Open letter to Nexon America: A voice of concern to Maple and Nexon

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

[Link to post on the official forums]

[Wordpress note: Too tired to make this a normal post with headers and all that stuff, 6 Am Gn zzzzzzzzzz]

Hi everyone,

TL;DR: Nexon, Broken hearts and crushed dreams.

I don’t post on the forum’s that often, but I would like to let you guys know what is going on with Maplestory and most importantly Nexon America/Korea. As most of you most likely know the Coordinator’s Invitation has happened in Korea a day or two ago (you can read about it on Max’s blog). I read through it all and noticed that during the event, the new Maplestory Direction spoke. He said that Royal Boxes are fun (uhhu, spending NX ok.) are fun and that: “level 200-250 content is not a high priority”.

I have some concerns with this statement, actually mostly with that high level content part.
From what I think what is going on with Nexon Korea/America/others that voiced their opinion, is that they realise that we miss the pre Big Bang days in a way and that leveling right now is easy which makes level 200 meaningless. They are right, people are getting level 200 in a matter of 20 or so hours. Nexon decided to raise the level cap to 250 and to make us give that feeling of Pre-BB back, did not give us any high level content (GMS change this a little bit, but mostly reverted this in the Rising Heroes patch, only to further more strengthen my theory).
With the statement that of the new Maplestory Director it shows us that Nexon has no plans of giving us new high level content while continueing to make the early levels easier. Here lies a big problem.

Nexon knows they made a mistake in the eyes of their core audience by making leveling too easy. Because you can level so fast and in a matter of minutes, the whole “level up” is meaningless to the player and has gotten the standardization treatment. It has become normal to use to level up really fast to the point where if we don’t have any exp multiplier, we don’t bother to train because it takes too long, even after Big Bang. This is because Nexon spoiled us too much with their EXP multipliers. I remember there was a period where for literately 6 months we had 2x exp every single weekend to the point where I didn’t even bother logging on during the 2x weekend because it was so common and I could easily skip it knowing that in a few days we would be getting another 2x weekend. We got Zero’s character card, Mercedes’ link skill, Pendant of Spirit, Yellow MPE potion, Crafting EXP potion, EXP Coupon events, EXP Cash Shop Coupons, Runes. All of these things stack and even only a few of these can give the player a insane increase in EXP gain. Nexon tried to change this my not making them all stack together on the same line of EXP and added a extra line of exp called “BONUS EXP” that takes the EXP you will gain from the buff/skill, adds it all up and places it in a seperate line, instead of stacking everything and multiplying it all.

For players, leveling has become a breeze and there is no more challenge. Nexon’s way of solving this is making us not able to gain acces to fast leveling after you reach a certain point in the game (You cannot do MPE after 140, you cannot use 2x EXP Coupons after 200, no high level content). This is horrible from a design perspective and I seriously doubt the skill of the designers at Nexon Korea.

You do not fix the fact that the players see this huge increased exp as the new norm by suddenly taking it all away after they reach a certain point in the game. The player sees this as if the game is cheating, because before you had acces to it and now the game is working against you while you should be the one controlling the game. it is not seen as a “challenge” by the player, for those who might be thinking that becasue come on let’s be honest, who really was like “alright time to tackle this new slower experience gain and get to 250” instead of “Arrrgggg”.

Speaking of content, remember the Better Maple poll? Well, there are a few problems with that as well.
I nkow this has been brought up a lot of times, but one of the biggest problems with this is that Nexon says they are listening and are “showing” that to us by implementing features based on our feedback but the reality of this is that the features are not near as to what we expect. “Here you go, some cubes for you to buy in the shop, but gl hf getting the coins tho, oh and also you are limited in how many you can buy”.
“Here you go, bosses drop items to make cubes with. It’s almost impossible to make them and you really shouldn’t bother, but hey, we implented something related to your complaint so stop complaining”.
When you implent something based off of customer feedback, you should give them something so mediocre that and restricted as what they have done to the cubes. Now I will be honest, I might be a bit misinformed on this and please correct me if I am wrong because I don’t cube that often.

