Datamined Skill Tree Info

THEEYES

Looks like the first real juicy bit of data is on our hands, posted up on psumods here. The raw data of every single skill from every skill tree in the game! While some of it just confirms the numbers we had before, a good amount of this is actually new.

However, as it is data-mined information it should not be taken as confirmation of anything. Parts of this could well change before release.

This post will simply talk about the data and share my thoughts on it where I can. This information is in addition to details about classes revealed by Sega before, which you can read about on Bumped here or on PSO-World here.

General

All stat-up skills are now tiered, meaning the higher versions of them give more stats than before. For example, S-Atk Up 1 gives 50, S-Atk Up 2 gives 75 and S-Atk up 3 gives 100 at lv10. If your build fills out all three in any given stat, you will now have gained 75 of it, so not bad.

Stance skills are now infinite duration with a 5 second cooldown. Well most are, as for some reason Bouncer’s Break Stance and Elemental stance currently have a duration of 30 minutes. Oddly inconsistent.

Hunter

Fury Stance as we know caps at 120% now, with Fury Combo reduced to 10% and Fury S Up both capped at 5% each. This, along with Just Attack Bonus 1 and 2, brings Hunter’s total damage bonus to 176%, down from 219%. For ranged types, it’s now 161%.

Now this is where it may get a bit more interesting. Hunter has an exclusive offensive option in the form of War Brave. This boosts damage by 3% per monster taunted and regains PP at 7 per monster, to a cap of 15% and 35 PP. This means that a Hunter’s damage potential against a crowd of enemies is higher than it is against a single target, working out to a total of 202% against 5+ enemies, or 181% if War Cry is used on one target. War Cry itself has also had its threat doubled across the board, starting at 200% and ending at 400% instead of 100% and 200%. I suspect this still may not be enough for tanky Hunters to maintain hatred from the DPS players around them, but we’ll see.

Defensive Skills

The Flash Guards are now 100% activation, instead scaling on amount of damage reduced per level. Flash Guard still maxes at 20%, while Tech Guard still caps at 30%. Guard Stance will no longer penalize your attack at all at lv10, but is otherwise the same.

Massive Hunter has changed a bit, now boasting an uptime of 45 seconds over its previous of 25, with its cooldown reduced from 100 seconds to 90. This of course means that it’s uptime is now 50%, which for what the skill does isn’t bad really.

Iron Will and Never Give Up have had their abilities changed a tad. Instead of requiring Never Give Up to gain invincibility upon triggering Iron Will it’s now an innate part of Iron Will. The invincibiility caps at 5 seconds at lv10. Never Give Up meanwhile has had its duration extended to 15 seconds at lv10, up from 5. I’m not sure if this is just referring to its attack or if its referring to invincibility as well, it’s a little confusing.

Fighter

All Slayer skills now add T-Atk as well as the other stats. This means they’re now useable options for teching types. Deadline Slayer has been boosted to 150 attack from 100.

Chase Advance has been reduced from 140% to 125%. Despite my previous assumption, this won’t apply to all damage types. “AtpRate” (in game this just displays as “power”) sounds like it would apply to all damage. The confusion here is that other skills that use AtpRate like Elemental Weak Hit use the same stat to mean “all damage types”, plus there are stat names for each attack type (AtpStrikeRate, AtpFirearmRate and AtpTechniqueRate). This is the source of my confusion and I’m sorry for that. 

Adrenaline now only requires 1 Skill Point, but still caps at 30s.

Brave Stance was boosted from 120% to 125%, making the bonus total (with maxed Brave Stance Up) now 150%, up from 144%. Wise Stance was boosted from 130% to 135%, making its total 175.5%, up from 169%. Both stances have had their positional penalties essentially removed as well.

Limit Break reduces HP to 25% of your character’s maximum HP, while boosting striking damage by 120%. Its duration is 60 seconds with a 90 second cool-down, giving it a 66% uptime. These numbers are all at lv10. Note that Limit Break is a skill unique to Fighters, so this number is irrelevant if you want to consider Fighter as a subclass. It still isn’t known whether or not this skill will trigger Halfline Slayer and Deadline Slayer as far as I know, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Tech Arts Just Attack Bonus boosts damage to 115%. The conditions for this aren’t exactly known, though.

Ranger

Weak Hit Advances have had their damage bonus boosted from 125% to 135%. That’s kind of it with regard damage bonuses that this class offers.

