Before there was TibiaNews, there was just an idea. A sparkle in a young man's eyes; a dream, a passion for daily news, and a love for the community. Before there was TibiaNews - there was Excessus. One of the most respected gamemasters and moderators of Tibia that still is a huge influence on the game and TibiaNews today.
TibiaNews: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to relive some memories with us, Excessus! It's been a while since we last interviewed you (2006), how have you been since then?
Excessus: Oh, plenty of things have happened since... I had the idea to write a novel on my leisure time (the time I typically devoted to play Tibia) and it was published in late 2009. Now is part of a trilogy and it has been a big success - it has even been translated to english and will be published on USA, UK and Canada, so I am very excited about the future and how things are going! :)
TibiaNews: You've been quite busy since you left us and the game! Speaking of your novel, what made you want to write about zombies in your new novel, "Los Caminantes," and the brand new sequel "Los Caminantes Necropolis?"
Excessus: The zombie concept is an excuse to bring a whole range of different situations to any history line. It raises drama, terror, intense action, and thriller as survivors try to figure out what is going on, and how they are supposed to live in this hostile environment for the rest of their lives. My books are about the people, and how they feel on such a stressing scenario, rather than on the zombies itself. The zombie is a movie icon, and those movies focuses on the bloody scenes and gorgeous visuals; instead, I moved on to try to move the reader to a climax as the survivors develops in their new situation. Its very exciting to write such things :)
TibiaNews: Oh, wow! That's much deeper than I would have expected, to be honest! As you may know, TibiaNews is turning seven in April, and actually - that's why this interview is so special with us. We've come a long way trying to keep you in mind. Even on our current staff page, you can read "Working in memory of Excessus, the original Editor and inspiration for everything you see here today." Is the site update and its content, anything you would have imagined TibiaNews to be?
Excessus: Oh really? Wow... I'm speechless, seriously... congratulations for being on the breach for such a long time! It's really an achievement for a site operated by fans, and surviving them as they lost interest in the game or moves to other things because life is so :) I think the new Tibianews has adapted very well to the style of graphics the game features now. It's very "bold" and colourful and it welcomes visitors with a very comfortable view :)
TibiaNews: Thank you! :) So, what made you want to start TibiaNews?
Excessus: The living environment, of course. Even if I was hunting alone on Hellsgate, waiting for a certain spider to respawn, I felt special, knowing that a living world was above and around me. There was people having their lives, planning hunts, living a romance or feeling hate for other players because of this or that reason. I wanted to be able to read about those anonymous histories. The forum was OK, but if I could envelop those news as something a bit more good looking to read, I would be happier. And thus Tibianews was born, originally as a news only site for Antica, since it was the only server back then - it had to adapt later on to multiple servers spanning a huge amount of events everyday, and still later on including references to items, encyclopaedia, etc. It was very fun to improve each and every little section day after day. One bit every day.
TibiaNews: The old staff of TibiaNews is something that's hard to come by, no matter how many other fansites there are, even today. How were you able to manage to find such an amazing "original" crew? (Borr, Wilfred, Avianna, Dazetih, Erig...sorry if I missed any!)
Excessus: It's like real relationships on real life. I suppose I was always on the side of the "good boys", and people with good hearth and talent is what I chose as friends. Borr, Wilfred... all those people you mention were real gems and many became Gamemasters too. They came to me, it was all very natural... I only had to say "why, of course!" and they were working and contributing to build Tibianews. Those were awesome days :)
TibiaNews: Indeed they were! In a post from October 2008, you stated that if you had time, you'd want to work TibiaNews again from bottom-up. You also mentioned having a somewhat of a wiki, allowing players to upload content, but without the "wiki" feeling. In what ways do you think that we can still accomplish this today?
