50 MMOs in 50 Days #29: MapleStory

Last played: 2007
Experience: Minimal

Coincidentally, MapleStory is the MMO I played right before LOTRO, when I was feeling like I wanted an MMO but wasn’t sure I wanted to spend $60 on one to try it out. If I’m not mistaken, it was also the first free-to-play MMO I ever tried.

MapleStory‘s a huge success, of course, with eight million global users as of 2011, and since I hadn’t picked up a new MMO in years, I played it quite a bit for a few weeks in the spring of 2007. Then something in the game happened that I disliked, and in the interim while I was thinking about whether I should log in again, one of my friends mentioned she was in the LOTRO open beta, and the rest was history.

That thing I disliked – and pretty much the only thing that’s stuck with me about the game – was the ridiculously slow out-of-combat regeneration rate on hit points, mana, or both (I honestly don’t remember). MMOs that do this drive me absolutely batty. Even worse, when I logged off at half health in MapleStory and came back the next day, I was still at half. Really? I can somewhat live with it if there’s a power that lets you regen faster (City of Heroes and Star Wars: The Old Republic do this), but if you need a special item/foodstuff to do it or just have to wait around… no. Just no.

MapleStoryA lot of MMOs use what I might call “long out-of-combat actions” to try and keep you in the game longer, thus keeping you subbed longer or hoping you’ll stick around long enough to spend more in the cash shop. This is different from “grind” in that, at least with combat or non-combat grind (like needing to craft 50 swords to advance your level), it’s at least a little enjoyable or has some purpose like building the economy.

Long OOC healing makes some sense when you’re out in the world and something could jump you. But apart from the occasional pathing mob, MMO players can get out of danger just fine most of the time and shouldn’t require a minute or longer to get back up to full strength. And it’s particularly infuriating to take 12 seconds to do a crafting task, like forging an ingot (another LOTRO annoyance) at a perfectly safe crafting station in town.

If there’s a reasonable chance of something bad happening, then it makes sense. The best example I can think of is a game like DayZ, where it takes around 10 seconds to bandage yourself. That’s fine because there could be an immediate hazard – maybe one you don’t know about – that’s going to kill you in those 10 seconds. That “surprise attack” notion is absent in most MMOs, though, even when you’re out in the world. Otherwise, it’s just a gimmick that contributes nothing to gameplay.

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