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rangifer’s diary: pt. cxv

On odd jobs

I’ve written plenty on the subject of odd jobs in this diary. Although some of it is perfectly good, much of it is marred by being written in numerous malnourished ad hoc instalments that are, worse yet, catered specifically to a certain internet forum that must not be named. This essay is an attempt at rectifying this smallest of injustices in the most concise way possible, so that I can finally stop writing on this subject for good. This is the final essay.

I will give an overview of the ontology of odd jobs, swiftly demolish several very common misconceptions about them, compare them with other modes of playing MapleStory, & importantly, motivate their actual in-game existence.

The ontology of odd jobs

We begin with some shameless self-plagiarism, taken from my Introduction To Odd Jobs:

In MapleStory, every character is built in a certain way. The player must decide what job advancements to take, how to allocate their AP, how to allocate their SP, & what equipment to use in combat. The player is free to do as they wish, so long as they don’t violate any of the game’s rules. Nevertheless, the game naturally encourages players to make their choices in one of a handful of narrow ways.

In spite of the game’s encouragement, players of MapleStory have always found creative & interesting ways to violate these norms. In many cases, these violations have their own kind of structure — a certain logic to them. So much so, that we often think of these strange character builds as “jobs” in their own right.

It’s likely that the astute reader could glean anything that they might need or want to know about the ontology of odd jobs from the above quotation, in combination with a basic understanding of MapleStory, & an understanding of what an MMORPG is. Alas, some insights require peeling back many imbricated layers of naïveté — so that’s what we’ll attempt now.

The intersection of game design & socialisation

The above quotation couches the divergence of odd jobs from their non-odd counterparts in terms of the “game’s encouragement”. But for better or worse, videogames are not sci-fi creatures that latch onto our braincells directly so as to explicitly control the passage of our neurotransmitters. Thus, this “encouragement” — or whatever it may be that odd jobs are defined in opposition to — necessarily takes on more indirect forms:

These two forms interact in complex ways, & so can scarcely be cleanly separated.

The isolated player

Nonetheless, although imagining the game’s community without the game’s language is incoherent (you cannot have a game community around a game that cannot be played), we can conceive of the isolated player.

For the isolated player — who does not, never has, & never will witness nor interact with any other MapleStory player — there is no such thing as an “odd job”. For starters, the “odd job” is nowhere to be found in the game’s language. But more importantly, the job[1] of the player’s character is just the job that they are, simpliciter. The player chooses to play & build their character in a certain way, & that way is no more than whatever they chose.

Internal ludemic structure & the communication thereof

Still, the vocabulary of ludemes with which the game “speaks” to the player is very finite, & thus cannot anticipate every possible choice that the player might make. Moreover, those ludemes don’t actually exist in a vacuum, even in our “isolated player” hypothetical; they exist only within a socially-defined, -⁠propagated, & -⁠innovated medium, viz. videogames — & to a lesser extent, within their natural language of choice[11]. Like any art form, this includes the history of such games — even including the boardgames from which they descend, etc.![8] If the player gets the sense — based on the game’s language — that they’re meant to exploit a particular ludemic structure in a certain way, then they are likely predisposed to do so.

Children interact with games differently than adults do; partially, this is on account of having little kid brains, but it’s also partially on account of still being unsocialised — or rather, proto-socialised — in the medium, history, language, etc. of games.

Once this socialisation reaches a usefully advanced stage, the game is capable of “conversing” with the player in its ludemic language. This allows the player to gain insight into the internal logic of the game, even without resorting to reading source code, interviewing the game’s developers, or any other forms of direct inspection.

The result is that even the isolated player can (possibly…) parse the game’s language, which thus allows for them to comprehend strikingly concrete relationships that border on the objective. As just one (1) example, the association of certain classes[1] with respective weapon types (bandit with dagger, & so on) is something that MapleStory players near-universally take for granted; & yet, our isolated player can only just make this connection at this stage, & no earlier.

This is a good start, as it allows the player to frame their gameplay in relation to something that we can reasonably call “the game’s ludemic structure”. But it’s still likely missing much of the nuance of the game — MapleStory’s game mechanics are quite intricate, after all. Moreover, even with a hypothetical “perfect” understanding, this is still insufficient for the notion of “odd job”.