Excessus: The internet has changed quite a lot since then. It had already changed when I proposed that, and it ha changed even more now. Things like Social Media are more important and people spends their time lurking on things like Facebook. Good community pages are participative. There is no point in having a guy or a small group of guys implementing the ever-changing sections of the encyclopaedia, for example. Instead, allow the people to do that. People loves to point out faults - they will also like to change incorrect information if you allow them to do so with a tool not different than a standard Wiki. Lets just remember this is a game and so, visuals are important too, it would need a proper skin to present the information. Allow them to post news of their own and put a voting system where the most voted newsbits goes to the frontpage automatically. The staff would be there to keep an eye that everthing is going smooth, not writing directly - this is so 2005 :) Also, I would take advantage of things like Twitter and Facebook. I am sure most of your readers has things like Android or iPhone devices and would love to get a constant stream on things happening. Those are my 2 cents.
TibiaNews: Still on the same post, you mentioned you'd add a bunch of add-ons to the flash map (currently disabled due to bugs on it) ... what add-ons were you thinking about?
Excessus: The map started with a basic idea, but it had potential to many more things. You could, for example, explore the caverns and top levels with a navigation system, add marks, share a location with a URL system (I think I did that somehow already?) and of course, relate short news to the map, so you could be speaking about an event somewhere east of Thais and actually put a link to the map. Again, a contributive system would be perfect. I would even go as far as make media related to the map, like the Picture of the Day, so you know where in the gaming area this picture was taken just in case you want to go there and have a sniff.
TibiaNews: We noticed that you still read the Tibia forums on occasion. Is the current Tibia community anything you would have expected it to turn out to when you retired back in 2006?
Excessus: Oh.. no. I'm sorry to say its a sad view. I dont even understand most of the threads. Many are written in a text-message-style that is hard to follow. I think the current population is much much younger than the average players we had back then. Good initiatives and thoughtfull posts are the exception now. It was otherwise when I played. There is no trace of the old roleplaying scent that many threads destilated. The Secura board, for example, was ruled by a gang of freaks called Nasty Kids or something along these lines that I would have immediately obliterated in the days where we were acting as Gamemasters, and I am sure I would have got the approval of many GMs and SGMs.
TibiaNews: What about the game in general, its content and updates? We know you really don't play much or log on really, but judging from what you have read and seeing the Tibia site in general, is it what you were anticipating?
Excessus: It has grown quite a bit, hasn't it? I see the map and the game area has gone completely wild. That is a good thing. More places to explore and have adventures in, is a good thing. On a personal point of view I would have keep exploring the mythology that Knightmare proposed... right now it looks like a theme partk. You have the pirates area, the mummies area... its like going to Disneyworld. But I am sure many many players appreciates that and I think overall it was the logic move. If you are fed up with orcs and minos you can move elsewhere and enjoy the environment of your choice. By the way, whats up with the people protesting for the Flash client? For starters it allows people with OSX to play Tibia again, and its working in an awesome way! :)
TibiaNews: Haha, well let's hope after our news published that there's still going to be a normal client, many will be happier now! You may or may not know, that the viewers of TibiaNews has dramatically decreased since you left it in 2006. Five years later, we are trying to get our active community back on our forums. Do you have any suggestions on what we would be able to do, or any ideas of why this may have happened?
Excessus: TibiaNews was the very first site to be considered "serious" or "big", despite tibia.de which was awesome back then and had huge amounts of visits. We practically moved CipSoft to consider the fansites program and they became more involved in supplying us with privileged info, which was cool. Today there are several dozens of sites covering a whole range of topics. Many of those sites takes advantage of TibiaNews biggest fault, and thus they grown on this weakness, absorbing this percentage of visitors. This weakness, of course, is the lack of updates. I am not sure if, at this point of day and hour, it has been amended already, but most of the sections were outdated a while ago. Also, delays on delivering the long-promised revival contributed to people loosing their faith and moving on. I dont understand aswell why the old articles are not included... they were the soul of TibiaNews and would be today a good way to learn about the past.
TibiaNews: We're actually currently working on moving all the old articles over to the new system! :) What do you think of the decision to remove gamemasters?
