Haven Review: RPG Maker 2003

First up is our disclaimer.  We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.screen_condition_icons

RPG Maker 2003 is an older model of RPG maker software however despite its age it is also new. Because it was originally launched only in Japan and it wasn’t until this year that it was launched globally on steam. Now with that being said this will be in comparison to the RPG Maker I use a lot of the time and that is RPG maker VX Ace.
RPG Maker VX Ace in a lot of ways is superior of 2003 Edition of RPG maker with how it is extremely customizable in all the options and the ability to write and use scripts to create whatever you want. RPG Maker 2003 does not have this option. What it does have, however, is a simplified way to build a game.b9977bd3b1ee7f36443cd8c71b1bd1a2

You see in RPG Maker VX Ace it is an extremely complicated system because you can customize so much of it. You can even give it mode 7 so your world scales from an angle to look like Final Fantasy VI if you wanted. Another script you can add will make the game look like Doom III if you wanted it too. The only thing to hold you back is your own skills.

Part of the charm of the original 2003 RPG Maker was that it was so simple even a child could master it. The entire software was built on the principle of making a side battle system essentially like a Final Fantasy title. While RPG Maker VX Ace can do it too,you would need extra scripts for it. Some of these scripts you would have to pay for to use commercially. Another downside is that there is very little support from the creators if you have questions. By default, RPG Maker VX Ace has a face forward battle system much like the Phantasy Star titles from the old genesis era of gaming.tutorial3_2

Despite the many differences between the two programs each has the same principle when building worlds. Making events with a simple click interface which is really useful if you cannot program like the professionals can in Unity or Unreal. It also helps to know talented sprite artists who can help you create a world all your own. (Kinda like us on our current project.)

In the end if you want to make a role-playing game and don’t want to pull out your hair studying every inch of RPG Maker VX Ace, than RPG Maker 2003 is the software for you even more so if you want to get the software because you enjoy Final Fantasy and want to make a game in that type of format (albeit the classic era Final Fantasy and not the modern titles). If you want a more complex over the top game and can dedicate time and the irreparable gray hair that will soon follow from it then I totally recommend RPG Maker VX Ace. It may have a huge learning curve but it is incredibly dependable with the right scripts.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Darn Lucrative Content

From an economic standpoint, downloadable content (DLC) and micro transactions are profitable and easy to sell; though some consider them nothing less than money grubbing add-ons that are all but required to have fun in-game. Perhaps…perhaps not. For me, it depends entirely on the content and price.

Back in the day one could buy new episodes for games such as Duke Nukem on the Commodore Amiga. You could often send money to developers and have them send you updates. So extra content is nothing new.

Some of the most common extras are “power-ups”, which make the player superior and cause the whole experience to become easier. Then there is add-on “gear” and other tools; though in most games this means: Guns (which shoot bullets, which I find very boring). Also let us not forget cosmetic effects such as monocles, spats and tails. Wars have been fought over these.

As physical DVD game media is fizzling from store shelves, many companies have started to withhold content from players, claiming that it’s DLC. This is something I can’t accept, seeing as much of it is already locally installed, and just needs to be unlocked via cash “pay gate”. Season Passes are another can of worms, and offer multiple DLC packs all at once for a somewhat discounted bundle price. I don’t really buy them, seeing as most AAA tiles are expensive enough as it is.

Another thing that won’t leave is the “Pre-order Bonus”; something you’ll never get unless you commit to the game purchase weeks…sometimes months before its retail debut. The industry is selling a promise, and at times they fail to keep it, or the product is just bad. It’s sad that you have to bait consumers with an apparent bright crisp apple, only to have them discover mold on the back side.

It seems that selling content for money (real or virtual) is the norm these days. No matter how I dislike it, I’ll occasionally pony up until my wallet…virtual or otherwise…says differently.

I’ll leave you with a sage truth: It does not hurt the gaming industry to refuse content that should have been there in the first place. There is no Game Warden (yet) to shut down titles that fail to meet sales projections.

Zaceron

House of Wolves

The newest DLC for the most loved/hated game from Bungie, Destiny, finally was released this past Tuesday after months of waiting. This is great for Bungie and players of Destiny alike because it allows a higher light level allowing players to reach level 34, offers an Arena known as the Prison of Elders, and a new mode of PVP called the Trials of Osiris. This is all on top of the extra story missions provided.

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     Let’s talk about the story first. The House of Wolves is a group of Fallen who belong to the Queen of the Reef. When their former leader, Skolas, breaks free from the Prison of Elders, the Wolves betray the Queen and seek to wreak havoc on the known system. Hunting from Earth to the Moon to Venus, our Guardians of Light pursue Skolas in an attempt to capture him again for the Queen. After a run through the Vault of Glass, our heroes find themselves in a showdown versus the Fallen Kell once and for all.

     But now let’s get to the real reason you purchase this DLC: The Prison of Elders!!!

The Prison of Elders is Bungie’s attempt at a Horde/Arena mode. There are 4 levels of various enemies (Fallen, Vex, Hive, and Cabal) that happen at random choosing and various difficulties of your choosing(Lvl’s 28, 32, 34, 35). These missions, while all different in bosses and order, also rotate on a weekly basis to make sure that all players get to experience the different bosses, and to keep the Prison fresh for players. Once you complete your run through the Prison of Elders, the Warden offers you a reward. This is where the grind comes in for your loot. There are two little chest on either side of a large Treasure chest. The little chest are filled with some decent loot, but nowhere near what you want for all of your hard effort. To open the big chest though, you need a legendary Key. You acquire these keys by going to the world in free-play (known as patrol) and hunting down Rogue elements from the House of Wolves. Once you kill them, you find a chest that they’ve left behind, somewhere in your immediate vicinity. If you’re lucky (and pray to RNG Jesus), then you’ll be lucky to be graced with a Treasure Key, a one time use item for the Big chest. Speaking again on the big chest, the big chest is usually full of legendary gear, exotic weapons, and other rare currency. Simply put, these chest are usually worth the effort.

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Finally, The Trials of Osiris. Though they’ve not actually happened at the time of this writing, the first Trials of Osiris event is scheduled to happen on 5/22/2015. The Trials are essentially an upgrade to the PVP system already in place. Those who play Destiny are already familiar with the Iron Banner Tournament that runs once a month for a week where armor and weapons actually use their real values as opposed to their Standardized sets. Trials of Osiris is an elimination style tournament that occurs every weekend with the promise of loot and shiny gear (SHINY!!!) that has an Egyptian theme. A player and two friends are sent into an encounter. They’ll need nine team wins to gain access to Gold Tier Loot. If they lose three times though, they have to start over (not sure if they can participate again in the same weekend at the time of this writing). This is an overall interesting addition to PVP in Destiny as PVP is always one of those systems that gamers either love or hate. Players can collect their loot from Brother Vance in the Reef.

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     My overall consensus is that House of Wolves is worth the DLC price for those that are playing Destiny already. If you are a new player, this is content that will take you a little bit of time to get to as you’ll need to be approximately level 28 to really appreciate the House of Wolves, but between the built in game content plus the first DLC The Dark Below that shouldn’t take very long. The best part about the House of Wolves is that they introduce a new material called Etheric Light, which allows you to upgrade your previously obsolete gear to playable levels. This means that new players who may or may not have gotten The Dark Below can still expect to come into Destiny and play with the veterans.

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