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  • The Road Ahead: Nexon on the Launch of MapleStory 2

    The Road Ahead: Nexon on the Launch of MapleStory 2

    Nov 14, 2018

    The original MapleStory has been incredibly successful, particularly in Asia, over the course of the 15 years it's been in service. The sequel, MapleStory 2, originally launched in South Korea back in 2015, but had its Western (global) launch last month and is now available via Steam. With that being the case, we reached out to Miyoung Oh, lead game designer at Nexon Korea, to learn more about the game, its launch, and the road ahead.

    Give us the elevator pitch — what is MapleStory 2?

    MapleStory 2 is an all-new game in the popular MapleStory franchise in full 3D and provides a unique experience that both hardcore and casual MMORPG players can enjoy. Like the original, MapleStory 2 boasts a rich variety of content: from immersive epic quests to difficult dungeons and raids for players looking for a greater challenge. Additionally, MapleStory 2 features all-new creative features for casual players to enjoy. Players can customize and design their own outfits, construct their dream homes, improve their instrument skills, play fun mini-games, and so much more! Regardless of your playstyle, MapleStory 2 has you covered with its passionate community of fellow Maplers!

    What has the feedback been like from players since launch?

    We have received a lot of positive feedback regarding the game since launch. Starting with our very stable launch (especially for an MMORPG), many players praised the various customization aspects and casual activities found within the game. What sets MapleStory 2 apart from other MMORPGs is the sheer variety of different activities players can enjoy within the game. In addition to going on adventures, fighting monsters, and completing quests, players can become a fashion designer by designing their own clothes, an architect by constructing their dream houses, or even become a musician while composing their own music scores. Casual players who are not into dungeons and raids have been enjoying playing mini-games, exploring the world, and excitedly posting creative designs within the MapleStory 2 community. There are so many activities that players will almost never run out of things to do. One of the best pieces of feedback we have received was regarding our team's stance on having no "pay to win" items in the global version of our game. As part of our effort to give players the best MapleStory 2 experience, we have removed every bit of possible pay-to-win content from the game. Players definitely loved the change, which we also feel is important to the long-term success of the game.  Since then, we have also been communicating with our players frequently to provide a level of transparency with our community and to introduce more features and improvements based on our players' direct feedback.

    What have you learned from the previous game and what have you taken from that into the second?

    MapleStory has been in live service for quite some time, and we have definitely learned and experienced much throughout the years. When preparing to launch MapleStory 2, we wanted to focus mainly on three key things: stability, communication, and content. First, we had made sure we were confident in the global servers' stability before launching the game to the public. Throughout our two closed betas, we have done numerous testing to secure stable servers where all our players can play without running into any critical issues. Secondly, we made sure to pay close attention to our players' feedback. We have been communicating directly to our players through various social channels, and have been providing detailed information frequently through our Producer Blogs as well. We believe that part of MapleStory 2's successful launch is from the valuable feedback we have discussed and received from our players. Lastly, we have prepared and are continuing to plan many engaging events and content updates for the future to ensure players have the best experience possible. Although MapleStory and MapleStory 2 are two different games, we have tried our best to combine all of the successful elements of MapleStory with MapleStory 2's new and unique gameplay to create an all-new MMORPG experience for our community.

    How do you approach both character building and progression?

    In a character building perspective, you get a sense of growth as you gradually learn skills in the process of leveling up each time. You learn the basic skills of the relevant job once you reach Lv. 50, and you can freely change the skills based on the content you play. We approached this in a direction where there's not [many hurdles] in testing out various builds. Spec-wise, there are attribute points and skill points in the leveling up of the character, progress from gears, and progress from additional content such as pets or gemstones that are provided in stages for you to constantly have things to do, and enjoy and progress through various methods.

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  • MapleStory Drives Revenue And Profit Growth For Nexon

    MapleStory Drives Revenue And Profit Growth For Nexon

    Nov 10, 2018

    Nexon reported increased revenue and profit in the third quarter, largely thanks to the performance of its evergreen titles Dungeon & Fighter and Maple Story.

