|he new year is almost upon us and it is that time again when many people reflect on the year gone by. This month, we also want to review the past year by looking back at some highlights, significant or even funny events, remember and summarise achievements, difficulties, changes and lessons learned.
The year started out a little rocky as the massive DDoS attacks against our servers that had already troubled us for several months then, did not cease. Our technical staff was able to limit the effectiveness of these attacks and improve the stability of our servers but quite a few players still experienced connection problems. The attacks really gave us a hard time, we understood the anger and frustration of many players and we truly felt we were at risk of losing their trust.
One of our main goals is to ensure that players can enjoy a trouble-free and smooth game experience so we continued to work on it with all our efforts. Finally, further counter measures in response to a new wave of malicious DDoS attacks in May and June proved to be very effective. Since then, the situation has improved considerably thanks to our technical staff. Even though DDoS attacks still occur, our servers are way better protected now and most attacks go unnoticed by players. Of course, we will not stop strengthening our protection against future attacks.
In February, our NPC Valentina took her favourite song line "Come on baby, light my fire" a little bit too literally and instead of selling splendid flower bouquets to lovers she tried to set their hearts on fire by selling them torches. Of course, bugs are a nuisance but in retrospect this one was actually somewhat funny.
After the recruitment of several new gamemasters at the beginning of March the whole month was all about the new Tibia payment system we developed to provide you with a faster support and easier handling. It allows players to order a single premium time period or to set up a subscription by credit card. Over the course of the year it was activated for more and more countries. In July, we added bank transfers as a new payment method for several countries. By now, the Tibia payment system has successfully established itself and many players use it to buy premium time. Of course, we will continue to work on it and improve it to make ordering premium time via our payment system even more attractive and convenient.
The reform of the name rules in Tibia was mainly a result of the extensive feedback we received. Many players wished for more tolerance concerning character names as well as less strict and complex name rules. When the new name rules became effective in April, we abolished some of the former rules. Since then, character names are allowed to refer to objects, celebrities and countries. Many Tibians were excited about the new freedom but several players did not appreciate the changes. They feared that characters named after a celebrity or including references to country would ruin or at least affect the role playing atmosphere in Tibia negatively. Nevertheless, the majority of players liked or did not mind the new rules. So we are still convinced that the name rule change was necessary and reasonable.
In the first week of May, many players set off to collect outfit related items because numerous monsters dropped them at a much higher rate than usual during the special outfit event. It seemed as if everybody wanted to dress up for the coming summer update. With the cool new T-shirts we added to our merchandise shop at the end of May, players could dress up in real life as well. For several months, all of you had the opportunity to suggest T-Shirt slogans and finally, the three winners were chosen by the community out of the ten most promising ideas we presented to you in a poll.
Amateur gardeners probably enjoyed June, our month of flowers. The dryad Rosemarie visited Tibia and in return for some seeds she provided players with a flowerpot containing a seedling. The news spread quickly, many players discovered their green thumb and grew some exceedingly beautiful flowers.
In July, the major game update brought many new features such as the improved NPC chat system, a tutorial to help new players getting started in Tibia, revamped areas, new hunting grounds and of course, new monsters, quests and items. Moreover, trading items with NPCs became more comfortable. A few days after the update we started to impose mass banishments. More than 600 accounts got punished for modifying the Tibia client and a few weeks later 200 accounts were deleted instantly for using unofficial software to log in on multiple characters at the same time. Another 650 accounts received banishments for modifying the Tibia client in September. Also in October, 70 accounts were punished with instant deletion for mass login. So play fair and follow the Tibia Rules or you might be the next!
Again, new gamemasters received their blue cape to help enforcing the Tibia Rules in August. Inside CipSoft, there was a hustle and bustle of activity in several departments as a new department was planned and established.
