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Decades Past...

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  • Decades Past...

    Decades Past

    If there’s a feeling that Tibia can evoke easily for me, it is nostalgia. Time has went by so fast, or so I think every time I check the front page of the website, or log in, or write an article. Lots of changes have given us cities, monsters, new items. Also, lots of years have gone by, and taken away friends who we used to speak with every day, and in the best of cases they are now contacts on some social network where we can speak once in a while. In the worst of cases, though, they disappear forever.

    The sad part about a friend that disappears forever in such a world like Tibia is the fact that you feel you got to know them real well, but in the end you never did. Tibia is a special game in its own right not because it dazzles you with graphics and high resolution 3D models, but exactly by the opposite reason. Because Tibia does not even have sound, or great graphics, more than half of your Tibia experience is made up in your brain. Tibia only provides the substrate, the ground upon which your brain builds your own Tibian castle. Because of that, even friends that we get to know very well while playing Tibia together, are sometimes really dear to us because we made up an important part of what they represented.

    You can also get PKed, but that's another story.

    However, Tibia gives you not only friends that disappear, but also friends that become crucial in your lifetime. From lending an ear to your problems to helping you find books not available in your country, Tibian friends are even more special than those you can find online on other places. And that’s probably not only because you both share Tibian interests, but also because you had to build your experiences more in your brain than on screen. As if you were, without being aware of it, in a joint imagination exercise. You perhaps saw demons and dragons differently in your head, or perhaps had a different idea of what manafluid “tasted” like, but you both know the sacrifices behind doing a difficult quest or finding a really rare item.

    And if you see it from a perspective of someone who has played a long time, Tibia is also full of sacrifices. Some are even tied to your real life, when you perhaps put off other activities in order to play Tibia and make your character stronger (seriously, don’t do that if you can help it, after all Tibia is just a game). Decades of sacrifices. Keeping a good reputation on your server (or belonging to a good guild). Standing up for what you think is right, or play under the radar to avoid aggression. Blinking, and suddenly finding out that your guild (the third one you made in all your Tibian history) is about to hit the 10 year mark and is now a recognized name on your server. Finding out that you, yourself, have been for about 13 years involved with Tibia, which itself has been around for like 20 years. It is a humbling experience that lets you know that, yes, time passes, and very fast, but leaves so many things on its trail. Things that are even easier to keep track of if they are stored on some game server you visit from time to time.

    Group hunts are one of the core experiences within Tibia.

    When I started Tibia, I had another computer, totally different to this one. I was in another country as well. My reality was different, I had longer time to play. My sense of wonder was different: Tibia was the first online game I got the chance to play. I had no Tibian friends, except a real life friend who told me about this game. That is different now, too. I got to meet some Tibian friends in real life. Looking back at all those experiences now, and putting them in a timeframe of more than a decade, it is really amazing to see how much Tibia has changed, but at the same time, how much does Tibia change you when you play it.

    The next year? Already lots of new features are announced. A new client, which will enable Tibia to perform even more changes to gameplay, to game areas, and perhaps to the communities. Making them more integrated through events or bringing back that spirit we had in the older versions, where Tibia was more than a game, where most of us saw our characters grow with effort and somehow it was really rewarding, unlike today, where it really is not so anymore. Levels are now easier to gain, and it’s not because more people play now, but because the game has gotten easier. Who could deny it? And, yes, perhaps if it were another game most of us would have moved on by now and played something else and never look back, but really, Tibia has something special, and I would like to see CipSoft taking more advantage of it, to tailor the Tibian experience to be that unique thing most of us fell in love with almost a decade ago.

    Twenty years. It's easily said, but it surely involves a lot of work.

    Nostalgia? Impossible dreams? Perhaps… But when the online record was 60 thousand players, and when servers were bursting with people, with good economy, with guilds meeting guilds. When in-game issues in PvP servers were handled not by the sword (or the automated sword, which is even worse) but by arranging meetings and trying to work things out as partners in a game we all loved (yes, this happened some times, at least on Julera), Tibia had that air of being more than a game, of being something it was worth investing time into. It still does but mostly from memories and what it once was. And that’s not to say the game is not good now, it has just lost that “soul” it used to have back in the day.

    Nevertheless, a new year comes, and it’s the 20th anniversary of Tibia. How could we not celebrate it, when this game has been so special, for better or for worse? I know I will log in at least once and see what new things are in store for us. In the meantime, all I can do is wish you all Merry Christmas, in Tibia and in Real Life, wherever you happen to be at this moment. Treasure the things that happen in Tibia, and in your life, because decades pass so quickly, that all we have left someday is to look back and see how good things were in the past, and how perhaps they will never be the same anymore. However, do not be sad for the decades that are gone already, but look, with hope, to the decades that might come in the future, and the things that you will experience, in your life, and in Tibia, if you just stick around a little bit longer.

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