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Interview with Eudocia

Interview with Eudocia

2024-03-10

Written by: Bosst

Views: 2170

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Hey Eudocia! We are very pleased to have the opportunity to interview you. We know that you have been working at Cipsoft for many years, but from our perspective, you seem very mysterious. And it so happens that our fansite specializes in mysteries - we didn't choose you randomly. ;)

1. We'll start in the classic way. Could you tell us what position you currently hold, and what are your responsibilities?

Eudocia: I have been working as a Game Content Designer at CipSoft since summer 2014. I am co-responsible for the content of our two major updates every year, which means for the design of new regions, cultures and monsters, new questlines and new lore, the NPCs and their dialogues as well as the creation of all associated map regions.

 


2. Before we delve into more specific aspects of your role and more detailed questions about Tibia, we'd love to get to know you better. Could you tell us a few words about yourself and share some of your interests and hobbies?

Eudocia: My background is originally in history, art history and linguistics, which is what I studied. After working in the cultural sector for a while, I was drawn to CipSoft because games as well as worldbuilding and writing have always been big hobbies of mine in my private life. In my spare time I like to play games, mostly PC games and especially RPGs with a strong fantasy flavour. I also enjoy playing pen & paper role-playing games with a group of friends that exists already since 15 years. I like comics and I enjoy reading and writing a lot, especially fantasy and mystery. I also have successfully passed on all these passions to my two children, who are now old enough to be actively involved.


3. We're aware of your interest in both computer-based and pen-and-paper RPG games, a passion we and our community certainly share. Could you share some specific titles that have captured your attention?

Eudocia: The first game that fascinated me in my childhood was Monkey Island. Later, I played Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 + 2 and Planescape: Torment with great passion and I think that these games shaped me more than any others. That's why I also enjoyed playing Pillars of Eternity and Pathfinder Kingmaker later on and - unsurprisingly – Baldur’s Gate 3 is currently the game that takes up most of my free time.

As far as pen & paper is concerned, I have always played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, but also the German role-playing game Das Schwarze Auge. Other systems my husband and I have tried with our friends are 7th Sea, Numenera and Invisible Sun.


4. Now let's move on to topics of interest to our community. We know that when creating the look of given areas you sometimes take inspiration from real locations. This was the case in the creation of Krailos where you used the red rock formations of the Tatacoa desert and the colorful waters of the Caño Cristales River. Do you recall what real places you had in your mind when designing Kilmaresh, Marapur, or Oskayaat, for example?

Eudocia: That's true, I like to draw inspiration from the landscape and architecture of our world when creating new regions. As for Kilmaresh, it was mainly the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian culture and architecture that brought me to the look Issavi has today. The whole region of ancient Mesopotamia inspired me here. For Marapur, it was ancient Indian architecture like the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple or Pattadakal and the Shikhara architecture that influenced the architectural style of Moonfall and Silvertides. With Oskayaat, the inspiration was not quite so direct. I wanted to create an area where the Banuta/Chor and Darama regions meet and merge and so the look of Oskayaat is more based on these two existing styles and trying to unite them into something new.


5. There is a theory in our community that bugs in the game not allowing the player to make progress may be responsible for at least some of the undiscovered secrets. Given the type of bugs uncovered in the game in recent years (for example, in and around Yalahar) from the players' point of view, this theory seems plausible.
What do you think about it? Is it reasonable for you to investigate for bugs in some of the locations that may still hide secrets uncovered by the players?

Eudocia: It is not automatically an indication of a bug if a secret or mystery is not discovered for a long time. Players should of course not be prevented from exploring parts of the world, discovering lore or pursuing quests due to a bug, so we investigate such reports. If a secret is blocked by a bug, we will of course fix it.


6. Considering that you can likely track the percentage of players who have specific achievements, does it raise suspicions that even after many years since implementation, no one has acquired some of them?
The two undisclosed ones (the community has long since learned to track this accurately) have been missing for quite a long time. Considering the dedication of countless achievement hunters in search of them, is there a possibility that these achievements are somehow malfunctioning?

