Gotta Go Fast – Tokyo TA and Tidbits

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The September 21st update added a new time-attack quest set in Tokyo. Just gonna do a brief write-up of it as well as go over some additional tidbits concerning the content update this October.

Tokyo Time Attack


This one is a bit more of a parkour-ish obstacle course than the other time attacks. While there’s no real puzzle to solve, you’re still going to need to learn where enemies spawn particularly for the boost-ring sections. You’ll also need decent platforming and timing skills as well as very high damage output for the final block. This quest is not particularly friendly to certain class combos, particularly anything dependent on striking weak-points.

Enemies will grant EXP but they will not drop anything. As such, they will not count towards collection files. There is also no new Client Order for this quest.

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Enemies are a bit of a mix in terms of stat mods. All enemies placed around boost rings have reduced HP, though for some you’ll still need to have passed between 2 rings in order to one-shot them with the kick. The rest of the enemies have their regular free-field HP (not the slightly reduced Arks Quest variety), which is particularly important for the final block.

Platforming

platforming

There are two sections in the quest which will require you to do some platforming (not counting the first one which is just to introduce you to the concept). The first is easy enough, though the final jump will require you to hit jump at pretty much the last second to make it.

The second is a bit rougher, as you’ll need to avoid being bombarded or you’ll lose your runspeed as well as having to land on much more narrow platforms. Your controller best be in good shape if you’re not using Mouse and Keyboard!

The final block is a fight against Train Ghidoran. As said, this is using Free-Field levels of HP so it is very durable. What’s more is as time goes on more and more enemies will spawn; starting with 2 tanks, then adding in helicopters and roadrollers. The longer the fight is, the harder it’ll be!

Thoughts

It’s a fun enough quest, though it will be particularly rough on some class combos due to the nature of Train Ghidoran and lack of weak-points on many enemies. The quest essentially favours high-burst short attack time classes or any that can crowd-control Ghidoran effectively. As such, the likes of Banish-Graptor combos won’t be of much use here as Train Ghidoran doesn’t really expose itself for long enough for them to even hit.

Is it worth running over others for your weekly TACOs? Honestly no, but it’s short enough that you could run it for something different to do so it’s a bit like Traces of Darkness in that respect. Naberius 2 and Harukotan remain the most efficient ways to do your weeklies for now.

New Skill Rings


 

So turns out there were a bunch of other skill rings announced during TGS that sorta escaped the main show I guess, which Gheaven covered here. Most of them seem to be support oriented, I’ll go over them quickly;

L / Just Reversal JA Combo

  • Just Reversals will gain a Just-Attack window

R / Just Reversal PP Gain

  • Recovers PP on successful Just Reversals.

A lot of Just Reversal oriented rings coming up it seems, two  of which are L / Rings. I doubt that JA Combo will be interesting enough for people to want to socket into 12* units, mind.

R /  Healing Guard

  • Heals you and others close to you when you successfully activate a Just-Guard effect.

Not really sure who this ring is for, as melee-weapon types generally have access to Healing Guard anyway. This ring just enables those who don’t run a Hunter sub to use it I guess.

R / Wide Support

  • Like Techer’s Wide Area Support; greatly increases the area of Resta, Shifta, Deband and Anti.

Again, I’m not sure who this is for. Force typically won’t be able to use it because they run Techer sub and you probably don’t want to get buffed by a Bouncer/Hunter… though I guess any Shifta is better than no Shifta! Pretty sure there are better rings that a Bouncer is much more likely to be wearing, mind.

The most interesting of this bunch is “L/Non Weak Bonus“, which will allow Launcher attacks to count for Weak-Hit Advance bonuses even if they’re not hitting weak spots. This is a significant buff for Launchers as you might expect, though I do wonder what limitations may be put on it. Weak-Hit Advance specifically boosts damage from shooting attacks, but not all Launcher Photon Arts are. Crazy Smash for example is R-Atk scaling striking damage, which may mean it won’t benefit from this ring. In any case, Launcher users rejoice because your weapon is going to be a lot more effective once this ring arrives.

These rings will be added with the rest some time in October.

