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Tibia (1997) is one of the earliest and longest-running MMORPGs (wikipedia.org)
161 points by doener on Feb 13, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 105 comments

Tibia was great in the early days. It had phenomenal player driven politics where in principle anyone could kill anyone, but in practice people had friends, and some people had really powerful friends who could make life hell for you if you bothered them. Eventually the game operators restricted the pvp system and added a formal system for having guild wars. Today I understand why they did it, but it effectively killed any interesting player driven politics.

The server I played on was pretty stable for years because it had an ultra powerful ruling guild (the Liches of Archinare on Lunara). Eventually they were their own downfall, having persecuted enough people over the years -- myself included -- that the uprising, when it came, was overwhelming. And after that came endless wars as various factions vyed to occupy the power vacuum that appeared

I learned a lot about culture and power from that game. For instance, in the early days of Lunara, pretty much nobody targeted the friends and loved ones of their opponents during wars, and the idea was highly frowned upon. But in the beginning of the uprising against LoA, I opened that door, and it became standard practice after that in all the subsequent conflicts

Another aspect I particularly enjoyed about the game was the diversity of its player base. I learned Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese and bits of Dutch and Tagalog and other languages because I always had friends to practice with there. I even picked up a bit of Papiamento

> anyone could kill anyone

Getting killed also meant all your equipment and inventory could be looted and stolen by whoever comes across your corpse.

The exp penalty was also crazy; Players could lose levels from dying, even levels on trade skills, which often would take many hundred hours, and materials, to level up.

So it was very much possible to gank a very developed high level character, with hundreds of hours in progress, back to basic lvl 1 with no skills if one was dedicated enough.

> Players could lose levels from dying

Not only can characters lose levels, if they die enough times they end up back in Rookgaard at level 1 with all skills and spells permanently reset. I once witnessed the so called "rooking" of a level 100 character... They threw the items in the river too. Imagine logging into the game and picking your level 100 character only to see it spawn in Rookgaard completely reset.

> Imagine logging into the game and picking your level 100 character only to see it spawn in Rookgaard completely reset.

That could happen if the player was offline??

As far as I remember logging out required the players to wait for a timer to run down.

This was in place to prevent players from just logging out to flee from fights/escape dying.

But it also meant if the client lost connection, without the player going trough the log-out procedure, their character would still be present on the server and in-game world, often for several minutes.

Made it quite tense when losing connection during a difficult fight, you never knew if you logged back in to a won fight, or logged back in respawned at the temple with all your stuff gone, as your character lost the fight while you were disconnected.

And because very early on there was only one place where every dead characters would respawn, the temple, organized groups could target somebody for repeated killing even while they were disconnected, they just had to be fast about it before the character timed out.

> Made it quite tense when losing connection during a difficult fight, you never knew if you logged back in to a won fight, or logged back in respawned at the temple with all your stuff gone, as your character lost the fight while you were disconnected.

Amusingly that is still the case in Old School RuneScape today, when in the Wilderness. And used to be the case everywhere in the world until they changed the death mechanics to be less brutal.

He probably witnessed a hacking. Someone gained access to the account and died several times with the character. Very common back in the days.

That reminds me of the time somebody hacked (um... or watched my stupidly basic password over my shoulder... whatever) my imp account on a mud, and (not knowing what powers he actually wielded) used me to drag his account around power leveling and collecting loot. I caught him in the act, changed my password, killed him, grabbed his corpse, teleported to him, and ate his corpse so he knew what happened to the loot. Kept killing and eating him until he was level 1 again.

I’m building a game like this right now with a small team. It takes place in an O’Neill cylinder and if you die, you die. The goal is also to survive for months, which allows a player to make their character much strong that starters and have much better equipment. It also makes them targets though, so they need to build a tribe that protects them.

The game is built in Unreal Engine 5 with hyperrealistic graphics.

It’ll go live in a couple of weeks for alpha testing, so if you want to test the alpha, you can sign up on the website. https://extrastar.wixsite.com

That concept sounds really interesting, but that link is broken for me.

Thank you! Subscribed to the mailing list.

I've also played on Lunara and I remember Liches of Archinare to this day! I remember how proud I was when I became a member, even though I was just a low-rank peasant :P


Reminds me of the early 2000s being a child and running my "business" in Runescape. Come home from school (where I'd be making my spreadsheet or doing napkin math accounting), talk to some of my boys in the game to get an update on the lobbys (lobsters) and then go to Varrock (a major city) on world 2/1 (trade hub worlds for members/free to play) to sell lobsters.

I used to be a poor player, and then got some money by running lobsters from Karamja (island where lobster fishing is popular) to the bank on the mainland. Over time I made friends with other people who were in the same boat (heh) as me, and then we started our own business.

I remember being a child and scammed out of a few thousand gold - it was awful. I learned to trust some people and not others.

I also remember after having enough disposable income in the game, I'd go PKing (pvp) with my buddies in deep wilderness (an area where you could fight other people). The deeper you went, the more dangerous it became because each level farther you went into the wilderness, people of that many levels above you could attack you. Anyway, just remembering death dot tactic where a dozen of us would stand in one spot and the minimap would show 1 player. Any random who happened to be unlucky enough to walk past us got destroyed.

