MapleStory is a 2D side-scrolling MMORPG with cartoony graphics that features over 30 playable classes. It was one of the first popular free-to-play MMORPGs in the West and still remains one of the most popular and polished MMORPGs today.
Release Date: May 11, 2005 (NA)
Pros: +Huge variety of classes (over 30). +Large game world. +Good item/upgrading system. +Tons of quests. +Fun platforming stages.
Cons: -Plenty of hackers. -Classes aren't balanced. -Absurd looting system (manual looting unbearably slow).
Help prevent the whole of Maple World from falling under the rule of the infamous Black Mage in MapleStory, a free-to-play 2D side-scrolling MMORPG that has stood the test of time and remains one of the most popular MMORPGs. Choose from over 30 unique classes from knights, assassins, and mages, to samurais and even legendary heroes, each with their own distinct playing styles. Live out the game’s story from the unique point of view of each class as you explore a massive and colorful 2D world while completing quests alone or with a party. Experience the game’s unique platform-style quests along with the huge variety of content that the game has to offer, including mini-games and puzzle quests.
MapleStory Key Features:
- Fun and Simple Gameplay – engage in no-frills 2D side-scrolling action combat against cute, but deadly, mobs.
- Over 30 Unique Classes – play as one of 30 classes, each with their own personalities, skills, playstyles, and stories.
- Your Style, Your Rules – customize your character with a variety of gear and costumes to fit your style or needs.
- Platform Quests – tired of the usual mob-killing quests? Engage in Jump Quests that can be both fun and frustrating at the same time.
- Ever-Evolving World – MapleStory receives a constant stream of updates so there's always something new to look forward to.
MapleStory Featured Video
Classes in MapleStory unlock their job advancements at Levels 30, 60, and 100.
Warrior – Warrior, Dawn Warrior, Mihle, Aran, The Demon, Kaiser, and Hayato
Magician – Magician, Blaze Wizard, Evan, Luminous, Battle Mage, and Kanna
Bowman – Bowman, Wind Archer, Mercedes, and Wild Hunter
Thief – Thief, Dual Blade, Night Walker, Phantom, and Xenon
Pirate – Pirate, Cannoneer, Jett, Thunder Breaker, Mechanic, and Angelic Buster
New classes are being introduced to MapleStory regularly. This table will be updated periodically.
By Marc Marasigan
MapleStory is a free-to-play 2D side-scrolling fantasy MMORPG developed by Wizet and published by Nexon, one of the biggest game publishers in the world. The game was originally released in Korea back in 2003 and was later released for the North American market on May 11, 2005. In 2014, the game was ranked among the top ten MMOs based on worldwide revenue. At the time, it boasted over 8 million users. More than a decade after its release, the game remains as one of the most popular free-to-play MMORPGs of all time.
MapleStory is set in the mythical Maple World where the citizens are enjoying peace after legendary heroes sealed away the evil Black Mage hundreds of years earlier. The game has received numerous updates since the game was initially released over a decade ago. These updates added more classes, tweaked gameplay, and added to the game’s storyline. Currently, players can now play as one of the legendary heroes, or as a citizen of Grandis, a new world assimilated into the Maple World with the Black Mage’s release from his imprisonment. The game still receives a constant stream of updates with no indication of stopping anytime soon. The game is continually improving and evolving with new areas, new quests, and new bosses so there’s always something new to do – even for veteran players.
Standing the Test of Time
What I like about 2D games is that they age rather well compared to 3D games. After more than a decade, MapleStory’s graphics still look great, if you can get past the cartoony-style, that is. The game’s soundtrack is fun, lively, and changes according to the environment. The high-pitched tunes can get annoying at times, especially if you’ve been playing the game for hours on end. Nothing that can’t be solved by changing a few settings, though. The game’s controls, which mostly makes use of the keyboard, needs some time to get used to, but will feel like second-nature once you get the hang of it. What I don’t like is the fact that you still have to use the mouse to interact with NPCs and objects. Switching between the arrow keys and the mouse and back again just to click on an NPC seems unnecessary to me.
Learning The Ropes
Players are given different types of tutorials depending on the class they choose. Some can be as simple as tooltips or dialog boxes appearing on-screen, while others can include lengthy cut-scenes that also act as a prologue. The latter can take as long as 15-20 minutes to complete but can easily be skipped by veterans of the game. However, for new players who care about the game’s story as much as playing it, I would advise against skipping the tutorials, especially if it’s a prologue-type. Unfortunately, the tutorials are limited to basic stuff like moving, jumping, attacking, and how to use skills. This leaves players unprepared for what lies ahead.
Where’s a Map When You Need One?
MapleStory’s core gameplay, like most MMORPGs, is based on quests. However, unlike most MMORPGs that feature linear quest lines, players are pretty much given free reign of which areas they would like to take quests from, provided that they’re within the level requirements of the quest. The game features a nifty navigation system that points players toward where to find the next quest, which helps a lot in making sure that new players don’t get hopelessly lost in the massive game world (a common complaint during the game’s early years). It also offers quest recommendations and at times, allows the user to instantly teleport to the quest location. However, teleporting to a random place isn’t really advisable if you’re a newbie. I remember dying while trying to complete a quest and resurrecting in a town I’ve never been in before with no idea how to get back, only to die again when I accidentally entered a high-level map. Google finally saved the day for me, but it still goes to show that the navigation system isn’t exactly full-proof.
