Account Sharing In Maplestory

Account Sharing In Maplestory Private Servers

An Image illustrating account sharing in maplestory private servers

Account sharing is the act of two people logging into the same account – and effectively sharing it.  This leads to all sorts of things like power leveling (two people taking turns leveling up a character), extra funding (two people farming mesos), and more.

Effectively, an account sharer has access to resources gathered from two individuals.  In this article we are going to discuss the consequences of people sharing their accounts and their impacts on maplestory private servers.  Then, more importantly, we are going to discuss whether or not account sharing should be allowed.

Why most private servers forbid account sharing

Before going onwards to the effects of letting people share accounts, I want to talk about some of the reasons most maplestory private servers forbid it.  There are two main reasons maplestory private servers forbid sharing accounts.

  1. Account sharing gives an unfair advantage to account sharers.
  2. Determining who to ban/punish when account sharers break rules in a fair manner is difficult.

As I initially mentioned, people who share accounts also share resources they gained from playing – namely mesos, tradable capital (like equips), and untradable capital (untradable equips, the characters themselves).

Essentially what it comes down to is that 1 person playing 2 hours a day is at a disadvantage compared to two people collectively playing 4 hours per day.

The second reason is a bit more nuanced.  Say that two players are sharing an account.  Player 1 begins to start cheating via hacks without Player 2 knowing.  Now, you want to punish player 1, but doing so without punishing player 2 is not feasible.  As a result, you must ban their account and punish Player 2 (who did nothing wrong) as collateral damage.

Instead of being forced to deal with these morally tricky situations, some servers just choose to avoid having this problem to begin with.

But is account sharing really that bad?

In the case where people are willing to take responsibility for their accounts (i.e. accept cross-bans due to cheaters), is account sharing really creating an unfair advantage?  Some could say that simply lending out your items is just as unfair of an advantage as sharing an account.

Account Sharing Vs Lending Gear

Letting friends borrow your gear in maplestory private servers is something that pretty much everyone is universally fine with.  There isn’t any issue with loaning out your gear, as long as you are willing to accept the consequences of your friend scamming you and never returning your items.

However, letting people loan gear does give people with wealthy friends a distinct in game advantage over people without such generous friends.  Whether or not it is as uncompetitive as sharing accounts is up to debate.

However, that begs the realization, if we accept lending people gear as creating an advantage, and if we are mostly okay with this practice, then we must view this advantage as a fair advantage.

Then, we have to ask ourselves, what is it about sharing accounts that makes it an unfair advantage?  Honestly, asking myself, I can’t really think of anything that truly makes sharing accounts unfair – as long as the account was legally created without the use of any exploit.

In the case sharing a mule: time and effort was spent to create that mule, just like the case of sharing a perfect or godly item.  Furthermore, two players cannot use the mule or godly item at the same time. The same cost of sharing exists with loaning out items and loaning out mules.

Yet, if this is really all there is to sharing accounts, why is it illegal on almost every single private server?  There must be some other problem that we are missing.

The REAL problem with Sharing Accounts

The true issue with sharing accounts is not related to account sharing itself, but rather what it enables.  Sharing accounts opens up the door for near uncatchable real world trade.

Here’s how it could play out.  Say Player 1 has a godly funded high level nightlord account.  Player 2 wants to join the server but doesn’t want to grind and make a strong character.  Player 2 could pay Player 1 a large sum of money for his account – and we wouldn’t be able to catch this because they could just disguise it and say they are sharing accounts.

This opens up the door for real world trade in a manner that we cannot specifically prevent or catch.  It ultimately ends up creating an unfair environment because people can use account sharing as an excuse to cover up their dirty deeds.

I personally do not feel that anything is inherently wrong with account sharing, but I do feel that something is wrong with real world trade, and the purchasing of accounts certainly falls under real world trade.

Conclusion

Account sharing is a touchy subject with regards to whether or not it should be allowed.  It does, without a doubt create advantages for people who share accounts. Though, to what extent it is unfair is debatable.  Account sharers do pay the cost of ownership (two people cannot be logged in on the same character at the same time), so it is not a 100% benefit to account share.  Furthermore it also involves a greater risk of getting banned if one of the sharers commits a grave offense.

At the end of the day, it is up to the server provider to decide if they want to allow account sharing.  In my personal opinion, I lean towards disallowing account sharing, but I certainly do see the upsides associated with it legalizing it.

At the end of the day, I would prefer to let people play maplestory private servers how they want to play, rather than force players to play how I want them to play.

However, with the issue with account sharing itself isn’t the account sharing, but rather the doors it opens up regarding hacking, account selling, and other exploits.  As a result, unfortunately, when it comes to account sharing, I would regrettably force players to play how I want them to play.

 

Bans In Maplestory Private Servers

Bans In Maplestory Private Servers

An image describing Bans In Maplestory Private Servers

If you’ve played any maplestory private server and went through their terms of service, I am sure you would find something that reads: PERMANENT BAN.  In this article, I want to talk about types of bans in maplestory private servers, how long they should last, and why it’s pointless to permanently ban people as players.

