You totally expected this.

(Before I start—I finally got an account for SMS. But now it won’t let me create a character. Go figure.)

Admit it. You expected this.

I checked out the link to this article on the MS homepage.

After laughing through most of it and scratching out my eyeballs for the rest, I decided to have a little fun and do some translating. From English to Vicelin.

Warning: TLDR overload. Beware of bolded text, which contains immense ammounts of bullcrap. Beware of unbolded text, it contains immense ammounts of cynical ranting and Nexon-bashing.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(Also, this was originally on one of my websites. I edited some parts because I really don’t want to get the ban-hammer. Warn me if I missed anything.)


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.

Translation: MapleStory makes Nexon extremely wealthy thanks to 80% of its registered users being ignorant, naive, or plain no-lifers who are easily addicted to pixels which hold no value other than visual acceptance recieved from ignorant, naive, or plain no-life peers in an online game. They are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to give your wallet/CC a good butthurt.

From Target gift cards to hilarious commercials,

Translation: From profitable buisness partnership to extremely lame and half-assed televised marketing,

Nexon America is willing to pull out all the stops in an effort to attain the attention of MMO gamers.

Translation: Nexon America is willing to ??? in an effort to attain PROFIT from gullible 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.

Translation: Nexon representatives asked me to buff their iTGC marketing plan by writing this article, so that they could post it on their front page in hopes of not only luring in even more gullible children to buy the product, but to also try and change the minds of the thousands of users who hate Nexon and want it to burn to the ground for all of the hell it has put them through.

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….”

Translation: Or maybe it’s just a freaking ‘i’, used in reference (read: stolen) from the ever-popular iPod, and you should shut your face.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the 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 MapleStory iTCG, aside from the game’s unique play mechanics.

Translation: I’m trying to make Nexon appear as an extrermely generous corporation ( <—oxymoron) through my 1337 skillz as an interweb journalist.

“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.”

Translation: Senseless egotistical rambling about how iTGC is really really REALLY worth your money, so you should really really REALLY purchase it because we really really REALLY need more money than we already have.

“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 game.”

Translation: MapleStory is better and much, much more fun then WoW! PLAY IT MOAR!

As I busted open my first pack of the 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.

Translation: plastic trading cards turn me on. Mmm, foil…

“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 pack.”

Translation: Even more senseless underlying marketing.

“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 MapleStory,”

Translation: These cards are sooo worth it for the millions of online gold with no real market value! We’re begging you, please, BUY BUY BUY!

Henry continued. “Nexon has been pretty good to us in supporting our goals and the having desirable stuff in the game.”

Translation: All your base are belong to us.

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 different MapleStory 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.

Translation: See, these plastic cards are totally legit! BUY BUY BUY!

But I also noticed that there were particular differences to each of the item sets. “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.

Translation: everyone who plays MMOG’s are extremely susceptible to cute pixelated animals, and we’re taking advantage of this. So BUY BUY BUY!

There’s a lot of integration on a number of levels that we think appeals to trading card game players as well as MMO players.”

Translation: Naive children with no life and some allowance to blow will eat this crap up like a starving puppy.

“And for those collectors out there, all of the 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 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.”

Translation: Apparently these mass-produced, easily obtainable cards are also valuable for the mass-produced, easily obtainable CG art. Apparently they make worthy collectors items. Apparently this will make you even more keen to go out and buy a pack.

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 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 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. Take the 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.

Translation: Blah blah blah, blah. Blah blah blah blah. Yea, like you are really going to get together with your friends and play this crap, because it makes such PERFECT sense.

Along with the character actions listed, each of the cards in the game also has their own “level up” text underneath their standard card game text. As these actions pile up, the players’ turns continue to get longer and longer until one of the players succeeds in lowering their opponents hit points to zero. This is made possible by either hurting an opposing player with character actions, or they’d need to unleash enough monsters against the opposing character to decimate them.”I think this is one of the parts of the game that is so popular with MMO players,” Henry said. “Players love to level up in the game, but this allows you to feel that experience of leveling up much more frequently. You’re doing it on every turn.”

Translation: More blah.

The monster, item, and tactic cards in the MapleStory iTCG. Putting monsters out on the battlefield is also included as one of the level up character actions, with the Knight being the most proficient monster spawner of the four character classes. Since I was playing a Warrior with Henry, I used my Spawn X character ability to put a Ribbon Pig out on the table. Although not a hard-hitting card, any monster a player puts out onto the field automatically absorbs 10 points of damage from a character’s attack. Get enough monsters out on the field, and you’re virtually invulnerable!Characters can also equip items and play tactics with their character actions, depending upon their game text on their character actions. Each of the classes seems to excel at their own particular mechanic in the game, with the Magician being an excellent user of Tactics to exert direct damage while the Bowman seems to have plenty of items and annoying monsters with which to decimate his opponents.

