Maple winter update, keyword ‘adventurer remaster’

▲ MapleStory Kim Chang-seop, planning team leader, Kang Won-ki, general director

For users who play online MMORPGs, is there any other moment as enjoyable and exciting as the vacation season? Now that the game industry as a whole is preparing a bunch of new content for the winter vacation season, ‘Maple Story’, which was quiet, also foretold a large-scale winter update that would excite users.

The winter update of MapleStory, which will mark the end of 2021, will be carried out with four major axes: ‘Improvement of the adventurer profession’, ‘Renewal of the story’, ‘Diversification of boss content’, and improvement of character development experience and convenience. In particular, the improvement of the adventurer occupation group is news that feels even more special because it is the first update in about 8 years since the complete overhaul in the Red Update in 2013.

In an interview conducted prior to the application of MapleStory’s winter update, Nexon’s general director Kang Won-ki said, “We are prioritizing the development of games with high short-term utility, rather than developing a game that users can experience in the long-term.” He shared the new development team’s keynote and current status.

Q. I heard that Nexon is going to hold a showcase related to the winter update soon. Before the showcase, please introduce the background of the interview.

Won-ki Kang, general director (hereafter, Won-ki Kang) – The Maple development team is currently working hard on preparing for the winter update scheduled for the end of December. Many users must be wondering how this winter update will go, and through this interview, I wanted to tell you first what content will be included in the upcoming update.

Q. It must have been a busier year than ever before, reflecting the suggestions of users mentioned in the last user meeting in the game. How far has the work progressed in relation to the current user suggestions?

Gangwon-gi – At that time, we received a little less than 400 improvements through the meeting and written inquiries. About 200 of them have been improved and reflected in the game. In terms of percentage, it can be said that about 60% of the problem has been resolved. There are still some parts that cannot be solved with just one fix, but we are continuing to work on the remaining improvements.

Q. Excluding a few items that require constant maintenance, do you think the time will come when you can say “100% complete”?

Gangwon-gi – In the first half of next year, it is expected that all the things that can be done among the contents mentioned in the last user meeting will be completed. Many important issues have been resolved, and the remaining ones are expected to be resolved as soon as possible.

In addition, the problems mentioned by users at the meeting are only problems that have surfaced at the time, and I think that there are still many potential problems in Maple. Problems that have not yet been mentioned during the meeting, and problems that users continue to suggest, are also being improved. This work will continue in this winter update, and we will continue to improve by listening to users’ voices.

Q. The user conference last April seems to have been a turning point for the development team in many ways. If there has been a change in the development team since then, please introduce them.

Wonki Kang – In the past, in fact, we focused on updates that could have a lot of effects in the short term. After the meeting, I think we have focused more on improvements that can have long-term effects, even if the short-term effects are weak. Typical examples are community-related improvements that are difficult for users to feel right away, such as guild reorganization, party play, and the friend system.

Chang-seop Kim, Planning Team Leader (hereafter, Chang-seop Kim) – About the update content, I have written the ‘developer’s intention’ in detail. Previously, when the update was carried out, we only provided information about the changed specifications, but now we are adding explanations to parts that may cause misunderstandings or require additional explanation. It has changed to think together in the development stage on how to deliver it to users and how to say it, and reflect it when writing a notice.

Q. Now let’s look at the winter update. The first is ‘improvement of the adventurer profession’. It’s been almost 8 years since the last Red Update. How is it improved?

Gangwon-gi – The adventurer occupation group has undergone a major overhaul during the 2013 Red Update, and there has been no major update. This time, we prepared a large-scale improvement under the name of ‘Adventurer Remastered’. True to the name of the remaster, there will be an update on the overall skill effect. In addition, some job groups are preparing to improve the skill structure and deal cycle.

Kim Chang-seop – As there are many users who are enjoying the adventurer profession, the most important point is to preserve the ‘core values’ that users think. I proceeded with the remaster while paying attention to that part.

Q. Will all the effects of the adventurer job group, which felt a bit outdated compared to the latest jobs, be improved?

Gangwon-gi – You can think of most of the skill effects as being up to date with the level of the recently released job group. In addition to simply attacking skills, we are working on skill effects for buffs and auxiliary skills as well.

Kim Chang-seop – Skill effect is ultimately a tool to express the identity of a job. Compared to other occupations, the adventurer occupation group did not have the skill effect to express the character’s character, and it was made to reflect these things well. In addition, there were occupations that did not have a separate character illustration among the adventurer professions, but through this update, representative illustrations are created for all adventurer professions. With improved skill effects and representative illustrations, it is expected that the fifteen adventurer professions will each have their own unique character.