    In the three month period ended September 30, 2018, Nexon earned ¥69.3 billion in revenue, up 15% over the same quarter last year. Net profit for the quarter was ¥22.3 billion, up 14% year-on-year.

    In a presentation for investors, Nexon highlighted the impact of Dungeon & Fighter's National Day Update in China, and the long-running MapleStory's continued popularity in Korea. Collectively, China and Korea represented 79% of the company's Q3 revenue - 45% from China, and 34% from Korea.

    MapleStory's revenue increased 129% year-on-year, in fact, while a mobile version, MapleStory M, hit three million downloads in one week after its global launch this August.

    In addition to its results, Nexon also announced a strategic investment in Patrick Söderlund's new studio, Embark, which will give it 33% of the voting rights in the new venture.

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  • An Angel Has Landed In Maplestory!

    An Angel Has Landed In Maplestory!

    Oct 26, 2018

    Anime seems to be all over my online world right now. Maybe I’m just a massive weeaboo, but with our recent coverage of Closers, Soulworker, and Peria Chronicles on the way, Japan seems to be creeping closer to home these days. Nexon, the team behind MapleStory haven’t been slow to jump on board as they unveil the MapleStory x Evangelion event.

    Kicking off on February 28, the popular pixel art MMO is teaming up with the classic Japanese anime in a rather random, but cool crossover event. This includes tons of Evangelion themed rewards, quests, and battles to keep players entertained. Anybody logging in for the first time, after Feb 28, should receive a call from Dr. Kim to explain the specifics of the event. The Eva pilots and their titular mechanoids have been sucked through an inter-dimensional rift and are now trapped in the MapleStory universe. This includes Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and my own favorite Asuka Langley Sohryu. There’s no sign of Mari in her purple outfit or Kaworu Nagisa, as you find the teens tending to their Eva units in Dr. Kim’s laboratory.

    It’s a plot line that easily fits any turn of the millennium anime, it makes absolutely no sense, but I’m a long-suffering Evangelion fan and that is par for the course. Rei, Shinji, and Asuka are quite accurately translated into the MapleStory universe, with on a cute Chibi facade that is especially adorable when applied to their Eva units. Characterization is surprisingly believable. Shinji is annoying, Asuka is still my personal pick of the three, and Rei is just as ambiguous and lost as fans of the series might remember. It’s a small sprinkling of flavor but giving these pixelated people some believable dialogue is a particularly endearing touch for those of us waiting for the next impact.

    Players should also find a whole host of new quests and daily activities to help get these stranded Eva pilots acquainted with their new surroundings. These range from generic Eva unit repairs to tasks more suited to each pilot, and did I mention the Angel attacks?

    Angels are humanities enigmatic enemies in the Evangelion universe. Massive black monsters, these seemingly indestructible entities stride across the horizon obliterating everything that stands against them, and some have slipped through with the Eva team. Every hour, Angel attacks take place in the center of town. These iconic advisories must be repelled by MapleStory’s citizens while the Eva units are being repaired.

    Active players will be able to repeat these quests multiple times, earning a sizeable cache of Eva coins. These coins can be traded for a host of shiny rewards. Most notably a range of Rei, Shinji, and Asuka skins are available for your avatar. Chairs based on the Eva units and an iconic Evangelion scene between Shinji and Kaworu are also available, alongside hairstyles and Eva androids.

    In the end, many of these quests are quite pointedly used to increase player engagement and keep you playing existing content. Whether it is used to incentivize players to stay logged in by holding a battery for thirty minutes, farm mobs for metal shards, or step into Monster Park to train, these do reward players active in the world. It introduces little in the way of insight or narrative, but that isn’t really the intention here. For players are regularly logging into the world, these quests act as a suitably fresh taste to regular content, and honestly, it is very cool to see an Angel stomp into town and pick a fight.

