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Massively Exclusive: The MapleStory developers talk about the Root Abyss

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

Well, that's the face of horror right there.
When dealing with international games like Nexon's MapleStory, it's a simple reality that updates are often going to be coming out later for US players. It's just the nature of the beast; new updates have to first be tested natively, then localized. But the upcoming Root Abyss breaks the mold, with the full version due to be released on the global servers on January 16th before the Korean servers get a live push of the update.

But there's more to the dungeon than just the release date -- there are four new bosses and a variety of updated prizes for everyone to earn. If you're looking for more insight into how the dungeon was designed, click on past the break for an exclusive developer diary from the Korean design team. You can also check out the dungeon's trailer, which features a quick preview of all four monstrous and disturbing bosses.

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Jukebox Heroes: Christmas music

Final Fantasy XI, MapleStory, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, League of Legends, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Christmas music
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the staff at Jukebox Heroes! When it comes to the season, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Christmas music junkie. Not nearly as bad as some I know, and I'm totally for a ban of hearing such music in public spaces before Thanksgiving and after New Year's Eve. I just love how it's so cheery and makes me feel warm in my tummy.

A couple of months ago when I realized that this column would fall on Christmas day, I entertained the notion of just featuring MMO Christmas music. That seemed a bit silly to me; there's no way that there could be more than a scarce handful of tunes, right?

It turns out that there's quite a bit, actually.

So whether you're celebrating, taking some time just to game, or bored out of your gourd, why not hit the jump and see how MMOs have contributed to the enormous library of Christmas music?

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Massively Exclusive: Previewing Mihile from MapleStory's New Dawn update

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Classes, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play

The old dawn was actually kind of boring.
It's going to be a brand-new day for MapleStory when the New Dawn update goes live in early September. If you can't wait that long, we've got a little treat for you: a video preview of Mihile, who previously served as an NPC and can be played in the update. Players will be able to explore Mihile and find out how he became the Knight of Light -- and investigate his abilities in the process.

Mihile uses a one-handed sword and a special shield known as the Soul Shield. Unlike other shields, this one improves as Mihile does, earning an upgrade with each advancement and leveling up as it gains experience. That gives Mihile a defensive bulwark from the start of his career all the way to the apex. Check out the preview past the cut, and keep your eyes peeled for more information before the update in early September.

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MapleStory lands on Steam with special offers

Fantasy, MapleStory, Business Models, Patches, Free-to-Play, Promotions

MapleStory lands on Steam with special offers
Free-to-play is the trend of last year; right now, the "in" thing for MMOs is to get a coveted spot in Steam's store. MapleStory has made the move to the cool kids' table, apparently, as Nexon announced that the title is now available through Valve's digital service.

While MapleStory is free-to-play through the service, Nexon and Steam are offering two additional package deals for those interested in plunking down a few bucks for in-game goodies. The $9.99 starter pack includes a 30-day stat-boosting pendant, a teleport rock, a pair of megaphones, and a brown kitty pet that has a three-month lifespan. Alternatively, players may elect to buy the $4.99 value pack, which has just the teleport rock and pet.

MapleStory recently released its Mutiny update, which overhauled the Pirate and Dual Blade classes and added several new "mini-dungeons."

[Source: Nexon press release]

MapleStory celebrates its seventh anniversary with experience bonuses and cake monsters

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play

MapleStory 7th Anniversary
Do you feel lucky, MapleStory players? You should, because Nexon is celebrating the game's lucky seventh anniversary, and the studio is passing the good fortune on to the players with a series of in-game events and double experience weekends.

For the duration of the month, players will be treated not only to double experience and drops every weekend, but they'll also be able to take part in events such as the Maple Rising Star Contest, which requires players to complete tasks to show support for their favorite NPC contestant. And of course, no anniversary would be complete without a visit from the deliciously vicious Cake Boss monster, which combines a challenging battle and a tasty treat into one mutant monstrosity. To put the icing on the proverbial cake, Nexon has released a short anniversary trailer that recaps the major MapleStory events of the past year, so put on your party hats and join the festivities after the cut.

[Source: Nexon America press release]

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MapleStory proclaims Alliance Eternal this week

Fantasy, MapleStory, Events (In-Game), Patches, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

With this week's Alliance Eternal patch in MapleStory, Nexon has returned the balance of the classes to where it should be. The final update in the Alliance trilogy focuses on Cygnus Knights and Explorer classes, retuning them and bringing their power levels back up to par with the classes that received developer love with the previous updates.

