Review by RPGs R Awesome

"Only the dedicated need apply"

Well, hello all, this is my first review in an incredibly long time. Anyhow, I decided to write my first review in quite some time on MapleStory, a game that I myself have dedicated hundreds of hours to. MapleStory is a 2D MMORPG. There are not many 2D games in the MMORPG genre, so that in itself makes Maple different from other MMOs. The game is not particularly fun, but it is so incredibly addictive that you cannot help but be caught up in it's web. It features great customization, cute graphics, repetitive gameplay, and an often-horrible community.

The graphics are absolutely fantastic, honestly. They may not be 3D, or incredibly detailed, but they are cute, fun, and colourful. The monsters, characters, landscapes, and effects are well-done. This part of the game is what propels it in the opposite direction from most other games, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The monsters are memorable, the classes are undeniably unique in appearance, and the varying locales offer you many different landscapes, keeping the graphics fresh and exciting.

The customization in MapleStory is amazing. Fashion is an important part of the game, with your look often being critiqued by other Maplers. The outfits appear on your character exactly as they appear in your inventory, with many stylish outfits available. Some popular outfits include the China Set for Assassins and Bandits at level 50, as well as the Anakamoon and Seraphis sets, available at level 58 and 60 respectively. The Free Market is the main way items are purchase above level 30, but I will explain this aspect of the game later on in the review. Your character can be however you want it to be, with each character in the game unique. The Cash Shop allows Maplers to buy different, unique outfits by buying them with NX Cash, which is acquired through Paypal. However, since this require real money to use, the Cash Shop is limited to certain Maplers.

The sound is horrible, to say the least. Do not even turn on the music, as it is incredibly annoying, mediocre at best. It is incredibly cutesy and repetitive, which ends up annoying most people after about 15 minutes. It is recommended to just listen to the soft hum of your computer or turn on iTunes and listen to some of your personal music collection.

The controls are perfect. 100% perfect. The controls are completely customizable, with skills and abilities allowed to be added to any key you want. There are some buttons that cannot be moved, such as the facial emotions that are mapped to the F keys, but otherwise, most keys are fair gain. Customize the controls to fit your style of play and take it from there.

The gameplay... oh the gameplay. I have spent so much time on this game for one reason: it is beyond addictive. There are so many aspects to the game: grinding by killing monsters, doing quests, browsing Free Market, exploring the land, talking with buddies, and more. The game is packed full of things to do, it is up to you, however, to decide what to do with these options.

The community on MapleStory is horrid. Honestly, almost every nice person in the game are from GameFAQs. The local community is amazing, so it is recommended you try getting to know the GameFAQers that play the game before starting. They give great advice and are friendly. The other people you meet, however, are often asses who solely annoy anyone that passes them. For example, kill stealing (KSing) is a huge issue in Maple. Kill stealing is getting out of hand these days, with many people asking you to Change Channels if you enter their channel ("cc plz"). There are also people that attempt to criticise people through the game, with the fame system being at the center of it.

The fame system is mostly a hassle. The system allows you to defame or fame a certain user once per month, with you being allowed to use it once a day. Most people buy fame, however some people buy defames on people, known as mass defaming someone. Mass defaming is also a huge issue with the game, but it is starting to occur less. Some equips, also, require fame to equip. This system is both great for telling who is a nice person and who is a jerk, but many people use this system in bad ways.

The biggest problem, however, is hackers. GameGuard, Maple's anti-hacking program, is useless. It's junk, preventing next to nothing. Hackers still run rampant, effectively ruining most of the game experience. The main types of hackers are jump hackers and vaccers. Jump hackers are now more common because they can use the Zakum Jump Quest to gain lots of experience every 5 or so seconds. Vaccers, also called Vacuum Hackers, use a hack that pulls in all the monsters on a map and bringing them to one location on the map. From there, the hacker can just continuously attack, allowing them to gain experience at unparalleled rates. Hackers are beginning to ruin the experience, but the game still remains enjoyable with them anyways.

