Tibia (video game)
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Tibia is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by CipSoft. It is one of the oldest MMORPGs and was considered most noteworthy in its early years; however, with the development of MMORPGs, its popularity has grown much slower than other MMORPGs. It was first released in January 1997. It is a free game which is open to the public, though players have the option to pay a fee in order to upgrade to a premium account, granting special in-game benefits, including additional areas to explore, access to vocation promotions, and extra spells.
In the early years of the game, CipSoft held player statistics — including the number of registered players — but these were removed for performance reasons when the game grew. Because of this, the number of players cannot be accurately estimated, however, the player count totaled over 64,000 online on November 28, 2007. Comparatively, as of December 1, 2010, the number of players online never totaled over 50,000.
There are currently 77 game servers, 38 in London, and 39 in the United States. Each server can actively hold 1,000 players; which is now only seen as being nearly reached on the "Optional PvP" worlds, such as "Unitera", "Pacera", "Calmera", "Astera", among others. CipSoft reported there are currently about 1.3 million registered accounts. According to polls conducted by CipSoft, their customers come from a wide range of countries. The top three countries within the poll are Brazil making up 26.56% of the players, Poland with 24.38%, and Sweden with 8.65%, representing their share of the aforementioned 1.4 million registered accounts.
During the early 2000s, many players from smaller towns in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as across Europe, played this game because bandwidth requirements were lower than many other games, whilst still having reliable servers and many admins patrolling. Since then, as faster and larger internet connections have become far more widespread, the game has not attracted newer players, though a large number of the playerbase have been playing Tibia for some time. Over the last few years, the game has been updated to counter that by reducing penalties for death and making quests and gameplay generally easier, bringing the game more in-line with standard MMORPGs. Unfortunately, this has had limited success bringing in newer players and has driven a lot of the older players away from the game.
In 2005, a Tibia update added a door that requires a player to reach level 999 before it opens. The level 999 door remained a mystery until the middle of 2016 when a player named Kharsek, the first player to reach level 999, entered the room; later in April 2017, another player named Dev onica entered the room. These two people have remained silent about what is inside the secret room.
The gameplay of Tibia involves advancing levels while training to improve skill levels, hunting monsters using weapons and magical spells, gathering treasures, doing quests and exploring the Tibia world. Players interact with each other in character so they can have conversations, trades, and group battles and partake in guilds for more role-playing opportunities. On most of the game servers, the regular Open PvP type, players are also allowed to attack and kill each other, although there is a system in place to keep hostile actions under moderate control. Optional PvP servers have very limited player versus player combat, while servers under the type "Hardcore" are constantly in war between different guilds or teams since 'player killing' is permitted freely with no skull system or killing restrictions. The latter servers are mostly populated by experienced players looking to measure their "PvP skills" without restrictions.
When creating a character, one can choose between 80 different servers (worlds). Half of the servers are located in North America, while the other half is in Europe. Players with slow computers are encouraged to select a server closer to their own location.
While each world is exactly the same in appearance, players cannot communicate cross-server. Each world is of one of four types of PvP:
- Optional PvP: player-versus-player combat is not permitted except during guild wars (which must be accepted by both sides). No "skull" system is present.
- Open PvP: players-versus-player combat is available, but aggressive players will be marked with a "skull" for attacking others. Players with a skull can be targeted and killed by anyone without receiving a "skull".
- Hardcore PvP: player-versus-player is encouraged. Instead of penalties, there are rewards for player killing.
- Retro Open PvP: This is a fairly new type of Player versus Player, these servers are based on the old game-play of Tibia and how it was like before.
In addition, there are also a few special server types:
- Premia is a "Premium" world where only paying players play. It is of the "Open PvP" type. While anyone can create a character here, Premium is needed to be able to log onto the server.
- Aurora and Aurera are "Preview" worlds where upcoming features are occasionally tested before major updates. To encourage players to play on these worlds and risk server rollbacks during preview phases, killing monsters on these worlds will yield double the experience points than on regular worlds. They are currently assigned as "Open Pvp", but due to their nature, this can be changed if necessary.
Players can choose to transfer their character to another server for a fee. Only one transfer can be done per account for every six months. There are, however, restrictions as to where characters can transfer:
- Characters on Optional PvP servers may only transfer to other Optional PvP servers.
- Characters on Open Pvp servers may transfer to Optional as well as Open PvP servers.
