The Travian Information Minister
Speaking to the brand marketing manager at Travian is easier said than done; he’s a busy man with a whole heap of work on his desk. All the better that we found some time to ask Martin Riedt a few questions at Gamescom. We spoke to him about the Travian: Kingdoms app, Travian: Legends and the ongoing topic of T3.6.
So, Martin, Gamescom 2015, here we are at Travian Games’ stand at Games Bavaria. Here you are, busy as ever, and you’ve still managed to give us some of your time. Thanks for that!
No problem, the pleasure is mine.
What exactly are you doing here?
I’m part of the marketing team and I’m here for Travian: Legends and Travian: Kingdoms. I’m responsible for all the marketing for both games. This year Gamescom is incredibly full and I’ve been talking to lots of partners, journalists and people who are interested in both games.
Perhaps I should explain – you’re right at the heart of what’s going on for both games. You’re something like the marketing minister for the games. You’re the guy for everything, you could say.
Right, I’m the bridge between the individual departments involved in both games. I work closely with the game director and the product manager, and gather information and ideas from marketing. I get together with everyone involved and also monitor the success of the ideas. I guess I’m the one who manages these projects concerning the game.
But your main job here at Gamescom is Travian: Kingdoms, right? With all its new features, the game is the focal point of this stand. Can you tell us any new info?
We’ve truly got some awesome new content in the pipeline. And they’re all based on how we’re now launching the Travian: Kingdoms app step by step. The iOS version made its world debut in Denmark. The Android version will also follow very soon; we’re just ironing out the last technical aspects before taking the whole thing live. The reason why we’re not yet live worldwide is simple: We want to see what all the feedback is like from the Danish players so that we can offer Travian: Kingdoms fans a smooth, impressive gaming experience. The game shouldn’t just work from a technical standpoint; it should also be a lot of fun on mobile devices.
The app has exactly the same functionality as the web browser version. It’s the same Travian experience. The menus and all those details have of course been adapted for mobile devices. Once we have the feedback from the Danes, we will gradually roll out the app worldwide.
The app has been developed by real mobile experts together with the team in Munich; the firm from Cologne is called RockAByte. Can you tell us a little bit about this collaboration?
Sure, the collaboration is going really well! The guys and gals at RockAByte have done some amazing work and have really given it their all in the last few weeks, in particular, to make sure the app can go live. The constant exchange of ideas between us is going great and is really still in full swing as we’re working on starting the app as smoothly as possible and free of any bugs. No one wants bugs or downtime; we can all do without it. And, we don’t want to inflict such inconveniences on anyone.
Have you already received your first feedback from the Danes and can you tell us about it?
Let’s begin with the really good news that we haven’t yet run into any problems. We’re still waiting for feedback from the forums and our other channels, but everything looks really positive so far.
You’ve just said something that is an integral part of Travian Games’s company culture. We listen to our players’ feedback. So, let’s move away from Travian: Kingdoms momentarily. The players love their Travian 4.4, or as it’s now known: “Travian: Legends”. Can you tell us about that? How does the future look? Travian Games has always said that Travian: Legends isn’t finished and that it will continue to be further developed!
Right, some players were really concerned that with the start of Travian: Kingdoms, we would slowly neglect Travian: Legends. But that’s not the case at all. The team in Munich are already working on features and new developments as we speak. We even seriously thought about offering a mobile version for Legends. We have to take a look at the code behind the game in that respect. This is a real monster of an issue though as Travian still contains some code from the last decade. It simply was not possible to create an app based on this version that we could be happy with.
Behind the scenes the team are, however, working hard on offering fans of Travian: Legends a fresh, new gaming experience in future. We not simply going to let that go and tell our players: “So, you should really go and play Kingdoms” (laughs).
The app is also both really complex and innovative as it enables true cross-platform gaming, if I understand correctly. That really is something amazing and not simply marketing-talk.
Absolutely, the players use the same account with the same villages, map and fellow players in the app as they do in the browser version. It’s true, I come from a marketing background, but I am no fan of such empty words and promises. You often hear claims which, ultimately, are just hot air.
With Travian: Kingdoms it’s different. You play your village at home in your web browser and then, as you commute to work, you play on your smartphone. And, it’s all seamless.
But, with all this app euphoria, I have to ask the question that’s also on the minds of our players. What’s actually going on with Travian 3.6? If you follow the forums, Facebook and Twitter, you notice the players are asking the same question. Can you tell us something about this?
These questions really do get asked often and it’s not the case that we don’t notice them or even ignore them. I, personally, also really like Travian 3.6. The version was unbelievably successful and the players really enjoyed it. At the moment, we are unable to offer a T3.6 version for technical reasons. But it’s really not the case that we’re writing off the whole issue. It’s simply not at the top of our list of priorities. The focus here is on the Travian: Kingdoms app and on the ongoing development of Travian: Legends.
So, you’re still saying “never say never”, right?
I am; that’s true for life in general (laughs).
At the moment for instance, everyone is on the go with mobile devices and plays with apps. Who says that will still be the case in five years? Maybe we’ll then be playing on our t-shirts or on a holodeck. The device changes but the game remains the same; that’s our aim.
You, yourself, are a very active Travian player. Which tribe do you play and, of course, I have to ask, how do you play?
I began with the Gauls and I’ve never changed. I’m the typical defensive player who builds up their economy and hopes no one will come and try to wipe me out. I always like to see to it that I’ve got time to gradually build my villages.
So, you prefer to simply build villages and sim?
You could say that (laughs). I have so much work to do as the brand marketing manager, I’m simply happy when I find the time to retreat to the world of Travian for a while.
What are your next plans with Travian?
For the time being I’m busy with Gamescom and the follow-up work. I’m talking to partners like TV stations, agencies and journalists, and am getting to know new people in the industry. Gamescom is kind of like a class reunion in that regard.
I have a final question that’s somewhat unusual. When you’re back at your hotel tonight and have fallen asleep, a good fairy wakes you up and whispers in your ear: “Martin, I’m going to grant you one wish. What would you like most in the world?”
That has to be the classic wish.
For good reason.
So, thanks again for your time. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Cologne and wish you every success with Travian: Legends and Travian: Kingdoms.
Thank you and all the best to the Travian players out there!