Apr 07 2014 -
The Birth of Ferumbras
|itness the first seconds of my eternal world domination! - he says... Well, yes, we will actually do this. There is no better way to get first hand information on the very first seconds of the mighty Ferumbras' world domination than listening to Knightmare, Tibia's old hand. He is in a literal sense a true witness to Ferumbras' first days and appearances in the Tibian world. So, Knightmare tells his story:
The epitome of an evil wizard in Tibia has come a long way. He was a travelling companion in the game's evolution over many years. Ferumbras has his roots in the earliest days of Tibia, in one of his earliest incarnations. He was somewhat a herald of new times and things to come.
In the earliest days, without any magic system, there was not even remotely an option to implement a powerful user-controlled creature into the game. It simply would not have made any sense. However, after the game system was (rather radically) changed, such a creation suddenly became an option. So after the players had grown a bit accustomed to the new system and vocations, the stage was set for the first appearance of the bane of Tibia.
To allow Ferumbras to really feel like a threat to the gathered players, which probably might have been about 50 in relevant levels in these times, he received not only ridiculously boosted stats, but also custom-made runes that granted him more flexibility. For example, he could use these runes to fill up his mana or health completely and he could deal extra damage with them, too. Also, his runes had more charges than those of the players. Of course, he could also summon every creature that had been created for the game in those times.
With this setup, a CipSoft member (though, by then there was no "CipSoft", yet) logged in with Ferumbras and challenged the players via broadcasts. The players took up the chase and after some hard and dire battles they managed to corner the mighty wizard in some remote, nowadays demon-infested area of the map, and eventually killed him in a thrilling fight.
The word spread and soon everyone was talking about Ferumbras, comparing his dangerousness to hordes of monsters and the like - and people wanted more.
Ferumbras was reconfigured taking the previous experience into consideration, and set loose again at few more occasions. Since people got more and more anxious to fight him, and these battles were demanding a bit more of Tibias developing time than intended, I was offered to "take him and have fun", while I was talking with his "controller". Up for the challenge, I decided to wait a few days and to try my luck as the most evil mage of all times.
When I logged in though, I appeared at the temple in Thais. I had not anticipated that. Of course, Ferumbras had been killed in his last fight. He might have lost some levels and skills too, but given his overpoweredness that did not bother me that much.
Luckily, I had chosen a less populated time to log in on the only server in existence in these days. So I could sneak into the depot undetected... and found my locker empty. The artificially levelled wizard had never even set foot into the depot. So there I was, the most powerful being of the server, but penniless and naked.
Well, given Ferumbras' raw power, I considered it possible to gear up quite fast and then teach the players some lessons. So I headed out of town to get some money and basic equipment.
Ferumbras was powerful indeed but without even a rune or a weapon actually quite limited in his options. After I acquired some stuff it became evident that the greatest mage of all times obviously had never bothered to raise any skills but his magic level. Any fight against a more meaningful opponent became a spamming of healing and damage spells. There was no way to even think about getting some really good stuff that way. It became more and more evident that if you only rely on looted meat to restore mana, even the ridiculously high mana pool of Ferumbras would quickly run low.
To make matters worse, some of the few players online had spotted me in the online list by then and issued challenges via messages. Only the low number of players online and their ignorance about my predicament held them back from hunting me down.
I finally figured it would take ages to farm enough gold for a decent number of runes, not to mention to buy enough mana fluids to refill this enormous mana pool even once. And how fast that mana was eventually used up, I had already experienced firsthand. So after some maneuvering in Thais and buying a few runes, I had to accept that my accomplishments would not endure even a short fight. So I decided to give up for now and find another way to harass and terrorize the Tibian population later on - and here I am ;o)
So - well - the most pathetic Ferumbras of all times had logged out once and for all. His next incarnation was a bit more fleshed out and complicated. Actually Ferumbras returned completely invulnerable! Players had to accomplish some RPGish task to make him vulnerable at last. Back then, it worked like this: when the human controller of Ferumbras saw that the conditions had been met and the task was fulfilled, he re-logged and was then on a vulnerable version of Ferumbras. So again, the mighty wizard was defeated. This was the last time, if I remember correctly, that he was active as a user-controlled creature.
We did have his "daughter" Fortinbrae appear for one or two occasions, but somehow she never even remotely acquired the fame that her father had accumulated.
The game evolved, servers were added, and the memory of Ferumbras endured. People kept asking for those events again and again, and specifically asked for the re-appearance of Ferumbras.
By then, I had played the Tibian Santa Claus now and then, and had experienced firsthand how stressful it was to give each of the handful of servers that existed back then the attention they deserved. It always felt like it was too little, regardless of what I did.
With the number of servers growing, logging in as any opponent became less and less an option. Also, in order to make your appearance threatening, you had to use a really overpowered character and actually actively kill some players with it. That just did not feel right, either. The solution then was, of course, the introduction of raids.
Since the earliest days of Tibia, players had asked for some monster invasions and city sieges that would be unpredictable and challenging. The raids that were introduced were a try to adopt that idea into a playable format.
The concept also opened the door for me to introduce special bosses. First I had to gauge to what extent this was possible. With good old Ferumbras in mind, I created an over-the-top creature that would actually become a legend of its own: Orshabaal.
The first try in introducing a mega-monster in the spirit of Ferumbras went quite well. After its first couple of appearances, Orshabaal was considered unbeatable, until certain luring tactics and the use of natural obstacles led to the first glorious victories.
This was proof that it was not only possible to have some kind of "boss" in the game, but that this was also fun and something players had actually wanted since the days Ferumbras had made his first appearance.
So you can say Orshabaal is somewhat Ferumbras' second child.
Meanwhile, the original Ferumbras had been officially referenced to ingame and thus had become a fixed part of Tibia's overall history. Lacking any actual RPG-background, he had retroactively been fit into the growing myths and stories of Tibia that had evolved separately. So the stage seemed set for more, for some kind of glorious return.
Yet, it did not feel right to taint the memory of his attacks by making him yet another rampaging monster that spawned somewhere in the wilds or some old cave. Ferumbras deserved better and a more dramatic re-entrance into the world.
Time passed and we got more experienced and comfortable with creating bosses, and we also had more tools at our disposal. So finally the scourge of Tibia received his own spot in an update schedule.
Instead of sticking to his origin as overpowered user-controlled character, we decided he deserved some more grandeur than some re-coloured wizard outfit. The new Ferumbras should get a unique appearance, more suitable to his legendary status.
Also his fortress was created as his personal staging ground and he got some unique loot to emphasize his impact and significance.
This new incarnation has visited many worlds ever since then, killed many heroes and was often killed by a heroic effort. Of course, with players growing in power and the number of powerful players rising, even a Ferumbras gets old news someday. Other creatures already came to rival him in power and threat, but never in notoriety.
Still, not only the game is evolving but also its challenges. As the power of the players has risen, so has the possibility to create further entertaining and challenging fights with newer tools at our disposal. So what does the future have in store for the oldest known threat to Tibia?
Well, we are, of course, not done yet with the Ferumbras theme. There are still stories to be told about him, his origin, and his agenda. And there are still opportunities to come up with challenging stuff that evolves around his person and storyline. Ferumbras last curtain has not fallen, so much is for sure. We will see what the future will bring.
Had you imagined that even a great evil wizard like Ferumbras could find himself empty-handed and pretty much out of options to survive, in the Thais temple? Have you ever come across the new version of Ferumbras, or even met one of his older appearances yourself?
Tell us your story of Ferumbras!
"The seals on Ferumbras old citadel are glowing. Prepare for HIS return mortals."
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