Tales of an MMO: Tibia- Part 2

This is a continuation of Tales of an MMO: Tibia- Part 1 and is about my experience with my first MMO. Reading part 1 is not essential for understanding this blog but may help add some context.

NPCs, Spells and Houses

Interacting with the NPCs in Tibia was a rather unique experience. In a style that was archaic even considering when Tibia was created, you’d actually have to type out series of commands like an old text adventure game. “Hi”, “Sell 5 maces”, “Yes”, “Bye”. As only one player was able to talk to an NPC at a time people could sometimes be seen queuing up in shops impatiently telling the person in front of them to hurry up. A long time later the game was patched to make it more menu-based and so that players could each have their own private chat with an NPC. This admittedly got rid of a couple of fairly big problems, but I still preferred seeing people happily selling off their loot to talkative blacksmiths. In fact even the spells required you to speak an incantation, fortunately you could map dialogue to hotkeys to perform them quickly, but actually having to have your character speak the spell out loud was another little part of what made that game very individual.

Some houses in the current version.

The majority of buildings in the games weren’t shops though and to this day the feature I saw in Tibia that I’d most like to see elsewhere is that every building in that world had an interior and that almost every one of the rooms within was in some fashion functioning or accessible. You had buildings which offered goods and services, you had buildings which existed to create a better sense of a real world like the castle or beer hall, but all the houses in the game were actually someone’s house. Bidding for houses was fierce and rightly so, it was the opportunity to literally own a little portion of the world. Much to my disappointment though, people usually never decorated their houses, at least not in the traditional sense of decorating. For most people they functioned primarily as galleries to show off their most prized items and so houses were almost all a mess of valuable trinkets and rare armour scattered across every spare floor tile of the house.

The Community

While I was happy with most things in the world of Tibia and even surprised myself with how much progress I was able to make, not everything went as I would have planned it. Certainly the harshest lesson that Tibia taught me was that many people in MMOs and on the internet in general aren’t friendly and can’t be trusted. In fact one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in a game involved another player tricking a naive young me, using an exploit in the game which I didn’t know existed to steal all the equipment I’d spent hours acquiring. I learned from that mistake though, and made sure nothing like that would happen again. Eventually I got new, better armour and was amused at a lot of the subsequent downright stupid attempts that people came up with to try and trick me into giving them my hard-earned items. One particular trick that a tragic number of people succumbed to was people telling them that they possessed a hack which could clone items in their inventory and so fooled others into handing over their valuables.

An in-game cathedral.

Another of the more interesting problems that the less likeable players of the game caused was that they would surround players who were away from their keyboards with large quantities of furniture, making it impossible for them to move or push any of the furniture aside. In this position all a player could do was log out and wait for the furniture to reappear at its original position after the daily server reset. This trapping actually became such a big problem that after years of this happening, the developers patched the game so that furniture could be destroyed, leaving piles of broken wood behind. Much to my disappointment this meant that for a long while, most of the accessible buildings were no longer filled with tables, chairs and other little details which endeared me to the world to begin with, but were now littered with piles upon piles of ugly broken wood.

Sometimes it seemed as though the whole game was populated with people exactly my age only a lot angrier, but that’s the internet for you. As always there were good people among them though, I was happy to find a guild and even happier when we claimed a guild hall. I was never that deeply involved in hunting or trading with them but none the less the sense of community shone through. Another time when large groups of people seemed to be willing to co-operate were the raids, only “raid” meant something rather different in the world of Tibia than it’s come to mean in most MMOs. In most MMOs the players conduct raids against the monsters, in Tibia monsters conducted raids against us. Like destructible furniture this was one of the later features added to the game, long after my glory days with it, and raids were an uncommon occurrence, but when they happened they were a sight to behold. The cities in the game could come under attack from legions of orcs, pirates, undead or other insidious armies sweeping through the streets. It turned the idea of the cities being the safe place in the game on its head.

Change

A player massacre.

