MapleStory takes virtual marriage very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it requires a significant amount of work and actual, real-money transactions. Players need to complete a quest to find an engagement ring, purchase a $25 wedding ticket from the cash shop, and find another kid crazy enough to want to tie the knot. Once married, players are rewarded with in-game stat-boosting wedding rings. In North America, 26,982 in-game marriages were performed, and of those marriages, 20,344 (or 75 percent) have since been annulled at the players’ request. That’s a lot of virtual tears.
Getting the annulment is costly, too. In order to make the separation official, the players need to spend 500,000 mesos (MapleStory’s in-game currency). And make no mistake – the annulment doesn’t refund the $25 spent, and the wedding rings, which are coveted items for their powerful stat-boosts, need to be returned. There’s no caveat to this story. This isn’t a workaround to getting cool gear out of MapleStory. It is what it is: 3/4 of MapleStory’s marriages end in heartbreak.
Nexon is perplexed. The only explanation they have comes from producer Crystin Cox, who explains that “While it looks like our players break up at a much higher rate than people do in real life, at least our players are not on the hook for alimony. Couples who break up are not required to split up their loot, virtual pets or any enchanted items.”That still doesn’t explain why players seem so content to burn money, but it’s good to know that MapleStory divorcees don’t need to sit down with their virtual children to explain why mommy and daddy are going to live in different houses.
Nexon reached out to their community for answers, and received a particularly interesting tale from one player: Tyler. The 20 year-old Vancouver, B.C. player detailed his story, and you can check it out below. You might want to bring a box of tissues, though – it’s a tear jerker:
“We met through a friend I made while playing MapleStory. We started dating online, and everything was going great at first. We hung out, trained, did party quests, and even leveled up together. A few months later, the Amoria update came out, and a few months after that, it was my birthday. I convinced my brother to lend me the money for the NX [Nexon’s currency] to undergo the marriage process. We invited all our friends and had a great time. We did the Amoria PQ together all the time. We made second characters that we only played on together. Mine was, ‘YouCom,’ hers was ‘PleteMe.’ Together, ‘YouComPleteMe.’ We even trusted each other with our accounts and would play on each others characters.
Everything was going great for a while, and then some crazy stuff started to happen. I was completely shocked! I thought everything was still perfect between us…I kept telling her we just needed to talk and figure out what had happened between us. She started to get mad, and told me to leave her alone, that we were over. So I left her alone. Heartbroken, I went to change my account password, as it included her name. As I loaded the webpage, I just barely managed to change my password before she could log into another character. I was furious that she had betrayed my trust. We didn’t talk much after that.”
Sept 14, 2011