Review by MachineMade
"Addicting at first, torture and self-destructive soon after"
I played Maple Story on the BROA server from September 2005 to May 2006. I was one of the top White Knights when I quite (#2 or #3 at Level 101 at the time of quitting). I even created the Page/White Knight Guide you find here on this site. Anyways, I'm here to tell you exactly what this game is about.
Maple Story is a very simple, streamlined, if not dumbed-down MMORPG. It has 2-D graphics, which are very clear, crisp, and enjoyable. It has below average sound that although appropriate for the various worlds of the game, become unnoticeable very quickly. It has no level cap and has 3 primary job at Level 10: Warrior, Magician, Thief, Bowman. You are allowed to choose one of 2 advanced jobs at Level 30 from each one of these classes. At Level 70, your 2nd job choice is upgraded.
Now why did I find this game appealing or unappealing?
At first, it seemed very fun to play casually. The controls are perfectly done and easy to configure. The monsters are childish, like mushrooms, slimes, and snails. Although the higher level monsters are slightly threatning in appearance (Werewolves, ghosts), the colorful nature of the game gives it an overall childish tone. The major fun factor comes from the game's simplicity. You kill monsters, earn meso (the currency), buy equipment/level up, get stronger, and repeat forever. Most people quit whatever character they were building at Level 40ish and try something new until they have tried all the classes and eventually quit the game.
Once you near the 2nd job, you realize you are addicted and want to go on. It's very entertaining up to this point and perhaps upto Level 60. At this point you will either be exhausted of training or be motivated by the upcoming job change at Level 70 and play on. Most people don't get to 60 primarily due to the grinding, which is Maple Story's primary failure.
If you want to reach the 3rd job, it will take a chunk of your lifetime, about 3-4 months usually. It may seem worth it at first, but the training is absolutely repetitive. If you manage to find the patience to reach the 3rd job, you will still be motivated to play however. Although, once you realize at Level 80-90ish that you will have to be training at the same monster for the rest of your Maple career, you lose motivation. At level 100, the game becomes torture to play, taking up to 8hours just to level up.
The game features equipment for nearly every few levels in the early levels. The later levels give equipment every 10 levels, which is very saddening. The upgrading system is heavily frustrating and nerve-racking. Each class only has 4-5 skills that they will use forever, in fact mages have about 3 spells each, which is pretty lame. The graphical effects of spells are not impressive at all also. The classes are heavily unbalanced. Theif classes are way too fast and kill steal too much. White Knight and Dragon Knight are the two strongest classes that make mages look weak and useless, along with every other class. A lot of the classes are way to strong in the 2nd job and are either even stronger in the 3rd job or become horrible for 3rd job.
They have released several 'bosses' of various difficulties. Although, the high levels benefit the most since they can KS the weak low levels with ease. The realease of a ultra hard boss, Zakum has made the antagonism in the community worse. Killing this boss, which is seriously the most poorly designed boss in history, results in very rare items which are quickly stolen by the swiftest classes. The boss itself takes no skill, just healing and attacking without seeing what you are actually attacking. It is about sheer manpower than tactics, and the fight lasts at least 4 hours with the highest levels in the game. Very unrewarding overall.
The game features massive kill stealing, scamming, racism, and mostly hacking. The company has game masters that promise to ban or restrict users that violate their end-user agreement. However, these GMs are extremely rarely seen and not friendly to the players at all. Almost 90% of the players use some sort of hack: upgrade hack, vacuum hack (That groups monsters together), fly hack, etc. If you decide to get to level 100 without hacking (Takes 6months about), a hacker can do the same feat in a week. Depressing I know. Some hackers will remain 'underground' until they reach Level 100 and then proceed to make their name in the game. The guild system creates cliques. The most well known guilds are either antihacker guilds, ultra high level guilds, hacker guilds, nationality based guilds, etc. In general, guilds are cliques, not clubs.
The community is largely based on the 'free to play' nature of the game. Since you don't have to pay, the diversity is high. Also since you don't have to pay, the caliber of players is very broad too. You meet people that are blatantly mean, racist, or people that are kind and softhearted. Mostly it is the former. Unfortunately, the childish nature of the graphics attract mostly an audience from elementary to high school. Usually they are very very annoying and immature. You will be lucky to find a real friend that doesn't scam you, talk behind your back, or pretend to be a friend.
The company that created this game, Wizet is very poor at management. They will focus on the foreign versions of Maple story: Japan, Korea, China before anything else. The global version (which I played and most people around the world do) has 5 servers and 20 channels per server. Switching channels is a quick task. Lag is a problem for a lot of users, and lagging as a mage can result in a quick death (which causes a 10% exp loss, which is unbearable at high levels). Wizet holds events every now and then but things like disconnections and lag causes them to be disappointing for many. Plus the events' prizes are not well controlled, a Level 10 character is able to win a Level 70 weapon, thus making him instantly rich. Wizet has patches every now and then, but mostly they add worlds or islands that are oriented to low levels. They have quests but again, are oriented to low levels. The company is nearly impossible to reach through email as well. Many users are accidently banned and there are rumors of corruption that the company can be bribed to unban previously banned accounts.
The cash shop makes the game quite unfair. Those who have money can buy stat-reset scrolls at will or items that prevent exp loss upon death. Only though illegal transactions like adverstising sales of NXCash (cash shop currency) in game can people who cannot access Cash shop use such items. Therefore, those who are rich in real life or in game are the ones who benefit from Cash shop. The Cash shop clothing gives rarely any benefit other than for aesthetic purposes. Although the modern clothing is well designed, it is pointless overall.
The economy in the game is based on whoever finds the weapon/armor first chooses a price. This causes high level equips to be insanely expensive, although not that rare. Selling items is primarily done at the Free market where people purchase shops from the Cash shop and sell items. Only 3 people are allowed at a shop so the Free Market is heavily overcrowded and lags.
Although I wasn't a hardcore player in this game, I trained modeerately. Those who find they cannot control addiction (almost everyone) find themselves in horrible situations: grades in school dropping severely, becoming antisocial, and most importantly, lazy, lethargic and dependant on this game for any source of entertainment.
Overall Maple Story is a attractive game that you WILL realize is a bad bad game that you should never have started. I am not the only one who feels this way, most other reviewers were not as well-known or high leveled as me in the game so they can't fully share their opinions. I cannot recommend this game at all. It is horribly designed, the community is repulsive, the gameplay is tedious, and the graphics are not 2-D anywhere at its best. Avoid this game, and you may succeed at life.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/06
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