At least cities were usually safe from players on my server. I preferred to play non-PvP, but the game had PvP servers and even PvPE servers, realms where killing other players was actually encouraged. In my experience this led to many players levelling up and reaching the mainland, only to be unable to even exit the temple of the first town they entered, as they would instantly be killed on sight by much higher level players. Well, it was worth a try, right?

Changes didn’t just come in the form of new features, the game world also expanded drastically. I was always amazed with how much new content there was, even if updates only came about once every six months. The game continued expanding long after I stopped playing as well. Here’s how the world map looked when I joined, and here’s how it looks now. Unfortunately access to almost all of those continents apart from the central mainland requires a premium membership.

Paying For Content

Quite a few privileges were only reserved for premium members to begin with; the ability to buy houses, the ability to found or be vice leaders in guilds, the ability to learn the premium spells, promotion to a special second tier of their class, access to boats (the closest thing the game had to fast travel), access to the premium quests and more. Now premium accounts not only give you access to most areas of the game map but also the ability to use mounts and a special EXP bonus. It’d be easy to say perhaps the developers just became more and more focused on money-grabbing for their own profits and maybe that’s part of it, but I’m willing to bet that as more advanced WoW-like MMOs entered the market, the people behind Tibia had to put more pressure for cash on the people playing their game just to keep things running.

Duder, It’s Over

I could go on talking about the game for a while longer; describe in detail the various different cities, talk about how my guild almost disbanded, write about the simple mini-game the community created or tell you about the in-game weddings, but I think this is enough for now. Tibia represents something special for me. When I was younger and had much less experience of video games I could look at a game like it and it didn’t matter that it had all those flaws, I didn’t even see them as problems with the game. Despite the mess of grinding and clunky interaction that defined Tibia I just looked at it and saw the good in it, at its best it was something immeasurably fun for me. While I think I’m much better off with more knowledge and experience about video games there’s still a little bit of me that misses the kind of experience I had with that game. Thank you for reading.

-Gamer_152

14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Gamer_152

This is a continuation of Tales of an MMO: Tibia- Part 1 and is about my experience with my first MMO. Reading part 1 is not essential for understanding this blog but may help add some context.

NPCs, Spells and Houses

Interacting with the NPCs in Tibia was a rather unique experience. In a style that was archaic even considering when Tibia was created, you’d actually have to type out series of commands like an old text adventure game. “Hi”, “Sell 5 maces”, “Yes”, “Bye”. As only one player was able to talk to an NPC at a time people could sometimes be seen queuing up in shops impatiently telling the person in front of them to hurry up. A long time later the game was patched to make it more menu-based and so that players could each have their own private chat with an NPC. This admittedly got rid of a couple of fairly big problems, but I still preferred seeing people happily selling off their loot to talkative blacksmiths. In fact even the spells required you to speak an incantation, fortunately you could map dialogue to hotkeys to perform them quickly, but actually having to have your character speak the spell out loud was another little part of what made that game very individual.

Some houses in the current version.

The majority of buildings in the games weren’t shops though and to this day the feature I saw in Tibia that I’d most like to see elsewhere is that every building in that world had an interior and that almost every one of the rooms within was in some fashion functioning or accessible. You had buildings which offered goods and services, you had buildings which existed to create a better sense of a real world like the castle or beer hall, but all the houses in the game were actually someone’s house. Bidding for houses was fierce and rightly so, it was the opportunity to literally own a little portion of the world. Much to my disappointment though, people usually never decorated their houses, at least not in the traditional sense of decorating. For most people they functioned primarily as galleries to show off their most prized items and so houses were almost all a mess of valuable trinkets and rare armour scattered across every spare floor tile of the house.

The Community

While I was happy with most things in the world of Tibia and even surprised myself with how much progress I was able to make, not everything went as I would have planned it. Certainly the harshest lesson that Tibia taught me was that many people in MMOs and on the internet in general aren’t friendly and can’t be trusted. In fact one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in a game involved another player tricking a naive young me, using an exploit in the game which I didn’t know existed to steal all the equipment I’d spent hours acquiring. I learned from that mistake though, and made sure nothing like that would happen again. Eventually I got new, better armour and was amused at a lot of the subsequent downright stupid attempts that people came up with to try and trick me into giving them my hard-earned items. One particular trick that a tragic number of people succumbed to was people telling them that they possessed a hack which could clone items in their inventory and so fooled others into handing over their valuables.

