MapleStory was one of the first MMORPG titles I've had the chance of playing, besides Runescape Classic (which was a looong time ago).
After a revisit of this game (after many years of on and off playing), as well as THOUSANDS of dollars spent, I cannot say I am willing to recommend this game.
FIrstly, MapleStory is one of the few 2D side-scrolling MMORPGs that try to mix 'cute' and 'breathtaking' together, and at times, they do it very well. Some landscapes are huge, the original lore and locations were very well done, and one can be trapped in the game's beauty for long periods of time. Heck, even getting lost in that game was fun. However, with the changes as of the last two to three years, a lot of the beauty has been lost. In order to cater to the broader generation of players who demand instant gratification, they have changed out most of the old expansive locations and replaced them with compacted versions - so that players can traverse the world much more quickly. However, by doing so, they've stuffed all the game's content into the newer maps, which makes most of the world appear small and claustrophobic.
The music score for this game is wonderful. Whether you're inside the forests of Ellinia, or exploring the depths of Ludibrium, the background music really amplifies the mystery and beauty the game world is trying to become.
The original MapleStory had a handful of classes, and each of them were unique, but overall balanced. Now, each large 'class update' seems to focus on newer 'Hero' characters, most who severely outclass the older counterparts in terms of damage and flashiness. In fact, there are so many different 'Heroes' nowadays, it saddens me to say that you'll rarely run into the older classes anymore, except in the case of Legacy worlds.
The Cash Shop isn't all too great either. In addition to the standard cosmetic items and EXP boosts that one would commonly find in Free-2-Play MMOs, there are also items which give you in game currency, some which would offer you lowered failure chances when upgrading items. The latter gives players who spend a huge lead over players who don't, and this is made obvious by the overly high prices those items fetch on the marketplace.
Combine that with a marketplace that doesn't let players open one without forking cash (and depending on how much cash you're willing to spend, it also determines whether you'll have to stay logged in to sell items)(players are only able to trade, so they'll have to solicit people in the market entrances) and a bad support team, I truly cannot recommend this game to anyone. MapleStory's golden days are long gone, and what's left is a carcass of what was once a masterpiece.