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New World Merges Servers Today
You’ve probably been affected.
Nexon Talks: The Story of MapleStory
This week I got the opportunity to chat with a couple of the folks behind MapleStory, a game that you may have seen a fair amount of coverage here in recent months. Yes, this game that launched in 2003 is still going very strong, with major content updates coming out on a rather impressive schedule.
You see, every time I talk about MapleStory there are some questions that I see revolving the content that I’m talking about and often times I don’t exactly have an answer. Who is the Black Mage, what are these theme dungeons, what’s the deal with the Reboot server, etc. So we brought Nexon on board, and they were happy to provide two of their own to give us some answers; Nam Jun (NJ), Global MapleStory Lead Game Designer, as well as Young Mi (YM), Global MapleStory Leader of Planning and Designing.
Us: What is the current state of the MapleStory story for those that may not have kept up with the game in recent times?
Nam Jun: Going back to the story from last winter in 2018, Black Mage, the character that reigned as the “final boss” for a long time in MapleStory, was defeated. Black Mage had planned to destroy Maple World, and to create a new world without transcendents. Empress Cygnus of Maple World formed an alliance in order to fight against his great power, and triumphed after a hard fight in Tenebris, located at the end of the Arcane River.
After Maple World found peace again, we then presented players with ‘Pathfinder’ as the next storyline, which included a new Explorer Bowman class captivated by ancient artifacts.
Us: How do theme dungeons factor into the overall plot of MapleStory?
NJ: In theme dungeons, we sometimes include hints or characters that may relate to the future plot, or provide players with a glimpse of different events that take place in various parts of Maple World that may not necessarily tie to the main plot. When players play through the theme dungeons, on top of each job’s story quests, they’ll be able to enjoy the added fun that comes with understanding MapleStory’s supplemental plot.
Us: How many total classes are there right now?
NJ: There are a total of 45 classes at the moment.
Us: Can you explain what the idea is behind having temporary characters like the Beast Tamer and Pink Bean? Why not make them permanent?
NJ: Because MapleStory has 45 different jobs, we’ve been servicing some jobs to only be available to be created or played during a certain period. For example, Pink Bean, one of the most beloved boss characters in Maple World, was specially made available as a playable character for a limited time, so players can experience something new.
Us: Are there any functional differences between named hero classes and explorer classes?
Young Mi: Heroes refer to the five heroes who have sealed the Black Mage, and therefore praised most highly in Maple World.
Explorers are new heroes that appeared in Maple World after the heroes who sealed the Black Mage have disappeared, and they try to protect the peace in Maple World.
Regarding the functional differences, we do try and make a general distinction by giving each job a unique story, theme, function (combat method), and etc. So we’d like players to experience those differences and enjoy them in various ways.
Us: Has the Pathfinder class been positively received?
NJ: Yes! Pathfinder drew attention as the first Explorer Bowman Class character to be released in a while. We also received feedback that she was enjoyable to play with given her exceptional hunting abilities–dealing high amount of damage and displaying excellent secondary skill functions—and her superior abilities when it comes to bossing.
Us: Do the burning character events bring back a high number of people who may not have played in a while?
NJ: Absolutely! We heard a number of people saying they returned to the game after hearing the news that a Tera Burning Event (benefits until Lv. 200) and a Burning Event (benefits until Lv. 150) will take place back-to-back this summer.
Players will be able to level up their character quickly with the burning event providing various equipment, items, and the perk of 1+2 leveling. So a lot of new and returning players, and of course the existing players who are leveling up various characters for link skills and Legion bonuses, usually take advantage of this event.
Us: What are the tradeoffs of the reboot server for people who might be looking to come back to MapleStory?
NJ: Reboot server is a special server where trade between other characters is limited, and obtained meso rate is 6 times as high and EXP obtained is 2.5 times than that of a regular server. Because trade is limited, more time and effort may be needed than in regular servers in the beginning stages of growing the character to obtain equipment items.
However, players can benefit from the feeling of achievement by leveling up their character, and earning equipment items on their own.
Us: What is next on the plate for MapleStory?
YM: Right around the corner, we plan on proceeding with the world merge that a lot of people have been looking forward to. We also have various new events and contents in the works.
We know players will be most curious about the story after the battle with Black Mage. An entirely new story is planned to unfold, beginning with the story of Explorers standing up against a newly approaching danger. We hope that you look forward to it as the story continues.
I’d like to thank Nexon for getting us this Q&A session, as well as both Nam Jun and Young Mi for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer them.
[Community] Let’s Call A Merger A Merger
Originally I intended this week’s Community column to be speculation about how Trion Worlds would handle ArcheAge’s upcoming server merge, given that the plans are still in the conceptual stage and any real action that will be taken is still months down the line. To fuel speculation, I looked at how server mergers were handled in Korea and Russia under XLGames and Mail.ru respectively, and hoped to get a comment from each party.
While Mail.ru and XLGames didn’t respond to my request, I was told by Trion Worlds that an FAQ was in the works. It isn’t out as of this publishing (approximately 2pm EST on Monday, June 1st), so I’m going ahead with my original plan.
It’s safe to say that the term “server merger” has such a negative connotation attached to it because, in the eyes of the ever-rational internet mob, developers might as well post an announcement that they’ve failed at business. Couple that with a media in love with negative headlines, and you’ve got a recipe for PR disaster. Because of this, Trion Worlds isn’t the first to treat the phrase like they’ve been accused of having lice, and have joined the growing list of developers shuffling players away from low population servers (before closing them usually) without actually using the term “merger.” Even Blizzard opted to develop its engine to support cross-realm play rather than merge its list of low population servers.
