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Travian is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game played on a computer through a user’s web browser and requires no downloads or installed programs. While a graphically simple game, the possibilities inherent in the basic model of the game are virtually limitless, and the community boasts thousands of players from around the world. The general purpose of Travian is for a player to create a village and make that village prosper and grow beyond his or her original territory through expansion and combat.
While Travian is free to play, there are a number of features that can be purchased with money to make the experience faster or easier. Gold within the game can be purchased with real money and is used as currency to allow certain special features, such as the completion of tasks faster. Though gold can be earned in the game as well, it is still primarily used as a means of allowing those who enjoy the game to give money to the developers and gain something in return.
The basic format of Travian is a simulation game that allows a player to begin by choosing one of three starting cultures: the Romans, the Gauls, or the Teutons. A player chooses one of these groups, then proceeds to create a small village. Resources are gathered to provide the raw materials needed to further upgrade the starting village and construct buildings in the town. The game itself is persistent, as resources are gathered, wars fought, and invasions defended against even while a player is not actively playing the game.
Travian is built around the idea of a fairly basic simulation game that is extended into a global community. The village a player creates exists near other villages made by other players. Players from different areas can interact by sending messages and game resources, invading each other, and forming alliances for mutual protection and benefit. This allows Travian to go beyond the limits of a single-player experience and be considered an MMO.
Though the game has no definitive ending, in the sense that single-player games often do, there is a life cycle for each game world. After a certain amount of time, the game world comes to an end and anyone wishing to continue playing can do so by creating a new village in a new world. Though some supplies can be carried over, the purpose is for a player to have a fresh start and use the opportunity to avoid mistakes made before, as well as meet new players.