Players have been playing Tibia for more than 10 years now, and there's a darned good reason for that. Why would you play a game that is graphically outdated and 2D?! I'll tell you exactly why you would and should!
Under the 2D chocolate coating of this, ever so complex pie, you will find a simulation of life as you've never seen before. Tibia is not a game which only requires you to kill monsters, Tibia requires cooperation, survivability and intelligence.
In Tibia, there are four classes which result in three different kinds of gameplay. There is the knight, the ever so powerful, muscled melee fighter who stands at the frontlines to bravely defend his friends, then the paladin, the skilled archer who stands in the back to launch lethal arrows towards his targets, and the mages who cast spells and use their mighty rods and wands to take care of their enemies, where the druid is focused on healing and the sorcerer focuses on attacking.
Tibia makes use of a 2D square tiled grid system, wherein players cannot pass through enemies nor one another. This is a really big factor in the success of the game, for it forces players to interact with one another and make use of their environment when attacking their enemies. For example, when someone is blocking the road and another player wants to pass through, the player wanting to pass will have to ask the other player to move away. With enemies, one can make use of narrowed passages to slim down the amount of enemies the player has to fight at one certain point of time.
The player versus player, or PvP worlds, allow players to attack eachother in any area of the game, except for the safe zones which are only to be found in the bank, the houses the players own and several temples and sanctuaries. Because Tibia is an absolutely huge world, the safe zones make only an estimated amount of 0.005% of the entire virtual world called Tibia.
Blocking a road to ambush other players and random playerkilling are daily matters. When one is killed, that person won't be happy to find himself losing a whopping 10% of the total amount of experience ever made, a 10% chance to drop one of your pieces of equipment you're wearing (these amounts can be decreased to 2% when a player buys a premium account and meets the right conditions) and a 100% chance to lose everything you're carrying in your inventory at that point of time. With other words, you really don't want to die in this game, which results in a super deep gameplay experience. When players are in a struggle, one can resort to threathening with violence. This is often an effective way to shut another player up or let the player do what you want. For example, you can force a player to give him his armor, which that player has maybe worked months to get for. So, the one with the highest level, there is no level-cap in Tibia, will reign supreme over all others, or will he?
Tibia is a community based game, and if you have a lot of friends and are a well respected player, chances are you might know some very high-leveled players. If one is in a situation wherein the player can't survive on its own, he can always ask his friends to help him. So even if you are a very low-leveled player, you can have a huge influence on the entire gameworld you're playing on, simply by having the right connections. Other players will think twice before attacking you, because everybody will know your name if you have lots of connections.
This brings us to the tight community in the game. If you are high-leveled, you're probably known by any single person on the server. This especially goes for players who hold power over one whole server and abuse that very power and players who get well known for their friendliness and good deeds. If one is feared or majorly respected, one is known and one becomes a legend. A lot of players on the server will probably know your name and that of the guild for years to come on the server if you've ever been known like that.
The fact that one loses so very much when a player dies, forces the players to seek eachothers shelter and protection. Friends are easily made and most players are very helpful and nice, there's just the fact that there is a large bunch of players who do not speak English very well, an estimated 50%. Nevertheless, if a player starts a conversation with another player, he'll probably end up becoming friends with that other person.
When players have an argument or clash because one insults another, things can get pretty messy. When such a situation results in a fight, friends will be called to help. This way, because of one little fight, a whole server can be put down to its knees. When players call their friends to help them fight, this can result in two guilds opposing eachother. In most of the cases, the guild of which a player is a member stands up for their member, if thought by higher members in the hierarchy of the guild that the member was not wrong in the clash situation that took place. If such a situation can not be solved diplomatically, guilds can resort to violence and start taking out members of the opposing guild or simply declare war to the other guild. Now, both sides are the hunter and the hunted because of the simplicity at which guerilla actions come. Remember, you do not want to die in this game, therefore, the players involved in the war (often high-leveled players of the strongest guilds) will stay in the safe zones, as they are easy prey outside of it. Players can not walk through one another, so a player can easily be surrounded, have no way to escape and do nothing other than watch himself die an often quick death, depending on the amount of health potions one's carrying and the amount of players attacking him.
Large scaled battles take place as well, when the leaders of the guilds agree to have one in a certain area. This requires a lot of tactical thinking as to where to position your players (knights in front and archers and mages in the back) and how to make good use of the environment you're given.
A war like this will often throw the server's economy on its butt, because it can not be controlled by the higher-leveled players anymore. often, hyper-deflation takes place and all items drop down to a ridiculously low price. Moreover, because the high-leveled players are not able to keep peace anymore, powerabusing by players who are not involved in the war will rise significantly, for there are little to no threats that can be thrown at them. After all, someone in a war will not try to get himself even more enemies. Eventually, the losing side will not be able to play on the server anymore, as they will all be targets as soon as they get online. In this case, players often buy their freedom from the winning side, to get off of their blacklist.
Tibia holds many quests and mysteries which are unsolved, even today. For Tibia has a questing system that actually requires the player to solve puzzles, riddles and to interact with NPC's. A player can actually speak with an NPC, and by typing words of relevance, the NPC's will respond with a message a player can ask on about. This way, questing really becomes questioning and requires a lot of detective work.
In Tibia, anything can happen, and because of its action-reaction system and not being able to pass through one another, players are forced to interact and seek eachothers presence. Therefore, Tibia is a very social game which holds many different ways of playing the game. There are people who never level up and just hang out with friends, in-game, all day long and players who want to play hardcore and get as many levels as they can.. Players make up all different kinds of pastime, like organizing their own tavern, restaurant, theater shows, schools, football tournaments and lots and lots of parties. Because of the high interaction value of the game, lots of love sprouts in Tibia and a whole lot of marriages take place.
This game simply has no end, and holds a whole lot of fun, fear and adrenaline rushes, yeah, you get those when you're on the verge of dying or suddenly hop into a hole wherein a strong creature you did not expect is lying in wait for you, after all, you don't want to lose a week worth of playing by dying one time, right!?
Tibia is something very different from any other MMORPG out there, it will keep you coming back for more for a long time. I'm on 5 years now and I've not even seen half of the whole gameworld that's in there. The possibilities are endless and the only really bad thing about Tibia are the first 8 levels you need to have to make it to the main-continent, it's a drag, it will probably give you the wrong impression, but if you are eager enough to experience all the unique things mentioned above, you should really just have a tasty slice of this pie.
It's quite difficult to really describe what this game has coming for you, but I can ensure you that it is a very unique experience. There's a lot more I want to tell you about several different features the game has, but this review is long enough as it is. I suggest you check out the site, www.tibia.com, or have a look at several fansites (I strongly suggest www.tibianews.net) for more information.