Balance Thoughts: The Issues With Hunter Part 1: Hunter’s Role.

I_bring_you_lo-ARGGH

With Sega recently announcing that they’re going to re-consider class balance over the next 6 months (you can read about their announcement at Bumped), while also deciding that maybe they need a team in charge of balance 2 years after the game was released (oh you guys). The first classes to be hit by this change will be Ranger mostly, with Techer, Hunter and Fighter getting more minor adjustments (at the bottom of the post under “Other Adjustments”). All classes in definite need of help, while at some point Braver will be having its primary photon art reigned in and Gunner will be having its “double all my damage if I flip” skill nerfed. Shunka Shunran and S-Roll JA Bonus. Shunka Shunran needed to be nerfed a long time ago, but Gunner’s skills aren’t necessarily why the class is so strong. More on that, later.

So as the title suggests, this post will be looking at Hunters in particular, with the focus on them as a main class as opposed to a sub. I enjoy the Hunter class more than any in the game, however I have played Fighter, Braver and Gunner pretty extensively too. As much as I love the class, I have no illusions about where it stands in the current game. That said, this post is still how I feel, as such your opinions may differ or I could plain be completely wrong about something.

This is also going to be a considerably long post probably, so I will split it up into multiple parts.

Hunter’s Role.

The first thing to consider is, what is a Hunter? Hunter is a slow, heavy class. It’s backed up by a high S-atk pool and has high hit-points and defense to help it survive, given that the class can’t dodge damage as easily as others can. Its weapons are all focused on dealing damage to a large number of enemies at once, as opposed to hitting single enemies. In the days of old, the single-target melee damage was Fighter’s domain. They’re still pretty good at it, actually.

Hunter has many survival skills at its disposal, with the near game-changing Automate Halfline, the impressive Iron Will, the functional and weirdly named Massive Hunter and Absorption which restores HP when enemies die nearby (only with Guard Stance on). It even has Pretty Good, another weirdly named skill, that reduces status-effect duration on the player by 70%. It also has general damage-reduction skills. Combine the above with skills such as War Cry and you have yourself quite a tank. Not that this game needs a tank…

What Went Wrong

I feel a number of things have contributed to Hunter’s current position. This is not to say that Hunter can’t be played well or that it can’t do well in the current end-game, because it certainly can. The key here is that it absolutely not competitive right now, in any area of the game.

Diminished Attack Role.

As I said before, Hunter’s role was that of the area-of-effect melee attacker. Its individual hits may not have been high, but it could hit a lot of things at once. Certainly on the game’s release and on the arrival of the new classes this role was well maintained. To an extent, the class still does alright today. It is however completely outclassed in this regard by the likes of Braver’s Kanran.

Compare Nova Strike to Kanran Kikyou.

Nova Strike

Nova Strike

Kanran Kikyou

Kanran Kikyou

Yeah, OK, Hunter does have better area skills than this, what with various Wired Lance photon arts and Slide End, but I feel this just illustrates a funny approach to their weapons design. Here we have a great-sword being completely and utterly out-classed in area of effect functionality by a flimsy little one-handed sword.

This trend of course seems set to continue with the imminent introduction of Kazan Nadeshiko. A reminder:

over-ended

Remember that Kazan Nadeshiko has both longer reach and is faster than Over End. How the two will compare after the upcoming patch however (Over End is getting buffed) we shall see.

So we have a weapon which, for the most part, completely out-classes all of Hunter’s abilities as a area-of-effect melee attacker. It’s just that it happens that Katana also has massively superior single-target damage to Hunter as well. There’s no sugarcoating, Braver as it is right now makes Hunter completely obsolete.

B-but, Hunter weapon gears make their weapons good!

Katana can do all the things Hunter weapons can, but better, without having to warm-up through charging weapon gear. Yes, the area of effect of geared Partisan attacks is enormous, but Kanran Kikyou’s is the same or larger. Swords are nippy and have great coverage when geared up, but Katanas are nippier all the time. Wired lance… just hits a bit harder but its still good! Katana hits harder and does more DPS than all Wired Lance Photon Arts, with the possible exception of Holding Current.

Hunter weapon gears do close the gap a fair way, but right now it just takes far too long for Swords to gain gear, with the other two weapons still having to take at least a few seconds to warm up. The fact that the weapons are, overall, still inferior to Katana even after warming up is just salt in the wound.

I realise I only focused on Hunter vs Braver here. It’s because it’s fairer to compare melee area-of-effect attackers against each other as opposed to comparing it with the ranged classes. Fighter was, until recently, solely a single-target damager. It has recently gained some area-of-effect capability that puts it on par with many of Hunter’s attacks, but are a shadow of what Braver can do. As for single-target damage, I actually argue that Fighter isn’t that far behind Braver, if not better in some situations. I diverge, though, this post is about Hunter’s problems, not Fighter’s.

In Part 2 I will be talking about Fury Stance and the various issues that has.

26th March Update’s New Photon Arts

tried_to_dagger_but_died

The 26th March update saw the addition of a few new photon arts. This post will share what information I’ve learned about them myself as well as gathered information from elsewhere.

Sacrificial Bite

Roots the user in place while it’s grappling an enemy. It can absorb up to three stages from an enemy, if it can be grappled. If it can’t be grappled, you will only ever get one stage of power from it (this means you’re only ever getting one stage of absorption from bosses).

The boost to power gained lasts 20 seconds at stage 1, 30 seconds at stage 2 and 40 seconds at stage 3. The effect is 20% additional damage to all sword attacks and photon arts, regardless of the current level of photon art or stage of absorption.

Switching weapons will cancel the effect.

It can be guard-cancelled at any time, in which case your absorption stage will be whatever it was when you guarded.

The absorption effect does not care if an enemy is dead, it will continue for as long as the grapple lasts.

