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- Taiwan & Hong Kong - Gamania
- Singapore & Malaysia & Thailand - AsiaSoft
- South Korea - 1.2.58 (Test Server 1.2.157)
- Japan - 1.46 (Test Server 0.09)
- China - 0.62 (Test Server 0.20)
- North America - 0.58 (Test Server 0.05)
- South East Asia - 0.59
- Taiwan - 0.74 (Test Server 0.14)
- Thailand - 0.53
- Europe - 0.41
- Hong Kong, Macau - 0.10
- Brazil - 0.04
- Vietnam - 0.01
- India - TBA 2008
- Middle East - TBA 2008
- South Korea April 29, 2003 (Test Server 2003)
- Japan December 3, 2003
- China December 2004
- North America & Global May 11, 2005
- Singapore & Malaysia June 23, 2005
- Taiwan July 4, 2005
- Thailand August 16, 2005
- Europe April 12, 2007
- Hong Kong & Macau November 1, 2007
- Brazil June 10, 2008 (Open BETA)
- Vietnam June 25, 2008 (Open BETA)
- Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game
- Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2K/XP
- Intel Celeron 500 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM, 750 MB hard disk space (depends on version), Internet connection (at least 56 kbit/s) and Direct3D support
- Computer keyboard, Computer mouse
MapleStory (Korean language: 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, many player appearances and gameplay enhancements can be purchased from the "Cash Shop" using real money. MapleStory has a combined total of over 83 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 walk around in the "Maple World" and defeat monsters and develop 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 combating 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 platformer rather than the typical 3D environment or top-down view 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 users' 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. Character progression
New players are sent to Maple Island, a floating island specifically designed to be beginner-friendly. Unlike many other MMORPGs, players in MapleStory cannot choose a job when they create a character. Rather, every character starts with the job Beginner until they meet the requirements to complete the first job advancement.
At either level 8 or 10, depending on the desired class, the player can willingly choose to complete the first job advancement and acquire a new class as a Warrior, Magician, Bowman, Thief, or Pirate (though Pirates are only available in KoreaMS). The Magician class is the only class that can be chosen at level 8. 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. Some players, however, decide to not get a job and become "permanent Beginners." Permanent Beginners may choose to leave Maple Island but those that decide not to are referred to as "Islanders".
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.
Items 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 of MapleStory 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, dragons 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).
Image:MapleWorld.JPG Map of Maple World in MapleGlobal
There are three main continents (Maple Island, Victoria Island, and Ossyria) common to all versions in the MapleStory world.
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. Victoria Island has eight cities, and is where characters will choose their first class. Ossyria is divided into six distinct regions with varying environments: El Nath Mountains, Ludus Lake, Aqua Road, Minar Forest, Mu Lung Garden, and Nihal Desert. World Tour regions can be reached by talking to Spinel the World Tour Guide NPC, 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 three world tour continents: Zipangu, China, and Siam of Thailand. 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. It is believed to be off the coast of Victoria Island, though there are currently no world maps or regional maps to show this. Currently there are only two known towns located on this continent: New Leaf City and the Prendergast Mansion.
Fame is the designation for one of the statistics on a character's character sheet. Although publicized by the game's creators, fame serves little practical purpose besides fulfilling some quest and equipment requirements. Once characters are at the minimum requirement of level 15, they are able to raise or drop the fame of any 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. In GMS, the player "Diego" was the first only legit person to reach 30,000 fame. Hackers took advantage of this and proceeded to make a fame hack using what is called "packet-editing". This allowed any player to reach 30,000 fame if they obtained the hack. Now it is easy to spot a player in any GMS server with 30,000 fame. It is advised to report these players immediately.
There are various minigames that one can play, both solo and multi-player: Omok, Match Cards, Pachinko, Gachapon, Rock Paper Scissors, and Fishing System.
- Omok is the Korean cognate of the Japanese game "Gomoku". Omok is akin to tic-tac-toe. To win, a player needs to place 5 of their pieces in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line.
- Match Cards is also known as "Concentration". Match Card games can be opened in grids of 3x4, 4x5, and 5x6 cards. The facedown side of the cards contains images of various monsters, which players take turns matching.
