Travian T4 review
On 11 Feb, 2011
Pros: Appealing UI, polished gameplay, depth
Cons: May rob you of sleep
Our Rating: (5/5)
With the “just one more turn” addictiveness of Sid Meier’s outstanding Civilization games and the whimsical charm of a Warner Bros. cartoon, strategy MMO Travian T4 is a labor of love for its developers. Set in a nebulous “ancient time,” the game allows you to play as the Romans, the Gauls, or the Teutons as you try to take over the world–or at least a sizeable chunk of it.
Now in open beta, Travian 4 boasts a more polished interface than older iterations of this browser title. New features include a better messaging system, refined art, and upgraded maps. Those maps are a bone of contention for players who preferred the prettier maps in older versions, but as the chunky new 2D maps offer more interactivity, they’re a step up overall.
Getting Started in Travian 4
Your first choice in Travian is which nation you’ll represent. Romans build well, Gauls are expert at defense, and Teutons wield a mean axe in battle. All three are balanced, playable choices, so pick the folks you like the most.
Your hero, an appealingly cartoonish guy with customizable features, is the star of the new Travian. He improves your resource-gathering, leads sorties, and goes on adventures while you manage your towns. You’ll also meet an NPC advisor who leads you through your first few hours of gameplay via tasks.
Tasks vary from sending your hero on his first adventure to using the extensive in-game assistance to answer questions to learning how to send and receive messages. The tasks do a good job of teaching you how to find important game information on your own. An intuitive, attractive interface and a logical progression of tasks makes Travian 4 an approachable game for even the rankest newbie, but the bones of the game are anything but bare.
What Makes Travian so Addictive?
Don’t be fooled by its cuddly looks. Under Travian’s friendly face is the cool efficiency of a sophisticated war game. That combination of a player-friendly interface and eye-catching graphics leads you in, but the surprising depth of gameplay will keep you hooked.
Fortunately, the time you spend on Travian 4 won’t be grinding hours of micro-management. Travian’s designers had players in mind when they built this game. They clearly want players to like it, not look at it as a second job. Go ahead and check your e-mail or work on that expense report; Travian will wait for you (but invest in defense if you plan to be an occasional player).
Another element that sets Travian apart is its end game. Most browser-based RTS games overlook it, but Travian 4 has a built-in means of ending rounds and declaring winners. Rounds are long–the better part of a year–and end with the construction of a world wonder. Featuring rounds of gameplay instead of an endless sandbox mode gives Travian a sense of purpose that most browser-based games lack.
Free to Play…Really
“Free” is a dubious description for a lot of browser games. You get a taste of what a game offers, but until you spend some cash, you’re only getting a fraction of a game. Travian 4 gives you a whole game. Buying gold will speed your town’s development, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy the game, nor will it allow you to take over the world. You start off with a “plus” account so you get to try its upgraded features before you buy. Many of the upgrades are worth the price, in fact, making Travian a free-to-play game potentially worth paying for.
If you’re looking for a free-to-play RTS MMO that looks and feels like game developers loved it for its own sake instead of as a cash cow, look into Travian T4.Travian T4 review,