Current gear level will reduce absorption time significantly.

sacrificialbite

It’s a nifty enough boost but ultimately it does little to bring swords in line with the current best weapons. The use time is too long and the buff duration too short and not powerful enough to match the competition it has from Twin Machineguns and Katanas for mob clearance.

Chaos Riser

chaosriser

Sucks a few enemies in and damages them a little. It’s kind of rubbish. The range of the suction is dependent on the current gear level. This is an extremely risky photon art to use, I’ve found, for the same reasons that Zondeeling enemies on top of yourself is risky.

 

Satellite Cannon

Mechanically speaking this is pretty much identical to Ilfoie.It has a long charge time, has a target indicator and roots the user while it’s charging. It can be fired uncharged for much less damage. Unlike Ilfoie, Satellite Cannon has 2 stages of charged.

sattelite

 

The issue I take with it is in terms of damage it is significantly more powerful than Ilfoie for much less pp, which does make me wonder what exactly the point of Ilfoie is now. Here’s a video of the photon art in action.

 

Ilbarta

The first chain-tech, Ilbarta’s damage builds off itself by effectively applying a stacking debuff to the enemy. It will stack up to 7 times, the 7th causing the debuff to disappear. Each step in the chain has its own damage value, which work as follows:

Charged: 100%, 100%, 100%, 200%, 200%, 200%, 800%

Uncharged: 50%, 50%, 50%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 200%

ilbarta

An aura appears on enemies that have been hit with the tech. This indicates a chain has started and it seems to change appearance the further along it is

Elysion users will want to charge the 7th attack for the most damage. Note that in order to pull off a full chain you will need 150pp at the moment (unless you have a weapon that reduces pp consumption). Here is a link to a video of Ilbarta versus Bal Rodos: http://polsy.org.uk/play/nico/?vidid=&vurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nicovideo.jp%2Fwatch%2Fsm23186496

If nothing else, it’s nice that Ice finally got a decent tech!

 

Ilgrants

IT’S PRETTY.

ilgrants

The tech fires 10 homing stars of light at an enemy at a very rapid rate. In terms of damage I’m not massively impressed with it and the homing capability of it seems wonky, there may be a knack to it I just haven’t managed to find.  The uncharged version is completely worthless.

In terms of function, it really is a reliable source of the Panic status effect, probably easier to understand as “Confusion”. Dark Vibrace is vulnerable to confusion, so it may he quite useful there…

 

Towards The Future

There are more photon arts to come, with the next lot announced to arrive on the 9th of April. You can see the previews of those on Bumped here.

Of course, there are a few unannounced ones to go, including Ilzan, Kanran Nadeshiko (the unannounced Katana Photon Art), a Partizan photon art and a Bullet Bow photon art.

Something to consider is that all the new Photon Arts have been released in Super Hard Advance quests so far. It seems certain that the remaining Technic and Photon Arts will be released when Coast, Quarry and Seabed finally get Advance Quests.

If there’s anything critical I’ve not mentioned about any of the Photon Arts please let me know.

Ilfoie is Fun!

luthor_stole_40_cakes

Ilfoie was added as a new Tech during the March 5th content update. This tech has proven to be fun for a number of unexpected reasons.

Mechanics

This section will explain the mechanics of the tech for those who haven’t tried it as of yet. It roots the caster in place, highlighting an area as the target of the attack. After a certain amount of time has passed, the target ring will change shape, indicating that it’s fully charged. Release the button and a few moments later a great big flaming meteor will come crashing down. It’s dramatic and really quite cool looking!

ilfoie

In terms of practicality, you may want to invest fully into Flame Tech S Charge to bring the charge time down to a reasonable amount. Without this, your character may be stuck standing still for an uncomfortably long time, which isn’t really preferable for something squishy like a Force. The tech is entirely worthless against any enemy that isn’t immobilized, sluggish, or otherwise not going anywhere fast. Else it’s very easy to end up whiffing the tech simply because the enemy decided to move 2 feet.

While the damage is impressive, the fact you’re rooted and it takes so long to charge combined with its tendency to miss anything that moves really makes the damage feel somewhat inadequate, at least for me. Kind of a pity for a tech as cool looking as Ilfoie is.

Uncharged

Ilfoie does a fairly large portion of its damage when uncharged, as opposed to numerous techs which do typically less than 50% of their damage when charged (with the exceptions of Sazan, Sazonde and possibly others).

Of course the only weapon that can really take full advantage of uncharged Ilfoie is Elysion, whose latent ability doubles the power of uncharged Techs. While it is an impressive way to quickly deal a large amount of damage to a single target it will still cost a hefty 50 pp per cast, so you’ll drain your bar extremely quickly this way.

Magical Words!

Taking a look at the casting ring, some players noticed that there was writing on them.

ilfoie

Players with a lot more patience than myself managed to decipher enough of the text to work out that the source is the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky”, from Lewis Carrol’s novel “Through The Looking Glass”, written in PSO2′s font.

Digging into the game’s files reveals that indeed the entire poem is written out in the texture (yes it really is that low-res):

jabberwocky

Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.

Interestingly, along with that you may be able to see small pillars of text on its side in the above screenshot, emanating from the center of the ring heading straight up. It’s so low-res in game that I find it hard to confirm which texture it’s actually using, but there is another texture like the one above, this time Humpty Dumpty (referred to in the same book as Jabberwocky no less).

humptydumptyHumpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

An appropriate poem for a space rock crashing into the ground and exploding I suppose!

Ilfoie on Partner Characters

Ilfoie seems to behave entirely differently when in the hands of a Friend Partner, an AI representation of someone on your friend list. It seems that they can entirely ignore the charging time required for it, resulting in them near-instantly summoning a fully powered meteor. If you fill up your party with nothing but Friend Partners who only have Ilfoie equipped the result is, well, dramatic.

As you can see it actually does a fairly decent amount of damage as well, given it’s coming from AI characters who generally seem to have difficulty getting into the triple digits I’ve found.