Eudocia: Here we differentiate between achievements that are very difficult to obtain and achievements that are actually broken. If players could not get an achievement at all, this would of course not be desirable and we would fix it accordingly (as we have done in the past). However, there are some really hard-to-get achievements that may be very, very difficult to gain - but not broken. With that, in turn, we are fine.


7. Could you tell us about the collaborative dynamic at CipSoft? Are there instances where colleagues from different departments contribute ideas or suggestions that influence the content creation process?

Eudocia: There are definitely synergies between the individual teams. There is a lot of dialogue between the content and graphics teams in particular, and designs and concepts from our colleagues in the graphics team often lead to new ideas for us, which then find their way into the game. Such ideas are also developed in dialogue with the community or product management.


8. One of the biggest draws to Mysteries is the idea of a very cool reward at the end, but this hasn’t happened in over a decade. Knightmare mentioned these rewards can never be great, because eventually every quest gets spoiled. Yet early Tibia seemed to have already solved that problem by making the largest rewards limited to the first Team that solved content. Could we see a return to that philosophy? Tangible discoveries would cause a crazy amount of hype in interest in Mystery Hunting!

Eudocia: Of course, a lot has changed since the early days of Tibia - both in terms of the game itself and the technology. In the days when there was only one server, for example, other things may have made sense. To what extent something like this might be desirable for the present or future of Tibia is a question that can of course be discussed. But not one to which I can give a concrete answer at this point.


9. Many mystery-hunters are also bosshunters. So one question that will interest both communities. It's been many years since the last rare-spawning boss was added (except world bosses because that's another topic). Do the respective Game Content Designers decide on the creation and presence of such bosses themselves? What are the criteria for such decisions? We are also wondering if we can expect the addition of any rare-spawning boss in the near future. Some areas (such as the Krailos area) don't have any, while on Zao we can find quite a few.

Eudocia: As far as rare-spawning bosses are concerned, the decision lies partly with the content team, but also partly with the product management. This means that the decision is always made by mutual agreement. But at the moment, I can't say whether there will be new rare-spawning bosses in the near future.


10. We've seen the incredible level of detail put into Feyrist, from its diverse flora to the unique monsters and NPCs. One particular feature that might not be widely known is the ability to approach objects from a close distance for a detailed description.
Could you share some insights into how the Content Team decides which areas receive this meticulous attention to detail, as opposed to other areas that may have a more imitative focus?

Eudocia: It is actually not that easy to answer this question. Several aspects play a role here. One of these aspects is the question of resources: in other words, how much implementation time do we have for an update and how many content designers are available for the new area. Another aspect is the question of whether an area is based on something familiar and is therefore more of an extension of a region or whether it is a completely new culture, a completely different setting. In the latter case, such attention to detail can help to bring this new area to life and fill it with lore. Sometimes this is intentional and planned from the outset, but it can also be the case that such details arise during the creative process because we come up with the relevant ideas while designing the map or the quests.


11. In recent times, the concept of using GPT language models to power NPCs in games has gained considerable attention. This innovative approach has sparked excitement among players and developers alike, as it promises to elevate in-game interactions to a new level of realism and immersion. As we delved deeper into the discussions surrounding this fascinating idea, we couldn't help but think about the potential it holds for Tibia, a game known for its rich history and vibrant community.

Tibia's players have always appreciated the depth and detail that the game's world offers, making this a perfect candidate for such an enhancement. Picture this: a recurring special event in Tibia, where a single, enigmatic GPT-powered NPC appears periodically in a specific location. We know you fooled us with it last year, but jokes aside have you thought about it for real?

Eudocia: What I can say is that the use of AI models has not yet found its way into Tibia’s content creation. Also, there are no plans to integrate any form of AI into Tibia as of now. It is a rapidly developing technology with a lot of potential but also one that needs to be closely evaluated and examined before putting it to use in any capacity in our game.


