Thank you for joining our live Spartan AMA chat on Wednesday 24th of August. And thank you to Jake, Laure, and Ameno for helping us cover all these questions!
If you happened to miss the original Ask Me Anything live chat, we gathered all the best and most popular questions for you below. Please enjoy reading through them as you prepare for the Travian: Glory of Sparta experience!
Q: How did you come to select Spartans as the new Tribe?
A: We had chosen a few potential tribes which fit the Travian: Legends setting, considered the historical timeline and the gameworld location of our Annual Special. Then we discussed heavily which tribe would best fit our game. Also, a huge argument was the massive Pop Culture built around Spartans we all are familiar with – that should spark the interest of existing, returning, and completely new players.
Q: How did you design the main advantages and disadvantages for the Spartans?
A: We took a close look at the current tribes, their advantages and disadvantages and checked where the blind spots are. Blind spots like mechanics which aren’t used in “the Spartan way” yet, or are working oppositely from the Spartans. Let’s use the Slave Militia as an example; they have a low combat value for their crop consumption, and the Spartans are now on the opposing side of that. We also took a close look at how the Spartans are represented in Media and Pop Culture and looked for overlaps with above mentioned blind spots. With that in mind, we went on with the balancing of units which would form most of the advantages and disadvantages.
Q: How long was the process of creating the Spartan tribe? From the idea to every troop and building being finished?
A: This is a very fluid process. We were already talking about adding a tribe last year and also evaluated other potential tribes. From the decision of “It will be Spartans” to the release in September, easily seven months had passed.
Q: What’s the starting point for creating a new tribe? Is it just something new to give players, or was there a lack of gameplay between tribes that gave a chance to build a new tribe?
A: Given that the three original tribes and the two additional tribes add a lot of gameplay, and most of the gameplay comes through player interaction – we’re an MMO for a reason – the main motivation for a sixth tribe was to give something new to players who’ve already experienced most of what Travian: Legends has to offer. We however also did not want it to be too difficult for new players, so that’s why Spartans are an easy to play but difficult to master type of tribe.
Q: How much did the historic Spartan city-state influence the new Spartan tribe in Travian: Legends?
A: A lot – but of course, we cannot name historical sources for every design decision made since we are not professional historians.
Q: What is the winning condition in Glory of Sparta?
A: The alliance which has the most Victory Points at the end of the server wins! Our blog is filled with fresh articles where you can find more details about this year’s Annual Special: https://blog.travian.com/category/annual-special/
Q: Is the Spartan tribe more for off or deff players?
A: That’s a tough question, as the Spartans have intricate tools for both roles. We think that those who master the Spartans have the potential to form their armies into both roles.
Q: How much internal testing did you do before launching the closed beta GoS?
A: We only have a dull answer for you, and that’s “a lot…” The whole process took months, and our team spent a lot of time testing each new mechanic and change to the game. The closed beta is meant for us to test on a larger scale with many players. We still expect some issues to appear, and our goal is to then fix those issues before September.
Q: Will you be introducing more tribes after the Spartans?
A: We are currently focusing on the Spartans and how they impact all other tribes and the gameplay overall. We are not planning for other tribes to be added at the moment.
Q: Will you keep starting gameworlds with three tribes?
A: There is no intention to remove three tribes’ gameworlds in our Wonder of the World setup. A part of our community enjoys those traditional gameworlds, and we wish to satisfy as many players as possible.
Q: Which tribe has been the most fun to develop? And why is that?
A: Well, you could say developing a tribe is more work than fun, but the fun is tough to measure when it comes to designing games. Especially when comparing designing the two tribes for Fire and Sand versus only one tribe, like right now. We had different people involved and different constraints set, so it’s tough to say which tribe was the most fun to work with. If you really want one answer for this, our Game Designer Jake would go with Spartans, just because they are new, they are happening now, and it has been a fun process to develop them.
Q: How did you decide to start so many GoS servers? Aren’t you afraid it will affect how competitive the gameplay will be?