Types of Bans in Maplestory Private Servers

Typically, we have two types of bans, temporary and permanent.

Temporary bans are typically served for light offenses, such as harrassment, and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Permanent bans are reserved for harsher offenses, such as extreme vote abuse, hacking, etc.  These bans are typically indefinite, and in the maplestory private server community can usually be tied to a person or just to an account.

When you are banned as a player, you are not allowed to make anymore accounts on a server (though you can easily get around this).  When you are account banned, you are free to play on other accounts or make new accounts on a server.

What should cause a temporary ban in maplestory private servers

Basically, if there is any behavior that you want to discourage in your server, attaching a temporary ban to said behavior is a good idea.

If you want your players to be respectful and not harass or kill-steal, assign a temporary ban to that offense.

You want to be careful though and not go above and beyond to over moderate your server.  Having temporary bans for the smallest things is a real turn off to prospective players wanting to join your server

What should cause a permanent ban in maplestory private servers

Permanent bans should be reserved for unforgivable offenses – something that irreparably damages your server.  For example, if someone abuses a glitch/exploit to duplicate items and uses it to ruin the economy, or if someone tries to real world trade to ruin the competitiveness of your server.

Permanent Bans In Maplestory Private Servers – The Death Penalty

Typically, when people commit egregious offenses on maplestory private servers, (like hacking, exploit abuse) server admins issue permanent bans as a person.  This is to say if you are permanently banned as a person, the server admins never want to see you on their server again – and will ban you again if they see you on their server.

Why Permanent Bans Are Pointless

Now, this seems all fine and dandy until you examine further and realize that it is not actually possible to ban someone as a person.  You can ban that person as a “player”, but they could simply create a new identity and continue playing on your server as a “new player”.

For example, after getting permanently banned as a person, a player could simply spoof their IP address and MAC address and then create a new account on the server they were banned on.  The admins would have no way to detect that the new account belongs to a previously permanently banned player (unless the player was stupid and admitted to being the person who was permanently banned).

As a result, the player would be free to play on the server once again by simply hiding their identity.

What Alternatives are there to Permanent Bans?

Quite frankly, there isn’t anything you can really do to stop people from playing on your server after banning them.  The best you can do is indefinitely ban their original accounts and make it clear that you dislike them and don’t want them on your server.  However, if someone really wants to play on your server, they can always change their digital identity to make it so you cannot catch them.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it is up to the server admins as to what kinds of bans they want to issue and for what reasons.  However, it is important to note that permanently banning players as a person is a fruitless endeavor, and it is probably just easier to leave everything as a standard permanent ban.

Class Balance in Maplestory Private Servers

Class Balance In Maplestory Private Servers

A group fighting horntail in a maplestory private server

Before bigbang, and especially in version 62, maplestory had HORRENDOUS class balance.  In the official original servers, this imbalance was less apparent in the context of bossing because the high DPS classes had a tradeoff between high DPS and low HP – that is they could not boss as effectively at lower levels.

In terms of farming however, mages are several tiers above other classes.  If you wanted to farm in v62, you HAD to make a mage. If you didn’t have a mage you were at a insurmountable disadvantage.

However, in most maplestory private servers, the prevalence of leech and hp washing effectively destroy the tradeoff that high DPS classes had to make between damage and survivability.

In this article we are going to talk about class balance in maplestory private servers and what can be done to make all classes worthwhile to play.

Current State Of Class Balance in Maplestory Private Servers (V62)

In version 62 of maplestory, there are two aspects to balance we need to discuss – farming and bossing.  Naturally, we want strong bossers to be weak farmers, and strong farmers to be weak bossers. However, in version 62, the state of this balance is far too extreme.

Strong farming classes (like archmages) are TERRIBLE at bossing – so terrible that they are never taken on any serious boss run.

A tier list for farming in maplestory used to illustrate class balance in maplestory

Strong bossing classes like nightlord and bowmasters are mediocre at farming – though they can still get the job done if persistent enough.

A bossing tierlist used to illustrate class balance in maplestory private servers

Then, we have some classes that are good at neither – namely buccaneers and paladins.  These classes are especially worthless because not only are they not wanted on boss runs, but also are not even strong at farming.

As a result, most dedicated players tend to make a mage + archer, mage + nightlord, or mage + warrior.  They make a class strong for farming, and a class strong for bossing in order to get the best out of both worlds.

The problems with original Class balance In Maplestory

The main issue that original class balance causes is lack of character diversity.  In original v62, the most played classes are the following:

  1. Nightlords
  2. Bowmasters
  3. Bishops
  4. Archmages

The reason is that these classes vastly surpass all other classes in terms of bossing ability – and in the case of bishops/mages, farming ability.

This kind of balance is basically such that the above classes have too many advantages without proper tradeoffs, or that the other classes do not have enough advantages given their vast amount of tradeoffs.

In most maplestory private servers, it’s typically the case that bishops have too many advantages without proper tradeoffs, and that other less played classes simply have too many tradeoffs.

What can be done to fix the Class balance In Maplestory?

There are two main schools of thought when attempting to fix balance the nerf approach and the buff approach.

