I've only been playing Maplestory M a few days and already I've got it bad. After levelling a dark knight to 50 (I believe the level cap is 120, or maybe 150) I decided to try a Corsair, which is a pirate themed ranged/pet class. She's now level 40, and has a better weapon -- potentially -- than the dark knight who is ten levels her senior.
You see, Maplestory M has a fairly traditional grind-tastic mechanic for levelling your equipment as well as your character. By consuming unwanted items and special "powders", you can rank up your equipment, boosting its stats. Then, by using an incredibly rare and expensive reagent, you can boost the overall quality of an item, and thus begin the ranking up process all over again. I managed to pick up a base gun with perfect stats quite cheaply from the player market place, so she's all set. Getting a perfect base item is very, very important, as while the difference between perfect and suboptimal items stats starts out very small, by the time an item is fully upgraded the deviance can be huge.
I learned all of this by watching a variety of YouTube videos, every single one of them hosted by the kind of person who insists on starting every video with a prolonged heyyyy guyyyyys, so I'll spare you all by not linking to them.