|nother twelve months have passed. Again, the expiring year was full of exciting moments. Many things in Tibia have changed, a lot of new features were brought to the game and, last but not least, several unique community events took place. Same as last time, the final featured article of the year is going to provide an overview of the most remarkable Tibia events in 2009. Take a seat, fasten your seatbelt - we are going to embark on a little time journey with you!
January started out with a meaningful incident which had far-reaching consequences on all upcoming debates about cheating and botting. Our featured article "Where Will Cheaters Go From Here?" sparked off a burst of enthusiasm within the community. Right after its publication it raised many hopes for harsh punishments against cheaters right up to instant deletions of their accounts.
We promised to take actions against cheaters, but deliberately and with caution. Until the present day, our automatic detection tool has excluded 51,492 accounts of cheaters from the game. More than 3,500 of them have been permanently deleted so far.
In February and March, we invited the community to submit suggestions for new backpacks that should be introduced to the game, and to vote for their favourite designs. More than 20.000 players took part in the poll and made their choices. In the end, the demon backpack received by far the most votes - moon backpack and crown backpack came second and third. As promised, we implemented your favourite backpacks later with the summer update.
The upcoming spring patch brought along several important changes: the death penalty was decreased, blessings were altered and the amount of stamina was lowered. Furthermore, creatures became truly invisible and a short 2 second delay was implemented to handle the stairhopping issue and to better balance fights between monsters and players.
Many of you will be certainly heavy-hearted when looking back on the day Erig.net closed its doors. Erig.net was one of the most popular fansites at that time, and even today, it seems, it is still sadly missed.
The Easter bunny brought along CM Ogrey to CipSoft who joined the community management department in April. Mirade and Rejana decided that moderating his very own news discussion thread "Welcome Our New Team Members" might be a good way to get to know the community, and vice versa. A couple of weeks later he already felt prepared to take over bigger tasks. Today, you can get in touch with Ogrey particularly on the discussion board and the event board.
Also in April, we started to experiment with a new form of discussion thread called "developer notes", or "dev notes" in short. Dev notes are supposed to give you a better insight into things we are currently discussing and working on. Besides, they are a way to give us feedback at an earlier development stage when significant changes can still be made. The first two dev notes dealt with the black skull and Non-PvP zones on PvP worlds. While the black skull was introduced at a later stage, Non-PvP zones were not. In the end, the community's feedback provided in the corresponding dev note thread and on a subsequent poll made us rethink our concept of that feature and we decided not to continue working on it.
While the dev notes were running, our fansites went through a reevaluation process in order to find out how they had evolved during the last months. Four fansites were finally awarded the newly introduced promoted status. Shortly afterwards, several further sites joined the programme and started out as supported fansites. At this point, our fansite programme gained momentum. Until now, it has run up to 24 participating sites in total which mirrors the amazing commitment and dedication in our community. Thanks a lot to the fansite admins and their helpers for all your efforts!
May turned out to become a truly hot month. When we announced serious PvP changes to come with the summer update in July, heated discussions about the skull system, wars and the use of the exiva spell were kicked off. Threads quickly grew to 60 pages and more. Comments were highly loaded with emotion. Also among CipSoft members several passionate in-depth discussions sparked off before any final decisions on the actual changes were made at all.
In the same month, we published the results of our feedback form "Your Feedback about Tibia and CipSoft" in the news section. According to the community's evaluation, our communication on the internet achieved pretty good results and improved a lot compared to 2008. The overall results, however, also showed us where many of you expect us to make things better. Appropriate internal measures were taken soon after.
Towards the end of May, a marketing campaign called "premium surprise week" was started. Free account players were given premium status for 7 days to let them gain first-hand insight into premium account advantages. Among players, this campaign resulted in joy and trouble alike. We had really got our hands full on the boards from the first day on.
Discovering that Tibians love soccer - or football, as you prefer - made us finally overcome the ups and downs of the passed weeks and put us in the right mood for the upcoming summer months.