Q. There is a job that is evaluated as having structural defects that cannot be solved by simple skill adjustment. Can we expect an overall improvement in these professions?

Kim Chang-seop – If the shape is not suitable for a fast and efficient battle, structural improvement is fully considered. A typical example is the ‘Jingung’ of the adventurer profession. Jingu has a mechanism to fight while keeping a distance from monsters. Jingu players had no choice but to feel the stress in this part. Therefore, in this adventurer remaster, we plan to improve all these structural problems.

Q. With the last patch, the will skill that removes status ailments has been leveled, but the bind skill still seems to be unbalanced. Are there any plans for improvement in this area?

Kang Won-gi – In the case of bind skills, I thought that the unique characteristics of the professions would disappear if they were completely leveled. That’s why I’m not thinking about complete leveling. However, if users need it, it seems that additional security can be provided in the form of common skills between jobs.

Q. In addition to the adventurer professions that are in the spotlight with this update, balance issues are growing. When are you planning to patch the balance of other professions, including the Cygnus profession?

Gangwon-gi – In the second half of the year, while preparing for the adventurer remaster, we could not proceed with the balance patch. In this winter update, along with the adventurer remaster, we plan to carry out a balance patch for all professions.

Q. The second goal of the winter update is ‘story content renewal’. What does this include?

Kim Chang-seop – As predicted in the roadmap released last summer, the main direction is to revise the existing story. Here, the correction includes not only correcting the dialogue or reinforcing the directing part, but also changing work such as modifying the existing settings. We are aware that we have neglected the quality aspect a lot so far, and we plan to continue reorganizing it starting this winter. I think that users will be able to enjoy the reorganized story more easily through the story replay function, which will be added in the first half of next year.

Kang Won-gi – We plan to continuously improve the conflicting settings that existed in the story and the lack of directing. It is not a reorganization that completely overturns the roots, but it can be seen as a task to maintain a large frame, but to eliminate settings errors.

Q. How much is the script revision amount? Also, I wonder if new illustrations or cinematic movies will be added together.

Kang Won-gi – There are plans to add cinematic-like directing, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact amount of script modification. In fact, rather than how much the script has been modified, I think the important part is how smoothly the quality is improved while maintaining the large stem. After this update, we plan to continue updating related to story improvement.

Q. To what extent do you plan to support the ‘Story Skip’ function, which will help foster secondary characters?

Gangwongi – The exact scope and application time will be introduced through the winter update showcase to be held later. Exactly which parts will be subject to story skipping, please check through the showcase.

Q. An update related to ‘boss content diversification’ will also be added. Please tell us exactly how the diversification will proceed.

Kim Chang-seop – ‘Easy Will, Normal Jinhila, Normal Seren’, which was introduced in the update showcase last summer, is a representative example. The overall difficulty variation and adjustment of the boss content, including these three, will be carried out through this winter update.

Q. Do you have any plans to add unique patterns outside of combat like ‘Guardian Angel Slime’?

Kim Chang-seop – In addition to the Guardian Angel Slime, the bosses of MapleStory each have their own unique patterns and unique experiences. This is also an important development principle when creating a boss. In the future, when creating a new boss, we will continue to work hard to capture a battle experience that has never been felt before.

Q. I wonder how the difficulty and rewards will be adjusted if Easy Will or Normal Jinhila are added.

Kim Chang-seop – How the difficulty adjustment is actually made is something you have to play the game to know. Lowering the monster’s stamina, adjusting the amount of damage, and changing the means to release the gimmick. Existing bosses have done so, and we will proceed according to existing precedents.

In the case of compensation, it follows the recent boss monster reward reorganization. Exchangeable rewards have been greatly added according to the difficulty of each boss monster. In this difficulty division, we have prepared exchangeable rewards so that users can obtain reasonable rewards for the difficulty of each boss.

Q. It is said that the level gap between the bosses was filled to some extent with the addition of the Guardian Angel Slime, but there are still sections where the level and spec gaps are felt. Are there any plans to add bosses for each section to fill this gap?

Wonki Kang – I think that if Easy Will and Normal Jin Hilla are added, the void felt by users can be filled more densely. I think this difficulty role will play that role.

In the case of Normal Seren, the concept of filling in the existing blank is slightly different. You can think of it as a division of difficulty to secure popularity, along with stimulating the desire to challenge the top boss. This is a slightly different positioning from Easy Will and Normal Jin Hilla.