You can either nerf all of the overpowered classes such that their strengths are more in line with the underpowered classes, or you can buff all of the underpowered classes such that their power is closer in line with the overpowered classes.

I think that the buff approach is the most ideal.  Instead of nerfing nightlords and other classes to the level of shit tier classes like buccaneers or mid tier classes like hero, we should try to buff all other classes so that they become a viable alternative over nightlords.

General Options for Class Balance in Maplestory

When it comes to balancing classes we have a few options when it comes to increasing damage or farming capability.

Increase class base weapon multiplier

This is a change that will basically increase the damage of every single move a class has.  It is a blanket change that should be done if a class is deemed severely underpowered in all of its aspects.  This kind of a change is something that should be done carefully because a small increase in the base weapon multiplier has massive effects on damage.

Increase skill damage multiplier

This is a specific balance change that helps to buff a singular skill of a class.  This change is a good option when you feel that a class is well balanced overall but has one or two weak options that need a buff.  For example, if you want to specifically buff bossing damage while leaving farming capability intact, you can increase the skill damage multiplier of a single target bossing skill.

Event weapon availability

Weapon availability is a very niche way to balance a class.  In maplestory, there are a few weapons that are incredibly strong for some classes that were only available during a short period of time (for example, the 1 handed sword called lunchbox for heros/paladins).

Allowing some limited time best in slot items to be available to everyone in the server can significantly buff a class.  However, this also has the con of significantly decreasing build diversity for that specific class (everyone would end up going for the same end game event weapon).

Reducing delay for an individual skill

This is something that is typically done to classes with excessively slow single target attack skills.  By reducing the delay between casts for a skill, you can increase the number of casts per minute and effectively buff a class’s single target damage per second by doing so.

It should be noted, however, that reducing delay also has the impact of significantly increasing farming capability.

Adding a stance-like effect to a class

In maplestory, whenever a character gets hit by a monster they get knocked back.  When you are knocked back you typically stop attacking for a short moment and then are forced to reposition in order to keep dealing damage.

Being forced to stop attacking and reposition significantly hurts your DPS.  So, you could boosts a class’s performance by giving them a stance like effect which allows them to not get knocked back.

Increasing range of an attack

Typically increasing range does not help too much with regards to single damage – however it is an insane boost to farming ability.  Range buffs are usually very impactful so I strongly recommend caution with implementation of range buffs.

Conclusion

Class balance in maplestory (bbb) is very poor – so if we want to have a diverse, fun meta where people play a variety of classes, some rebalancing is required.  Nightlords, bowmasters, and bishops are the best classes – everything else is somewhat mediocre. We should try to buff other classes so that they are worthwhile to play over nightlords, bowmasters, and bishops.  At the end of the day, we want maplestory to be a rich colorful story with many classes.

Elitism in Maplestory Private Servers

Elitism In Maplestory Private Servers

Elitism In Maplestory Private Servers

Elitism is a common problem in many communities all over.  However, elitism in maplestory private servers is especially profound in servers that are at least a few years old.  Before going forward, let’s define what elitism really is.

What is Elitism in maplestory private servers?

Elitism, specifically in maplestory private servers is a mentality that players develop where they are only willing to do small, efficient boss raids.  In order to accomplish this, elite players will only do raids with other elite players and leave out the rest of the community.

What causes Elitism in maplestory private servers?

I think that there are two main causes for Elitist culture to develop in maplestory.  The main reason is Boss Loot Design, and the second is character DPS progression.

Why Maplestory’s Boss Loot Design promotes Elitism in Maplestory Private Servers

In maplestory, whenever you kill a boss it drops a set amount of loot regardless of how many players attend the raid.  

As a result, if you want to maximize your profit, you want to minimize the number of people who attend the raid because then you have less people to split your loot with.

For example if you kill horntail with a 6 man party and a maple warrior 20 book drops (which is worth say 600 million mesos), each person will earn 100m after it is sold.

But, if you instead DUO horntail with another person and get a maple warrior 20 book to drop, you each will earn 300 million mesos.

As a result, people are financially rewarded for Elitist behavior and naturally seek out other elitist.

How Character DPS progression promotes Elitism

In the above example, I failed to mention one key drawback.  It will take a 2 man party significantly longer to kill horntail than a 6 man party.  

However, when you end up min-maxing your character to optimize your DPS, raids with fewer people become more and more viable.

If a 6 man raid would take you 1 hour, but a 3 man raid takes you only 30 minutes longer, it is certainly worthwhile to spend 50% more time in a boss run to earn 100% more profit.

That’s what happens when people progress their characters DPS.

Why is Elitism In Maplestory Private Servers Bad?

Elitism is bad for maplestory private servers overall because it discourages new players to join the server.  Why would a new person want to join a server where the majority of players are unwilling to take you on boss runs and let you participate in the community?

It also ends up raising expectations – people expect you to play like a hardcore player and make mages to farm mesos to fund a HP washed, high DPS character.

Not everyone enjoys playing this way and it can certainly turn away potential players from your maplestory private server.

What should be done to counter Elitism and Promote Community Play?

