MapleStory MMO Review

It took the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) scene by storm. It has inspired many fan-based media, an anime series, a trading card game, and even commercials. Its F2P (Free to Play), P4F (Pay for Fun) system has received both praise and backlash. It’s the game that many first time MMO players began, get addicted to, and finally quit realizing they have spent non-replaceable hours and money on. Without further ado, it is no other game than MapleStory and even with all of the criticism, it’s a good game for what it is worth.

MapleStory was first released in Korea in Spring 2003 from the South Korean company Wizet under the publishing of Nexon. Considered a success in South Korea, MapleStory was then approved to be published in other countries via licensing. Ever since then, the game has been published in various countries such as America and Europe. The game has a free-to-play model in which the game is basically free to play. There are no hidden fees or monthly dues to be paid. To generate income however (and unfortunately), the game has various items to improve your character cosmetically and power-wise through a system know as “NX Cash”. “NX Cash” is the currency used to purchase these items and is only available by using real money.

Being an MMO, MapleStory has an (theoretical) endless amount of content through updates. The game always has something to do, whether it is traveling through the various worlds or socializing with friends. You can team up with friends, guild mates, or random people to discover new lands and take on challenges that you cannot complete alone, which are called party quests. If you are the loner type, you can always do normal quests that just require one person. Another companionship system on the game (that appears on other MMOs as well) is the guild system. A guild is “an association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards” and as stated, is created to connect players with similar interest. Guilds are important to accomplishing quests that you receive as you level up.

Like many MMOs out there, there are classes. As of now, there are 4 general classes : Adventurers, the basic classes such as warriors and magicians, Legends, former incarnations of Adventures of MapleStory lore, Cygnus Knights,  knights of a MapleStorian princess, and Resistance, a group of rogue citizens who rebelled against their oppressor. Each class, like any other MMO as well, has unique abilities and their own pros and cons.  The gameplay for MapleStory is fairly simple, even for beginning MMOers. You move on a 2D plane, killing monsters using a variety of skills all dependent on your class. Even though the gameplay is fairy simple, much strategy is involved because of the variety of classes and enemies, especially once you start bossing.

The music and artwork for MapleStory are surprisingly well-done. Most tracks are upbeat, happy tunes that are suited for how the game is overly seen. The game has a largely unique soundtrack, MapleStory Screenshot 2ranging from jazzy elevator music to 1990’s hip hop  to even lowly heard drum and bass.  The colors are vibrant and distinct, ranging from Springtime blues and yellows to Autumn oranges and browns. There are plenty of locations to explore, so if you look at MapleStory from an artistic standpoint, the game has done a notable job.

One of the main factors when considering an MMO is size. MapleStory has an extremely large player base, with an estimated 7 million players in the United States alone. Still, bigger is not always better.  It is important to find a game that is not only big, but also friendly as well, which is not always the case with MapleStory. Another problem would be the over-crowdedness of some servers, while others are nearly dead. If you’re looking into establishing a long-term relationship with MapleStory, it would be best to train yourself for either a single player oxymoron or an over-crowded mess.

There are other considerable drawbacks with MapleStory as well. First of all, with no balance between most server populations, you are either left with an overcrowded server with the tendency to disconnect or a small server, which is a big negative in MMOs. Next, the “NX Cash” I brought up before makes a huge difference if you want to maximize your potential. Various items in the game to upgrade your weapon’s attributes are inside of the Cash Shop. It is understandable for a company to want to make a profit and it is also understandable to release items that would attract more customers, but when those items are a noticable advantage, you are left wondering why on Earth would a company do this to the vast population who do not buy “NX Cash”.

All in all, MapleStory is still a well done MMORPG for what it is worth. There is plenty to do and plenty to see in this colorful and vibrant, but sometimes dark and distant world. Even though there are the considerable issues to be made from the game concerning the community and “NX-Cash”, they do not damper this story enough to stay clear.

Score: 8 out of 10

About Kameron Smart

A normal gamer with a last name that's awesome.

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