Review by Knusperflocke

"NEXON or MapleStory itself - what's the bigger problem?"

I played EU-MapleStory from August 2007 until February 2009. I think it was actually a big waste of my time, but let's start off with the review.

I. BASICS:
MapleStory is advertised as "2-D platformer MMORPG" or similar things. 2-D platformer/sidescroller means, there are now 3-D graphics. You can not walk "in the back" of the map, just walk to the left or right, or jump up (and fall down, of course).

II. a) GRAPHICS:
The graphics of MapleStory are good. It's "just" 2-D, but it'll catch you, even if you're used to play next-generation videogames. I guess it's the same charme other good ol' platformers cought as back in the 80s and 90s, such as Super Mario or Sonic. The game is designed very colourful, but still enjoyable.

The game runs only at 800 x 600 pixels, force widescreen display either to stretch (and especially in MapleStory to an ugly effect) or to fill the remaining parts of the screen with black bars - depending on your graphic-settings in Windows.

II. b) GRAPHIC STYLE
Cute, cute and...uhm....cute. This is a sign for the target group of this game. The first enemies you encounter are small snails, smiling mushrooms and ribbon pigs. This may be a kind of standard for this type of game (remembered me sometimes to WONDER BOY for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis), but its getting boring very fast. Later, you kill "horny mushrooms" (the actual name of them!), orange mushrooms, little mushrooms ("shrooms"), undead mushrooms, mushroom mother ("mushmom", short "MM"), zombie mushmom ("ZMM")...

The maps start off well designed: Grassy hills, sunny ports, little villages. They look great, but this changes later. Especially in the toy-town, called "Ludibrium", you see the very childish roots. The NPCs are in LEGO-style, the maps are built with LEGO-bricks and your enemies are - guess what - toys, too. So, after smashing mushrooms, you start off "killing" plush bears and drum bunnies.

Sometimes, the graphic change to more dark themes, especially in the areas where undeads are. But these areas are very rare, the most time it's target is to be as cute as possible.

III. SOUND
Wow, this game surprised me in terms of sound. It's the worst crap I've ever hard. This counts for the music AND soundeffects.

As a sound fanatic, I took a little more care than the normal player. I ended up turning the entire sound off after a while. Noone can stand these happy tunes which are looped every 45 seconds. The SFX are even worse, because of missing skills you hear about 3 soundeffects for hours - if you kept the sound on. For example, when I played I stood in the most growded training place for it's time - the Henesys hunting ground. You just heard "Swoosh" (the weapon swing/arrow shooting sound), a "Tsh" (the sound played when you hit - this sound is used for EVERY enemy with EVERY skill) and a squeek, when the enemie dies. Now, imagine there are 30 player on this map and 50 enemies...Sounds more like a brawling crowd of hooligans.

The music and the effects are also rendered in bad quality, even the GBA could play better sounds.

IV. GAMEPLAY
'Kay, let's go the most important point of a game. The gameplay in MapleStory is very, very,...very boring. And with "boring", I mean "boring". A lot of people do not train at all anymore, because it's so boring, they just sit around and chat. If you like to develop your character you need:

- 1) A lot of time
- 2) Plenty patience
- 3) Money

1) MapleStory is often called grindfest, and this is the truth. Instead of doing some cool quests and bossfights, you gain your experience through killing the same type of monster over and over again. And after you leveld after hours, you ... do not move to the next challenge. Because a kind of monster is suitable for about 5~10 level, you see the same monster dying in front of you for hours and levels.

2) As stated above, you need a lot of time. But patience? Yes. I played a priest, and so I healed. Yeah, that's kinda normal, but instead of having fun, I just held down the spacebar (the button I assigned heal to) for about 15-25 seconds, 3 enemies died, I gained 0,03%. This is not a lie! It's normal in this game. Instead of jumping around, evade attacks and monster and kill them, you just jump in the crowd, holding down your pirmary attack key and wait. You can not hardly avoid an attack already launched, because the engine of the game already calculates damage often before it's attack is rendered. Because of the missing third dimension, there is no way to evade enemies - if they thouch you, their is just an option left: Pray the engine will give you a MISS.

To level up in the last days of my active time in MapleStory took 12-13 hours - with 2x EXP cards. 13 hours to hold down a single button is FUN?

3) MapleStory is the worst example how a game and it's community is dominated by the cash shop. There are a lot of features of the game just available through the cash shop. And this is just a rip off. For example, the hairstyles. The game offers you 3 or 4 hairstyles at the beginning. But to change it to one of the - really! - better looking ones, you need to pay 5 ~ 5,70 ! And the 5 euro hair coupon is just randomly, so you may get another default hairdo. Great!

2x EXP and DROP-cards are necessary to level. These 13 hours for a level up are WITH 2x EXP-cards. Without, a level up would've taken 26 hours. TWENTY-SIX HOURS HOLDING DOWN A SINGLE KEY!!

V. THE COMMUNITY
People often avoid the trainstation in their hometown or other places where people are begging, taunt at you or threat you.

Unfortunately, you can not avoid a MMOPRGs community. And MapleStory's community is the scum of the scum. The first people you meet won't answer, the more advanced player will start trying to rip you off, people KS (kill steal) whenever they can, they beg for money, they threat you with poor subjects ("If u dont gimme money I call a gm you hackz") ,other are just spambots in frequently visited places. GMs are not available; the game just use autoban, so if you triggered some key-combo, you get autobanned. Just because NEXON is too incompetent for a good engine you get banned? Yes.

The best solution: Avoid the mainstream. Go to the forums and ask a little around, you'll maybe find some nice people. But ingame - never. I found maybe ... 50 or 60 nice people over 1,5 years in a game with millions of player.

VI. THE GAME-ENGINE
On the website, NEXON is showing the minimum requirements. I was shocked, on computer which exceed the requirements twice, the game lagged, took ages to load and so on.
On the other hand, the engine is stiff. Your character is stiff as a marble column.

Other 2-D sidescroller such as LaTale have a better engines and work much more flawless even on my netbook.

The glitches in the games are countless. Yes, it is a beta, but this does not mean it's okay to have bugs for over 1 year. The lag handling is also a big pain in the ass: If the connection interupts for some reason, you receive damage, but beeing unable to move, to heal or to use potions. When you are back in the game, you die instantly. Great! The most time the server does not answer, so it's just a big method to make money with the cash shop for items wich prevent the EXP-loss.

VII. NEXON
NEXON is the provider of MapleStory and other online games. And NEXON is as bad as the community. I personally think NEXON is one of the firms which REALLY deserves bankruptcy. We all have to do good work to keep our job, but NEXON is making money by beeing incompetent, greedy and customer unfriendly.

During my time there, I sent 6 EoI (Emails Of Inquiry) to the customer support. None of them got answered.

About 50% of the notices are "Serverchecks" and "Emergency serverchecks", because ALMOST EVERY PATCH FAILED after patching. Other 30% are about payment methods. Instead of developing the game, the cash shop and payment methods had the priority. There had been more new payment services than game updates over several months.

No GMs available. That's saying everything. If there is a huge complainment in the forums, some GM or whatever shows up - that's it.

SUMMARY:
This game starts to be very interesting, but later you will realize other games could you entertain better. You need to play very often and long to achieve something, the gameplay is boring, typing this text is more fun than playing MapleStory. The community is the biggest scum and NEXON counts their money while you are trying to fix the bugs with the client in order to play.

No, really, play LaTale if you want an awesome sidescroller or Dragonica for a great 3-D-game. But avoid MapleStory - or better: Avoid NEXON.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/09

Game Release: MapleStory (EU, 05/31/07)


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