I doubt this was an intentional effect, but so far it doesn’t seem to have been acknowledged as a problem so there seem to be no plans to fix it that I’m aware of. Enjoy the time of Friend Partners doing somewhat competent damage while it lasts, at least!

Affix Slot Expansion Rates

speak_up_my_ENOURMOUS_ears_didnt_catch_that

Part of the March 5th update includes the relaxation of slot expansion penalties when performing item synthesis.

In case you don’t know, when you wish to turn say a 1-slot unit into a 2-slot unit you will need to expand it. This is done by selecting 2 abilities instead of 1, by putting one of the abilities in the “Extra Slot”. You can read about some of the intricacies of ability/affix transferring on the Bumped guide here. 

The Rates

So what are the new rates? Well it appears they’re relaxing the penalty by 10% of their original rates (so not a flat reduction of 10). This is derived from two screenshots at Shougai here. 

It displays two synthesis attempts, one before and one after the raised rates with the same affixes and both are expanding from 3 to 4 slots.

  • Body I 60% -> 66%
  • Stamina II 34% -> 38%
  • Power III 34% -> 38%
  • Freeze II 24% -> 26%

Not a massive difference, is it?

Under the old system, this incurs a penalty of 60% when two ingredient items are used. The base success rates for each affix here is as follows:

  • Body I 100%
  • Stamina II 60%
  • Power III 60%
  • Freeze II 40%

Doesn’t take much mathematical prowess to determine that 60% of 100 (100 * 0.6) = 60 and that the new penalty rate is therefore 66%. This would be 60 raised by 10%, or 60 * 1.1. You can test that against the other numbers:

  • 60 * 0.66 =  39.6 (rounded down to 39)
  • 40 * 0.66 = 26.4 (rounded down to 26)

No other examples are shown, but assuming its the same for all levels of expansion, then the new rates are as follows:

When using 1 ingredient item:

  • 0 – 1:  80% -> 88%
  • 1 – 2: 70% -> 77%
  • 2 – 3: 60% -> 66%
  • 3 – 4: 50% -> 55%
  • 4 -5: 45% -> 49%
  • 5 – 6: 40% -> 44%
  • 6 – 7: 35% -> 39%
  • 7 – 8: 30% -> 33%

When using 2 ingredient items:

  • 0 – 1:  80% -> 88%
  • 1 – 2: 75% -> 82%
  • 2 – 3: 70% -> 77%
  • 3 – 4: 60% -> 66%
  • 4 -5: 55% -> 59%
  • 5 – 6: 50% -> 55%
  • 6 – 7: 40% -> 44%
  • 7 – 8: 35% -> 39%
Real Odds of Success

Of course, when we’re affixing items we want all of the slots to succeed. Remember that in item synthesis, every single slot has its own individual dice roll. This means the probability of all slots succeeding and us not cursing Dudu’s name is all of the individual probabilities multiplied together. For example, if two slots are both 80% then the chance that both will succeed is 0.8 * 0.8, which equals 0.64. This is going to get painful…

When using 1 ingredient item:

  • 0 – 1:  80% -> 88%
  • 1 – 2: 49% -> 59%
  • 2 – 3: 21% -> 28%
  • 3 – 4: 6% -> 9%
  • 4 -5: 1.8% -> 2.8%
  • 5 – 6: 0.4% -> 0.7%
  • 6 – 7: 0.06% -> 0.13%
  • 7 – 8: 0.006% -> 0.01%

When using 2 ingredient items:

  • 0 – 1:  80% -> 88%
  • 1 – 2: 56% -> 67%
  • 2 – 3: 34% -> 45%
  • 3 – 4: 13% -> 19%
  • 4 -5: 5% -> 7%
  • 5 – 6: 1.5% -> 2.7%
  • 6 – 7: 0.1% -> 0.3%
  • 7 – 8: 0.02% -> 0.05%

All figures are rounded. These numbers also assume that all the affixes have a base rate of 100%. Nasty, isn’t it? The range that seems to really gain anything noteworthy is the 2-3 slot range. This just means the odds are a tad more in your favor when creating 3-slot junk. 4 slot and beyond is going to feel almost no different to how it was before.

So yeah, can’t say I’m massively impressed by the rate boost if this is what it turns out to be, but it does at least make forcing slots up to 3 a tad more feasible, which is about as much as a player will need for almost all the content in the game. The only time you would need more is for competitive Time-Attacks and if you don’t do those, I really wouldn’t bother.

If you come away from this article not knowing what the fuck then either I’ve made this too confusing, in which case sorry, or you just don’t get how ability transferring works. Don’t worry if it’s the latter, this system is needlessly confusing at times., particularly when aiming for certain results…

Super Hard Advance Quests

rappys_deadly_song

Grind the quest while you grind your character in a new tier of an already existing quest type, pitting players against monsters from lv66 to lv70.

The new tier of Advance Quest comes with a new tier of Capsules (d, e and f) and a new tier of Pyroxenes, Large Pyroxenes (yeah really). At least six more inventory slots gone! Ah well, kind of expected it. The future is no brighter either with each new one they release having its own new Large Pyroxene and with 6 more yet to be upgraded… AND there is also the prospect of Coast, Quarry and Seabed having both Super Hard and regular versions, bringing it up to a total potential of 18 additional slots eaten up.

So what new things can you obtain with these Large Pyroxenes anyway?

Um… yeah. Palette swapped versions of weapons we already have. This is unfortunate for two reasons, firstly it’s a pretty nasty indicator of laziness and second it means that Braver still may have no weapons it can obtain via Advance Quest exchanges.

