Heuristic evaluation
- maplestory -

My Role:

Usability Test
5 Weeks
Microsoft PowerPoint

MapleStory is a casual MMORPG based on the story of heroes who protect Maple World from the Black Wizard. According to Steam's records, my total playtime in order to analyze and evaluate MapleStory is 52 hours. I could have completed the analysis more quickly if I had focused solely on finishing the project as soon as possible. However, the immersion and enjoyment of the game provided me with a deeper understanding of MapleStory than simply approaching the project in a straightforward manner.

1. Visibility of system status
MapleStory aims to keep users informed of the system status in various situations. From the moment you access the game to when you upgrade items within it, players can view the system status. It informs users about waiting times or provides guidance on accessing or performing various actions.

2. Match between system and the real world
MapleStory features 51 different jobs (characters), each with its own unique story, inviting users into the Maple World. For instance, if you choose to be a wizard in the game, an NPC might say, "Would you like to become a wizard and fight for peace in Maple World?"

3. User control and freedom
In MapleStory, there were items that even fetched $10,000 in real money through auctions. If, for example, I mistakenly sold the first item out of a total of ten, I had the option to repurchase it by paying the amount I received from the sale. Every store in MapleStory has a system that retains up to 10 items I've sold. Before the massive update of MapleStory, there were often users who stopped playing the game due to accidentally selling very valuable items.

4. Consistency and standards
MapleStory leaves users with a stable impression by maintaining its unique and consistent user interface (UI) along with a cohesive storyline. Users can often distinguish it by just seeing a small part of MapleStory. One drawback is that the NPC's UI differs before and after a massive update, which can sometimes lead to confusion. In summary, quests that were present before a major update retain their previous designs, while those introduced afterward feature updated designs. Apart from this aspect, MapleStory's consistency approaches perfection.

5. Error prevention
In MapleStory, a wide array of items is available, including a special item known as a 'potential scroll.' These scrolls are used for enhancing equipment, and there are various types tailored for specific equipment categories. If you attempt to upgrade equipment with the wrong scrolls, the system displays the message 'It's not accepted.' By avoiding these errors, you can ensure that you do not waste your scrolls and use them effectively on the appropriate equipment.

6. Recognition rather
than recall

The most effective way to level up in MapleStory is to obtain quests from NPCs, complete them, and earn experience points. However, users do not need to manually count the number of monsters they defeat each time. The interaction tab always displays the required number of monsters or items and the number completed thus far. This feature enhances the gaming experience, making it more enjoyable for users.

7. Flexibility and
efficiency of use

Key controls in MapleStory are not difficult to master, but every time a new class is selected, the system initiates a tutorial. These tutorials cover basic key controls and the backstory of each class. While tutorials are helpful for beginners unfamiliar with the game, they can be quite tedious for existing users like me who must repeat them each time. If there are tutorials for novice users, there should also be options to skip them for advanced users.

8. Aesthetic and
minimalist design

From an aesthetic perspective, MapleStory is nearly perfect. Personally, I believe that the background, monster, and NPC designs are outstanding. However, MapleStory cannot be characterized as minimalist. While developers have carefully placed and designed elements in the game, it doesn't fit the minimalist category. Minimalism isn't always synonymous with aesthetics, and this game is both aesthetically pleasing and well-organized.

9. Help users recognize,
diagnose, and recover
from errors

Developers are not effectively managing users who employ illegal macros or cheat in games. One significant issue is related to the navigation arrow, which is designed to guide users to their quest destinations. Unfortunately, the arrows often lead people in the wrong direction, making them feel as if they are trapped in a maze. Users have consistently pointed out these issues in the Steam community, but they have not been addressed or fixed yet.

10. Help and documentation
MapleStory offers tutorials each time users reach a certain level, and users cannot skip the information provided by the system unless they choose to skip the tutorials.