MapleStory (Korean: 메이플스토리; 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. As of 2020, the game has reached over 180 million registered users worldwide and grossed over $3 billion in lifetime revenue.
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 marriages where 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).