Jump, Jump, Oh Shoot I Missed It! Jump, Jump…
Before there were instanced dungeons and party raiding, MapleStory already had Party Quests and Platform Quests to give players a chance to earn experience and items apart from the usual grind. In Platform Quests, more commonly known as Jump Quests, players need to jump from one platform to another to reach an NPC at the other end of the map and claim their rewards. While making their way to the end, players must also avoid obstacles such as lasers, moving saw blades, and monsters designed to knock them off the platforms. While they can be fun at first, some jump quests tend to be overly-tedious and frustrating. In addition, some of the more frustrating quests are required to progress in the storyline, so there’s really no way around it.
On the other hand, Party Quests, or PQs, are like 2D versions of instanced dungeons found in typical MMORPGs and come in two forms: Cooperative and Competitive. In Cooperative PQs, a party must work together to complete the map objectives. These objectives range from eliminating all monsters on the map to taking out powerful bosses. In competitive PQs, two opposing teams or groups of individuals compete against each other for rankings. The better you do during the quest, the higher the experience rewards. The competitive PQs can be a lot of fun when playing with friends, which is probably the only way that players can enjoy PQs because of MapleStory’s currently low playerbase, unless you want to run through it solo.
MapleStory features the classic stat and skill point system used by older MMORPGs like Ragnarok Online. Players gain a set number of stat and skill points every time they level up until they reach the level cap, which is currently at 250. They can then distribute these anyway they like. For those who don’t have time to research or add up numbers for builds, the game features an auto-assign button that, as the name implies, automatically assigns stat points to the players recommended stats. For example, STR for warriors, INT for mages, and DEX for archers. Skill points, on the other hand, have to be manually assigned.
The Big Bang Theory
After the Big Bang update, leveling up has become extremely fast and made even faster due to the game’s Burn feature, which gives an additional 2 levels every time a player levels up, all the way until they reach Level 99. Unfortunately, only one character per account can use the Burn option and the only way to transfer it to another character is to delete the “Burning” character. Before the Big Bang update, it took forever to reach the first job advancement at Level 30 and anyone over 100 was considered a god. With the addition of the Burn feature, players get to experience end-game content faster, which I assume is the reason why the devs added it in the first place. This may have turned-off veteran players, but personally, I’m glad they made leveling easier. Some players may like their grinding, but I for one would rather spend my time in things other than killing mob after mob to get my character to level up 8 or 10 times a week.
Gearing Up From the Cash Shop
Most free-to-play games have some form of microtransation or cash shop that allows them to earn from the game. Not a problem when everything is balanced, doesn’t have to be fair since they are spending real-world cash, just not overly-advantageous. I also don’t like it when you’re bombarded with microtransactions at every turn and this is exactly what MapleStory does. Want a pet? Buy one from the cash shop. Want to level up even faster? Exp boost from the cash shop. Although MapleStory isn’t the only game to do this, it might have been the first. Plus, it’s the only game where you can easily spend $100 to RENT costumes to place over your normal-looking gear and make them look way cooler, only to spend another $100 when it expires after 90 days. It’s entirely possible to get through the game without spending a dime – you just have to resist the ever-present temptation to do so and rely on good old-fashioned patience and a whole lot of grinding.
Nexon has always done a phenomenal job keeping MapleStory fresh. To keep things interesting, they launched a massive "reboot" update with MapleStory v.168, which introduced an entirely new server to the game with a different ruleset. This new "rebooted" world features tougher enemies which yield better rewards, a new "Hyper Stat" point system, a unique damage analyzer, and more. The beauty of this update is that these new systems aren't forced on anyone, but rather offered as an alternative on an entirely new server. Veterans of the game can check out the new reboot servers for a fresh MapleStory experience.
The Final Verdict – Great
There’s a reason why MapleStory still has a large following more than a decade after it was initially released. Gameplay is fun and simple, although a bit repetitive if you ask me. Graphics and audio are good, and there’s a ton of things to do. Constant updates make MapleStory an ever-evolving world that players can play over and over again. If you can get past the 2D cartoony graphics, this is a great MMORPG that you can easily spend countless hours on.
MapleStory System Requirements
Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Equivalent
Video Card: Any 128 MB Graphics Card
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Dual Core or AMD equivalent
Video Card: GeForce FX 5600 / ATI Radeon 9600 or better
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
MapleStory was originally released back in 2003. The game's system requirements aren't too demanding. Just about any PC purchased since 2005 should be able to run the game smoothly.
MapleStory Music & Soundtrack
MapleStory Additional Information
Developer: Wizet (Owned by Nexon)
Release Date: May 11, 2005 (North America)
South Korea: April 29, 2003 (Nexon)
Taiwan / Hong Kong: June 1, 2005 (Gamania)
Europe: April 12, 2007 (Nexon)
China: Published as Adventure Island by Shanda Games
Development History / Background:
MapleStory was developed by South Korean game developer Wizet and published by Nexon. The game's success led to Nexon quickly acquiring the company and now Wizet operates as a subsidiary of Nexon. The game launched in South Korea back in 2003, making it one of the longest running MMORPGs. Unlike most other game launched at the time, MapleStory featured cartoony side-scrolling graphics rather than 3D visuals. Since the game's launch, MapleStory has enjoyed enormous financial success. Nexon revealed that the game earned over $300 million USD back in 2006 and reached over 39 million users worldwide. Since then, the game continues to operate profitably, China in particular being a strong market for the game. The game's enormous success led to the development of a 3D sequel called MapleStory 2. MapleStory is one of the top 10 most profitable MMORPGs in the world.