Posts by Salix

    I don't remember the precise average age right now, but it should be somewhere in the 40s. It also depends on the region; some countries communities are older than others.
    A random fact I remember: In some regions, about half of our players are older than 50.

    Gifting is definitely on our list of things we want to do. There are a few challenges to master to include this. Our current shop system is not really able to do this and in addition there are a lot of edge cases to consider. As so often, the devil is in the details. Things like fraud and abuse sadly need to be considered. This doesn't make it impossible of course, plenty of games have a gifting system. It's just not as easy as it might look on the surface.
    But, like I said, this is already on our own "wishlist" and we'll do our best to have this at some point in the future.

    Interesting idea.
    Right now I would be very challenging to make the various minigames playable for everyone (especially concerning polishing, since most of what he have are just prototypes), but theoretically this could be done once the development situation relaxes a bit more.
    If we ever need a platform to distribute our prototypes or side projects in a fun way, this would probably be a cool way to do so.

    There will be at least 10,000 players on each server. From all over the world!

    Is that a requirement for your idea? Because even with heavy and very expensive marketing campaigns it would be very hard to get 10.000 players on a single server; even more so if it's multiple of those servers. And even if we could do that for one server, those would just be the number of registered accounts, not active players.

    20.000 active players is sadly way beyond our possibilities (unless we would close most of the other game words of course, but nobody wants that).

    All players play on one server.

    Sadly this is another impediment. Did you play the first round of Masters? From that event we learned (the hard way) that putting 10.000 active players on one server has extremely negative effects on the performance of the game.

    A logical server can easily distribute its work to a large number of physical servers. (Physical server = powerful computer)

    The logical server of the game is a network of several physical servers.

    For the user, this is just one server. Technically, these are several servers.

    I'm afraid this is not the solution for the problem huge amounts of players are causing. We already use different physical servers for different functions of the game and are currently working to do so even more, which has lots of advantages. However there are other limitations to performance, it's not just the server. For example there is a limit how many calculations our RTS can handle. So even with virtual servers and multipe physical servers working together, there is still a limit how many players (or game actions) a gameworld can handle.

    I understand that you solve this problem by using regions/islands that are completely separate, except for being mixed in the same ranking. But if they are completely seperated, isn't that essentially the server setup we have right now? I mean, right now the different game worlds are completely separate and they come together in the global rankings in the lobby?
    Of course the league system is missing in the current setup, but apart from that, the regions you describe are essentially separate gameworlds (which are running pararelly).

    One region can be limited to 75-150-200... champions.

    How are those groups defined? Are friends seperated? If not, how do you handle friends that have vastly different skill levels? Can't they ever play together?

    he first round newbies receive a free plus account. For the whole round!

    Let me ask the annoying business question here and play Advocatus Diaboli: How can game revenue stay the same if a one of the most bought items in the game is given away for free?

    Sorry for all the annoying questions and problems, but I really like your general idea of leagues, so lets try to look for a way to solve those problems and polish this idea as much as possible.

    Well, that is one perspective. As Samiia said, the perspective of an experienced player. Also he seems to be a quite competitive player who made in the global Top 300. The same for you, Hear Me Roar, you are even in the top 20.

    So yeah, from that perspective, from the perspective of a player who seriously wants to win, being a newbie is quite difficult.
    However it's important to understand that not everyone is focused on winning. Who enters a years old complex strategy game for the very first time and seriously expects he will win or be among the best? That is quite unusual.
    We did surveys with players who left they game and while "It's too hard to win" is certainly among the reasons that players state why they quit, it's by far not the only one and definitely not the strongest one.

    I can talk a bit about my personal experience as a newbie, 2 years ago: I was a bit confused that RN happens in rounds and that all my progress is lost at the end. And I quickly noticed that RN is quite complex and takes a while to learn.
    Personally, I LOVED when I learned about the career. I didn't care that I won't win because others have better career engines (as a newbie I obviously had no idea what exactly matters to win and I didn't care), I found it really cool that there is something permanent that can I work on for ages. The thought that this is a disadvantage didn't even cross my mind.
    And I also didn't really care about associations or what people were discussing in the city forum. I knew I didn't understand the game fully yet, so I tried to learn it. Learning by doing. I didn't care about immediately doing everything right, I just wanted to get to know the game. So it didn't bother me at all that the association I ended up with was as clueless as me.

