MapleStory is that one game you're probably never going to find another game of its calibre. It has that feel of nostalgia even though you're new to the game. Attractive art styles that are pixelated and 2D and manages to still look cartoony and cute all together draw people in this game with its uniqueness.
Maplestory was in its prime long back when generation Y was around 6 years old(2005 debut). If you compare the leveling from old Maplestory to post-big bang Maplestory, youll notice a huge difference. Its easier to hit level 100, but back then whoever was over level 100 was a god. Old Maplestory had challenging leveling, but once you hit level 50 or something above, you have a really nice sense of euphoria, and then realize you are far from 100, and then strive further. There was no 5.5mil damage cap, since 1k was really good damage.
But enough about old times; Maple has changed. Most people say that the old maple is so much better than the new maple, and while that is true, there are also a lot of points that keep the balance scale even between good and bad.
Of course Maplestory will never be as good as it was back then; it evolves for newer audience because Nexon know the older audience will eventually quit. This is an instant gradification era, people want to level up quickly and not really slowly to the point where it bores them to level up only 10 times a week. So, Nexon implemented an easier leveling system. I personally think that this was the right call, because the game would be dead if they hadn't implemented something to make the levels easier to obtain.
Nexon did milk this game so much that its clear instead of a thick white, but remember that you are the decision maker; you control what you spend on this game. Its possible to get cubes and permanent cash shop items with enough time, which is what all games offer to some degree. I personally think that this game is just "Pay for Conveinence" instead, but thats my opinion solely. The reason why I think its pay for conveinence is that even if you had payed your way to the billions of mesos, an average player would still not know what the hell he was doing with it, and blow it on chairs or something useless and non-beneficial.
Don't play this game if you dont like being tempted to ever pay for a Free to Play game. Its not worth it in the end for you, because they will make schemes to try to draw more money. Although this is true, remember that this game, when stripped to just the gameplay, is irreplacable. It doesn't need cash to win the game. Its fun to finally get want you want, whether it be 250, or that overpowered item, or just to meet the good people in a hacker community.