Game Community Management Review Case Study: Travian MMO Imagine receiving 100,000 emails a day from people impatiently asking you to resolve all of their problems. Sounds like that scene from Bruce Almighty? Well this may also be the case at Travian Games HQ, Munich, where the hugely successful online game, Travian, is managed by a vast multilingual support team. At MO Group International we’re always pleased to support game companies who understand the importance of multilingual community management; and unlike rookie Bruce, we think Team Travian have what it takes.
Travian celebrated its ninth birthday. This is a huge achievement given the recent slump in popularity of MMO games in recent years. In its first two years, Travian won the Superbrowsergame Award twice, and took the Prize for Innovation in Browsergames. For those who thought the game was a flash in the pan, well… Travian won Browsergame of the Year in 2011 too. Travian’s continued success is undoubtedly the work of over 750 members of support staff who work globally around the clock to give advice to players and to guide the game through updates and software sieges to a well-earned victory. ORIGINS Although Travian began in the German language, it’s reach has spread incredibly, with many of its forums (for example Russia’s) having grown larger, in terms of posts and threads.
Travian 4 is now upon us, in 42 different languages reaching over 5 million players. Travian say their focus is on ‘creating and supporting the use of high quality browser games’, which is great news to players who have often been frustrated with companies only offering the more creative side of the bargain. Start thinking about the number of players and languages on Travian’s Forum and you’ll end up feeling like Bruce Almighty. Travian Games could have given the guy a hand – after all, they have developed their own ticketing system to quickly assign the right support officer to each gamer. This depends on their game experience, area of expertise and, of course, where they fit into the melee of languages and locations. Forum Leader ‘Tom’ is shown as being as far flung as the moon no less. Impressive stuff.
Over 200 Travian Forum Moderators and over 550 volunteer supporters receive training in providing answers to query charged players. Moderators concern themselves with instructions, guidelines, special announcements, and glitches, while supporters are at hand for in-game advice, training alliances, and tips and tricks. It’s a huge team, larger than many community management teams from game companies populating the ‘Top Grossing’ list.
SPEED, SPEED, IS WHAT I NEED… Ever been stuck in a queue, waiting for an answer while the cashier chats away to their colleague, or waiting for a reply regarding the faulty toaster you just bought? Annoying isn’t it!? This is another area in which Travian shines. Speed. The speed at which players get personal answers from Travian, whether they hit a bump, want to know more, or just feel a little lost. Short questions devoid of details, such as “I have a question” or “I think there might be a problem…” are not ignored in any language. Their support staff have revealed that 96% of requests are responded to within 24 hours. Pfff, big boast there… is this for real? With a little help from our in-house translation teams, we thought we’d put their claims to the test! Our multi-linguists here at MO Group International, sent a few short messages unbeknownst to Travian, and all received answers (in several languages) in under 6 hours. Phew… That’s pretty spiffing for a game in 42 languages with hundreds of thousands of players every day. What about the Forum? Neglected right? Nope. Forum responses are equally speedy, with Community Leaders solving problems before more than a few players can type a ”Me too!” in the ‘Having this problem?’ box. The more their online community can identify annoyances, confusions, and glitches, the more equipped the team is to ease these problems, and Travian becomes better for everyone – they haven’t forgotten this.
LET’S GET SOCIAL!
What could be more sociable than asking an experienced player to befriend you for strategic advice, only to betray him later in battle and steal his artifacts? In-game players can use the IRC to discuss the game as it unfolds, offering the opportunity to make or break alliances, as well as new players getting the simple starter help they sometimes need. Getting off to a good start and getting hooked are most definitely linked, and although the start-up tutorial within the game is fairly basic, help is always at hand in the right language. Twitter has several accounts catering to the linguistic needs of the most popular languages of Travianites, and individual Tweeters even receive special Tweets or mentions to congratulate them or offer advice! Forums offer players the opportunity to suggest developments for the game, which vary from seasonal weather changes, to Travian Gold loans. Since the content on their social sites is genuinely engrossing, even for a newbie player, their ‘shares’ and RTs are high, engaging their millions of followers beyond the time spent playing the game, and in turn, encouraging more clicks on that ‘Register’ button.
How can you ensure you retain quality for all languages?
Ensuring consistent quality for all languages is a tricky task, and one that Travian have managed to do rather well. Their multilingual channels are streaming with ‘thank you, the problem is gone’, or ‘merci pour cette réponse rapide, bon week-end’ messages. Clearly the community management team are doing a good job! At MO Group International, we also follow a process for ensuring consistently high standards of content for each target language. Posts must be localized into each language, so style and tone are vitally important.
Our final verdict?
Weâ€™re most impressed by the high quality community management provided by the Travian team and their dedication to their online community. MO Group International shares this passion and enthusiasm while carrying out international community management and customer support services for clients and partners. To learn more, visit our website. To the Travian team, we salute you! Job well done!
James Norman, MO Group International