MapleStory (메이플스토리) is a free-of-charge, 2D, side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by the South Korean company Wizet. Several versions of the game are available for specific countries or regions, and each is published by various companies such as Wizet and Nexon. Although playing the game is free, character appearances and gameplay enhancements can be purchased from the "Cash Shop" using real money. MapleStory has a combined total of over 50 million subscriber accounts in all of its versions. MapleStory North America (Global), for players mainly in North America and outside of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe, has over three million players.
In the game, players travel the "Maple World", defeating monsters and developing their character's skills and abilities as is typical in role-playing games. Players can interact with others in many ways, such as through chatting, trading, and playing minigames. Groups of players can band together in parties to hunt monsters and share the rewards. Players can also join a guild to interact more easily with each other.
Like most MMORPGs
, gameplay centers on venturing into dungeons and combatting monsters in real-time. The players combat monsters and complete quests, in the process acquiring in-game currency called "Mesos", experience points
(EXP), and various items. Players can kill monsters alone, or they can form a party with up to six total characters. Loot is shared based on relative damage and level of characters in the party, more being awarded to the higher-level members.
MapleStory's 2D scrolling viewpoint more closely resembles a platform game rather than the typical 3D environment or top-down perspective of other games, such as Guild Wars or Mu Online. The controls for the game are executed using the keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is used for many game functions, and much of it can be rearranged to suit user's needs. The mouse is mainly used to trigger non-player characters (NPCs) and manipulate items.
MapleStory characters exist in "worlds" or "servers." Players are allowed to create multiple characters in each world. Each world, similar in content between each other in the same version, is split into at most twenty channels, among which characters are allowed to freely switch. The ability to transfer entire characters between worlds was added in December 2007 to GlobalMS. However, this feature has restrictions — transfer of mesos is limited to 1 million, and players cannot transfer to the newest world.
New players are sent to Maple Island
, a floating island specifically designed to be beginner-friendly. Unlike in many other MMORPGs, players in MapleStory
cannot choose a job
when they create a character. Rather, every character starts with the "Beginner" job. When characters meet certain requirements, they can complete the first job advancement and become a Warrior, Magician, Bowman, or Thief, with a fifth job, Pirate, available in KoreaMS. Further class progression is only allowed within the scope of the first class advancement chosen. There are either three or four class advancements available (depending on what version the user plays) as the player progresses through the game.
In addition to combat statistics, characters have "Fame". Although publicized by the game's creators, fame serves little practical purpose besides fulfilling some quest and equipment requirements. Once characters reach level 15, they are able to raise or drop the fame of any other character once per day. A character cannot raise or drop the same character's fame more than once per month. The maximum amount of fame a character may receive is 30,000. A ranking feature, available in certain versions of MapleStory, keeps track of players that are performing well in total ranking, job ranking, world ranking and fame ranking. Rank information is available from the region website of the player and can also be found in-game.
Players can form Guilds with other players. Guild creation costs a certain amount of Mesos, depending on the version being played. Guild extensions and emblems
, which have separate costs, are also available. The purpose of a guild is to be able to find and chat with others more easily, bond with other players, promote cooperation, and battle using teamwork. Members have their guild's name listed under their character name along with the guild's emblem, if applicable.
There are over a hundred available quests, each with varying prerequisites; most quests may require the player to have attained a certain level or to have completed another certain quest. Most available quests require the player to retrieve a certain amount of spoils attained from monsters or to traverse an obstacle course. Some quests can be repeated, although the reward(s) and given EXP may be different from those attained during their first completion.
Jump quests are a unique type of quest in which a character starts at one area of a map and uses timed jumps to get from one to another specific platform. Players attempt to avoid enemies and obstacles that can knock them off of the platforms. Skills and abilities that increase jumping distance or speed do not have any effect during these quests.
can be acquired from monster drops, purchased from other characters or shops, or obtained as rewards for completing a quest. These items are used for various purposes. Players are also able to trade items, but higher value transactions attract a virtual tax.
