Why Nexon thinks blockchain will make MapleStory “even more fun”
Following the announcement of Nexon’s exciting blockchain game and ecosystem MapleStory Universe, we were curious to learn more about the project.
More specifically, we wanted to know how Nexon is planning to bring MapleStory Universe into web3, what’s different about the game and how it’s planning to scale to the global blockchain gaming audience.
Previously having worked at Nexon on flagship games such as MapleStory and Mabinogi, MapleStory Universe’s production director Sunyoung Hwang was keen to tell us about his enthusiasm for adopting blockchain to break down boundaries and enhance gameplay.
BlockchainGamer.biz: Very few traditional game IPs are being fully brought into web3, mainly because of the reputation risk if things go wrong. So why is Nexon so confident about bringing MapleStory into web3?
Sunyoung Hwang: We’re not trying to create a new web3 game with MapleStory IP. We’ve been thinking about how to make MapleStory even more fun to play, and we’re adopting blockchain. MapleStory is a game that has been live for 20 years with a focus on enhancing the reward experience with fun.
We found that blockchain and NFTs can maximize the reward experience of MapleStory, which is why we are working on bringing the game on-chain.
In the same way that many other games utilize specialized engines to enhance their core gameplay, we are developing MapleStory with blockchain to enhance our core gameplay.
“Blockchain and NFTs can maximize the reward experience of MapleStory, which is why we are working on bringing the game on-chain.”
This is an extension of the successful innovations we’ve made over the past 20 years to ensure the sustainability of MapleStory, and we’re taking it on with confidence that it will be successful.
Nexon could have generated significant revenue from NFT and tokens sales for the project, so why have you decided not to do this?
We’re not creating a new web3 game, we’re in the process of enhancing the core fun of MapleStory, so the strategies that new web games typically choose are not a major concern for us.
If our goal is to immediately generate more revenue, this is not the way to do it. Our priority is to strengthen RX, the core fun of MapleStory. To do that, we believe the most important part is defining an expanded ecosystem and aligning our vision with ecosystem participants to continue to build the MapleStory universe together.
What do you think is the key feature that blockchain brings to MapleStory that you couldn’t do with traditional gaming tech?
I believe that the biggest advantage of integrating blockchain technology into existing games is the ability to transform game items into NFTs and use them seamlessly across the blockchain without any limitations.
This means that game items, which were previously only accessible within only one game, can now be utilized dynamically in third-party apps and other external tools.
By breaking down the boundaries between the game and these external apps, the possibilities for acquiring and modifying items become endless, creating a more diverse and expanded ecosystem. This open IP ecosystem can also unlock new genres in the gaming industry.
We strongly believe that blockchain technology and innovative design can make this a reality.
Will players of MapleStory Universe experience anything different from the existing MapleStory game in terms of the gameplay?
The biggest difference from the existing MapleStory game is the economic system. The economic system can be broadly divided into item value preservation and scalability.
In the past, when selling items through the cash shop, items are issued indefinitely when users pay money, which leads to the devaluation of existing items. In MapleStory N, users will be able to preserve the value of items because they can only acquire items through gameplay and the number of items available is limited. In addition, all items will be NFTized and can be used in other content in MSU.
In short, we believe that users will think that the game is the same as before when they first play it for a short time, and they will feel that it is different when they play it enough to familiarize themselves with the game’s economic system.
We can also consider thinking about user segmentation types. Let’s imagine the experience of low-level users, or light users. These users may not be interested in whether MapleStory N is an NFT game or a web3 game, and simply want to try playing because it’s new. In such cases, I don’t think they will feel a significant difference.
On the other hand, let’s imagine hardcore users. They may be players who want to earn money through trading and play the game with a great attention to the value of each item. In this case, they would feel that the game is very different from the existing MapleStory game.
Given issues with mobile and PC distribution platforms not allowing blockchain-enabled products, how do you expect to get MapleStory to a wide, global audience?
We have our very own distribution platform, which has a vast user base, and we believe that delivering our game services to global users through various means won’t pose significant challenges.
Looking ahead, as the number of blockchain game users continues to grow and blockchain games become increasingly popular, we expect more distribution platforms to emerge, expanding the potential for providing blockchain game services.
Why is it important for the mobile and PC games to be backed by the modding tools and SDK?
While the MapleStory Universe project starts with the MapleStory N game, it is ultimately a decentralized IP ecosystem. In other words, through MapleStory N, players will be able to acquire NFT items, interact with some of Nexon’s own applications, including mobile versions, and enjoy the experience of using NFTs in various places.
However, this is just the beginning, and we anticipate an infinite number of Maple IP-based applications created by various ecosystem participants within the Maple Universe.
Ultimately, our vision is for the MapleStory Universe to become a sustainable decentralized IP ecosystem that is not driven by Nexon, but rather by the ecosystem’s participants, even without Nexon.
“Our vision is for the MapleStory Universe to become a sustainable decentralized IP ecosystem that is not driven by Nexon, but rather by the ecosystem’s participants”
We believe that the role of a well-organized and perfect MSW and SDK is very important and crucial to this vision, in order to make it easier for ecosystem participants to be creators in an easier and more organized way.
There are lots of blockchains available so why did you choose Polygon?
In order to put MapleStory N, the first service to be introduced in the MapleStory Universe project, on chain, a solution with scalability and stability capable of handling large-capacity processing was required, as it is an MMORPG game.
There are mainnets that are more performant and technically advanced, but we wanted to make the most technically stable choice, so we chose the Polygon with the most rollup research among modulars.
What will be the first opportunity for fans to interact with the game?
The development of MapleStory N is well underway and is expected to launch by the end of 2023.
Keep up-to-date with its progress at the MapleStory Universe website.