There tends to be an even more negative response to this tactic, since if there’s one thing people hate more than being lied to, it’s when companies talk to them like they are lawyers in a courtroom dodging a guilty plea by questioning the definition of the term “murder.” To go back to the previous analogy, they are the kid in school trying to explain that while their head has been buzzed and their hair smells of medical shampoo, there is no way you can prove that they were responsible for the lice sighting that the school warned about over the morning announcements.
This isn’t the first time Trion Worlds merged without ever using the term. In Rift, Trion would convert low population servers to “trial servers” in order to force players off of them without actually calling it a merger. Designating a server as “trial” would result in character creation being disabled (for subscribers) and would limit players to the two main cities, forcing players to transfer off once they had finished the content available in the free trial.
We won’t know what Trion plans on doing with ArcheAge until they release more information, but we did grab this soundbite from their latest Twitch stream:
“It’s basically taking lower population servers and then creating an entirely new server and allowing players to migrate from that server to the new evolved servers.”
If their approach to merging servers in ArcheAge is anything close to what they did in Rift, it is likely that players will be not so gently coerced into transferring over to these “evolved servers,” through various limitations on these legacy servers. This way, once the population has sufficiently dwindled, the servers can be logically shut down due to lack of activity, with any characters remaining forced to transfer off.
So the notion that the servers were never merged is technically correct, and as I have said before technically correct is my favorite kind of correct.
Wildstar Announces Server Mergers
Mega servers are the future, at least in the sense that they allow developers to merge servers without using the term and acting like there is nothing to worry about with the population. Wildstar developer Carbine Studios has revealed that the fledgling MMO will soon see its servers merged similar to DC Universe Online, with one PvE and one PvP server per cluster.
Going the Megaserver route means that we vastly increase server capacity allowing for greater critical mass of our player base, resulting in more people, more groups, more activity and more raids… more of everything that makes WildStar so fun. The Megaservers and their increased player capacity will give fans more options to group up and enjoy WildStar with friends and other players for a long time to come.
To avoid name conflicts, all players will be given a last name.
Archlord: Shutdowns and Mergers
As Archlord continues its shuttering, the sequel doesn’t seem to be faring any better. Last month, we reported that Archlord would be shutting down its global servers on January 1st, and MMO Culture is reporting that the Korean server will also be closing. Citing an inability to “provide players with a stable environment,” Webzen announced that Archlord’s final territory will be shutting down on February 13th. According to MMO Culture, Archlord II hasn’t been seeing a great response. Currently in open beta, Archlord II has been heavily criticized for latency issues, poor game design, and heavy pay to win features.
The MMO reportedly merged down to two servers, with players still having trouble finding parties. Archlord II is set to head westward at some point in 2014.
(Source: MMO Culture)
Vanguard Merging Down To One Server
Generally when an MMO hits that point where it has merged down to its last server, you can bet that the game is either one step away from the chopping block at worst, or will remain in maintenance mode for the rest of its life at best. Sadly this is exactly what Vanguard players are experiencing as Sony has announced that the Halgar and Telon servers will be merging as of April 4th. The servers will be down for twenty four hours, after which the Halgar server will remain online until the end of business on April 9th. All characters above level 10, plus those below level 10 which have logged in since October 3rd, 2012, and before the April 3rd transfer, will be moved over to Telon.
Halgar characters will also be reimbursed for the cost of their houses, however they will have to find new housing when their characters transfer over. For more details, click the link below to see the transfer FAQ.
The Old Republic Server Mergers Later This Summer
Bioware is committed to keeping server populations strong. Coinciding with their May announcement of massively increasing server capacity, Bioware has been very active in herding their population on to a select number of destination servers. In fact, Bioware wants you to transfer so much that they are handing out perks just for moving over your eligible characters. On the Old Republic Blog, Bioware has detailed plans to increase server transfers.
Later this summer, we’re taking steps to further strengthen destination server population. Ultimately, we are working to transition all players to designated destination servers in the Free Character Transfer Service.
Later on, servers will be merged anyway.
Later this summer, any remaining characters on selected origin servers will be automatically moved to designated destination servers. We will provide additional details regarding the automatic character transfer process at that time.
Just how many servers are being merged is yet to be seen, however Bioware has listed more than 100 North American and 80 European servers as “origin” servers, available for players to transfer off of with only twelve servers per region qualifying for the free transfer rewards program.
(Source: The Old Republic)
TERA/The Old Republic Discuss Server Transfers
Since I know how much you all love hearing about server transfers, I’ve lumped both games in the same article.
You may be aware of TERA’s pre-launch woes, particularly a lacking in space on player vs player servers. Alongside the release of a new PvP server, En Masses is opening temporary free server transferal for all players. Transfers are immediate, free of charge, and will remain so until the server populations level out. You can not transfer between PvP and PvE servers, and your character cannot have any chronoscrolls. For a full list of the restrictions, check out the announcement here. After the announcement, transfers will remain free if used for the purpose of balancing server population.
Now for games that have been released. Over on the Old Republic, Bioware has announced that server transfers will be held in waves, beginning in early summer. Players will be limited in which servers are able to transfer from and which servers can be transferred to, with more details to come as the time approaches. After, server transfer limits will open up, allowing anyone to transfer anywhere, although not necessarily for free. Presumably, if servers drop enough in population, Bioware may take the Warhammer route and retire servers.