Alliance Eternal has a few other fun surprises for players. Level 120 characters can hop through a Dimensional Schism and take on the sinister-sounding Arkarium, while Cygnus Knights level 110 or above have new quest chains to investigate.

Nexon's also looking forward to the coming months. MapleStory will hit its seven-year anniversary in May, and players should expect a big bash when that happens. The devs also teased a "big summer content release" on the horizon with two new characters including the Phantom hero.

MapleStory gets political, players respond with bewilderment

Fantasy, MapleStory, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play

Pictured: MapleStory.  Not pictured: political acumen.
It's an election year in the United States, and that means that it's time to start polling for opinions across the country. If the country goes the path of MapleStory, the incumbent President has nothing to worry about. A survey of 1,655 random MapleStory players was conducted this past weekend, with 47.79% claiming that Barack Obama had made the most positive impact out of the current candidates. The runner-up? Abject confusion. More than 20% of respondents did not recognize any of the names involved.

The respondents were also polled on the most important issue facing the presidential candidates, with unemployment taking the top spot (40%) and the gap between rich and poor taking second place (28%). It's not necessarily indicative of much, but even though it's an informal poll conducted by Nexon America of a fairly random playerbase, there's a staggering degree of confusion at work. Or MapleStory players really like President Obama, one or the other.

MapleStory allies against aliens

Fantasy, MapleStory, Patches, Free-to-Play

It's a bad day to be an alien in MapleStory -- and a good day to be a player. Nexon has released its latest major update for the game, Alliance Unbound, and it's placing a bounty on every E.T. and Klingon you can find. Nasty space critters are causing town-demolishing earthquakes in the area, and what's worse is that their technology is somewhat more advanced than swords or clubs.

While a majority of the content for Alliance Unbound is for high-level characters, there's still plenty for lowbies to do as well. The main update quest line opens up at level 15 and offers both a high- and low-level version.

The update has plenty of meat to it in other ways. A gigantic 31-part quest chain has been added to Ellin Forest for level 95s in which players will jump back in time and explore the making of one of the key regions in the game. There's also a nifty and powerful alien socket system that grants players the ability to upgrade weapons. Finally, Nexon's got plenty of new Event Cards and a collection system to keep players busy.

Korean gaming giants adjusting data collection policies

Fantasy, MapleStory, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

NCsoft logo
Changes are afoot in the Korean gaming industry in the wake of last month's massive Nexon hack that cost over 13 million MapleStory users their personal information. NCsoft has decided to stop collecting its players' Resident Registration Number (which is a Korean analog to the American Social Security number) due to concerns over privacy issues.

Korean gamers will still need to fork over the number to play NCsoft games, though, according to a report at ThisIsGame.com. Players need only an email and password to register for the PlayNC portal, but the RRN may still be required to verify that new registrants aren't bots, and NCsoft has handed off the collection responsibilities to a third-party agency. "We have acknowledged the importance of personal information for a long time. So we have collected minimum personal information and have asked another agency to do the sensitive information work including the RRN on behalf of us," said an NCsoft official.

ThisIsGame also reports that NHN Hangame has decided to stop collecting personal information, while Nexon and Neowiz are formulating new collection policies.

[Updated] On the fourth day of giveaways, Nexon gave to me...

Fantasy, MapleStory, Contests, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, Dragon Nest

Royal Crimson Stallion Mount
[UPDATE: All winners have been selected and contacted. Thanks to everyone who entered!]

On the fourth day of giveaways, Nexon gave to me... four pet items!
On the third day of giveaways, Wargaming.net gave to me... three premium years!
On the second day of giveaways, BioWare gave to me... two warring factions!
On the first day of giveaways, Turbine gave to me... a lifetime VIP!

MapleStory fans, your day is here! Nexon is joining the 12 Days of Giveaways event again this year with some fun MapleStory pet packs. Each package contains four items: a permanent pet (either a White Bunny, a Mir, or a Jr. Reaper), a permanent pet equip, pet food, and a pet scroll. We've got 20 of these pet four-packs to hand out to our readers, but that's not all!

If Dragon Nest is more your speed, Nexon has you covered as well! We have four Dragon Nest prize packages, each containing 10 Dragon Eggs. Each egg opens to reveal a random prize -- anything from yellow or black Cupid wings to a Royal Crimson Stallion, and many other possibilities.