The player’s isolation, relinquished

Once we introduce the game’s community, we now have a way to efficiently generate & impose social norms that weigh upon virtually all of the game’s players, and we have a nucleation site for that generation: the game’s language.

From the perspective of the game-with-community, the isolated player’s ability to understand the game’s ludemic structure was too abstract. That bare structure leaves too many gaps, imposes limp norms at best, & if it does border on the objective, it’s still sorely missing the intersubjectivity that would fill in some of the aforementioned gaps.

Under the influence of community, the stroma of bare ludemic structure is ossified into something far more dense & rigid. In the process, that bare structure is preserved (albeit in a crystallised form), but something complementary — the gaps themselves, perhaps — is lost. Worse yet, this ossification incurs additional loss by giving the false sense that the game’s nuances are understood, & that the game is somehow “solved”[15], when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. It is this loss — at least, the parts of it that relate to job[1] — that odd jobs can finally be defined in opposition to.

Games are for winning?

A confounding factor worth noting here is that neither the game’s language nor the game’s community manage to define a way to “win” the game (a win condition). The closest that we can seem to get is “hit level 200”, but in O.G. pre-BB MapleStory, this was just an arbitrary number (viz. the largest multiple of 100 representable by an 8-bit integer), & was chosen to be too large to be practically achievable, thus making the level cap effectively nonexistent. Later versions of the game raised the level cap (beyond 200), as an inevitable response to the deterioration of this original state of affairs[16].

It’s tempting to claim that games are normative in the crude sense that every game has a win condition, or some way to maximise a material prize.[12] But we’ve seen that MapleStory fundamentally has no such win condition, & if there is something to be maximised (level, wealth, damage range, etc., etc.), then it cannot be described as a “material prize”: it can only service the player’s in-game condition, & yet cannot serve to fulfil a nonexistent win condition. Any maximisation is thus circular: maximising in-game prizes to maximise in-game prizes to maximise… Moreover, it goes without saying that MapleStory is, in empirical fact, a game actively inhabited by people of wildly varying playstyles with wildly varying ideas of what to “maximise”: completionists, wealth-maximisers, damage-maximisers, collectors, autarkists, etc., etc., etc., all of various vibrant subvarieties & combinations… Thus, any such crude account must necessarily be discarded for clarity.

Deconstructing common misconceptions

For better or worse, there’s no way to put the “little kid brain” back into our skulls. By the time that a human reaches adulthood, they are too far gone, & largely incapable of actual insight, knowing only the world that the people around them have collectively & dutifully etched into their grey matter. Moreover, MapleStory is just a videogame, so most players of it are content to play it entirely unconsciously. This is undoubtedly a perfectly valid way to play, but it does lead to some misconceptions when it comes to the delicate stuff.

Odd jobs are weaker than non-odd jobs

Even DPM tests can scarcely deny that there is no metric for how “strong” or “weak” a PC or job is in MapleStory: two well-optimised PCs frequently differ wildly in how they compete DPM-wise, depending on what they’re fighting & in what situation. Once we drop our unconscious biases/framings & look at MapleStory in general, any unified notion of “strength”/“weakness” is finally in complete & utter shambles.

Certainly, many odd jobs can be pessimal based simply on how much they struggle at so much of the game’s content. Take your pick: perhaps you think that claw-punchers are particularly laughable, or besinners, or what have you. But at the same time, the majority of odd jobs (as commonly conceived) are prized for the strengths that they have, & how they combine those strengths in ways that non-odd jobs frequently cannot:

Moreover, if the reader is not already disabused of any fundamentally broken notions of “character strength” that they might’ve had, consider the simple fact that plenty of odd jobs already create entirely new gameplay possibilities that would shatter such notions anyway:

Certain odd jobs are just weaker versions of their non-odd counterparts

Obviously, this is closely related to the previous misconception. However, this one is particularly insidious; I’ve not infrequently encountered players who play odd jobs themselves making this mistake, even when they really ought to know better.

The problem here is actually fairly simple: if you think this about some odd job, then you just haven’t played it & haven’t thought about it in any real depth. It’s true that at least one odd job (hey — I play a pugilist myself!) is more of a “challenge run”-type deal that exploits a weirdly specific & obscure ludeme, but that’s very much the exception rather than the rule. In easily ≥99% of cases, there’s no more than a lack of understanding & nuance that would be involved in a proper judgement.