Bullets and Traps

Weak Bullet has had its damage bonus reduced from 300% to 255%. Mirage Shot, Bind Bullet, Panic Shot and Jellen Shot have all been compressed to 5 point skills, with all of them having the same stats at lv5 that they used to at lv10. Jellen Shot is the exception, as its damage reduction effect has been boosted from 10% to 15%.

Trap skills no longer consume items, instead they have a cool-down attached to their use.

Stun Grenade now works 100% of the time from lv1 and has a 15 second cooldown. Upper Trap has a 20 second cool-down. Poison Trap has a 20 second cooldown. Upper T Custom and Poison T Custom are both now 1 point skills, but they still do their old lv10 cap damage boost. These cool-downs sound somewhat prohibitive if you were intending to spam traps, but it might not be too bad in practice.

Gunner

Chain Finish Bonus has 4 of… something. Agrajag’s guess is that it’s cooldown – chain count * 4 when you finish the chain, essentially working to reduce the time you’re waiting before you start your next chain depending on how high a chain you built. If this were the case, if Chain Trigger is at lv10 you would need to build a chain of 15 or more to reduce the cool-down to nothing. If this is the case, then this means almost endless chaining for Gunners from here on out. Seems a little too powerful to me, so this may not be the case. When combined with Twice Chain, this would mean that you could get infinite chains with just 2 normal attacks with Machineguns, which just seems to be far too low to me.

Showtime, like War Cry, has had its threat generated doubled across the board. It’s also had its duration extended from 30s to 45s, on a 60 second cool-down.

High-Time’s damage bonus at max has been raised from 15% to 20%. It’s a little better in combination with the extension that Showtime is getting.

Stylish Roll JA Bonus has been reduced to 150% from 200%. It’s still a meaty enough boost to ignore doing any attack other than those that synergize well with Stylish Roll, but hey maybe the strength of the attacks that aren’t so friendly to it will be raised enough that this won’t matter so much.

Force

Freeze Ignition’s cool-down has been reduced to 30 seconds from 60. I think this is still too long but its at least out of the realms of “utterly ridiculous”.

Photon Flare has has its duration raised to 45s while its cool-down has been reduced to 100 seconds from 120, granting it a 45% uptime. It has also had its HP penalty removed . Photon Flare Afterburst now caps at lv1 with its old lv10 bonus of 100 T-atk.

Techer

Deband Toughness grants 25% to your base maximum HP at lv5. Shifta Strike boosts damage to 110% at lv5. Along with the other changes to Techer such as Extend Assist as an innate skill, Territory Burst as a 1 point skill and Super Treatment as a 1 point skill this class is getting a lot of help towards its support abilities. It should definitely help make the role a bit less of a hassle to play as well as boost its demand due to Shifta Strike if nothing else.

Wand Lovers is now a stance and boosts wand striking damage to 140%, up from 135%. Wand bonkers rejoice, for your build now sounds considerably less cumbersome to me.

Braver

This first bit is mostly relevant to Bullet Bow users. Attack Advance boosts the power of normal attacks by 150%. Charge Advance boosts charged shooting-type normal attacks to 110%, while also boosting the speed of the bullets to 150%. Rapid Shoot Up 2 has had its power boosted to +150 R-Atk during Rapid Shoot (while using a Bullet Bow).

Average Stance boosted from 110% to 115%. Weak Stance was boosted from 130% to 135%. The totals are a little dependent on attack type, so going to lay them out in a list:

  • Average Stance with uncharged attacks: 126% up from 121%
  • Average Stance with charged attacks: 139% up from 133%
  • Weak Stance with uncharged attacks: 148% up from 143%
  • Weak Stance with charged attacks: 163% up from 157%.
Bouncer

The actual function of Bouncer skills is of course rather poorly understood, so the ramifications of this are pretty difficult to judge. With that said, lets see some numbers.

Stances

Elemental Stance: 120% damage bonus to elemental weaknesses, Elemental Stance Up 1 boosts boosts damage to another 110%. This makes the total bonus Elemental Stance offers a rather paltry 132%. It seems to be a shit version of Weak Stance.

Break Stance meanwhile grants a 135% damage bonus to breakable parts, with Break Stance Up 1 boosting this by a further 110% for a total of 148.5%.

Gears

Dual Blade Gear: Lasts 10 seconds upon activation, boosts PP regeneration to 110%, possibly Gear regeneration to 110% and can stack up to 6 times. No idea how said stacking works!