This is because Forest, Caves and Desert are the only three that are being released initially and none of those currently offer Braver weapons. Yes we wouldn’t want too much content coming out at once, would we? Ok, sure, it’s hard to feel too sad for Braver given its current flavor-of-the-month status it enjoys, but it still seems strange to me that the class has been out for so long and yet still has no means to obtain weapons through Pyroxenes. Note that it is currently the only class that suffers for this right now (although Fighter still has no way to get a Double Saber without obtaining a 10* via luck or cash either…)

As Sega is going to be releasing these in threes YET AGAIN I can’t help but wonder how long it’s going to be before Braver finally gets any exchange weapons from it. As I assume we have to go through the rest of the Advance Quests first, it’s going to be at least 2 updates before we find out. And when they add Coast, Quarry and Seabed Super Hard Advance Quests I wonder if any of the Braver weapons will require 9* weapons? If not then it’s still nothing a player can work toward, which would kind of suck!

Oh, while on that point, the Super Hard Advance Quests may drop 11* weapons. That’s all fine, but it seems that the exchange items themselves are still 10*. Not a huge deal, but this game sure does have an awful lot of 10* weapons now…

So what about the old Advance Quests?

Well it seems they will be kept at least marginally relevant. The old tier of Pyroxenes can be exchanged for the new tier at a rate of 100:1 and the old Advanced Capsules can be exchanged for the new ones at a rate of 10:1 . Of course as you need 10 of the new capsules for one run of a Super Hard Advance Quest you will need a total of 100 of the old capsules per run,

You can also exchange the old Pyroxenes directly for EXcubes at a rate of 500:1. This seems absurdly high given you can exchange 90 of them and a 9* weapon for an equivalent trade. However, some Pyroxene types only have 10* items that can be exchanged with them, which really only leaves you with the option of either up-grading them to Large Pyroxenes or dumping them into EXcubes. However, are you really going to be running the old Advance Quests enough to make a reasonable supply like that? Have to wait and see for sure but I doubt it somehow.

Final Thoughts

Maybe I’m just plain masochistic, I don’t know, but I find I actually like running Advance Quests so to have them with Super Hard AI is at least tantalizing for me. The incentives for running them are difficult to gauge with the current lack of information on the new tier of Pyroxene 10*s and no knowledge of the 11* drop rates (which I expect to be close to near non-existent still, they are the next-to highest tier of weapons after all).

What I really don’t appreciate is the drip-feeding we have going on here. This is so barely new content that it almost defies belief. This makes the fact they’re drip-feeding it even more painful, but  it seems it’s a tactic they’re going to keep on using for at least the next few months. I anticipate a pretty lackluster Summer for PSO2 if this is an indicator of what’s to come.

New Extreme Quest 11*s

why-the-long-ohhhh

As was revealed during the live broadcast earlier this year, this March will see some additional floors being added for Extreme Training: Tundra & Machines (極限訓練:凍土と機甲). Specifically floors 51-60, which will pit players against lv70 monsters.

Along with this, some additional weapons will be available in the Refine Spell-stones shop, where currently you can buy a number of still near best-in-slot or currently best-in-slot weapons. In case you’re unaware, this will cost you 13,500 of the lowest tier stones you can get from the quest, however the title gives you the equivalent of 8100 kind of for free.

Anyway, thanks to Shougai for posting them up, re-posting them below. Romaji is raw, I make no attempt to localize the names (because I can’t!). Unfortunately, their stats are unknown for now.

  • バイオグリオン – Baiogurion

biosword

  • バイオゼクト – Baiozekuto

biodsaber

  • バイオトライナーBaiotoraina

biorifle

  • バイオベルド – Baioberudo

biobow

  • バイオリアス- Baioriasu

biorod

The common factor here is the first 3 Kana of each name, “ba-i-o”, which is used for “Bio”. (example).

You can see the weapons in motion here. Their animation gimmick seems to be that they’re hidden as something that resembles a card on your hip while they’re sheathed.

It’s plausible that these weapons will be stronger than the other 11* weapons currently in the exchange, which also means they could cost more Spell-stones too. Shougai seems to be guessing they’ll cost 6 each but I have a nasty feeling they may cost more than that.

And I’ve only just managed to save enough Spell-stones up to afford one of the current weapons too. Guess I’m waiting until March the 5th to check these out!

Really I’ve explained my opinion on the acquisition rate of these weapons before, which is to say unless you’re in a position to pay for other players’ Extreme Passes it will take you a very, very long time to obtain even one of them. So long in fact that if you began collecting the Spell-stones back when they were released you may have only recently been able to get one of the current weapons and that was WITH the help of 3/5ths of the materials being given to you by the titles. Just in time for them to possibly be made entirely obsolete by a new tier of them that may require even more Spell-stones than the last ones. There will be no help from titles this time, either!

Yes, of course obtaining them too quickly would be a very bad thing. Having them take so long to obtain that they’re in theory obsolete before you even get one however might be a tad overkill…

MY INVENTORY

patty-watInventory management is something that seems to be part and parcel of the MMO genre. At some point, your inventory is going to fill up and you will need to decide what’s worth keeping, what’s worth selling and what can just be tossed. Failure to do so properly can slow your adventuring down considerably, as you will be unable to loot things.

It seems that, over time, PSO2 has managed to find more and more ways to pack your inventory full of things that you may be hesitant to get rid of. This blog entry will list all these items and run off reasons why you wouldn’t likely want to trash them.

