Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
Without a doubt, the MapleStory
MMOG is one of the most popular and profitable online games on the
planet. Time and time again, industry journalists have been amazed at
the awe-inspiring numbers that MapleStory
produces, and the company is always on the lookout for new and
innovative ideas to increase the popularity of their games. From Target
gift cards to hilarious commercials, Nexon America is willing to pull
out all the stops in an effort to attain the attention of MMO gamers.
When the MapleStory iTCG
emerged from the Wizards of the Coast development studios last
November, I knew I had to investigate what this latest product was all
about. Just over a week ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Wizards
of the Coast development studios in Washington State, and I got a first
hand look at the MapleStoryiTCG.
MapleStory is one of the most popular MMOGs in the world.
My tour guide for my introduction to the game was Henry Stern, Sr. Game
Developer / Designer for the Research and Development sector of WotC.
The MapleStory iTCG
is currently on its third expansion, with each expansion numbering
around 60-80 cards apiece. The most recent release, which just debuted
in May, is named P3TS
and focuses on the use of pet cards in the iTCG.
So what's the "i" stand for you might ask? That was the first question
I asked when Henry told me that that was the name of his product. "We
really left that up to people's own interpretation,” Henry
answered. “You really never see the 'i' defined anywhere, but
it means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Integrative,
Internet, Item Code...."
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory iTCG and
other trading card games is the number of item codes that are available
to players as the open up their card packs. It was perhaps the biggest
selling point I received from Henry concerning the style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory iTCG,
aside from the game's unique play mechanics.
"We really wanted to take the item code process to the next level by
making it really integrated," Henry continued. “Virtual
prizes aren’t just vanity items. First of all,
there’s a lot more item codes available through our product
then you might see in traditional offerings. Not only that, but they
also actually impact the player’s game. There are different
prize categories involved – pets, consumables, and quest
starters – and involvement with other NPCs in the game that
help you generate even better prizes.”
“For example, in the World
of Warcraft TCG, you’ll have to go through a box
of boosters to get a mount,” Henry said. “All the
mount does though is look different than your other mounts. However,
with our card game every single pack has a code card in it. Each of the
codes we have actually is going to help you become more powerful in the
As I busted open my first pack of the style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory iTCG
card game, I did a quick analysis with my eyes. Apparently I had
received several commons and uncommons, but the items that caught my
eye the most were the foil card and the two code cards I’d
received in the deck.
“Currently every single card in the set comes in a standard
version and a coded version and a foil version,” Henry added.
“There are lots of different levels, currently. But in basic
terms, you get a least one code card in every single pack.
You’ve gotten two, but you could get up to nine.
It’s not that infrequent that you get multiple codes in a
“Some of the items you can type in off of our code cards are
selling for millions of Mesos (Editor’s
Note: The in-game currency.) in style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory,”
Henry continued. “Nexon has been pretty good to us in
supporting our goals and the having desirable stuff in the
As Henry was explaining this portion of the game to me, I was able to
view a list of all the items that are available in each of the
sets. He was definitely telling the truth, each of the items that a
player can turn in via the TCG has a fairly high in-game value. But I
also noticed that there were particular differences to each of the item
“With trading card games, we change the theme every
set,” Henry noted. “We really try to match our
virtual prizes to the theme of whatever set that we’re
pulling from. Since our last set focused on pets – and we
know pets are extremely popular with MMO players – we
centered most of the virtual prize offerings in the last set around
pets as well. There’s a lot of integration on a number of
levels that we think appeals to trading card game players as well as
“And for those collectors out there, all of the style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory cards
are done by actual Nexon artists,” Henry noted.
“The card game is really one of the only places that
you’d be able to find this real, hand-drawn style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory art.
Fans of the MMO are always eager to nab these cards simply to have a
collectable piece of the game that they can own. “
A depiction of a character card from the MapleStory iTCG tutorial.
Of course, nothing was more important than actually getting a chance to
sit down and play through a quick session of the style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory iTCG with
Henry. Just like Magic:
The Gathering or the World
of Warcraft TCG, you initially begin the MapleStory game
by creating a deck and selecting a character that you want to play.
There are four different character classes you can choose from that are
synchronized with the four classes from the MMOG: Bowman, Magician,
Thief, and Warrior. Once you’ve selected your class, the goal
is to typically construct your deck around that particular class, or a
combination of two of the listed classes. Any more than that, and the
game would start to become almost unplayable.
While the previous paragraph may sound like the initial set-up period
for any TCG, the MapleStory
game has a few unique nuances that really set it apart from
Wizards’ previous products and any other MMO TCG
that’s on the market right now. Henry made sure to point out
the biggest difference to me as we played.
“The main thing that’s different about
style="font-style: italic;">MapleStory iTCG is
that every turn you ‘level up’ your
character,” Henry said, taking a card from his hand as he
said this. “You put a card from your hand underneath the
character, which increases his level.” As we continued
playing, the cards that you’d ‘level up’
your character with count towards your character’s overall
level, boosting him from 10 to 20 to 30 and so on.
According to Henry, each time a character levels up they gain 20 hit
points to add to their hit point total. On top of that, each of the
character cards also has a list of character actions that they can
perform once their character attains a particular level. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/34613">
displayed Warrior character for example, once he attains level 10 and
has at least one Warrior card underneath him, he can perform a
“Bash” action against another character or monster.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our MapleStory Game Page.