    I have to be honest, I don’t play MapleStory as much as I’d like, but I am a massive Evangelion fan and that is clearly what hooked me. While MapleStory doesn’t have the same deep technical capabilities of massive open world MMORPGs, there are moments that are crafted with a clear reverence for the source material. If you want to battle Angels, the Maplestory X Evangelion event is on now.

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  • MapleStory Players Cumulatively Commit 17,000+ Years In-Game

    MapleStory Players Cumulatively Commit 17,000+ Years In-Game

    Sep 27, 2018

    Nexon, the maker of the unbearably adorable side-scrolling MMO MapleStory, has released an infographic claiming that more than 17,800 years have been cumulatively spent by players in the game since launch.

    MapleStory is a light free-to-play MMO that takes players on a journey through Maple World, ultimately facing antagonist the Black Mage. Players level-up characters through typical RPG methods such as defeating monsters and working jobs, and can interact with other players via parties and guilds, and by playing minigames. The game was developed in South Korea by Wizet, which was acquired by its publisher Nexon thanks to the game's success.

    Interestingly, there are currently more divorced player characters in the game (84,075) than married (79,944), out of a total of 12,985,342 players to date.

    To be clear, these numbers represent the original MapleStory -- not MapleStory 2, the sequel released in July 2015.

    In fact, the original title is still going strong, with a big update coming on December 15, including new abilities, elite equipment sets, high-level content, improved quest rewards, a new job advancement, and more.

    Check it out for yourself, available now on Windows PC.

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  • Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter and MapleStory keep growing after a decade

    Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter and MapleStory keep growing after a decade

    Sep 05, 2018

    Asian free-to-play gaming giant Nexon reported second-quarter revenues and earnings that underscore its proven business model, the company announced today. And the main firepower behind the company’s financials come from online games that are more than a decade old.

    Once again, it makes you wonder if free-to-play games, where you play the game for free and pay real money for virtual goods, can be a far better business model than selling games at retail for $60 each, as is popular in the West.

    Revenue in the second quarter was $430.5 million, up 2 per cent from the same quarter a year ago. Net income was $290 million in the quarter, up from $173 million a year earlier. The company said the results underscored the company’s strength in live services for ongoing games and validated its business model. But the company also got a big boost from a favourable value for the U.S. dollar.

    Dungeon Fighter and MapleStory are both more than 10 years old, but they continue to grow in both players and revenues. Dungeon Fighter Online, known as Dungeon & Fighter in South Korea, continues to engage players in China, while MapleStory showed particular strength in South Korea, where it grew 61 per cent in the quarter compared to a year earlier.

    “Nexon’s second quarter truly showcases the company’s strength in live services and game operations as it validates our model,” said Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon. “We are seeing continued growth in player numbers and revenues from our original intellectual properties, Dungeon & Fighter and MapleStory, as well as strong early success indicators from a series of new titles.”

    Nexon took its South Korean hit, Overhit, and launched the game in Japan with customizations unique to that market. That resulted in a positive response, Mahoney said. And Nexon’s mobile action role-playing game, Darkness Rises, has been downloaded more than 10 million times worldwide in its first few weeks. MapleStory M, a mobile game, also launched recently in 140 countries.

    Looking ahead, Nexon will be launching game services including the MapleStory2 in the West, Overhit on a worldwide basis, and the recently announced Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed in Japan.

    PC revenues exceeded Nexon’s outlook in the quarter, driven by strong performance of MapleStory in Korea, while mobile revenues were below the company’s outlook. Operating income was $144 million, better than expected in part due to acquisitions of NAT Games. Costs were also lower than expected.

    For the third fiscal quarter ending September 30, Nexon forecasts revenues of $548.8 million to $593 million. It expects net income to be $184.7 million to $216 million. Nexon was founded in 1994, and it has more than 80 live games in 190 countries.

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