Before we begin talking about online business, here is a small insight into the game. Travian is an online browser based game that does not requires you to download anything to play it. The user base of this game is huge; they got plenty of servers for every country in addition to the international com servers. A game server holds anywhere from 20k to 50k active players. A player starts with one village, and then he has to increase the amount of villages and make troops to fight with other players.
In all fairness, the game is crazy and the players like to do anything to win. However, this game cannot be won on skill alone, it requires everything that an online business requires to succeed, like diplomacy, networking, money, skill, experience, dedication etc. in short, you can’t win, if you don’t give it everything you got.
So, here in this article, am going to compare this game to an online business.
A false sense of security – Bloggers and other online businesses starts with an excellent mindset; they start a blog, get content on it, and expect the traffic and links to follow. Very soon they figure out that this is not how it works. In the game, players get a few days of beginners protection. Once they see other players outgrow them and their beginner’s protection ends, they understand that the virtual world is not very different from the real world. You just need to compete well.
Time – Like any other business you need to give it time. There are no Sundays or national holidays and for good reasons your work does not start at 9 and ends at 5. The amazing thing about an online business is that you can work as much as you can, and the same goes with the game. No limits.
The game goes on when you sleep – I like this aspect of Travian more than anything else. There is no shutter down. The shop does not close, not even when you sleep. Just like your blog where you get visitors and comments even if you are sleeping, the game goes on even if you are away.
Networking and Diplomacy – Time to grow, but that can only happen if you are good at networking. In the game, if you are not in the good books of other big players, in a bigger and dominating alliance, a few good big friends around you, most likely at some point you will just run out of options and some huge player will consume your villages. In the same way you need A-list bloggers to recognise you, to link to you, to drop a guest post on their blog. But that is not possible without the networking skills.
Dedication – Not quit but to keep playing, to keep the game going. But how many times you have seen a blog die, yeah that can happen. We all go through the downs and that is when you need to keep resisting and keep fighting, giving up is easy. The game contains many deleted players, every server I find some players deleting.
Skill – Without skills you just can’t win. Haven’t I already said that another 50k players compete on the same server where you are playing? How can you even compete with that kind of numbers if you don’t have any skill or experience? But the good part here about blogging is that both skill and experience comes with time. You learn seo; you gain experience as you keep reading more, the more you write the better it gets.
Money – Yeah, this is the comparison I was dying to make for some time. You can play this game for free just like you can make a blogger or free hosted WordPress blog, but how far that can take you? You need more features, you need to hire copywriters, some seo services, a dedicated hosting and all this requires money. For taking your online business to the next level, you need to put funds into your business. Learn to invest into your business if you are serious about it.
Duals and sitters – If the game runs in your night time then you should have a sitter or a co-player that is from different time zone and who can look after your game while you are away. But in reality it is much more than that, you need support in developing your account, you need to have active co-players to keep playing it along side you, to upgrade your buildings, to raid others and farm them, to defend your villages when you are sleeping. This is something that reminds me of guest posting. Also some hired copywriters can be a good fit as well. You cannot do all by yourself; you need support staff and help from your co-bloggers.
Chiefs and settlers – Now moving ahead in your game, there are always the two choices of expansion, either you settle a village or you chief, that is take by force, someone else’s village. My way is chiefing and I always end up with the most number of chiefed villages on any server that I play. When you chief other’s villages, you grow faster. Use the same idea in your online business, buy a semi developed blog rather than starting one from scratch. Buy a small business rather than starting one yourself. This also saves you from getting into that Google sandbox thing as well.
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The rebuild – the game of Travian if a war game, so naturally there are losses and you rebuild after a battle is over. In the same way you might find yourself in a messy condition while blogging, like getting crashed and server overload, messed up database or worse, hacked. Perhaps a Google penalty or broken by some other way that could harm your online business. And if that happen you should do what everyone else does. You rebuild it. Check for any backup you have, chances are that your hosting provider might have a backup. Or else try Google cache, even archieves.org if it is really an old page that you have lost. You need to either rebuild your blog or if the content pages that you lost were not of much value, just redirect them to something similar.
The barriers – CP, it is the ultimate limiter of the game. The more culture points you have the more villages you can make. There are two ways of getting culture points, give parties in your townhall or build passive culture points from the buildings. Some of the high culture point buildings are the townhall, embassy and the palace. While you can only have one palace, you can have as many embassy and townhall as you want, I usually make one in every village that I got. Find what is limiting you in your online business. Is it money, time, something else that you do or you just don’t know yet? See how you can remove your limitations; like I dropped my collage, you too can drop something that’s stopping you, holding you back.
Helping others is helping yourself – the game requires you to help others in need, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from players with whom you got a good contact. Like players of your alliance. The same goes on in the blogosphere, you comment and they reply back, you tweet and Facebook share and the other blogger respond back with a tweet. Help others and you will see some help coming your way.
Giving everything to win – Coming to the closing, the game terms it as “Endgame”, you need to make a Meta alliance, and then capture a village of the “Natars” where you can construct the WW (World Wonder) building. Take it to level 100 and who ever does it first, would win the game and the server restarts. And you start fresh in a new server. A game server lasts about ten months on a normal server and 4 months on a speed server. While you are blogging, nothing really ends and everything is a process and not an activity. It all adds up. But as far as making it big is concerned, you really need to give it everything that you have. If you see your blog is going good, it has huge potential, and then perhaps it is time to put all your efforts in it to make it huge. To name a few – land a guest post on an A-list blog, get a few links from such blogs in any way you can. Get good with social media like hit Digg’s front page for example.
I play Travian to release my tensions that the online business gives me from time to time
Say when I finish writing a post, I go on to travian and play it for an hour or two. And when I feel fresh again I return back to write another article. Good to supplement your work with fun, that way you can do more work in a lot fresher mood. So what works for you? Let us know your feedback.
PS. Giving out a small mention to Chris Guillebeau, the author of “The Tower”. This manifesto of Chris Guillebeau also talks about such an online game and how playing it gave him a constant feeling of development and growth. This is the same feeling of constructive and progressive work that I get, when I blog.