One of the reasons why Maplestory declined in popularity so sharply around a decade ago was the introduction of pay-to-win elements.
The decision by Nexon was made to increase revenue per active user, which many players obviously weren’t happy with.
Recommended Read: Is Maplestory Worth Playing?
So is Maplestory pay-to-win today, after all these years?
The short answer is that Maplestory is now divided into two overall types of gameplay, the Reboot server, and normal servers.
On normal servers, yes, Maplestory is pay-to-win as you can buy your way to the top, while the Reboot server is not pay-to-win.
It is, however, possible to play Maplestory on the normal servers and reach end-game just like paying players, but it will take a longer time.
Table of contents
- Is Maplestory pay-to-win
- Can you reach end-game without spending any money
- Ways Maplestory has become more free-to-play friendly
Is Maplestory pay-to-win
To answer the question, is Maplestory pay-to-win?, you have to explain the difference between the Reboot server and normal servers.
Back in December of 2015, Maplestory released a brand new special server to their game, the Reboot server.
The Reboot server was created out of immense interest from the players for a non-pay-to-win Maplestory experience, which is what the server is.
On the Reboot server, monsters have more HP than usual, give more EXP, you cannot trade with other players, you cannot scroll items, only star force enhance them and give them potentials.
But, more importantly, on the Reboot server, all the NX items that allow you to upgrade your gear like miracle cubes cost mesos instead of Nexon cash.
This, combined with the fact that you cannot trade with other players, creates a totally different progression experience, where farming mesos from monsters is an incredibly important task.
If you play on the Reboot server, Maplestory is, therefore, not pay-to-win, as you cannot pay to make your character better.
You can still spend NX on the reboot server to buy cosmetic items and pets.
Most Reboot players choose to purchase a pet, which costs a couple of dollars for 90 days, as it makes gameplay more pleasant.
It is, however, possible to get a pet in the game as a boss drop, but first later in the game, and it will take some time to get.
On normal servers, which is the classic Maplestory experience, you can purchase different items in the cash shop to improve your character, including miracle cubes.
This means that if you play on the normal servers, then yes, Maplestory is pay-to-win as you can pay money to make your character better until you are able to take on the toughest bosses.
Nowadays, Maplestory has, however, added several features to make it possible to reach end-game just like a paying player without spending any money – more information on this below.
The difference is just that a paying player can reach the same point in the game as a non-paying player much faster.
Can you reach end-game without spending any money
Yes, you can reach end-game in Maplestory without spending any money on both the regular servers and on the Reboot server.
On the Reboot server, it’s obvious that you can reach end-game without spending any more as you cannot pay to make yourself stronger.
To attract new users or reattract old users, Nexon has, over the last couple of years, added several features to make it possible for free-to-play players to get NX items without spending money.
There are two major changes that have changed free-to-play players’ ability to progress without spending any money significantly, the auction house and the meso market. Learn more about these below.
Other additions that make it easier for free-to-play players include crafting and reward points.
All of these things mean that, yes, players who do not wish to spend any money on the normal servers can still do just as much as those who pay but at a slower pace.
Those who pay can technically progress as fast as they want as they can simply buy the best gear directly or spend money to upgrade until they are satisfied and would only have to level up themselves.
Ways Maplestory has become more free-to-play friendly
Maplestory has added features over the years to allow free-to-play users to earn things that were previously only accessible by paying.
There are especially two things that have drastically changed how free-to-play players can progress in the game.
Firstly, the auction house.
Earlier, to sell items efficiently, you’d need to purchase a shop from the Cash Shop and place it in the free market.
But now, the free market has been closed, and buying and selling are now done through the auction house, which allows anyone to list items for sale at no cost but the meso fee upon sale.
You can also search for specific items and use filters when browsing the auction house, which makes finding the items you’re looking for way easier than before.
This makes it much easier for free-to-play players to sell items they’ve farmed, made, or bought for merching.
Secondly, the meso market.
Before the introduction of the meso market, players would have to purchase NX directly from each other if they didn’t want to spend money.
But this often resulted in one party losing their mesos or NX as there was no official system as this technically wasn’t allowed.
Now, players can, however, buy NX with mesos or sell NX for mesos in the game through the NPC Miss Richfield located in the free market.
Learn more about the meso market in our How To Buy NX with Mesos Guide.
The game now also offers other ways to get miracle cubes, including the crafting system where players can craft cubes.
The items required to craft cubes can either be farmed in the game or simply bought from the auction house for mesos.
Events now also usually sell cubes, giving yet another way for players to obtain them.
Lastly, the reward point system, which gives players points for defeating bosses, allows players to buy some items in the cash shop using reward points instead of NX.
That’s all you need to know about the topic, is Maplestory pay-to-win!
If you have any input or questions for this guide, let us know in the comment section below.