Custom PA/Tech Details


With the release of the official update page came a few details about the upcoming custom PA/Techs. Lets go over them

Sacrifice Bite: Type Zero

  • Speeds up the photon absorption
  • Boosts the power and range of normal and step-attacks

So that blade-extension effect was not just for show! As a Hunter main I’m obviously fairly eager to see how much of an effect this has on my play-style. The additional range and power should mitigate the PP issues that Sword can suffer from.

Straight Charge: Type Zero

  • Hold the button to continue sailing through enemies while dealing constant damage
  • Constantly drains PP while in use

Nothing really new about this.

Parallel Slider: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while moving around in a hovering motion.
  • If used mid-air, will allow you to gently fall during the attack.
  • IT’S JUST LIKE ONE OF MY ANIMES

The mid-air detail is new, though I don’t think Ranger really has that much trouble dealing with airborn enemies. Might make the pre-broken knee portion of Magastu more fun if you’re incline to use anything other than End Attract I guess?

Sharp Bomber: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while jumping forward as well as backward.
  • Charging the attack greatly increases its power

Nothing really new about this.

Strike Gust: Type Zero

  • Holding the button extends the rising portion of the attack.
  • Removes the charge portion, so you’ll be able to spam this attack more often

I don’t know enough about Jet-boot usage to really comment on this, though removing the charge portion of the attack does at least give them a directed quick-fire attack which I believe they sorta lacked? Correct me if I’m wrong on this.

Safoie: Type Zero

  • Before casting it closes distance with the target
  • Makes it easier to land the attack
  • More powerful when charged

Ramegid: Type Zero

  • Causes orbs to orbit you
  • Enemies will take damage at set intervals on contact with orbs
  • The charged version will have shorter intervals.

No new details for the techs. Much the same thoughts as before; these are both seemingly engineered to make melee Techer’s life easier.

Class Rebalance


 

So turns out those two new skills heading Summoner’s way in October were indeed not the “Class Rebalance” listed on the long-term schedule. Sega made a post here on their update page for October laying out all of the changes. With thanks to translations provided by this PSOWorld post.

General

  • All stances will have their time limits removed and become infinite.

The main thing I have to say is why the fuck did this change take 4 and a half years to implement? Even more bafflingly so after they introduced this very feature for Wand Lovers all that time ago! Stance skills should have been this way from the start, so this is a welcome quality-of-life adjustment it’s just it kind of makes me despair that it took them this long to realise timers on stances were not a good idea…

Hunter

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Rising Edge

Should help with preventing incoming damage when using this; as being locked into the animation and having an attack go from tell to finish before you can guard did kind of suck.

  • Larger AoE and slower fall on Nova Strike

Nova Strike already has decent AoE I think, so I’m curious to see how much larger they intend to make it. Not sure what function the slower fall would serve…

  • Improved Just-Attack timing, reduced PP cost and increased speed of Stun Concide

Why?

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Guilty Break

I guess this adjustment is to make it a better travelling PA as right now it’s a little awkward for this (you can only cancel just after the first strike has started, giving it a kind of stop-start effect.)

  • Improved JA timing on Ignite Parrying

Not entirely sure of the purpose of this change, unless it’s to make it easier to chain Ignite Parrying together.

  • Improved JA and guard-cancel timing on Kaiser Rise. Adjusted timing of attack damage.

Again, I assume this is to make it easier to spam the attack.

Hunter got the most changes of all the classes. All fairly minor changes, eh? This is going to be the trend for the rest of this balance update as you’ll see.

Fighter

  • Improved speed of Surprise Dunk

So double-saber users can throw themselves into the action more quickly I guess.

  • L/Knuckle Chase now affects Quake Howling when used midair

Odd change, not sure why they did this. Perhaps knuckle users would be more informed.

Ranger

  • Improved cancel timing and added i-frames to Impact Slider

Gunner

  • Improved JA timing and Stlyish Roll cancel timing of Dive Roll shoot when using TMGs

Braver

  • Reduced hit-stop of Katana Gear counter

Was this even that big of an issue? I admittedly am only a casual Katana user at best, but compared to the hit-stop I experience on other weapon types I can’t say I ever really noticed this.

Summoner

  • Sped-up attack timing of Cery Chaser
  • Sped up attack timing of Cery Fall and increased period of time enemies are stopped

A bit of help for Cery, which is a pet I just don’t see used that often anymore. Not helped that I believe Maron Chaser is considered superior to Cery Chaser, but I’m not experienced enough to say if that’s true or not.