If you want to pick up one of these prizes, just enter by leaving a comment to tell us which of these two games is your favorite and why. The entry deadline is tomorrow, December 17th, at noon EST. Check out our contest rules to make sure you're eligible, and best of luck!


MapleStory adds the Cannoneer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Classes, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Son of a gun.
Are you ready to solve all of your problems with the application of cannons? Up until now, MapleStory has allowed players to solve maybe a fifth of all your problems via the application of cannons. But the newest character type in the game, the Cannoneer, solves the vast majority of his problems via... well, you can guess. He also makes use of bombs and perhaps the odd aerial bombardment as well, just in case you wanted to diversify your problem-solving skills a bit.

To show off this first update in the Legends patch, we have posted not one, not two, but three videos just past the break. There is, of course, a gameplay trailer for the Cannoneer and a trailer for the patch as a whole. But there's also the "audition" trailer for the Cannoneer as the staff at Nexon tries to decide on the next class to add to the game. Check out the videos just past the break, and get ready to open fire.

[Source: Nexon press release]

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MapleStory breached, 13 million accounts exposed

Fantasy, MapleStory, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Legal

The famously hacked Sony has a sympathetic shoulder this week, as Nexon recently discovered a massive breach that's exposed over 13 million MapleStory player accounts to cyber ne'er-do-wells. Discovered this past Thursday, the breach was solely limited to South Korea, as Nexon hosts separate countries on their own servers.

This means that any South Korean MapleStory player's information is at risk, including user IDs, names, passwords, and residential registration numbers. This information could potentially be stolen and used for a variety of crimes.

While there's been no word whether actual personal information has been stolen, Nexon nevertheless urged these 13+ million subscribers to change their passwords. The company has contacted the police to ask for a formal investigation.

This comes at an unfortunate time for the company, as Nexon is poised to present its IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December.

MapleStory Legends trailer introduces three new characters

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Classes, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

MapleStory Legends
The next content update coming to Nexon's popular sidescroller MapleStory, known as MapleStory Legends, brings three new playable characters to the mix. The Cannoneer's name should be self explanatory: He carries a massive cannon with which to blast enemies to kingdom come. Mercedes rocks a pair of crossbows and specializes in ranged combat, while the Demon Slayer boasts a pair of devilish wings that can be used both for flight and for combat. To take a look at these new classes in MapleStory Legends' debut trailer, just click on past the cut.

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Take to the skies with MapleStory Ascension

Fantasy, MapleStory, Classes, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

Screenshot -- MapleStory
Rise up, MapleStory players! The new Ascension update is coming on September 28th, and it's bringing players a wealth of new features to enjoy. Warriors, Magicians, and Bowmen are all receiving class revamps that update the classes with "new strength and new looks."

Players can also band together to take on the challenges of Spiegelmann's Monster Park, which grants an extra 50% experience for parties as well as higher drop rates. For the lovebirds in the crowd, the team is implementing new wedding quests. Meanwhile, team players are being given three new party quests as well as six updated ones, and the rewards from party quests are "more lucrative than ever." To top it all off, a new event calendar has been added to the game, so players will always be up to date on current events.

To get in on all the Ascension action, head on over to the official site and register for an account.

75% of MapleStory's marriages suffer the heartbreak of divorce

Fantasy, MapleStory, Culture, Free-to-Play, Browser, Roleplaying

MapleStory wedding
Monogamy isn't in the cards for most MapleStory players, and neither are faithfulness, silver anniversaries or alimony-free lifestyles. You see, MapleStory boasts an incredibly high rate of divorces with its marriage system, as a whopping 75% of players who get married in-game end up getting those unions annulled.

MapleStory's marriage system is fairly popular, with 26,982 such events occurring last year in North America alone. Each marriage costs $25 for the couple, but it seems that the initial investment wasn't enough to keep a majority of the players together for long. Within a year, over 20,000 of those marriages broke up.

Due to the high divorce rate -- much higher than the real-world version by far -- Nexon investigated individual stories of in-game divorce trying to figure out why these virtual marriages aren't sticking. One player named Seth realized that his "Maple spouse" was merely using their relationship to bum free items off of him, which led to their break-up.

Marriage in MapleStory is a detailed process involving an official engagement, two rings, real-world cash, and a spiffy in-game item that gives the happy pair a big boost to stats. However, if a marriage is annulled, each partner has a 10-day cooling off period before he or she can remarry.

[Source: Nexon press release]

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