My thoughts on Nexon – Cut them some slack!
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Nexon is currently the most popular gaming portal in US/CA regions as well as being very popular in Asian territories. All too often though, I hear comments from the general MMO public about how Nexon are terrible at what they do. While I don’t think they’re perfect, I think they’re definitely above average compared to the majority of publishers out there.
Nexon are considered to be pioneers in bringing the whole “free-to-play” business model to the US. They started off with the philosophy that if a free game is enjoyable at its core, people will pay money for extra items, features and services to enhance the experience. Nexon started gaining more and more popularity with this philosophy, and pretty soon, lots of publishers were emulating it. You could say that many gaming portals wouldn’t have existed had it not been for Nexon to show everyone how it’s done.
Nexon likes to publish highly polished online games, some of which end up being trend setting titles for the whole industry. Back when Nexon was known as NXGames, they started off with MapleStory, the 2D MMORPG with a 16-bit SNES style. Game developers all over saw MapleStory’s success and wanted to make their own 2D MMORPGs to cash in. Now we have a whole bunch of 2D MMOs just like MapleStory such as Wind Slayer, Wonder King, La Tale and many others.
Just one of many 2D MMOs attempting to capture MapleStory’s glory.
Choose. Choose wisely.
Do you ever get the feeling that most gaming portals just pick up new titles at random instead of considering what the general public is interested in? Strangely enough, that’s how I feel about them. It’s almost as if other gaming portals simply search for new titles that have one or two special features that the entire game revolves around and then the rest of the game falls back on features that have already been done to death.
What Nexon likes to do is hand pick titles that they know will be popular. Titles that they know will succeed. Sure, most of their current titles are pulled from their Korean branches, but these are games that appeal to today’s generation of gamers.
I know that not every gaming portal company out there has millions to spend on securing the publishing rights for high quality games, but neither did Nexon US when they started out. Even before they had MapleStory, they started out with games like Dark Ages and Shattered Galaxy. They were pretty unique for their time and the success of those titles gave Nexon a stepping-stone to publish more unique titles.
They also have decent localization teams at Nexon. When they localizes their titles, they take their time in making sure that text and grammar for each game sound right during the translation process, to make players feel as if their games were first developed in English, unlike some publishers that don’t take the time to iron out the text and grammar issues with some of their games, like this:
Gee, it’s almost as if they ran the text through Babelfish and called it a day.
Ok… Well maybe not every localized game has translation issues as bad as this, but I’m just saying that you’ll never see any of this with Nexon’s games.
They really DO care!
Nexon shows a lot of love for their community by adding and changing features to appeal to their audiences. For example: Mabinogi went through a huge change of pace by including free storyline quests, rebirths, and more. This change was due mostly to what the community wanted and what Nexon wanted for the community. In fact: since they made a lot of the features available for free, some of the available cash shop services have been rendered useless.
Do you remember the nut-shot feature that was included into Combat Arms? Well it was added back in 2009 and is still apart of the game. It does add a bit of strategy that you wouldn’t find in any other FPS title on whether you should decide to aim high or aim low.
The almighty nut-shot
While it may not be a huge feature, it’s nice to know that they’re always open to ideas to make their games more fun.
Fair and balanced?
This next part is pretty arguable, but I believe that Nexon’s cash shops are all fair and balanced compared to other gaming portals. A lot of free-to-play games tend to push the cash shop on players without them realizing it. Most of Nexon’s titles are action skill based, so a player that is generally good at the game will not need the cash shop toadvance. I should know since playing Dungeon Fighter Online, I played my way up to level 33 with a Blade Master and was able to hold my own pretty well in PvP and I didn’t touch the cash shop until 5 levels later simply because I wanted to make my character look cool. Several DFO players would say that you need advanced avatar items before you should even consider doing PvP, but if free players need them that badly, they can always purchase advanced avatar items from other players using in-game gold. Nexon just recently included the long awaited auction house system so you can get what you want without having to pay an unreasonable amount of gold for them.
Nexon also enjoys hosting events for players to earn free NX credits or cash shop items. They also let players earn free NX credits by doing surveys on site (the whole survey thing was done by a lot of other portals before Nexon started this, though.) Nexon makes it apparent that there are always options available for their players if they truly want a free-to-play experience.
Nexon’s bad side
Like I mentioned before, Nexon isn’t 100% perfect as they do have some issues with player support and botting control. As popular as their titles are, there are hackers and gold farmers around to ruin things. Nexon’s support towards hackers and gold farmers seems to be very lackluster, as abusive users tend to stick around for days or weeks at a time before Nexon takes action against them. They have been stepping up their efforts as of late, but it could be a whole lot better.
Botters, hackers and gold farmers still run rampart in Nexon’s games
There’s also an issue with slow technical support. The rate at which Nexon responds to player complaints can be painfully slow. For questions with simple answers, they tend to respond quickly, but questions on issues that are more complicated, it can take them weeks or even a whole month before you get a reply.
Those are my general thoughts on Nexon. They’re a great company, but not too great. They have good games, tons of events to earn free stuff and they generally show that they care for their players, a lot more then any other gaming portal I’ve seen, that’s for sure. If their tech support and hacker control was better, I would rank them as the best.
I suppose with this with article, you could call me a bit of a Nexon fanboy, but I’m not trying to convince you that Nexon is the superior gaming portal.
(Oh, and just so you know, I’d just like to say that Nexon did NOT ask me to write this article.)