  • 12* pets can now be raised to Lv110

I take it this means that you’ll be able to visit Pietro for Pet Limit Breaking with 12* pets now. The current cap for 12* pets is lv95 and there’s a fairly significant stat gain between that and 110. Essentially, this is a big buff to 12* pets, though honestly I could swear that 13* pets are more common.

Sakai’s Favorite: Gunslash

Yet more changes for a weapon class that no one uses now and no one will use after.

  • Improved JA timing of Step Attack
  • Improved JA timing and cancel timing of Tri Impact Type Zero
  • Added I-frames to Thrillerplode
  • Improved speed and reduced hit-stop of Slash Rave
  • Improved cancel timing of Kreuzanschlag

All improvements, all things people likely won’t notice because no one uses Gunslashes seriously.

So yeah, overall these are a bunch of minor tweaks and quality of life changes. Slightly disappointing as there’s a bunch of Hunter and general issues I’m aware of that I’m sad they didn’t address and I’m sure those more specifically experienced with other classes feel similarly. I guess I expect a class balance to shake up the meta slightly, which in this case the only two classes this may have a chance of happening for are Hunter and Summoner I feel. Wether the changes for either class will turn out to be all that significant or not we won’t know until they’re out I guess.

Of course, while the class balance changes are mostly minor the addition of L/Non Weak Bonus and some of the Photon Art crafts may shake things up significantly enough on their own! That’s all for this post; it ended up a bit longer than I intended but there were a fair number of little tidbits this time. As always, let me know if there’s anything I got particularly wrong.

 

TGS Day 4 Trailer Analysis

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The 4th day of TGS saw the reveal of a couple of new trailers for content coming up in October. I’ll be going over the bits I’ve got any thoughts on. The complete summarized rundown is on Bumped as always. Despite there being only two trailers (of the main things, anyway) there’s quite a lot to go through.

The Trailers


Just including the main two  trailer that will form the bulk of this post in this section. There’s a third more minor one I’ll go over at the end.

Early October Update:

Late October Update:

PA/Tech Customizations


While only the usual handful they add in these kinds of updates I think they’re an interesting handful in my opinion.

Sacrifice Bite Type Zero:

Speeds up the photon art and strengthens normal attacks. It seems like normal attacks gain an extended photon blade during the attack animation, though it’s hard to tell from the demo if this actually increases range or if it’s just for show. It would have been nice if the demo had used it on an enemy that didn’t have super-armor frames on to see how the full charge looks now.

expand_sword

If it does significantly increase normal attack range, then this is a good buff for swords in general as their normal attacks always had plenty of power but surprisingly small reach for how large the weapon is. This would also greatly help with the PP issues that sword can have, as you should more reliably tag enemies for PP recovery as long as the buff is up.

Straight Charge Type Zero:

Hold down the button to go sailing through enemies. It drains PP as you’re channeling it, so it’ll possibly last as long as your PP does. It’s one of those silly looking customizations that I can’t help but like.

Strike Gust Type Zero:

Kick up and up and up and up. Holding the button down extends the length of the rising part of the attack, which could be very irritating for other party members.

Parallel Slide Type Zero

Finally you can be like Giliam in the original PSO2 OP movie. Aside that, having a controllable high-mobility PA on Rifles might be interesting. Might look a bit derpy on non-cast characters, mind.

Sharp Bomber Type Zero

No longer launches you backwards and greatly increases its power when charged. Bullet Bows are still lacking in good AoE attacks, so this should be a welcome addition for those specializing in them.

Safoie Type Zero

Moves you towards the target before casting and is more powerful when charged. That’s about it, not a hugely interesting customization on the surface of it. However, it may be useful for melee-Techers as a gap-closing skill as presumably the gap-closing part won’t require you to charge the PA. If it does then it’s a bit less useful for that.

Ramegid Type Zero

Surrounds you with dark orbs which deal pulsing damage to enemies on contact. Could be a interesting addition to a melee Techer’s arsenal, though it depends on how long the orbs persist for. The orbs do flinch enemies, so it may also be a handy protective barrier against trash mobs for all casting types.