To give just one example (so that we’re not here all day), I heard from a dagger assassin player that swashbucklers were too similar to the corresponding non-odd job for their taste. The irony, of course, is that it can be just as reasonably argued the other way when comparing the swashbuckler to the dagger sin: the swashbuckler enjoys two entirely dissimilar combat modes (ranged & melee) as their non-odd counterpart does not, has quite different equipment concerns from their non-odd counterpart, & even makes use of damage-calculation mechanics that their non-odd counterpart does not! But the fact that we can argue either way is no more than a simple result of the underlying problem with these arguments: they fail to observe most of the nuance, & rest on largely subjective grounds anyway.

Anything that’s unpopular is odd

As explained far too briefly in the “The ontology of odd jobs” section above, there is a delicate & complex interplay between at least two identifiable forces that odd jobs exist in opposition to. By ignoring absolutely everything except for one incredibly narrow aspect of that interplay, we arrive at this misconception.

Arguably, the blame here is partially on the nomenclature: “job” is an overloaded term in MapleStory jargon, & far worse, “odd” is an even more overloaded term in English. It would seem that anything related to “jobs” in this sense — equipment, AP, SP, class, etc., or any combination thereof — that seems unusual, infrequent, uncommon, unexpected, and/or somewhat irregular to the observer is “odd” in this sense.

But this common-sense construal of “odd” ignores the fact that the jargon usage of the word is tied far more closely to MapleStory than to the English language, & ignores that the historic terminology for what this essay calls “odd jobs” has actually varied wildly, & certainly not always used “odd” — nor necessarily any related terms.[7]

For instance, a throughclass[2] being generally unpopular on a certain server does not in any way make every instance of that throughclass “odd”. The crossbowman may be unpopular, but unless he is pure STR, or doesn’t use ammunition nor Soul Arrow, or what have you, he has no overlap with this specialised sense of the word “odd”. The use of axes may be unpopular, but so long as axe-users have access to their skillset (meaning the fighter throughclass’s skillset, in this case), there is again no overlap. And so on…

This ain’t a popularity contest, folx.

This odd job is just a beginner but [insert anything here]

Literally every job — odd or not — in MapleStory is just a beginner but [something].[5] It’s one thing to play a game unconsciously, & quite another to speak unconsciously. Truly, an insight into the mind of the Mapler.

The ontology of non-odd jobs

The title of this section may seem obviously ridiculous: if we’re already intent upon elucidating the ontology of odd jobs, then surely the ontology of non-odd jobs is just the complement in the universe of all MapleStory jobs? Well, yes.

But unexpectedly, many of the misconceptions that apply to odd jobs actually apply to non-odd jobs as well. We can go through the misconceptions in the previous section to demonstrate that:

Odd jobs are weaker than non-odd jobs
The totally unfounded confidence in a unified notion of “character strength” here often afflicts certain non-odd jobs, generally on the basis of no understanding of the job’s strengths (especially unique ones). You may think that the shadower is only good for this or that or nothing, but the shadower player knows perfectly well how versatile they actually are.
Certain odd jobs are just weaker versions of their non-odd counterparts
Similarly, misunderstanding & lack of nuance leads to non-odd jobs being erroneously conflated even with each other: the marksman with the bowmaster, the cleric with the I/L wizard, the I/L archmage with the F/P archmage, the hermit with the outlaw, & so on…
Anything that’s unpopular is odd
The careless shunning of certain character builds or build strategies based on no more than the mercurial whims of popularity is bad news for any non-odd job that is considered “““odd”””. If the popularity contest is real, then losing that contest may be socially more important than the actual substance — odd or not — of your character’s build.

The internal taxonomy of odd jobs

Now that we’ve sufficiently disabused ourselves of these misconceptions, we might consider the turn inwards. Does the set of all odd jobs have an internal structure? A previous series in this diary tackled this exact question.

