MapleStory Review

Is it Worth Playing MapleStory in 2021?

One of the OG Pillar of MMORPG

MapleStory, this was one of the oldest and most iconic MMOs to today’s date.

This was also the MMO that got me into MMOs. Before I tried playing Silkroad Online, before World of Warcraft, and before all of everything else.

Throughout my childhood, this one of the MMORPG I played along with Silkroad Online and World of Warcraft.

It was a different style of MMO, while reaching 200 was an hopeless dream back then, majority of the population focused on reaching level 80~100 before focusing on customize their characters with fashion, costumes and pets instead.

While the core game has never changed, MapleStory is still a 2D side-scrolling game, it is still an MMORPG and it is still a chibi style cartoon graphics game. It has evolved beyond what GMS use to be back in the early 2005s. Maplers would refer to that period as Pre-Big Bang. The Big Bang update was a very different update that made massive game changes. However, the main issue Maplers disliked about Big Bang wasn’t the what most would think. It was the Big Bang EXP Curve that completely changed the levelling experience in MapleStory. Whether it was for better or worse, it has always been up to debate. Some loved it, others loathed it. For me, I personally enjoyed the “Impossible” dream more so than it’s current state of leveling.

The Big Bang Update drastically lowered the amount of experience points needed to progress from one level to the next is lower, making leveling through Start to – 200 alot faster. In fact, in just a few days maximum you are able to reach 120, not even including all the EXP events and scrolls the game provides.

This was one of the biggest downfall of Maplestory, while it was widely considered the great MMORPG era where we had so many promising MMORPGs pop up such as World of Warcraft and all it’s expansions, Aion, Lineage or Anarchy Online just to name a few, Maplestory became more of a nostalgic childhood game for majority of the community. By the time it was 2011, even more potential MMORPG hits came with titles including Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, Rusty Hearts, TERA: Rising.

Fast forward a decade later in 2021, MapleStory is still going quite strong of an average of 2k players daily in the past month on Steam Charts alone.

MapleStory SteamCharts PlayerBase
Maplestory Steam Charts Player Base

While 2k player base was a big decrease from it’s glory dates, this number is still a considerable amount compared to some of the games that stayed open despite having less than 100 player base for months.

The game is even more diverse in it’s class selection than it was in the past, while it started with 5 base class that branches into 2 or 3 specializations to choose from that cannot be undone. Nowdays, it has a whopping 40 base classes to choose from.

So here comes the million dollar question, is Maple Story still worth playing in 2021 or should we find another game invest time in playing?

Publisher

Nexon was never the original publisher for Maplestory, the original developer and publisher was Wizet, which was absorbed by the current publisher Nexon in 2021.

While Wizet was more laxed and community friendly from my childhood memories, Nexon on the other hand was more of a money hungry company that focused on monetizing the game. In fact, Nexon has a notorious reputation of being a “terrible company”. With their own gaming community constantly bycotting their games due to it’s decisions made.

Combat

The combat for this side scroller platform game is very smooth, one of the smoothest I played when comparing with other 2D side scrollers such as La Tale, Closers, Elsword or Grade Chase.

While it is not exactly an anime style MMO, it is still filled with chibi characters with super flashy skills and gameplay. If you like more of a retro 2D chibi characters poking mostly cute monsters as well. You will enjoy Maplestory’s combat system. Too bad Maplestory 2 shut down in the west. It was really hyped up for Maplestory Successor.

Game Focus

The one thing about Old Maplestory was that it never had a focus, there were people who chased the impossible level dreams and made it like the infamous Tiger. While majority of the community hovered at under level 80s and met lots of people to group up for Party Quests. Others spent premium currency to make their character as perfect as possible to their liking. While majority of the “goals” the community could earn for never changed besides the leveling. Party Quests or short for PQ has been a forgotten element of the past. This was simply due to the unnecessary need to do them anymore as leveling was just that much easier. The game Maplestory has devolved into more of a hangout platform for majority of the community to just hang out.

Customization

Character Customization

As mentioned in game focus, one of the highlights of Maplestory is it’s character customization. There are so many costumes, outfits and accessories to make your chibi exactly how you want it to be, whether it’s getting a new haircut, a makeover, gender change or a brand new sassy outfit. The only downside is majority of these features are all locked behind the cash shop. Making it largely unavailable for a free to play player.

State of Game

Updates

Despite it’s publisher Nexon having such a terrible reputation, Maplestory still gets updates constantly. The storyline continues forward with no intention of stopping. This allows them to add new classes, races and content to the game on a regular basis. In the past, Level 200 was the maximum level which was increased to 250, and now in 2021, current max level is 275.

Events

There is constant events in Maplestory, so much that it can overwhelm any new player. In Maplestory, the game never stops, it just keeps going. You have plenty of content to cruise through and if you don’t want to do that, you have events on top of events on top of events.

Maplestory Events
Maplestory Events

Cash Shop

F2P Friendly

While over the years, Nexon has really ruined Wizet’s image of Pay to Win. They have introduced ridiculous paywalls for free players again and again. It is near impossible to reach end-game and obtain best in slot (BiS) gear. However, this isn’t uncommon for Korean games at all, Korean Games are known to be very grindy, just look at Silkroad, you don’t start the game nor start leveling your character until you farm some odd-1million Skill Points; talk abut having it rough.

The cash shop has everything you need, if you can think of it, you can buy it. From gear resets to in-game gold to pets and fashion. Not only that, you can customize your nameplate, your text bubbles and your damage meters. The game is very customizable as long as you have the money to pay for it. Further, nearly everything in Cash Shop can be sold to a player in game making the cash shop items theoretically available to everyone as long they have in-game gold to buy it.

Artwork

The artwork in this game is just amazing, they are constantly adding new classes and new skills for all classes. Unlike most games, old classes usually gets dusted off and forgotten about. However, Maplestory developers are something different. Recently, they added the new 5th job skill for all classes after level 200, where as the previous gaps were level 200 only. If you are into flashy skills and a while range of classes to play and master, Maplestory is for you.

Is Maplestory Worth Playing

Fun

While my main reason to play games is to PVP, lots of PVP and in the past, there was actually no PVP in MapleStory at all. It was added at one stage but removed soon after. It was too “hard to balance” which resulted in the developers working on other more worthwhile content for the player base instead. Even though there is no PVP, MapleStory has a very deep story that makes somewhat sense. It also has lots of constant events that puts all other games to complete shame which bumps the Fun factor from a 3★ to 4★.