Only one player knows what’s behind this MMO’s mysterious door, and they aren’t telling

Kharsek, Master of Trolls

Whatever it is that Kharsek discovered on that island doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that so far he has refused to tell anyone. In the days that have followed, both the Tibia subreddit and official forums have exploded with threads ranging from wild theories and rumours—everything from accusations that some players are really Kharsek in disguise to elaborate conspiracies that he's secretly working with CipSoft to help promote the game.

Reaching level 999 over nine years has earned Kharsek more than a few fans and an even greater number of enemies. You don't have to dig deep in any forum thread to find those who look to discredit their achievement. A long history of players accusing Kharsek of botting or sharing his account with multiple players—both violations of Tibia's rules. In an interview with Vice, one Tibia player also detailed how players would bully Kharsek by doing what they could to kill and interrupt them while they were grinding levels. It’s possible that after years of abuse and skepticism, Kharsek feels like the rest of Tibia doesn't deserve to share in his achievement.

I asked Eglseder what he thought about Kharsek's actions. "I think [Kharsek] has every right to decide whether to spoil the information or to share it with other players," Eglseder told me. "A lot of aspects in Tibia are based on an open world policy, where players are free to do whatever they like. We can only guess why he is waiting. Maybe he wants to build up tension for the people watching him. Maybe he wants to prepare for the right time. Or maybe he's just trolling everyone."

But that answer isn't satisfying a great deal of the community who believe they're just as entitled to know what's beyond the portal as Kharsek. After a decade, one of Tibia's most compelling mysteries was thought to come to a close, but instead it has taken a strange and frustrating twist. "Some players love to discuss, build theories—or crush those of others—and sometimes help to create myths and legends," Eglseder said. "On the other hand, some players can get really frustrated if they spend much time on trying to solve a puzzle, but do not succeed. As in many other aspects, not every part of Tibia is compelling and pleasing to each player type."

For now, Tibia's community remains divided and anxious, and I cannot help but worry that while the attention this has brought to a 19-year-old MMO might seem like a win for CipSoft now, it could also backfire. While Schrödinger's Island might hold any manner of mythical secrets, the reality is that none of them will ever likely live up to the expectations surrounding Tibia's greatest mystery. The Banuta Gate of Expertise started as a funny joke, but, right now, few people are laughing.

We have reached out to Kharsek and will follow up when we know more.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.