I think Ramegid and Sacrifice Bite got the most interesting changes, because both of them will potentially have a large impact on game-play. It’ll be more clear when these are released and we can experiment with them.

New Skills: Summoner Quality of Life.


Summoner will be gaining two new skills; Share Assist and Long Distance Love (daww).

Share Assist appears to allow support effects to transfer between pets when you swap pets or weapons. Not sure how big an issue this was for Summoners, but it may mean you won’t have to re-cast support techs as much.

Long Distance Love is probably the most major one, as it allows you to initiate Pet Sympathy without having to recall your pet to you to get it inside Shifta/Resta range.

new_pet_ui

Another major quality of life fix is your pet’s HP and status effects will display on the palette. I’m not sure why this wasn’t a feature from the beginning, as you’d think this is the kind of thing that’d come up during play-testing. It’s great that they’re finally implementing it, but all the same it’s baffling that it took them this long to do it.

I’m not sure if this is the “Skill re-balance” they were hinting towards on the long term schedule, but if it is I’m kind of disappointed. Not because these are bad changes because Summoner needed some help and I like what they’ve proposed. It’s just the name indicates that there’d be changes to most if not all classes, not just the one. We’ll see I guess.

Evolved Summoner Pets


The three basic pets; Wanda, Torim and Ceri will be gaining upgraded versions of themselves.

jinga

Jinga, the upgraded Wanda. It appears to gain a zig-zag motion, possibly extending the width of its dashing attack.

aero

Aero, the upgraded Torim. Aero Spiral seems to have a larger range than Torim Spiral.

popru

Popple, the upgraded Ceri. Popple-plode seems to have a larger radius than Ceri-plode.

Beyond that, it’s not really known how these pets are superior to the old versions. I’m not sure if you can just consume the upgraded egg or if you have to feed it to the base version to “evolve” it. However the demo shows them using a 7* Jinga egg to upgrade a 6* wanda, so it may have similar restrictions to the pet-ability swap/rarity upgrade mechanic. That is to say; you may need an egg of equal or greater rarity. If this is true, it’s going to be awkward to upgrade any 13* pets you currently have.

Skill Ring Update


 

There’s a couple of parts to this; one is the addition of 4 new rings to go with the addition of Caves and Tundra as gathering spots. Gonna go over the new rings here, with descriptions sourced from Bumped’s post:

L/Jet Boots Tech Arts SC

  • Reduces charge times when you combo from a PA to a Technic.

I can’t see this being terribly useful for BoHu or really in general. Seems like a waste of space, but maybe Jet Boot mains can correct me on this.

L / Air Reversal

  • Allows you to perform an air reversal in the air.

This could be really useful. While Just Reversal is trivial enough with practice, its main weakness is it leaves you vulnerable to being juggled to death. This ring should prevent that, by turning a knock-back into i-frames, which mechanically should greatly increase your survivability as long as you’re paying attention.

L / Slow Dive Roll

  • Extends the duration by slowing the Dive Roll speed.

I’m not sure of the use of this ring, unless it’s just to extend the i-frames on Dive Roll. Lord knows Dive Roll needs all the help it can get…

L / Step Jump

  • Increases movement speed if you jump during the [Step] action.

The video demonstration shows it’s a fairly large increase in movement speed. Could this be the return of step-jump for faster movement over long distances? Hopefully not, but the increase in melee mobility is always welcome  It’d be a fair boon if this ring allowed you go skip straight to maximum running speed upon landing, mind! Unfortunately the demo doesn’t show this either way.

Ring Selling/Trading

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The other side of this is you can buy and sell skill rings, which is interesting. I’m not sure what kind of restrictions might be put in place on them, if any. This could work out great for players who are willing to spend the extra time gathering for profit and for those players who just plain don’t want to gather. Given the cost of creating and upgrading rings however, it remains to be seen what kind of profit margin people might be able to make with this.

To The Moon! -Story Board Chapter 5


moon_baseRejoice, those who despise Episode 4 for going to Earth because we’re heading back to something resembling the science fiction setting again. The next chapter of the story quest is set on a moon base, where Hitsugi is currently being held captive. Battle your way past Mother Cluster apostles such as Phul and Och, possibly Kohri based on the data-mining and who knows who else!