The easiest way to fix Elitism is at it source.  There needs to be a change to how Boss Loot Mechanics work in maplestory.  Instead of promoting smaller raids, Boss Loot Mechanics should be designed to promote larger raids.

The Ideal Solution

The best solution that I can think of is to add a custom “points” shop to the game.  You should be able to earn points by attending boss raids – and the rewards that you can get from the points shop should include untradable end game items.  

These items should be as good if not better than the standard rewards from killing the boss.  For example, I would include white scrolls and chaos scrolls (the two most expensive end game scrolls in maplestory).  

Preventing Abuse

However, I would include a small catch to prevent abuse via mules (the act of bringing an extra character into a raid in order to reap extra rewards).  I would not only make the chaos scrolls and white scrolls untradable, but also make it so that any item that those scrolls are used on become untradeable as well.  Now, bossing for these points is still incredibly valuable for character progression, however it is only valuable for the progression of the specific character participating in the raid – the rewards are not transferable to another character.

How The Solution Solves Elitism In maplestory private servers

This fixes Elitism by changing the focus of players from optimizing for mesos to optimizing for time (to gain as many points in as little time as possible).  Raids with more players will always be quicker, so it would end up being a no brainer to bring as many people with you as possible to finish the boss raid as quickly as possible.

This results in a community that values large, inclusive boss raids rather than small, exclusive boss raids.  It creates more interaction between players – more people get to know each other and the maplestory private server community becomes more intertwined.

Conclusion

Overtime maplestory private servers become more Elitist not due to the bad nature of individuals, but rather because of how maplestory is designed.  By fixing the design issues that lead to elitism, we can ensure that our servers remain more community oriented and new player friendly.

Hacking and Botting in Private Servers

Hacking and Botting In Maplestory Private Servers

A person hacking and botting in maplestory private servers

No matter where you go and what you do, you will always find some people who are trying to get ahead by cheating.  Maplestory Private Servers are no different – people try to hack, bot, and scam their way to millions of mesos. In this post I want to talk about hacking and botting, what can be done to combat them, and how they should be punished.

The difference between Hacking and Botting

Before we go further it is important to establish that there is a sharp difference between hacking and botting.  Hacking involves manipulation of maplestory game files whereas botting does not. 

A botter uses some sort of program (or even paper weight) to send inputs to maplestory.  These inputs are the exact same inputs that any human is capable of producing. The only difference is that the inputs were not generated by a human being, but by a program.

An example would include someone having a program that manually trains at a certain map – like a bot for a cleric that spams heal at ghost ship 2.

Hacking on the other hand relies on actually changing game files to gain an advantage.  For example, one could go into their .wz files and modify a file that contains the skill damage multiplier for their class.  They could increase it so that they do more damage in game. This would be an example of hacking.

What is worse between hacking and botting?

I think that it is agreeable that both hacking and botting are bad to maintain a competitive maplestory private server, and both need to be punished.

However, I assert that hacking is the greater crime of the two for one simple reason:

A legitimate player could accomplish the exact same thing that a botter does by simply playing the same amount of time a botter is botting.  However, a legitimate player could not accomplish the same thing that a hacker does in the same amount of time.

A hacking player has a distinct, unfair game advantage over a legitimate player.  The hacking player can increase their damage, move speed, generate items, etc. whereas the botting player has the same exact limitations as the legitimate player.

Furthermore, it is a lot easier to distinguish between a legitimate player and a hacker than it is to distinguish between a botter and a legitimate player.

What should be done about Hacking and botting?

I think that if someone is caught hacking, they should immediately be issued a permanent ban – though not necessarily a permanent ban as a player unless the hacking was especially egregious.

However, I do not think botting should be punished in and of itself.  The reason is that it is pretty much impossible to distinguish between someone who is intelligently botting + present at their computer and someone who is legitimately playing.

By intelligently botting I mean someone using a bot that isn’t obviously a bot.  For example, randomized movement patterns, attacks, etc – something that mimics a real human very well.

Since it’s impossible to realistically catch intelligent botters, I suggest doing something different.

Change Botting to “Robotic / Unresponsive Play”

Essentially, instead of making botting a bannable offense, make it bannable to play in a “robotic / unresponsive” manner.  This means that basically if a player attempts to get a response from you, and you choose to not respond at all, you should get banned because there is a chance you are botting.

Any legitimate player would certainly be able to respond to a game master or fellow player given sufficient time – say 2 minutes.

Adding a report command

One of the ways that botters and hackers get caught is via player reports.  Players manually report individuals they believe to be cheating to game administrators, then the administrators do some checking to see if the people reported were actually cheating and give out the appropriate punishment.

An idea I have is to add a report command to the game.  For example, players could do /report “player name”. After issuing this command, the maplestory private server can enable additional logging information on the reported player.  For example, they could log their position, items looted, inventory, and other things that would be far too resource intensive to log for the entire community for a short period of time.

Publicly stating when players are banned

Although this does not directly stop players from cheating or get assist in catching cheaters, it does create social pressure that prevents some players from cheating.