The process of leveling can occur in three ways. Firstly, you can gain experience by grinding (continuously killing for hours on end) on monsters. This is the main way to gain experience. Many people complain that the grind in MapleStory is terrible, which is absolutely true. Once you get past level 30, it can take between 2 and 10 hours to level. This raises once you go beyond level 100, but many people do not have to worry about that for a long time. The grind is too much for most people, leveling to 15 and then complaining about the grind being too much to handle. These people, many of which are the majority of reviewers of this game, are not allowed to form an opinion based on this. I myself have a four characters above level 30. I, for one, can say that the grind gets to be bad. It makes some people unwilling to level. The fact remains, however, that the game's addictive qualities make some people want to level too much.

Another way you can level is by doing Party Quests. There are currently three Party Quests. One is in Kerning City on Victoria Island, only for levels 21 to 30. The second is located in Ludibrium on EOS Tower Floor 101, which is only for levels 35 to 50. The new Zakum Party Quest is for levels 50+ and is located at the Zakum Dungeon entrance far past El Nath and in the Cave of Trials in Ossyria. These quests give you set tasks to accomplish with a party, giving you experience along the way and rewards at the end. They are fun diversions to leveling and are recommended for those that are tired of training.

Normal Quests are another way to gain experience and special items. They require you to do specific tasks, ranging from collecting monster drops, doing a jump quest, and much more. These are a nice way to gain experience, but the rewards are often average, fairly worthless, and the quests are often not worth investing in. There are some worthwhile tasks, however, so it is recommended checking out what the rewards are before-hand and then doing only the quests you absolutely must do.

There are many weapons and classes to choose from in Maple Story. The weapons cater to specific classes. The four primary classes are Magicians, Warriors, Rogues, and Archers. These characters start out on Maple Island as a Beginner, with Magicians advancing jobs at level 8 and the other three jobs at level 10. Once all classes reach level 30, however, they can do a second job advancement. Magicians can become either Fire/Poison Wizards, Ice/Lightning Wizards, or Clerics, Warriors can become Fighters, Pages, or Spearmen, Rogues can become Bandits or Assassins, and Archers can become Hunters or Crossbow Men. There is also a third job advancement at level 70, and a fourth job advancement at level 120, though that is currently unreleased. There is a level cap, rumoured to be at level 200, but it has never been reached yet to prove this right or wrong, though many Japanese players are closing in on this number.

The Free Market is an interesting aspect and one of the most enjoyable parts of MapleStory. There is a Free Market currently located in Henesys, Perion, El Nath, and Ludibrium. These all lead to the same Free Market, however, so it does not matter which town you access it from. The Free Market allows players to buy and sell items. The main way this is done is through Store Permits, which are available through the Cash Shop. These allow a player to create a store, placing items of theirs they want to sell in it and setting a price. However, tax has recently been added to the game to help prevent the market from deflating and inflating. The taxes in a Trade Window is higher than the taxes in a Store. Browsing the Free Market for equips and items you need, as well as good deals, is fun. It is great to find a wonderful item for cheap and then reselling it at a higher price.

There are constant updates, patches, and server checks for the game. This keeps the game current and updated, with many things added in each patch. There is always new things to be added and there is no such thing as beating the game.

All in all, MapleStory is a fun, addictive game. Sure, it may not be particularly filled with variety, nor a wonderful community, but it is a worthwhile addition to the MMORPG library. Besides, it is free to play, with the only cost being optional (the Cash Shop). Feel free to download the game and learn more about it at:

+ Addictive
+ Great GameFAQs Maple Community
+ Wonderful Customization
+ Great monsters, items, equips, and weapons.
+ Great graphics
+ Free Market
+ Free to play
+ Fully-customizable controls

- Hackers
- Fame system
- Sound
- Scammers
- GameGuard
- Most of the Community
- Grind
- Time-consuming

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/23/06

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