On-Use Skills

Elemental PP Restorate Field: +3 PP per hit on an enemy for 60 seconds on a 90 second cool-down, so 66% uptime.

Rapid Boost increases the speed of attacks to 115% and lowers the charge-time of all charged attacks to 85%. This skill is up for 45 seconds on a 120 second cool-down, giving it a 37.5% uptime. Rapid Boost JA Bonus boosts the power of Just Attacks to 115%.

Passives

Deband PP Restorate: +3 PP per hit on an enemy while under the effect of Deband.

Shifta Air Attack Boost: 105%. The name suggests to me that it’s only applicable while your character is airborn.

Just Reversal PP Recover; Regenerate 20% of your max PP upon successful Just Reversal.

Heal Share is 20% of something. Not known.

Heal Bonus boosts healing to 115%. I wonder if this just means Resta or if it applies to all sources of healing?

Weapon Skills

Photon Blade Fever has a 130% damage multiplier, lasts 45 seconds and has a 120 second cool-down giving it an uptime of 37.5%. What the multiplier is applied to or how it works isn’t known. Same goes for its supplementary skill, Photon Blade Fever Up 1 which has a further 130% boost.

Photon Blade Escape: Whatever it does it does it for 0.35 seconds.

Craft Mastery just increases.. craftmasteryrate by a maximum of 0.1 or 10%. I have no idea.

Thoughts:

If these numbers are final something feels amiss. For one thing, the stances last 30 minutes, which runs counter to every other stance in the game being changed to an infinite duration. Elemental Stance is much weaker than Weak Stance, which mechanically speaking does the precise same task for teching types. Other abilities also seem markedly weak given how.. specific they are. That said, it’s pretty hard to really gauge the utility of the class without trying it out, so its a bit difficult to judge the overall effectiveness of the class at the moment. If these cold hard numbers are both indicative and final, then I feel like Bouncer might need a boost down the line…

Of course if it is accurate then it means my worries about the class in this post are for naught, which is a good thing I guess.

Critical Skills

I decided to separate these from their parent classes, as Criticals aren’t really relevant to most current builds. They may or may not make entirely new builds possible, however.

  • Hunter’s Fury Stance Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Fighter’s Brave Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Fighter’s Wise Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Gunner’s Zero Range Critical is still 50%
  • Techer’s Shifta Critical is 20% up from 15%
  • Braver’s Average Stance Critical is 25% up from 20%
  • Braver’s Weak Stance Critical is still 25%.
  • Bouncer’s Elemental Stance Critical is 25%
  • Bouncer’s Break Stance Critical is 25%
  • Bouncer’s Critical Field is 30%

So Hunter, Fighter, Braver and Bouncer all have the option of adding 25% to their crit-rate for any of their stances. Shifta can then boost it by a further 20% and Bouncer’s Critical Field by a further 30%, with Gunner having the unique property of granting a 50% bonus to critical damage for ranged attacks in close range.

So it’s 25% + 20% for single classes under the effect of Shifta Critical, or 25% + 25% + 20% for certain hybrids (any combination of Hunter, Fighter, Bouncer or Braver). Fighter’s Critical Strike skill also grants an additional 15%, but this is only available to Fighters. This would grant a critical hit rate of 45% for a single class or 70% for certain hybrids, not including whatever the base critical rate is. Naturally if you then add Bouncer’s Critical Field you then have a critical hit rate of 100%. Gunner can achieve a critical hit rate of 75% on its own, or 95% with Shifta Critical.

Remember that critical hits cancel all variance, so if you could maintain 100% this would utterly remove the biggest downside to using crafted weaponry. Of course, Critical Field has an up-time of 37.5%, so for the rest of the time you’re going to be at around 70%. When combined with Fighter’s ability to boost the damage of critical hits to 115% (Fighter main only) as well as boosting their critical chance by a further 15%, it feels like critical builds may be more viable than they are now. Fighter/Hunter, Fighter/Braver and Fighter/Bouncer could get a critical hit rate of 65% before Shifta Critical, which is pretty nice. If you were the slightly more unusual Fighter/Gunner, should you have Fighter-usable Twin Machineguns you can get a critical hit rate of 90% while attacking things in close range. I’m actually pretty interested in looking into this a bit further…

Anyway that’s all. It’s been a long enough post as is without considering the implications for various class combinations. I was originally going to do this in another post, but as the numbers here are pre-release and thus unpredictably volatile it seems like a wasted effort, especially when all this is going to be out in a week anyway.