Translation: Blah blah blah, blah.

Ironically, while I was sitting across the table from Henry, I could almost imagine the game as being a PvP battle with another player, which is something that Henry echoed. “It’s really a different form of PvP,” he said. “It’s something you can’t do in the game with other players, so it’s definitely more interesting in the real world.”

Translation: …

And you don’t necessarily have to stay with a 1v1 format with this card game either. According to Henry, it can expand to a free-for-all type game or even stranger configurations. “It’s kinda like the Magic early days,” he said. “It’s definitely designed for 1v1, but people can have fun with it.”

Translation: …well what else do you expect? We saved the extremely boring card-game instructions for last, since we knew no one would really get this far into the article.

Obviously, since Henry and I didn’t have time to play an entire game, I wondered how long the average play time was for an iTCG session. “It’s typically 15 to 20 minutes to play a game,” Henry said. “And what your character does really helps to define what your deck is going to be. Different characters are good at different things. They all have their own theme.”

Translation: …

Although the idea of a card game based around an MMO for a younger audience may seem like a failed effort to some, I actually had a tremendous amount of fun with the trading card game.

Translation: I’m pretending to be excited just to stroke Nexon’s huge marketing ego. Only a complete moron wouldn’t find this card game confusing and a waste of time.

After the play demo was finished, I asked Henry how Wizards originally got in contact with Nexon to produce this game. “We ran into them at the Game Developers Conference where they gave a speech about their game and how it works from an economic standpoint,” Henry explained. “Our ears perked up because what they were saying sounded very similar to Magic: The Gathering. Technically you can play Magic all day long and it doesn’t cost you a dime, but you have to pay to buy the cards.”

Translation: We heard about their plan to make thousands of dollars off of stupid online gamers and wanted to be in on it.

“When we heard that we said ‘Wow, these guys really understand the economics of how people like to buy things.’

Translation: We understood that these guys were experts at screwing dumbasses out of their money.

We began talking to them about doing a partnership deal and do a card version of their game,” Henry said.

Translation: AKA, a similar profitable buisness partnership just like the one they did with Target.

“After that it just all came together.”

Translation: It’s impossible to explain it any other way than that, because if we told you the real story, you would realize that we are only zombies being mind-controlled by a bunch of money-hungry buisness owners who are just out to buy themselves another yacht and hill-top mansion.

While discussing the development of a trading card game is easy, actually developing that product to meet the demands of an IP licensor is another matter altogether. I wondered what sort of process Wizards and Nexon took with the development of the iTCG. “It was – and still is – very much a partnership,” Henry said. “We pitched them four different game designs, from the one they selected to ones that were more like Magic. We worked with them to pick the style they liked the best and have worked very closely since then to formulate ideas for future product.”

Translation: ??? = PROFIT!

“The game’s definitely not trying to be Magic,” Henry said. “There’s a lot of depth and strategy, but it’s aimed for the same market that MapleStory is aimed at. It’s all fast action and go. As you get higher level, you really start to feel some major swings in momentum.”

Translation: Every single trading card game that ever existed TOTALLY didn’t try to be just like every other trading card game that ever existed. THEY ARE ALL TOTALLY ORIGINAL. TOTALLY. GOT IT?

So what did the folks from Nexon think of the game when they finally got to play it? “They loved it,” Henry said. “They actually decided to publish our game over in Korea. They licensed the iTCG from us to do it over there. It uses all the same things, and it’s super exciting for us to see our card game really take off.”

Translation: It made metric assloads of money, and like all things that make metric assloads of money, sister companies join in to make even more metric assloads of money.

To me, Wizards of the Coast represents the epitome of tabletop gaming. Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, and a score of other products have solidified their hold on the market, but very few of them are aimed at the age level that MapleStory was aimed at. Creating a TCG for that age group – on top of making it competitive for older games – seems like a hard product to develop, and I asked Henry if it was a challenge for the creative staff at WotC.”It was a challenge, but we are who we are,” Henry said. “While we want to make it fast playing and simple, we also like to make games that we have fun playing. We definitely had to simplify the game, but the reactions we’re getting are very positive to the product.”

Translation: *Yawn*.

As long as new content keeps getting produced for MapleStory, the iTCG will continue to have new ideas for cards.

Translation: As long as you gullible twats keep buying them, we’ll gladly keep selling.

