Pay2Win Vs Play2Win In Maplestory Private Servers

Infographic contrasting play2win and pay2win

Imagine that you’ve spent months playing on a maplestory private server.  You’ve grinded for hours to earn millions – or even billions of mesos to fund your overpowered attack gear, perfect weapon, and yellow scrolled equips.  Then, some random person comes along, spends a few hundred – maybe even a thousand dollars on the server and purchases gear that’s even BETTER than yours.  How would that make you feel?  In this post, I’m going to dive into pay2win, the phenomenon that plagues most free2play MMOS and explain how it applies to maplestory private servers.

Defining Play2Win

Before we go further its very important that we have a clear definition on the terms Play2win and Pay2win.  Play2Win means that in order to “win” you must play. By win, I mean obtain significant advantages over other players, for example winning can be having more expensive gear, being higher level, or just doing more damage.

Basically, a maplestory private server is only play2win if playing said server is the only way to gain significant advantages.  A server can only be play2win in the absence of Pay2Win.

Defining Pay2Win

Pay2Win is the polar opposite of Play2Win.  Instead of playing, the way that you gain an advantage over other people is by spending real life money to purchase items in game.  For example, take a server like MapleMS where you can donate real life money and sell donor credits for mesos. This means that if you want to purchase an expensive item in game for mesos, you can just “buy” the mesos with real life money and then instantly purchase the item without having to had work for it at all in game.

The Problems With Pay2Win

A new player angry at pay2win

The main issue with Pay2Win is that it severely undermines the accomplishments of people who Play2Win.  If their months of hard work can be matched with a few hundred dollars, what’s the point of even working hard to make a strong character in the first place?  Overall, it makes the maplestory private server less “competitive”, as all the top ranking people are not necessarily earning their rank via gameplay.

The problem with Play2Win

Money, a problem that pay2win does not have.

There isn’t any problem with play2win in itself – but there is a problem that it doesn’t solve that pay2win inherently does.  Maplestory Private Servers are not free to run – they cost money each month in the form of hosting. When a server is Pay2Win, they have easier access to funds from their user base than a server that is Play2Win.

Of course you could always just take normal donations without giving tangible in-game benefits on a Play2Win server – but I would imagine that the revenue from this would end up being sporadic, and may or may not be able to 100% cover all the hosting costs.

Although Play2Win is probably the ideal philosophy for Maplestory Private Servers to abide by, sometimes it is just not practically feasible.  For a Maplestory Private Server to be sustainable in the long term, it needs to be capable of producing enough income to sustain itself (unless the owner is just willing to let the server leech on his/her pockets for eternity).  That being said, I do think there are some solutions to this problem.

A New Idea – Pay4Advantage

Pay4Advantage is basically a compromise between Play2Win and Pay2Win.  A server needs to generate revenue to feed its existence, so the server can offer people who donate specific advantages while keeping the server competitive (whether or not you donate shouldn’t impact core gameplay or ranking).

Example of Pay4Advantage

A example of Pay4Advantage being implemented happened in the private server Croosade.  In Croosade, players who donate could purchase a cash item called “auto buff”. Auto buff would basically automatically cast certain skills before they would expire so that the players who had this item could spend an extra second or so attacking instead of rebuffing – effectively increasing their DPS.

However, the increase is so miniscule – for most classes this would result in less than a 0.5% DPS increase.  The advantage gained from donating to the server is real, but it is small enough such that it does not affect competitive gameplay.

Other ways to implement Pay4Advantage would be to introduce special quality of life items that can only be obtained by donating to the server.

Essentially, Pay4Advantage, when executed properly would provide real, tangible incentives for players to donate to their server, while keeping the server competitive for all players.

Concluding thoughts on pay2win

Pay2Win hurts the competitive aspect of Maplestory Private Servers and severely alienates players who do not want to or cannot donate.  Play2Win keeps Maplestory Private Servers competitive and fair but doesn’t allow for a direct way for a server to generate revenue.

Ideally, we would prefer it if a Maplestory Private Server could be Play2Win while being able to support itself purely from donations from the community.

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