Unfortunately right after I graduated high school, I stopped playing and then my account was hacked some time later I guess.

Anyway, thanks for the memory recall.

This game changed my life. It forced me to learn English to be able to properly interact and play the game. Eventually I started dabbling with open-source tibia servers(AKA otservers) and it didn't take long before I was writing some lua scripts. It was fascinating being able to program the game world like that.

If today I'm able to work remotely abroad as a software engineer, I owe a huge part of that to Tibia. My favorite game ever.

I created my account just to reply to you... I had the exact same thing happen to me. Learned lua, and therefore programming, because of otservers. Now I'm working as soft. eng because of that. Fascinating how a game shapes us, isn't it?

Funny to hear. Otservers was my first experience with networking and programming.

There were some really brutal tactics in this game. If someone with a higher level was ighting with a tough opponent, you could wait for them to be low hp, kill them and take their stuff. Apparently the friendlist system in that game worked in a manner where you didn't have to accept the friend invitation to see if someone was online and their location in the world. This was useful for stalking. When you saw people you had beef with come online at the same time, you knew you were in trouble. Especially with a system where if you died, you could lose levels. My friend told me that he had sometime angered a Swedish clan they started to stalk him. His solution was to make fake account that pretended to be a member of this Swedish clan, and he then used it to bait an even bigger clan to attack this Swedish clan by pissing them off.

Yes, you could add anyone to your list of people you wanted to your friends list to see if they were online. And if they were online, there was a spell that told you the cardinal direction they were from you, plus a fuzzy distance (they are very far to the north). So people used to hunt each other when they got to disagreements, and at higher levels, it was common for entire groups of people to get into wars with each other. The lack of instancing of any kind, made it so to advance you would need to go hunt monsters in an always shared environment, and with monster respawn rate sometimes being too low to support multiple people hunting at the same spot, and monsters not spawning in view of a player, made disagreements on who got to hunt where be bound to happen.

I played this game a lot and loved it. It was brutal and I lost a lot of interest as it became more player friendly. Some more things to note -

You could not pass through other players so in a single person hall way you could be blocked. You could click and drag them to push but this could be counteracted by placing certain objects behind yourself (parcels for example) or another player.

You had to chat with NPCs to sell things. Hi. Sell plate armor. Yes. Yes. Things could only be sold one at a time.

Spells had to be typed out in the chat box. I do not remember if there were always hot keys, but if there were early on they did not auto cast.

Sorcerers and druids (healers) did something called mana sitting to grind up their magic level. Usually they would be making runes (stored up spell) that could be used in battle. These did not stack so you would sell backpacks full of them. Runes did not have hot keys for a long time so mages were pro at clicking them then clicking enemies or party members.

Knights (tanks) could train their melee skill by attacking monsters with a weak weapon. Basically just sitting around and chatting.

Rope, to go up holes, had to be used on a specific spot on the ground. You could pile items on this spot and block its use. This was used to trap people to be killed by players or monsters.

Luring was a big thing. You had to take these tedious walks between cities. Higher level players would lure monsters from further areas to the main path. You could bring both giant spiders and dragon lords to this path. I died a lot this way but it made travel very exciting. You could yell so it was often seen GS AR DWARF BRIDGE as you approached one of the larger barriers to monsters on the path.

The death penalty was very harsh as well. You lost like 10% (iirc) of your experience which amounted to your last level gained. Additionally, you had a 100% chance to drop your back pack slot, and a 10% chance to drop each piece of gear (helmet, weapon, shield, armor, legs, boots, ring, arrow slot). This hurt. Tears were shed.

Paladins (distance fighters) had to pick their ammo up off the ground. So they would throw a spear then have to pick it up.

To sell things you would advertise by yelling in the city you were in. The screen was always full of offers as you approached the depot in the city.

There was a game called fast hands where you tried to move items onto a mutually accessible square and off before the other person could grab it. Many people used scripts to cheat at this.

Tibia was absolutely brutal. Guilds operated very much as gangs. Tons of pl, br, and mx players. I loved it though. It was a very big part of my childhood. I loved it because it was brutally difficult and lost interest as some of these flaws were fixed. The other game I played was early America's Army, which also had a very different pace to most fps, it was another really fun game and kinda died when they switched engines and may the play loop more traditional and faster (added respawns).

It's amazing to see Tibia on HN and hear these stories and refresh my memory. I almost lost touch with that part of my childhood.

I loved how brutal Tibia was. One day I was just hanging out in front of the bank (which was also the main market place), looking what others had to sell. A very high player with incredible walking speed arrived from the East. He was blocked by a a few players (it's always busy in Thais as it's the main centre). Within a split second he blast a magic spell at the person in front of him, who died instantly. Chaos ensued, and the high level player continued on his way to the West (it looked like he was in a hurry). Then everyone flocked to the dead person and started throwing around its body and gear. (If someone accesses the dead body, but someone else moves it, the dialog window that shows the body's content is closed). When someone would die, this ritual would continue until the body was far away from multiple people as long as it took for someone to finish looting the body.

