Dear Mr. Kim,
Over the past year you have undoubtedly seen a deep-rooted change in the MapleStory community. While Nexon America’s quarterly profits continue to grow, your active player-base continues to decline. One only needs to look to every medium available online to see the rampant discontent: Twitter, Facebook, the official MapleStory forums, Basil Market, Southperry, Maple-News, and so on. The consensus is – you’re doing it wrong.
Like all games and artistic endeavors, change is inevitable and welcomed. MapleStory has changed drastically since 2005 and there have certainly been many positive changes; new and interesting content, a large variety of classes to play, new bosses, maps, quests, events, and so on. Still, these changes are negligible if the fundamental structure that governs the game is broken. Without a strong foundation, even the tallest buildings will crumble.
Many players may not be aware of this, but when the Cash Shop was first implemented to MapleGlobal (back when Nexon America was still NX Games), the MapleStory administrators promised that players who purchased NX would never be given unfair advantages over players who did not. I don’t have to say their promise was an empty one; we see it every time we log on.
There is much debate over what made MapleStory a great game. Was it the beautiful artistry? The unique game play? The classes? The maps? It was always the community. Let’s admit it, pre-Big Bang MapleStory was pretty limiting and pretty difficult – not in the way that MapleStory today is. Content was scarce and it took a long time to level. These limitations forced people to take advantage of the biggest strength of the game: interaction.
In the age of instant messaging and web forums, being able to meet new people, go on quests and adventures, and make new friends was amazing. It was truly a virtual world. People had to interact because there really wasn’t much else to do. The game was structured to support party play with party quests and strength was based on your stats and level – not how much money you could spend to cube your Fafnir or Sweetwater weapon (or whatever the newest high level end-game gear is now). It was dependent on how hard you worked, how clever you were, and the people you surrounded yourself with, not how much money you could spend on NX cash. People played with each other – not by themselves – and there was motivation to do so.
It’s clear to anyone with a lick of sense that the game has been exploited for profits. Most players understand that Nexon is a gaming company and the main goal of any company is to garner profits – no one is arguing with that. None of us know how much autonomy Nexon America really has from their parent company, Nexon Korea. However, in the digital age, consumers no longer have to sit there and accept what is fed to them. There is much competition in the gaming industry and much demand to meet profits and to earn paychecks and continue to ensure a company is in the black. Still, it’s clear that a wrong turn was taken somewhere along the road.
There seems to be a lack of understanding of the way the game functions that has been rampant in your ranks for years and is only just now being addressed. Maybe we’re wrong, but that certainly is the impression most players have. Perhaps it’s because of the difference in culture. What worked in Korea or Japan may not work in the United States or Canada. Content cannot be merely translated and implemented into MapleGlobal; it must be analyzed (as some of it is) on a larger scale and custom content that fits the specific needs of North American users must be created.
Only but one of many examples, the potential system was encouraging at first, but has devolved to nothing more than a pay-to-win scheme. Can you say unfair advantage? Yes, cubes have been made available through events and crafting but those are merely band aids wrapped around a finger when the whole hand is bleeding. Not enough has been done to address the underlying issues in the system itself and no amount of PR can convince active players that it’s a viable long-term solution. Players in the community have suggested numerous possible solutions to this particular issue and many others.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most tech-savvy person or know exactly what the specific key problems are – there are people much more eloquent in that regard than I. Still, as someone who has played for almost nine years, it’s pretty clear just from talking to members of the MapleStory community that there are quite a few holes in this lifeboat.
I sometimes find myself questioning why people are still fighting so hard for this game. After all, it’s just a computer game. The one dividing factor between MapleStory and other MMORPG’s? Its community. I’ve never seen so many people who have been so passionate about a game before, and in that sense Nexon has won the freaking lottery. The thing is, until recently, the MapleStory community has been ignored and has felt unappreciated. Ironic, huh?
This game has impacted a lot of people’s lives in many different ways – which is an accomplishment in itself – and it would be a shame to see that thrown away for future generations of players.
Work with us, Mr. Kim. Really work with us. We promise, we won’t let you down.
The MapleStory Community