MapleStory Adventures makes an MMO go social
Long before the rise of gaming on Facebook, MapleStory proved that players would flock to a game they could play for free and support with optional purchases if they felt like it. MapleStory Adventures brings the original MapleStory‘s look and feel to Facebook with redesigned gameplay and an emphasis on social, rather than MMO, features. You begin as a level one n00b warrior or wizard and then begin punching monsters to level up, gathering up collectibles, and hiring friends to fight with you when you need a little help taking on the next boss.
While the format of MapleStory Adventures is going to be familiar to anyone who ever played a basic MMO, the game’s been overhauled to have a Facebook-style interface. You send your character to attack monsters with a simple mouse-click. Defeating enemies nets you collectibles, items, experience, and most of all gold. Your character’s special skills are completely automatic and can be upgraded by spending some gold each time you level. You get bonuses for completing quests, which conveniently tend to ask you to go a certain area and kill so many monsters.
MapleStory Adventures integrates a number of social features to replace MMO features that were streamlined out. Although you can’t party up with other friends in a conventional sense, you can hire any of your friends to help you fight enemies. The friend assists you until his or her energy runs out. You also have a limited amount of energy in MapleStory Adventures, which you consume at the rate of one point of energy for each action you take in combat. When you run out of energy, you can’t attack anymore. Your energy regenerates slowly over time or quickly if you use a restorative item.
As you level up, you unlock more equipment to buy. Your equipment changes your appearance, so you can enjoy your character slowly begin to look less like a hobo and more like a hero as you rise to higher levels. You can also unlock or purchase what the game calls fashion items, which change your hero’s appearance without changing his or her stats. This lets you customize your character’s appearance in detail without having to give up any kind of functionality. Getting enough money for equipment often calls for some grinding, but if you grind by doing optional quests you can unlock certain fashion items.
MMOs on Facebook tend to work less well than you might expect. Where Facebook is a platform that’s all about casual gaming, MMOs are often designed to deliver long, immersive gameplay sessions. MapleStory Adventures attempts to blend the long-term appeal of MMOs with the immediate gratification and simple gameplay of a Facebook game. Right now, it’s a marriage of game types that seems to have a long, fruitful life ahead of it. MapleStory Adventures offers gamers tired of management sims a bit more depth, without demanding the huge time and attention investment of a true MMO.