Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Game Review #5: Tibia

One of the oldest MMORPG's on the planet, Tibia is still alive and kicking today. Made in 1997, Tibia is a 2d MMORPG created by Cipsoft GmbH. It is still pulling it's own weight even after the explosion of 3d games for the past 10 years. So what can you expect getting into Tibia? Let's take a look...

My screenshots glitch with fraps. Curse you!

CipSoft was founded by four men in Germany back in 1997, though the game was in very early closed beta development during late 1995/early 1996. The game can be described as a sandbox RPG, because you can do whatever you want whenever you want wherever you with nearly no restriction. The world is your oyster. Of course having levels on your back certainly helps! So first let me describe the leveling and skill system in the game. 

To be brutally honest upfront, if you do not like grinding RPG's (games where you level through killing monsters rather than quests) you're best disregarding the game now, because that's how the game functions. The idea is to hunt certain locations to level up, rather than do quests. I wouldn't say the leveling is hard in tibia, you gain a level in about an hour until about level 40. Being premium greatly increases leveling rate aswell. Each level, depending vocation, gives you 5-15 health and/or mana. I'll give you guys an example with a picture of my character :).

Level 123 Elite Knight with end-game tanking items. My normal shield isn't on!

The game uses a square-by-square movement system, rather than 3d movement in the 9 directions. The skill system in the game consists of the following: magic level, fist fighting, club fighting, sword fighting, axe fighting, distance fighting, shielding and fishing. All melee weapon training increase at the same rate. Knights gain significantly faster training to their melee weapons than other. Paladins are the games distance fighters (strangely enough seeing as they're 'paladins'). Druids are the games healers, but are just as strong as a sorcerer for the most part. Sorcerers are kind of like the low survivability but heavy damage/AoE (Area of Effect) damagers. Higher skills will give you much better average damages (this applies to magic level aswell). The games melee fights consist of no animation, which often deters player's interests. Instead, you and the monster attack every 2 seconds, and depending on your Armor and Defense value will decide if you hit, miss, be blocked, or be armor hit. Think of the fight mechanics as "to hit" rolls in dungeons and dragons. Magic users though have fairly nice looking spells at their disposal, but they mainly rely on wands and rods at lower levels.

Another aspect of the game is the use of their outfit systems. You do not see other players armors on their bodies, nor can you inspect them. This is because on PvP and enforced PvP servers, players would simply murder players who have good armor, because there is a certain percentage that you can drop your backpack and a piece of gear on you (which is heavily criticized). So anyway, there are several outfits acquired throughout the game. If you are a free account player, you may get up to 5 of them. If you are premium however there are much, much more. 

 Some examples of outfits, you can change the colors to anything you want.

 The community in Tibia may be one of it's worst components however. Because the game actually respects keeping rarity of items, in correlation to how much gold it costs to do a successful hunt, players are almost never going to help you in a financial situation. There is a large element of greed to the game, basically. That is why I am going to say, if you are going to play this game, play it with friends because unless you get a strong friendly guild, you won't have any for a long time. Low level players are quite discriminated in terms of trustworthiness, and higher levels will find it amusing to try and get you killed.  Another downside to the game is their death penalty. If you die in Tibia, depending on your level and blessings, you will lose a set amount of experience and items (generally, it is 2% max exp loss, which at level 100+ is devastating). Though recently, patches have been making the death loss MUCH lower. And of course, the grinding can be quite boring if not tedious. But that's where there is reward. 

One of the more rewarding things about Tibia is it's rarity/loot system. Basically, every game has a certain percentage an item will drop. But in Tibia, there are basically valuable rewards to most mid-endgame monsters. They have extremely low drop rates, so when you loot them you do feel a great sense of accomplishment. This kind of negates the boredom of grinding for some players. For example, let's run a situation with me and a friend of mine. We go down to a place called Demona, where you can hunt Warlocks. Warlocks can drop very very expensive and rare items, but of course Warlocks are extremely deadly and can kill an unskilled player very quickly. So after about one to two hours of hunting, we may walk out of a hunt like this: we spend about 50,000 gold collectively on our hunt, but walk out with... 

Three skulls staffs (30,000 gold)
One ring of the sky (60,000 gold)
One golden armor (20,000 gold)

 That would be considered a fantastic hunt for us, as we would net a 60,000 gold profit overall (after the gold we spent on potions/runes etc).

So now, onto my final rating!

Storyline: 6/10

Should you be expecting to be following a storyline in this game? Yes, and no. Tibia of course has a very large backstory which can be found on their website (www.tibia.com). But when you are actually in-game, not so much. The only time you deal with the storyline is on their quests. Not much else to say, fairly typical of an MMORPG to deter from their plot.

Graphics (for their time): 6/10

 In terms of a 2d games graphics, it looks very good, not much pixelation to their images as the sprites are 64x64. But, because this is 2010, I cannot give this game over a 6. I also cannot criticize them for not going 3d, because if you play this game you will understand how hard it would be to change to 3d. Playing this game is like... playing an online super nintendo game basically. It's for the nostalgic gamer, and the free to play veteran.

Controls: 7.5/10

 The controls of the game are fairly solid, simple four direction movement (though you can side step in the other four directions). All gameplay is on a square-by-square grid, which is fairly simple to navigate, and plays a massive roll in the elements of the game. The controls are responsive, assuming you aren't laggy or have bad internet of course.

Replay Value: 4~8 (6)/10

 This rating can fluctuate between 4 and 8 because, if you like the game of course you can respect it for what it is and play it everyday, and for some you may find you're playing it casually or hardly at all. The more hardcore gamer will be satisfied in the higher levels, whereas the beginning levels can feel like a chore and be quite boring. This all depends on your desire to come back and play!

Price/Where to get it

 The game is free to play! Hooray! There are of course premium features, like better outfits, better hunting areas, quests, monsters, etc. The game does not suffer from a level cap though, which is a HUGE plus. You can infinitely level so there is no maximum, free account or premium. Premium accounts are the same as most mmos, roughly 10-15 dollars a month, country depending.

Final Mark: 6.5/10

While it is a fairly good play from time to time, this isn't really a game where you should play for 20 minutes at a time. Most of the hunting elements require you to hunt for at least 1-2 hours or you may not reap a reward. But, if you are a nostalgic gamer who wants an MMORPG without next gen requirements, this is it. The game isn't crowded, and if you are a role player (people who like to act out literally as they go along) you may really respect this game. Free to play gamer or premium player, both have their ups and downs. A lot of the judgement to this game will also depend on your perspective on 2d gaming. So I leave you with this basic review for you to reflect upon. If anyone needs help in the game, you can reach me on the No-PvP gameworld Pacera, on my knight Lethium. Thanks for reading and enjoy! Here's a video of some mid to high level hunting: Tibia Hunting (2 players)

*I will attach more screenshots in the future. Use http://tibia.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page for any future help.

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  1. 1997? Wow. Square-by-square? Wow.

    I'd get nostalgic if I had ever heard of it before! It doesn't sound too shabby.

  2. I like the art style, too bad it gets boring fast.