with the Pollux) I had to get to 28 to get the 2 updates. Also, although I doubt the cost in resources or net bandwidth is that high per video, not everyone has unmetered or unlimited data.

    It's now day 7 of week 1, and I got both upgrades every day. After which the Pollux is a pretty mediocre engine for era 1. It's not as good after all available upgrades as the Red Kite, for example. It's not even as good as the Donkey or Falcon. If this is the way it's going, I think it should get 3 upgrades a day, not 2. With another 7 upgrades, it would be comparable in performance to the better era 1 locos by the end of era 1, provided you got all the upgrades.


    I'm also not a big fan of the random way it upgrades. It'd be nice to be able to choose what to upgrade, as with the regular bonus engine.

    All in all, not a bad idea but spoiled by unnecessary penny-pinching feel. It costs you nothing (and for all I know, actually makes you money from ads watched) so why not make the Pollux good rather than just-about-average? The way it is, I'm not surprised to hear it being called Bollux already :D

    We could use an option, when doing purchases or upgrades for which there are vouchers, to use the voucher or not.

    Examples:

    * We could buy low-tier engines for cash and save any vouchers for later tiers that cost more.
    * We could elect to pay cash for association donations, and save vouchers for later.
    * We could speed up a building upgrade which has only half an hour to go, using gold, and save instant upgrade vouchers for later.
    * We could make small investments in industries for cash, and save vouchers for larger investments.


    Since you can't directly buy the vouchers, I can't see that Travian lose out significantly. The kind of people who spend plenty of gold will continue to, and thje kind who almost or never spend gold, still won't.