I was standing one square away from the dead person, and really felt grateful it wasn't me. Poor guy lost his gear and had to level up again just because someone needed to get through...

It's just one of many many experiences I had, many of which rushed adrenaline through my veins.

> The death penalty was very harsh as well. You lost like 10% (iirc) of your experience which amounted to your last level gained. Additionally, you had a 100% chance to drop your back pack slot, and a 10% chance to drop each piece of gear (helmet, weapon, shield, armor, legs, boots, ring, arrow slot). This hurt. Tears were shed.

And that's the "forgiving" version, really early on players would even drop their equipment on death.

Good old times, in Tibia ~2007 you actually feared for your life, as you could lose weeks of work when you died, and most servers where pvp enforced

Talking to the NPCs at the store was also very interesting, you actually had to talk, using the chat like a normal human being, not click the options, and they only answered one player at a time

also a training ground for scammers. I learned about scams when I felt into one, signing with my credentials into fake tibia site, when I though I am joining a clan. Lost 10 levels and got a red scull. I was 12.

But my cousin, learned to scam other people and got some spare cash doing that. Not that I condone that behaviour. He would befriend OTS owners and somehow get admin rights on multiple OTS servers (unofficial servers) and then sell items or levels via prepaid cards, without the knowledge of an owner. Sometimes he stole ownership of whole OTS servers and ruined them just for fun.

> Talking to the NPCs at the store was also very interesting, you actually had to talk, using the chat...

Yep I remember people would form orderly queues in the shops, waiting for their turn to talk with the NPC. Not sure what happened with line cutters, but I assumed they got hunted down afterwards.

>>but I assumed they got hunted down afterwards

As a seasoned PVP clan owner on the UO shards in 1997 - I approve of this message.

God those were the days -- but we had a Massive God Mode Advantage in 1997... we ran Intel's Game Lab with a T3 dedicated to our groups' needs, and 6 local accounts in the Intel DRG Lab (Only two of us worked there, we ran three login-accounts a piece - but we had a Guild Member (there were only three actual humans in the guild - but 8 accounts)

PvP in UO was sublime. Golden age of gaming for this old gamer.

I forgot to mention ; the reason our third guild member could keep up with us:

We asked him "How are you able to play at the same time/no-lag such as we are?"

He replied with a pic of him sitting on a THRONE of weed...

He was one of the largest cannabis growers in BC Canada: He stated that he payed $1,500 / month for a T1 to his house and he made his living by fedex-ing his weed all over the world...

Maybe one of the first Silk Roads..

Over here in Poland, Tibia seemed to be what WoW was in the US.

I might be misremembering things, I am too young to remember much from that period, but I definitely heard the word Tibia much more often. I don't think I've heard of WoW before I learned to speak English proficiently and encountered random articles from that period.

Back then the polish and brazilian community was huge. During my childhood in brazil, everyone and their mothers were playing tibia.

This game defined my childhood. All of my friends played it. We'd log into it just to hang out at the temple south of Thais. Training skills and chatting. It was like IRC but with a MMORPG built-in.

Yeah, common dialog in Tibia:

> pl?

> br

And other way around. Of course, in the game Brazilians and Poles were huge enemies.

haha I totally forgot about that.

Also I learned how others laugh in other languages

huehuehuehuehue ahuahuahuahua kekekekkee kkkkkk jajajajajaja

> Over here in Poland, Tibia seemed to be what WoW was in the US.

Those MMOs are from very different eras.

WoW was released 7 years later in 2004, by then a whole lot of 3D MMOs were already released and somewhat successful, like Anarchy Online.

Imho the better analogue would be Ultima Online; Also 2D and from the same era as Tibia.

Tibia did so much better than UO, outside of NA, because Tibia did not require a monthly subscription to play it.

It has options to "subscribe" but paying for that was also possible trough other methods than CC, while most US developed MMOs would often only offers paying per CC for the subscription.

That left a lot of people locked out who in theory were even willing to pay for playing, but in practice couldn't be bothered to get a CC just to pay for a video game.

I believe they're mostly referring to the social phenomena that both of these series became in these countries.

It was also a time when most people outside of USA didnt have credit cards.

They had debit cards and debit cards couldnt be used for online payments.

In Sweden too among my circles Tibia was more talked about than WoW.

Probably anecdotal. WoW definitely dwarfed Tibia, not even a question about it.

I realized after writing this comment that when WoW was out I had a career already. Didn't play games at that time.

So that's probably why I heard more about Tibia from my friends than WoW.

I was right out of högstadiet so I had a few friend groups across different gymnasium and the common thread was WoW. Funnily enough I was more or less the "only one" gamer who did not actually play it.

