For a lot of people, MapleStory was their first MMO adventure. It was free to download and play and depending on how old you were, had an anime aesthetic that appealed. Now that we have grown up and tried other games, MapleStory 2 is on the scene.
As Korean game studio Nexon continues to grow, so too does their ambition and direction for MapleStory 2. It’s a big, wide 3D world out there packed to the brim with assorted quests and tasks for players to complete.
It really seems that this is an MMO that you can play your own way. With XP and character advancement available through a variety of means, you aren’t forced to play any single way.
I was fortunate enough to have a brief catch up via messenger for a chat with Miyoung Oh, MapleStory 2’s Lead Game Designer to ask a few questions about their vision for the game and major changes from the original MapleStory title.
PowerUp! – Whilst the MapleWorld 2 feels the same, the change from a 2D side-scrolling game to a 3D world is a big change. Was this always your vision for MapleStory?
Lead Game Designer, Miyoung Oh – There are many things that can be distinct features from MapleStory, but we wanted to further develop character customization as we thought of the sequel.
We wanted to try out various things that can only be done in 3D because there’s a limit to character customization in 2D; Maple Workshop, various dance emotes, hairstyles and hats where you can change the position or length, etc. Once we decided on it, changing it to 3D was decided immediately.
PowerUp! – The housing is an exciting feature of MapleStory 2. What made you implement it and what plans do you have to attract players to build their own houses?
Lead Game Designer, Miyoung Oh – Since the map itself is in block form, map creation was very easy for the planners and other members working on maps, not just for designers.
Then we thought this would be easy and fun for players as well and they should try it out since it’s made up of blocks. We are in talks with Nexon America about amazing ideas on how to develop the housing content further. Please look forward to it as it will be revealed at the right time.
With customisation seeming to be the focus in Maple Story 2, it’s true that each character and their home can feel unique with the plethora of options available to them. But I was curious about the class system as well as professions.
PowerUp! – Any plans to add class changing in the future? For those of us who can’t make up our minds.
Lead Game Designer, Miyoung Oh – There are no plans yet. Since you can gain experience and level up through various ways in MapleStory 2, we recommend that players create a secondary character.
PowerUp! – The professions were fun content in MapleStory, but it was hard for new players to level up anything other than gathering. What’s the plan to make professions more important in MapleStory 2?
Lead Game Designer, Miyoung Oh – MapleStory 2 has four types of gathering life skills and four types of craft life skills.
With enough playtime, anyone can reach maximum life skill levels which allow players to make various items through crafting. Once you reach Rank 5 of certain life skills (foraging, alchemy), you can visit new regions like Alkimi Island/Berg Island. The life skill system is also tied with housing where you can visit other player’s houses to aid in ranching and farming activities.
We’re always researching to find new ways to build ties between existing content and life skills in organic ways and will continue this direction.
PvP MapleStory 2
And finally, as a fan of PvP content, I wanted to know more about the MapleStory 2’s Arena functions, curious about the plans for arenas and perhaps even a competitive ladder or team mode.
PowerUp! – We are glad to see the arena back in MapleStory 2, is PvP here to stay? Is there any chance we could get Team Arena Battles? Such as 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4?
Lead Game Designer, Miyoung Oh – It was a very difficult task for the dev team to balance both PvE and PvP at the same time. We wanted to carefully review the addition of Maple Arena. Additional things on Maple Arena will be revealed soon.
We will think of many things to make this as enjoyable as possible for the players. There are no plans to add modes such as 2v2 yet.
As games keep moving in a micro-transaction direction, MapleStory 2 is no exception. Whilst the purchases seem to be purely cosmetic at this point in time, it would be foolish to assume that gear and XP boosts aren’t a possibility.
Nexon has cut some of the ‘pay-to-win’ features in the Global release, understanding that the cultural difference in the western market doesn’t look favourably on these features. So far the only in-game bonuses outside of cosmetics seem to be utility and convenience pieces such as quick travel items.
Interestingly there is a marketplace where players can sell gear for real-world cash, that gives cash-shop currency to the seller. A bold concept and not one that Blizzard could make work with Diablo 3, so I’m keen to see how Nexon makes it work.
If you can get past the cutesy bobble-head weeaboo aesthetic then MapleStory 2 is a pretty decent RPG at its core. With an overwhelmingly positive review on the steam store, it appears that players have taken to the new 3D direction as well as mechanics rather well.
How long will it last in the face of new upcoming content for goliath MMORPG World of Warcraft? Well, we will see. For now, it appears both fans and new recruits are thoroughly enjoying the MapleStory 2.
Special thanks to Miyoung Oh for her time.