Get a cup of tea or a bag of popcorn: this one's going to be a long one. There is no TL;DR and I would appreciate it if you would read through the entire thing and my ramblings, time willing. Thank you.
First, the charts. The left obsoletes the right. If you could take a look or even have them opened while you read...
Lvl10 ~ Lvl30
Lvl30 ~ Lvl60
Lvl60 ~ Lvl90
Lvl90 ~ Lvl110
Lvl110 ~ Lvl165
Lvl165 ~ Lvl200
The right is the ideal game; the left is the reality. The sad part of all of this is that I'm pretty sure everything is GMS exclusive in its own way. I'm pretty sure no other version has Rotting Skeleton / Scarecrow / Twisted Jester chimney rooms and Alien Base Corridors full of Cogs with them all giving stupid amounts of experience and no other version still has party play LHC and SH.
I'm pretty sure all of you have notice but I really have to visually present you the absurdity GMS has taken into diluting content.
The reality is that, for the most part, content exists and it has existed for the longest time. I'm not sure the gravity of it all is known by the average mapler but there is content in this game but the way things are now, the game promotes only a few areas.
Lvl10 ~ Lvl30
When a fresh characters gets through their tutorial, the most time effective way to level is not the storyline quests associated with the character, is not exploring the towns and hunting grounds around them, is not exploring for new NPCs, is not learning about the bosses that threaten the area, and is not anything involved with immersing yourself with the world... No, the most time effective way in the long shot is to take the Dimensional Mirror to NLC, hop on the Hummer Taxi, go inside the Haunted Mansion, go into the chimney, and finally grind 20 levels on Rotting Skeletons. It's arguable to say that no one is being forced to do this, but the allure of powering through your character exists, is easily accessible, and it is always there. There's no money to be gained from doing random quests and the experience you get from them is nothing compared to the experience gained from just a couple of these skeletons.
These Skeletons in particular are huge offenders because the quests within this level range are all designed to immerse the player with the class and the world. It is also the time where most quests in the world actually exist and the time players would experiment.
Lvl30 ~ 60
Then we have a huge offender: the Scarecrow. Right out of 2nd job, these Scarecrows exist just above the Skeletons and, again, provide stupid amounts of experience and obsoletes entire worlds and towns. At this stage, you're probably still in NLC and you will have missed out on Kerning Mall, Upper Ludibrium, all the towers, Aquaroad, almost all of Victoria Island, Showa streets, Orbis, and finally, the most notable content, Chryse. Also, don't forget about all the quests and bosses involved with those areas: all those empty maps, empty towns, empty entrances, and all those NPCs with no one to talk to.
Lvl60 ~ 90
Twisted Jesters, the notorious king of a huge level range that now a portion of has been dethroned and dominated by Alien Cogs. Twisted Jesters are still knocking out the rest of upper Ludibrium, all of Omega Sector, almost all of Mulung, a good chunk of Edelstein, and... Nihal Desert? What's Nihal Desert? Whoever goes to Nihal Desert except the people who spend weeks looking for Lunar Dews?
The worst part of Twisted Jesters is that it rewards power... greatly. They behave like a Party Play monster without the Party Play: if you have enough power to kill these quickly, your experience goes up proportionally. The most common trend of a Maple Story monster is to be 2 shot by a mid range player and 1 shot by an adequately high range player; Twisted Jesters take several shots by a mid range player and at most 3-4 shots by an adequately high range player. However, for the extra time spent attacking, Twisted Jesters give a lot more experience to compensate. BUT if you had all the power in the game, you could 1shot Jesters and be given a hugely disproportionate amount of experience compared to a mob you 1shot that's 10 levels higher. One of the reasons these mobs are so popular is that it's probably the only one of its kind. It's probably a good reason to ax these for that reason alone.
Lvl90 ~ 110
And now we come to one of the stupidest mobs ever devised in MapleStory at any map, at any region, at any patch, at any time in history. Nothing can describe the immensity of how severe these Aliens dilute content. The chart seems small but that's only because LHC takes precedence starting at lvl110; if LHC did not exist, Alien Cogs/Miners would be the best mob to train at until Lvl140. A lvl95 mob with the HP of a lvl95 mob but the experience of a lvl140 mob... They even give you 6 different maps (arguably only 3-4 of them can be adequately trained on) so as to ensure you will never step foot in Ellin Forest, Lower Clocktower of Ludibrium, the rest of Aqua Road, the rest of Mulung, the entirety of Herb Town, and the maps around Leafre. If LHC didn't exist, the would fully wipe out every single map except Leafre, ToT, and Stronghold.
