Progression Guide

Last Updated: September 13, 2020


  • (9/13/2020) Added hyper stats order, updated different sections based on recent patches
  • (6/20/2020) Guide created

As a new or returning player to Maplestory M, it can be extremely daunting with all the various things you can do in the game. I believe this guide will provide a general path to progressing in Maplestory M and how to minimize mistakes along the way. It is not intended to give detailed instructions on how to play each individual piece of the game. If you have real money to drop, you can always skip a lot of these steps but you can always spend as much or little as you want. The guide is divided up into 4 distinct sections:

Early Game

During your early stages of gameplay, your main focus should be on leveling up as many characters to level 125. Reaching this level will give you access to the 3rd elite dungeons, which we’ll dive into later. To progress (especially as a F2P), you’ll want a solid foundation of alts that can do Elite Dungeons and meso farm. In this section, I’ll outline good starter classes to help pick a main and the two main ways to progress: Star Forcing & Elite Dungeons.

Finding your main: Don’t stress if you don’t know who to main just yet. You’ll definitely be making multiple characters anyways so take your time and enjoy the ride! There might be some other classes that entice you as you get to learn the game and see other classes as you level. The best thing right now is to pick a character that requires very little funding to get going. However, if you don’t like that class -- stop at lvl125 and it’ll become your meso farmer and ED mule (more on these topics later). Here are some classes that do well with relatively low funding/pets:

(Update 7/12): Phantom: Since the latest patch, even without pets Phantom is strong and one of the most mobile mobbers in the game.

  • Buccaneer: tanky, mobile, great mobbing skills, phy dmg link skill
  • Shade: only one togglable buff until lvl150 (no need for auto-buffs), crazy tanky
  • Evan: Fun class, really strong, great mobbing skills
  • Luminous: great mobbing skills, high damage, mag dmg link skill

If there is a new class, there will normally be a special event with rewards for leveling it up to really help your main (or to become your main). Definitely do these events as they show up. For example, the last event was Battle Mage with a new class and rewards like auto-buff pets, SF scrolls, rank up stones, etc.

Star Forcing

Star forcing is THE way to level in Maplestory M. There is no really other option, so this should be your primary focus of your resources for awhile...

lvl0 - lvl70

Unless you’re already in a good guild or you know a high level that can leech for you (Update 9/13: due to the change of CP requirements for non-sf maps leeching is much much harder than questing), questing will be your main source of EXP until around levels 70-80. While you can still quest past these levels, it’ll start to get slower and there are better alternatives: Star Force maps and maps with high meso drop rate.


SF (star force) are the stars on your gear that allow you access into the star force fields and generally the higher SF, the better. Your first target should be SF80, which is an avg of 10SF on each of your main gears (weapon, helmet, outfit, shoes, gloves, belt, cape, shoulders).

You should only be star forcing epic or higher. Read my SF Guide for more information on this. As for type of equips, you’ll want muspell gloves for acc, and generally bloody overall/cape/shoes for EVD. You’ll also want to get an Epic Jaihin weapon and SF that weapon first.

If you are past level 70 but didn’t hit SF80, you’ll need to start generating mesos. The best first meso map to start at is Snakes (In the world map, go to mulung -> snakes). Snakes is a great map for mesos and solid for leveling until you’ve SF’d your gear to 80. For a more detailed guide, visit my Mesos Guide

In Summary:

  • Quest until lvl75-80
  • Snakes after level 70 until you hit SF80
  • Level at SF80 till level 125

Elite Dungeons

Once you’ve reached level 125. You can now do the third Elite Dungeons (Tap the Dungeon Icon -> Elite Dungeons). The reason you want to start doing the lvl125+ one is that it starts to give you unique powders, which is one of the most important resources for a F2P player. Powders are used for leveling your weapon + armors and generating income.

You should be running EDs 5xday (3 free tickets + 1 from daily achievement + 1 from Guild check-in)

Path Split

At this point you’ll need to decide if you want to choose this character as your main or start working on the next alt. The more alts you have, the more resources you’ll have at your disposal to feed into your main. Also, the more alts you have, the more access to link skills/ED mules/meso farmers you’ll have. You start off with 6 slots and get a free slot for every new character that’s released. You can also pay gems or buy character expansion coupons in the TS, but they’re quite pricey.

Don’t over-do the amount of alts you have to maintain to run EDs as it can be very time consuming and draining. If at some point it stops being fun creating new characters, start focusing on choosing a main + a couple of core characters. Remember it's a marathon not a sprint!

Early-Mid game

If your shiny new lvl125 character is the character you want to main, great! You can now focus on funneling all your event rewards, mesos, powders, etc. into your main! You’re now ready to start focusing on dailies for your main as you continue to level. Now besides SFing, there are things you should do daily/weekly:


  • Elite Dungeons

    • Your bread n’ butter. Covered in previous section.
  • Expeditions (2x a day) Getting the 7/7 boss set will greatly help with surviving higher level maps and greatly boosts your damage.