12. Is there a chance you could share some information about the 999 Island? It's still an unsolved mystery for players, even after all this time, and we would be so grateful for any insights you can provide. Many players have asked us to touch on this topic again in our upcoming interview.
Firstly, does this island possess an official name?
Secondly, when asked about the complete lack of progress with the Island investigation, Lionet mentioned the comparison to the novel 'Treasure Island,' where a map played a crucial role in starting the characters' journey. Despite our extensive search, we haven't come across any trace of such a map. Upon a closer examination of the novel, the characters were presented with several clues about the map's location. Given Lionet's reputation for being more cunning than Captain Flint, could you help us strike a balance between the two? :)

Eudocia: Sometimes the names that the players come up with will stick and I guess with this island, that was given different names over time, this might also be the case. We will leave it at that. The island itself has indeed been compared with the famous "treasure island" as it’s a highly sought-after and a very secret location. However, this very island is already part of the level 999 door mystery and a reward for actually coming that far in the game and checking the door out.


13. As a content designer, have you been immersing yourself in the vibrant discussions players have about Tibia's mysteries, hidden quests, or its captivating lore on platforms like our TibiaSecrets Discord and other similar forums? If so, have there been instances where we've come close to revealing any secrets (yet unsolved by the community)?

Eudocia: When you're working on a game as a developer, there's always a fine line between how far you venture into the depths of the net and how much you read in forums or on various platforms. On the one hand, it's good to be informed and also exciting to read what players think and what moves them. On the other hand, of course, you don't want to and shouldn't allow yourself to be influenced too much in your own creative process. Of course, I also try to achieve this balancing act. What I can say at least is: There are certainly some exciting and good ideas circulating some of which might be on the right track. ;)


14. We've been fascinated by your recent creation, Oskayaat, which offers a captivating environment for players to explore. Could you share some insights into the creative process that went into crafting this intriguing island? And, without giving too much away, have you tucked away any hidden surprises or unsolved mysteries for adventurous players to discover?

Eudocia: I'm very pleased to hear that Oskayaat has been well received by the players, because I personally had a lot of fun designing this island and bringing it into the game. The starting point was basically the continuation of the Grimvale questline, which I wanted to continue in the corresponding update. As the path led from Edron via Cormaya to the Darama Desert, I realised that I wanted to include Tiquanda next - after all, who wants to do without weretigers and werecrocodiles? However, I didn't want to integrate this part of the questline into existing regions, as I had done with the werelions and werehyaenas, but rather create a new map area for it. The bay between Chor and Ankrahmun caught my eye. This gave rise to the idea of creating the new area’s look from a mixture of the styles of Banuta and Darama which was done in close cooperation with the graphics team. The plan of closely linking this region with the Tibian moon phases and integrating a corresponding world change also had an influence. These ideas for the setting ultimately also influenced the lore and quest design of Oskayaat, which are closely linked to the full moon theme - as was the case with the first part of the Grimvale quest. It's a good example of how the lore influences the map design, and how the map design in turn influences the quest design. A synergetic cycle, so to speak.


15. In recent years, there have been several new theories and findings with compelling arguments that have seemingly 'solved' certain mysteries. What are your thoughts on people missing out on experiencing the thrill of finding the solution firsthand?

Eudocia: Of course, nothing is more exciting and satisfying than unravelling a mystery yourself. It's very easy to spoil things for yourself, even if only by accident, as soon as you start using the internet. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves whether and how much they want to discover on their own and what they read up on. This is maybe primarily a question of personality. On the other hand, there is probably a lot of things that you would simply never find out yourself and it can be enlightening and enjoyable to see how other players track down certain mysteries.


16. During the Iksupan Update, we got a sneak peek of a map area that still seems out of reach. This location was featured in an official Tibia Facebook post, and Lionet kindly shared a picture of it during our interview. Can you hint at whether access to this spot has been intentionally kept hidden, or might there be an ingenious way players have yet to discover for reaching it?