MP3 is shown to still be fighting... The dethroned ghosts have had this problem but they were nowhere near as destructive as the aliens. Exp per mob at MP3 is actually balanced: there were just huuuuuge amounts of mobs. With Aliens, it's actually both their exp AND amount of mobs.
Lvl110 ~ 165
I would describe LHC as a shooting gallery for rich people with an audience. That's probably why KMS got rid of it: it's a training ground that promoted leeching which, in other words, diluted content by having players not even have to attend to the game.
Party Play, on paper, sounds like a brilliant idea: have fewer but very strong, super buff, high HP boss monsters patrolling a map where players can take the time into taking them down, rewarding them to work together to take these down faster, more efficiently, and with more synergy. They're so buff that everyone will want to party and the way Party Player works, everyone will want you. It promotes the idea of working together! Finally a place where you can actually contribute to your party instead of running around a map for hours and hours alone!
Oh but wait... there's this thing called potential. Oops! Sooooo it turns out a single person can kill everything by themselves and, because they're so freaking strong, they want to kill everything by themselves because the exp is so good... and they won't get protests from their party because they want that single person to kill everything by themselves because they're so freaking strong and because they don't have to do a dam thing. The result is that ToT is a freaking ghost town, El Nath's only redeeming factor is Zakum, lolLeafre gets the occasional visit for HT prequests, and the beauty of Lower Clocktower is unknown to the world.
Oops! Back to the drawing board Nexon. You might want to address something that turned a great system horribly horribly wrong. You just might save party play!
Instead, they got rid of it (lol). BUT GMS brought it back... so, despite everything we have seen and all the negativity surrounding it, GMS has taken it upon themselves to bring back (actually, they never ever got rid of it) a system that heavily promotes 4-5 people to sit on their asses all day all night while 1-2 people slaughter an entire map with the flick of their wrists until they reach lvl200. That is... until......
Lvl165 ~ Lvl200
Stronghold. Future pineappleing Ereve. What a great place. Great mobs; high damage; high exp; best rooms can't be afk'd in; party play done right; difficult content; cool atmosphere: how does it get better?
But where is everyone? Well, they're still at pineappleing LHC. pineapple you guys .
Beside my personal grievances, Stronghold really is the ultimate end game and it really is content done right and it really is a well made place (except lolmutant mobs).
But, where's the alternative?
For the first time, we've come to a situation where there really is no other content. There is no second Stronghold. None of it was diluted: this is actually all we have. That giant "NOLO CONTENDERE" is quite an alarming problem: on one hand, the lower levels have huuuge amounts of their content being obsoleted but on the other hand, our end game has a severe lack of content by simply there not being any. If you were like "screw Alien Cogs, I'll train 3x longer at Herb Town because I just want to I guess", you can't do that when you're lvl165+: all you have is Stronghold. Where we were given all this variety, all these worlds, all these theme dungeons, all area bosses, all these NPCs, all these secret Hidden Streets... we have none of it at lvl165+.
So that is the reality of our content. If you have taken the time to read my ramblings or at least deeply looked into the charts I have made, ask yourselves what you're really getting out of the game. Not the social aspect, not the power creep, not the levels you gain... ask yourselves what the game is giving you.
I love this game. I really do love this game. I take time to make these kinds of things (like my Shared Cash Inventory thread) in hopes to change the game I love. I love doing quests, experiencing the content, exploring the world, listening to the music, and appreciating the creativity and soul put into the art and atmosphere. A little digression: Ludibrium and in particular Lower Clocktower of Ludibrium is the greatest, most creative, most immersive, most original, most symbolic theme/world I've ever seen in video games- it is truly one of the best content ever made in MapleStory... and it was released years ago.
I'll just hope something will change. I'm not happy with what's happening now and what will inevitably happen in the future. I sincerely wish Nexon will realize what it will take to save their content.
Please discuss the state of the game and the content: existing and upcoming. Perhaps you can also provide your own ideas and solutions to the problems our content has. This is a pipedream thread: there is no wrong opinion, even if you think the content is fine as it is. But be prepared to defend...