If your playerbase is aware that cheaters get caught and permanently banned, they would be less likely to take the risk of hacking if they know administrators are actively punishing cheaters.

Rewarding players who provide true reports

Another idea is to incentivize the community to police the server as whole.  By giving nx cash or meso rewards to players who report cheaters, you create an environment where players are more likely to report cheaters.  As a result, more cheaters get caught and the server becomes a cleaner place to play.

Conclusion

People will always try to cheat in order to get ahead – even in a maplestory private server.  As server owners or players, you should try to do the best you can to report such individuals.  

Rates in maplestory private servers

High Vs Low Rates in Maplestory Private Servers

An infographic comparing and contrasting rates in maplestory private servers

One of the freedoms that come with playing on your own maplestory private server is the choice to decide what rate(s) you want to play on.  Typically people modify the original exp and drop rates and usually make them higher than 1x.  In this post I want to talk about the different rates in maplestory private servers and which ones I think are most optimal for a private server’s long term health.

The 4 different tiers of rates in Maplestory Private Servers

In the community, we currently have 4 different rate types: low, medium, high, and custom.  Low rate servers are 3x and below, medium are 4x to 16x, and anything 16x and above would be considered high rate.  Some servers are extremely high rate (i.e. offer 100x or even 1000x).  

Custom rate servers change the exp rate depending on your level, some servers make your exp rate progressively higher (like maplems) or progressively worse (like old school maple or mapledestiny).  I would still say that you can classify custom rate servers into low, medium, or high rate based on the average rate that you experience when playing said server – though it is certainly more complicated.

Low rates In maplestory Private Servers and the insane grind

A player complaining about getting items with low rates in maplestory private servers

In terms of long term server health, its without a doubt that low rates are typically the better choice.  When your rates are low, the game has a much longer life cycle (it takes much more time for players to reach end game, farm equips, etc).  It takes longer for players to accomplish their goals on low rate servers which typically leads to a longer playtime before things begin to get dull.

The economy is less prone to inflation and typically stays more consistent over time.  Essentially when items are scarce and meso production is low (due to low rates), mesos and items retain value over time which promotes a stable economy.

However, low rates have a huge drawback – they require a significant time investment from any player to accomplish any meaningful task.  Simply leveling to third job can take upwards of 50 hours on a 2x rate server.

On a 1x server expect that figure to be over 100 hours.  Many players right now simply do not have the time to grind it out on a 1x or 2x server for what seems like very little reward, even though the end result is probably the most stable and rewarding.

As a result, even though low exp rates are most conducive to long term server health, they are not what is necessarily best to cultivate a playerbase, which is probably the most important thing for a maplestory private server.

Medium rates In Maplestory Private Servers – The Lukewarm Compromise

Medium rates are, in my opinion probably the optimal rates for a maplestory private server.  By making the initial rates higher, players feel like they are making meaningful progress for the time they put into the grind.

Unfortunately, when the drop rates are also put at a medium rate, the economy can easily be devastated by inflation where mesos lose all value and end game items become currency.  However, this does have some solution in the form of meso sinks (game features that destroy mesos).

Ultimately, however, I do think that medium rates are the best rate for a maplestory private server because it has just the right mix of extending the life of the server and making gameplay feel rewarding.

However, I would still argue that drop rates should be kept on the lower side, even if exp is allowed to wander to medium.

High Rates in maplestory private servers – The Instant Gratification

A player with a ton of equips with high rates in maplestory private servers

High rate servers are typically a very bad idea.  There is a reason that if you go look around you will see almost no active high rate servers.  

The problem with high rate servers is that players reach end game in an extremely short time, get bored with the server and quit.  This ultimately keeps the population very low and the servers usually die.

There are ways to properly execute high rate servers, but by doing so you would need to change the design of maplestory to inherently extend the games life cycle so that it still takes a significant investment to reach end game even with the higher rates.

The Optimal EXP, MESO, and DROP rate

I think that the best rates are 3x exp, 1x meso and 1x drop.  The 1x meso and 1x drop rates are required to make sure that the economy does not inflate out of control, and the 3x exp allows for a hard (but not impossibly difficult), yet rewarding grind.

The meso and drop rate need to be kept low because each player is essentially a meso printing machine.  The meso and drop rates basically define how quickly each player can print meso. If you want a server that can scale with a lot of players, you need to find a way to keep the economy from inflating into infinity – and keeping drop/meso rates low is a good way to accomplish this.

As for defining optimal exp, I will admit that it is largely preference.  I simply gravitate towards 3x because after having played on various servers of all sorts of rates, I found 3x to be the best mix between a difficult grind that still felt worthwhile.

Conclusion

Server exp, meso, and drop rates have long lasting ramifications down the road for a maplestory private server’s life cycle.  It is important to think about the effects each of these rates will have on your player base and economy.

Low rates are optimal for extending a servers life and maintaining a stable economy, but are not optimal for drawing in a large player base, as players typically tend to prefer higher rates.

Thus, as a server owner or player, it is ultimately up to you to decide what rates you want to play on and what is best for you.  I personally recommend the rates of 4x exp, 1x meso, and 1x drop because I feel that it is the best combination of rates in order to ensure a large player-base and a stable economy.