And finally in September, our little department, the community management, was launched. Since then, we are trying to improve CipSoft's community work, the communication between you and us. To be honest, the start was not as smooth as we expected, many players had doubts or did not see any benefit in it. Thanks to your constructive feedback we were able to improve a lot of things and even though there is still room for improvement, we already feel both your and our efforts bear fruit. The first time this became evident was in response to the patch and website update at the end of September, when account names were being introduced. Several players were worried about the security of their accounts, especially since account names were not hidden with asterisks at first when logging in. Moreover, the account names were displayed on the account management page. We forwarded your overwhelming feedback and within two days we did not only reintroduce the asterisks when logging in but also added a button allowing you to choose between showing your account name and email on your account page and hiding it.
The featured article in October dealt with a very controversial issue, tutors and their work. We tried to clear up some misunderstandings and misconceptions about tutors. This led to a heated, but fruitful discussion. Many players are not satisfied with the tutors' work and unfortunately, some of them understood the featured article as an attempt to whitewash the problems or sweep them under the rug. Of course it was not meant that way, nor was it our intention to convey that impression. We are aware of the problems and your feedback will certainly help us to improve the tutor system.
The story telling contest that was started with the launch of the community management also came to end in October. There were so many good and entertaining stories that it was actually quite hard to choose only five. We asked our community to tell us which of them they like best and Baladha's story won the 1st place.
On Halloween, the mutated pumpkin attacked Darashia but our brave players managed to defeat this evil creature and loot some spooky items from its body. Unfortunately, several players were overcome with selfishness and threw the dead corpse into the water or blocked it until it had rotted away so other players were not able to loot it. But beware, the creepy Halloween ghosts never forget and their revenge will strike hard...
At the beginning of November, a public test server was set up for a performance test. Both test servers were full at peak times and several players experienced connection problems when logging in. The discussion board was flooded with posts by disappointed players. However, the connection problems did not come unexpected. In fact, it was a performance test that provided us with important information we will use to improve our servers.
We also launched a new fansite programme in November to improve our support for fansites and make it easier for new fansites to join the programme. Since then, we also have promoted fansites in addition to supported fansites. A few days after the launch, we already welcomed five new supported fansites and hopefully, more will follow in the future.
The update teasers that started a few weeks ago already resulted in some heated discussions, especially the second update teaser dealing with new spells and party buffs caused quite a stir. Several players felt that sorcerers and druids were neglected whereas paladins and knights were seen as overpowered. However, other players disagreed and appreciated the new spells so the feedback contained a little bit of everything. The update is close at hand and we hope that most of your concerns will resolve themselves soon.
What else? What lies ahead of us? We have a few bits and pieces we would like to share with you: some special information, a short outlook on what is to come in 2009. Of course, we will only name a few projects, we do not want to spoil everything.
One of the major points on our list are anti-cheating measures. So far, we have not revealed any details on what we are planning, nor our schedule. Expect some noticeable changes in the first quarter of 2009. We will provide further information on this issue at that time.
Coming up soon is the internal discussion and re-evaluation of the PvP system and the death penalty in Tibia. We received plenty of feedback in the discussion threads on the proposal and discussion board that will influence the outcome of the re-evaluation.
Moreover, we will develop a reseller programme to make buying premium time more convenient for you.
Another project planned for next year is the development of a Tibia flash client to give our players different ways in which they can enjoy Tibia.
Furthermore, we will of course try to further improve the communication with our community as well as the customer support in Tibia. Several internal projects will hopefully result in a more convenient and efficient service.
We do not want to miss this opportunity to thank our community. Thank you for your keen interest in Tibia, your dedication to the game, continued support and feedback, for stating your opinion, participating in discussions and polls, for reporting bugs, providing information, for your patience, for making suggestions to improve the game and our service further - thank you for being a part of the Tibian community and contributing to its development and diversity day by day. Your feedback was, is and will always be very important and helpful to us.
So we would like to ask you to tell us something about your Tibia highlights in 2008, about precious moments, funny moments, sad or disappointing moments. What were your goals in Tibia and did you meet them this year? We are looking forward to your comments in the feedback threads on the discussion board.
Your Community Managers
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