MapleStory was recently updated with the Cadena content expansion that brought a lot of big changes to the game. We had the chance to speak to the Dennis Bernardo, Production Manager for the MapleStory team.
MMORPG: MapleStory has a rich tradition, tell us how this new content ties into the game’s history?
Dennis: This winter’s MapleStory Nova updates expands everything about MapleStory by increasing the roster of characters to play as, introducing high level skills the player can utilize, new areas to explore, engaging stories to tell, and a ton of exciting new features. MapleStory’s unique success over the 12 years it has been online has always been about providing the player a wide array of choices in how they want to play the game and how they want their character to look while doing it.
MMORPG: Give us the background on Cadena, what is the story here?
Dennis: Cadena grew up in Grandis, a world parallel to Maple World, and is a member of the Heliseum royal family. She is part of the Nova race, meaning she is half-human, half-dragon. During the invasion of Heliseum by the traitor Magnus, Cadena becomes the sole-survivor of the royal family after being saved by the royal guard and left in the care of the Shadowdealers trade organization. After awaking years later from a long slumber of healing, she vows to get revenge on Magnus
Cadena relies on her chain as a primary weapon in battle, using it to fling enemies to the ground or to swing from platform to platform. She’s a scrappy fighter and isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty with her close combat skills.
MMORPG: Giving players a fifth unlockable job adds more choice, was this a result of player feedback?
Dennis: The fifth unlockable job was actually introduced in the V update last year. For the Nova update, we are expanding on this fifth job by proving more skills the players can customize their characters with. A large part of these additions were indeed based on player feedback. Community input is very important to us and is one of the reasons why MapleStory remains as strong as it is over 12 years later. We are constantly looking at ways to improve the gameplay experience for our players and they are always telling us they want more content and customization.
MMORPG: Tell us about the Winter Bard. What is the backstory?
Dennis: The Winter Bard is the fourth episode of the Grand Athenaeum dungeon. This content is designed specifically for players at level 100 and above and allows them to relive important events from Maple World’s history. This is excellent content for players looking to learn and experience the lore of the world. In the Winter Bard episode, players become a forgotten hero whose fate is connected to the Six Heroes of Maple World. We don't want to spoil all the details, but longtime players of MapleStory will be pleasantly surprised to learn more about his story. This content releases on Dec. 14.
MMORPG: You are bringing in an XP boost on this expansion, how fast will players be able to level up?
Dennis: Every player will level up at different speeds, so it’s difficult to predict how quickly all players will level, especially with the various experience events we have planned. What I can say is the purpose of these experience boost opportunities is to help both new and existing players. With the release of Cadena in November and Illium in late December, we want players to be able to jump in and experience these new characters and all the story content right away and level up to reach the amazing content we are releasing at all levels.
MMORPG: You also have a daily dungeon coming. What does this do for players in terms of growth?
Dennis: Daily dungeons are just one of many ways we look to continuously engage with our players. These daily objectives help keep our players feeling like they are progressing and getting stronger everyday even at higher levels. One of the biggest challenges with growing and maintaining an online game as big as MapleStory is making sure players actively have access to new content and feel like their characters gain something new every time they login.
MMORPG: Give us some background on the new zone Morass.
Dennis: Morass, the Swamp of Memory, is a brand-new region available to players level 230 or above that have completed the questline in Arcana. What’s really cool about this zone is it takes the appearance from the memories of people who enter it, resulting in players encountering beings in the form of enemies that they have fought previously. Players will also get sucked into the physical manifestation of the thoughts of a key character in the zone, Tana; Tana’s memories have taken over Morass, changing the landscape and morphing players into characters from her mind.
MMORPG: What is on the schedule for MapleStory going into 2018?
Dennis: MapleStory has a lot of great plans for 2018 to attract new players and keep the existing ones coming back for more! In addition to further expanding the game by adding new content and exciting events, we hope to also improve the game based on player feedback. MapleStory as a game and as a service really belongs to our players, and we hope to continue working with them to keep MapleStory going for many more years to come!