Interview with Ex-Gamemaster Virgilius!
Recently, Tibia has welcomed back a notable brazilian, that has contributed a lot to the game, as a tutor and wearing the blue cape. The ex-gamemaster Virgilius, also known as GM Tiergan, returned to the lands of Calmera, with his new character Andreasen. And the Portal Tibia team interviewed him, to know more about his comeback, how he sees Tibia nowadays, and to learn more about histories of his past. Let’s start!
PortalTibia – At first, tell us a little about you. Who’s the player behind Andreasen?
Virgilius: I’m 33 years old, i’m a psychiatrist, working in a public state hospital, and also in a private clinic. At the moment i’m single, no children, i keep myself busy in my free time with sports (swimming), reading, cinema, internet, Tibia (obviously), hanging out with friends, family, etc.
PortalTibia – Did you manage to finish your medicine college? Are you working as a medic nowadays?
Virgilius:: Yes, i did finish the medicine college without problems, in its normal duration (graduation in medicine takes 6 years in Brazil). It wasn’t easy, it requires a lot of dedication, but i never failed an exam. I joined college with 18 years, and finished it with 24. After that, i’ve served the Marines for 2 years as a Medic-Liutenant. After this, i’ve taken the test for Medic Residence in Psychiatry, in which i got approved. This has the duration of 3 years, so from 2010 until the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 i’ve been involved in my formation as a psychiatrist. Right after that, i’ve been approved in a public contest to work as a psychiatrist in the same hospital i did the residence, where i work nowadays.
PortalTibia – What was yout age when you stopped playing, and how old are you now?
Virgilius: I was 24 years old when i stopped playing Tibia. Now i’m 33.
PortalTibia – Do you still have old friends playing?
Virgilius: Unfortunately, i don’t have any friend from my old Tibia times playing today. They all stopped, and are now involved with work and personal life, losing their will to play.
PortalTibia – What brought you back to the game after so many time away from it?
Virgilius: Tibia really was the only game that has fascinated me along my whole life. I never forgot the game at all, i even have real life friends that played with me back in those days, and we eventually talk about Tibia. My actual moment in life (professional, academic and financial stability – after so many years of study and dedication), helped in my return to the game, as a kind of hobby. Anyway, i think that the main thing that made me come back to the game was talking again with friends of my old guild that lives in Sao Paulo. I travelled there recently to visit a friend (unrelated to Tibia) and texted the old Tibian friends, telling them i was visiting their city and i wanted to see them. Well, i ended up seeing no one (therefore, i’ve met them personally already, years ago), but now i’m part of a group of the old guild in an mobile app of instant messages, and i keep in touch with them frequently, but none of them is playing Tibia now.
PortalTibia – Ok, now we have a good idea of the person behind the character, let’s proceed with questions towards the game. As you should know, Gamemasters were extinct 6 years ago. Do you think CipSoft made a mistake excluding them, and letting Tibia without any kind of human monitoring inside the game?
Virgilius: I think so, CipSoft has made a mistake removing GMs from the game. I wouldnt know how to measure the size of the impact that it has caused in the game monitoring and in the fight against cheaters, but i often hear complaints about honest players saying that they miss GMs. For these players, the constant presence of GMs in the servers used to inhibit the rule violations, and helped to give body and personality to the tibian community. Its possible that, with the absence of GMs, the feeling of impunity prevails among the players who break the rules, because they might think no one else monitors what they do ingame, maybe this has resulted in increased numbers of bot users and account sharing, the violations that make Tibia’s gameplay worse, in my opinion. Anyway, i think GMs presence was a nice feature of the game, because it worked as an interface of the players with CipSoft, so that made the Tibia ambient a lot more intimate. A good part of the community respected GMs, and praised them when they appeared in public, which made a good effect among the players, with them full of stories, fantasies and doubts about who were the GMs, what they did and how their job worked. There were a lot of mysteries regarding the existence of GMs, who generated a lot of speculation and feeded the fantasy atmosphere of the game. I think that nowadays, with the Community Managers, it all got more impersonal, because CMs are employees of CipSoft, and don’t participate actively of the community. For them, Tibia is a job, not hobby. This ended up distancing players from CipSoft, and undermined a bit the bases of the tibian community. I lament that there are no more GMs in the game.
Virgilius in his new character, showing off his GM Doll.
PortalTibia – What do you think about the report systems nowadays, for bots and also for statements, since now, with the end of the Senior Tutors, anyone can report a statement, in any channel?