An in-game cathedral.

Another of the more interesting problems that the less likeable players of the game caused was that they would surround players who were away from their keyboards with large quantities of furniture, making it impossible for them to move or push any of the furniture aside. In this position all a player could do was log out and wait for the furniture to reappear at its original position after the daily server reset. This trapping actually became such a big problem that after years of this happening, the developers patched the game so that furniture could be destroyed, leaving piles of broken wood behind. Much to my disappointment this meant that for a long while, most of the accessible buildings were no longer filled with tables, chairs and other little details which endeared me to the world to begin with, but were now littered with piles upon piles of ugly broken wood.

Sometimes it seemed as though the whole game was populated with people exactly my age only a lot angrier, but that’s the internet for you. As always there were good people among them though, I was happy to find a guild and even happier when we claimed a guild hall. I was never that deeply involved in hunting or trading with them but none the less the sense of community shone through. Another time when large groups of people seemed to be willing to co-operate were the raids, only “raid” meant something rather different in the world of Tibia than it’s come to mean in most MMOs. In most MMOs the players conduct raids against the monsters, in Tibia monsters conducted raids against us. Like destructible furniture this was one of the later features added to the game, long after my glory days with it, and raids were an uncommon occurrence, but when they happened they were a sight to behold. The cities in the game could come under attack from legions of orcs, pirates, undead or other insidious armies sweeping through the streets. It turned the idea of the cities being the safe place in the game on its head.

Change

A player massacre.

At least cities were usually safe from players on my server. I preferred to play non-PvP, but the game had PvP servers and even PvPE servers, realms where killing other players was actually encouraged. In my experience this led to many players levelling up and reaching the mainland, only to be unable to even exit the temple of the first town they entered, as they would instantly be killed on sight by much higher level players. Well, it was worth a try, right?

Changes didn’t just come in the form of new features, the game world also expanded drastically. I was always amazed with how much new content there was, even if updates only came about once every six months. The game continued expanding long after I stopped playing as well. Here’s how the world map looked when I joined, and here’s how it looks now. Unfortunately access to almost all of those continents apart from the central mainland requires a premium membership.

Paying For Content

Quite a few privileges were only reserved for premium members to begin with; the ability to buy houses, the ability to found or be vice leaders in guilds, the ability to learn the premium spells, promotion to a special second tier of their class, access to boats (the closest thing the game had to fast travel), access to the premium quests and more. Now premium accounts not only give you access to most areas of the game map but also the ability to use mounts and a special EXP bonus. It’d be easy to say perhaps the developers just became more and more focused on money-grabbing for their own profits and maybe that’s part of it, but I’m willing to bet that as more advanced WoW-like MMOs entered the market, the people behind Tibia had to put more pressure for cash on the people playing their game just to keep things running.

Duder, It’s Over

I could go on talking about the game for a while longer; describe in detail the various different cities, talk about how my guild almost disbanded, write about the simple mini-game the community created or tell you about the in-game weddings, but I think this is enough for now. Tibia represents something special for me. When I was younger and had much less experience of video games I could look at a game like it and it didn’t matter that it had all those flaws, I didn’t even see them as problems with the game. Despite the mess of grinding and clunky interaction that defined Tibia I just looked at it and saw the good in it, at its best it was something immeasurably fun for me. While I think I’m much better off with more knowledge and experience about video games there’s still a little bit of me that misses the kind of experience I had with that game. Thank you for reading.

-Gamer_152

Moderator
Posted by Scooper

Love the blog. Tibia was the first MMO I've played. I used to go around my friend's house when I was like 13 and play some 7.5 all day. Now, several years later the game continued to lose my interest until I stopped playing entirely at the beginning of this year. I met some great people on there though, but for every cool guy who helps you out and is friendly there's 100 trying to scam you out of your loot or block you next to monsters hoping that you'll die. 
 