Since MapleStory is free, the developers introduced the Cash Shop to generate revenue. This is a virtual shop where players can buy items using real money, so called microtransactions. Most Cash Shop items expire after a certain period of time. Pets, modeled after animals such as monkeys, dogs, cats, bunnies, pandas, and pigs, follow the owner around and can be equipped to pick up spoils dropped by enemies.
The Free Market is a place set aside for people who wish to sell their items amongst other players. Miniature shops can be set up in this area, allowing people to browse their stock. Store permits, which are required to set up a shop, are only available through the Cash Shop. There are two types of store permits: a standard store, which requires the presence of the player, and the hired merchant which does not require the presence of the player but requires additional cash shop money to use this feature. The hired merchant store is only available in time periods of 24 hours, one week, or two weeks. Conversely, the standard store lasts ninety days but only works with the presence of the user. One can meet with players located in other towns, provided the town contains a Free Market entrance. However, one cannot use the Free Market to travel between towns.
Real money trading between players is prohibited in MapleStory, and results in a ban. This includes trading mesos (ingame currency) with NX Cash Items (items bought with real money).
There are four main continents common to all versions in the MapleStory
world: Maple Island, Victoria Island, Ossyria and Masteria. Maple Island
is where every new player begins the game, and has short tutorial quests. When a player leaves the island, they are unable to return to it (except in ChinaMS). Victoria Island
is where players arrive after leaving Maple Island. The island has eight cities, and is where Beginners will upgrade to their first class. Ossyria
is currently divided into seven distinct regions with varying environments: El Nath Mountains, Ludus Lake, Aqua Road, Minar Forest, Mu Lung Garden, Nihal Desert and Time Temple.
World Tour regions can be reached by talking to Spinel the World Tour Guide, located in almost every town in Victoria and Ossyria. The world tour consists of additional continents that are based on real life countries. There are currently four world tour continents: Zipangu, China, Formosa, and Siam. The newest area, Singapore, has been released on MapleSEA and Maple Europe. Currently, there are no regional maps for any of the world tour continents.
Masteria is a new continent currently only available in GlobalMS and TaiwanMS. It is believed to be off the coast of Victoria Island, though there are no world maps or regional maps to show this. There are only two towns on this continent: New Leaf City, the Prendergast Mansion and Crimsonwood Keep.
Players can play various minigames
, both solo and multi-player.
- Omok is the Korean cognate of the Japanese game "Gomoku," akin to tic-tac-toe. To win, a player needs to place five pieces in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line.
- Match Cards, also known as "Concentration," can be played with grids of 3x4, 4x5, and 5x6 cards. The facedown side of the cards contains images of various monsters, which players take turns matching.
- Pachinko is exclusive to the JapanMS and TaiwanMS versions. In order to play, the player must be in a Pachinko House and have pachinko balls purchased in the Cash Shop. Players try to get the pachinko balls into a mushroom hole below a slot. If the player obtains a certain amount of balls, he or she may win in-game prizes.
- Gachapon is a slot machine, in which the player inserts a ticket bought from the Cash Shop and a random prize comes out.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors is based on the actual game, in which one plays against an NPC.
- Fishing King is currently available in TaiwanMS and ThailandMS. After the player completes a quest to obtain a diving suit, he or she is sent to a map to catch fish. The player may return to catch fish as many times as desired.
- The Fishing System is currently available in all versions except KoreaMS, GlobalMS and EuropeMS. Players can buy fishing equipment from the Cash Shop and talk to an NPC in various towns to go fishing.