Virgilius: I think the question answers itself. Any player can report anything. In my opinion, this reduces the credibility of the report, because a player that has no compromise with any specific function of supporting the community (Like Tutors, Senior Tutors and GMs) don’t usually has imparciality when judging if an act or a phrase said by another player is actually illegal. In the other side, if there’s no compromise with the community, there’s also no motivation to do an efficient work fighting against cheating, so maybe the majority of the players only cares about his game, and don’t mind if another player is breaking the rules, unless it affects directly his gameplay, if that happens he will make a report, but motivated by some kind of personal vengeance, not by a legitimate will of making the server a better place for all the other players. Of course, besides the GMs, who had ‘police’ powers, it was always up to CipSoft to judge the reports made by Tutors and take necessary measures to fight cheating, so now without GMs, it’s all up to CipSoft to judge reports made by players. Because of that, i think this made CipSoft a lot more busy than before, because there might be a lot of senseless reports, made by vengeance, like i said before.
PortalTibia – Nowadays, it’s common for people to argue about how their reports agaisnt botters take a while to be processed, if they even do. But, in the past, it was common to see people with the report window opened for hours, with no answers from a Gamemaster, and having to leave the game, making the report unnefective. Some servers had a bigger number of Gamemasters working on them, others looked ‘abandoned’. How was the division of the work among the GMs, making possible to watch most part of the servers? Do you think that, today, with less servers, old way of reporting would be more efficient?
Virgilius: There was a low amount of GMs for a lot of servers, which unfortunately made some reports being not properly evaluated. When i was a GM, we were encouraged to do a cleaning in all servers, being regularly in all of them and verifying the report window so we could get all the work done. But as i remember, we were around 30 to 35 GMs, each one working with their own time availability for Tibia, and sometimes we had to spent a lot of time to deal with a huge amount of reports in one single server, so we ended up not having enough time to check on other servers. Certainly, today, is GMs still existed, with less servers, it would be easier to monitorate the game and do a more efficient job.
PortalTibia – How it was to split your tibian life between player and gamemaster? You played actively in your character, or GM responsibilities took a lot of time?
Virgilius: GM activities took a lot of time, but were fun. I reduced a lot the time i spent in my character, and dedicated more time to the GM work, because it gave me more pleasure, i think this happened with the other GMs aswell. Another factor that influenced that in that time, is that when i was invited to be a GM, i already had accomplished a good share of my goals as a player, so GM activity gave me new goals, different from ones of a regular player.
Achieving his level 100!
PortalTibia – A lot of Gamemasters, including you, didn’t revealed the identity of their chars, for uncountable reasons. What were your reasons to keep yourself ‘hidden’? When you revealed yourself, did you suffer any kind of abuse coming from stronger players?
Virgilius: I think it’s important to remember here that my official GM name was Tiergan (Empera), the GM Virgilius was created only when i decided to reveal my identity. What motivates us to be anonymous GMs was the fact that we wanted to keep neutrality inside the game, because we were common players, to whom CipSoft trusted the noble and delicated task to police the game, so try to imagine the impact it causes to the GM, his friends and in other people from the server when the GM played with his character. The idea was to keep playing Tibia in a neutral way, not letting the GM activity to have influence on that. Yes, some GMs feared to suffer some kind of repression inside (and outside) the game. Fortunately, i played in a non-PvP world (Calmera), so i wasn’t afraid of retaliation inside the game, but i feared eventual threats in real life, you have no idea of the amount of bizarre things that people can do in real life because of an in-game frustation. After some time, i thought it would be cool to admit my GM condition, and i started to get rid of old fears, until i finally revealed my identity. Fortunately, i never was threatened inside or outside the game, which was a relief. People threated me well, and with respect, in-game and in real life. In 2008, i even got invited to a TibiaBr event, which happened in my town, when i wasn’t even a GM anymore. I took part in the event, and it was a pleasurable experience.
PortalTibia – There were another brazilian gamemaster, other than you?
Virgilius: As far as i know, there were only 3 brazilian GMs (with myself included). When i was a GM, there was another brazilian one, the third one had recently retired from the position.
PortalTibia – Why did you decide to quit the Gamemaster position, and delete your account? Do you regret that? Don’t you think it was a hasty decision?