    I'm not saying everyone starts the game like I do. I just want to make clear that there are plenty of things in the game that not affect newbies as experienced palyers might expect, since newbies often have a completely different mindset and different goals.
    This might also be the reason why, contrary to what Samiia hypothesized, the "survival rate of newcomers" (i.e. retention) did actually not decrease when pre-registration or the career engine were introduced. Luckily we track this kind kind of data and can check the influence of these features.

    All that being said, I totally agree that the learning curve in RN is quite challenging and, once you have reached a certain level of knowledge and understand the basics of the game, it's quite difficult to figure out the "right" way to play and find people to play with. Personally, I don't think that disabling pre-registration would be the right choice. It has many advantages and many people like it a lot. And, as mentioned before, it did not actually influence retention negatively, so turning it off would not actually help.

    What would you think about more newbie slots in associations? Would that help?

    I agree, the tangent discussion between web and app is indeed pointless.

    But the thread is to discuss changes to the videos. And my #1 suggestion to improve this is to add a 5 second skip to the backup Travian game videos, which are too long, which bore everyone to death, which only send players to other Travian games and away from RN, and which provide 0 revenue for Travian anyway.

    This suggestion still stands and is a good idea imo.

    I can not really judge this suggestion, since I'm not an expert on the topic. And that topic is cross promotion. While I totally get that seeing a Travian Kingdoms video for the 10.000st time does not really convince me to play that game, those videos still exist for a reason and that reason is that some players DO start playing those other games.
    And you are not entirely correct when you say that there is 0 revenue for Travian in this. First of all it's possible that a player spends money in both games. And secondly, simply having people play (or being aware of) multiple games within the Travian family is beneficial. If a player gets bored with one game, he might switch to another Travian game instead of going elsewhere.

    So there is some benefit in this, even if it's not direct revenue.

    All that being said, like I said, I'm not an expert on this, so I don't know how big those effects are, especially for older games.

    What I CAN tell you however, is, that this situation will most likely improve in the future and fallback videos will be less common. Why? Because it has never been as bad as right now and there is a very specific and (hopefully) temporary reason for that: Covid-19.
    Many companies have stopped their marketing campaigns since the Covid-19 outbreak, resulting in a way lower amount of videos we can distribute.
    Additionally we want to make those videos a bit less annoying by adding more videos. For example we recently added the American Dream video. And right now (or soon, not 100% sure when this starts) we also show videos by the World Health Organisation. Those are technically not fallback videos but a normal advertising campaing, with the one major difference that we are not getting paid for this.

    Letting players skip fallback videos after 5 seconds is sadly not a good option, since this could be used for an exploit.


    What is your personal opinion on this proposal?

    Personally I wouldn't touch the stars in any way.

    s revenue generated for Travian by playing the ad, or players clicking on the ad and going to their site/download?

    Kind of a combination. Technically the revenue is generated by simply playing the ad. However, the amount of revenue strongly depends on the "quality" of the person (or playerbase) watching it. So, for example, if Company ABC notices that RN players never actually click on ads (or even buy something), they won't pay much for this or stop their campaign very quickly.
    So, in a way, the revenue is generated by the combination of amount of views and "quality" of the views, with quality being a summary of everything that makes it useful for the advertiser to pay for the ad.
    And even that is just an oversimplification. It's complicated.

    First fix this problem and than start thinking about changes.

    Different people work on different things. Trust me, you do NOT want me to focus on fixing bugs. Just because other people are focused on bugs and HTML5 this does not mean that I can't work on other fronts at the same time, especially given the fact that I can not help at all with the other topics (since i'm not a developer).

    Video is one of the best ways to finance a game.

    That is actually not true, sadly. I wish it were. Videos are a nice addition to help finance a game. Only hypercasual mobile games with millions of installs can rely on videos as main revenue source.
    I appreciate your effort to help us out, but increasing video views massively compared to the current numbers is sadly not a viable way to finance the game. Especially right now, the global Covid-19 crisis actually has a massive impact on the amount of ad videos we can even offer, due to the fact that companies stop their marketing campaigns (or simply can't afford them anymore). This puts a natural limit to how useful it is if more video are watched.

    The only thing what should be changed is the returning of the garuanteed second vid for the plus accounts.

    That is your personal oppinion. Others have other interests in videos, please respect that.

    If your interest is limited to fixing the second video bug, I have good news for you, because that is definitely something we are going to fix.

