A few students at Germany's University of Regensburg decided to craft their own MMO in 1996, a project that became Tibia when it officially launched on January 7th, 1997. The first non-dev player took a few days to show up, and from then on a slow trickle of adventurers gathered inside the game.
Source: The Game Archaeologist: The silent world of Tibia
Tibia launched officialy on 7th January, 1997.
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