[GMS] Dev. Blog: State of the Game
Hello again Maplers!
One of the things that make massively multiplayer online games so great to work on is that they’re never “done.” There’s always another feature, another zone, a new class, or a new system to work on. MapleStory is one of the best games in that regard. The MapleStory you play today isn’t even close to the game that launched six years ago. In just the past three years that I’ve been working on it, the game has acquired updates aplenty, including new zones, new quests, new stories, an unbelievable number of new classes, and, of course, a complete revamp last winter called the Big Bang.
What’s more, the pace of change is only accelerating. Von Leon and the March update added tons of new content and we’ve got an update coming this summer—which all you Maplers have a chance to name! Interestingly, as I mentioned in a previous dev blog, one of our goals this year was to patch less, plan more, and put out larger content updates. This month is where that decision has begun to pay off. Since we already have the summer content locked down, this is a great time to take a long look at where MapleStory is now and where it might be going.
Global MapleStory Today
People frequently ask me, “How is MapleStory doing?” This is always a hard question to answer. MapleStory is a lot of things: a game, a community, a business, just to name a few. We have to consider each of these elements separately in order to assess where MapleStory is now, and think about how each impacts the other when we think about where it could go in the future.
Here are some of the different factors:
Two years ago we launched an aggressive campaign to shorten the amount of time it takes to bring content released in Korean MapleStory to Global MapleStory. When we first launched Global MapleStory, it took nine to 12 months to bring over Korean MapleStory content. The result of that was that there were several pieces of content from the Korean version of the game that couldn’t make it into Global MapleStory. As we improved our process, we’ve cut that time down to three to six months. The result is we are much closer today to being even with Korean MapleStory than we could have imagined back when we started.
We’re very happy that the time gap has shrunk because we want our players to have access to as much content as possible, as soon as possible. However, because we’ve been working on bringing you Korean MapleStory content, we’ve been unable to focus as much on Global exclusive content. The plans we had for new content have been put on hold or in some cases given to the Korean MapleStory team to develop first. After the summer update, one of our goals will be to work on achieving a better balance between releasing Korean MapleStory content quickly and developing exclusive Global content.
As MapleStory has grown, so has the community. We have some great fan sites, an active forum, and we are closing in on half a million fans on our Facebook page. In the past year, we’ve worked on enhancing our communications with the community through more events, better messaging (like this dev blog!), and finding more ways for the community to interact with us and the game.
We’re doing much better on game and server stability today than we were in the past. Game downtime is lower than ever and the amount of bugs reported in the live game is down. While we understand it can be frustrating to wait while we resolve issues as they arise, adding the ability to make minor updates to the client files without versioning up has given us a lot more flexibility to fix problems, resulting in less overall down time.
Of course, you can’t talk about stability without talking about hacking and botting. The truth about that situation is that while we’re doing much better today than a year ago, we’re still not where we need to be. We’ve done well combating hacks that damage the stability of our servers, but we’ve noticed a rise in hacking to harass other players and disrupt game play. We are actively working on new tactics to block this type of hacking as well as developing tools that will allow us to restore players that are damaged by it.
Global MapleStory in the Future
So where does Global MapleStory go from here?
After the introduction of PvP and a true crafting system this summer, MapleStory will be one of the most full-featured MMOs out there. One of the ideas we’re currently kicking around is adding some classic RPG systems. We’d also like to do more limited-time content like the Visitors, revamp some of our systems like Weddings, and run a lot more events.
Our aspirations aren’t confined to in-game updates, though. We want to expand the reach of MapleStory as far as possible. One of the ways we’re doing that is the new MapleStory Adventures game for Facebook, which will be launching soon. We’ve got some more MapleStory-inspired mobile games on the way as well. Our plans for the next year include forging connections between the classic MapleStory game and these new incarnations.
There’s also work to be done in improving stability, adding new convenience features, and expanding Global exclusive content. There are a lot of possibilities and we’re considering all of them. We’d love to hear what you’d like to see next, too! Comment in the forums or drop us a suggestion ticket through the website. Next week I’ll be travelling to Korea to talk with the other MapleStory developers about future plans. I have a feeling I’ll come back with lots of exciting news for you!
Until next time Maplers,
The MapleStory Team