Ultimate Naberius

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It was data-mined a while ago that Ultimate would be arriving in some form and last night’s reveal sure did confirm it and then some. As was guessed, the field is altered from its original incarnation and the natives are very different as well, at least visually.

You can see it in motion in the 2nd half of the teaser embedded below. The first half concerns content I’ll chat a bit about in another post.

As is usual with post-stream content, expect compression artifacts in imagery. If Sega releases an HD version of the trailer or some outright screenshots I’ll replace these as appropriate.

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Ultimate Naberius Forest. Shares the sunset hue with Forest Ultimate from PSO.

The slightly worrying thing about this reveal is that it’s apparently a quest type as opposed to an additional difficulty. Both Extreme Quests and Advanced Quests have limitations on them. These limitations are not without reason, but they’re limitations all the same. Essentially the worry is they could place some annoying restriction on the quest type that may mire the experience somewhat.

Regarding the experience, what is there to expect from the quests with regard to that? Well it seems to ditch the old 3 areas per planet approach present in the rest of the game, dragging monsters from other fields into the fray. Heck, it technically drags monsters from other planets entirely. The monsters themselves, while being visually distinct as mentioned, may also have new behaviors not seen elsewhere. At least I’d hope they do, or else it would be like playing any other quest in the game.

That’s really all there is to say about this for now. The sum total of what is known about Ultimate is that it is a quest type and how some of it looks. That’s it! .The data didn’t tell us a huge amount more, other than there are rare versions of some of the monsters here. The old list is as follows:

UltNativeBeast, UltNativeBeastThrower, UltWolfA, UltWolfB, UltWolfARare, UltWolfBRare, UltYetiA, UltYetiB, UltMammothA, UltMammothB

Now, clearly there’s no where in this list a Meduna or Vol Dragon reskin can fit, so hey there were some genuine surprises! Unfortunately if there’s any more information it hasn’t arrived to us yet as the file these names are present in has so far not been included in the pre-patch. For that matter, the executable isn’t in our hands yet either!

Ultimate Quests are set to arrive some time in the winter.

Bouncer: My Fears.

bounce_for_me

Some details about Bouncer’s skills have been revealed. By some I really do mean a select few details, which you can read about on Bumped here. As we don’t know all that much this post will just be my speculative worries about what could go wrong with the class.

Craft Mastery

Description: Boosts the power of crafted weapons.

Given that all classes can use crafted weaponry this seems like an unusual skill to give to a single class. Perhaps the designers consider it a method to make crafted weapons better if you were to take Bouncer as a sub-class? While that may be true, there are some potential issues with this I feel.

First, we don’t really have any idea what they mean by “boosted power”. If it’s just attack power then it remains potentially useless as crafted weaponry has some immense damage variance. I won’t go into detail if you don’t know much about it, but suffice to say it means the damage output of crafted weapons is remarkably unreliable. This could be circumvented if you could get your critical hit rate high enough though, which may make another Bouncer skill by the name of “Critical Field” quite relevant. Critical hits in PSO2 don’t work like they do in most other RPGs/MMOs, as instead of granting a damage bonus on hit they just do the maximum damage your current attack power can do with a given attack, effectively cancelling variance.

Of course, the possibility remains that the skill may do something about this variance, which then threatens the game in an entirely different way. If it’s too good, it makes higher rank weapons pointless. If this is combined with any boost to attack this skill could do, it could make Bouncer a mandatory subclass for all classes. Not a fun outcome, but due to how 10* and 11* equipment rely on players spending money on the game (in order to buy them from other players) this kind of outcome seems vanishingly unlikely.

Break Stance

Description: Boosts damage dealt to breakable parts on enemies.

Really just two questions about this stance: How much is the damage boost? Does the boost persist after you have broken the part?

To me, it seems unlikely that the answer to the 2nd question will be “yes” due to how the game works. A breakable part on a boss is a different hit-box entirely. That is to say. Quartz Dragon’s crystal nose is not the same as its exposed squishy nose. That said, something like Vol Dragon’s face may or may not be considered “breakable” given how its hit-box will also disappear once you pass a certain damage threshold. It depends on how the game internally defines what is breakable and what isn’t, as of course the skill will use that data to determine if the damage boost applies. If it’s more flexible in this definition than I expect, then Break Stance could be extremely effective at killing bosses.

