For 15 years, the massively multiplayer game MapleStory has foretold of a great evil at the heart of its story. Everything was great until the Black Mage arrived in town, tainting everything with his dark magic.
During that time, players have never actually been able to fight the guy. For years, MapleStory fans have leveled up their characters through long, complex quest lines, coming to the rescue of non-playable characters, fetching them important quest items, all without ever actually coming into direct contact with the Black Mage. Instead, most of the main bosses in the game are minions sent by the Mage, while he watches on, always above it all.
But that has finally changed.
In an update that arrived in Korean MapleStory in the summer and is now finally launching in MapleStory globally, players get to band together to fight the land’s greatest evil, and this time he’s here in person. The fight begins after you complete a long series of quests and defeat several of the Black Mage’s underlings. Once that’s complete, you can visit the Black Mage in a limited-time dungeon you can enter for 15 minutes at a time, every two hours. In true MapleStory fashion, you never really get a good look at the guy’s face, and he stays hidden behind a large hood.
Upon entering, you might find that you do absolutely zero damage to the Black Mage. That’s because the boss’ health points are actually shared across all MapleStory servers and all players, so you can’t kill him in a single fight. Eventually, once his health is low enough, a second stage of fighting the Black Mage will be launched, potentially in a couple of weeks, where you fight him in his alternate form, as a mage that wields the power of light. The final stage will likely arrive next year. It involves fighting the Black Mage in a party with the light and dark forms of himself, as one of his longtime enemies, Orchid, cheers you on. When he’s finally defeated, his pure form will appear in a new storyline that has yet to be seen.
MapleStory’s endgame content has always been pretty exclusive, requiring you to be extremely high level and well-equipped to fight the final bosses. The Black Mage is no exception, requiring you to be at least level 200 and possess solid armor and weapons. Beyond that, you’ll also need a ton of mechanics to dodge a full map of chains, lasers, meteors, and other attacks. MapleStory bosses often require a lot of practice, coordinated voice communication between players, and a lot of energy to keep trying.
After playing this game intermittently between elementary school, middle school, college, and now, I finally get to see the big bad behind the game that’s been ruining every non-playable character’s life for so many years. It’s pretty satisfying to get to use my skills on him. He also says some ominous lines while attacking, so it’s more interaction than players have ever gotten. For so long, the Black Mage has been at the heart of MapleStory and now that there’s a way to eliminate him, it feels like the end of a very long saga, which is fitting now that the sequel’s been launched.