Sunday, July 25, 2021

Tibia as a game made of people: relations and friendships in Tibia



I
s there any other MMORPG where the relations between people are as important as they are in Tibia? We are all gamers and all of us have played different games than Tibia but there surely is a reason linewhy it is the game we always come back to and have the strongest feelings about. There is no doubt that Tibia is a game made of people.

Would I be extra saying that none of us would play Tibia if it was made of monsters and NPCs, only? Sure, we could go on solo hunts, we could continue making quests. Then, Tibia could be played without the internet. Can you imagine it? Now, how many people would actually enjoy it that way? Think of the times when we welcome our old friends back to Tibia. We always hear the same sentence that I believe most of us have heard: "It's not that I missed playing but I really miss my friends". When I think of the times I played Tibia the most and the peak of my addiction to the game, I always remember missing my friends and wanting to hang out with them, rather than feeling the need to take a level. 

I personally think that the popular slogan that "Tibia is not what it used to be" is not only the responsibility of CipSoft and the changes they introduced but the gamers themselves. We made Tibia great for ourselves back in the days. We were all much younger, had much more time to play and we were all more joyful, as kids are, willing to experience the new and having new adventures. Maybe it is just us who changed? 

Does it all sound interesting to you? Sit comfortably with a tea or a drink and let me take you on the journey within Tibian minds! 


I. How significant Tibia relations are for us?

I held a survey on my social media and according to the results,  62 people out of 99 (63%) voted that there is no point to play Tibia with no friends at all.  37% of them, however, are of an opinion that it's still fun to play the game alone. 

Before I elaborate on the reasons why Tibian relations are so important for us, it's worth discussing how important they actually are. 

Some tibian relations are strictly game-based, however, some of them escalate into strong internet friendships which sometimes evolve into real-life ones. 60% of the survey respondents met their tibian friends in real life which is a positive message for us saying that a great deal of tibian relations are rather personality-based rather than have their fundament in the game only.

Another case that speaks for tibian friendships being important for us is the answer to the question I enquired our respondents. Namely, I asked them if they felt bad when they argued with their tibian friend. To our surprise, 78% of them claimed to be upset and sad the whole day, in contrast to the remaining 22% only, who claimed that their friends were just people from a game. What follows, according to another response, 74% of them are eager to talk issues out in case of arguments in order to solve the problem, rather than move on and find another friend (10%). 

On the other hand, 17% of the respondents wouldn't give up the relation as well, but pretend that nothing happened, even in case of a problem. That could be an attempt to avoid 'drama' or they could simply want to let it slip, let the emotions coll down, and deal with the problem peacefully later. The way I gave our respondents the third option, of not talking to their friend again, was asked in a quite cold-hearted manner. I added a line 'There's other fish in the sea' to find out whether people could possibly treat their tibian friends rather episodically, with a conviction that friends come and go and everyone can be replaced.  



II. Types of Tibian friendships and relations


Regardless of the many similarities to the real world which we can find in Tibia, we have to remember the fact that it still is a game that focuses on progress and competition among players. Not only do we need to focus on making our characters stronger, becoming better players but the way Tibia works as an MMORPG, forces us to also be strategical if it comes to relations with other people. Some of the friendships begun in Tibia create beautiful bonds that last a lifetime. What is more, some of them even led to real-life marriages! However, the others originate strictly from the interests we have inside of the game.

In order to have an idea of how tibian relations are created, I asked the community how they met their friends. I gave them 4 options which I think are the most common in today's Tibia and I will elaborate on them in the further paragraphs. For now, let us analyze their responses. 42% of them said that they met their friends while hunting together. That could mean they met via the advertise channel in Tibia (e.g. 'looking for an EK!' etc.). That allows us to think that most Tibian relations have their base in a mutual gaming style. However, not many fewer responded that they met their tibian friends in protection zones - places that do not have a lot to do with playing the game. I think we cal all agree with the fact that spending a lot of time in depot results from our love t chatting and meeting new people. Such friendships I would define as those as personality-based. They do not have their fundament in playing together but results from the meeting of two people who start talking and turn out to vibe well together and continue their relationship. The third option from the left has the word 'so' in there on purpose. 'We are at the same war side so we are friends'. Those friendships could be defined as political-based - two people having the same in-game goal so they end up working on it together. Both of them are dependent on each other so the relation shall be filled with support and common respect but little does it have to do with an emotional bond, at least not until they start talking about different issues than their in-game goal. The last option from the right is the least popular as the percentage of fansite admins and other content creators is still very low comparing to the rest of the players.

