Maplestory: Mapleworld Through the Years
By Jerrico Tan (JetSet), OnRPG Journalist
Maplestory is a side-scroller action MMORPG published by Nexon, the same company behind popular titles like Atlantica, Vindictus, and Mabinogi. Despite being just a 2D platform adventure online game, this one still charmed a total of 100 million accounts worldwide for of its cute anime presentation, tons of adventures, frequent updates and many other features that sum up a game with lots of stuff to do to keep you busy.
The game has been running for almost 5 years and Maplestory still offers freshly updated content for the convenience of the game’s new, loyal or even returning players. The most notable expansion made available almost a year ago was the “Bing Bang” update, where the game system has been totally revamped. The update adjusted the game’s EXP curve so that players could reach the max level cap easier. This also added a new resolution option to players (1024×768) which made exploring the lands of Mapleworld even better.
There is also a recent update titled “Rise of the Fellowship” and this added a “familiar” tab in its monster codex card system. Now, players could choose one of any collected monster cards as an assistant monster in the field. Each monster also has different stats and abilities to help you kill enemies efficiently. The game’s regularly updated content wouldn’t leave returning players with an impression that this game is getting old.
The game mostly uses the keyboard for character movement and actions, which is obviously important when playing side scroller games. The mouse pointer is still in there but only for item sorting and NPC interactions. The controls for this game are highly customizable; an in-game keyboard layout is presented so you can mix and match hotkeys to your perfect setup. Now that’s a great convenience especially for players with cluttered laptop keyboards. Lastly, if you prefer playing side scroller games on a controller, Maplestory also supports gamepad controls with fully customizable key mapping just like the keyboard. With these convenient control features, players can surely maximize their gaming experiences in the Mapleworld.
An Improvement in Gameplay
During its early years, the game’s main problem was its awful grind oriented gameplay, and thankfully, Nexon remedied that by adding a number of fun quests in the game. One of them is the Dojo quest where you rack up points by killing monsters “street fighter” style and exchange your points for a specific belt title. There are also Party Quests, which are tackle puzzles and riddles rather than mere“monster-farming”. Additionally, completing the first chapter of the storyline quests would easily advance players to level 25 so they won’t really grind that much anymore.
Classes and Skills
The world of Maplestory is chock-full of choices for adventure. Starting players are also made to choose one of the many storylines presented. Players could choose to simply be a casual explorer who protects the Victoria Islands, be part of a Resistance group against the confederate Black Wings, or be one of the Cygnus Knights that are dedicated to fight off the forces of an evil Black Mage. Each class group offers character classes, which has at least three of the following main classes: the warrior, the archer, the wizard, the thief and the pirate. The stories behind your class group progresses as you get to a higher job level and this small storytelling feat gives replay value to the game.
There are many job types that should also be considered under the said class groups.They branch out into three job specialties once you have an opportunity to advance your job level. Every job class has specific skill specialties (not that original or amusing in my opinion) but its macro skill feature was what really caught my eye. You can choose a combination of three skills and jam it in one hotkey and even name your macro with whatever you want to call it. Now you won’t have to press so many buttons when executing buff skills before battle.
The item selection is one of the core features behind Maplestory. The game’s item database has vast amounts of equipment that you could use to dress up your character. They are also statistically balanced in order to have the best set of equipment and so that each character would never look alike. Players however should be careful when buying items for there are gender and class restrictions.
Upgrading equipment is also pertinent in this game. You can use scrolls to upgrade your equipment’s stats. The lower the scroll percentage, the bigger stat bonuses it would receive should the forge succeed. Be careful when forging low percentage scrolls, though. Not only are your scroll lots forever lost even if the scroll fails, but using dark scrolls puts your equipment at risk of being destroyed.
Another great feature that was added in the game was its “age of battle”. This age introduced the battle arena and it will open itself to players once they reach lvl30.There are also level categories so players shouldn’t worry about level gaps. The current update offers four battle game modes: Free For all, Team Battle, Ice Knight, and Capture the Flag.
The first three modes are obviously self explanatory; however, the most unique mode that players should try out is the Ice Knight mode. The battle starts when a random player in the room turns into the Ice Knight. Aside from changing appearance, that transformed player would get monstrous stat buffs. The objective is simple enough in that the Ice Knight tries to survive a gauntlet against every other player in the room. With these competitive features, Maplers get a chance to show that their equipment is best suited for battle and not just for show.
The community, perhaps, is one of the key factors responsible for Maplestory’s success and popularity throughout the years and I have to say, the game’s current running community is still fairly decent. Most of the gamers present are friendly and helpful and some would wholeheartedly help you complete quests. And if you’re lucky, you might even receive equipment and Mesos (its in-game currency) from them generous folks.
The graphics in the game wouldn’t stand a chance with games that have dazzling 3.0 shader effects. But who needs those shaders when the game has action packed gameplay and everlasting cutesy charm all over it? The game was published almost five years ago (2007) so you shouldn’t even worry about its system requirements if your PC was made during that period of time.
With many features and fresh, exciting contents being regularly added, Maplestory is definitely one of those few MMORPG titles out there that let you enjoy playing in your own way even without paying a cent. With tons of quests to choose and complete, you won’t even notice that you’ve already spent more than three hours of game time in just a day. Even if its graphics could give initial negative impressions, Maplestory’s vast, entertaining and enjoyable gameplay still gets my 2-thumbs up. Now hurry and download it for free.
*Revamped game system
*Always fresh content
*Fast paced gameplay
*Fully customizable controls
*Vast item selection
*Newly added PvP features
*Gameplay could be repetitive in the longrun
*Some third party online item sellers