- Characters on Hardcore PvP servers may transfer anywhere.
- Nobody can transfer to Aurora or Aurera, nor can characters on these worlds transfer out of there, or to each other.
- Everybody can transfer to Calva and Calvera, two Hardcore servers that were created specifically for this exception.
Characters and vocations
In the game, there are four vocations, each with their advantages and disadvantages. All new characters start out on the island Rookgaard without a vocation. Once a character reaches level eight they can go to the Island of Destiny where they choose a vocation from four choices. Knights specialize in melee, paladins in distance, sorcerers in offensive magic, and druids in healing magic. Once a vocation is chosen the choice cannot be reversed without a character reset or "Rooking" the character (bringing it to a level where it goes back to Rookgaard). Premium players can purchase a promotion for their character's vocation once they have reached level 20 for a one-time fee of 20,000 gold pieces. The promotion gives the character various in-game advantages. The game also has a large number of "non-playable characters", more commonly known as NPCs. NPCs are there to buy/sell items, provide general roleplay, and pass out quests. The demonym of a Tibia player is called a Tibian.
All four vocations can use magic to some degree. Sorcerers and druids have a wide variety of magic spells available to them, while paladins and knights have a limited variety.
There are two types of magic
- Instant magic - magical syntaxes that once cast, will consume mana in order to produce the desired effect
- Rune magic - magic that is cast by using a rune
Spells can be bought from the NPC guild leader of each vocation and runes can be bought from NPCs and other players. Guild leaders are located in most cites. The power of spells relate directly to the character's level and magic level, more so the latter. The damage of some spells, such as a knight's Berserk spell, also take into account the skill level of the character.
Magic wands (for Sorcerers) and rods (for Druids) are specially made for mages. With these weapons, they are able to use their mana points to attack creatures. These wands and rods need a certain level of experience for mages to handle them.
There are also special elemental types of magical damage that each vocation can use and creatures have a strength or weakness in. These are Earth (which includes Poison and nature spells), Fire, Energy, Ice, Holy, Death, and Physical damage. With regards to magic spells, paladins specialize in Holy, Sorcerers in Fire and Energy, Druids in Earth and Ice, and Knights in Physical.
Creatures are the inhabitants of Tibia aside from human players and NPCs. Every different type of creature has its own unique characteristics. Players can hunt creatures to gain experience points and loot. Experience points are needed to gain levels. Most creatures give experience points for killing them. In most cases, the creatures hardest to kill gain the most experience points.
The term "loot" refers to any item that can be obtained from the bodies of dead creatures or players. Loot varies by creature, and some items are found more frequently than others. Loot often includes gold, weapons, shields, helmets, food, quest items, and armor. Usually the most valuable items are the most rare. Creatures can only drop items which the game producers have installed them to drop. For instance, an orc can not drop dragon hams, while dragons can not drop a piece of meat. Most loot can be sold for gold to either other players or NPCs.
New creatures are often added with each major game update.
Quests are in-game challenges where a player or group of players solve challenging riddles or puzzles or fight difficult creatures for a special reward. Rewards vary from gold to equipment to items needed for other quests. Some areas of Tibia can only be accessed once a certain quest is completed or started. For example, the Isle of the Kings can only be accessed once the White Raven Monastery Quest has been completed.
All characters start in the tutorial island which was added in 2008, there they can gain some basic knowledge about the game, they can choose to go through the tutorial or continue to Rookgaard. Rookgaard, created in December 1999, is where players learn to play Tibia. Once a character has reached level 8 it can leave Rookgaard, through the Island of Destiny, for the mainland. Once a character leaves Rookgaard it can never return, unless it is lowered to level 5. If this happens characters are completely reset. After the summer update of 2008 two new areas were added to Rookgaard, a tutorial island, and a vocation island. When Tibia was released in 1997, there was only one city and that one city was called Tibia. Since the addition of other cities, the city of Tibia was renamed "Thais", and the name "Tibia" has since come to refer to the name of the main continent.
With expansion to the game over the years, there are now two main continents, eight bigger islands, several smaller islands, and 15 cities. The cities include - in order of creation - "Thais", "Carlin", "Kazordoon", "Ab'Dendriel", "Edron", "Darashia", "Venore", "Ankrahmun", "Port Hope", "Liberty Bay", "Svargrond", "Yalahar", "Farmine", "Gray Beach" and "Roshamuul". The hunting areas are primarily outside the city walls.
