MapleStory (Hangul: ??????; RR: Meipeul Seutori) is a free-to-play, 2D, side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game, developed by 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 Nexon.
In the game, players travel the "Maple World," defeating monsters and developing their characters' skills and abilities as is typical in role-playing games. Players can interact with others in many ways, including chatting and trading. Groups of players can band together in parties to hunt monsters and share rewards, and can also form guilds to interact more easily with each other. Players additionally have the option to visit the in-game "Cash Shop" to purchase a variety of character appearances or gameplay enhancements with real money.
In July 2010, the Korean version of the game was completely revised in a patch named the "Big Bang". Other versions followed suit and have since received the Big Bang update. Later in the year, the Korean version received the Chaos update which introduced PvP (player-versus-player) and professions to the game. Its sequel, MapleStory 2, was released in July 2015 and features updated 3D graphics and a similar storyline.
Players assume the roles of citizens in the Maple World with no specific objective to win the game, but to work on improving their characters' skill and status over time. The antagonist of the game, the Black Mage, was sealed away years ago by six heroes. Fearing his resurrection, Empress Cygnus enlisted the Maple World to join her Cygnus Knights in preventing his return. However, the Black Wings were able to return the Black Mage to reality for a moment, causing a cataclysm known as the Big Bang. With the seal on the Black Mage weakening, the five heroes return to the world in a weakened state. The player's character begins a quest to restore the Black Mage's seal but instead, witnesses his revival. The Black Mage then begins assimilating Grandis with the Maple World in order to rule both worlds.
MapleStory is a 2D scrolling platform game. 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 users' needs. The mouse is mainly used to trigger NPCs and manipulate items. Like most MMORPGs, gameplay centers on venturing into dungeons and combating monsters in real-time. The players combat monsters and complete quests, in the process acquiring in-game currency called "Mesos", experience points and various items. Players are able to acquire in-game professions, allowing them to craft equipment, accessories or potions.
Players have a variety of options when interacting with others online: They can form parties where loot and experience are distributed from a monster; in-game marriageswhere the game will recognize the two players as a heterosexual couple; guilds which is indicated with a guild's name listed under their character name; or families, an architecture gathering of juniors and seniors. Players are also able to raise or lower the in-game popularity stat entitled Fame of other players and compete with other players in minigames, such as Gomoku or Concentration. They may also engage in trading activities for "Mesos" or other in-game items (though subject to virtual tax).
MapleStory characters exist in worlds or servers. Players are able to create multiple characters in each world, though the characters in different worlds can not interact with each other. Each world is similar in content with each other. The worlds are divided into channels, among which characters are allowed to freely switch. The ability to transfer entire characters between worlds was added in December 2007 to Global MapleStory, with restrictions placed on items. In May 2012, this option was removed as it caused a negative impact on character gameplay.
When creating a new character, there are six branches of classes currently available, with two other branches with one class each: Explorers, Cygnus Knights, Heroes, Resistance, Nova and Sengoku. Beast Tamer and Child of God have one class in both branches. Some classes are currently not available in other regions.
Explorer characters start on Maple Island and begin as a Beginner class. The Beginner is able to advance into one of the five classes: Warrior, Bowmen, Magician, Thiefand Pirate. After choosing their class, further class progression is only allowed within the scope of the first class advancement with advancements at level 30, 70 and 120. Three separate classes, under the adventurer branch, are created differently from normal Adventurers: Dual Blade (Thief), Kinesis (Magician) and Cannoneers (Pirate).
Cygnus Knight characters begin as Noblesse class and begin their journey on Ereve. At level 10, they are allowed to class advance into five Cygnus Knight classes, each one parallels to the Explorer class. Upon reaching the level limit of 120, Cygnus Knights are able to change into a level 50 explorer with benefits.
Six Hero classes are currently available: Aran, Evan, Mercedes, Phantom, Luminous and Shade. The Hero classes are characters with background stories related to the antagonist of the game, the Black Mage. Aran has the Combo System, a unique feature to the class, allowing them to generate combo counts by hitting monsters, giving them buffs and allowing them to cast combo-consuming skills. Evan is similar to Magicians, but uses a dragon, which fights alongside them. Mercedes is an elven archer who uses Dual Bowguns. Phantom is a Thief character with the ability to mimic skills from Adventurer characters. Luminous is a magician of light who can also use dark magic which they absorbed from the Black Mage. Shade is the sixth and forgotten hero, whose existence was erased during the sealing of the Black Mage. They use spirits to aid them in battle.