On to the next complaint, bosses. Personally I don’t boss but I heard that a lot people do not like the way bosses work atm. They are either too easy or too hard and their drops are, well… useless/impossible to get. Come on, you might be a jolly happy Mapler and always look on the bright side but even you, you super happy jolly mapler, have to admit that Hilla’s necro weapons are not usefull at all. Sure, this is being changed in KMS as I type this but that does not take away the fact that Nexon has failed in doing what they promised: “Many types of boss monsters are being rolled back to levels before Unleashed in the RED update.”
For those of you that even have the smallest amount of skill in programming know that all that has to happen is for some variables to be changed. And while I have heard from a friend that has seen the code at first hand and said that the code that Wizet made was one big mess and the developers are still having trouble with it today, it is not hard to CTRL+F “Hard_Magnus” in the boss files and change it’s stats. Someone can do this in 10 minutes during their lunch break. Besides it being really easy to do, Nexon has still given no clarity on this subject. When will we finally get something that only takes 10 minutes to do and we were supposed to get 8 months ago?

This summer Nexon America took the Better Maple results to Korea to discuss it. Nexon Korea had their update severely delayed because they most likely first wanted to review the Better Maple results and take that in the design of some of their features in their summer update (graduate job balancing, Mileag– oh wait we are not supposed to talk about that here in GMS, boss changes (oh could it finally be?!), equips changes).
However, one of the big points is still the fact that the new Maplestory Director said that level 200+ content has no high priority.
” How come there aren’t more places to train for Lv. 160+ characters? When are you going to add more? “
This was a question Maplers gave 4.5/5 stars in the A Better Maple poll.
The answer to this was as followed: “A new area called Commerci has been added in the RED update, and it’s teeming with Lv. 160 monsters! If that’s not tough enough for you, even higher level monsters are being added in a new area called Kritias, coming next year.”

It is true that Commerci is a level 160+ area. It is untrue that it is a good place to train. Kritias……
For those of you unfamiliar with training in Maplestory, allow me to break it down for you with a quick, simple guide:
Level 1-70: random places
Level 70-140: Romeo and Juliet Part Quest
Level 140 – 165/~180: Dimensional Invasion “Party Quest”
Level 165/~180-250, Stronghold

Can you spot the problem here? “Oh I can, pick me pick me please!”
Alright Bobby, tell everyone what you think the problem at hand is.
Bobby: “There is no variation and players stay there for too long”.
Absolutely correct Bobby, you may sit down now.

You see, 70 or even 85 levels to stay in one spot is not good for anyone. Not for the players and the designers. Even though Nexon is telling players to “go to map [x]” with their Level Guide, players do not do that because they want to level as fast as possible. Anything slower than what for them has been standardized as the norm makes them feel like it’s not worth their time, which is something I also explained before about the EXP multipliers. You see, even if these places were to get nerfed *cough*Stronghold/HoH*cough*, then the player would not be happy because they can now go to different places. Instead, they will be mad because they are leveling slower than before. It is not an option to slow the player down in their leveling speed because there is no variation for them (read: EXP Multipliers), the player will only feel cheated and will not bother leveling until they can somehow get back to that fast leveling speed.

Nexon has put itself in a position where the only way to go, is to go faster. Your car has reached such a velocity that pressing the break would throw you out of your seat and smash you through the windshield. The only thing you can do is press the gas even harder or keep it even. New content should be either at the same speed or higher than what the player is already receiving, otherwise they will not bother using it.

Making the player give that “Pre-Big Bang” feeling back of leveling super slow post 200 should not be done after they are used to leveling insanely fast till level 160. I get that the design idea behind this is that level 200 has no meaning anymore, and that level 250 should be what 200 was pre Big Bang, but it executed so poorly. A great analogy for this would be feeding a person chocolate cake every day. Before they met you all they had to eat were dry cookies, but now you appeared and you have cake! Sure, the person gets fat and becomes really unhealthy and starts arguing internally if you really are helpful and shouldn’t just be removed so the person has to go back to the horrible but “healthier” cookies. But it is to late, no matter how much the person argues with himself, he has become addicted to your cake and cannot get enough. Every so often you give him more cake than on other days. This makes him demand more and more cake every day, because you give him more. On days when you only give him the standard portion he gets mad because the day before you gave him two whole cakes. Then, suddenly, you decide to just disappear and force him back on the cookies. You think it’s the best for him. No more cake. However, as he struggles with the loss of his cake and is forced to eat his cookies, he gets depressed. He sees no point in eating these cookies and desperately wants the cake back. Why did my cake feeder leave me, this is horrible, I do not even like these cookies because chocolate cake is my favorite now even though I know it is super unhealthy for me. In this analogy, the person is the community and the cake feeder is Nexon, with the cookies being pre-bb leveling speed and the cake being post-bb leveling speed.