    Clearly however, the payment for videos is not based on the volume of views of the adverts or the company would not have wished to reduce the number of views we make of these.

    Just a small correction: We do not WISH to reduce the amount of views. What I said is that it's not overly important, so it would be more accurate that a reduction of views (to some extent and depending on the circumstances) is ACCEPTABLE.

    could you possibly share the range of ways that companies could gain income from advertising

    I had to smile a bit when I read this, due to conversation I had with a colleague who essentially said that all of our problems would be solved if video ads just generated more money or if there would simply be a better way. Sadly there isn't really. Videos are already what generally creates the biggest income overall among all these "free" methods. There are other ways like surveys that theoretically generate more income per participation, but a lot less people are willing to do so. If you remember, we already had this in the shop until just a few months ago. We stopped doing this because it was unreliable, almost no one was willing to use it and some of the offers there where what I would call "shady".
    So, long story short: No. Realistically, there is no better way than videos, as far as I am aware and videos have become the industry standard for ad monetisation.

    Is there another way?

    Yes, direct purchases. Those and avertisement are essentially the two revenue pillars for all free2play games. And revenue is simply a requirement for a game that wants to continue to exist. I know, from a pure gameplay perspective, neither videos nor direct purchases sound attractive or important. But running a game requires money, no matter if we like it or not and that money needs to be generated in some way, otherwise the game (and the livelihood of everyone working on it) is gone. That's what videos and purchases are for. They do not exist for the gameplay or to help manage trains. They exist to make sure the game can exist.

    My suggestion is that there are levels of chance and rewards depending on the number of bonuses received (video watched)

    I know. But even with these levels, the chance to get a lottery ticket for someone who watches only 10 videos per day increases by factor of 30 (given that the chance was 1% before).
    And since the vast majority of players watches 50 videos or less per day, this means that for almost all players the amount of lottery tickets they receive increases massively, just caused by the first level of your reward ladder.

    I want to offer a NEW special bonus locomotive.

    Which only improves with daily video watching.

    For the first 20 videos you get this locomotive.

    You can improve it every day by watching 20 more videos.

    Yeah, something like that. Personally I had "upgrads per era" in mind instead of "upgrades per day" in order to give players more freedom about when to watch the videos. Not everyone is as hardcore as you are ;)

    please no clothing or production series vouchers, they are pretty worthless

    Basically what you wrote here describes a (separate) problem we have with production series: They are worthless. Or rather: They are considered worthless. That is no suprise, because we give them away like candy. To be quite honest: We were being wasteful here in the past. Production series are A LOT of effort and a lot attention for detail goes into them... and we treat them like they are worth nothing, mostly giving them away for free (and not even in an exciting way).
    That is something we will change in the near future. So I can assure you that spamming video rewards with production series is definitely not our plan.
    I can imagine putting a super exclusive production series into the video rewards with an extremely tiny chance, more like a gimmick for train fans. But I can't imagine to consistently use production series as some sort of "fake prize" or "worthless reward", because that's a perception of production series we would like to change.

    I suggest a higher priority for a free ticket.

    For example, 30% chance of a free ticket for the first 10 videos.

    That would be an increase by a factor of 30. That is HUGE! Keep in mind that "only" 10 videos might be a tiny number for you (as one of the most active video viewers), but the fast majority of players watches just a handful of videos per day. So, essentially, almost all players (except the tiny percentage of extreme viewers) would get 30 times as many free tickets as before. That is MASSIVE!
    This is one of the main reasons why I am looking for rewards that are not part of the lottery (which of course also includes lottery tickets). If we stick to rewards that are part of the lottery, we have a very very low limit of how much we can give out. Exclusive rewards provide us with a bit more freedom.

    What will motivate you to watch 10 videos a day?

    Not sure. I usually like long term rewards on a "meta level" much more, so in RN that would be the career engine. However I don't think that would be a good idea. And, like everyone else, I like bonus engines, so that would feel great for me too. There are a few issues with that idea (more on the technical side), but from my personal ideas, it's my favourite so far (judgement based on how much I would be motivated by such a reward).

    Some nice ideas in here, thank you :)

    Heyho. I asked our artist if they can create a little graphic fitting to this story, inspired by this part of your story:

    "We discuss our experiences, we look at the photos which I send to William over the Internet"

    Our artists were very busy recently, so it's only a sketch, but I hope you like it anyway: