[GMS] Dev Blog: Cake vs. Pie vs. Devs
Hello again Maplers!
MapleStory’s anniversary is always a time for celebration. We’re celebrating the game and all of its additions and achievements over the past year. We’re celebrating the fact that the dev team made it through one more year without going completely insane. And of course, we’re celebrating our great community. This year’s 6th Anniversary is no different.
In Maple World, a celebration means events. One of our ongoing MapleStory team goals is to consistently create new and special events, and whenever possible, to make those events exclusive to Global MapleStory. Enter Cake vs. Pie, a Global-exclusive event we introduced for our 5th Anniversary. While we were initially excited about it, the subsequent execution of the event made me sure we would never run this event again. Next week though, those anthropomorphic cakes and pies will be back for Cake vs. Pie 2: Winner Bake All!
Today I’m going to talk about just where this event came from, and the long, rocky journey toward its second coming.
In the Beginning There Was No Frosting
Cake vs. Pie’s life began in the summer of 2009. We were working on four design proposals for that year’s Halloween events and quests. One of those proposals was for a server-wide event called “Vampires vs. Slayers.”
Vampires vs. Slayers would have had players complete a long quest line to join either the vampires or the slayers. Once on a team, the players could “convert” other players that did not have a faction. At the end of the event, the team with the most members would win a prize.
While we liked the core idea, the event had a few big problems, mainly an absence of real action. We also worried that the “convert” system could be annoying to players. We produced a few more versions of the event trying to solve these issues, but finally decided to go with something else.
Player Factions Rise Again
As I mentioned in an earlier Dev Blog, we sometimes raid our archives for ideas that we feel will make good events. At the beginning of 2010, while preparing for the big 5th Anniversary of Global MapleStory, we pulled out the Vampire vs. Slayer idea, kept the core concept of splitting players into two teams and having them compete, then had one of our team members rethink the concept to add more action and an anniversary theme.
What we ended up with was Cake vs. Pie.
Baking is Hard
Everyone liked Cake vs. Pie on paper. The boss summoning and territory control seemed like fun. Plus, the theme itself was based on a unique element of Global MapleStory culture, namely the long-running GM joke that while the anniversary had lots of cake, they really preferred pie. Unfortunately, we began having trouble with the event almost as soon as development started. We quickly realized that we had not scheduled enough time to create the event, which meant we had to cut some components. Even worse, we had no way to test the event with anywhere near the number of players that would be participating.
Once Cake vs. Pie went live, we began experiencing problems we’d never seen while testing. The huge populations we drew into town caused so much lag that players were getting disconnected. The lag also caused the cake and pie pieces to add up incorrectly. Worse, when boss mobs were summoned, several servers crashed from the strain.
At first we thought we would need to cancel the event completely, but after several unscheduled server maintenances we did manage to stabilize it. Cake vs. Pie ended up finished, albeit in a crippled and unsatisfactory way.
Truthfully, “unsatisfactory” is a bit of an understatement. Cake vs. Pie was a disaster. It was buggy and put the entire 5th Anniversary update at risk. But even disasters can teach us lessons. For instance we rediscovered the benefits of utilizing Tespia so that we could better test content meant for large numbers of players. At the end of the day though, we had no plans to run Cake vs. Pie again.
Cake vs. Pie II: The Return
When we started planning for our 6th Anniversary at the beginning of this year, we knew we wanted to add something exclusive to Global MapleStory. Cake vs. Pie wasn’t in our plans, but some of our new team members had seen the original design proposals and believed that we could finally do it right. If we could apply what we had learned from the previous year, use some new systems we had implemented for the Ani raid, and balance the event correctly, Cake vs. Pie could make a triumphant return.
To say the least, I was skeptical. Like the rest of the MapleStory team veterans, I’d been burned by the Cake vs. Pie event. I certainly wasn’t alone. The community had an almost universally bad opinion of the event. Frankly I wasn’t sure that we could overcome all of that. But when our new team members submitted their revised design proposal, I was very impressed, as was the rest of the team. We knew that if we could pull this off, it wouldn’t just be a rehash of Cake vs. Pie. Instead it would be an exciting sequel, better in every way than the original.
Winner Bake All!
Cake vs. Pie II: Winner Bake All! is very different from its predecessor. First, we’ve moved the battle out of
towns and into designated battle maps. The event will also be available in all channels for all players who want to participate. We’ve also created two separate kinds of battles and improved prizes. Details will be posted on the website soon, and in the meantime you can get a sneak peek by checking out some of the forum threads from Tespia players.
Cake vs. Pie II is a testament to the MapleStory team’s passion for creating exciting content for our players, even when that means taking risks, and I am very excited to see it return. By listening to our players’ feedback and learning from our mistakes, we can make Global MapleStory something truly great.
I’ve learned to love Cake and Pie again. I hope all of you can too!
Until next time Maplers,
The MapleStory Team