The answer is a bit of a mess. But the reason why it’s a mess is perhaps enlightening. One way of breaking this down is by differentiating between odd jobs along several different dimensions:

Restriction typology
Combat style

This covers any number of combinations (hybrids are common) of things like — but not limited to:

Ludeme(s) exploited

Each odd job generally has one or more ludeme(s) that it exploits to form the basis of its identity:

  • Cannot return once you leave.[9] (Islander, camper, …)
  • Unexpectedly usable weaponry. (Dagger/wand warrior, wandginner, besinner, pugilist, grim reaper, …)
  • LUK increases avoidability, WACC, and MACC (& Heal damage[4]). (Gishlet, gish, …)
  • Thieves are inherently hybrid. (Permarogue, dagger assassin, …)
  • Pirates are inherently hybrid. (Permapirate, DEX brawler, swashbuckler, punch slinger, …)
  • Job advancement is never mandatory. (All job-restricted odd jobs.)
  • SP expenditure is never mandatory. (Bowginner, clawginner, begunner, …)
  • Steal. (Brigand.)
  • Meso Explosion. (Blood bandit.)
  • Power Guard. (Blood warrior.)

As can be clearly seen, these various dimensions are not mutually orthogonal, but at the same time, cannot be cleanly identified with one another. Worse, the above list is not exhaustive — for example, we might discriminate some odd jobs based on their unusually stable damage output (LUKless bandit, DEX warrior, etc.).

The simple fact is that every job — odd or not — is startlingly unique & full of its own nuances. As much as we do, in reality, put jobs into our own mental categories — our own mushy taxonomies — attempting to really wrangle all their nuances is doomed to fail unless the scope is significantly narrowed.


Perhaps it’s already evident to the reader that cleanly separating “odd” jobs from the non-odd ones is not really possible in full generality. Arguably, the core reason for this is that odd jobs are defined in opposition. Describing a piece of music as “atonal” tells us virtually nothing about the music; perhaps this term brings Berg to mind, or perhaps field recordings, or perhaps marching percussion music, or perhaps HNW, or perhaps… Similarly, describing one’s job as “not normal” is an anæmic qualification at best.

Nevertheless, this qualification has — at the very least — historical importance, & its refinement over what is now more than two decades of MapleStory has left us with what I like to call the classical model of odd jobs. I’ve previously given a condensed version of this model in five bullet points:[14]

  • Defining a particular odd job (e.g. permawarrior) is simple.
  • Insofar as an odd job is “odd”, it is pure in its “odd” aspect.
  • Each particular odd job satisfies some intuitive notion of natural.
  • The name that we are choosing to use here — “odd job” — is simultaneously fortunate & unfortunate. The “simplicity”, “purity”, & “naturalness” of odd jobs (as listed previously) justifies the use of the word “job” in the phrase “odd job”.
  • Odd jobs are, to the extent possible, atemporal.

Clearly, most of these bullet points require some expounding, & I’ve done most or all of that expounding in the past. For now, I’ll just reiterate that the “atemporality” (the final bullet point) refers specifically to the aspect(s) of the job that make it “odd”. Thus, for example, even though pirates were released relatively late in pre-BB MapleStory, they can still participate in classical odd-jobdom, so long as the oddness per sē only hinges on ludeme(s) that are atemporal.

Late grade-advancement restriction

All jobs that are perma-0th-grade (permabeginners) or are perma-1st-grade are necessarily classically odd, & this coheres with historical treatments. However, perma-2nd, perma-3rd, perma-4th, & even perma-5th are also possible. These latter job restrictions are not classically odd, for two important reasons:


Because of the “purity” & “simplicity” requirements, odd jobs that are hybridised with corresponding fundamentally-opposed non-odd elements cannot be classically odd. For instance, a magelet who hybridises with the opposed INT mage — that is, a mage with nontrivial base INT, but also much more base LUK than any paradigmatic non-odd mage — is not classically odd.

Nevertheless, it’s by no means unreasonable in general to use — at least sometimes — nonclassical definitions of “odd”. Why not? Although there are certainly black & white areas, the grey ones can be carved up in multiple reasonable ways. And that can even be applied to jobs defined by late grade-advancement restrictions, as well!

Note that this generally does not apply to hybrids of two or more jobs, all of which are classically odd — that is to say, every word in the above phrase “corresponding fundamentally-opposed non-odd elements” is operative. Although the resulting hybrid job no longer satisfies the “simplicity” requirement (& arguably not the “naturalness” one either), we nevertheless consider it odd on the simple logic that mixing odd with odd could only produce more odd.