Advance Quest Items

These include:

  • アドバンスカプセルa / Advanced Capsule a
  • アドバンスカプセルb / Advanced Capsule b
  • アドバンスカプセルc / Advanced Capsule c
  • 風輝石ヴァーユ / Vayu Wind Pyroxene
  • 炎輝石アグニ / Agni Fire Pyroxene
  • 地輝石プリティヴィー / Prithvi Earth Pyroxene
  • 雷輝石インドラ / Indra Thunder Pyroxene
  • 雪輝石ヒマーラヤ / Himalaya Snow Pyroxene
  • 天輝石ブラフマー / Brahma Sky Pyroxene
  • 元輝石イシャーナ / Ishana Source Pyroxene
  • 滅輝石ニルティリー / Nirrti Ruin Pyroxene
  • 霊輝石ヤーマ / Yama Soul Pyroxene

12 inventory slots gone! At least, for that matter, as while they can stack up to 999 it is quite easy to end up with multiple stacks of them. Not only that, but various 9*s can be exchanged with a number of these Pyroxene items for a 10* weapon. Even if you don’t need any of the weapons themselves, they can be exchanged for EXCubes or Photon Spheres. Both of these items are kind of useful, as they can exchanged for items that can be sold on the market and other functional things (EXP boosters, rare drop boosters, etc).

Extreme Quest Items

These include:

  • 紅桜の欠片 / Scarlet Fragment
  • 真紅の欠片 / Crimson Fragment
  • 蒼碧の欠片 / Cerulean Fragment
  • 紅桜の原石 / Scarlet Ore
  • 真紅の原石 / Crimson Ore
  • 蒼碧の原石 / Cerulean Ore
  • 魔石ハートキー / Heart Key Spellstone
  • 魔石ブラッディムーン / Bloody Moon Spellstone
  • 魔石ファントムナイト / Phantom Night Spellstone
  • ハートキー触媒 / Heart Key Catalyst
  • ブラッディムーン触媒 / Bloody Moon Catalyst
  • ファントムナイト触媒 / Phantom Night Catalyst

Another 12 slots gone! And again, much like Advanced Quests you can end up with multiple stacks, though only of the fragments. However, you can compress them into ores and since the recent update that allows you to carry up to 999 of them in your inventory it’s much less of a hassle to do so.

Related to extreme quests, there is also the chance to obtain 11* armors, which you’re not likely to trash.

Currency Items

The following items are all used as currency in various exchanges and shops.

  • 虹輝石イリティスタ / Iritista Rainbow Pyroxene (10* weapons)
  • エクスキューブ / Excube
  • フォトンドロップ / Photon Drop
  • フォトンクリスタル / Photon Crystal
  • フォトンスフィア / Photon Sphere
  • アークスバッヂ青 / Blue Arks Badge

That’s 6 slots gone! Iritista can be exchanged for some pretty terrible 10* weapons that can then be converted into Excubes or Photon Spheres. Photon Drops and Photon Crystals can be compressed into Photon Spheres as well.

Consumables

  • 獲得経験値+10% / Experience Gained +10%
  • 獲得経験値+25% / Experience Gained +25%
  • 獲得経験値+50% / Experience Gained +50%
  • 獲得経験値+75% / Experience Gained +75%
  • レアドロップ倍率+10% / Rare Drop Rate Boost +10%
  • レアドロップ倍率+50% / Rare Drop Rate Boost +50%
  • レアドロップ倍率+75% / Rare Drop Rate Boost +75%
  • レアドロップ倍率+250% / Rare Drop Rate Boost +250%
  • 獲得メセタ+10% / Meseta Gained +10%
  • 獲得メセタ+50% / Meseta Gained +50%
  • トライブースト+50% / Tri Boost +50%
  • トライブースト+100% / Tri Boost +100%
  • ショートケーキ / Shortcake
  • チーズケーキ / Cheesecake
  • フルーツタルト / Fruit Tart
  • パンプキンパイ / Pumpkin Pie
  • クリスマスケーキ / Christmas Cake
  • バレンタインチョコ / Valentines Cake
  • トロピカルフラッペ / Tropical Frappe
  • グラインダー / Grinder
  • 強化成功率+5% / Grind Success Rate +5%
  • 強化成功率+10% / Grind Success Rate +10%
  • 強化成功率+100% / Grind Success Rate +100%
  • 強化リスク軽減(+1) / Grind Risk Reduction (+1)
  • 強化リスク軽減(+2) / Grind Risk Reduction (+2)
  • 強化リスク軽減(完全) / Grind Risk Reduction (Full)
  • シンセサイザー / Synthesizer
  • 属性強化+5% / Attribute Enhance +5%
  • 能力追加成功率+5% / Ability Success Rate +5%
  • 能力追加成功率+10% / Ability Success Rate +10%
  • エクストリームパス / Extreme Pass

A considerable 32 slots gone here. Note that this would be more if you use AC scratch, as there are a number of unique consumables you can obtain from it. The worth of the 10% EXP and Meseta boosts is somewhat insignificant, but I imagine most players are going to consume them rather than throw them away.

Crafting

I’ve not really talked about this on the blog yet, so I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to explain my opinion on it. Crafting is dumb. With that out of the way, back on the subject of inventory hogs because if you want to craft I sure hope you didn’t like having all those spare inventory slots!

  • アイロニア / Ironia
  • スティニア / Steenia
  • シルバニア / Silvania
  • アイロデスト / Irodest
  • スティデスト / Steedest
  • シルバデスト / Silvadest
  • アイログリモ / Irogrimo
  • スティグリモ / Steegrimo
  • シルバグリモ / Silvagrimo
  • アイロリアス / IroRears
  • スティリアス / SteeRears
  • シルバリアス / SilvaRears
  • アイロアムス / IroArms
  • スティアムス / SteeArms
  • シルバアムス / SilvaArms
  • アイロレグス / IroLegs
  • スティレグス / SteeLegs
  • シルバレグス / SilvaLegs
  • ルビアード / Rubiard
  • サファード / Saphard
  • ネオジット / Neojit
  • プロメチット / Promechit
  • PAフラグメント(打撃) / PA Fragment (Strike)
  • PAフラグメント(射撃) / PA Fragment (Ranged)
  • PAフラグメント(法撃) / PA Fragment (Tech)
  • リリパリウム(極小) / Liliparium (Min)

Not including the AC items again. That’s 26 slots gone for a complete set of crafting items. Anyone who has dismantled rare items will also know that you can very quickly accumulate the lowest tier of materials. So even though the likes of Ironia can stack up to 999, it doesn’t take long to end up with multiple stacks of them.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive list, yet I believe this post shows that around 87 inventory slots are eaten up by various things within the game. For a free-to-play player, that’s nearly half of their 200-slot item storage gone. This is before you consider the less predictable things, such as clothing items, armor sets and weapons that the player is either going to keep for use or for sale when they obtain access to their shop.

