Review by Selnex
"Tests the Meaning of RPG"
This game is called an MMORPG, but I wouldn't exactly call it that. I have been playing this game for almost 3 years and have experienced nearly every aspect of the game to its fullest (if that's even possible any more), and it barely passes as RPG.
The gameplay starts with your innocent character introduced into the world and given clear instructions what to do and how to do it. You are able to move on through levels at the beginning and adventure through islands of monsters and pick up some quests along the way. It is like any other RPG, with stats, classes, and recently professions. If you are willing to continue through the mess of broken classes and unbalanced movesets, then by all means play this game. The controls are easy, but the skill system is very tedious. You will never stop adding to your primary stat and there isn't much of a choice for flexibility in growing your character. Your main source of leveling and experience is through killing monsters, which feels like a terrible grind, trudging through thick mud for hours and hours with little to no reward, making gameplay dull and uneventful. Many features such as loot bonuses, experience increases and weapons are bought with real money, giving advantages to players willing to pay up. It practically breaks the game. There is hardly any alternate to leveling, making this a game that I would not recommend going back to. Hackers are found everywhere still, and this makes it hard for any one to make decent meso (the game currency), claim rewards or even form trusty alliances with friends. All in all the gameplay is based around how much your money can buy rather than how much effort you put into your tasks.
The game is eaten alive by foul playing and out-of-control members. There is only one way to describe the community, which is by comparing it to a city of thieves and liars. You will rarely find a person who is honest, or willing to lend a hand or answer a serious question. The forums are worse, and it takes perhaps hours of scrolling through troll and immature responses to find an answer. In my experience, (through my 150-some levels of play) more than half of the people who play this game are scammers for in-game currency or people who use the game as a social attraction by paying for NX (bonus currency bought with real money). On a normal basis I will encounter more than 5 people following me around begging for meso, NX or trying to trick me into buying a "rare" item. If you are on one of the abundant over-crowded servers, prepare to defend your self-esteem every five minutes. Not to mention that the remaining less than half of people are likely hacking or illegally selling meso for actual money. Expect to be harassed during your daily routine, and don't even think about talking to your comrades in public. It's very hard to make friends because if you choose any class except thief (ironic), you will to be discriminated to no end. Mages and Warriors are always rejected from "guilds" no matter what level or experience (but the class system is so off-balance that thieves are the most powerful any way).
On guilds, I would not even call these guilds. They are more like gangs engaged heavily on wars involving hurt egos and children without parental guidance on the computer. Cursing abound, and saying the appropriate age group is 12+ is simply wrong. If you happen to be in the same channel as some guild member and have nowhere else to go, don't be surprised if people from his guild come running to harass you and take all of your kills/loot. The language filter fails around every corner and I would not recommend even looking at the public chat. Even sitting in the public transportation areas will invite tons of people just waiting to pick a fight.
The economy is virtually dead. If you ever want to skip over the quest grinds to get better gear, prepare to pay probably all of your money to another (probably dishonest) player. As there really is no set price on things, it's very hard to buy or sell even average-quality weapons and equipment. You may scrap up a few good items here and there, but most of your character's life will probably be spent in the gutter, due to scammers and people who will follow you everywhere to steal loot you leave behind (that is, if you can find a place where people aren't stealing your kills).
Ironically there is no story at all. This "Maple STORY" is a blob of unrelated quests, spinoffs and copied storylines from even popular animes. The bosses of the game have no background giving me no reason to kill them, only that they are big and scary and look, well, like a bad guy. The lack of story combined with a nearly intolerable level grind just makes everything worse. Perhaps the initial aim was to let you create your own story, but based on the behavior of the community and overall willingness to actually play the game, I would say that cause is lost.
I have played this game for over 3 years and I have never had a response to a ticket, seen a GM, administration, or any one willing to help save for a few other victims I met along the way. I have reported probably over 50 people for scamming, hacking, repeatedly cussing, with no responses, and I have yet to see any control be taken over the community by the creators of the game. Avert your eyes from the report button as it's just another useless part of the interface. Kids beware, you will probably be exposed to words you shouldn't know.
I loved to listen to the music but at times it was very annoying. There is no real soundtrack and it sounds more like a catchy tune you would find in a hand-held game than in an actual RPG. Lack of improvement urges me to slap the mute button every time I log in. However the actual sound effects of the monsters and move effects was terrific.
This is great, to be honest. These have to be the best 2D graphics out there. The color is amazing, the simplistic movement and ever-changing environment just draws you in. The characters themselves are compact and easy to look at, and the movements seem pretty impressive for the time made. All of the animations flow with ease and create a very amusing atmosphere, even in the darkest of places.
Summary/Recommendation: 4/10 Overall
This game is free for a reason, and those reasons are listed clearly above. I would not recommend this game to anyone willing to keep their wits about them and willing go to a better game. If you like tedious leveling and can actually stand the grind of an emotionless backstory and uninteresting tasklist, if you are willing to go alone and ignore the community, go ahead and download the game. If not, I would suggest finding something different, as the game is not for everyone.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/07/13
Game Release: MapleStory (US, 11/30/05)
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