Which brings me to another problem that Maplestory faces: Player movement.
No, I am not talking about every job having a flash jump by now, althou– no, I will not talk about that right now. Instead, I want to talk about how players “play” the map. I remember the day where players would walk around in the Ant Tunnel or other maps really hunting monsters and moving around. What do we do today? Well, if we look at the level guide I just made we can see a patern in player movement.

Romeo and Juliet PQ: Pick a side, place your character in the optimal position, use your most effective mob move and 1HKO mosters as they spawn without pressing your direction keys.

Dimensional Invasion: Watch monsters spawn and kill them in place. Sure, some might escape and move a few steps, but since you have agro on them they won’t go very far and you can stay mostly in the same place.

Stronghold: Stand in one spot to kill the monsters as they spawn.

Bobby do you know the answer this time?
Bobby: “uuuh”.
It’s okay Bobby, this one might be too hard for you to crack, just go back to your seat.

You see, the problem here is that the player is not moving. Instead of running around the map, using ropes, ladders, teleporters and jumping from platform to platform, players don’t have to move at all at the moment.
You position your character in one spot and only move when you get knocked back and even then you only walk back to your perfect position. The entire map is killed in a matter of seconds because the monsters either spawn all in one spot or move towards you (Evolution World, Link 3). There is no reason for the player to move at all besides going from one transition map to the other. Maps in the overworld have become nothing more than transition points to get to a mandatory story quest or get to a boss. The only characters that actually gain levels in those maps are those of hackers. Real players go to the instance dungeons: Romeo and Juliet PQ and Dimensional Invasion until they reach the point where they can truly afk train while watching TV, or go out for dinner during a 2x Event at Stronghold.

ENDING
A lot of changes can be made to put the game in a better state. I feel like I haven’t even touched on half of the things I wanted to say. However, I feel like this post is long enough and that going into the solutions isn’t what this post is about. If you read all the way through the end then thank you so much for reading it. I know it must have taken you 3 hours of your life reading all this, but I would love to get some serious feedback if you think these are real problems and get a discussion going. Who knows, maybe Nexon America will decide to take this letter to Korea in 2016 and have the changed applied in 2018.

To anyone from Nexon: If anything seemed insulting towards your company, I did not mean it as a insult, but more as some “I am tired, it’s 6 AM and haven’t slept yet because this has been on my mind ever since I read about it” way of talking. Full disclaimer: anything that has been said in this post that might be viewed as a insult towards Nexon or it’s employees is not meant as one, I’m tired and worried about the game, that is all.

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Comments
    • rakahs says:

      I love Extra Credits. Haven’t seen this video of them untill you showed me. It is a great example of what happened to Maplestory and how Designers are trying to fix it (with dungeons). One problem tho, they should make all of those mini dungeons available to characters at level 30 all the way till 200, and give it level appropriate exp. So at level 30 you get like 80% per quest you complete over there, and at level 180 you get 30%. It would still make it a fun experience where you get a lot of EXP, and it wuold break up the grinding process and players get to decide if they want to do mini dungeons now, or later when it is more effecient, only then the monsters will not yield as much exp because they stop at a cap…

      • GIJoey says:

        Everybody is going to wait later to do the quests, lol. Early game gonna be a drag

        What they should do is just give all the places actual EXP. Like, who goes to orbis or ludibrium or ariant or aqua road.etc. All bad exp and the quests give nothing.

        Nerf all the training areas and immensely buff the quests. Like, immensely.

        • rakahs says:

          I think it would be a good quest revamp. This way Quests give the same if not a little bit less than what they give right now on lower levels, and at higher levels they each quest of the theme dungeon gives like 30%. Since monsters will be scaling with ur level till a cap it shud still take ppl like an hour or 2, which would only net them 5 levels at max… at level 190 that is some time well spend and fun imio

          • GIJoey says:

            Yes! And they should also give out good quest rewards as well.

            Maybe a perm NX shirt item for doing a really tedious quest like gollux or something.

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