Friday, February 19, 2021

Your Goals #12: Mirhadrael: The forgotten art of questing: an attempt to resurrect the old rpg spirit in Amera (Solidera)

~ Contest Winner  ~

                                                 
 
 

It is not unusual to see around Tibia forums and tibian content websites that the rpg in Tibia is dead. Even Cipsoft itself made a joke about it putting a grave for it in Mount Sternum graveyard. Although I agree with that statement in part, we must consider that yes, the game changed a lot, but so did the community. Most players today don’t want to spend the effort in hours of quest lines and puzzles for small reward. The accomplishment of the task isn’t enough anymore. Yet, we still have some ancient tibian souls around that value the rpg spirit and engage in any sort of activity just to enjoy a glimpse of its former glory.

I have always been an enthusiast of the rpg, and dedicated most of my online time treasuring it. But time has passed, and we old rpgers are fewer. In attempt to find and recruit these lost souls, I set up a project: I’d write and execute a quest for the community of Amera (today Solidera) and light the old flame ablaze once more! 

It was back in 2017 that I started to draw the project. I needed a theme, something that everyone knew but could still hold some interest and possible mysteries. Something maybe forgotten, but yet easily accessible and seen by players from every level range. So it came to me the idea of Goblins! Those would be perfect. Now, I’d need a place to build the quest around, and Femor Hills was the perfect location. My first task was to acquire the Lost Cavern, an abandoned mine underneath Femor Hills that would serve me as headquarter to structure the quest. We all have been in that position… wanting a house so bad and having to fight a bid-war to win it. One tense week and many last minute overbids later, I was successful in my first step. The Goblins of Femor Hills would finally be part of something interesting.

The idea of the questline was simple: there should be a background story behind the goblins and Femor Hills and hints to awake the player’s curiosity and instigate them to go after more information. For personal reasons, I won’t reveal the full content here. But back in 2017, the floor reset mechanic was different. The whole area in front of the Lost Cavern wouldn’t reset, even after save server. So I decided to build something to call the attention of players walking by the Narrow Passage, near Kazordoon: a shrine. It would hold a broken sword with a parchment explaining what was it about. It would house the shards of The Foolmaker, the nasty goblin blade used by Mizmexx, the goblin tyrant, who was defeated in battle by the Ancient Goblin Clans and Mirhadrael (myself). That’s how the plot would unveil, giving hints for players to search for my character for more information. 


This happened in the end of 2017. For my utterly sadness, by that time, Cipsoft announced server merges for 2018 and, among them, was Amera. That made me put my plans on hold to think about it. I still had lines of the quest do write, characters to create and level. All of that would be pointless if I didn’t own the Lost Cavern. I started to save gold for a future new bidding war: the merged servers get all houses empty. I knew that if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t stand great chances with the influx of dozens of high levels from two other servers looking for big houses. For 4 months I farmed what I could and in April 19th, 2018, the merge came. Before the save server, some of the fewer Amerans onlineby that time  gathered in Thais’ depot for a last goodbye, hoping that the new world could bring something positive.

It was done. Amera was no more, and Solidera was born. I should start back and focused on renting the Lost Cavern, otherwise, my project would be jeopardized. The new community was very different, many old Amerans decided to transfer away for safer NA worlds since the new teams coming from Zanera and Silvera were known to be not very friendly toward neutral players or English speaking guilds. That added another problem to me: would this new community be interested in RPG? Amera was an old server with many old players that accepted RPG with open arms, but I wasn’t sure about the new Solidera community. Nevertheless, I stopped thinking about that for a while to win my bidding war.


One week later and over 10 million gold pieces spent, I succeeded and got the abandoned mine again! That was a relief… I wouldn’t need to change plots or ideas, the project could proceed! I rebuild the Foolmaker’s shrine and continued to develop the quest. One of the ideas was that players would have multiple paths to follow, and at a certain point the quest would develop by itself, depending on the player’s choice. Some parts would have to be improvised by me during the execution, so I spend some time making notes for possible outcomes. That was exciting. 

The first month in the new server wasn’t very active in terms of public chat, the places I usually use to contact community. Took me a while to realize, but English was now kind of a barrier in the new community. Zanera and Silvera were servers populated by Spanish speaking players, many without English skills. I was in a complicated situation: should I continue the original project or should I restart it in a bilingual-way? That would give me a lot of work since my Spanish grammar is horrible. I decided to proceed with the original only-English idea, as it is in whole Tibia, hoping that it wouldn’t stop players interested on it.

Time passed by, day by day I’d check the shrine and fix it if needed (even though the floor wouldn’t reset, some players would pass by and trash it on purpose). Yet, nobody demonstrated interest in the shrine by looking for my character. I couldn’t spoil the quest in public chats, that would destroy the purpose. I decided to be patient and wait. Meanwhile, I would continue to develop the lore.

Over ten months passed and I started to get frustrated. It seemed that the new community wasn’t actually rpg-biased. I knew this could happen, but I thought I could find some lost souls around and have some fun rpging around. I was frustrated, but didn’t give up. I continued keeping the shrine day by day and standing around Kazordoon and Femor Hills most of the time in case someone showed up. 


Things didn’t work as I planned. I blame myself in part, perhaps I shouldn’t have structured the quest in such old school way so others could be interested. Seventeen months after the merge of Amera/Zanera/Silvera, the final nail to my project’s coffin was presented by Cipsoft. In September  17th, 2019, a new floor reset mechanism was implemented to fight the overlittering around map that was causing FPS issues in the game. Don’t get me wrong, that was a good thing for the game overall, but it killed the shrine idea. I could no longer rebuild it several times a day, it was too much work and I wasn’t so excited anymore to keep it going or bring new ideas to make it work. 

The quest itself didn’t work as I planned. Yet, I got some interesting situations over the two years it was around that put a smile in my face and granted me enough fun to keep the project alive for such a long time, despite the evident lack of interest of the majority of the community. Some players did saw the shrine and left messages or interacted in an unexpected way, like the little level 10 that once stood in front of my house dressed in green for almost 2 hours saying he was the guardian of the shrine and defender of the goblin blade’s shards. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any screen shot of that brave young adventurer. I wrote a small side quest for him just to grant him a reward for all the joy he brought to my old heart: the hidden ancient goblin treasure. Here is the place where he would eventually find it:

The Ancient Goblin treasure cave.jpg

Other players, like I mentioned, found the shrine and left written messages, like good old school boys. I keep those until today in my library inside the Lost Cavern. Those are precious treasures, proof that even though my original idea failed, the outcome of it was reward enough for an rpger, proof that rpg is around, we just need to poke it.



Yes, my friends. The history behind the Foolmaker, Mizmexx and the Ancient Goblin Clans was not unveiled. Femor Hills and its goblins are still there. I am still guarding the Hills, hoarding tales and treasures inside it, ruling over the Goblins, waiting for the day to start another project, a better version perhaps, who knows? One thing I learned during all this time: Tibia is a wonderful game, full of potential and playable in so many different ways that you may probably have your own style. Share it with your friends, interact, have fun the way you like. You may be surprised. 

The End
Mirhadrael, Lorekeeper and Headmaster of the Drael Order, King of Goblins under the Mountain and Sovereign of Fibula Island


4 comments:

  1. What a nice story. Too bad nobody did the quest, maybe one day! Goodluck dude

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  2. Nice! Congratulations for the win

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  3. I got so sad reading it :( I am glad you had joy making the quest though

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  4. I liked the story a lot, but I got sad too, if I had more time I would try to investigate the quest myself maybe in the future I'll do it. Congratulations for winning

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