I'm amazed to see Tibia show up on HN of all places! And a whole 22 years after I first installed the game on one of our high school computers. This game was the catalyst to my career as an IT professional. I developed a tool back in 2003 or so that calculated experience and skill gains, as my first proper project in Visual Basic. It ended up as a mainstay in the playerbase for a long time, which meant I had to deal with release management and server capacity as a complete greenhorn. Later, when I quit the game, I simply released the codebase on the forums, hoping for some other idealistic soul to take over. Naturally, that went the exact way you'd expect: People embedded keyloggers and released their own version of it, demolishing all the trust I'd built over the years.

Another aspect of this game worth noting: The community, and how the gameplay has changed over the years. In the "olden times", the main focus of the game was the social aspect. There were limited hunting grounds, so people spent their time hanging around and talking, building houses out of boxes and parcels, coming up with games. I recently picked the game back up - now everything feels like it's hyper-optimized for grinding, and that old social aspect feels gone. I find it fascinating - though also a bit sad.

> The community, and how the gameplay has changed over the years. In the "olden times", the main focus of the game was the social aspect. There were limited hunting grounds, so people spent their time hanging around and talking, building houses out of boxes and parcels, coming up with games. I recently picked the game back up - now everything feels like it's hyper-optimized for grinding, and that old social aspect feels gone. I find it fascinating - though also a bit sad.

Seems like a good analogy to human society and the results of late-stage-capitalism.

That’s fascinating, I think I’ve used your software when I was a kid. The one that edited the window title?

Well yeah, it did - I don't remember quite what, but I think it showed the experience rate or something like that. (there was also a hidden feature that showed your login/password in the window title for a short while - I got access to the dll for TibiaGG, which taught me a bit about memory access. This was only done as a prank though, and never for any nefarious purposes)

The software was called Tomes of Knowledge, if that rings any bells :)

There are other long running MMORPGs that are worth mentioning like RuneScape (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuneScape). A few years ago they realized they changed the game so much that they decided to 'restore a backup' from the good old times and launch it as 'Old School RuneScape'. If I'm not mistaken this retro version has more users than the 'main version', currently called RuneScape3. This game has a documentary on youtube and such. The main problem I found about being a 'long lived running MMORPGs' is that although the game still exists, the company was bought twice as far as I am concerned, and that changes a lot of things in a game, specially regarding to monetization. For example adding some gambling features and not standing much for ethics inside the game (e.g., bug exploitation) as a measure to keep paying customers. In the documentary the founder & ceo (Andrew) explicitly regret selling the company after seeing how the game (or at least some part of it) turned out to be.

Respect to Andrew for creating RuneScape. I wonder how many people coded it. This is what really got me into programming - wanting to write similar MMO. 15 years later still unrealised dream :/

I also miss the times where there were active gamedev forums and everyone had their own game engine, now everyone uses Unity and Discord I guess.

Another old one is Kingdom of Drakkar, which has been around in its current form since at least the late 90's.


I played this back in the day. It was amazing. Before the skull system. You wielded real power in this game if you could attain it. There were real heroes who held their ground against tyranny, risking years of work on their character.

Now days it feels a bit cartoonish, and auto-managed everything. The community of English speaking players collapsed when World of Warcraft came out. The game is not what it was.

One of the games I had most fun

My heart would pump a lot every time, something unexpected happened, it felt very real. Someone appeared, and I was alone... Exploring, hiding, killing, running...

Dying was very costly. So it was very personal, a lot of people would go to the killer and ask "why?". Noting the killer's name and plot revenge was certain, you could follow someone for days, or ask for help

Team was important, but if you didn't have friends playing Tibia, or at all, getting a team in the game was hard and because there were a lot of scammers just waiting to double cross you. I think that was one of it's biggest problems

The funnier things in this game were not fund in most similar games

* Using the environment to make traps, like blocking the path with boxes and set them on fire

Just block someone in a room with too many monsters, collecting the loot when dead

Or block the path of someone running after you

* Running away mechanics, very funny, could go up and down walls to roofs, by piling boxes or using a spell

* Hiding your loot under a tree, while running away, most would not look for it, you could recover it hours later

* Manual aim of spells, to hit people you would need click on them, so they could run erratically to make it harder

There was even a flash site just to train your aim

But unfortunately eventually changed to automatic aim since there were a lot of people using aimbots

* The quests had to be found, which made it exciting, there were secrets everywhere. You had to explore. But also worked against it making it harder to just start a random quest. Even though there were a lot of community sites curating many of them

Other games just felt like sandboxes compared to Tibia

I used to be a Gamemaster for Tibia. Before that I learned english from playing this game.

This MMORPG was a university project of 4 german students from Regensburg. running on university hardware. Once they finished their studies they had to make a decision to start a company or shut the game down for good. The server was offline for days, if not weeks and the community was anxious about the outcome.

it was such a fun game to play at the beginning because everything was new. for players AND for the guys developing it. you could attack others by aiming with your mouse. so you could attack characters on your screen. but there was no range check, so you could also attack players all the way on the other side of the world if you tweaked the code. also, no cooldown, and no penalty if you aimed at a tile where no player was standing. that means you could have sent an attack command for every single tile on the game world and instantly kill every player/monster around.

