I just can tell you how i do it (i play on travian kingdoms and have top10 raider medals every week) (TT = Teutatic Thunder)
Im a gaul
player and currently have two villages with both about 500 EW (third village is incoming). In the beginning, when i start from 0 units im of course a bit more sensible with maý actions, but as soon as im in business
i do the following to renew and increase my farmlist:
-if you want to be a topraider its advisable to settle on a 9 or 15 crop village
to support large armounts of troops
-i use http://www.engin9tools.com/travian/search-farm
(for travian kingdoms) Other people use the farmtool from http://www.gettertools.com/
to find every village whose population did not change for a day(or two/ or three). (the evaluation of the next step strongly depents on which point of the game you are) Every village that appears on the farming tool and is below 80 POP
gets added to my Swordmen farmlist (two swords per village) without being questioned. (these villages often dont have a residence/wall but also dont give a lot of resources). Everything else new above 80 Pop gets a raid from 4 Teutates Thunders and a 1 scout scouting for defensive buidings
and imediately gets added into the TT farmlist. I dont care how big the village is
if its inactive for more than a day i give them a visit to see if it can be farmed (ONLY exception
are villages which belong to at leat halfway decent allys as they often will do something about it) You probably will be suprised but arround 90% of your attacks will return alive or at least partly alive.
1) Now kick all the red attack entrys from the list (often the scout will be red but the raid will be sucessfull as they have troop evasion and the scouts can dodge attackKEEP THEM in your farmlist
2) if more then 1 TT from your test attack died their wall/residence is too strong, kick them from the farm list.
3) If only one died you might try to figure out how many TTs you have to send to the village to keep the attack without losses. (from the scouting report or from further testattacks and the ingame combatsimualtor) I describe this in a very static way.
With some time you will get a feeling for the whole thing. In the beginning of the server be more carefull. After a few weeks you can visit nearly everything
you find on the inactive list from the mentioned websites. Many players farm and chances are high that the inactive villages already got cleared by someone other. Also if the hero if the villages owner has boots of chicken chances are high everything might dodge(have a look at the hero equipment). Of course you will have losses in your first "test" run, but they are nothing compared to the efficient raidingincome you will have after figuring out which doors are ope for you.
-You will realise that there are inactive highPOP players around you that have a very high wall/residence. They dont get farmed a lot because people are afraid to attack high pop villages AND everybody has losses from raiding because of the Wall/Residence . Either you can farm them manually (Send your hero+ big chunk of units from time to time to get big amounts of resources) Or later into the game to attack once with rams and catas to cut down the defense -> then add them to the farmlist
-If you "only want to farm" i recommend using Clubswingers , Teutates Thunders
or Equites Imeratoris
. Other units can be added into the mix, but some are really ineficient. For examle we have some swordfighters, but it is not very profitable to send them further away that 18 fields (because they run for 6 hours and eat 12 crop during that journey.(because they are sent in pairs) Often they wont even return that amount of resouces so they are technicaly decrease your income. Currently we send our TTs as far as 38 fields into the wilds and we will increase that if we have to. (of course if you are building your army to have a decent hammer, send your units as ridiculously far away as you want!) Now here some more general stuff that you might consider as a very active raider:
-Use your smartphone to raid every hou every couple of hours or so (and have at least one competent dual) Our two Farmlist (split in radius 0-30 and 30-38) use 400 TTs in one sending process. Our army is 1100 TTs big so that we oftenenough have TTs at home to fill the whole list. (dont build huge lists for a small amount of units, its better to raid more frequently than in a bigger areas). Have a COMPETENT dual
. Either ask somebody you arleady know (from a former travianworld/a current server ally) or new people (in the travian forum/ or just ask 50 decent accounts ingame if you can join them and let them know that you are very experienced) I once did this and 3 out of the 50 accounts gave me the possibility to join. I choose the one that i liked the most. (and abra cadabra after one week we were Robber NR2.) Just dont be afraid of asking people.
-Make sure that there is a good communication between you guys and that you both have the same understanding of "efficiency"
and the same aims. Its always frustrating to see a dual queue useless buidlings for several hours (when you realy need to build something crucial instead) or to see your dual sending a big part of your units into death without a particular reason (or without enought thoughts behind it).
-Use a good part of your raiding income to upgrade resouce fields
!!!! (this is very very important) I don´t care if you raid 1.000.000 res per week. If my mainvillage produces 15.000 res per hour i beat you easily without any work put in (your raidingincome is only 1.000.000/24/7 ~ 6000 res per hour with that amount of farming. Its even less because your units eat a lot of crop) Especially some Teuton Accounts have the bad habit of putting all the gained resources into new troops just because of the sake of farming. Their name often dissapears from the Top 100 after some weeks, as well built account just take over.
-Have a good alliance. Hope that you are near a competent ally, join them and probably find somebody who can support you with defense! (make friends, have some fun , get sitters and defenders you trust) They will have an eye on your account even when you are not there. The whole game gets more fun and you account gets more cometitive if you share it with other active and intelligent people.
You can also probably do it on your own, but it will cost you a lot of lonely time in front of your Computer. Of course if you are a perfectionist, you probably want everything to run as smoothly as you imagine and plan it. This is why its important to find people with the same understanding/view on the game, or people who accept and follow your planings.
-Don´t be that "i only farm"
guy. Sooner or later your ally will request you to take part in bigger wars (or you will have the idea on your own) If
its a well fought war , USE your units for fighting. For me this is the fun part and the whole point of the game. And if your army dies? Rebuild it. At this point you should have a very strong resource production and upgraded stables / baracks anyways.
Basically thats it (Sorry for the long wall of text :D). Short summary:
-Send the farmlist as often as possible
-Update your farmlist probably weekly ( be aware this can take sometimes 3 hours + of framlist building and 1 hour + on the next day for the evaluation of the farmtargets)
-Have 1-2 Duals and 1-2 Sitters. Have the understanding how to play efficiently
PS: we dont buy gold. We sell stuff to finance the farmlist and speedbuild highlevel resoucetiles :P