Let’s also not forget consumable tickets the player may not wish to use immediately, such as My Shop and My Room passes, or any compensation tickets such as Skill Tree Reset Passes and Premium Set (1 Day). Oh and I’ve not even mentioned Client Orders that require you to obtain items…

Towards The Future

defAs we learned recently from the 16th live broadcast the new tier of Advance Quests will be using new types of caps. Specifically Advanced Capsule d, e and f. So that’s 3 more slots gone before you then also consider the possibility of new types of Pyroxenes from the quest (another 3) and any new pre-requisite weapons.

Is Sega going to do anything to relieve the storage situation for freemium players? Not at all, but don’t worry they will be including 2 new rent-able storage sots in your warehouse soon!

The Hidden Messages of Lilipa

excuse-me-have-you-heard-of-the-word-of-our-lord-and-saviorAre you aware that Lilipa’s tunnels contain secret messages? Do you care? If you don’t, tough luck because I’m going to be talking about them anyway. partitio

There’s actually not a lot of text in the area. This is the most common example, seen on wall panels throughout the stage. There also used to be text on some large holographic screens but either they’ve removed them for whatever reason or I’ve just been exceedingly unlucky in finding them. The text in the above example reads “PARTITI”. Yes, its a chunk of a word, the full one being “partition”. How do we know this? Well let’s have a look at a certain texture from the game…

lilipan_letters

With the combined efforts of myself and Agrajag of Psumods we determined that this is in fact not a bunch of chicken scratchings. It is actually encoded letters from the roman alphabet. Now rather than expect you to just take our word for it, allow me to demonstrate how we came to this conclusion..

updown

Without these, decoding it might have been impossible. The initial idea was that the symbols here spell the words “UP” and “DOWN”. The actual in-game arrows you see are devoid of text however and as best I know these aren’t used anywhere in the game. So with six letters as a starting point, it’s simply time to go matching them to the words in the rest of the image. From there, you can guess words, check the newly added letters in the code against the rest of the image and make sure words built from that make sense. Finally, we ended up with the following result:

otheroneFrom that, we can build an actual alphabet:

lillipa_fontAs you can see, it’s not a complete alphabet, as we’ve not seen any instances of those letters.

the_removed_screen_panelThis is the actual texture for the holographic screens from the Tunnels which have sadly been removed at some point. I don’t seem to have any old screen-shots showing them either, which is annoying. In any case, the text here turned out to be Japanese written in Romaji.

saishu shita shigen ha
bosei ni tensou shimasu

kichou na monomo
ooitame
shinchou ni
sagyou surukoto

Thanks to EspioKaos, the text turned out to read:

Transport collected materials to mother (base). There are many precious items (here). Be careful while working.

The smaller blocks of text there are just copy+pasted segments of the above text strewn about. The text in the yellow banner spells out “INFORMATI”, don’t think it takes a terribly large amount of deductive skill to determine the full word is “information”.

See this work was done some time ago and we assumed we’d seen all the in-game examples. Well, turned out we’d missed one written above the exposed core on Big Varder.

vardarchest

Using our charts, we can ascertain the text reads “?O INDUSTRY”. Yup, we have never encountered that first symbol before, so we have no idea what it could be. There is in fact another unidentified symbol at the end of the holographic screen too, but trying any of the remaining letters in either case doesn’t really clear anything up. The remaining missing letters are J, Q, X and Z.

While kind of nifty, aside from the mention of “mother” there’s not a lot of information that’s actually hidden in this encoded text. Not that you couldn’t already tell just from looking at the area anyway, as in the tunnels area and Lilipa in general being an abandoned industrial facility. The text doesn’t clear up who it belonged to, either, unless of course the name of the company on Big Varder’s chest is actually mentioned elsewhere in the story that I’m not aware of.

If you know what the remaining unknown symbols may be, feel free to share!

The New Field: Quarry

it was thiiis big

In this post I’ll talk a bit more about the things shown for the newly revealed field, currently named “Quarry” by the community. Embedding a video below that displays the new field, uploaded by PSO2UP. 

dorfland

Quarry is the third field on the planet Lilipa, which data has only really hinted at for some time with the somewhat vague internal name of “Lilipa3″. It’s an abandoned mining facility that the Lilipans have made their home, despite all the hostile machinery about.

This new field is due to arrive this September.


Enemies

This section will list enemy names that were spotted in the videos released so far, with pictures where possible.

ヤクトバルガー – Jagdbalger
カノンバルガー Cannon Balger

cannonbalga

Yakuto is the kana used for “Jagd”, a German word for hunting. “Balger” is a bit more difficult to place.

jagdbalga

This pair of mecha wolves use the Phongalph skeleton. One wields blades in its mouth and uses a jetpack to deliver powerful thrusting attacks. The other has a twin cannon mounted on its back for.. well I’ll let your imagination fill in the blank there.

ヤクトディンゲール – Jagdingell

jagdingell

This monster sort of resembles Cougar, but whether it’s using the same skeleton or not is a bit hard to tell from this little footage. Even if it is, the enemy behaves nothing like Cougar so far. It wields a sword and appears to have a weak-spot on its bum.

 シュタークガン – Stark Gun

starkgun

Stark Gun seems to be using the Gilnas legs skeleton or at least resembles it. Packing a cannon which is seen firing a large laser-beam and what may be rocket launchers this enemy could be troublesome.