Duplicating stuff was possible because the map (including all items lieing around) was saved once at 9:00am ... but your characters inventory was saved whenever you logged off. so before 9:00am you put your amazing and expensive sword on the ground, after the save you pick it up again and log out. now you wait for a server crash, which happened regularly in the early days. (and some might have figured out a way to crash it on purpose) .. after a crash a backup of the map was restored. so you could log in. your sword was on your character but it was also on the ground where you put it at map save time.

me and 3 other people organized a meetup in austria, back around the year 2000 i think. people from all over europe attended. so did the 4 german guys who created the game. out of gratitude for organizing the event we could ask for a special favour. i got a unique weapon, i think one of us got a custom house on Fibula (a tiny island south of thais) ... sidenote: most names from the beginning were latin words stemming from medicine. (Fibula: shinbone, ...)

fun times, also addictive like hell.

at some point i started writing my own C++ based bot. some other guy did the hard work and reverse engineered the bits you needed to send to communicate with the server. my bot was able to log in and listen to spoken command from another character that was whitelisted. i could make the bot controlled character walk in any direction.

in the early days my internet was very unreliable, that meant a disconnect during hunting meant you got killed and loose not only 10% of your progress (thats easily 10s, 100s, ... of hours of work) but also loosing all your equipment. afterwards you had to rush to the spot where you died and hope you were the first to pick everything up. without your top equipment on you it happened more than once that I died again, losing another 10% of all your skill points.

learning to deal with frustration and anger on that level was an experience that was as painful as it was life-enhancing.

I remember many of these unique items more or less becoming super rare "mythical" collector items which only existed on the older servers.

Do you remember what the weapon you got was?

Thunderhammer ... at a time when it wasn't possible to get through game mechanics quest/loot.

one more .... the game had containers ... backpacks, boxes, ... naturally you could put packpacks into packpacks into boxes into ... :)

a guy I knew who also did alot of duping in the early days of the game once told me that he had so many items in his "depot" (kind of a bank where you could store stuff savely) that loading his depot content into memory froze the game for seconds when he opened his bank inventory.

another fun bug I just remembered ... the higher your lvl, the faster your avatar could walk. But you could also drag&drop items, monsters and other players around. and you could drag yourself. dragging yourself diagonally didnt have a delay/cooldown in the beginning, so with training or the help of 3rd party software you could move really fast. :)

Which was also abused to kill players, dragging them back and forth fast enough to essentially make them incapable of moving :o

I haven’t played much Tibia, but I’m fascinated by its camera/art style. As far as I’m aware, it was the last game to use the orthographic projection with a shear as popularized by the Ultima series. Folks seem to love it or hate it, but it certainly makes controls convenient as it eliminates odd movement angles typical of isometric games.

This game was so incredibly beautiful and enforced lifelong friendships and also just a general understanding of different cultures around the world (especially because of the poor graphics; it was playable for any kind of computer). I started somewhere in 2001/2002 (I was 11 or 12) and have played it intensively to on-and-off up until I started taking my career more seriously 5 years ago. The game is like crack and I found myself returning to it every now and then and it would always make me forget about space and time.

In the early days playing this game everything was just so incredibly hard. It would just take an incredible grind to level-up and you were always wary if someone came to ruin your day for whatever reason (because if you would be ambushed and die, you would lose up to 10% of your total ex). This also made you take the game super serious and so friends would show up and help out if you did get into a fight, to try and help you. It also wasn’t abnormal to have to “mana sit”(sitting around, doing nothing but wait for your mana — your magic skill - to regain) for hours on end to be able to make runes that would let you “hunt” for half an hour (because you couldn’t buy them in stores)

I found it so incredibly rude of CipSoft (the maker of the game) that they kept “ruining” the game by, well, making it more approachable to newer generations of players (automated aiming, more ways to heal yourself, lower damage dealing to other players, outfits-and-animals, buying/selling items in Stores) but now, working in Product, I completely understand the decisions they made (it’s a business, after all).

I still miss playing this game, the old game, incredibly much and I think there is still a market for an OG versions. The last years I used to play mostly on open-source servers that tried to emulate those OG mechanics. RealOTS, one of the more succesful ones, managed to recreate that initial experience — also giving me lifelong friends again.

Man, what a beautiful game.

It used to be an amazing game where dying was supremely painful and meant the loss of tens (or sometimes hundreds) of hours of work.

It used to also be possible to player kill in all sorts of creative ways which made the game a lot of fun. If you were clever in using game mechanics (uh traps, etc.) you could take out a much higher level with several low levels this way.

Over the years many interesting game mechanics were removed and the death penalty has also been reduced tremendously.

I actually met my best friend because of tibia. Heard him talking about it in school. Many great memories. No game would get your heart beating like tibia when you’re about to take a death.

Medivia is actually very close to old school tibia if anybody is interested in checking it out. https://medivia.online/

I played this for a bit. Very well done, but the community is shrinking too. It inherits the flaws of OG Tibia too, unfortunately.

One of the most addictive games

How do I know?