Q. The final goal of the winter update is ‘improving character development and user experience’. What will be included in this update?

Kim Chang-seop – Character development and improvement of user experience is a part that has been steadily working since before. In this update, we plan to recommend the optimal route for the latest tread throughout the growth path, including the reorganization of the guide. If necessary, we plan to adjust the overall hurdles so that character development can proceed smoothly and continuously by adjusting the quest reward experience.

In addition, the contents of the convenience improvement that has been steadily carried out under the name of ‘Bombom Project’ are also included. You can check various contents related to convenience improvement in the winter update, so please look forward to it.

Q. The mini-games in events such as ‘Tangyun’s Cooking Class’ have a lot of reward experience and have been well received by users. It seems like it could be a new alternative to character development. Is there something you are considering about this as well?

Gangwongi – In this winter update, we plan to open a framework for users to acquire experience through similar events. Including such an experience point acquisition route on a regular basis rather than an event is a part that requires a little thought.

Q. In the case of Terra Burning and Burning Server events, you helped a lot in nurturing the Union for beginners as well as existing users. Do you have any plans to hold similar events in the future?

Gangwongi – Of course, in this winter update, events such as Burning Server and Terra Burning will be held. In addition, we have planned many new types of events that have not been seen before, so please look forward to it.

Q. There is a section where the hunting difficulty increases sharply, like the level 170 section. This is acting as a difficult part of fostering the union. Are you considering improvement?

Kang Won-gi – We are focusing on improving the overall character growth experience, not limited to the secondary character development experience. In addition to the 170 level section, there are sections where users feel difficulties even after level 200, and we plan to improve these parts one by one.

Q. I am curious about the effect of the crystallite price adjustment. In addition, are additional measures to prevent meso-inflation being prepared?

Kim Chang-seop – Through the last August update, we added a system in which the crystal price changes according to the difficulty of the boss monster and the number of times it is defeated. The production of each boss, including the total meso production, is being monitored together, and at present, the system is considered to be operating normally. We plan to continue to reflect the new measures if additional measures are needed while monitoring the flow of Meso in the future.

Q. I am curious about the internal evaluation of the ‘Golden Hands Award’. Do you have any plans to hold similar types of events in the future?

Wonki Kang – The Golden Hand Award was a user contest event that was held after a long time. Although there were some shortcomings in the process, it is evaluated that it was an event that satisfies many users by releasing both the gold and silver hands as items. It is difficult to answer the question of whether the same event will be held next time, but we plan to conduct user-participatory events that users can participate in in the future.

Q. In the case of recently added updates, there is a tendency to focus on high-level areas. There are many users who did not enjoy the story or content due to the high level limit. Are there any plans to alleviate this trend?

Wonki Kang – I definitely think we need to adjust the speed a bit. In the case of the story, we are taking the method of adding the theme dungeon of the highest level or the middle level, but in the future, we will think more so that it can be enjoyed by users of various floors.

Q. I’m also curious about the status of additional work, such as improving the 64-bit update.

Wongi Kang – When the 64-bit update was first updated, there were a lot of user opinions that the delay occurred more than expected, and work has been done to solve the problem. Currently, it is judged that it is in a very stable state, but even now, some low-hunting PCs have lags, so optimization work is in progress. In addition, content optimized for 64-bit and extensions for improving the client environment are also being considered.

Q. I think 2021 was a really eventful year for MapleStory. There is still a big process called ‘Winter Update’ left until the end of this year. Is there any message or aspiration you want to convey to users?

Changseop Kim – A lot has happened this year. Rather than this being difficult, it seems to have been a year of reflection, realization, and reflection on the fact that I have been lacking in communication with users so far. In a way, it was something I should have done, but I also thought that it was not voluntary. Nevertheless, I am always grateful to the users who continue to enjoy the game, and to the users who deliver positive messages. We are working hard to meet the expectations of users as much as possible in the winter update, so please look forward to it.

Wonki Kang – First of all, I want to say thank you to the users who always trust and play MapleStory. There’s more to this winter update than last summer’s update. There are so many things we talked about through the roadmap, such as improving the adventurer, adding the boss difficulty, etc., so please look forward to the winter update that will be added at the end of December. A showcase is also being prepared at this time. It’s a little late, but I’ll do my best to prepare for the last minute so that users can have as much fun as they have been waiting for. We would like to express our thanks once again to the users who always love MapleStory.