Eudocia: That was indeed part of a bigger picture which Lionet has revealed in the 2023 winter update.


17. Our very first article on Tibiasecrets was dedicated to the mystical Tibian creature known as the Unjaga. We acknowledge that there is only a brief mention of it in the Library section of Tibia.com. Nevertheless, we find such details fascinating. In the article, we speculated, among other things, that this creature could be a giant beaver. We even stumbled upon a mention of them thanks to NPC Melfar. This was 2 years prior to the introduction of Marapur.

We wouldn't even dare to entertain the thought that our article might have somehow inspired the implementation of the giant beaver in the game, but it does make for an intriguing coincidence. :) Is there a possibility that the Unjaga lore might be further developed at some point?

Eudocia: Of course, there is no doubt that beavers in general and giant beavers in particular are fascinating and cute creatures that are definitely worth writing about and speculating on. But joking aside: Unjaga is a very exciting topic and I don't want to rule out that more could be revealed in future updates.


18. It has been 7 years since ‘A Night Full of Mysteries’ was published, and yet no meaningful progress has been made on any of the mysteries discussed there. We know just how much time and effort by dedicated and smart people has been spent investigating them, but the lack of results is puzzling.

Could you share your thoughts on the reasons behind these secrets remaining unsolved? Do you think there might be undiscovered, finely concealed elements waiting to be found, or is it more a matter of players needing to shift their focus or strategies to unveil them? We are keen to hear your perspective on both aspects.

Eudocia: There are always different "levels" of mysteries in a good game, from very accessible to very difficult to discover. In a game with such a rich lore and long history as Tibia, there is definitely the full range, especially with our long heritage by now. The fact that some of our mysteries have become legendary is of course also due to the fact that we don't give away any spoilers. And sometimes a mystery is designed not to be solved so quickly. Whilst it is worth keeping an eye on the mysteries, a fresh perspective never hurts and focusing too intensely on one part of a puzzle or mystery sometimes blocks any prospect of the actual solution. And sometimes, if not almost always, the solution is quite different from what you expect.


19. In a hypothetical scenario where you had boundless time, an unrestricted budget, and full creative autonomy, are there specific mechanics, architectural styles, themes, or cultural influences that you would be keen on incorporating into Tibia's world?

Eudocia: Dozens, really. It starts with things as obvious as new continents with new cultures, biomes, nations and monsters. With an endless time and graphics budget, it would be appealing, for example, to create a new region with completely new graphics, where nothing appears that we can already see elsewhere in Tibia, not even a single flower or a simple butterfly. A completely different setting, such as a floating city in the clouds above Tibia, would also be an exciting project. Or, if you want to think even bigger, a kind of "what if" version of Tibia: a parallel reality that shows us what the world would look like if things had gone differently. What if Ferumbras had seized control of Thais? What if the nightmares from Roshamuul had been able to spread throughout Tibia? What if Suon's Wrath had not shattered the continent of Kilmaresh? What if the Asuri and not the Nagas ruled Marapur? Tibia in a completely different timeline, that would be really exciting - and a project that would require exactly that: boundless time and an unrestricted budget.


20. We have a feeling, just like your colleagues, that you might have slipped in a hidden layer, mystery, or secret into the game that players haven't stumbled upon yet. Can we at least get a little nod if we're on the right track?

Eudocia: In fact, there is something, and I can say this much, that there are already clues to be found in the game. How soon these clues will be discovered and what will ultimately become of them remains a mystery, of course.


Thank you for sharing your valuable insights with us! It's been a pleasure hearing about your experiences and perspectives on the world of Tibia. We look forward to what exciting adventures Content Designers have in store for the community. We also wanted to mention that we had a blast creating these questions, and the community chipped in with some fantastic ones too. We hope you had as much fun as we did! We wish you all the best in your continued journey with Cipsoft and Tibia. :)
 

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