What may be found interesting, I asked the players a similar question but this time I asked what relations they think are the most popular in Tibia. I skipped the fansite part because it wasn't as popular as the other, though. Most of the respondents claim that the most popular relations are personality-based whereas they responded that most of them made friends with their hunting buddies and such relations are rather connected with gaming style. In contrast, gaming-style-based relationships take second place if it comes to their popularity, according to the respondents. What can that mean? Perhaps, they answered the second question as they wished it was in Tibia when really it's different? I would definitely head towards the statement that most relations in Tibia do derive from the same gaming style which later on, of course, becomes personality-based if two sides discuss more personal matters while staying on the same spawn for hours.

Let us have a closer look at the relation types I mentioned above.


1. Relations and friendships politics based 

Tibia may be seen as a great reflection of real life. And, as in real life, there is also a little bit of politics in Tibia. Wait. Did I say a little bit? Tibia is literally all based on politics. Who owns the server? Who has the right to take your spawn? Who can force you to leave the server? Who is it worth sticking up with? Those questions are the very reason for all the Tibian wars. It is no news that some relations in Tibia are based on respect towards the powerful ones. You don't have to be nice to them but that may not serve you in your further gameplay so why not make friends with them just as well! It's good to also take a look at the friendships inside the fighting guilds. Most of these players get along and like each other due to having the same goal and fighting the same enemy. How powerful are such bonds, though? Well, they may break once the players decide to switch sides. Such friends may become enemies in a heartbeat and there is no one to blame. It's politics!
Our survey respondents have been asked whether they agree that players from dominant guilds have it easier to make friends in Tibia. The answers are pretty much 50/50. They also have very various opinions on high leveled players being more likely to make friends easier.
According to those results, only approximately 50% of players agree that political relations in Tibia are very frequent. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that some of the Tibian friendships do find their background in the political aspect

2. Relations and friendships vocation & gameplay based

Those friendships usually originate from the trade or guild channels, TeamSpeak, or mutual friends. When the bonus experience for being in a party with 3 different vocations has been introduced to the game, people started looking for perfect team members. Those had to be as high level as them, have as much time as them, and be able to play at the same time within the day. Who knows if we got to talk with so many people in Tibia if it wasn't for the party factor? Those friendships tend to get stronger because if you're an active player, you want to get rid of your bonus stamina daily. This means that you are committed to staying with the same people in a ts/discord channel for at least 2 hours every single day. You are talking to them, making jokes, and getting to know each other more and more. Such friendships may develop into very strong bonds but some of them may last only as long as both friends are willing to hunt!

Apart from hunting, we tend to have friends with the same in-game interests as us. If you're interested in PVP you will most likely make friends with people who like it, as well. If you like achievements, you will surely meet a lot of people as committed as you. It is always more fun to quest and do the RPG stuff together! If you're interested in house decoration, you and your friends will spend hours in one of your houses trying to create something cool.

3. Relations and friendships fansite/content creation based

Those mostly are started out of the game but the game itself has a great impact on them. The Tibian YouTubers community as well as the Tibia Fansites community has grown a lot throughout the recent years. The number of fansites is continuously increasing and what follows is that more and more people decide to write or talk about their passion for Tibia. Some YouTubers become partnered with each other or other fansites just like some fansites become partnered with each other. As the major topic of conversations between those is their content, the contests, and the support they have to offer to one another, those friendships aren't very personal although they have an 'unwritten contract' to remain loyal to one another. Therefore those are also slightly political.

4. Relations and friendships personality-based 

And finally, personality-based relations are those which either originated in protection zones or out of the game or evolved from politics-based, gameplay style based or fansite/content creation-based relations. Personality-based relations are those that take place after we have actually opened up to the other person. We have the same interests, the same points of view and begin to feel attached to one another which results in a great deal of support and understanding. Such friendships are hard to find but they're also difficult to fall apart. 


III. Friendships and relations according to both genders approach

After having asked for a newsticker for our article on friendships between girls, where I stated that girls are more eager to make friends with boys than with other girls, the CM Rejana suggested to us what could be the reason for that. Her thoughts on the issue gave us an idea to expand this section with the paragraph and to analyze community opinions in this matter. 