HP Washing In Maplestory Private Servers

HP Washing in Maplestory Private Servers

A nightlord that has undergone the HP Washing process

HP/MP washing is the process of increasing your characters mana and health.  Typically this is something that’s fairly standard for MMOs. However, in maplestory private servers, HP washing is a controversial topic due to how convoluted the process is and how it is often a noob trap.

How HP washing works

At its core we know that HP washing is simply a method to increase your characters HP and MP.  In this section let’s dive into how it actually works.

HP washing has 2 basic steps.

Step 1: Gain some EXCESS MP

Every class gains some random amount of MP per level (the amount is also different for each class).  Usually they gain a few points of excess mp as well.

You can increase the amount of excess mp you gain per level using your INT stat.  Every 10 int you have will net you 1 extra MP when you level up.

So, if you have 100 int, you’ll get 10 extra MP.  Equips count as well, so if you have gear that adds int and you wear it as you level up, you’ll get more MP.

You can also take this a step further by mp washing to gain even more MP, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

Step 2: Turn your MP into MP

After you have gained a lot of excess MP, you now have the privilege to transform that MP into HP.

Once again, the conversion rates for each class is different.  For some classes (warriors) it’s a bargain, for others (mages) it’s pretty much a scam.

But the process here is to put an ability point into HP and then use AP resets to subtract your MP and increase your HP.

The Problem With HP Washing

If you read above, HP washing might seem fairly simple.  You basically just get MP and then turn it into HP. However, the issue is that you cannot easily get MP at any point in your character’s development.  You must level up with INT in order to gain extra MP.

This means that players who were ignorant/uninformed are left with characters who have little potential to gain extra MP, and as a result HP.

This problem gets further intensified when HP washing is required for nearly every character to boss efficiently in end game.  

New players often fall into the “Noob Trap” of hp/mp washing – they make characters without trying to gain extra MP and end up with dysfunctional characters that can’t boss efficiently in end game.

Solution 1: Make HP washing NOT a noob trap

This solution aims to make it so that new players do not need to discard their old characters.

This can be done by boosting the amount of MP each class gains per level up naturally, so that players can HP wash without manually increasing their MP via INT.  

Essentially, when a new player gets to high level and finds out about hp washing, they can already hp wash even if they did not invest in INT while leveling up.

Solution 2: Make HP washing OPTIONAL by introducing other ways to gain HP

This solution fixes HP washing by making the process optional, because you can just use other gameplay elements in order to increase your HP.

Some examples of this would include introducing custom questlines that increase your HP, adding special boss drops that increase your HP, adding bonus HP to best in slot gear, and more.

Solution 3: Remove the HP washing mechanic

Here, maplestory private server owners simply decide to crap the HP washing mechanic and just let the server go on without it.  Typically I see this as a really bad solution because it severely nerfs some ranged DPS classes – though some servers add in alternative methods to increase HP alongside with this to lessen the blow.

Conclusion

Ultimately, HP washing is simply the process of turning your extra MP into HP.  The main problem with it is that it requires significant setup and background knowledge – which overtly punishes new players who do not prepare.

This feature has many solutions, but I think that the best one would be to simply make the process optional and allow players to gain extra HP at any point in their characters development.

Even though the process is somewhat complicated and counter intuitive, I truly do believe that the process washing is a beautiful aspect of maplestory that adds significant depth to the game.  It creates an interesting trade-off between early game strength and late game bulk – a trade-off that varies for each player depending on the extent of how much HP they want to gain.

Leeching In Maplestory Private Servers

Leeching In Maplestory Private Servers

A Bishop leeching in maplestory private servers

Leeching in maplestory private servers is a controversial game mechanic where a player can effectively train another player by simply being in the same party.  Some people love it, some people hate it, but before we get into that, I want to talk a bit more about how exp works in maplestory private servers.

EXP as it relates to Leeching in Maplestory Private Servers

Typically, whenever you kill a monster all by yourself, you will get 100% EXP.  This means that you will get 100% of the exp that the monster was suppose to give.  So let’s say you killed a brown teddy, you will get 60 exp (brown teddies normally give 60 exp each).

Party EXP as it relates to Leeching in Maplestory Private Servers

However, now let’s say you are in a party with a friend.  Now for every kill, you will get 80% exp and your friend will get 40% exp (assuming you are the same level, the higher the level difference between you and your friend the less exp the lower leveled person will get).  

So this means that by simply leeching, a leecher can gain exp at about 40% the rate you would get exp by simply training solo.

Let’s go back to the teddy example.  For each kill you would now get 48 exp, and your friend would get 24.

Adding in Holy Symbol

This becomes even more efficient when you add in holy symbol (a party buff that increases EXP by 50% when in a party of 2 or more).  The attacker will get 120% exp, and the leecher will get 60% exp. Essentially, this means that leeching in maplestory is EXTREMELY efficient, you are getting 50% of the exp of the attacker while doing 0% of the work.

Going back to our teddy example, you would get 72 exp per kill and your friend would get 36.

