The Grey Chronicles


Internet Dogs

Travian SnapshotIn March, after my sister invited me to join Facebook, several of my Facebook friends wanted me to join Travian, a browser game featuring a world with thousands of other real players. I have already written here about my virtual addiction to any semblance of the Civilization game, much popular in the early 1990s, thus I signed up for Travian on a Philippine server after two weeks of the invite.

I’ve chosen a village name, much closer to my heart, a local word in the dialect which meant The Best. There are three tribes to choose Travian: Romans, Gauls and Teutons. I chose Romans, believing the Travian-hype that “For beginners and those players, who don’t know exactly what they want to play, the Romans are the ideal choice.” Or maybe, just because I really loved movies on the Roman Empire, I opted to play Roman to get the feel of their virtual power.

With the plant on shutdown, and more often than not, I was only scheduled three days for every 15 days, I was able to enjoy building the village’s storage buildings, military infrastructures and secondary industries; exchanging resources at a virtual market place, interacting with other players, or planning my strategy for strength. In Travian, every player in the game milieu is a virtual enemy, neighbors and all, even between those who have recently exchanged resources of wood, clay, iron, or crop.

In the beginning, there was a semblance of peace among the villages. I poured my attention to reading everything in the Help files, including tips from other players published on the Forum on what to build and what strategies were appropriate for defense or, wishful thinking, offense. My nearest neighbor, a Teuton, already had a population of 100, while my own village was still with less than 10. I prepared to met his offensive.

On 11 May, my Teutonic neighbor launched raids to steal resources from my village. The raids were so successful, because not being serious with the game, I only played it once every other day or when I was not on duty. I still have to do my job and playing the game inside the plant was a definite No-No. I pleaded with the raider that maybe he could leave me in peace as he had already benefit from the previous raids. On 08 June, after building four crannies and raised their levels to maximum, although attacks were still incessant, no resources were stolen. On 24 June, maybe irked from not getting any resource after his raids almost four times a day to my village as well as sustaining some casualties, seven waves of attacks from my Teutonic neighbor destroyed my Village’s protective Wall, and the five crop farms and the Granary. Not only my Teutonic neighbor was attacking me, but some of the same members of his Alliance also surrounded my Village and they were also attacking me.

For the whole month of July, I was busy rebuilding what was destroyed and increased the levels of the remaining buildings. I kept my silence, did not make disparaging comment or any comment at all to the attackers, justifying that it was only a game. Slowly, I was able to create some defensive troops to fend attacks now and then. My Village’s population grew to 200-plus strength while my Teutonic neighbor, already a member of a strong alliance and its members conspired to attack my Village, already built two other Villages in the same location as my Village. His third one was fast populating.

Then on 12 August, Travian announced that the Artifacts were to be released the next day, and that the Natars were coming. The Natars enslaved Gauls and Teutons long before the Romans invaded Travian. The Natars planned to enslave the free tribes—Romans, Gauls and Teutons—themselves by constructing a Wonder of the World.

In real life, I was also faced with a personal predicament brought by a series of posts I have published in «The Grey Chronicles». In my virtual life as a Roman in Travian, my powerful three-village, alliance-member Teutonic neighbor resumed his attack: military troops, rams and catapults. First, it demolished all of my Village crop-producing farms thereby starving the defense troops. Next, it destroyed the City Walls, the Granary, and Marketplace. Without the Marketplace, there was no way to exchange resources with other on-line players. To add insult to injury, it also catapulted the Main Building of my Village from Level 10 to Level 3. Without sufficient crops to replenish what was required by the Village, the buildings consumed more than what the remaining farms were producing.

I tried diplomacy, instead, hoping it would help my case and sent the following to my Teutonic neighbor, and to the founder of the Alliance, which he is member:

“Thanks for the additional pain you recently caused.

My pleasure of joining Travian was to experience something the real world has apparently denied me: interaction with intelligent, reasonable and fair human beings (Filipinos, included).

Unfortunately, with your incessant attacks on my struggling village, farming it beyond sustenance, have caused me real anxiety. Now I cannot even build anything, not even a marketplace, a warehouse or a granary.

But I believe you with a compassionate heart would be so kind enough to send me help in any kind of way, to enjoy my virtual life as I have. If anything, this is just a game, as you might have surmised, but without work in real life, Travian became my consolation aside from little enjoyment I get from interacting live with other players. I’ve met new friends, corresponded with them, and shared our virtual in-game experiences.

I have not attacked your village, neither did I personally attack your good soul, heart or person. Yet, you must really hate the fact that I am in your Travian vicinity, which by fluke brought by randomness. Do you really believe that after all the attacks you and your alliance have done, my village could retaliate in the near future? The Natars are coming, the Artifacts will be available by tomorrow.

I don’t want to believe that if my real life is caving on me, at least I can gain solace in my virtual life, but apparently you desired to end my virtual existence at Travian s2, as well.

If you could find it in your heart to stop the attacks, and at least send me a note of acknowledgment receipt of this missive, I can’t thank you enough!

Thanks for reading this far. Enjoy the Game!”

The minute I sent that plea, he already unleashed ten waves of attacks with catapults and rams which destroyed most of the buildings in my Village, save the Main Building, the Warehouse and Rally Point. All other buildings: the Brick House, the Armoury, the Heroes Mansion, the Palace, the Academy, and the Workshop, the Stable, including one of the Crannies were all destroyed. Then he claimed that he already sent his troops and could not recall them back.

Although his Alliance tried hard to let me recover some of the damage done, after their founder pleaded with her members to help, the damage was too extensive that the Village is still on the negative crop production. One of the Alliance member also suggested that I apply for one of their Alliance teams, but I did not received any invitation from them. Probably, the Alliance were now to busy fighting off the Natars and building their own Wonders of the World. My Teutonic neighbor promised to send back much needed resources, crops, so that I could get back at my feet in the virtual world of Travian, but unfortunately, he did not.

Is this particular case the realization of a New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner, on 05 July 1993, wherein two dogs talking to each other, one said: On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog? I hope not, I still believe that people on-line are still the same people off-line. Am I wrong?


Image snapped from Travian; reformatted or re-sized for space considerations.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts on this site do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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