A: Our goal is to provide a wide range of experiences for players to choose from. There will be some servers that are more competitive than others. But the choice of competition and speed is yours.
Q: How do you select the different speeds for Annual Special gameworlds? 5x was a popular choice in the second round of ToC, but that’s not available for GoS?
A: We generally reserve faster speeds for the Spring round of the Annual Special. Based on data from the Tides of Conquest September round, we made a selection of what would make the most sense to start in September for the community.
Q: Did you discuss giving the Spartans a unique tribe ability like the Romans’ double build or Gaul’s double cranny size?
A: This is a tough one to answer. We certainly discussed several options but came to the conclusion that for the current status, the combination of unit balancing and the Asclepeion give them a unique touch. We also wanted to keep the option open to adding something to the Spartans in case they need further adjustments in the future.
Q: Are you going to change the attributes of the Spartan units in the future if necessary, as you did with the Marksman and Steppe Rider?
A: Yes, of course. We will keep our ears on the ground and track the in-game numbers. In other words, while we have our internal processes for balancing, we also use the player community and your feedback to focus where needed.
Q: Why did you decide to reward the glorious medal only to GoS winners and not reward for participating in the Beta round?
A: The medal is meant to reward the winning alliance in a competitive environment. With the beta being closed this year and a way for players to test the first few days of the server, or the Spartans specifically, we expect many players to delete and start playing again in September. Therefore we felt it wouldn’t make much sense to offer the glorious medal on the beta server.
Q: Will the Spartans be constructing a World Wonder in the future?
A: We cannot yet tell you when this might be happening, but our team is confident there will be a Spartan World Wonder eventually. We already saw a few early sketches how the WW might look like.
Q: What are your favorite units in terms of art?
A: Laure: ‘Mine is the Elpida Rider.’
A: Rowena: ‘I love the Twinsteel Therions, mainly because the name sounds soooo cool.’
Q: Can you explain the new map changes and how they should improve the game?
A: We really enjoy the map changes. Firstly, because if we hadn’t changed the map, then the strategies wouldn’t change. It’s part of the fun to come up with new strategies and what is the best way to achieve your goal (winning, getting a unique power, or getting a few small ancient powers you need as quickly as possible). Secondly, a part of the community felt like the last map was not balanced. We tried our best to balance the positions of the most important powers to conquer. We really can’t wait to see the strategies you will come up with.
Q: I don’t understand why the storage artefacts are so unevenly distributed
SE has x3 large storage + x2 small storage
SW has x1 large storage + x2 small storage
NW has x2 small storage NE has 0.
Not a single storage artefact
Then there is a massively disproportionate amount of VP in the SE vs. other quads:
NW 15000 VP
SW 24000 VP
NE 18000 VP
SE 33000 VP
Give or take a few VP
SE has x4 VP only regions amounting to 10K VP alone Sparta as 4K region I get as it’s GoS server, but why is this region so unbalanced with everything else?
A: The nature of the map makes it so that some quarters have more regions than others due to, for example, the mediterranean sea or the size of the regions. Having a 100% balanced map in each quarter is a rather impossible task.
However, we tried to place important ancient powers first, like the boots and the uniques, and then made sure there were strong clusters of powers to start with. None of the clusters should have everything in reach, some are more challenging than others. In addition to this, despite decentralized spawning, organized alliances are not exactly bound by spawn territory and can choose where they would like to hold their battles. Even though the map is shown as flat, it’s not. So, in fact, Thebes, for example, is a neighboring region to Hyperborea, as well as Ulpiana, which is just a little bit below the (x;0) coordinates. It makes those two regions perfectly within reach from the North East. Regarding the Victory Points, the South East has a lot of very small regions, which then increases the victory points. Even though the initial gain of VPs is important, it’s equally important to hold your villages until the end. We wanted to make Sparta a special region worth fighting for throughout the whole round, and we are sure we’ll see lots of brilliant strategies on the upcoming gameworlds.
Q: When developing or balancing a tribe, do you use some sort of internal tools that calculate overall troop power per given time to compare against other tribes?
