Curbing your online pet

Los Angeles, Calif., - (Dec. 19, 2011) -- Since opening its online doors in North America in 2005, “MapleStory” players have purchased more than 800,000 virtual pets, and investing in more than 4 million pet accessories such as food, clothing and equipment.

Pets are increasingly some of the most popular items sold in the microtransaction-based games Nexon America publishes, most notably in “MapleStory”. In-game pets bring more to the game than just companionship. Some help carry a player’s virtual gear, others can help support their owner in a battle. Some pets help collect and store treasure while others are purchased to inspire admiration of other players for their elite status and unique looks.

In many instances, pets add a specific skill set for players looking for in-game advantages. Players can buy certain skills such as health point and magic point recharge skills which automatically boosts the pet’s health and spell points. Other perks like Expand Range increases the pets’ travel distance, allowing them to pick up more dropped items and coins. Regardless of how the pet serves its master, most players deeply care for their virtual best-buddies.

Nancy, a “MapleStory” player in Orange County, Calif., said “I interact with my pets with love and care. With all the hard work of picking up items after I obliterate monsters, I make sure my pets are well fed every day.” To feed her three pets, a Yeti, a Baby Tiger and a Corgi Pup, Nancy “makes sure I buy in bulk.” She treats the Pet Merchants in the game’s cash shop like a discount warehouse store for online pets.

In addition to the day-to-day care and feeding of the pets, the players interact with them as well. Each time a player interacts with its pet its health and well being is enhanced. Players can give their pets commands or simply chat with them, which adds to its overall happiness. Some commands are basic to any pet owner, said Natasha, a “MapleStory” player in Ontario, Canada. “I always tell him (a White Tiger) I love him, but when he’s being naughty I then tell him he’s a bad boy. I also make him poop at least once a day; (I) gotta keep him healthy!”

In MapleStory three of the most popular pets are the Baby Tiger, Persian Cat and the Kino (a small orange mushroom specific to the game). “In MapleStory, players like pets because they’re funny, cute, and helpful,” said Crystin Cox, MapleStory’s producer in North America. “They are companions that will follow you anywhere, talk to you, and play with you but they are also a great help when you’re hunting; they’ll pick up items, heal you, and help you collect more mesos (in-game MapleStory currency).”

Pet ownership is not without its awkward moments. Adrian a MapleStory player from Chicago named his White Tiger, Vanny, after his guild leader’s sister, “so whenever I say ‘Vanny I love you’, the guild leader gets mad.”

Entering the holiday season, MapleStory is continuing expand its pet offerings to include a set of three new Unicorns. If players purchase all three Unicorns they receive a free mount. For more information on MapleStory and its pets go to: http://maplestory.nexon.net/Guide/GeneralGuide.aspx

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