Image:MapleStory Global Match Cards.png Players having a Maple Minigame (Match Cards 5x6).
- Pachinko is a mini-game exclusive to JapanMS and TaiwanMS. Pachinko balls may be purchased in the Cash Shop and are required in order to play. The player must be in a Pachinko House to play the game. In order to win, one needs to get the Pachinko balls in a mushroom hole below a slot. Once it is in, the slot will start. If the player obtains a certain amount of balls, he or she may win in-game prizes.
- Gachapon is a slots minigame, in which the player inserts a ticket and a random prize comes out. To play Gachapon, one must first purchase a Gachapon Ticket from the Cash Shop. The Gachapon machines are located in various towns.
- Rock Paper Scissors is a one-player minigame based on the actual game, in which one plays against an NPC.
- Fishing King is currently available in TaiwanMS. The player can complete a quest to obtain a diving suit before being sent to a map that resembles an Aqua Road map to catch fish. After the player has acquired a diving suit once, the player may return to catch fish as many times as they want to.
- The Fishing System is currently available in all versions except KoreaMS, GlobalMS and EuropeMS. Players can buy fishing equipment (fishing rod, fishing chair, etc.) from the Cash Shop and talk to an NPC in various towns to go fishing.
See main article: Amoria Wedding System
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. Unlike other versions, players may attempt to make a variety of rings. Each of these rings carries various bonuses. 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. Currently, the monsters found there include the Orange Mushroom, Blue Snail, Slime, and exclusive to these maps, the Sakura Cellion, Crystal Boar (GMS and MSEA), and Indigo Eye (GMS and MSEA). 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
Image:Maple0123.jpg Players gathering in Lith Harbor waiting for a GM event to start, with a GM's yellow message on the top of the screen.
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.
Ranking feature is available in certain versions of MapleStory. It keeps track of players that are performing well in these divided categories: 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. Versions and registration
The Korean version was the first to be created, therefore it has the most features as of yet. Other versions are at different stages of development and most are not as advanced in content as 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 publish by Gamania Hong Kong. It should commence Beta testing 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 April 2008)
- Korea since 2002, 300 thousand subscribers (concurrent users), 14.5 million subscribers (total)
- Japan since November 2003, 10 million subscribers
- China since December 2004, 28 million subscribers
- Taiwan since July 2005, 3.7 million subscribers
- Thailand since August 2005, 550 thousand subscribers
- South East Asia (mostly Singapore and Malaysia) since June 2005, 600 thousand subscribers
- North America (Global) since May 2005, 3.6 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. Collectible trading card game
MapleGlobal released its own trading card game (TCG) 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, 2 character cards, one booster pack, game rules, and a CD containing the software for the online version and a card checklist. The list price for this "starter" is USD$9.99. The booster packs are also sold separately, containing 9 cards, one of which has a Cash Shop value (USD$3.99 MSRP).
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 Fox 11 Investigates report conducted by Fox 11, a Los Angeles news channel, warned parents that online games that were free to download may not be entirely free. MapleStory was used as the sole example provided in the investigation. Fox 11 claims that the game becomes expensive with repeated purchases of Nexon Cash. Fox 11 interviewed the parents of children who had become so obsessed with the purchase of the optional Cash Shop items that they had broken into their parent's PayPal or credit card accounts to purchase Nexon Cash.
An anime TV series based on this game began airing on TV Tokyo on October 7, 2007.
Official game websites
- MapleStory International portal - Official MapleStory website
- Offical MapleStory trading card website
- North America (Global) MapleStory site - MapleStory North America (Global)
- Europe MapleStory site - MapleStory Europe
- MapleStory SEA - MapleStory SEA (South East Asia)
- Hidden Street - An extensive library of game information, for example quest guides.MapleNA (Global) and MapleSEA.
- MapleTip - Contains Maplewiki, library of game information, guides, a large forum for help, and more. (NA)GlobalMS, MapleSEA and JapanMS.
- TheNEXGame - The first MapleStory site based on issues to the gMS host, Nexon.
- MapleNews - The first MapleStory news site, focusing on gMS, eMS, kMS and jMS and doing occasional news stories on other small maplestory divisions.