A: Game Design calculates a lot of information, for example, overall troop power in a given training time, and all of this is compared to other tribes. Our goal is to keep the same balance as we do with other tribes while keeping the specificity of the new tribe.
Q: Are there any plans to update current tribes to have more individuality?
A: This is often discussed. Tribe balancing is a very complex topic. We do want to keep the individuality of our tribes. It’s too early to say no to a new or upgraded special building if the tribe needs it, but finding the perfect improvement is not always the easiest, as the ambassadors can tell you.
Q: Do you have plans to revisit old tribes and consider either buff or nerfs to them for balance reasons or fresh experiences?
A: Balancing is a complex topic. We don’t intend on doing strong balancing changes. We prefer to change things little by little, as we did at the beginning of the year. We’re not against needed changes, though. We did consider other tribes. We will probably consider other tribes when we feel the need to implement a new tribe in the game.
Q: To many of us, Spartans as a tribe seemed a little underwhelming in several areas. What is the intent of the design behind the Spartans’ role in Travian?
A: When thinking of a new tribe, we want to add new experiences and new gameplay options to the game. In this case, the Game Designer had in mind a tribe with a longer training time, slower to train but stronger than what we had in other tribes. This is why the Asclepeion allows you to recover faster, as the training time is long.
Q: Will Romans be buffed? currently, they are the worst of all tribes; horses’ crop consumption is insane for the resources and time needed to consume.
A: That is a good question. Many players are asking for us to look at the Romans compared to the Spartans. We’ll need to get the data of the Spartans first to see how strong they really are.
Q: Why did you create the 6th tribe with a non-viable hammer?
A: We aren’t sure if one could call the Spartan hammer not viable. It’s a mid-game, end-game tribe that can be strong if built for a longer period of time. But let us see how players use it in-game. We are really looking forward to it!
Q: Even if Spartans are good defensively, they are passive with their attacks, especially when raiding. Will there be a fix for them?
A: It’s easy to see where you are coming from. We need to first see what happens in-game, and how players are using the tribe in defense and in offense. If the offense is weaker, then we can perhaps adjust things by the next Glory of Sparta – Spring round. Perhaps we’ll even try them out on a Wonder of the World server.
Q: Why did you give the Sentinel 22 cavalry defense? It’s the only unit in the game with a combat strength that isn’t a multiple of 5.
A: While it’s important to keep the old core of the game intact during balancing, some things aren’t written in stone and shouldn’t limit finding the best balance in the units. The Sentinel breaks a few of those old rules, also to extend the variety between the tribes in the best way possible.
Q: All other cavalry units meant for offense are trained at Academy level 15, but the Corinthians need only Academy level 5. Why is that?
A: Spartans have the issue of slow training, so the end-game units are available earlier for them. Also, if it would be a big advantage for Spartans, this can always be nerfed, just like it was done a while ago with Reshef Chariots.
Q: Is there any plan to change Gauls’ special building? Trapper is not useful compared to all other tribes’ special buildings.
A: As of now, there are no such plans. But it was often discussed with ambassadors in the past, and it is still a topic as to find what would be the best balancing change to make the Gauls interesting again.
Q: Considering the details of the soldiers of the Spartan tribe and the cost of training them, what method do you recommend to start the game? All their superiority is mid/late game.
A: We recommend starting it the same way as Gauls or Romans, with the exception of maybe building Asclepeion lvl 1 instead of one of the crannies for generating passive Culture Points.
Q: After taking over the second village, what kind of troops do you suggest training?
A: Depends on what your next plans are. If you go defensive, then shieldsmen + Elpida Riders. If you plan to go offensive Spartan, then maybe Therions at first and then as usual?
We hope these answers got you interested in experiencing the Travian: Glory of Sparta this September!
For more information about our Annual Special this year, please have a look at a full list describing the differences between regular gameworlds and Travian: Glory of Sparta.
And if you have more questions about playing with the Spartans, please join our Discord community, where the other players and our team will help you find answers.
Thank you again for joining the Spartan Ask Me Anything!
Your Travian: Legends Team