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ct_news_notice_notice [05.17] GM Blog: May 2021 - Posted by Jooong

[​IMG]

"I heard Grendel the Really Old single handedly took down Big Puff Daddy to eat him over the ensuing week." - Athena Pierce, overheard around Henesys Park.

Hey everyone!

Thank you for tuning in to the ninth GM Blog. After hard work and a lot of anticipation, we are now happy to say that the 8th Anniversary Events have just kicked off! It's almost easy to forget how long 8 years is for a MapleStory private server of this archaic version; certainly much longer than the original pre-v83 game existed.

To start this GM Blog off, Matt would like to take some time to recognize where the Server came from, before we delve into how it evolved, and how it may continue to do so in the years ahead!

[​IMG]: "A lot of time, patience, and dedication has gone into maintaining and evolving the Server to this point, and I'm incredibly grateful for our players, developers and GMs helping us to reach this milestone. The Server, which started as a way for me to unite with old guildmembers for a bit of nostalgic fun, turned into something larger than anyone could have imagined, something I was certainly unprepared for. At the time, low-rate servers were few and far between, and the market for them was very small. In Autumn of 2013 I made the decision to wipe the Server and rebrand the fairly customised 10x EXP server into a comparatively more vanilla experience with lower rates. It might have seemed like a silly decision to make, but as history has shown, it was a decision that would lay the foundation for a successful game with great potential for longevity. 8 years later, I am very happy to have been able to help grow and develop the Server, from its origins as a Server just made for a bit of fun, to the longest-running emulation of Old-School Maple, and look forward to many more years to come. I am also very thankful for all of those who have come over the years to give the game a try, and subsequently helped the Server become a success!"


Thank you Matt, for your perseverance, and for sticking with the Server through thick and thin to not only provide tens of thousands of players a nostalgic trip through Old School MapleStory, but also forge new friendships and everlasting memories.

For some backstory...
The first 4 years of the Server were characterised by a steady increase in player count, bug fixes and a generally innocent exploration of the game. A meta slowly formed as every nook and cranny of the game was examined. The seasonal events arrived one after another, and through much trial and error, the foundations of the current Server were established. Toward the end of 2016, the online numbers exceeded the 2000 mark, and the Server was struggling to maintain stability. Lag spikes, disconnects, and server checks were common occurrences. It was really a different time, with different issues and player expectations, yet with a distinct meta and culture. MapleRoyals had come to be something, with its own identity, groups, history, inside jokes, and vocabulary.

It was around this time that a tremendous change was made to the Server: the new source code was released and implemented. It was a rocky release to say the least, and it broke many things in the game, which had to be built again over the subsequent months. But we can now see that it was also arguably the savior of the game in the long run. The new source code, which had been developed by Karven since the early 2010s, provided the means for unparalleled stability at a time when the Server was standing on its last legs with the old, tangled-mess of a source code. To this day, we are certain that the new source code is, and will remain, the most authentic emulation of the original game, and that it alone holds the keys to functionality that would otherwise be impossible for any Server to provide, and this is obviously something we are very proud of.

After some time, when the dust settled, and players adjusted to the changes brought by this great release, the game continued to evolve, and arguably began shaping itself into what it is today. Through new player methodologies and new content introduced (much of which was brought in from non-GMS versions of MapleStory - games whose metas were profoundly different from that of GMS), the meta of the Server became more similar to what we see today, for good and for bad. New content meant new requirements imposed on players, and new rewards. These things have had profound effects in the long-term, and are part of why the game looks and feels different from how it did at the end of 2016. One thing we can clearly see is that there's a great interest in discussing these matters, not least in the community, and that this interest seems to grow ever bigger each year. If there's one thing that time has given us, it's the chance to reflect and gain perspective on the past, to evaluate what happened when, and how different factors might have influenced the outcomes. This retrospective dialogue can certainly help shape future releases, and we are glad that so many share our passion for this old game!

Ultimately, what we are doing is uncharted territory, and as such we thank everyone who has been patient together with us over the years while we attempt to take a MapleStory private server to places none have ever been. As we have said before, there will be bumps along the way, but we will do our very best to work through them together with you.

With that being said, we'd now like to direct the attention to something else, and discuss the months ahead in MapleRoyals. As you will all hopefully be enjoying the Anniversary Events, we'll have our hands full with work on the next items on our to-do list.

First, let's talk about upcoming content.
Future Content Releases
When we say "Content Releases", we strictly talk about new content, such as new items, quests, areas, and monsters. Here, the voice of the community ultimately weighs the heaviest, and influences our choice the most. But, as you might expect, there are many variables we try to consider when choosing what to work on next, including the current state of the Server, and what may slot into the game with the least friction. There are many valid concerns voiced in the community when the topic of new content is brought forward, and we hear you.