Virgilius: I decided to stop playing and quit my GM position in a radical way, because i had recently graduated and had to dedicate time to work and study for my Medical Residence. I really dedicated a lot of time to the game, and i thought this could affect my real life goals. Tibia can be a very addicting game, that’s true. I didn’t want any reason to enter the game, so i asked to be demoted from my GM position and rooked my character. I was an Elite Knight, level 123, i commited “suicide” with Virgilius 278 times, until he went back to level 1 in Rookgaard, this took around 5 hours. Friends tried to convince me not to do it, killing the monsters that attacked me, but this was in vain. Thinking about it today, there’s a sensation of nostalgia, regard and regret, that maybe it was hasty. On the other side, when i recall that time, i think it was the right thing to do, it was the only way i could keep myself away from the game completely, and i needed that. Today i think i’m more mature to measure the time i dedicate myself to the game, in a way it doesn’t affect my personal, academic and professional life. Anyway, those times were unique, they won’t come back. My friends don’t play anymore, the game is different and a lot of things has changed, like the absurd flux of characters with bizarre levels. Level 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900! Back in time, this was unthinkable. Legendary players of those times were Seromontis (which doesn’t exist anymore), Eternal Oblivion (who stopped playing), Taifun Devilry (i think he still plays), Bubble (the first level 100 and 200, surpassed by Eternal Oblivion, inactive today), Tripida (who was hacked), and Mateusz Dragon Wielki (inactive). The highest level was Seromontis, something around 300 if my memory is right, which was already something really rare. When we played, we still remembered Smoked, the first with skills 100/100, who got deleted due to the use of illegal tools to play. Tibia really gives me less chills than in the past. I consider myself an 7.4 enthusiast =).
PortalTibia – What are the differences you see in the tibian community from 2007 compared to the current one?
Virgilius: I think that today, the players don’t care about the community at all, and are only worried about getting level, items and money, so they can have status, power and control over their server. In Calmera, I see the server often empty, there’s no more game-chat, no one chats around, caves are taken by botters, there’s no more kindness and courtesy, the RPG has died, and with him, the fantasy and mysteries that involved the game. Sometimes I see a level 400+ passing by my side, and i feel like i was the lowest level of the server, and that this excludes me from the rest of the players, because i can’t do group hunts or enter dangerous areas, or areas that requires a dangerous quest to be accessed, since i don’t find players around my level, and when i do, it’s a botter being controlled by a script from a software, its not a human playing. I think it’s sad, really. Anyway, i keep playing on my slow and oldschool rhythm. I remember taking 1 year and 5 months to get level 100 on Virgilius, i trained a lot with slimes, and when i stopped playing my skills were 92/90, sword fighting.
PortalTibia – The game has changed a lot since the times when you were active, and a gamemaster. I believe you still haven’t got used to every change, but which ones did you like the most? Are there’s any that you dislike a lot?
Virgilius: I liked a lot the easiness of offline training, this saves a lot of time, and makes the game lighter. On the other side (and this may sound contradictory), this feature ended up making power-gaming easier, which helped undermine the community, i think. Another thing is that, besides being tiresome, training could be pleasant sometimes, when you only wanted to log in to chat with your friends, but also you didn’t want to waste your time standing still in the game. This was valid to the knights; druids and sorcerers used to make runes. Recently, i tried to train using a sickle with slimes and i found out it was impossible, because the hits were too high and the monster died in seconds, even in full defensive mode with a sickle! I ended up feeling like a noob finding out that the hit formula has changed, and now there’s a minimum hit, even with low skill. I miss the old times. I feel unpleased by the complexity of the game (equipment that protect against this or that, requires level and vocation to be used, cool-down, different timing for runes, vocations, spells, etc). I think i prefer times when things were simpler. I repeat, i’m a 7.4 enthusiast =D.
Virgilius in one of his favourite Tibia places, Hellgate.
PortalTibia – Among our Tibian years, it was common to see screenshots of random people with Gamemasters, often with funny approaches, or even offensive ones. There’s any funny story to tell us about someone who approached you?
Virgilius: I really don’t remember any specific story, but i recall having good laughs about the attempt of some people to trick me when they were cheating, some excuses were way too funny, due to their huge creativity, speacially coming from the brazilians =). It was also funny (and sometimes moving) when some brazilians tried to speak english and they couldn’t, during an investigation, then i felt myself forced to speak portuguese with the individual, and this started to, bit by bit, feed the suspect that there was a brazilian GM in the game. Besides these stories, a lot of players asked funny questions about how GM activity worked, others asked for “free itens, plx”, or when they said “plx GM no ban”. These situations were common, but always funny, and they ended up turning into jokes even between the players.
PortalTibia – Thank you, Virgilius, for taking part in the interview, and spending your time to answer it. The brazilian community is grateful, we wish you good luck in your carreer and in your comeback to the game. See you next time!
Virgilius: Thank for the opportunity of being interviewed, long live Portal Tibia and a good game to all brazilians. Hugs for all!