Having been in the works for many months, MapleStory: Adventures is Nexon America’s foray into the social game space and it takes its most famous online property the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game MapleStory to the Facebook platform.
MapleStory: Adventures is in the process of being entered into our traffic tracking service, AppData. Facebook currently lists the game as having 84,728 monthly active users as of the end of the game’s closed beta period.
The game on Facebook is not an MMOG but a regular RPG. Players receive quests and kill creatures to gain experience points and equipment for their characters. The game is a 2-D platformer and looks and plays remarkably similarly to the MapleStory MMOG, and players will recognize the MapleStory style characters, art and humor.
In place of synchronous play with friends as expected in MMOGs, MapleStory: Adventures allows players to hire their friends characters to party with them in an asynchronous manner. That is to say, the computer animates the characters rather than players behind a keyboard. Other social features include the usual gifting found in many other Facebook games, and the requirement for a certain number of friends in order to unlock portions of the game.
Players start off with a level one wizard or warrior and get sent off immediately to kill monsters, collecting experience points, coins, collectibles and equipment along the way, hiring friends as needed to defeat stronger boss monsters. All action is simple point-and-click, and an energy gauge restricts the amount of actions a player can perform in a certain amount of time. Players can refill the gauge with potions by waiting or consuming potions that can be purchased with soft currency, hard currency, or gifted by friends. Character customization is another big part of the MapleStory experience brought to MapleStory: Adventures. All equipment items have unique appearances and the better the equipment, the more fanciful and colorful it looks.
Maple Story: Adventures is live as of today with full monetization in place. During our session with the game during its closed beta, we observed that the developer means to monetize the energy gauge as well as the character customization. Additional monetization comes from virtual items like keys to open treasure chests and scrolls for skill improvements — though, like energy refills, these items can be gifted between friends.
At Casual Connect in Seattle, we spoke with Nexon Vice President of Business Development Won Il Sue about the developer’s goals for the title. Though Nexon has invested in social game developer A Bit Lucky, Sue says that MapleStory: Adventures is not in competition with the other studio. Rather, MapleStory: Adventures is a learning exercise for Nexon aimed at putting the MapleStory franchise in front of a larger audience. The end goal, says Sue, is to link the two games either through a coupon-driven cross-promotion or perhaps through a more complex tie on the back end.
“[A Bit Lucky] is not just a financial investment but a strategic investment,” Sue tells ISG. “We can help [the developer] bring their upcoming game to the Asian market. And we can learn from them [through Lucky Train].”
So far, Nexon has learned to keep MapleStory and MapleStory: Adventures as fundamentally independent products with elements that work to their respective native platforms (e.g. the energy gauge). Sue says Nexon will be especially interested in seeing how paid items in Adventures perform compared to how those same paid items perform in the original game. At this time, Nexon does not plan to bring all paid items from the original game to Adventures.
MapleStory: Adventures enters open beta today. Interested readers can follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.