This simple logic is sound only because the archetypically classical (i.e. both classical & not hybrid) odd jobs operate like cardinal directions[13] or atoms. For example, a perma-1st-grade woodsman is classically odd — but not archetypically so — because it behaves like a “molecule” composed of two archetypical “atoms”: permarcher & woodsman.


Some PCs may take on odd forms only opportunistically. This includes PCs that can switch it up on the fly, e.g. very nearly (but not theoretically) all sindits. But this also includes PCs that switch in more involved ways, like one-time transitions in stats/skills (via APRs and/or SPRs) or weaponry, e.g. an ordinary hero who later decides to permanently switch from swords to daggers.

This violates the “atemporality” (& arguably “purity”; see the “Hybrids” section above) requirement, which implies that such PCs, if they have one job, have one that is not classically odd. Still, in the specific case of one-time transitions, this distinction is not useful.

Anything goes

There are plenty of ways to do something a little wacky. For example, you might build your PC around a certain æsthetic or specific outfit. Maybe you only use weapons with a particular speed category, or with names that start with a particular letter. And so on…

Such restrictions are not job-based — or at the very least, violate the “naturalness” (and/or “simplicity” and/or “purity”) requirement. The game’s language — including the skillsets of the game’s classes, the requirements to advance to said classes, etc. — makes it quite clear what sorts of things constitute MapleStory jobs, & the history of odd jobs socially reifies this to a great extent.

Gameplay restriction

And yes, this does mean that not all gameplay restrictions are related to oddness — indeed, most are orthogonal to it. The most common — but by no means all — axes are as follows:

Obviously includes all classical odd jobs, but may also include sufficiently adjacent restrictions.
Area (precinction)
Locks the PC into a pre-determined & static subregion of the Maple world.
Clearing (unlocking)
Somewhat similarly to precinction, the PC’s intermap movement is restricted. But here, the restriction is dynamic; the PC can “clear” a map (e.g. by collecting all items dropped by the monsters there) to unlock adjacent ones.
Ironman & related (steelman, group ironman, etc.). Places severe restrictions on the PC’s ability to trade and/or party with other PCs.

As always, overlap exists between these axes. In particular, precinction (& clearing/unlocking, for that matter) often includes some metalline restriction with it. However, in the case of a dedicated metallic ruleset, the metallicness is there for its own sake; by contrast, in the precinction case, restrictions on trading etc. are only there to serve the area’s isolation. The area to which the area-locker is locked isn’t so locked anymore, if outside items/mesos can flow in via trading!

And of course, the axes can also be combined: e.g. an ironman STR mage is perfectly conceivable.

Islanders & campers

Islanders & campers are odd

In the “The internal taxonomy of odd jobs” section above, the “location” branch of restriction typology is asterisked, & for good reason.

Even under the strictest & most classical definition of “odd”, campers & islanders are odd. However, they can be defined without reference to job: the camper is any PC who never leaves the Training Camp, & the islander is any PC who leaves the Training Camp but never leaves Maple Island. It just so happens that either of these restrictions results in permabeginnerhood.

For historical & social reasons, islanders & campers are treated separately from their outland counterparts, despite having no material differences in job. If we take this quirk at face value, then an internal taxonomy of odd jobs based on restriction typology will need a separate axis for location; but this should not be mistaken for any close relationship between oddness & precinction.

We can imagine an ad hoc precinction ruleset that would also necessarily produce odd-jobbed PCs: the PC may go anywhere, unless the map has a 1st-grade instructor in it (e.g. Warriors’ Sanctuary). Although a deeply uninteresting one, this is technically a precinction ruleset, & it would prevent the PC from taking any grade advancements, thus resulting in their oddness. We only treat islanders & campers differently from this kind of ruleset because of the aforementioned social–historical reasons, which are in turn the indirect result of the game itself (namely, the “cannot return once you leave” ludeme).

At its core, the confusion is this: the extension (in the logical sense) of “islander” is a strict subset of that of “permabeginner”; yet, the usual intension of “islander” is categorically different from that of “permabeginner” (precinctive vs. odd), thus making it confusingly a category mistake to compare their intensions directly.