Major updates are released around every six months by CipSoft. Before game updates test servers are run to find and repair bugs and glitches within the update. These servers are first available for testing to players that hold official positions such as Tutors, Fansite representatives and Senators. Test servers are sometimes opened to the general Tibian public. The major updates usually involve the creation of new cities, hunting areas, spells, weapons, etc. Updates may also include graphic redesign, gameplay changes, and anti-cheating measures. In addition to the major updates, as needed, minor updates are done throughout the year to fix bugs and other minor problems.
Another area of gameplay that gets updated during many of the major updates is "Vocation Balancing." In Tibia, the idea is that all four vocations be equally appealing so that no one vocation is far superior to any other. If it appears that one vocation is far superior than another, changes are made to balance the vocations.
Phasing out of Game Masters (GMs)
In late 2010, CipSoft decided to phase-out the "Game Master" system which had been used since launch. The Game Masters, commonly known as "GMs" to the community were well compensated for their time with a rare item of their choice. CipSoft implemented a new report statement function to the game client that players could use themselves, and the official course of action is for customer support to deal with all game queries. These representatives can be noted on the game's forum boards as Community Managers, or "CM" for short.
Support and rules
The Tibian support system is made up of volunteer Tutors and paid Customer Support. Tutors are regular players who have no special or legal standing but can report in-game bugs as well as have access to a private chat channel and forums. Customer Support members are employees of CipSoft who handle cheating and bug reports. Retired gamemasters and long-term tutors may also, with prior invitation by CipSoft, choose to adopt the honorary title of Senator.
The role of tutor encompasses a number of duties including: answering questions from the in-game Help Channel and on the Help board on the forum, checking the private tutor board and in-game channels regularly, and reporting bugs. All players are now able to report inappropriate statements, names, and posts in-game or on the forums which was previously a power held by tutors and higher positions.
Eligibility for the tutor position is determined if player's account is registered, has been played for at least three months with one character having at least level 20, their criminal record contains no banishment entries, and has received 40 "Thank you!'s" in the last 90 days. "Thank you!'s" are garnered when players submit them via the in-game Help channel or on the forums Help board indicating a player's appreciation of someone's assistance. Players previously had to take an online multiple-choice test on the official website to become a tutor and after 3 months of active tutorship without a bad/false report would be automatically promoted to the position of senior tutor.
Conduct from players and premium accounts are expected to abide by rules rather similar to most such games, including prohibitions against sharing or selling account information, exploiting "obvious" errors or flaws which give unreasonable advantages to a player, posing as CipSoft employees, using any and all non-official programs such as 'bots', and offensive behaviors. In such events, CipSoft uses a system of a violation record and conduct levels that grade both the severity and frequency of violations, with the "conduct level" slowly relenting over time with no new violations. Once a violation is entered in the record it can be protested until 60 days have lapsed, allowing players to protest inappropriate charges or complain if the charges are not understood; the entry can not be expunged from the record later than that time. If the conduct level reaches its highest state, whether through continued minor violations or few very severe ones, the account is threatened with banishment (from the game and forum) or deletion. If an account has been banished or scheduled for deletion, CipSoft promulgates that the only recourse is to either create a new character or appeal to Customer Support directly.
On 30 January 2009, CipSoft announced that they banned 4,959 characters for using illegal software while playing. A quote from CipSoft at the Tibia website states,
These accounts have been identified by an automatic tool with complete accuracy, therefore any complaints about these punishments are in vain. They are final and complaints will be ignored. We will neither reveal our criteria for these punishments, nor will we hand out any proofs.
The article goes on to say that CipSoft is not finished and will continue to work hard to eliminate cheating from the game. Since then, CipSoft has used this automatic tool about once a month to delete tens of thousands of accounts.
On 22 September 2010, CipSoft made fundamental changes to the player versus player fighting mechanism, in an effort to mitigate abuse.
- "Tibia Celebrates 10th Birthday". Multiplayer Online Games Directory. January 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
- , CipSoft Poll
- One Player Is Holding a 12-Year Video Game Secret Hostage Vice, May 10, 2017
- "When can I leave Rookgaard and can I return there once I have entered the main continent?". Multiplayer Online Games Directory. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
- "Tutor Guide". Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- "Tibia - Free Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game - Game Guides". Tibia. CipSoft. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- "CipSoft Takes a Bite out of Crime". Gamers Daily News. February 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- See to the latest news as published on the Tibia website