Resistance characters begin in Edelstein, a town taken over by the Black Mage's followers; the Black Wings. The characters created under the Resistance branch begin as Citizens and have four available job advancements: Battle Mage, Wild Hunter, Blaster and Mechanic. A Battle Mage uses a staff for physical attacks, a Wild Hunter rides a jaguar while wielding a crossbow, a Blaster uses an arm cannon and a Mechanic uses a robotic suit to fight. Demon, a separate class, under the resistance branch, is created differently from the normal Resistance. A Demon character can become a Demon Slayer, who uses one-handed blunt weapons and axes, or the Demon Avenger, who uses a specialised weapon called the Desperado. Xenon, another separate resistance character, is a human-turned-cyborg who escaped from the Black Wings' laboratories who uses Whip Blades in combat.
There are three main continents common to all versions in the MapleStory world: Maple Island, Victoria Island and Ossyria. Maple Island is where adventurers start off their characters. Victoria Island contains eight cities, and is where most classes begin. Ossyria features seven distinct regions with varying environments: El Nath Mountains, Ludus Lake, Aqua Road, Minar Forest, Mu Lung Garden, Nihal Desert and Temple of Time. Ereve and Rien are separated from another land which is the beginning of another job of the game. The World Tour regions contain in-game versions of real life locations, such as Zipangu, Singapore and Malaysia.
The Cash Shop is an in-game shop where players use real-life currency to purchase unique virtual goods such as avatars, digital pets and other in-game items. Most Cash Shop items expire after a period of time. The Cash Shop also offers a shop permit, allowing players to set up a store in the in-game market location called the Free Market.
MapleStory was developed and released in South Korea and was localized to ten different regions as of 2010. As other publishers license the game for their region, proxy blocks are put in place (excluding the Korean version, it requires a KSSN), forcing players to play their localized version. On July 7, 2011, LevelUp! Games announced that they will not be renewing the contract for localization in Brazil.
An update entitled Big Bang was released in Korean MapleStory in July 2010 with other versions following suit. Big Bang changed the game's core coding, and changed many aspects of the game. An update entitled Chaos features the introduction of professions, and PvP.
On March 4, 2015, Nexon announced a new update for MapleStory's North American server, entitled Black Heaven. Players that registered prior to the update and before March 9 received a free Ignition Pack if they logged in before March 14 and after the update went live. Black Heaven was released on March 11, 2015.
On December 1, 2015, Nexon released the Maplestory Reboot update for its North American server, which allows access to the Reboot world. This world has disabled trading, increased meso drop rates and weapon/equipment drops that are specific to only your class. Reboot has the same monsters as other worlds, but with increased stats and EXP.
The Japanese anime, entitled MapleStory (????????? Meipuru Sut?r?), was adapted of the game and produced by Madhouse. It was aired on TV Tokyo between October 7, 2007 and March 30, 2008, spanning 25 episodes. The plot revolves around a warrior as he journeys to revive the world tree.
The North American publisher, Nexon, released a MapleStory trading card game on November 6, 2007. Nexon Korea and Japan have since released similar trading card games, while Nexon North America has discontinued this service.
Two adaptations of MapleStory have been released for iOS by Nexon Mobile:MapleStory: Thief Edition and MapleStory: Cygnus Knights Edition. The Thief Edition has only one job, Thief, while the other edition features two jobs: a Soul Master and a Fire Wizard. The games do not have multiplayer.
On July 27, 2011, Nexon released a public beta of a MapleStory Adventures as an adaptation for Facebook gaming format. The game consist of mainly single-player, but incorporates the main goals and themes of the full MapleStory game, which includes creating an avatar, fighting monsters and completing quests. This version has been discontinued as of July 31, 2013.
In 2006, Wizet revealed they earned over US$ 300 million from MapleStory. In Global MapleStory (GMS), more than a million players have bought items in the Cash Shop. In 2006, Nexon announced MapleStory had a combined total of 39 million user accounts worldwide. MapleStory Global has over 8 million users as of 2011. As of 2014, it was among the top ten MMOs by worldwide revenue.