If we didn’t know any better, then we might be worried that because precinction creates its own distinct game — a subgame, if you will — of MapleStory, PCs that would otherwise be odd due to their permanently low grade are not really odd in the context of a precinction that entirely precludes higher grades anyway.[10] If your game already precludes 1st-grade advancement, then can perma-0th-gradeness really be called “odd” in that context?

This is where the classical model of oddness helps us a lot, by allowing us to declare all perma-0th-grade jobs & all perma-1st-grade jobs odd — not just on an historical basis, but more importantly in this case, on a ludemic basis (specialisation, throughclasses, etc.). Conversely, perma-𝑛th-grade jobs where 𝑛2 are not classically odd. These latter cases can be nonclassically odd, if it makes sense to treat them as such; generally, if the game/subgame that they exist within allows for higher grade advancements.

Why you fairly likely should be playing at least one odd-jobbed character, if you play MapleStory at all

For the benefit of the reader’s recall — & the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read anything up to this point — let’s step back through just a few small snippets of the above, noting how they relate to the player’s motivation to “play as” any job[1], odd or otherwise.

After only a bit of consideration, it becomes clear that, from this perspective of the player’s motivation & gameplay, there is no fundamental difference in the already ill-defined (aside from the classical model) distinction between “odd” & “non-odd”:

[↑] For the isolated player[,] there is no such thing as an “odd job”. [T]he job of the player’s character is just the job that they are, simpliciter. The player chooses to play & build their character in a certain way, & that way is no more than whatever they chose.

Although the isolated player is no more than a model — & an unrealistic one, at that — it gives us a lot of insight into the essentially egocentric act of building one’s own character.

Still, even if we look beyond the isolated player into reality, we find that actual players socially view jobs in many of the same ways — ill-conceived or not… — regardless of those jobs’ oddness or non-oddness:

[↑] [M]any of the misconceptions that apply to odd jobs actually apply to non-odd jobs as well […]

Given this truth, there must be some insight that we’re usually missing here. After all, we commonly think of odd builds as being separated from the non-odd on some fundamental level, such that it makes sense to say “I would never play an odd-jobbed character myself; it’s just not for me” (or the same, but “[…] a non-odd-jobbed […]”). Perhaps it’s this:

[↑] The simple fact is that every job — odd or not — is startlingly unique & full of its own nuances.

Although a “simple” insight to be sure, it’s a difficult one to get to. This is because almost all players are ignorant of almost all of those nuances, on account of not having played the jobs themselves, not understanding the nuances of the ludemic content of the game itself, and/or simply playing the game unconsciously.

What’s particularly striking is that this is not a problem of variety nor variance — in fact, quite the opposite! There’s more variance within odd jobs than there is between odd & non-odd jobs!! This is one major indication that there’s something very wrong indeed with our everyday conception. Partly, this variance arises from a trait that several prominent odd jobs share:

[↑] [C]onsider the simple fact that plenty of odd jobs already create entirely new gameplay possibilities […]

With all this in mind, it should now be supremely obvious to the reader that, from this gameplay-based perspective, there is no cleft that separates the odd from the rest. The “set of all MapleStory jobs” may be somewhat vaguely-defined, but if it is a universe, then it’s little more than that. And at that, a universe from which the player, in an ideal world, selects from freely.

Indeed, as I argue above, part of what allows us to define “odd jobs” at all is the loss of part of the game, in the process of the game being ossified by its community:

[↑] It is this loss — at least, the parts of it that relate to job[1] — that odd jobs can finally be defined in opposition to.

The implication is that, if the reasonable player is to choose to build their character in any way, then they must choose it because they want to play it, not for its “oddness”, “non-oddness”, “““viability”””, nor any other categorisation.

And so, realistically speaking, we’d statistically expect that some large portion of the general MapleStory population — a majority large or small — is made of people who would benefit from playing at least one kind of build that we wouldn’t describe as “non-odd”, simply because there are so many & such a variety of them in comparison to the clearly “non-odd” ones. The realistic problem is just a practical one: the vast, overwhelming majority of players will never even try searching the space of character builds; & those that make at least some attempt are statistically likely to be immediately stymied by their very first character not being a raging success from day one.

For these reasons, I implore the reader to at least consider the possibilities. As pointed out above, MapleStory & its community provide us with no “win condition”. So, trite as it may be, I shall provide you with one now: the only way to win is to have fun.

