[Editorial] Why Do We Play MapleStory?
Welcome one and all to the first ever edition of El Nath – Wolf Territory, a weekly editorial blog written by Maple-News’ very own Senior Editor, yours truly. The last time I tried this, well apparently 90% of the people who took a few seconds to read the article didn’t seem to know what an editorial was. So, in hopes of clearing up any confusion I’ve taken the five seconds out of my night to look up the definition for all of you on dictionary.reference.com.
ed·i·to·ri·al [ed-i-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-]
1. an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.
So to make things extra-crystal clear: Everything posted in the El Nath – Wolf Territory weekly blog or categorized as an editorial is an opinionated piece. It is not unbiased news. Do not treat it as such. So please, feel free to yell and scream in your comment telling us how Maple-News is so unbiased and how we should go suck each others’ dicks. I guarantee you’ll look like a total ass hole.
. . .
Seeing as the general consensus in the MapleStory community seems to be that Nexon is running the game into the ground and could give a flying Orange Mushroom what the hell happens to it so long as they continue making their millions off the latest useless Cash Shop item they can convince a horny thirteen year old into buying I find myself wondering, why the hell do we play MapleStory?
Maybe it’s habit, nostalgia, boredom, or just an escape (maybe even some players still find it fun!) but regardless thousands are addicted and are willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks from mommy and daddy’s credit card to prove they’re the greatest Pokémaster there ever was. Despite the sad fact that the game has gone downhill since its promising beginnings, other versions like the original MapleStory, Korean MapleStory (or KMS as we will refer to it for now on), continues to be a booming success in South Korea and many Americans and other English speaking players are finding ways to join. Maybe it’s a cultural disconnect and maybe MapleStory will never be as popular as it is in South Korea and other Asian countries. Still, in the seven years since MapleGlobal (or whatever the hell they’re calling it now) first launched the last two years have shown a steady decline in players and game quality.
Nexon America’s inability to test content successfully before its release to reduce the amount of bugs and errors encountered when the update goes live has bred a large amount of doubt in the community. The phrase “You just got Nexowned!” (translation: You just got screwed!) is common in online fan communities and forums. At one point patches lasting well over 24 hours were commonplace and expected and still yielded large amounts of bugs and glitches. As players we have all gotten used to the extremely long patch downtime, followed by a series of server maintenances throughout the week to first issues which by all means, could have been avoided in the first place (and usually aren’t successful). I’m not going to pretend to know a damn thing about how difficult it is to code an update in an online MMORPG, but compared to the track records of other gaming companies and Nexon’s Korean team, clearly something is wrong. Bugs and glitches are to be expected, but the amount which we have seen them this past year and the rollbacks associated with the various security flaws (DDoS attacks, hackers, exploits, duping, etc.) in the game it appears that things are falling apart. It takes several weeks (sometimes over a month) to fix glitches yet you’ll see new items in the Cash Shop almost every week. There are only so many times you can hand out 2x EXP events and be forgiven.
Poor customer service has to be the number one complaint I see on MapleStory forums. 6 months to answer a ticket? Seriously? Is it really that hard? Sure, some of the tickets probably l00K A L0TZ LyK DIZ$$$$@%* but there are a tremendous amount of players who have either been hacked, wrongfully banned, scammed, harassed, and the list goes on. Let’s get one thing straight: without your customers you have no game, no salary, no company. It’s getting pretty old that internet companies think they can get away with ignoring the shit out of people and expecting their problems to go away. I suggest you read The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck and learn what you should be doing, Nexon. No one respects you. No one likes you. And pretty soon, no one will play your game. Anyone doing anything wants longevity in what they do. They want a sustainable business. Sure, you may be increasing your profits every quarter but soon enough that will all come crashing down unless you start actually caring about your players and those who support you. Otherwise, the only ones who truly care about your game will be gone (and it’s already started to happen). We aren’t just another dollar sign. We are human beings. I don’t care if some of the players are thirteen years old or twenty-five years old, we are still people and deserve to be treated as such. What ever happened to your original promise when the Cash Shop was introduced that “Players with NX Cash will never be given an unfair advantage to players without,”? Your word means nothing and everyone smells your bullshit a mile away.
“Stop complaining you little bitch. If you don’t like it, then quit!”
The reality is, many original players have quit. I see nothing wrong with players like myself who have played since beta (2004) and genuinely care for this game speaking out and voicing what they think is wrong. Just because the United States is royally fucked right now doesn’t mean we should just all fuckin’ move to Canada, right? The reality is, Nexon has given people with money the advantage over people who don’t have a couple hundred dollars to spend a week on the game (sound familiar?). On meso-selling websites, 1 billion mesos is roughly $12-$15. Cubing and other cash items have given NX players the ability to create godly equipment that a player without NX cash could never hope to create. Things are broken. The game is broken. The economy is broken. The community is dying.
It’s really quite a shame to see, given the exquisite craftsmanship that went into making this game. You don’t see many 2D Side-Scrolling MMORPG’s that have a huge focus on interaction and community these days. There’s something special about MapleStory and its ability to impact culture. I can’t help but feel that MapleStory was never given the chance to reach its full potential in North America.
I will commend Nexon for making some effort the past few months to start listening to the community (World Alliances, Ticket Responses for Hacked Players [although giving out hundreds of thousands of Maple Points randomly isn't really the smartest idea], more frequent events) but they need to do more. In the past Nexon will make up for something with a great event, and then we won’t see one for weeks. Nexon has to keep at it, that’s the only way to keep players interested in a world where new games pop up every month.
In closing, if I had one piece of advice to given Nexon it would be: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t think that you are safe. Don’t think that your success is ensured. Things move fast on the internet and websites and games can be relevant one day, and irrelevant the next. It is a wonder that MapleStory has survived this past year and that only proves what a unique game it is and that you really do have a great community that is willing to put up with more than most. Don’t take them for granted. Thank them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Show it. We love this game for some deluded and insane reason. Maybe it makes some of us smile at the end of a shitty day. Maybe some of us form friendships we wouldn’t otherwise. Maybe we escape from all the bullshit around us. Don’t take for granted what you have created and what it means to people.
In the immortal words of the Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson, I look forward to your letters.