The moon base itself doesn’t seem like a terribly complicated map, given it’s just a straight corridor. That said, I guess it’s reasonable for a field that’s only going to be available in a story quest. The background music incorporates Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

hi_mom

The quest will see Mother’s face finally revealed. I’m surprised they showed it in a teaser trailer really, as I’d figure this kind of thing would be better saved for the actual quest itself. Still, it does confirm that data-mining was right about her appearance at least. She also doesn’t seem terribly perturbed that her sworn enemies are bashing her door down…

Later on in the month, additional story board events will be added including a fight between Huey and Phaleg and finally re-uniting with Matoi.

This reminds me, I am actually considering doing story summary posts now thanks to story translation efforts by multiple people. More details on that when the time comes.

Ultimate Amduscia: New Info


The second trailer showed some new bits about Ultimate Amduscia.

Quest Teleporter.

Boooo. The inclusion of a teleporter is bad news in my opinion, because with it the quest will likely never get started once interest wanes over time. Initially it won’t be a problem because people will be running them a lot, but let’s see if that’s still the case 3 months down the line.

Presumably they felt the need to include this because they wanted to prevent the return of Anga farming. By syncing up all the players at the start, you can put Anga at the end of the quest, making sure you can’t just shortcut your way to it. The downside however will be you can’t join the quest once its begun, nor can anyone join you after you begin it. The result is if your MPA isn’t full you get to sit there and wait, which is something you don’t suffer from for the other Ultimate Quests. Good luck getting randoms to agree to go in with lower numbers! Anyone who’s had issues getting Riding Quests, Challenge Quests or the recent Odin Limited Quest started should know what I’m worried about.

The Quest Itself

It looks like it might be a fixed-layout quest, which I don’t mind. It does run counter to the spirit of the other Ultimate Quests however which functioned more like free fields and it may have the unfortunate effect of making the quest much more repetitive. However, a fixed layout does give them the potential to engineer more interesting encounters than a random number generator could create, so I’m interested to see how it all works out. Curiously, if you follow the trailer you’ll note that they’re at varying point totals at different parts of the map between obviously different runs. Maybe the route through the quest is randomized even if the map isn’t?

lightning_weakness

The main enemies are weak to lightning element. 

Much like the other Ultimate Quests, you’ll need to amass around 2000 points to clear. It seems the encounters during the quest are randomized enough, though the demo seems to show that a boss encounter happens in the same place (the center of the map) with Deadlion, Gilzoras Drago and the new Anga Fundarge. These all seem to occur around the 1200 point mark. It may pick a random boss to have as the final encounter in the quest if defeating it earns the rest of the points, which should be OK. I don’t think we’ll be in danger of people abandoning the quest if Anga doesn’t spawn as long as the collection files are relevant or their drops are decent.

New Gear

Speaking of drops, this is no doubt what a lot of people were most eager to find out. What kind of gear can we get?

As was expected , the quest will come with a new collection file with which you can obtain the “Gicks” series of weapons. Though along with these, apparently other 13* weapons will also drop from the quest.

gicks_sword_file

Gicks Sword comes with a rather impressive 1333 attack, though it’s unknown exactly how much of that is made up by affixes. If we assume that Deadlion Soul comes with the standard +35 S-atk then its +50 attack with Ability 3, bringing it down to an estimated 1283 attack which is still huge. Austere Calibur in comparison has 1161 S-atk at +0, so its looking like these will be making the Austere series obsolete if they come with a solid potential.

12* Units

After many years of 11* units, we’re finally making the transition to 12*. It appears that there’ll only be 1 complete set and a bunch of boss parts for others. While their stats are unknown, the blue-wing unit appears to start with 225 S-Def which puts it on par with the Tagami units if so. This potentially makes Saiki and Austere units superior for defense in terms of raw stats, but of course we don’t know what set bonuses they may come with or what inherent bonuses they may have. What we do know if that even if they’re statistically weaker they come with one very important mechanic that makes them blow all 11* units out of the water; you can slot L / skill rings into them.

ring_slotting

Take one ring, 100,000 Meseta and 1 Lambda Grinder to fuse a ring with your unit. Once you fuse the ring, the ring is consumed and you won’t be able to get it back. Note that this only works with Left rings and it will also bind the unit to you.