Well, it could be anyway. This rather depends on the answer to the first question, to which the answer is “we don’t know”. The damage bonus could be so much that it out-does Weak Stance as a boss killer or it could be so bad it isn’t worth bothering with. If it is bad and only applies to what we understand as breakable parts then the stance would be almost utterly worthless. The worst case scenario for me is if it were something like +50% damage and it was liberal about what it defines as breakable…

Elemental Stance

Description: Boosts the damage dealt to an enemy if you use a weapon with an element that they are weak to.

Essentially this is Element Weak Hit, the stance. If you’re using a fire weapon on enemies weak to fire, you’ll boost your damage. This stance seriously worries me, as I feel it has the potential to do the most damage to the game out of all of Bouncer’s skills.

If this boost is too weak, or around the 20% range, then it clashes with Element Weak Hit too much. Element Weak Hit is a passive skill, making it essentially a free stance. This would suck for Bouncer but it wouldn’t threaten the game.

It being too strong sounds like an obvious thing to worry about, but I’m going to tell you why I think that this could threaten the game more than even Fury Stance. See, if it greatly boosts your damage if you use the correct element, then it also boosts the effectiveness of weapons which also have a latent ability that does the same. One such latent ability is “Ancient Oath”, which boosts the damage dealt by 14% for striking an enemy’s elemental weakness. As it happens, there aren’t many weapons that have this latent but this could change going into the future. The issue this creates is the new top-end could be to take Elemental Stance and equip a rainbow selection of the highest available weapon with Ancient Oath in your given class. Essentially it tuns the game into Phantasy Star Universe. I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of having to find at least 4 copies of the same difficult to obtain weapon, +40 each of them and affix them all accordingly to be a bit of an obnoxious task to undertake. Unless of course you have bottomless pockets of Meseta which is related to my final point in this paragraph. The essential reason why I worry that this skill could make the game worse is it could make the gap between best and decently geared players even more severe than it is. For a lot of players, the top end already feels unattainable due to the layers of random numbers involved. To have that multiplied by several times just seems unreasonable to me. It’s difficult enough, I argue.

This stance may have strong synergy with Force’s skill. “Element Conversion”. If it’s too powerful, this may make Bouncer a mandatory subclass for Force, returning us to a time where Fire and Lightning techs rule the Teching side of the game. OK, ice techs may have a place too if the re-balance adjusts them accordingly.

Again though, this is speculation based on my own fears about how things could go wrong.  It may just be a minor power boost over using a non-elemental power boosting stance (with an Ancient Oath weapon), in which case people are still having to get a rainbow selection of weapons but now they’re spending hundreds of millions of Meseta on something marginally better instead of significantly. The gap between best and decent wouldn’t be changed much.

Deband PP Restorate

Description: Boosts PP regenerated per attack while Deband is active.

The damage this skill could do to the game seems limited on its own, it really depends on how much the bonus is and how strong the above skills are. This skill could make the above worse by allowing people to use Photon Arts more frequently on top of the bonuses the other skills may grant.

Closing Thoughts

While the balance changes announced during the last broadcast are for the most part interesting and do sound like they could go a fair way towards balancing things, I worry that they may not be balancing Bouncer along with them. I just hope they are carefully considering the power of the skills involved, not just so we don’t end up with new overpowered builds but also so that Bouncer actually can compete with the other classes.

Reining in Everybody’s Sugar Daddy

gimme_some_suger_baybey

They said they were gonna do it for a while and now Sega has set a date for it. From the 27th of August, all Time Attack Client Orders will have a 166 hour cooldown applied to them, effectively turning them into weekly quests. But fear not, because the amount paid per quest will be increased.

To go along with this, Meseta payouts from some Daily Orders will be increased as well as the addition of some new Client Orders (unelated to Time Attacks). This is presumably to ensure that players can still earn roughly the same amount of Meseta that they were able to before.

Thoughts

Overall, I feel this is going to be a good change. Much of my gameplay of late had simply become “log in for TACOs, get XQ pass, log out”. If they can pull this off correctly by making more of the game more rewarding then the end result is I am encouraged to play more of the game. I feel like this will be a good thing for the most part, however there are ways this could all go wrong.

TACOs are a high payout for a small time investment, making them suitable for players with limited amounts of time to play. If the new way to earn Meseta is too time consuming then those players may be at a disadvantage. Heck, even those with all the time in the world may find the new means to earn their income too much effort depending on how it’s executed. Some of the Daily Quests take a very long time to complete, though you can at least spread those out over multiple days as keeping a Daily Order won’t cut into the number you\re allowed to take per day. Of course, the lengthier Daily Orders may not be among the ones having their Meseta payouts boosted.

