By Gamer_152 14 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.