Do you see some weird here?  You are getting MORE EXP with a leecher than with solo play.  So having a leecher is actually increasing your exp (not draining it).

The Straw That Breaks The Camel’s Back

Now, if the above mechanics I described was all there was to leeching, there wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  However, there are additional things that combine with leeching that make it the most efficient means to gain exp.

The Requirements To Leech

The requirements to leech exp in vanilla maplestory are very, very lax.  You only need to do 1 of the following:

  1. Attack the monster and deal at least 1 damage (this is very overpowered for boss leech)
  2. Be within 5 levels of the monster you want to leech
  3. Be within 5 levels of the person killing the monster you want to leech

The lax requirements means that you can party with high level characters and leech off them with ease.  You can just hit a boss for 1 damage and leech off a high level attacker class for insanely fast exp (remember you will get roughly half the exp that the attacker gets), or you can leech off a 4th job mage hitting up to 15 mobs at a time.

The end result is that leeching becomes significantly faster in terms of exp gain than normal grinding (which is the original intent of how Maplestory was meant to be played).

Why some people find leeching in Maplestory Private Servers problematic

I want to start this section off with a quote from the MapleLegends forum from user Hito:

The other day on Legends I watched a guildie go from 70 to 135 in something like a week or two as they self-leeched with their Bishop. Congratulations for them but that makes me feel terrible, my effort in levelling is useless compared to those with mules who can level faster due to leeching, let alone them being tankier, moving faster, and earning more mesos with mules.”

Essentially, some people feel that leech makes the game uncompetitive and unfun because people who leech / self leech have a significant exp advantage over players who simply grind their main class.

The other reason people rage at leech is because a character that is not actually playing the game (but rather sitting afk leeching) is progressing faster than they can when manually playing their own character.

Others dislike leech because it forces people who want to play efficiently to make mages first to leech their main class.  Some people find it ridiculous that they need to create a class just to level the class that they want to play.

I personally find all of these arguments somewhat flawed (in that these arguments are often sentimental and charged with jealousy), though they do have basis in the fact that leech is the optimal way to play maplestory private servers.

The real reason leeching is imbalanced

In my opinion, the real reason leech is imbalanced isn’t because of overpowered attackers who can kill bosses in minutes, or overpowered mages who can clear an entire map in seconds.  Leeching is overpowered because of how party exp is split. Our 80/40 ratio means that leechers share too much of the exp that attackers gain.

We can fix this by adjusting the ratio to make it so attackers gain more exp and leechers gain less.

How to balance leech

The simplest way to fix leeching in maplestory private servers is to change the party exp formula from 80/40 to 90/30.

Doing so keeps leeching as the most efficient means of gaining exp, but makes party grinding your character not so much more worse in comparison.

At this point leech is more balanced because you now have a tradeoff between making a mage to leech your character versus playing the character you want to play from the beginning.

If you invest in making the mage for leech, it will take you a very long time before you see a return on your investment, whereas if you just start playing your attacking character, you will see a return immediately.

Of course if you play for a long period of time, the advantage of having the mage will in fact pay off and be more worthwhile.  However, the person who is playing the attacking class will not be as far behind as when the exp split ratio is 80/40.

Conclusion

The root of all evil when it comes to leech lies in Maplestory’s party exp split formula.  If we change the split to favor attacking over leeching, we can significantly balance leech and make maplestory private servers that are more enjoyable for all groups of players – those who hate leech and those who love leech.

Real World Trade In Private Servers

Real World Trade In Maplestory Private Servers

Real World Trade in maplestory private servers, trading hundreds of dollars for high attack red sock

You can buy a lot of things with real life money – but you should be able to buy anything?  Are there things that you should earn – not buy? In this topic we are going to discuss real world trade (also known as RWT), and whether or not Maplestory Private Server items/services are something you should be able to buy with real world money.

Defining Real World Trade

On the surface, RWT is the act of trading anything that is not directly tied to Maplestory Private Server gameplay for anything that is linked to gameplay.  So for example, paying US dollars for in game equips, mesos, or services like leech would count as real world trade.  

Paying for in game items and services for anything earned in game, however, would not constitute RWT and would widely be considered fair play.

Real World Trade and Pay2Win

Real world trade and Pay2Win are very similar in that they share the same problematic consequences.  They both make the Maplestory Private Server non competitive as they both allow for people to significantly progress without actually working hard on the server.  However, RWT is especially bad in that it creates incentives to exploit the server for real profit.

Real World Trade encourages Exploit Discovery and Abuse

When there is an option to trade in game items for real world money, people are incentivized to find ways to abuse maplestory private servers and create meso / item exploits.  Once an exploit is found, a player can simply gain “free mesos / items” and then sell those free mesos / items to get “free” real world money.  

Some players have even been doing this on mapleroyals for years and have earned significant money from doing so.  

This adds a second level of uncompetitiveness to the Maplestory Private Server.  Not only can some players get ahead of you buy paying real money, other players can get ahead of you by straight up cheating!

What can we do about it?