Another potential downside is, while TACOs could be solo’d easily by players with mediocre gear and skill, a lot of players preferred to run them in groups to speed them up. As they are set to become weekly quests, I feel like there will be less opportunity for those who like to group up with random players. Fewer interactions between players is kind of a sad thing in a chiefly multi-player game  This doesn’t bother me personally because I can’t stand pick-up groups in this game anyway.

This may or may not make running TACOs on Hard and Normal more worthwhile, it depends on their payout and how much you can tolerate running the same quest that many times! While you could technically do that with TACOs as they are, I don’t think there are many people who could stomach running the same set of quests 3 times per day on each character. While they’re daily, I know I myself can only really stand to run a couple of the quests on a single difficulty on a single character each day at the most.

Of course, potentially moving the main source of Meseta away from daily Time Attack Quests also opens up room to add new quests. While I’m sure laziness was the main thing preventing us from getting more of these quests, the fact that the economy could have been negatively affected by adding them may not have helped.

In any case, I am happy that I will only really need to run Time Attacks once a week to keep on top of my Meseta.

State of the Servers

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Figured I’d hold back on making such a post til it was perhaps a little clearer what exactly is going on. It’s still about as clear as mud and nothing is definite here, but I will share some thoughts now.

To recap, on June 19th pso2.jp, the game’s and PSO-World’s servers were taken down or rendered inoperable by a DDoS attack. Who did it? Who cares. The attacks ended and Sega implemented some countermeasures, bringing the servers back online. However, most foreign players were still unable to connect. As of making this post, people outside of Japan still can’t connect for the most part.

A word of warning to anyone thinking of using a VPN to connect: Rumours are flying about that this could result in an actual account ban. Bans are error messages in the 800 range, anything else is for the most part connection issues. Using a VPN is a risky endeavor and I would advise against it, myself.

WE GOT IP BLOCKED!!

It’s funny how many people lept to this conclusion. Suffice to say, this conclusion is still wrong.

  • First, an IP block is entirely ineffective against a DDoS. But Sega doesn’t do effective things I hear you cry!
  • Second, Japanese players are also suffering from connection problems.
  • Third, players have reported that persistence can work for certain errors. Some IP block if so.
  • Fourth, Sakai himself said during a talk at the Osaka event that an IP block would achieve nothing.
  • Fifth, that some ISPs were able to connect and some that weren’t before are now able to, it puts the IP ban theory quite firmly in the coffin.

Now, just because we haven’t been IP blocked doesn’t mean we’ll all be able to play this game any time soon. I’ll be talking about that later…

Our Position.

Well, aside no IP ban the most obvious fact is right now most of the foreign player-base still can’t connect.

So what does this mean for us? Well, frankly, we must come to terms with the possibility that we will never be able to play on the Japanese servers again. Whatever measures Sega has taken to protect itself has rendered most of us unable to connect, so although it isn’t an IP ban it will behave as an effective one. While Sega does acknowledge that users are suffering from connection issues and is attempting to fix them, this actually means nothing to us.

See, we as foreign users have the rights to absolutely no support whatsoever from Sega. If you get banned or if you are for whatever reason no longer able to connect, this is none of Sega’s concern and they will not help you. You violate the terms of service by connecting from outside of Japan at all, after all. As foreign players, many of us knew and accepted that risk anyway, knowing full well that Sega could pull the plug without a word. It’s a shitty position to put ourselves in but in the continuing absence of local servers it was that or don’t play at all.

The point I am getting at is, if Sega’s anti-DDoS measures have indirectly rendered it difficult or impossible for foreign users to connect, they not only have zero obligation to fix it they don’t even have to acknowledge it’s a problem. In other-words, if the measures to fix it for the Japanese players don’t work for us, this current situation may be permanent.

The Community

If it is indeed permanent,  what does it mean for other parts of the community? I imagine it’ll just quietly die as the core user-base will shrink down to those willing to risk it and use a VPN to connect, or to those who happen to be on an ISP that can connect. Those who can still connect may stop as none of their friends can play. Communities outside the game won’t be as active with fewer people able to log in, as there’s only so much you can talk about a game you can’t even play.