As my final question, I had to wonder about the longevity of the MapleStory card game. Although the size of each set is fairly small, it’s always a struggle for TCG creators to continually develop cards without falling into the notorious “cardflation” or simply running out of quality ideas.

Translation: Yep, running out of quality ideas. (Psst, if you didn’t already pick up on it, this entire article is also a perfect example of that. But most of you are brainless children who wouldn’t be able to sense a marketing ploy if it kicked you in the nuts, so keep reading.)

Although Magic fights this trend using their “X Edition” sets, I wondered if MapleStory would ever see a similar sort of procedure arise.”That’s a good question,” Henry said. He paused for a moment in thought. “There isn’t infinite content in MapleStory. Magic has infinite content because we invent it all the time. With MapleStory, we’re actually taking content from within the game to make into a set of cards. There are Ribbon Pigs and Crows inside the game; they’re all real. Eventually we’re going to need to get creative with what we’re doing or reuse the content we have in a new way.”

Translation: Stroke stroke.

“However, we are on set five right now and we haven’t had to do that yet,” Henry said. “Nexon is also coming out with new content all the time, and they are constantly patching in new content. When they do that, we get new content too.”

Translation: Implying that Nexon is always coming out with GREAT patches and updates for the game. Yup.

With that, Henry and I concluded our interview and initial demonstration of the game. Of course, there are more intricacies involved with the MapleStory iTCG than what I’ve described in these paragraphs, but due to the time we were allotted Henry couldn’t explore every in-depth detail with me. However, make sure you check back in with Ten Ton Hammer to read our review of the iTCG and it’s latest expansion, which should be live in about a week!

Translation: You read this entire article? What the hell is wrong with you? Whatever. Tune in next week so that we can shove even more marketing ploys down your throat. Please. Our website really needs the attention. Attenshums plz. PLZZZ!!1! T___T

15 thoughts on “You totally expected this.”

  1. Well I’ve just been proven to be EVEN MORE of a total brainless twit. How incredible!


  2. True13lue said: “Well I’ve just been proven to be EVEN MORE of a total brainless twit. How incredible!


    Man, you can’t stop bashing yourself can you?

  3. MasterCheeze said: “

    True13lue said: “Well I’ve just been proven to be EVEN MORE of a total brainless twit. How incredible!


    Man, you can’t stop bashing yourself can you?”

    No, I can’t. Another one of my many hopeless flaws.

    . . .

    Am I dead yet?


  4. Actually, 13lue, even I’m a brainless twit. One of my characters has NX, and even has a pet. I know better than to spend my money on this crap, but I defy my own logic and do it anyway. That’s the power of addiction. Even I’m helpless against it.

  5. I can’t stop laughing at your translations. I give it a 6/5 rating (I give ratings?). This is awesome dude. I wanna to Nexon and see what they say,


  6. LOL, your translations were hilarious.

    But really, I personally don’t see anything wrong with coming up with all these ways of making money (NX, iTCG, whatever), because that’s what companies do, right? They are not tricking or conning anyone into buying their stuff. Rather, it’s the players themselves who put a value and emotional investment into the game and decide that they want to pay real money to get virtual cash. Granted, many of the players are young and gullible and end up wasting a lot of their money on the game, but well, firstly it’s their money, and secondly, they feel that the enjoyment and satisfaction they derive from buying such things is justified. So they spend. Thirdly, if they are really just kids, then it should fall onto the parents to stop them from spending their money so carelessly.

    MapleStory is just like any other game, any other hobby or possible addiction. I could be a motorbike buff and blow hundreds of thousands modifying my bike, but to a person who has absolutely no interest in it whatsoever, it is money wasted. But to the people who value and enjoy modding bikes, it is satisfaction gained and a worthwhile investment. Okay I know this example isn’t very good, but ehh. You get my point.

    I guess we’re all willing Nexon victims? I know I am. >.<

  7. I lost you at But.

    But . . . hehehehe. That’s a funny word. ^^

    I can haz cheezeburger?

  8. That’s awesome.
    “All your base are belong to us.” <– Lol how true.

    ~Lily x33.

  9. Goddarn Violin you’re a genius.

    I mean Vicelin.

    . . .

    I’mma just call you Violin because it’s only the difference of two letters anyway!

  10. vicelin said: “Actually, 13lue, even I’m a brainless twit. One of my characters has NX, and even has a pet. I know better than to spend my money on this crap, but I defy my own logic and do it anyway. That’s the power of addiction. Even I’m helpless against it.”

    Think about all those who spend over a hundred in a week . That’s how bad it is . And hopefully Nexon doesn’t see this

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