Asia is Biggest Massively Multiplayer Online Games: MapleStory

In this day and age, gamers are seeing more and more free-to-play titles on a daily basis. Not all of these are for the casual market; hardcore-tailored shooters, like Firefall and Ghost Recon Online are currently in development by top-tier talent and studios, and they will be using the "freemium" method of Maple Story mesos. In a nutshell, gamers will be able to play the games for free but can invest some real money to either get exclusive items and other amenities to enhance the experience.

Of course, the free-to-play model has been operating in Asia for quite some time now. In the first in a new series of recurring features on Asia's most popular and well-known free online titles, we take a look at one of the pioneers of the free-to-play system: MapleStory.

Overview: Imagine if the developers of World of Warcraft made a game using visuals inspired by a mishmash of all known forms of Asian animation and caricatures while presenting the gameplay as a 2D platformer. That's MapleStory in a nutshell.

MapleStory was first released in April 29, 2003, in its native land of South Korea, and it was developed by a company called Wizet under the publishing label of Nexon. In the game, players control a resident in the Maple World as they level up to kill all sorts of creatures and enemies ranging from the world's esoteric wildlife to factions like the Black Wings.

There are now over 100 million subscribers worldwide, which truly makes MapleStory a gaming force with which to be reckoned. And it's not just huge in the PC gaming world; the franchise has an anime series that aired in 2007, a DS spin-off focused solely on single-player, a trading card game, two iOS spin-offs, and a Facebook equivalent that currently has 1,700,000 monthly active users since its inception this year.

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