Tibia, the RPG with the mysterious level 999 portal, celebrates 20 years of existence

"Even after 20 years we’re not running out of ideas for Tibia."

Tibia is one of the oldest MMOs in the world, it has more than 30 million player accounts across more than 200 countries, and it recently launched a new client and an annual winter update. Haven't heard of it? That might be because it's user base is comprised mostly of Brazilian and Polish players—with only six percent of its half million or so active players hailing from North America. Yet it spawned one of last year's most interesting stories.  

As Steven documented at length last year, until early August 2016, Tibia housed a strange door situated in a network of caverns on an in-game island named Banuta. It was the source of speculation for over a decade, however the door was finally unlocked by a level 999—the highest level possible—player named Kharsek. Beyond the door lies a small room within which lies a portal, and only Kharsek and the game's developers CipSoft know where it leads. 

Over to Steven: 

"The Banuta Gate of Expertise, as this door is officially known, is special for only one reason: You have to be level 999 in order to pass through it. When you approach it, ominous text appears above it and reads 'you see a gate of expertise for level 999. Only the worthy may pass.' It was created almost a decade ago as a joke, a kind of bar that CipSoft never dreamed a player could reach, but on August 1 Kharsek was the first player in Tibia's long history to reach that level."

As it stands the mystery remains intact, but with Tibia now celebrating its 20th anniversary—on January 7—the gauntlet has been laid down for more players to breach the Gate of Expertise.  

"I’m happy and grateful that our student project has grown into such an MMO hit, supported by a very dedicated team and, most of all, by our wonderful players," says co-founder Stephan Vogler. "Even after 20 years we’re not running out of ideas for Tibia—I’m sure the game will keep attracting players for years to come."

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