Our latest release, Ellin Forest, was aimed at a level range which had been reported as being comparatively tedious and barren, and this aspect of creating a satisfying progression is something we wish to account for in our next moves. The area also opened the door for some more custom changes, casting off the yoke of "authenticity to GMS" in some sense, in order to provide something that made sense for MapleRoyals. Simultaneously, we looked at other factors, such as whether or not the new content could help unite players, and strengthen the feeling of community and inclusivity, whilst providing something rewarding for everyone; in this case, the Ephenia Ring and the Altaire Earrings. We also experimented with a PQ with scaling rewards, to encourage higher and lower leveled players working together. New content is always a tough nut to crack, as we never wish to wholly exclude any player group, and the fact that the game offers a slim range of equipment types and viable stats. As in any game, there will always be some amount of overlap, or power creep over the years. Here, your feedback is of utmost importance, to ensure that the new content is at least in line with what you want.

For the immediate future, we can say that we are looking at content which favours a wide range of classes, and should appeal to the higher leveled players of our game. We look forward to be able to share more about this in a future notice!

Adjusting Current Content
Similarly, the current selection of activities in MapleRoyals is something we are monitoring closely, and always evaluating. Adjustments made to the game are always controversial, even if they involve bringing some odd balancing aspect into line with the rest of the game (and into line with other content that people never felt was under powered). Change itself is clearly a negative feeling, and this is always a difficult reality we are faced with. Still, this is not to say that changes are always good. Recent events have taught us all something - not every change is equal. We have no desire to sweep things under the rug; on the contrary, we wish to raise unified community feedback as something very valuable and precious. We aim to proceed with caution when adjusting the game's content, and importantly, communicate our intent and reasoning much more clearly. We will also do our best to consider community feedback from a wider range of sources, and approach important game changes in a way such that they come as less of a surprise. This is of course easier said than done, since each and every user has their own ideas and preferences. It's impossible to please everyone, but it is our ambition nevertheless.

As ever, we are looking at how we can ensure that the game is diverse and inclusive, in the sense that all classes are relevant, and that the game is welcoming for newer players, whilst preserving a rewarding feeling for our most dedicated users. There are obviously many factors, often contradicting, and the game itself with its limited mechanics, to consider. Different classes have different needs in battle, and provide different value. Content should not be too easy, but also accessible for many people. It should be rewarding, yet not overpowered. Mechanically interesting, yet not tedious, etc.

Ultimately we provide the game for you, the players, and it doesn't make sense for us to push any specific agenda other than what may benefit as many players as possible, for as long as possible. Content that provides a short term rush can potentially be detrimental in the long term, and vice versa. We are thankful for those who engage in deep and critical review of the game, and provide concrete ideas. We try to absorb as much of it as possible, and it helps shape our decisions and the questions we in turn ask you.

The Future of MapleRoyals
As it stands, MapleRoyals is not going anywhere, and the plans are to keep evolving the game in line with the timeline laid out in the First Community Q&A. It's clear that we still face our fair share of issues, and that there are many uncertainties floating around. Player frustration and feelings of powerlessness make us sad to see. We empathise with your concerns, and through our next moves, we are hoping to repair some relations which may have been damaged, and further convey our desire to co-operate and listen to your feedback. We want to make you feel able to take part of the journey of the Server, through your ideas and feedback. There is no reason that there should be feelings of antagonism or division between any players or any Staff member, as we are all here with the ambition to make the Server a better place for all. Make no mistake, we on Staff are just as passionate about various topics as you are, and the fact that we all bring different ideas and values to the table ultimately helps us move forward, improve our practices, and try to do better.

Now that the Server has evolved past the point of being GMS-like (not surprising given that it has outlived the oldschool GMS two times over), our goal is to provide a fun and hospitable environment for people who want to experience the fundamental mechanics and gameplay of the old MapleStory. The Server is ever-changing, and it has to be, in order to stay alive. We are faced with many common problems of very long-lasting games, and our goal is to ensure that it changes and evolves in a way that is both sustainable, and that makes as many as possible happy! :)

We hope that the recent update shows that we listen to your feedback, and that you may enjoy the events whilst we prepare and test things for the next update, which we believe will contain many exciting things!

Now, it's been a longer blog than usual, and as you can tell we have not included announcements of anything very specific. With the rather sparse patch notes for Update 72 just released, and the fact that many of the things we are working on are still in development, we can't share many more specifics just yet. We hope you have enjoyed the read nonetheless, and we hope that you'll join us for another 8 years, or at least check back on us every now and then to get your fill of the oldschool MapleStory experience!

Thank you as usual, and if you have any thoughts, you can leave them below, or wherever they may be more relevant on the Forum!

- The MapleRoyals Staff

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