カストキンディッド – Custom Kindidd

custokindidd

Kindidds are an enemy that Big Vardha spawns during its boss fight. All this enemy appears to be is a wild variety of it.

カストガーディナン – Custom Guardinane

You can see it around the 3:06 mark in the video embedded in this post but it’s too blurry to really screenshot. However Guardinanes are a well known enemy that inhabits the Tunnels field on Lilipa, so I imagine the enemy will behave similar to that.


Bosses

At first glance, I was surprised to learn that the field has three bosses. Barba Lilipa, Vardha Soma and Blu Ringahda. This isn’t the case however, as Barba Lilipa is a rare encounter.

Barba Lilipa – Barbaripan?

warrior_without_fear

Barba Lilipa is possibly a pun on “Barbarian”. In the Japanese it’s Barbariripan, but the pun doesn’t really work in English. Will be interesting to see what the official localisation turns out to be…

Despite clearly using Rockbear’s skeleton, it looks to be a fight that will be nothing like either it or Wolgahda. It can pull various weapons out from its backpack, thrown and melee weapons are shown. Reminds me a bit of Mimiga transformation in Cave Story, only after defeating them in their mutated forms the Lilipan returns to normal instead of dying.

Vardha Soma

vardha soma

Vardha Soma is the detached torso of a Big Vardha, naturally. You might expect that this would make it Quarry’s main boss but observe the quest goal text. It matches the style used for an Arks Quest, not a free field. This would make Vardha Soma technically a mini-boss, although thanks to the likes of Goron Zoran the line between miniboss and boss isn’t as definitive as that any more. Like Goron Zoran, despite being a “miniboss” you only fight one of it at a time instead of two or three when you face it with a party of two or more players.

Blu Ringahda

bring it

Blu Ringadha on the other hand is shown with quest text that does match the style of a Free Field. That makes it the field’s main boss, despite my initial expectation and assumption of it being a mini-boss. This is unexpected for two reasons for me. One, I thought Blu Ringahda was going to be the miniboss of the yet to be revealed “Seabed” field. Two, it’s a bird-type Darker. While story quests and the Advanced Quests do have fish-type Darkers typically the planet has been the domain of bug-type Darkers. I expected Quarry to be crawling with bug-types, perhaps even new ones of that type.

As for the name, it’s suspected to be a pun referencing an enemy from PSO; Chaos Bringer. They are both centaurs and both are dark-types of sorts (one being D-Cell the other being Darker).

Blu Ringahda has a large variety of ranged attacks, as well as being fairly nimble on its feet. This is going to be a fun fight for melee types..

Towards the Future

Well despite being inhabited by bird-type Darkers, the “birdsoldiers” have yet to make an appearance, so they’re at least likely to turn up in the unannounced Seabed area.

Given there is now a third area for Lilipa coming up I wonder if a new Time Attack quest will be crafted to go with it? An Advanced Quest seems unlikely until Seabed is out (they come in threes, afterall), which won’t be until December. This raises another issue for the new class, as Braver currently lacks any Advanced Quest exchange items, Iritista stone items or anything from Extreme Quests. If the old exchanges aren’t going to be updated, will Braver really have to wait approaching six months to be on equal footing with the other classes, gear wise?

[Thanks to Epsiokaos, Qwerty and Agrajag for names and discussion]

Episode 2: Official Update Page and Broadcast Information

hairy_sakai

The official update page for the start of Episode 2 has been posted up. It of course comes with a trailer, which I’ll embed as par for the course, however this one is unusually lengthy. You can find a rundown of the update page here on Bumped.

This post will pretty much be going over some information about particular aspects of Episode 2 that I’ve come across, as well as sharing my thoughts on them. If I find more information I’ll probably go and put it into a new post because I think this one is quite long enough now..

The background music at the start is the theme of the new Coast field’s boss, Bal Rodos. From around 2:49 on-wards I believe it’s the Coast field’s theme.

It seems Bal Rodos is Lv55 in the trailer, which puts it on the same level as Sanctum. So I guess that’s how they’re going to be keeping Advanced Quests relevant for longer, which makes me wonder if Lilipa3 will share the same fate. Seabed shouldn’t, as it’ll be released after Super Hard is out.

You can watch the live broadcast in its entirety through the following links:


Braver

The class is defined by the two new weapon types, both of which seem to at least look decent. The Katana has good mobility and area-of-effect capability, which will be good for all of melee’s demands. Katanas are at least more mobile than Swords for example, but the damage numbers that they put out seem.. small. In fact their stats and even Photon Art modifiers seem relatively low, however they could well make up for this in damage per second given how rapidly they can attack. Bows on the other hand seem to lay somewhere between Launchers and Rifles with a bit of Twin-Daggers thrown in for good measure. Certainly versatile but I have yet to be convinced of their overall effectiveness.

braverweapons

braverPAs

Tsukimi-sazanka, Gekka-zakuro, Kanran-kikyo, Sakura-endo, Hien-tsubaki, Asagiri-rendan, Master Shot, Penetrating Arrow. Thanks to Qwerty for these names.

Braver seems to be a class oriented around the Ability (or Dexterity) stat primarily. It has an Ability Up skill, which is notable for being at lv3 in the livestream as that indicates it’s a pre-requisite for something. Both Katanas and Bullet Bows also require dexterity to equip, or at least all of the weapons shown so far do. However there may be no need to go raising a pure Dexterity Mag just for this class, as the requirements are quite low anyway. One revealed Braver skill, namely “Braver Mag”, converts up to 50% of the S-atk and R-atk into Dexterity. Whether or not this will add to your base and count for equipping things I don’t know (data suggests it’s a passive skill).

braverSkills

Ability Up 1, Braver Mag, Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Average Stance, Katana Combat, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Reversal Cover, Rapid Shoot Up

mxYA7rw

The Braver Skill Tree. Skills are: Ability Up, Sriking Up, Shooting Up, Average Stance, Average Stance Up, Average Stance Critical, Average Stance Charge
Katana Combat, Combat Just Attack Bonus, Combat Finish, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Rapid Shoot Up, Rapid Shoot Mastery
Weak Stance, Weak Stance Up, Ability Up 2, Weak Stance Critical, Weak Stance Charge
Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Reversal Cover, Rare Mastery Braver, Braver Mag. Source: Dengeki Play.