Excessus: I think it was a strange move... unexpected, I might say, but I understand they just had to. Too many bad experiences along the history of Tibia - I suppose this step was in their plans years ago and it was just the right moment to execute it, despite the quality of many members of the volunteers
TibiaNews: Do you see yourself ever coming back to Tibia?
Excessus: I would like to... I loved Tibia so much, it was a fantastic experience... but at one point I was devoting a bit too much time to it. I have to be careful myself. I tend to get addicted too quickly and I need the time to write, work, family, etc :) I see myself playing tons of Tibia on retirement, though :D
TibiaNews: What is it you miss the most about TibiaNews?
Excessus: Doing minor adjustements here and there :) I was always doing small changes and improvements and seeing how this affected to the visitors base. People does not like changes... studies shows a "complete redesign" has traditionally made whole communities to run away... but if you do small changes, things they can control fast, then it works. I liked that part.
TibiaNews: How was it for you to run TibiaNews? Was it a hobby, was it fun, was it tedious and boring?
Excessus: It was always fun for the most part, although sometimes I just "had to" update with an article or something and my mind was blank. In those cases it was a bit of a no-no, but of course this happens with everything. I have a quota of pages to write everyday but sometimes you just feel like watching TV and doing nothing. Mind needs dead times too. It's normal.
TibiaNews: You have stated recently in the forums:
"I think the age of the tibian player has downgraded. I am not sure the reasons that has motivated this, but we can agree its a fact. Whatever the reason, the forums are a sad view these days. I have navigated through several pages on Antica and Secura boards, and all the threads are full of people with extremely broken english and no real content. Its certainly not like back in our days... makes the old Tibia intrigues, drama and catfights to look like shakesperian treatises. If in the rest of the world its anything like in Spain, the quality of the education of our youngsters has downgraded several integers, which is kind of sad, but also a fact. The old Risings Dragons would have very little room in today's Tibia, even so when the original members of the original chapter, the Antica one, were not Light 100%, eheh."
What would you do to change the community, if anything, to try and make it as it was back in the day? Do you think there's any hope for the future community of Tibia?
Excessus: I was telling you in a previous question! I dont know what kind of magic you need to cast to change a community for another - otherwise I would be flying over America as Advisor to Blizzard, Eve Online and many others :) I suppose Tibia has evolved and attracted a kind of public. Might be the aesthetic changes, the gameplay, the delays of Cipsoft addressing botters and cheaters that has motivated many lazy kids who likes instant success rather than working on their chars as we did in the past. I dont know. This is something Cipsoft has to study, and I am sure they are doing that with the data they have.
Another fact I pointed, and I know how extremely rude and unpopular this might sound, but it is that Tibia become VERY popular in countries with different levels of education and morals than the 1998-2001 community, which was based mainly on german, north-european, american players. I am spanish myself and I know how different are things here compared to Germany. We have much to learn, as we all have much to learn from japanese people and their civilised ways to face the catastrophe they are living now. This had an impact. Also true is that our youngsters everywhere are changing. At least in Spain its like that... old key values like family, respect... are fading away. Times are changing, and Cipsoft is not to blame for.
TibiaNews: Do you think there's any hope for the future community of Tibia?
Excessus: Who knows. Imagine they completely get rid of the cheaters problems, for example. Many of those superheroes of level 500 will get banned in a percentage you do not dare to dream. Real players will then get more field to play in a right way, and Tibia will be more enjoyable for them. They will not get bullied, ec. They do not powerlevel this much, they like to spend time talking with friends and organising activities in the many scenarios that the map provides. You remember the entire sessions we passed just talking at the door of my house, doing runes. Those players will recommend the game to other players like them. That might happen.
TibiaNews: Will you ever bless us with your presence on TibiaNews again?
Excessus: At this point is completely impossible... too many things to do already, but who knows what the future may bring? You can never tell never again.
TibiaNews: Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview a legend like you. :)
Excessus: Thank you for this opportunity to rant about the old days - not everyday an old fossil like me has the chance to speak this much! :)