MapleStory Adventures just launched in open beta on Facebook, so we sat down with Executive Producer Aron Koh to find out why Nexon decided to bring the free-to-play MMO to a new platform.
MapleStory Adventures launched in open beta this week, bringing the popular free-to-play MMO to Facebook. We sat down with Executive Producer Aron Koh to fine out more about the game, including why Nexon decided to go the social networking route.
Keep reading after the jump to read Koh's answers to our questions. If the game interests you, head over to the MapleStory Adventures Facebook page and try it out!
ZAM: MapleStory has been around since 2003. Why have you decided to go the Facebook route now?
Koh: MapleStory is an incredibly popular franchise, and it continues to win new fans around the world. Bringing the franchise to Facebook in the form of MapleStory Adventures will help us reach an even wider audience. The combination of the game’s cute and colorful art style and addictive RPG gameplay make it a perfect fit for the Facebook platform. MapleStory has enchanted more than 100 million players worldwide, and we’re excited to see our fan base grow now that we’re in the social game space.
ZAM: Does the story of the original game continue in MapleStory Adventures, or is there an entirely new background?
Koh: Fans of MapleStory will feel right at home in MapleStory Adventures. The story in MapleStory Adventures is based on the same premise of fighting against the Black Mage’s evil forces in order to keep peace in Maple World. Popular towns and areas from the original game such as Henesys, Kerning City, Perion and Ellinia, are also found in MapleStory Adventures. The artwork is also replicated from the original game.
ZAM: What are the biggest differences players familiar with the MMO will find in the Facebook game version?
Koh: MapleStory Adventures was designed to reach out to a wider audience, an audience that may not be very familiar with RPGs. Skill trees are pre-set by class and different types of stats have been incorporated into one ‘Power’ concept in order to make progression easy and efficient. The game still provides plenty of content to satisfy your RPG itch while keeping it casual and enjoyable.
ZAM: Tell us about the team. Are the designers the same people who work on the original MapleStory, a new team with Facebook game experience, or a mixture of the two?
Koh: It’s a totally new team. However, the development team is led by the same person who created the original MapleStory game.
ZAM: There are two classes in MapleStory Adventures: warrior and magician. Could you describe how they work? Will players be able to change their class or restart if they decide they don't like it?
Koh: There are two classes currently available and each class has its own set of skills and gear that they acquire as they progress through the game. Currently, players cannot change their class once they choose one.
ZAM: How will MapleStory Adventures incorporate Facebook's social networking? Will there be a lot of wall posts asking for help from friends, for example?
Koh: Players will be able to ‘hire’ friends who also play MapleStory Adventures to help battle against monsters side by side. The game does have quests that ask for help from friends, but those quests do not constitute the core mechanism of the game. We didn’t want gameplay to be hindered at all by friend requests.
ZAM: The original game works off a free-to-play format with a cash shop that offer boosts to characters. Will players be able to purchase items in the Facebook version?
Koh: Yes, players will be able to purchase cosmetic and convenience items in the in-game shop using Facebook credits.
ZAM: You recently held a closed beta for MapleStory Adventures. How did that go? What type of feedback did you receive from players?
Koh: We received a lot of great feedback from our players during the closed beta test. The figures for playing times, number of gameplay sessions per day and retention rates were definitely higher than the average for social games. More than 90% of the closed beta players said they would recommend the game to their friends, and we hope to maintain that high level of buzz now that we’re in open beta.
ZAM: MapleStory Adventures launches in open beta this week. Will it be followed by an official launch? Do you plan to add more features during the beta?
Koh: Official launch will be determined after evaluating the user feedback and performance of the open beta. Many features that weren’t available during the closed beta are being added and we will continue updating exciting new content to the game frequently.
ZAM: How will the team judge if MapleStory Adventures is a success? Where do you see the game headed after that point – following in the footsteps of the original, or paving its own path?
Koh: MapleStory Adventures will always have a close relationship with the original game, but MapleStory Adventures is a new game in its own right. We hope to create a synergy between the two games and continue expanding upon the appeal and success of the franchise.
Paul "LockeColeMA" Cleveland, Staff Reporter