I think I go to around level 118 or something in the end on my Paladin. 
 
Tibia was an INCREDIBLE adventure when I first started playing all those years ago, unfortunantly times have moved on and this game hasn't really moved on in the right ways for me to keep playing it.

Posted by Kiro

Good read man. The link to part 1 is broken by the way.  
Tibia was my first MMO as well. I played back in high school too. mostly everyone I knew played that game, it was fun as hell. I was never any good at it though. Mostly hang around good ol' plains of havoc trying to kill giant spiders with my paladin.
In my town, tibia got real fast. It wasn't soon before people got beaten up because they did some stupid shit in game, like stealing swords and shit from other people they knew. think a few schools banned the game from being played on school computers, dunno why people could play on them in the first place though. The brother of a friend of mine became somewhat of a legend on his server for being the highest level. Christ that game was as grindy as it got. Still was fun, had a blast just trolling around rookgard blocking people in the minotaur cave. Too bad they changed so much of the gameplay to make it more people-friendly. But yeah, for better or for good, it was the people that made tibia great, not the game itself
 
SELL BEHOLDER SHIELD 20K PST

Posted by Kung_Fu_Viking

The perspective on those graphics is bizarre. I can't think of any camera angle that would produce that kind of distortion 0.o

Posted by Klaimore

Wow last time I played this was in 2003 holy crap it looks exactly the same. I do remember having a lot of fun with it though. You did a great job with the whole description of this game.

Posted by Gamer_152

@Scooper: Thank you. That's some level you got too, characters that powerful blew my mind when I first started playing. You're right about the community and the game too, for me it's now sort of stuck in a weird limbo between being charmingly nostalgic and being up to the scratch of a modern MMO.

@Kiro: Thanks. Sorry, about the link, sometimes I end up with a glitch where links seem to work fine for me but don't for others. I remember Tibia was playable on the machines at my school for a while but it ran like crap. I have to disagree with you on the community making the game though, I didn't really like the peple in general, I was there for the game.

@Kung_Fu_Viking: It's essentially using a top-down view, only the sprites are all drawn so that you only see the south and east walls of buildings.

@Klaimore: Thank you. The graphical style actually has changed quite a lot since 2003, even a lot of the basic sprites were changed out to make it look better.

Moderator
Posted by Seifos

Wow this blog brings back memories, I remember playing for 5 years... started in 2001 it was a completely different game back then, but i loved it.

I think the man reason i quite was because of the change, all the things you mention in your blog was what i loved about the game. The old stuff not the newly add content and game play changes. I'll admit i didnt really like the community, mostly because i always had someone trying to kill me. My favorite memories of the game are from the very beginning when i first played, when i was still fresh and didnt know what i was doing, but could just goof off with my friend who also played.

That was a great read, keep them coming, on a side note like you i could talk about tibia and my adventures for hours!

Posted by Gamer_152

@Seifos: Thank you and I think I feel mostly the same way about Tibia. When you say "keep them coming" do you mean my blogs in general or the blogs on Tibia? I put out blogs on a regular basis, but if it's another blog on Tibia you want I might be able to whip up another of those (no guarantees). Of course the Giant Bomb Blog Initiative is going on right now so if you think you have something interesting to write about the game, go for it.

Moderator
Posted by 4f3f4324f342

Lol Tibia was my first MMO too, it was awesome

Edited by Seifos

@Gamer_152: I wrote that comment before I saw your other blogs, I just really enjoyed reading this blog so I was hoping you would do more blogs about anything, but now i know that there plenty to read. Anyways i look forward to all the blogs you post in the future.

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

You know, for a man my age, you sure can write like a prophet.

Posted by Gamer_152

@Seifos: @Tru3_Blu3: Thanks guys.

Moderator
Posted by TEHMAXXORZ

Cool blog, bro. Tibia, from what I read, sounds like a pretty cool MMO, but it seems it's community and the game itself have not stood the test of time. Oh well, t'was a good read.

Posted by TheSeductiveMoose

hi pl?

That's pretty much my experience with Tibia.