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Why MapleStory Players Are Dubbing its ‘New Age’ Update the ‘Sewage’ Update


MapleStory, the 2D fantasy MMORPG that’s been miraculously chugging along successfully since 2003, is getting a huge new update today. And while the game still has a massive audience that you’d think would be celebrating a surge of new content, instead a major chunk of its community is furious.

From the outside looking in, the New Age update seems fairly innocuous. Its most notable change is adding a sixth job advancement to MapleStory, which if you’re not familiar with the game, effectively allows players to grow their respective classes and skills further than ever before. The update also includes a new area to explore, Identisk, and the return of “Burning” events that offer much-needed, major EXP boosts to players. There’s a lot to be excited about here, but the baggage that comes with it has players up in arms, demanding a boycott and claiming that the so-called “New Age” update should really be dubbed the “Sewage” update.

Maple Story's New Age update is causing controversy among fans.
Maple Story’s New Age update is causing controversy among fans.

The Controversy, Explained

When the New Age update was first announced, the main complaint from players in Global MapleStory regarded recent differences between Global MapleStory (which covers North America and Europe) and most other versions of the game that appeared to be penalizing players of Global.

The biggest issue, players said, involved a currency called Sol Erda. Sol Erda is a necessary currency in the new update to progress the abilities of the newly-introduced sixth job advancement, and while it can be obtained in several different ways, one of the main ones is by farming lots of monsters. However, players quickly observed through various streams and patch notes that Global MapleStory appeared to be capping players on the amount of Sol Erda they could collect in a day, while players in other regions of MapleStory were able to farm an unlimited amount and trade to obtain more. This meant that players of Global MapleStory would need to play continuously for over a year and a half, every single day, just to max out their sixth job.

Global MapleStory players would need to play continuously for over a year and a half, every single day, just to max out their sixth job

Additionally, players complained, the price of items in Global MapleStory’s Meso event shops has been dramatically inflated compared to the Korean version of the game for months, and a number of other items, boosts, and bonuses in Korean MapleStory has been giving significantly better benefits to their players than the ones Global players are receiving.

Apart from these regional differences, players are also frustrated with a change benefitting MapleStory’s more hardcore “Reboot” servers but hurting its microtransaction-filled Regular servers. The change itself is a bit complex to explain, but it essentially involves an item called a “Frenzy Totem” that has shaped the economy on MapleStory’s Regular servers for a long time due to its sky-high price yet powerful benefits necessary for players trying to reach high character levels. The New Age update includes a change to map instancing that, while helpful for Reboot players, makes the Frenzy Totem both less useful for paying players on Regular servers and even more challenging to share with non-paying players, effectively further penalizing players uninterested in spending tons of money just to max out a character.

Nexon’s Reaction

All this combined has had MapleStory players furious for days, and a recent preview stream of the update appeared to block players in chat from complaining by prohibiting posts with words like “Frenzy Totem,” further incensing the audience. The subreddit r/MapleStory has changed its banner to “MapleStory: Sewage,” as a pun on “New Age.” Players have been actively encouraging boycotts of the game, particularly during its upcoming Black Friday sale, with the hashtag #DontSpend. The game is getting review bombed on Steam. And there’s been a flurry of controversy around a community manager going by Ezrabell, who has become somewhat of a community hero after apparently speaking up in support of the player frustration, only to seemingly no longer be working for Nexon days later.

After weeks of anger, Nexon has finally stepped in and reversed…some of the changes… though not as many as the audience would like. In a “Maple Memo” posted on the official website today, Nexon apologized for the Sol Erda cap and announced it would fully remove it, and made an update to Frenzy Totems that, while partially solving the problem, still appears to penalize people who can’t afford the expensive booster. While this was enough to satisfy a number of people, the other discrepancies between Global MapleStory and other regions remain unaddressed, Regular server players remain at a major disadvantage over Reboot, and many players are still furious that it took this much pushback for Nexon to offer what they perceive as minimal acknowledgement of their plight. As a result, much of the community is continuing to push for a boycott of spending in the game on Black Friday.

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Image Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/Maplestory/comments/17vs0e0/do_not_settle_for_the_first_plate_of_scraps_nexon/

“Let us not forget that this shouldn’t even have been an issue in the first plac [sic],” wrote u/NinshiWasTaken on the MapleStory subreddit shortly after the Maple Memo went live. “This seems more like a PR stunt to get our good will back right before Black Friday sales. I see a lot of people saying #Spend now with thinking Nexon did something great for the community.

“Please remember that this is a “Fix” to what was a non issue that they were planning on monetizing. Nexon continues to not have my good will as this whole debacle has left an awful stain on their already poor reputation.”

While all this may sound fairly niche to anyone who isn’t currently familiar with MapleStory, the level of unrest in the community stands out even in the game’s two decades of history. Over the years, Nexon has implemented numerous adjustments to the MMO that have slowly pushed it in a growing pay-to-win direction, and it’s been frequently criticized over the years for its extremely hefty monetization and the immense amount of grinding required to reach higher levels.

Nevertheless, MapleStory achieved over $3 billion in lifetime revenue as of 2020 per its own earnings reports, and has over 180 million registered users around the world. But those users are frequently divided between not just regions, but between Regular and Reboot, paying players and free players. The New Age update seems to have provided a fleeting moment of player unity, though it will be up to both Nexon and the willpower of its audience to determine how long that moment actually lasts.

IGN has reached out to Nexon for comment on the situation.

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to [email protected].



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