I've been playing it for 15 years and I still have PACC (prem) account, but it's relatively young character (00:10 Your Distance Fighting skill changed from level 126 (with 21.52% progress towards level 127) to level 126 (with 21.98% progress towards level 127))

Developers are greediest fucks I've ever seen.

It's insane that game this old can be this profitable - just google "tibia income" and go to graphics

Most people play this game in "grind-style" nowadays, so basically team-hunt everyday for 1? 2? 3? hours (idk what are optimal strats nowadays), get levels and cash, do bosses, yada yada.


but this game has impressive OSS community



and more

they basically recreated tibia game client & server

people were playing on private servers with real clients

and nowadays as I see custom private servers use custom clients that are impressive as hell imo.

I've had a lot of fun debugging those C++/Lua game mechanics when trying to create my own server but since its time consuming to create nice game play then I gave up


This is the game where you could be DDoSd if you joined somebody's team speak/ventrilo/etc

This game fought and probably still fights bots. They improved shitton by using BattleEye.

They fought against DDoSes against their servers hard too, I remember when they used iirc Prolexic and it didn't work well

Fun thing: IIRC Tibia's game company rewrote their C++ client in something that worked in web browser, but afaik they eventually killed it. I do wonder whether they'll try again with WebAseembly

>The Tibia Flash client will also be discontinued tomorrow.


I heard that in early days of Tibia you could buy premium account via letter to Cipsoft's "HQ"

Their gross revenue in 2019 was €15M, with 94 employees. That's €159k per employee on average, not counting overheads. That's pretty good money, but not excessively "greedy" (that's not looking at actual wages... their execs may well be bastards).

They had a much bigger haul in 2020, which is probably fairly typical for online games -- we didn't have much else to do during lockdown, and opened our wallets for games. But that isn't sustained income.

Related: https://www.vice.com/en/article/3bka3w/one-players-nine-year...

(Posted a couple times to HN, but there weren't any comments.)

FWIW, the "Mathias Bynens" in the article happens to be the JavaScript VIP Mathias Bynens, which, for some reason, doesn't surprises me at all.

Can we also get the submission title changed to something less useful, please?

Not following you here.

The article's title is "Tibia (video game)", which is much less useful as a submission title than "Tibia (1997) is one of the earliest and longest-running MMORPGs", yet the HN rules require that the former be used instead of the latter.

I get that there are reasons for this rule, but if the rule is going to be enforced at all, it should be enforced consistently.

I could answer this a few different ways, but the bottom line is that HN is a spirit-of-the-law place, not a letter-of-the-law place, so you can't expect a mechanical consistency.


There's a sizeable subset of HN users who want rules to be enforced that way and I appreciate that completely, but the domain is just too complex to allow for it. If we tried, we'd end up being more inconsistent in worse ways.

Another way of answering the question is that the guidelines list the major rules and there are also many minor rules or heuristics (hundreds of them, I suppose) that have emerged over 15 years of practice, and it doesn't make sense to try to formalize them all. Ultimately, there's no way to eliminate the element of human judgment and interpretation from the role of moderating a place like HN, and it would be unwise to try. That doesn't mean that we don't try our best to be evenhanded and consistent—we definitely do. But in the end you're all victims of our gut feelings a.k.a. pattern matching, to put it dramatically.

The check and balance on all this is that if we get something significantly wrong, the community is never shy about quickly letting us know, and in such cases we hasten to admit and fix the mistake.

Thank you for the detailed answer. I guess I'll update my own heuristic, so that in future I'll add extra context to submission titles when linking to pages like Wikipedia articles which don't generally include enough context in their default titles.

Did anyone here play Graal Online? That was the big MMO of my childhood (besides Runescape). I definitely put over 10k hours into it in total over the years. The unique format where different servers were like whole separate games meant you could burn out on Unholy Nation and then go play Era or Zodiac for a few months. It was hard to get entirely bored of Graal because of that. There were also small player-made servers not on the public list, and development tools anyone could download. I was a staff member on many obscure servers over the years, making amateurish levels and reusing scripts other people made. Made lots of friends, although only kept up contact with a couple outside the game. I dream of a similar game, but that's fully free software. The game very much died and it was more from all the admins leaving it to rot than the players leaving, imo. Some things just couldn't be fixed by the community. This game had GNU/Linux support before it was cool, but at one point there was some bug that apparently made it possible to steal account passwords, so they updated the Windows and Mac OS clients and didn't let old versions connect. They never updated the GNU/Linux client. Worse yet, the link to the useless version remained on their downloads page still, last I checked. This is basically what killed the game for me finally. I did play it in Wine a little some years later, but the magic was gone for me. I never liked having or using Wine, and the game was pretty dead on top of that. The bad vibes piled up and I moved on.

Wow! This brings back a lot of memories. Played a ton of Graal Online between 1999-2001. I remember the Graal 2001 and Graal 3D servers being marketed as the next big thing. Loved the playerworlds (n-pulse, unholy nation, bravo, delteria, etc). Not only was the game free but it ran great on bad dial-up and slow PCs.

