I came back to MapleStory just a few days ago (after about 9+ years or so) and I'm just going to say that the game isn't exactly welcoming. From my experience, you kind of just get tossed into the game. Yes, there are things like the Maple Guide and whatnot, but you really have no clue what to do from the get-go because the game just has so many layers of things to know and things to learn that it's honestly overwhelming. All I've been doing so far is frantically googling guides, browsing through wikis, watching Youtube tutorials, etc. that sometimes it makes me wonder if it's actually worth the effort. I think it's quite ridiculous that I'm learning more from the players of the game than the actual game itself which is akin to a student learning more from another student than his own teacher- in both cases a failure on the part of the authority figures.
It's made worse with how some of the directions aren't as clear-cut as you'd want them to be. There's nothing directly inside
the game, like a search bar for the various items, that you can easily access to find out just what an item is and how to use it. I ended up screwing the face for my initial character with one of Tot's tokens at level 140 after hours of hard grinding- I was panicking to say the least. I hadn't realized that double clicking the token would activate it, I thought I had to go to the NPC and click on him to be able to use it. Additionally, while the Know-How popup explicitly states for users to save their faces beforehand, it never actually tells them how to do it. I went to my character window through the Equipment tab, saw a bunch of slots, clicked on them and when nothing happened after that, I figured that default faces were something you could automatically return to and that the slots were just there to show you any additional faces you owned. I managed to get the issue resolved with Player Support (within 2 days, I'm impressed) but that wouldn't have happened in the first place had the directions been more clear.
There was no explanation for a few other game mechanics, most notably "Star Force Maps" and "Burning Stages". Slightly embarrassing, but when I first got the notification for "Burning Stage [X]: 100% Bonus EXP", I spent quite a lot longer than I'd like to admit in realizing that the map I was currently in was
the Burning Stage. I thought that "Burning Stage" was the name of the map and consequently began using the world map search function trying to locate it- say what you will but that's just typical me. As for Star Force Maps, absolutely zero information. Had no clue, still partially have no clue, as to what they're for and what they do. I guess I'll just go back to the Google because presently, that's my go-to and not the game (have I mentioned how ridiculous this is?).
There's also the problem of device compatibility. While my PC is admittedly bad, it's not so much so that it shouldn't be able to decently run a 2D game. I've run 3D games with less freezes and crashes- which says a lot about the technical side of MapleStory. A few of the mildly infuriating things from the above are: screen freezes when going through portals, crashing randomly for no reason, long periods of black screens, unresponsive controls... this is just a list of the most common issues, there are a few more that still do
happen, just not enough for me to say so here. I've already run into a few bugs, the most annoying one was from the Afterlands. I spent hours, literally hours
, trying to see what I was missing because I hadn't realized it was due to a bug that I wasn't receiving my final key. Had it not been for me coincidentally changing channels due to a reset (somehow took me out of the bug loop), I'd likely still have been endlessly cycling through the worlds or just gone and given up.
It's also annoying that the little cutscenes, the ones where you have voices and such, are unskippable. I just want to play the game, I could care less for the story- and while this is an appeal factor for some, it's not one for all so adding a skip button shouldn't be too much to ask for, especially for the cutscenes that last for quite awhile.
There are some maps that are entirely unplayable for me, and while this may, in part, be due to my sub-standard computer, I feel that it largely has to do with the game itself. The initial map from which Ark players start on is incredibly difficult. Not because of the play itself but because of the background. It's exceedingly punishing on low-end PCs, all the little sand particles flying around on literally every map besides the base camp are killing my computer. I was averaging well under 10 frames/second with frequent stuttering, freezing, and bouts of lag (more so than the usual, is what I meant).
I also do not like how they removed the option of directly running MapleStory, it all has to be done within the Nexon Launcher. This normally wouldn't be any factor to my experience and I'm not sure if it's because of how poorly programmed the Launcher is, or MapleStory, or both, but what I do know is that this is also a factor that's killing performance. The Nexon Launcher has this annoying thing where it will constantly, consistently, make duplicates of itself in the background, all of which are inaccessible through the desktop. As they're created behind the scenes, I have to go into task manager and manually end the processes for each and every duplicate as each copy adds more and more strain to my computer. I can't even expect the Launcher to completely end its processes with the X button, while it may close the one on the desktop, the duplicates remain unaffected, remaining until I deal with them- which is mildly infuriating. If I press X, I expect that program's functions to cease, period. It shouldn't just secretly be running in the background affecting my computer's performance- that's a huge no.
I also don't know if the graphics properties actually do anything, decreasing or increasing quality values seem to have zero effect on performance. I still freeze, I still lag- basically, I can see no visual difference in performance between the highest and lowest settings (aside from lowered quality).
This is purely my opinion, not sure if this matters to some, but when creating a character, while there still is a short description provided, I feel that it's still far too insufficient for new players to read and understand the capabilities of that specific character. I honestly don't think the descriptions do the characters justice, so much is missing on what they do, what they can do, and how players can play them, that I'm still largely in the blind when and after creating a new character. I thought it'd be cool to have a little showcasing video, maybe a minute long- doesn't really matter, within the description that players can watch to see what that specific character can actually do in terms of abilities.
These are just some of the things I've though of as I began playing that kind of hindered my experience. If the things were all dealt with, I'd be stoked but I'm honestly not expecting much- if a new player like me has noticed and complained, I'm sure many of the other players who've likely played the game much longer than I have already done so.
That all said, I still manage to enjoy the game. The style is very unique, completely different from the games that are currently out right now- which is largely why I like it. I'm not sure if this is a game I could play for years, like some others, but it's definitely good enough for now. Right now, my priority goal is to max out all my characters so the story is of little significance to me, but once I reach that goal, maybe I'll consider it- not too sure. Well, going to be completely honest, the reason for this little paragraph at the end is so that this thread doesn't get mistaken for a rant, but I wasn't lying when I said that I enjoy the game.
If you've read through all of this, you either really like the game or have too much time on your hands