The english patch team will stop working on it. I speak of the core english patch team at psumods, who will likely no longer provide effort towards the patch. It’d be considered a waste of time at that point with such a diminished user base. Aida may or may not continue working on things. Update: Looks like instead the patch will fall back to a lower-effort mode, whereby newer content may not be delivered as quickly as it was. I was told otherwise

As for this blog? Well, if I can’t play it I feel the purpose of an opinions blog is somewhat diminished. If I could, the number of people it’d be relevant to would be severely diminished anyway! This never was a news blog and never will be unless I can learn how to read Japanese. Machine translation doesn’t cut it. So that may well be it for this blog unless we get our own version of the game.

Thoughts

Not a lot to say. Sega has handled this whole thing in a remarkably clumsy manner, but Sega of Japan owe us nothing at all anyway. It does rather rub salt deeper into the wound that we still have no sign whatsoever of a local version heading our way any time soon. If this is permanent, it may be in Sega of America’s interest to say something relatively quickly.

This seems all rather gloomy. If you want something to hope for, the possibility remains that whatever fixes Sega of Japan implements will actually fix the issues for foreigners as well. Nothing is definite. We may all be able to play again eventually, just prepare for the possibility that we won’t.

Titanic Tidbits

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While the online services continue to be down, some little tidbits regarding planet Harukotan were revealed during the event in Osaka. Harukotan is a new planet set to arrive with the release of Episode 3 in August.

Titans are bigger than you!

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While rather self-explanatory and not entirely unexpected, this image does at least give us a scale. With it it’s a little easier to appreciate just how large the monsters are on this planet. The Shiro-Nation Titan is on the left, the Kuro-Nation Titan is on the right. Lets call an individual from each nation a Shironian and a Kuronite.

Alternative names are White Nation and Black Nation. Why not use them? Well, for one thing the planet is very Japanese so using the Japanese names in Romaji seems thematically appropriate for once. The other reason is to avoid certain unfortunate racial implications the names would have otherwise…

The Shiro Nation

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The Shiro Nation, the first field that players will be visiting on planet Harukotan, is suffering an invasion by the Kuro Nation. Where the ARKS will fit into this is kind of a good question, but hints would appear to be that the Shiro Nation are the er, “good guys”. That said, watching through the video it does seem like Shironians will also attack you.

The field is populated by titans and Yokai-like enemies.

This slide also shows the field does indeed have an environmental mechanic, this time in the form of a purple Miasma which is said to strengthen the Kuronite invaders. Players will be able to purify these fields somehow. They sound mechanically similar to the corrupted relics in the Ruins field but clearly the scale is larger.

No information yet on what future fields may be, though I still feel the Kuro Nation is a pretty safe bet!

New Darker Type and Titan Boss

toy_wars_indeed

 

So there we have it, I said before how the field appeared to be lacking a Darker type and speculated which type may inhabit the field. Turns out it will be a new Darker type entirely, the Plaything/Toy type. We know Dark Falz Double is in the area due to the previously released teaser trailer for Episode 3 content, but given the events towards the end of Episode 2 it seemed like Double was in control of the Bird-type Darkers. Well, this revelation rather shoots that idea in the face. Dark Falz Loser really was the king of the chickens, after all. The aesthetics on the new type certainly are different, so different that if I was shown an image of them without being told they were Darkers I doubt I’d say for definite that they were. The only hint I’d have is the patterned red+black parts of them. In fact the teaser does show one of the Darkers and I don’t think anyone figured it was a new Darker type.

This makes me rather curious as to what Toy Falz is going to look like in its various forms…

The field boss is a Kuronite Titan by the name of Gigiru Gun’negamu (Gigil Gunnegam?).  It uses ice-based attacks. That’s all there is to say about that for now.

 [Thanks to Mewn for names]

PSO2 DDoS Attacks

seriously

So today has been an interesting one. The PSO2 servers were taken offline a while earlier by Sega in response to a DDoS attack which rendered the servers pretty much unreachable for the vast majority of players. Right now, the servers are intended to stay offline until further notice, which Sega plans to deliver on in about 10 hours from writing this post. If you were were intent on playing today, you’re out of luck.

What’s a DDoS? 

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard of such an attack, but in case it is; a DDoS is a Distributed Denial of Service attack. The intent of such an attack is usually, as the name implies, to deny a service. In this case, preventing people from being able to play PSO2. One way this can be accomplished is by simply flooding a server with requests, which overloads the server trying to respond to them. This is the “distributed” part, as the attack requests, as least as far as the server is concerned, come from many different locations. This makes it difficult for the server to discern what is legitimate traffic and what isn’t. Distributed attacks are on a different scale to a straight Denial-of-Service attack and require more resources to pull off.

