March 2, 2013

Tips on how to stop being a "cow" in Travian

Travian it's one of the most popular browser games in the world, I've played it myself for more than 5 years already and I know that it can really be quite addictive, I remember some of the membersof my "Guild"  and myself staying up until 4 am just waiting an attack's arrival, coordinating with 300 people to get payback from some enemy attack or going into war with the #1 guild in the server... You make friends, enemy's, ally's... and even moles! (what kind of war would be complete without some spys?)... so there's a lot to this game and there are so many ways to play it... but there are lot's of "professional" players who are very aggressive and they feast on the new-comers lack of experience on the game, effectively frustrating new-comers by "over milking the cow", meaning, they attack & steal over and over, not letting the player develop his/her village(s) to the point they decide to close the account...

I know it can be a very frustrating situation and it might seem that the only way out it's to close the account... but most of the times, there's actually a way out, and with time and planning, it can be so elegant that you may get a respectful "Nice travian" message from your aggressor.

First, let's start by pointing out the things you should NOT do:
  1. Don't talk to your attacker. I can't state this enough, don't ever send your aggressor a DM (Direct Message), this will make him notice you, and it will make it more fun or even personal for him/her, so... No Talking.
  2. Don't offer him/her a pact. Every now and then, a cow or even a heard (when a player/ally takes a whole ally as a cow) offers to pay tribute in exchange for some breath, some attackers even demand a cow or heard to pay him in return for protection from other players (and him/her), this can sometimes be used to mount a strategy, but that will most likely piss off the attackers guild and end up real bad for you, it's best to just ignore all the messages you may receive, so... No Talking!.
  3.  Do not try to defend yourself. Most people try to mount some defence, but there is no way you can build troops fast enough for this, so the few troops you manage to create will become experience for the attackers hero, and for him that's even more valuable than resources!. Even if you coordinate a defence with your ally, chances are it will only become into more EXP for his/her hero. If you are a cow, it's a fact that your ally its not a "professional" guild, and a veteran player could provoke your ally to mount a big defence, get a lot of EXP out of it, and once that single resistance it's broken, he/she's free to take you and your friends as cows, so... Do not engage in anyway.
  4. Do not try to attack!. It will be just a lot of easy EXP for your enemy, this WILL make it personal, it's almost a fact that you will get your villages wiped out or taken away, and the worst of this is that it will make the game much more fun for your attacker, so... Do not engage in anyway!.
  5. Do not use traps!. It will make him attack back with all his army or worse, simply use you to "store" his troops and pay for the cereal, while he makes uses that extra cereal to build a bigger army (and use it to take his troops back, plus some EXP), so... Do not engage in anyway!!.
  6. Do not let him find you with a full storage and not enough cranny. This is what makes someone a cow, always use all the possible resources before an attack arrives, expand your cranny and traps, accept any offer you find from the market with the left overs (even if it's a bad one), so... Don't let him/her take your resources.
Now, let's mention some of the things you should do:
  1. Build and expand your cranny space. Your cranny space should be 1/3 bigger  than your storage space to avoid being stolen. Always returning empty handed from your village it's usually the best way to make an aggressor to stop harassing you. Plus it will let you keep expanding and also let's you get ready to build your next village in a safer area. Only assign the buildings you need to get ready for making settlers, use ALL the other space to build Crannys, once you have your first on level 10, place a level 1 cranny in all the free spaces to give you a nice cranny storage boost. You can demolish a few later (if really needed), so... Fill your village with crannys.
  2. Create troops and send them away. It is important to have troops in Travian, but one thing is having and other thing is wasting... if your are being attacked by a bigger player, just send your troops to a far away village (24 hours its the best) as reinforcements, to avoid a penalty, remove your troops as soon as they arrive and always send enough food for at least 1 hour to feed the troops you sent. It's of good etiquette to send a tiny amount of resources as well. Once you have enough troops, look for your own cows (but far away), this will get a few extra resources, you don't need to send cereal or be ready to return the troops as soon as they arrive. The idea is to keep your troops travelling to avoid wasting lots of unused cereal by not having troops and also reduces the change of getting your troops killed, it can be a little bit complicated at first, but it's the safest way, so... Keep your troops on the road.
  3. Keep your main building at least on level 10. This will allow you to build faster and most important, to destroy buildings if needed, if there are catapults involved, this will be one of the first things a "professional" player will attempt to destroy, so... Keep an eye on your main building's level.
  4. Keep your storage capacity 1/3 under your cranny capacity. Do not hesitate on dropping down your warehouse and granary a few levels, you can build them back once you have enough cranny capacity, so... Don't store more than you can hide.
  5. Build crannys. Once you have a level 10 cranny, fill all the empty spaces with a level 1 cranny, if you have some un-essential building, demolish it and place a cranny instead, once you have filled all the possible spaces with a level 1 cranny, upgrade them one by one up to level 10, so... Keep empty spaces filled with crannys.
  6. Upgrade your wall. Once you are done with the crannys it's time to make your wall stronger... it's a good investment for the future since it will greatly improve your village's defence when you have enough troops (at least 200).
  7. Build everything your race needs to make spys. You will need them to detect other spys and mostly, to find potential cows for yourself.
There are some players that will not stop until they make a player close his/her account... fortunately most players are simply looking for resources so they will stop assaulting your village after a week or two without any profit.

Once you have noticed that you don't receive more attacks, it's time to prepare yourself for future "cowboys", if you are a Gaul its time to start upgrading and creating traps. You need at least 200 troops in your village to stay with relative calm. Beware that some players only want EXP for the hero, and in later stages of the server 200 troops won't stop the big ones.

Be patient, think forward, learn from your enemy and mostly, enjoy the game... if you are constantly under attack, enjoy developing your defensive strategy and pay attention to your enemy's actions, you can learn useful tricks that will help you in future servers.

Hope you find this tips useful, feel free to post your opinions and requests at the bottom of the page! If you are willing to learn new defensive strategies in Travian, feel free to contact me for instructions on how to join me in the server I'm playing at the moment. Beware that my ally "300-HLV" runs on spanish servers and its a training/full defence one that settles in a far away territory, usually around (200|200) since I only follow a the "Super Cell" strategy (wich I will describe in detail in later posts) and that we are 100% neutral, we do  not do anything outside our "territory", at the later stages of the server some players start appearing around our territory, but we work hard to keep it all clean from any intruder...
Happy Travian!

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