To be honest, there isn’t a solution to RWT.  The only real way to fix “RWT” is to make it so people who try to do it cannot profit, and this is simply not possible.  One feasible way to attempt this is to make all items untradeable, but then people will just sell accounts.  

At the end of the day RWT is like a pest in your house that you can’t eradicate.  You can employ pesticides to keep the problem under control but at the end of the day, there will always be some real world traders hiding in the shadows.

How To Discourage Real World Trade

Although we cannot stop RWT from occurring, we can try to do some things to limit it.

Make Real World Trade a Bannable Offense

At the very least, by making RWT a bannable offense, you can pressure people into not doing it.  Also, you can probably catch people who blatantly RWT – though it is unlikely you will be able to catch everyone.

Make Users Aware That You Have Logs Of the server

Simply posting a “mapletip” (basically an occasional ingame chat popup) claiming that you have ways to track RWT would make people think twice about breaking the rule (whether or not you can actually track real world trade).  A common way to track real world trade would be to keep logs of the server, like trade logs, drop logs of specific items, etc.

Foster A Community That Looks down on Real World Trade

This is a fairly difficult thing to implement.  But, if you were somehow able to create a community that as a whole found real world trade disgraceful, the social pressure exerted by the community would turn a lot of potential RWT buyers away from participating in RWT.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the problem with RWT is not that it makes the server uncompetitive, but that it incentivizes exploits and bug abuse to unfairly create items / mesos in maplestory private server.  After all, there are a lot of people would love to simply get free money.

There isn’t any hard solution to completely fix the problem, and the best that we can do is attempt to discourage real world trade via community building and rule enforcement.

Vote2Win In Maplestory Private Servers

Vote2Win In Maplestory Private Servers

Vote2Win GTOP Bot detection

If you play any Vote2Win Maplestory Private Servers I am sure that you are well acquainted with the following scene:

A little bit of background info

Currently, the way that Maplestory Private Servers are ranked is based on how many people “vote” for the server on GTOP.  The more people that vote for your server, the higher the server is ranked. In order to encourage people to vote, Maplestory Private Servers often give players in game rewards for voting.  Typically players can vote 1 time per unique IP address per day (as per GTOP rules).

The definition of Vote2Win

Vote2Win is what people call a server when the rewards for voting are extremely high.  Basically, you can win by just voting and not actually playing the server, since you make so many mesos by just voting.

Why Vote2Win becomes problematic

Inherently there isn’t anything wrong with voting and getting free nexon cash (unless you think it is uncompetitive to gain anything outside of in game actions).  However, the problem with Vote2Win is the incentives it creates.

As a player, you are incentivized to vote as many times as possible to get as much nexon cash as possible.  Some people try to abuse the voting system by voting on multiple different accounts and abuse VPN to get a unique IP address for each vote.  This becomes problematic because the vote abusers get an unfair advantage over other players who do not vote abuse. Essentially, we get the same problem that Pay2Win inherently creates.

A player who just abuses the vote system and does not play would end up with a far superior character than someone who doesn’t abuse the vote system but instead works hard training their character by playing the game.

The Ad Hoc Solution

To counter vote abusers, most Vote2Win servers make the act of commiting vote abuse (which is voting on more than 1 account per 24 hours) a bannable offense.  Which means that if you get caught vote abusing, these maplestory private servers will attempt to stop you from playing on their server.

Unfortunately this solution doesn’t work out too well in practice because people can employ sneaky tactics to hide their vote abuse and reap the enormous benefits.  Furthermore, permanently banning players isn’t a viable solution because players can once again employ sneaky tactics to hide their identity.

Essentially, the Vote2Win system that most servers use is extremely abusable and makes gameplay less competitive and fair.

The Vote2Win Trap

Unfortunately, a lot of maplestory private servers are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to addressing Vote2Win.  It is in the servers best interest to reward players for voting because when players vote, the server’s rank increases (which attracts more players, and thus more money for the server).

If a maplestory private server does not properly reward voting, players will vote less, making the servers rank drop.  As a result, most of the Vote2Win servers are forced to use the sub-optimal solution of trying to ban vote abusers while letting the sneaky players who don’t get caught make the server less competitive.

A better way to address Vote2Win

The ideal solution to Vote2Win is to prevent the system from being abused in the first place.  The main reason that the Vote2Win system is abusable is that players can profit from voting on many different accounts.

So the best way to fix the system is to make it so that people cannot profit from vote abusing.  There are multiple ways to achieve this – from removing items from cash shop all the way to making everything that you can obtain from voting untradable.  Of the two solutions I think the best one is to simply make everything untradable because then players are still incentivized to vote for their server.

Even if the rewards from voting are untradable, the rewards can still be a strong enough incentive for players to vote on their main account and keep there servers rank intact.

If this is done, then you can simply let players vote abuse all they want and not have to worry about rules that are difficult to enforce.  If players cannot profit from vote abusing, then doing so doesn’t make the server less fair or competitive.

In Conclusion

The Vote2Win system is too easily abused and makes Vote2Win servers significantly less fair and competitive.  Vote2Win servers can fix this by making it so that vote abuse isn’t profitable.