When the truth behind one of the oldest mysteries in gaming was solved it was a massive disappointment. 15,000 people gathered on Twitch to watch when Dev Onica finally opened the Banuta Gate of Experience. This door had tortured the Tibia community for 12 years because it can only be opened by a player who's reached level 999, a feat once thought impossible. In August of 2016, Kharsek proved it could be done. After a gruelling nine-year journey, players hoped he would settle disputes about the mysterious portal just beyond the door. But Kharsek wouldn't cooperate.
5,000 viewers watched as he reached level 999 on a Twitch livestream, then to their horror realized he had no intention of opening the door. Instead, he slipped through the door days later while no one was watching never spoke a word about it. As weeks went by, the frustrated community turned to the second highest-leveled player, Dev Onica, who at the time was around level 940. It took almost eight months for Dev Onica to reach level 999, but the community realized he wasn't the savior they had waited for.
Truth held hostage
Though Dev Onica hit level 999 in April of 2017, he only stepped through the Banuta Gate of Experience while livestreaming in late June. For nearly two months, he held Tibia's greatest secret hostage from the community in order to raise money through Twitch donations. At first Dev Onica was hoping to raise $US5,000 before revealing what was behind the door.
In the weeks that followed, the fundraising goal changed several times and it's unclear how much money he actually made. When he finally stepped through the door on June 23 to an audience of 15,000, however, only one dollar had been donated towards his latest "Vacation Maroxo 2017" fund.
The lack of donations is likely because Dev Onica hasn't proved very trustworthy or likeable. During those weeks before and after reaching 999, the streamer continually taunted the community on his Facebook page. Several times he promised to reveal what was behind the gate but would instead stand before it and demand more donations. The community quickly lashed out.
"Why the fuck would you take money from people and fuck them? You should get a delete page," wrote one Facebook user (translated from Polish). You don't have to look very hard to find others who share a similar sentiment.
"He really doesn't know how to stand by his own words," wrote CatTheAvocat on Reddit. "He goes back and changes his mind so frequently that now he has [zero] credibility."
Dev Onica must have realized his donation scheme wasn't going to work because he finally stepped through the door on June 23. Unable to get the required donations, he bombarded his 15,000 viewers with an aggressive amount of advertisements on his stream, obviously hoping to milk them for ad revenue. One viewer claims to have had to watch "[six] ads" before seeing his stream.
But at least the truth behind Tibia's greatest mystery was revealed right? Well, not exactly.
Dev Onica was transported to Schrödinger's Island, a place players had known about after using a spell to track Kharsek's location when he entered the portal back in August. Aside from a tiny pixelated rendering, players had little clue to what the island contained—until Dev Onica finally spilled the beans.
The tiny tropical island houses little more than some NPC vendors, some palm trees, and a small swimming area. Dev Onica also received a trophy with an inscription congratulating him on reaching level 999—hilarious considering he had waited so long to enter that he was already level 1001. Another vendor sells bananas. Beyond that, there doesn't appear to be much more. For many, the 12-year journey to see behind the Banuta Door of Experience was a massive letdown.
"[I'm] not even surprised," wrote EmuYanaOm on Reddit. "[Cipsoft] couldn't spend more than 10 minutes designing an island for an extremely important moment."
To be fair, developer Cipsoft never claimed that the reward for passing the Banuta Gate of Experience would be extraordinary. When I spoke with Tibia's lead product manager, Martin Eglseder, back in August of 2016 he admitted that "at the initial implementation of the door there has not been any content lying behind the door, because the creators honestly did not think that anyone would actually reach that level.
"But as time went by and a player reaching that limit became more and more likely," Eglseder added, "we had to think about what would wait behind the door."
This rather unremarkable island appears to be what Cipsoft came up with. But not everyone is convinced that Schrödinger's Island is as it seems. While Dev Onica streamed, viewers demanded he try interacting with objects and NPCs in various ways, convinced that the island held some deeper mysteries. Again Dev Onica only seemed interested in trolling his viewers. "He's only been going around, trying the most non-sense ideas and totally playing the fool with the ideas that could really lead to somewhere," complained Rodrigorazor on Reddit.
Because Dev Onica is Polish (nearly 60 percent of Tibia's players hail from either Brazil or Poland) it's hard to get accurate information in English, but many are convinced there's more to Schrödinger's Island than a banana stand. A poorly translated post on Dev Onica's Facebook page teased that he would "try solution to the riddle" of a quest and that "will fix banuta secrets." Whether this was all an attempt to further antagonize an already dispirited community is unclear. And at this point, most simply no longer care. Compared to the excitement surrounding Kharsek reaching level 999, Tibia's community now seems entirely dismissive of the event.
"Mysteries tend to put our brains into overdrive and allow our imagination to run wild," wrote one user before Dev Onica had revealed the island. "Whatever is behind that door is bound to be a disappointment since nothing can compare to the fantasy each and everyone of us has made up in our head by now."