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A lot of people judge this game too quickly, and that's a real big pity. I've already tried to tell people why Tibia is such a good game, but with little success. A lot of people are stubborn and are not willing to give this game a try.
CipSoft just wrote a nice article about the strengths of this game, I highly recommend you to read it. Enjoy!
"Most adventurers cleared the Rookgaard sewers, many climbed the dark natural tower in Shadowthorn, some received the kiss of the Queen of the Banshees, and a few mastered the Pits of Inferno. No matter where you go, be it city or dungeon, the certain flavour that makes up Tibia is with you.
What is this flavour though? What is the unique style that sets Tibia apart from other games? Of course, the reason to play Tibia can be something very different for the various players. However, there are certain cornerstones and key elements that are characteristic for Tibia.
A feature like the ability to physically block something with your character ingame seems simple. Many people will not even think about it twice, but in fact it has a tremendous influence on the gameplay and the feeling of the game. It does matter that you are there. If you stand on a certain point, neither another player nor a creature can walk on this spot. So if you want to go where another character is already standing, you have to interact with the other player as you cannot simply run through each other. You can use your character to shield a buddy from an attacking monster, you can push others and you can be pushed. Interaction is enforced, where people in games with a collision free environment would simply run through each other. The fact that you cannot simply do this in Tibia, changes the gaming experience dramatically.
Another feature that is easily overlooked is the tile-based structure of Tibia. Even though the environment in Tibia might feel less seamless than in games that do not depend on grids, the structure helps to get a grasp of the Tibia world and certain effects more easily. For example, a great advantage is that there is no uncertainty if something will be covered by an area spell. For example, you know exactly which 9 tiles will be affected if you use a firebomb rune.
Less technical is the aspect of the death penalty. Like it or not, it has become an accepted and major fact in Tibia that the death of a character has serious consequences. Over the years, the penalty was changed several times, always in favour of the players (in the first version, characters were deleted when they died!). Still, even today, death is a significant and extremely unpleasant event in Tibia which paradoxically enhances the gaming experience even if it might not be obvious. Success matters much more if a possible failure has consequences. Imagine the annihilator in a world without a death penalty. It would only be a question of time to complete this quest and there would be nothing left of the dangerous challenge it poses today. Facing a new boss monster would be by far less daring if you could not lose anything upon a possible death. There cannot be heroes in a land without a challenge!
Of course, the death of friends or your own character adds some drama to the game which certainly heightens the thrill, yet the experience is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, a game with a significant death penalty is more likely to find players quitting because of very strong emotional moments and the imminent frustration over the consequences of a character death. On the other hand, playing a game where death has none or only little consequences ultimately leads to the abandonment of the game due to plain boredom.
Ironically, even the frustration about being killed and losing something provides another positive effect on the long-term gaming experience. On PvP enabled game worlds, where characters can be killed by other players, it is actually in your hands to give a setback to other players and of course the other way around. This puts a strong emphasis on interaction, guilds and diplomatic skills of the players - things that are the blood and breath of any community.
In contrast to the death penalty where you lose much of your experience and your skill points, you can also obtain unlimited power in Tibia. Differing from most online games, Tibia has no level or skill cap. This way you are able to create a character of immense power. You will never reach the end of the game as it simply has no end. Also, you will always have characters beside you, who might try to overtake you on your way to the next levels. This makes Tibia a never-ending competition, a fact that surely adds to the excitement of the game.
Also, having one of the highest levels or skills on a game world, makes a character famous in the community. Such popularity does surely influence your gameplay as many more players will message you asking about items, protection or help with player killers. The higher your level, the more power you have over other players which can be used positively, e.g. you can help to settle arguments between players of lower levels, or negatively, e.g. you can force another player out of a hunting ground. So being able to level without limit surely has a great influence on the gameplay of most Tibia players.
We have heard several times now, that many Tibia features lead to an important factor of the game play: interaction. Why has interaction such a great influence on the gameplay? Only if you interact with each other, certain phenomenons will occur. In a world where you can live beside each other without any form of interaction, people would not talk with each other so there would also be no news that could be spread. It is next to impossible to gain prominence or notoriety to more than a small circle of friends if nobody hears about you. In fact, chances are that you could play the game without anyone truly noticing your existence at all. Heroes and nemeses arise only through interaction, not through indifference.
Another unique feature that supports interaction a great deal is Tibia's chat system. Hardly any other MMORPG has a system that is so easy and intuitive to use. Almost always you will find other players in the game chat to talk to about a wide range of themes.
There are several additional elements that influence the game experience in Tibia. First of all, the comic style of the Tibia graphics does not lean towards dark and brooding themes. Of course not everything is fine and dandy in a fantasy world but the Tibia graphics do not create a dark and moody atmosphere for your gameplay.
Another point that can be easily overlooked is the simple fact that Tibia does not take itself too seriously. There is a funny undertone in numerous components of the game. Be it books, NPCs, monsters speech or even objects and areas, many of them have a humorous element. Tibia is intended to be fun. For this reason you find funny things all over Tibia. If you are anxious to explore that part of Tibia you are welcome to talk to NPCs about various topics, read the books and signs. Keep your eyes open and you will find jokes and allusions almost everywhere in Tibia.
Funny elements or other background information about the Tibian world are features that affect the gameplay of the individual players in different ways. In fact the player himself decides how deep he wants to dive into the mythology and tales about Tibia and how far his gameplay is affected by it. Tibia has room for both player types as most quests do not truly require you to have in-depth knowledge to complete them. For role players there are hints and more or less elaborated mythologies and even philosophies of different races, factions, orders and areas. Once discovered and put together like the pieces of a puzzle, they provide a variety of information and a solid base to play with as well as room for own interpretations. People who just want to hunt usually do not care much about why a dragon lives in a certain cave. They enjoy the challenge the dragon provides and the loot and experience points they receive. The explorer might hunt there too, but he knows that he is fighting a dragon that is looking for an artefact in those caves that, unbeknown to it, has rested in the treasure chamber of the dwarven emperor Kruzak for decades. Both players enjoy their very own game experience and this is in fact the most important thing here.
Tibia has many unique game elements that affect the gameplay and make Tibia special. Some of them have a tremendous influence on the gaming experience of all players. Others will only affect the gaming experience if the player allows them to interfere with his adventure. Finally, there is one factor that has by far the greatest influence on your Tibia journey - and this is yourself. Here we reach the point where the path begins to divide for every single Tibia player, where expectations, friends and foes begin to make an increasing difference in the individual gaming experience. Everyone of you has his or her own reasons and incentives to play the game. For all the content and game mechanics we can supply, in the end it is you who make the difference. It is you and your friends that turn your gaming experience into something unique and special. And perhaps you are just the person that enhances the game for someone else to a point where it becomes more than just a game."