Mobile MapleStory is Almost Here – Pocket MapleStory

So one of my favorite MMORPGs of all time, MapleStory, finally announced the global launch of their mobile version, called Pocket MapleStory. Nexon has been a bit slow on the mobile bandwagon, as they only have a handful of titles on mobile at the moment, but having seen the gameplay trailer for Pocket MapleStory (see below), I don’t even mind that it took this long. The gameplay looks a lot like the desktop version, which is exactly what I was hoping for. There are a lot of good mobile MMORPGs out there, but given the graphical limitations of mobile, I think a lot of 3D mobile games like Order and Chaos 2 and Marvel Future FIght actually don’t look that great. I mean the games are solid, but the visuals just don’t do it for me because they’re 3D, but they’re not great. The problem with 3D graphics is that unless they’re gorgeous, ie Black Desert Online or Tera, they aren’t that exciting. 2D on the other hand, has a huge advantage, because no matter how long a 2D game has been out, it’ll always look sharp. 2D games simply age better than 3D ones, which is why Maplestory, which is over 10 years old today, still looks great.

The gameplay video above sold me on Pocket MapleStory because Nexon basically made a mobile port of their game that looks and feels like the PC version. They did a pretty solid job with Legion of Heroes too, but the problem with Legion of Heroes is that it doesn’t look and feel nearly as complete as its desktop counterpart, which is Atlantica Online. There’s a big trend going on now for game developers to focus their efforts on mobile, and it’s really starting to show solid results. I don’t think any mobile MMORPG is super successful yet, but there are a handful of excellent mobile games that I play regularly. One of my favorites, and one of the most successful ones out there today is a MOBA called Vainglory. Another, also a MOBA, is Call of Champions. Despite enjoying these games, I hope the mobile landscape isn’t taken over by MOBAs, because these games are already popular enough as-is on the PC with games like League of Legends. I mean, I enjoy playing MOBAs and all, but I’m more of an MMORPG gamer, so I’m looking forward to trying out MapleStory on my S6. I’d play it right now if I could, but it’s only available in a select few countries right now during its “soft launch”, and the U.S. isn’t one of those countries. It’s expected to launch later this year though, so i’m pumped!

Mobile MMORPGs Are Getting Better and Better

I’ve been following the progression of mobile MMORPGs for some time now and It’s awesome to see the quality of games increasing.  Back in 2010, the only real mobile MMORPG was Pocket Legends and despite the game being revolutionary for the time, it didn’t feel like a good alternative to more traditional client based MMORPGs on the PC like World of Warcraft or Tera. Yes,  Pocket Legends had a persistent world, but the game’s visuals were lackluster and the game felt too basic. This isn’t the case anymore though, as newer mobile MMORPGs are catching up to their PC counterparts.

Pocket Legends Gameplay
Pocket Legends Gameplay

Games like Order and Chaos 2 for example from Gameloft are quite in-depth and can easily hold its own against PC MMORPGs. Order and Chaos 2 has a huge open world, 5 races, and 5 unique classes. The game’s visuals are quite gorgeous too. The original Order and Chaos game was great, but Order and Chaos 2 is even better. The game also has an in-depth crafting system, something most MMOs on mobile don’t have.

Order & Chaos 2 Gameplay
Order & Chaos 2 Gameplay

Another excellent mobile MMORPG is Blade: Sword of Elysion from 4:33 Creative Labs. Oddly, it’s only available on iOS, whereas most mobile games are available on both iOS and Android. Blade: Sword of Elysion is a hack-n-slash MMORPG that feels fast paced and fluid. The game actually plays a lot like Vindictus and Dragon Nest, so if you’re a fan of those games, give Blade: Sword of Elysion a try.

Blade: Sword of Elysion
Blade: Sword of Elysion

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that the quality of mobile MMORPGs has increased dramatically over the years. In the past, we had countless generic strategy games like Vikings: war of Clans and DomiNations, but now we have high quality titles like Eternity Warriors 4 and Dawn of the Immortals. The gap between mobile and PC has definitely shrunk. Mobile MMOs aren’t just cheap time sinks anymore, they can actually hold their own against desktop games. Sure, there’s no game as massive as World of Warcraft just yet, but I suspect we’ll see a mobile MMO be even BIGGER than WoW in the next few years.