Whole June was dedicated to the preparations for the summer update. In the teasers we unveiled a lot of new content - a revamp of Carlin, new hunting grounds, new quests and hunting tasks, marriages, the evil medusa and many more - as well as a couple of new features like the expanded skull system and the server log channel. All this was introduced with the summer update which we had released on the first day of July.
Later that month, we started out with a new kind of discussion thread called "topic talk". Every now and then, a topic talk thread was created by community managers in which community-related themes were put up for discussion. So far, players talked about the power of Tibia to connect friends and about the making of social happenings ingame. Those topic talks usually are a fertile soil for having little chats about precious Tibia moments that are worth being remembered.
In August, players were able to approach NPC Jean-Pierre and to become his apprentices. He is a true chef de cuisine and loved to prepare amazing meals with his students. Jean-Pierre already announced that he will return to Tibia next year, so remember to get your ingredients together in time!
Except for meeting Jean-Pierre, August did not bring along so many outstanding moments, nor did September in our view. Summer months are not called "silly season" for no reason, are they? So let us quickly take a leap to a month full of utterly remarkable events...
Right in the beginning of October, a normally harmless client fix failed and caused several unexpected client crashes. Some players even suffered character deaths and lost items or blessings. We made short work of this unpleasant situation and compensated all players that were provably affected by it with 7 days of premium time.
Our official resellers network was launched later this month. Official resellers offer secure and reliable alternatives to buy premium time from our own website, and they might even hold some additional benefits ready for players in the future. Every reseller is a hand-selected professional partner, so the expansion of our network is going on with great consideration in order to make sure that the best possible service is provided to our players.
Everybody who ever wanted to create an own message of the day and to present it to the community upon login was able to do so in October. Within a couple of days only, more than 300 messages were submitted by creative writers. In the end, eleven of these messages had been selected by community managers and used as player-made messages of the day later in November.
As Halloween approached, everybody was waiting for the wicked Halloween Hare to appear - but no sign of life at all! Attentive observers finally found it sleeping and snoring in a pile of leaves. It overslept Halloween, can you believe this?! A little late though, it did not miss its chance to haunt our players on Rookgaard and mainland.
Finally, in November, the eagerly awaited autumn patch was released. It brought along three huge features which paved the way for Tibia to become more fun for everyone: with the introduction of the re-aligned world types, every Tibia player is now able to choose a game world that suits him most with regards to safety and player combat. A war system allows guilds to wage war against each other without being at risk of drawing other players into it unintentionally. Last but not least, the character world transfer provides an opportunity to switch game worlds and to go on playing a character as part of a new community.
Shortly after the patch release, the Lightbearer Event took off, a huge ingame spectacle which asked entire game world communities to team up and to work together for 96 hours. Only 19 game worlds achieved victory and fought back the evil forces that threatened the lands of Tibia. Just as passionately most players strived for victory during the event, equally great was their disappointment afterwards when they received their rewards. The change of mood was striking and kept us busy on the boards for more than a week. It also caused us to reevaluate the whole event design in order to make things better next year.
Apropos next year, what is lying ahead of us? The Christmas update is just around the corner and some fresh new content almost ready to be released. This will probably be the final highlight in 2009.
Apart from that, work on our new Tibia Flash client progresses. As already mentioned in the featured article "Chatting with our Lead Programmer", this project will still take a pretty long time, so we are not sure yet when first results can be presented to the community. In the meantime, however, the technical and conceptual basis of ingame events will be discussed in order to find a solution for making them more interesting and more rewarding for players. Furthermore, some new features are planned to be added to the war system. The rule enforcement is further analysed and reevaluated to improve its effectiveness. Also, after having activated the first paid extra service called character world transfer, other services are supposed to be implemented in the future. In addition, new tools will be made available to our official resellers to let them expand their services and to simplify the process of buying premium time from them.
Same as last year, we do not want to miss the opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for your interest in Tibia, your dedication to the game, your support and patience. Thank you for being a part of the Tibian community and contributing to its development and diversity. Your feedback was, is and will always be important and helpful to us.
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