If that cleared nothing up for you, someone has created this handy illustration to explain what’s up here. More seriously, you can read more about it at Wikipedia here.

The Community Response

As you might expect the community has been reasoned, understanding and rational about the whole sit- IP BAN INCOMING!! BAN ALL THE GAIJINS! BAN THE CHINESE AGAIN! CUT OFF ELECTRICITY TO THE JAPANESE!

Yes the community is doing a fine job of shitting itself, as exampled on the post at Bumped here where the comment section now resembles YouTube comment levels of discourse.

THE SUSPECTS

A DDoS attack doesn’t happen by itself! Some fiendish villain was behind the attacks, doing the greatest of injustices to the world by attacking some online game for a bit. The community, a veritable army of super sleuths, have narrowed it down to the following lineup of just about everybody in the world.

Our Hackers!!

You know, those adorable rogues who occasionally send global messages which essentially act like an automatic PSO-World thread generator? Those scamps have indeed been up to various mischiefs since the game was released, maybe they were the culprits behind this heinous act!

Alright, seriously, this is unlikely. While not beyond trouble-making, remember that all of the usual suspects flaunt their abilities for a large part in order to peddle software. They sell hacks to players by way of a trainer. Really wouldn’t do this business plan a lot of good if the game itself was taken down now would it? Biting the hand that feeds. Indeed, one made a public announcement denying all involvement in the attack which was re-posted here as well as making a post on their forums.

Angry South East Asian-ers!

Those guys have a motive! They’re angry that Sega IP-banned them all and are now taking out their revenge. If they can’t play on the JP servers, then NO ONE CAN!!

If this were the case, what good would attacking the servers do for them? This conspiracy operates under the assumption that Sega of Japan was the one who instigated this decision. You know, the same company that also allows Taiwanese players to connect to the Japanese servers, even though they have their own version of the game? Surely if they were angry, it’d make much more sense to direct it at Asiasoft.

It was the CHINESE!

I saw a thread on 2chan that said the Chinese probably did it and we know 2chan is a house of ironclad facts.

2chan has a bit of a reputation for disliking the Chinese. How well deserved that reputation may be is hard for me to say as I can’t really say I go to the site that often. The basis of blaming the Chinese, as far as I know, is that it’s in retaliation for banning RMT bots, which… I don’t know. If this were so, wouldn’t they have done so long ago when the IP block placed on the country happened? Seems strange to wait so long before carrying out the attack if that’s the case.

Yeah but the Chinese have apparently been engaging in cyber warfare and…

Even if we assume this to be true, I’m pretty sure there’s little strategic benefit in taking down an online videogame.

It was a rival MMO company!

This doesn’t need any hysterical paragraph. The basis of this suspicion is on a tweet made by the PR account for a game called “Toy Wars”

toy_waaars

The essential jist of the message is “while PSO2 is down why not try Toy Wars?”. While certainly not proof that they did it, it is a pretty cheeky thing to say and it’s natural that this would fan the flames of conspiracy.

Of course they got a pretty negative response for this and since deleted the tweet, offering the following apology for making such an inappropriate post.

It was some angry Americans in response to PEARL HARBOR

…No.

IT WAS YOU

Of course, it all makes sense now! All this faux stupidity, all that false hysteria. All a cover! You fucking genius! Fuck you.

The Official Response

Sega so far have really just acknowledged the attack and done the standard communication you’d expect from them. They’ve reassured the player-base that their data is all intact and none of it was compromised in the attack.

Their initial response however did cause a little bit of panic. At first, they said if the attacks continued they would suspend the service. Such a terminal sounding statement created quite a bit of panic before they later apologized for the confusion and reassured people that the service termination was only temporary.

So far, that’s been it. Sega have scheduled another announcement to update people on the situation at 13:00 JST tomorrow.

Update 6/20: So it seems the game and related sites and services will continue to be down while Sega works out how to deal with the situation. Another announcement is due on the 23rd. It may well be that the game will continue to be offline in the meanwhile…

So what happens now?

Lots of PSO2 players go outside for the first day in two years. Aside that, nothing.

To those worried about an IP block, really I wouldn’t be. A DDoS attack is just that, it is distributed. Blocking IPs will not stop such an attack, short of blocking pretty much every IP outside of your building, which would be pretty bad for business as you could imagine! But really, even if you believed an IP block would do shit, you’re making the assumption that the attack originated from outside of Japan. If it came from within Japan, a lot of good banning those filthy gaijins would do.

It’s been quite a day…