Maplestory 2 or MS2, for short, is a 3D voxel-based MMORPG that is the sequel to the hit 2D side-scrolling MMORPG Maplestory, published by Nexon. The game was released on October 10, 2018. The game begins with talk of how the world of Mapleworld was formed, and then explains how it’s in the current state it is now.
As you play through the story, you’ll come across various characters and locales that all play pivotal roles. You’ll even be matched with a particular NPC who though is hapless, naive, and sometimes flat out oblivious to the world around them, manages to be your source of camaraderie and even humor at times. The dialogue is craftily written to show emotions being conveyed in conjunction with camera shaking helps add to the impact as well. The dialogue is also translated very well from Korean as I’ve yet to notice any glaring mistakes in the English text.
The art style in Maplestory 2 is a hyper-stylized chibi design, where everyone looks very cute, whether you’re male or female. This can turn away some players who are looking for a more “realistic” aesthetic, but I have to say it’s much more appealing than it’s predecessor. The color schemes of the game and art direction are very light and whimsical, even the villains are mild in comparison to what they could be.
The maps are very well lit and have a good vibe, and partnered with some amazing music. Overall, the game is vibrant and lively. The level design in the game is awesome as it uses a lot of platforming mechanics to break up the typical flat surfaces. You can climb up various terrains like Spider-Man or utilize the mechanisms in-game that bring you up, down, forward, and back to get around. Mounts in the game vary from land-based like cars to aerial-based like balloons, all of which help you to get around the map. The height is very well utilized in this game, especially when in need of a quick retreat from danger.
Maplestory 2‘s approach to leveling is fun. You are given multiple ways to level up your character such as, questing, side missions, social games, grinding, world bosses, exploration, and life skills. Questing is traditional but the game does that nicely, making sure to keep you engaged as you run through levels for more experience points.
Quest lines are direct, you speak with an NPC, do the task, speak to the NPC again and get experience and utility items. You can repeat this cycle until you hit max level -which is 60. Questing has a few benefits though. There is an amazing story to follow along to, great zones to explore with various locales, numerous dungeons, and of course, you also get to learn more about the world. However, if you’re looking to take a break from the story, check out the side missions. Side missions are of course optional, but they can at times lead to interesting chains of events and also net a decent amount of experience as well as healing items to stockpile. Some of them even give you gear as rewards too.
If you’re looking to mingle with the masses, why not check out social games with MC Kay? MC Kay hosts different game shows, which, if you place well in, give out some hefty experience and coins too. Of these, I personally like Speed Runners, in this mode you’re objective is to clear an obstacle course before time runs out, doing so got me 12 million in experience, so check them out and do the ones you love.
While grinding, if you prefer the old school way of leveling up, you may happen to come across randomly spawning hats. Interacting with the hat will take you into uniquely designed worlds, called Pocket Portals. These hidden worlds utilize similar mechanics to other missions and usually some type of timer upping the difficulty. Another way to play is defeating world bosses, which are massive monsters that dominate a space on a specific map. Defeating them earns you experience and possibly gear drops. This is currently touted to be one of the more popular ways of leveling after hitting level 60, compared to running the story quest line.
Then there’s Exploration missions which every map in Maplestory 2 has and they range from something as simple as looking through binoculars to scout the area to more intricate missions like finding hidden golden chests. Completing enough exploration missions will earn you stars, which once you hit a specific threshold will earn you things such as healing items, costume items, and ability points to enhance your character. So, definitely try to do these when you can, or prioritize the easier ones to get the stars as fast as possible. Now, if you don’t want to do any of these styles of leveling but still want to “play” in the world you can do that with life skills.
Life skills such as farming, mining, handicrafts, fishing, just to name a few allow you to slow down the pace and just casually level up by doing things you enjoy outside of being a hero. Each skill line has its own respective tier list, reaching each tier gives experience and various items to assist in further leveling or ease of use. Some of these life skills will come in handy late game as you will need them for when you’re dungeon running or even to make money selling your created wares.
Housing in MS2 is intricate to say the least. You start with a small 4×4 box, but you can quickly expand for free to a much larger space. You can also add height to your house allowing you to have multiple floors, allowing for more intricate layouts of your home. There are many categories of items to place in your house from basic wall blocks to animals that you can harvest and many things in between. Housing can be relaxing and at times frustrating, especially when you want to rearrange your digs.
The frustrating part is that you can’t pick up and move items once you place them down, you have to delete it and then replace it. This will add a level of annoyance to those perfectionist out there who happen to misplace something and just want to move it. However, making a really awesome home does help you get likes, which I’m not sure what that does for you, as no one has visited my house. Also, you gain experience for placing items within your house. In addition to questing, side missions, dungeons, bosses and everything else, the housing system is yet another way to gain some experience, especially when you want to take a break from the grind.
Classes in the game fall into the usual tropes of most RPGs, you have the Tank, Healer, and DPS classes. There are 9 classes, as of right now, with a few of them filling the roles.
Tank has three classes, Berserker, Knight, and Runeblade. Berserkers wield great swords and utilize their “spin-to-win” tactics to the utmost ability. Knights defend their allies with their trusty sword and shield. Runeblades hone the power of magic to imbue their blade for devastating damage. For the Healer role, we have the Priest who makes sure to keep allies in peak condition. And finally, DPS is the largest pool of classes with Heavy Gunner, Archer, Wizard, Thief, and Assassin. Heavy gunners dish out damage with their vast array of armaments. Archers rain down arrows all across the field from long range. Wizards disturb their enemies with manipulation of the elements. Thieves look to poison and burst down targets. Assassins stealthily eliminate all threats in their path. Speaking on each class in depth really can be its own article, especially being that each class has it’s own introduction story along with playstyle. However, this decent roster assures that there’s plenty of choices to play with.
One thing I really enjoy about Maplestory 2 is that Nexon enforces having alts (alternative characters you create), so instead of just having 2 character slots, you’re given 6, allowing for you explore the various classes without having to come out of pocket for character slots, unless you plan to play all 9 classes.
Endgame in Maplestory 2 is pretty limited as of right now. Your main objective right now is to just gear up as best you can and prepare to raid and grind hard dungeons. You can also do daily quests to gain experience and prestige. Prestige is a system that’s unlocked when you hit level 50, the soft cap, and is leveled up in tandem with your character as you aim for level 60. As you level up your prestige you are given perks, which can vary from ability points to other items.
Now Maplestory 2 of course is not without it’s faults, but there aren’t many that I’ve come across. My biggest issue is perhaps that the classes have their own introduction story that plays out for the first 5 levels of the game before you’re placed into the “main” game’s story arc. I wish the class story ran parallel to the main game, just to delve more into the background on what happens in each respective story.
My next issue would be that side missions’ rewards can be severely underwhelming, especially with the effort that some of the missions require you to do to complete it. For example, players will be given a mission to kill a world boss in an area and only received around 5%-7% exp and a few items. This is underwhelming being that world bosses require the assistance of upwards of 30+ players to make the fight manageable.
Also, the Thief class is “broken” and not in a good way. The class has to be very close to do respectable damage and lacks the ability to live very long or even to do damage to targets that move around a lot.
Ultimately, Maplestory 2 is a very fun game that has easily been my go to game for the past week now. I know there’s plans to add in more classes and also awakenings in the future, but for now, it’s the grind to the end game and gearing up for raids. I hope this game is properly supported so that it has longevity, because I would love to come back to this game for the next couple of years.
Maplestory 2 is a very fun game that has easily been my go to game for the past week now. I know there’s plans to add in more classes and also awakenings in the future, but for now, it’s the grind to the end game and gearing up for raids.