Players may participate in in-game marriages
at the town of Amoria. Guests may be invited to the wedding, and the marrying couple will receive wedding ring
items. The wedding "ceremony" requires the completion of various quests. If a premium wedding ticket from the Cash Shop was purchased, the player is entitled to have a party after the ceremony. In Amoria Dungeon, players can fight exclusive monsters. The KoreaMS version of Amoria has been altered to remove the training grounds and the Chapel area, leaving only the Cathedral. MapleStory
currently does not allow same-sex marriage
On certain days, the Game Masters (also known as GMs) host special events in which any player is capable of participating, given their character is at a given map during the event time. All participants receive a trophy, and winners receive a random prize. Users are notified of an upcoming event by a scrolling box at the top of the game screen. Events are known to bring an influx of players to the event's respective locations, which generally causes massive connection lag and sometimes even disconnections. The large amount of special effects during an event can significantly slow down the player's PC.
Occasionally, certain versions of the game hold events that celebrate a certain event in real-life or an event specific to that version, such as a holiday or new server release. During these events, certain aspects of the game are modified in celebration; for example, the experience rate or drop rate may be increased, or special items may be released.
Versions and registration
- StrategyWiki has more information about the content differences between versions at MapleStory/Patches.
MapleStory Korea was the first version to be released; therefore, it currently has the most features compared to the rest.The other versions are at different stages of development and most are not as advanced in content as MapleStory Korea's. With this advantage comes the problem of players (mainly from the North America (Global) version, but some from others) trying to play KoreaMS. These players are often referred to as 이주자
, or "immigrants" by a majority of the Korean MapleStory
players. These "immigrants" are the reason why a Korean Social Security Number
is required to play. IP blocking
is used in some of the other versions of the game, mostly for the same reason. Some attempt to bypass this by using Proxies, which spoof IP addresses
to make it seem like a player is playing from a different country - however in Europe MapleStory
a GameGuard proxy check has been implemented. This is also because foreign text in the Latin
-character-based North America (Global) version causes glitches to occur. This is the same for Koreans in the Chinese version, and so on.
Recently, a localized version for Hong Kong / Macau has been announced by Gamania Hong Kong. Beta testing began on October 23, 2007.
Though some versions share the same world names, they are different and independent of each other. They are defined by their language used, publisher, server location and specialized worlds.
Revenue and game population
As of February 2006, Wizet
has generated 200 million USD
from the game service in South Korea. Wizet received 110 million USD for licensing the games to other parts of the world.
Game population (as of February 2006):
- Korea since 2002, 200 thousand subscribers (concurrent users), 14 million subscribers (total)
- Japan since November 2003, 9 million subscribers
- China since December 2004, 25 million subscribers
- Taiwan since July 2005, 3.5 million subscribers
- Thailand since August 2005, 550 thousand subscribers
- South East Asia (mostly Singapore and Malaysia) since June 2005, 550 thousand subscribers
- North America (Global) since May 2005, 3.5 million subscribers
The statistics did not consider that players can have multiple accounts, but it also did not state if multiple accounts were not counted. Therefore, the actual number of players could be less than the announced statistics.
In other media
In 2006, an upcoming MapleStory
game for the Nintendo DS was announced, titled MapleStory DS
. Unlike the PC versions, the DS game will be a single-player action role-playing game
An anime TV series based on this game began airing on TV Tokyo on October 7, 2007.
MapleGlobal released its own trading card game on November 6, 2007. In conjunction with Wizards of the Coast, the release is available in two parts: a starter pack box with a CD case containing 32 cards, two character cards, one booster pack, and game rules; and a CD containing the software for the online version and a card checklist.
In a brief review of the game, IGN
praised the game's accessibility and colorful art direction, while questioning the game's slow pace. Players often criticize the game for the need for constant "grinding
", or repetitive tasks done to level up. At higher levels, it can take up to a month before a player can level once, depending on how often the user plays.
A KTTV investigative report showed that the game could be addicting and costly, citing cases related only to MapleStory where kids stole their parents' credit cards or PayPal accounts to buy Nexon cash.
Official game websites
- Hidden Street - A library of game information, such as quest guides. MapleNA (Global) and MapleSEA.
- MapleTip - Includes MapleWiki, a library of game information, guides, and a help forum. GlobalMS (NA), MapleSEA and JapanMS.