It Took 19 Years To Open This MMO’s Locked Door

Tibia [official site] launched in 1997, but I’m not sure I’d even heard of the MMO before today. And I heard about it because of a door.

In the online MMO Tibia, there’s a door with a simple message: “You see a gate of expertise for level 999. Only the worthy may pass.” This week, a player named Kharsek passed through that door. It took him nine years to build up enough experience to hit level 999. But once he passed through the door, Kharsek disappeared, and took the secrets with him.

It’s worth reading the full story on Vice.

I love things like this, where game communities become hooked on a challenge and pursue it against all sense. There’s good details in the article, too. For example, “For a long time, the developers told me, there was nothing behind the door. It was a joke shared with the community, an amusing “what if?” meant to remain unsolved.”

Kharsek’s accomplishment is all the more impressive when you consider that Tibia is an old-fashioned MMO, one which docks your character of experience when you die. Dying at high levels could lose you days of progress.

So what does it actually take to reach level 999 and open the mysterious door? Well, let’s put it in perspective. Going from level 19 to level 20 requires 15,400 experience points, and the most you can get from a single enemy is a high-level boss that drops 35,000 XP. For level 49 to level 50, it’s 112,900 XP. At level 50, you’ve acquired a grand total of 1,847,300 XP. At level 100, it’s a massive 15,694,800 XP.

Moving from level 998 to level 999, though? It requires the equivalent number of points as leaping from level 1 to level 145: 49,650,700. According to a website tracking Tibia player data, there are only four players above level 900. The closest player to Kharsek is 60 levels behind.

Read the full thing, by Patrick Klepek, over at Vice.


  1. DingDongDaddio says:

    That is insane… I think I spent 2-3 years in Tibia and my highest leveled character was like 64… this game defines THE GRIND, or at least it did when I played.

    Add in that if you die you lose XP, which by the time you get in to the 100s you could be losing MULTIPLE levels in a death, and then if you’re in a PvP server you will lose XP for that as well! (There are stories of guilds that target specific players for whatever reason, repeatedly killing them. People have been knocked from level 120 down to the 40s just from being hunted down, which is ages worth of work lost.)

    Anyway, I don’t recommend anyone go check this game out. It has to be the least friendly game I’ve ever experienced, and easily the most racist.

  2. mechavolt says:

    Not to be pedantic (okay, totally to be pedantic), but the door wasn’t added until 2005. From the linked Vice article:

    “This mysterious door has been one of Tibia’s more reclusive secrets since it was added into the game in 2005.”

    That’s only 11-ish years, not 19.

    • bobbyk says:

      The headline is “It Took 19 Years To Open…” And the guy who opened the door started leveling in 1997. So the headline is correct.

      • bobbyk says:

        Nevermind it says he leved in under 9 years …

      • Ham Solo says:

        You cannot compete to open something that simply doesn’t exist. So it did not take 19 years.

  3. spec10 says:

    Don’t want to invade any privacy, but VICE clearly got it wrong in their article. The guy’s from Oklahoma, not Brazil. His name is Wade Owen Watts.

  4. Hunchback says:

    This game must be REALLY interesting… Oo

    • kyrieee says:

      It’s actually a fairly enjoyable, if very basic MMO. It does some neat things. Unfortunately the community is a festering pile of shit, at least in my experience. I’m sure there are some good people playing, but if you want to develop a hatred for certain nationalities Tibia is a good place to start.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        I know Tibia is the game I learned the “BR? BR? HEUHEUHEUHEU” meme from first hand.

      • P.Funk says:

        I played it back when it there were only like 2 servers and it was pretty new. It was a great game and had a great community as far as I remember, but then that was the old days before 3d accelerated everything. I still have fond memories of it though. A server is one big world, not a shard. It was very exciting. You never knew who you’d run into.

        I came back for a taste after more than 10 years and discovered nearly everyone was a BR and apparently all BRs on the interent are assholes.

  5. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Well, great story anyway.
    “They did what’s best for the game.”
    Possibly not adding end-game-content for one or two persons. Either they payed the guy off and quietly removed the character or they sent him a hit squad. ;p
    Either way it became really quiet around him recently…

  6. Red_Fox says:

    If this guy lives to his old age, he is going to regret up to his final second how he wasted his youth doing this stupid shit.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      RL and its stupid XP loss from ageing and permadeath…

      All that progression and grindy work and then you enter the next Afterworld Instance and leave behind a character that was eventually forgotten even by the niche that used to play or the game eventually got shut down and everything was for nought, or just a huge sunk cost(time) fallacy.

      [And in the game!]
      *goes back to playing random survival sandboxer*

    • April March says:

      Plenty of people spend their youth getting blackout drunk; at least this one will remember the time he wasted.

  7. communisthamster says:

    Like all free, low-spec MMO’s it’s dominated by BR’s and adjacent clusters, but when I played it 15 years ago it was good fun. Tracking blood spatter from fleeing enemies, moving between towns through the wilderness was challenging, nice sprites.

    I also managed to persuade low-health newbies to drink “health potions” which were actually poison slime, and take their stuff. Nice bit of social engineering.

  8. TheAngriestHobo says:

    It took him nine years to build up enough experience to hit level 999. But once he passed through the door, Kharsek disappeared, and took the secrets with him.

    In other words, he was Eli Wallace’d into a secret military space program.

    • deiseach says:

      MacGyver called to his house? A bargain at twice the grind.

  9. alms says:

    So basically it’s like that game from 22cans? except with extra inter-player toxicity (e.g. the bands of players hampering the guys’ progress on purpose)

    …hate away.

  10. dahools says:

    Behind this door should have been a man guarding two more doors saying,
    “One of these doors will lead to fame and fortune the other will reset you to level 1.
    Which will you choose?”

    Then watch a stream to see if he has the minerals to take the risk!

    As that is a lot of time to invest in something like this.

  11. vahnn says:

    I don’t want to fucking read VICE, can someone just give me a couple lines of summary of what happened when he went through the damn door? If no one bothers to tell me, that’s fine, too, I’ll just have to live the rest of my life wondering what happened to the legendary Kharsek.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      From above:

      But once he passed through the door, Kharsek disappeared, and took the secrets with him.

  12. Babymech says:

    Seriously people, take a minute to appreciate this. It shouldn’t be shocking, but it’s so rare that I actually react:

    The entire gist of the article is provided briefly on the front page. A link is provided, to an external site, in the summary. The article is not designed to withhold key information and make you click into the full article to get the whole picture. It lets you leave the site without milking you for additional ad clicks.

    I get that this is typical RPS editorial policy, and shows up a lot, but I thought this article was just a beautiful example of anti-clickbait design. It’s also weird that I have a reaction to this – it was literally jarring to realize that the article wasn’t trying to pull me into an extra click. I just wanted to give a little big of props to this editorial principle.

  13. fenriz says:

    is that Ultima 7 engine?

  14. mollemannen says:

    oh tibia. what a game of controversies. remember hearing stories about people beating up others in real life because they overbid them on houses and stuff. this one guy ganked a guildmember and got his knee broken. After several hours of ingame harassment and full blown guild war but after a while too many players got banned and he never payed back.

  15. Feedim says:

    Am I the only one that seriously thinks he done himself in? Was probably the only thing getting him out of bed every day.