    - Dark Premium Symbol (Face Acc from NCec/HCec)
    - Crystal Ventus Badge (Badge from CZak)
    - Horntail Necklace (Necklace from NHt)
    - Dea Sidus Earring (Earrings from HHt)
    - Silver Blossom Ring (Ring from HHt)
    - Golden Clover Belt (Belt from HPB)
    - Chaos Pink Bean Mark (Eye Acc from HPB)
    - Cygnus Kohinoor Ring (Ring from NCec/HCec)

Note: Chaos expeditions will drop legendary version of all of these

  • Mu Lung Dojo

    • You only need to do this until you get enough for the 15% exp pendant (30k Mu lung dojo, 7 days). You get 15-20k weekly to help as well, so factor that in.
  • Tayngoon

    • Generally you want to focus on the slime soup (3x 20% exp for 15min) but there other good buff options. Also gives level-based experience.
  • Monster Carnival (after HT)

    • Gives level based exp. Best times are normally after the first Hot time.
  • Netts

    • As needed to get belts/rings until you fill out your boss set
    • Also great for gold leaves


  • The Legend Returns

    • You only need to do this once a week to get 26k coins and you can get the 15% exp medal from the shop (cost: 14k points, 7 days)
    • To claim rewards, on mondays you have to tap on Legend Returns -> Rank -> Claim reward
  • Daily Dungeon (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)

    • Thursday is Yellow/EXP jewels and Sat/Sun should also be focused on yellow (EXP %) until you have completed the S set. See the Jewel table for different jewels and their set bonuses


  • Kerning Tower PQ

    • Having a guild + alts becomes really useful for this one as you'll need them to get past the highest levels. Main things you should get from the store here:
    - Kerning M Ring (15% EXP)
    - Scrolls (for SFing)
    - Rank up stones

Mid Game

While there is no official “start” to mid game, I’ll say it’s around level 141 (your first hyper skill). Some legendary pieces, your boss set, having your daily/weekly rotation down, and your alts running the powder machine. This is where you can start working towards your “End game gear”. How deep you want to go is up to you! Remember that, like most mobile games, this is where the progress slows down a bit and is very dependent on events, luck, and most importantly TIME. The next on your path is:

PBA (Perfect Base Attack) Weapon

  • Jaihin is generally regarded as the best of the 4 weapons and you should slowly work on your PBA while keeping your fused one for general training. The reason you shouldn’t go PBA from the beginning is you’ll rely on ranking up through stones rather than fusing and that can hinder your progress very early.
  • I’d put this low on your list and just focus on fusing until Mythic.

For a more in-depth understanding of PBA: Astralmist's PBA weapon guide


  • Join a good guild - Getting into a good guild will not only give you access to good resources. It also makes the game more fun! There are plenty of active guilds with tons of people willing to help newbies. If you’re decently geared, you can try to get into a top 50 guild which will net you 100 gems every 2 weeks (Guild Fort Battle)!
  • Guild check-ins also give some extra tickets to ED/Mu Lung/AB/etc depending on the number of participants, so joining a guild with people logging on everyday is definitely something to do ASAP.

Beyond Mid Game

If you’ve made it this far and got some mythics under your belt, congrats! Mythic is where you start doing some solid damage! Pat yourself on the back and get ready for E N D G A M E.

By this time, you should be very familiar with the game and comfortable with most mechanics. The last few mechanics are pretty straight forward once you understand the systems.

Exalting (do this first)

  • Only allowed once you have a mythic at lvl30
  • Allows your mythic weapon to go past level 30, up to level 40
  • Each successful exalt ups your max level by 2 (5 exalts total)

    • You’ll still need to level it, but it doesn’t need to be lvl32 to go to lvl34 and so on
  • You need the same weapon TYPE (emblem status doesn’t matter)

    • Mythic Jaihin needs Mythic Jaihin to exalt, but can be level 1 (emblem status)
  • You can use exalt stones when they come from events but they have a lower success rate than weapons
  • Each failure gives a boost in success change
  • Tiny bit more details at: Nexons guide to exalting

You should exalt first before refining due to needing the same base type. If you refine to empress before you fully > exalt, you can only use empress gear to exalt, which might be harder to find depending on your server.

Refine (Empress)

  • Refining is the process of using empress stones (from corrupted empress expeditions) to change your equip to empress gear

    • Refining changes your equipment base type to empress
  • However, it keeps the underlying stats (so Utgard for example, would keep the exp%)
  • Depending on your server's economy, if you have a BiS (best-in-slot) item it might be cheaper to refine before since BiS will be much cheaper than even the refined version. Most of the time though, you want to refine after fully exalting.

Rank to Ancient (Mastercrafting)

Nexon's Mastercraft Guide

Since this is fairly new and we’re still discovering things about it. I’d rather just say that you should only focus on this after you’ve done all the above in terms of equipment enhancement. The only thing is to only upgrade to ancient AFTER you’ve refined at least once. Since you cannot once you go to ancient (if you haven’t done it previously).

Hyper Stats

Hyper stats are a way to directly convert your mesos into permament stats for your character. It is very expensive and should be reserved LAST in terms of progression after you've hit a big chunk of your upgrades. It's a good way to increase power with excess mesos (lol). See my hyper stats table for what stats you can increase and cost with leveling each stat. Note: the cost increase happens on a per stat basis)

Recommended hyper stats order

Credit: Thanks to Sally for the order recommendation!

  1. Final Damage Inc.
  2. Phy/Mag Damage Inc.
  3. Max Damage Inc.*
  4. Inc. Chance of Additional DMG when attacking
  5. Crit Damage Inc.
  6. Boss Atk Inc.

\If you do not hit the max damage yet, it's recommended that you can skip this stat and get the next in the order*

I hope this serves as a guide to progressing in Maplestory M and gives you a solid understanding of the various ways to improve. Things might be added/removed and I’ll try to update this guide as much as I can but the core should be relatively the same. Remember that you can go as fast or slow as you want as long as you’re enjoying the grind!