I decided to ask both genders separately who they make friends easier with. If it came to the boys, the votes were completely 50/50 as if it doesn't matter for them at all. In contrast, the votes among the girls are 10,5% to 89,5% which vary a lot. Clearly then, girls make friends with boys more frequently than with other girls. What could be the reason for that?

The first thought that comes to our minds is the obvious fact that there are many more boys in Tibia than girls. We could end our assumptions here for this fact is commonly known and can not be argued about. However, is this the only reason?

According to the chart below, 38,2% of the survey respondents believe that the higher number of boys in the game is the exact reason why there are so few friendships between the girls and so many between girls and boys. 57.3% however, believe that regardless that reason is true, it isn't the only one. 

Why is it like this, then? The second reason that came to our mind was that girls are more competitive by their nature so they could feel less comfortable among each other. However, are boys not? The survey results speak for the fact that both genders are equally competitive according to the community.

If competitivity also isn't the case, I decided to ask the players about concrete reasons that were the most common things I've heard within my 15 years long journey in Tibia:

1. more interests in common
2. loyalty
3. girls/boys being more fun
4. less negativity (drama) among boys/girls





According to the charts, the few girls who said that they make friends with other girls easier than with boys (10,5%), claim that friendships with girls are less negative (less drama or stress). They also claim that girls tend to be more loyal and they simply have more interests in common. That sounds reasonable as they probably simply get along with girls more due to similar vibe and other stress-free factors. Now, the girls who claimed that they prefer being friends with boys (89,5%) are quite consistent that relations with boys are usually less negative and drama-free. A great deal of them is also of an opinion that they have more interests in common with the boys and boys are more fun to be around. Minding the fact that almost 90% of the questioned girls claim they more frequently make friends with males, the fact that they have more interests in common with them makes a lot of sense. Namely, I would risk saying that gaming is much more popular among the boys in general so perhaps playing game belong to more 'boyish' hobbies. It is usually boys as children who play wars, shooting guns, or fight each other and since gaming usually does a lot with violence (killing monsters or other players) such interests are more likely among the men. 
Therefore, I would definitely go for the thesis that girl gamers have similar personalities to boys and that leads to them getting along very well with each other. That is also the case if we take a look at the upper right chart which says that 40% of men make friends with girls due to the exact same reason connected with similar interests. Of course, other boys and other girls who play Tibia also like gaming so the same hobby isn't the main reason why they get along so well so there obviously are also other personal and more individual reasons for such friendships. Nonetheless, 88.8% of players agree that intergender friendships are more frequent in Tibia.

IV. Falling apart

As proven above, tibian friendships mean a lot to us and a lot of us are willing to make effort to make them last as long as possible. That may be for the reason that 83% of the respondents claim that finding trustworthy friends in Tibia isn't the easiest thing to do. 

What's more, 77% of the respondents admit that they've lost their tibian friends and only 23% of them claim that they kept their friendships alive for years. 

Analyzing the results of the last chart, we can come to the conclusion that most of the tibian friendships end because both sides stopped talking. That could result from one of them going retired or, depending on the type of their friendship, losing interest in the things they friendship based on. The second most common reason is lack of loyalty which is also very common in real life. The third reason with just 10% votes was jealousy which may happen in a game due to competition, and the least-voted answer was switching sides at war.



V. Summary

Having analyzed the survey held among over 200 Tibians who agreed to vote, we can rest assured that tibian relations play a great part in our experience in Tibia, overall. We do strive to have close friends whom we can trust and we want to keep those friendships going. We may get emotional when our relations are threatened to fall apart and most of us feel upset after the argument with our friend.

Society plays a significant part in our real lives but it also does in tibia where a great number of us spent half of our lives. No matter if we're extraverted, or introverted, we like to surround ourselves with the right people, whether those are special individuals or large groups of them. 

Social life is important in Tibia and without it, the game wouldn't have its unique spirit. Tibia is a game of people.


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Thank you to everyone who contributed by voting!
Divine'Angel 
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See all the survey results here.

2 comments:

  1. Very good job analyzing the tibian community, there are interests and actions that ppl don't understand about tibians and this can help a lot to understand it. ūüėĀ

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  2. I really love this article. Tibian community differs from other MMORPGs and other games. Divine'Angel made a very important point about "Tibia changes" - I totally agree with her, that it is US who change. We are getting older and not all friendships can last - mostly due to real life responsibilities. Very good job!

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