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.
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.