Footnotes for “On odd jobs”

  1. [↑] Job is sharply contrasted with class. The class of a PC is found directly in the game’s programming, & is presented to the player with a term like beginner, rogue, page, outlaw, etc. The job of a PC is a composite of class with other considerations like level, weapon choice, AP allocation, SP allocation, etc., that define the character’s “build”. However, MapleStory itself has no notion of “build” per sē, which results in — amongst other things — the rather awkward nomenclature of recycling job for this purpose, as in the phrase odd job.

  2. [↑] A throughclass is a set of classes[1] obtained by taking a single class of the highest grade (i.e. highest job advancement) in the game, together with all classes that necessarily become that class after all possible class advancements are taken. For example, {cleric, priest, bishop} is a throughclass in all pre-BB MapleStory implementations that possess the 4th grade, but e.g. {magician, cleric, priest, bishop} is not (because the PC may choose to advance from magician to e.g. I/L wizard).

  3. [↑] This is not true on MapleLegends in particular, thanks to an unspeakably poor game balance decision here or there. See also: the “Evasive manœuvres” section of pt. cx of this diary.

  4. [↑] See the “Heal” section of pt. cviii of this diary.

  5. [↑] Although the “[something]” is arguably vacuous in the case of many permabeginners.

  6. [↑] Although this may not be a defining feature of the job within some fundamentally broken implementations of the game, e.g. those with HP/MP washing.

  7. [↑] Not to even mention languages other than English, of course…

  8. [↑] See the “But first, a little history…” section of pt. xcv of this diary for a brief overview of the history relevant to this case.

  9. [↑] Location is the odd one out here (pun intended). See the “Islanders & campers” section for more details.

  10. [↑] For a more elaborated version of this distinction between job & (sub)game, see the “‘Odd jobs’? ‘Area lock’? ‘Ironman’? — strange!” section of pt. xcix of this diary.

  11. [↑] For GMS & MapleSEA, this is English. For KMS, this is Korean. And so on…

  12. [↑] Somewhat humorously, the English Wikipedia article Norm (philosophy) (which is inexplicably a distinct article from Normativity??) makes this exact claim:

    Games completely depend on norms. The fundamental norm of many games is the norm establishing who wins and loses. In other games, it is the norm establishing how to score points.

    Naturally, this claim is not elaborated, & includes absolutely no references. Incredible.

    Of course, this general theory (that “games completely depend on norms”) can be convincingly argued (& I make part of that argument in this essay) — just not like this. 🥲

  13. [↑] Compare, for example, the use of cardinal in the phonetics term cardinal vowel. Many, if not most, vowels actually produced by real speakers are not particularly close to a single cardinal vowel (in a given model), & yet we still consider those vowels to be vowels all the same. Still, not all phones are vowels, & vowels are commonly contrasted with consonants (although this contrast is far more complicated than you think!).

  14. [↑] But see the “Hybrids” section below, for a more precise elaboration of what these five bullet points actually describe.

  15. [↑] One term commonly used in this context to maintain this false sense is metagame (sometimes shortened to simply meta). But see the “The inenarrable ‘meta’”, “The ‘meta’ rears its ugly head”, & “Emergence” sections of pt. cx of this diary.

  16. [↑] One example of such a “deterioration” is MapleLegends, where hitting level 200 is by no means impossible — & in the grand scheme of things, not even extremely difficult. Moreover, MapleLegends is built upon the premise (including the version of GMS that it’s based upon) that this is true, as evidenced by the existence of the Echo of Hero skill, as well as mounts up to the level 200 Red Draco.

    The irony is, of course, that even with an attainable end-goal that bears suī generis prizes (Echo in particular), hitting level 200 is still considered an underwhelming prospect, apart from the excuse to have a big party (& who doesn’t want an excuse for that?). The reality is that hitting level 200 generally results in getting bored &, in most cases, simply making one or more new character(s)!

    The behaviour of those who actually hit level 200, in combination with the fact that the vast majority of players know perfectly well that they will never hit 200, is evidence that my argument here doesn’t even hinge on the lack of “win condition” in O.G. MapleStory (& in most, but not all, later MapleStories) — but this is ultimately little more than a (perhaps obvious) sidenote.