Of interest to me are the utility skills surrounding step, as for melee it’s absolutely crucial to mobility. Snatch Step is a skill that will deal damage during a Step. It is seperate from Step Attack as that skill allows you do perform an attack at the end of a Step. You can perform step with both Katanas and Bullet Bows at that, so you’re not losing out if you choose to go ranged.

While you can guard with Katanas, Braver doesn’t have any guard skills at all. The broadcast demonstrates that Just Guarding is possible with Katanas, but possibly only through their gear. If this is the case, I wonder if there’s any point investing in Just Guard should someone decide to have Hunter as their subclass? Or if the regular Just Guard would apply to the Katana without gear applies or even if it would affect the weapon at all.


Coast Enemies

The trailer revealed a number of enemy names, as did the coast field playthrough that was done during the live broadcast. I’ll list them here with names and pictures where I can.

Torpon

torpon

A small shelled enemy, weak to both fire and ice element interestingly. Better picture of them from the official site below. At a distance they appear to be similar to Micdas, possibly sharing the same bone structure. The one on the right below makes be doubt that a little..

torpon2

Aculpus

aculpus

Seems to share its skeleton with Naberius’ Galphs. Of course, their attack behaviors don’t resemble them much, with them swimming through the sand with their fins poking out. Land sharks. They also appear to do a somersault attack.

Blumegalla

blumegalla

It’s a flower! It pretends to be a regular giant spikey flower and then jumps out at the player after spraying something about. It also fires laserbeams because why not. Smaller versions of this enemy exist as well, namely Blumetta. They appear to share the same bone structure as Sanctum’s Pendira’n.

blumetta

A picture of both of these enemies is up on the official page, re-hosting below.

blumegalla_blumetta

Blundarl

blundarl

One of the new bird-type Darkers. The second one named I believe, after Luda Sorcerer. A higher quality picture of Blundarl is posted below.

blundarl_hq

Strahda

StrahdaForgive me for the quality of these pictures, but it’s from a compressed video and there don’t seem to be any clear shots of these enemies sadly. Anyway, this is the somewhat legendary BIRDBIRDCROW in the flesh as it were. Their weak point looks like an exposed brain… It’s the standard orange colored weakpoint that most Darkers have it’s just how it looks given its position.

Another variant of this small bird is Tyraluda

Tyraluda

Unfortunately there are no official pictures that I’m aware of for either of these.

So it seems that the Coast field’s elements are Fire and Ice for the natives and Wind and Light for the Darkers.

Now that we have a planet full of fish, after having been fighting fish-based Darkers for a while now, I wonder if a planet populated by insects is on its way in 2014? After all, PSO2 still doesn’t have a Grass Assassin!


Subclass EXP

Old news now, but confirmed at least once and well, it being on the official update page means Sega aren’t going to be changing their minds about it. It’s sad, but subclass EXP will be capped to level 40. Before that, your subclass will gain 10% of the EXP that your main does. Yeah it’s not particularly popular this decision, but it’s still decent at least initially for a subclass. However I imagine like others, I was hoping this would mean the end of having to switch to a class you don’t like playing in order to support a class you do, but alas.


Class Appropriate Rare Drops.. From Bosses

Nothing like hearing the rare drop jingle only to get an item you can’t even use, eh? Well from Episode 2 this problem will be slightly alleviated! By how much of course isn’t really all that specific and I have a feeling that, as a player, you honestly won’t be able to tell that the drop rates had been increased at all. 1/1000 is barely better than 1/2000 for example and I highly doubt they’d give that generous a boost anyway. The idea is at least good, I just have no faith that the difference will be at all noticeable.

Also, despite the update page itself not mentioning bosses according to an article on Shougai which contains a transcript from Sakai and someone else, it only applies to boss enemies. This is kind of a shame as a number of decent items do still drop from regular enemies, but it’s a least a step in the right direction.


EXP Penalty Readjustment

The EXP penalty, which I’m still not a fan of even now, is being relaxed somewhat. Instead of altering the rates however instead they’ll be increasing the number of levels before it applies from 5 to 11. They’re um, turning up to 11 as it were…

This means that you’ll be able to run Advanced Quests a little earlier, however you’ll still have your EXP reduced to 75% at least initially (unlocks at 45, enemies start at 56). However, being able to start running Advanced Quests at lv46 is a significant improvement over having to wait until Lv52. It also means you can skip ahead areas more quickly at the lower levels, which doesn’t really affect Normal mode at all for new players in any case.

On arrival to Hard mode, you’ll be only 1 level out of reach for Forest Exploration.

On arrival to Very Hard mode, you’ll be able to run all the Free Field quests except for Sanctum Exploration and presumably Coast.


Client Order Adjustments

Reducing the cool-down time for daily repeatable Client Orders (not to be confused with Daily Orders… I know) from 24 to 22 is a big deal. Why, you might ponder, it’s not much of a change. It means they truly become daily orders. The current cool-down of 24 hours is problematic because it introduces what I call “crawl”, whereby the time you can re-do the Client Order crawls around the clock and becomes later with each day.

Say you start the Order at 12:00pm, it takes you half an hour to complete and you turn it in at 12:30pm. The next day you can’t start it any earlier than 12:30pm, so the next day you won’t be able to start it until 1:00pm. Then 1:30pm, etc. A 22 hour cool-down gives you a much better chance of being able to take on these Client Orders at a time you’d prefer to take them. It’s good to see the change, but annoying that it took them a year to do something about it.