An Open Letter to Min Kim: Help Us Save MapleStory

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

15 responses to “An Open Letter to Min Kim: Help Us Save MapleStory

  1. Maplestory will be a better and more fair/balanced game once Nexon decides to stop being greedy fuckers and permanently lower the cost of NX cash.. who the fuck is spending $20 on 11 cubes? i bet they havent spent money on their own game to know how expensive it is

  2. Amen to this… and I never thought about this before but I think you’re absolutely correct about Nexon hitting the jackpot with its player base. And I want smarter content, not more game-breaking content.

    • “Amen to this”
      This is every single fucking complaint in a nutshell that suggest no solution but to cut back what gives them their revenue.

      • They apparently leave us no room for suggestions if you’ve seen the other article: Developer AMA Questions Finally Answered. To me, it seems they only accept the suggestions that they happen to have been doing something about. Anyways, it’s our part to demand and their part to meet those demands. If someone were to offer suggestions, then I’m sure they would have to be presented to Nexon by a large number of people to have any effect. I won’t acknowledge you as valid if you reply in the same style as your other posts.

      • The letter is not suggesting a solution. It’s a call to Nexon to work with the community in a real and meaningful way. “A Better Maple” was their last major “reaching out” program back in December where fan sites submitted suggestions from players in their respective communities. As Sungoon mentioned, the Developer AMA yielded similarly worthless results. Perhaps you should re-read the letter in its entirety before jumping to conclusions. Then we can have an intelligent conversation.

        • You and I know that Nexon won’t do anything about it as long as they’re getting paid. I mean honestly, the game is dying but the players who spend cash or the hackers make it appealing to players, otherwise it wouldn’t even be running.
          The community has to be the change they demand.

          • I agree – if people stop playing then that will only help the cause for change. If people keep buying NX despite their complaints, then obviously nothing will change. It’s what prompted “Second Chances” – players quitting from hellbans.

            Hence why the post is Help US Save MapleStory because it’s a two-way street and requires cooperation on both sides of the hill per se to see any real progress.

          • I understand what you’re trying to say but with a company that’s making money they don’t have to meet you anywhere, the players do. If players actually cared about letters, I’d suggest one to them but it won’t do any good so nothing will ever change.

          • I agree – until they stop making money. Hopefully over the next few quarters things will begin to appear more “realistic.”

            I can’t say that I expect much from this post. It’s as much for the community as it is for myself…just saying it. Who knows, maybe if we keep hounding them and enough people retweet and repost these sort of “letters” from people, the right person will see it and get the message.

            Idealistic for sure – but hey, what do we have left?

  3. Can you imagine how wildly fun and popular the addition of just a single server of old school maple would be? Like a v.55. So many players would return and there is still profit to be made in the state it was in.

  4. I think the best thing Nexon has done so far in making Maplestory a better community is account wide buddy in kms.

    I do have to agree that one of the key ingredients in a good game is the community, but face it, it has come and gone. They no longer have that advantage. It’s kind of like “Detroit”. What allowed Maplestory to have such great success during it’s peak is because of the great art and music present in the game. Then it became viral. Now it’s left behind in the dust, new trends and new games have overtaken it. But Maplestory isn’t alone, there are countless games that attempt to keep and revive their community, but I haven’t played a single game that achieved that better than Maplestory. I don’t quite count Minecraft because it isn’t that old.

    But besides the community, what is also important is game play. That involves music, art, and game mechanics. Maplestory still continues to change maps, music, and art. Despite much of the lost content being reminiscent of the old days, this change is for the better. They have also dived into animation and voice acting in order to give it more dimensions of feeling. Their new characters are somewhat repetitive but somewhat new and refreshing. They had thought the community (the world) likes farm ville type games and collecting monster cards, but that still remains somewhat unused. To expand the crafting, they added professions. And the list goes on and on. It’s not like their not trying, but it’s just that they don’t know the answer.

    While I haven’t played a single game that have succeeded in keeping and reviving their community, their are certainly games that have. Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, and the list goes on.

    Why are these games so successful? I argue that it’s because they are able to drop the problems in the old game and make the game better.

    For example: Herbalism – remove all existing potions and in stores and help facilitate the use, production, purchase, and selling of user potions. I.E. make it easy and profitable for the vast majority of users to sell their own crafted potions to other users.
    Thats a limiter if you want one.

    Alot of the game mechanics implemented in Maplestory seem half rolled out. As updates continue, removing game mechanics that present no further worth to Maplestory become harder and harder to patch out as addition content gets added to the game mechanic that honestly was mostly a failure.

    Yea Maplestory 2 can change that. It can have the word of mouth advantage, but who knows how successful it will be.

    Now pretty much my input has been, Maplestory has been trying very hard to make the game better, although it’s a little half-assed. In what ways can the community help out? Maplestory isn’t like Skyrim, or Minecraft. Users cannot make their own mods and publish them to Maplestory. Maplestory isn’t like Devart, users cannot publish their own art to the game. Maplestory isn’t like soundcloud, they cannot add audio. Now it seems that that leaves the community with the obvious – presenting ideas.

    But honestly ideas are half-assed as well. In fact this idea is half-assed lol.

    I really mean it. Sorry.

    So here is my conflict, the community’s ability to present ideas is insignificant compared to the Maplestory’s developers’ ability to create content even half-assed. So what can the community do besides spread awareness and give ideas that are mostly short change.

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