I had my first coding experiences with Graal Online trying to make maps for it. I wanted to become a LAT (level administrator) for one of the playerworlds. The level editor was very easy to use and so was the game scripting language. It was great for creative people.

The game had a LOT of player made content. There were so many different heads, bodies, swords, maps, items, etc. When you opened the game folder, you could all the skins your game client had downloaded from other players.

There was also a local version of the Graal classic server which you could play split screen with someone. The map was huge and had all sorts of things. Good times just trying to explore it all!

I played a lot of Graal Online in my youth. The fact that the servers were player-made was very unique and gave each server a really distinct feeling in terms of graphics and theme (Personally played on Arkland Empires/AEON and Bravo Evolved).

Playerworlds usually had 25-200 players on at any given time, so the communities were tight-knit and you ended up getting to know everyone eventually, even the staff who were just regular players.

The game encouraged creativity since anyone could become a staff member and help shape the playerworld. Messing around with the level editor and tinkering with Graal's custom scripting language 'GScript' was my first introduction to programming, so it was highly influential for me. Come to think of it, it was also my first introduction to Linux! (Thanks Napo from AEON!)

I have very fond memories of Graal. I racked up massive dial up bills and hogged the phone line from my family while playing hundreds and hundreds of hours.

It also introduced me to memory/hex editing. I remember searching for bench.jpg which was located near some players and changing it to cloud.jpg, causing the bench near me to turn into a cloud which then would paralyse my unsuspecting victims. Ahh good times.

Other big MMORPGs for me were Helbreath and Ragnarok Online

Why did they leave it to rot did it not make any money?

Something like that. I think the iOS version was pulling in money via microtransactions and they paid more attention to that. A lot of the players that stuck with the PC version had Lifetime Classic subscriptions they were grandfathered in to and didn't plan to pay for membership anymore. That, and the restrictions for F2P players seemed to be reduced after a while. Somehow servers were able to get rid of observer mode. I used to think those restrictions applied across the whole game and couldn't be changed.

How come in the post WoW era no MMO has ever been even remotely as close as the old MMOs, like Tibia or Ultima, to fulfilling the promise of a shared, persistent, virtual world?

Negative scaling: the bigger it gets, the more potential for people to cause problems, on a larger scale.

This leads to features being removed to sanitize the world and make it more manageable. The community governance - among the players and between the players and the owner - becomes worse. For the overwhelming majority, making a game more like a theme park is better.

That said, I think 2nd life is still going and mostly delivering this?

What about Eve online?

It survives in a niche. It seems to have about 30k players online max per https://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility

It's not nothing, in fact it's quite an achievement to have survived so long as a PVP MMO, but it's never going to take over the world. People who want that very particular blend of nothing happening interspersed by moments of sheer terror and the risk of losing something you've sunk a lot of time/money into know where it is.

EVE is kinda different than most other MMORPGS, I guess that's why it's hard to compare.

I mean, of course it shares certain elements, but it's not a lot of RPG (except parts of the character progression) and just not "fantasy + walking around" makes it a non-starter for a huge part of the classical MMO player base.

Eve's selling point is people causing problems. I guess that's a way of dealing with that.

There are MMOs like this but they come once or a twice every decade and fail miserably, full loot PVP MMO are built for a specific mindset of players and there comes a time where the “sheep” are all gone and only wolves remains. This situation creates a dwindling effect on the population and you end up playing with a few hundred players at best in a matter of a year.

In “recent” years I played Darkfall Online and Mortal Online which are very rooted in the early days of persistant virtual world ala UO but sadly they both failed to keep an healthy population.

Have you tried Mortal Online 2? the game just came out and is a true successor to UO in many ways, sadly they had massive problems scaling the game so they had to mirror the main persistent world and added 4 instances of the main world to cope with the demand. The vision is to have a one big persistent world with no instance/loading screen and keep adding more and more continents to spread out the population.

If you liked playing UO I recommend you check it out, its a unique gaming experience which may sadly go extinct in the future!

Does Minecraft count? What other MMOs are people playing and why don't they come close? I've dabbled in some post-WoW MMOs over the years and they are no less "shared" and "persistent" than WoW—they're basically the same thing.

Tibia and Ultima were brutal games that can't really compete in the sea of choices people have in modern gaming. Just look how many games reduce any sort of grindy or hardcore mechanics they had in an attempt to appeal to a wider, modern audience instead of just the few people who want and have time for a more hardcore experience.

I saw an interview with one of the high level people involved in the modern Pokemon games who said as much when asked about the complaints of the modern Pokemon games being easier and less grindy and less complicated.

Should modern MMOs always cater to a wider audience than a smaller one? Well, just imagine you were the one bankrolling such an expensive, risky project.

I recall reading the developers of (the ultimately aborted) 'Fallout Online' remarking that Ultima Online's player mechanics were pretty close to what they'd expect from the reality of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I can't find the source of this quote right now, unfortunately. I felt really gratified hearing that, as I'd been trying to explain the savagery of UO[2] in the 2000s to people talking about Rust's gameplay in 2020.

I think it's really interesting to look back at UO's design from a modern perspective. The designers have stated over, and over again[0][1] how absolutely wrong their predictions of player behaviour ended up being. It was such an ambitious, pure, and innocent idea. Its gameplay style may not have stood the test of time, however it was undoubtedly an important learning experience for game design as a whole. I'm tempted to say its a shame that games like UO are a thing of the past. However when I look back at my time playing it, the thing that sticks out the most is how much time and effort was spent just avoiding abuse.

[0] https://www.raphkoster.com/tag/uo/

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFNxJVTJleE

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20050214050928/http://looter.4t....

Minecraft doesn't really hit the "shared world" part in the same way. Most players play alone, or with a small group of friends. There are a couple of Minecraft "anarchy" servers that come close, but playing on one of them is a pretty deliberate decision.

> 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.

It's crazy to think that these people believe themselves to be above making mistakes like this.

Teenage me was so glad to have found Tibia after I ran into a wall trying to play UO from Germany with no CC.

Thus I never got into UO, but randomly came across Tibia. Back then it still ran on the server of the University of Regensburg where the German developers went to uni while creating the game.

The community was so small back then, one of the friends of the developers, acting as community guy, even gave me a little tour around the game, showing me hidden zones where people would train block skill on a bunch of spiders stacked on one tile. Explaining the basic rules how players should behave towards each other as not to come into conflict with "the law", which was players acting as sheriffs.

And it was totally free to play, which blew my mind back then after I didn't get to play UO due to 14 years old me not having a CC.

I started playing this game in 2000 when the player characters looked like Legos. Later the devs got sued because they used the sprites from Ultima 6, and remade the whole UI while adding new 2D sprites.

When un-official servers became a thing I made one with some friends in which we had sprites from SNES and Gameboy Nintendo games, while also adding new mechanics like reviving players and other cool spells.

To play this game you had to use macros, and bots. At some point the majority of the "players" populating the servers were bots.

Fun times.

Tibia was the game of my childhood. As someone mentioned, in Poland Tibia was what WoW was in the US.

I spent half my time playing outside after school and then hunting monsters and making a name for myself in Tibia.

That game - much like many other MMOs back in the days - was great because it wasn't hyper-optimized for endless grinding. It was just another world with very little facilitation mechanics. You had to live it, hunt monsters, make friends and make a name for yourself. Given the huge death penalty in Tibia, your action had weight and dying was very painful - which, combined with very loose anti-PK system, meant you have to watch out to not make enemies for yourself.

I really miss those MMOs from the early days, where the focus was on meeting people and socializing and playing WITH each other, not just NEXT TO each other.

I kinda had this feeling again with Classic WoW launching - with everyone still in the starting zones, the world felt alive, going to dungeons required actually finding some nice people and actually travelling to the dungeon instead of clicking a button. It was great.

I really miss that

Lots of players here apparently. Let me share a cool YouTube channel with oldschool Tibia videos for a trip down memory lane:


There are still nearly 800 OpenTibia game servers available:


Remind me of Everquest which started in 1999. It has similarly been updated to death over the years and is now free to play.

However I still get me ‘classic’ fix through Project 1999 and The Al’Kabor project (for varying definitions of ‘classic’).

I wasted countless hours when I was young playing Tibia with my brother and father. It was a brutal game for children. Spending two weeks gaining 2 levels and then losing them when the Internet broke or another player killed you.

I played Ragnarok Online in 200x .. no other game ever came close in complexity and in-game features. It's a wonder what 70k lines of pure C code can do. Server software leaked early on, so the most interesting part was feverishly studying it, looking for exploitable bugs. And there were a lot .. :)

Later all EU servers were shut down thanks to GDRP.

Oh wow, I haven't thought of Tibia in years. I used to play it with a few friends. I was always interested in code but never touched the LUA side of Tibia, whereas my friend who was very much not into code dived head first into it and ran some servers for us.

A friend who went to college with me says Tibia was his first programming experience. He says he used to write scripts for it. As others have mentioned, lots of my friends here in Brazil played Tibia.

Same here. Touched C++ and Lua for the first time as a kid when I customized an open tibia server.

Not to take away from Tibia, which I've never heard of, but I was playing Marches of Antan on the UCSD system via Telnet back in the early 90's. So longest running might be a stretch.

Wouldn't that qualify as a MUD more than an MMO?

Anyone played http://www.medievia.com/ ? It started in 1991 and is still going strong.

I hadn't heard of it before, but it looks a bit like Clan Lord, which I played in 1998.

Hardly the oldest. Doesn't anyone remember FEDERATION or FED2 from 1988?

EverQuest lit the torch for MMORPGs, nothing really compares https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest

EQ was my first mmorpg too, but i got banned in 2008 for botting. Come 2018 or something I learned of PEQ which is a eq emu server allowing unlimited macro assisted botting- so this server is basically a guild emu at this stage. You run 54 bots and solo raid content. VERY MUCH FUN PROGRAMMING


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