This is a game-changer in terms of the builds that people could go with, as it allows you to essentially equip up to 4 left rings at once! The big issue is going to be that you’ll need to do an additional upgrade step every time they release a new unit set now, which will be irritating as you’ll have to re-gather and grind up a new ring each time. Though I guess the ability to buy and sell rings may help in that regard…

As an aside, the blue units appear to be Ray units. They’re similar to Ray weapons in appearance and have “ray” in their names. As far as I know it isn’t confirmed if they’ll have a set bonus with Ray weapons, but even if they do the presence of the Gicks series may topple the urge to wear them together…

Phantasy Star Universe Part 2


 

Alright, there’s one more trailer to go over quickly! The 2nd part of the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary crossover thingamajig was revealed.

This time, the focus is on the Phantasy Star Portable games mostly, also featuring a shirtless Howzer because why not. Shirtless Howzer is kinda awesome to be honest, he reminds me a bit of Liquid Ocelot  You’ll be able to get Helga, Vivienne and Emilia costumes and accessories. Howzer and Helga’s costumes will be layered wear.

This time, the lobby NPCs will be Emilia and Vivienne. They’ll come with the usual Client Orders, obtainable Partner Cards and  obtainable 13* weapons, with Clarita Visas NT and Vivienne. Both weapons will have editable photon colours.

emilia_and_vivi

What’s new and fairly interesting about this pair is that they both seem to come with their own fully voiced cutscenes. I’m not sure if these will be special story board events or what triggers them. I’m interested to see what they have to say, mind, though I’m not expecting them to do something silly like trying to make a canonical link between PSU and PSO2…

Anyway, looks like that’ll be all for the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary. Kind of a shame we didn’t see anything Laia turn up but that’s how it goes. I originally thought there were going to be three parts based on the fact that we had three major characters on the promotional artwork, but there’s nothing on the schedule for it. Kind of a blow for fans of the Guardians Formal outfit.

That’s finally all I have to write about! Long post, but there was a lot of stuff they revealed on the 4th day of the TGS. As far as I know there’s nothing else to announce, but i could be wrong. Let me know in the comments if I got anything wrong or if you have any observations of your own you’d like to add. Thanks for reading!

Upcoming Event: Famitsu Cup

100_percent_ridiculous

The Tokyo Game Show has seen a few tidbits released for PSO2, including a couple of collaborations no one cares about (alright, the Persona 5 collaboration has stirred up a bit of a reaction..) and the announcement of a classic Phantasy Star event, the Famitsu Cup. This event will be a full on web-event and is starting some time in November. Reposting the trailer:

That thing that looks like a failed attempt at a 90s console mascot is Famitsu’s own mascot “Necky”. Unfortunately you’re presumably going to have to interact with it during the event.

gatheringticket

Details are a little thin on the event for now, but it does seem that it’ll involve the gathering system at least. Gathering items net you “Gabasu Tickets”, though it doesn’t give any indication what these tickets are for. If it’s always 4 per gathering attempt, that is quite a lot of tickets you could acquire if you have a large number of alts…

Special Mining Base Defense


The Famitsu Cup will come with a slight new twist on the all-star style of event quest by setting it in Mining Base: Invasion’s map; an Emergency Quest named “Challenges from Necky”. You’ll need to fend off Gal Gryphon, Kuronites, Lilipa Mechs and even Aberrations. We’ve only been shown a tiny snippet of it, but it seems hectic enough.

Update: As pointed out, it’s Invasion’s map not Despairs. Guess I’m the one despairing.

miningbarrier

Aside the towers being threatened by enemies they’ve never seen before, it seems at least one new mechanic is added as well in the form of a barrier. This barrier seems to be protecting AIS Exoda as they charge their cannons, which makes it a significant threat.

I’m pretty interested in how this quest will play out, as I’ve pondered before how some non-darker enemies might function mechanically in a tower-defense style quest. Barbarillipas for example could be pretty destructive if ignored, what with their very long range and constant attacks. Gryphon tornadoes, lightning and general charging about could be tricky to deal with. Falka Leopard and Zeta Guranz with their huge amount of missiles and potential for collateral damage (especially Zeta Guranz’ spinning laser attack) present a potentially interesting positioning problem. I also can’t help but ponder what might happen if the attacking waves end up turning on each other (as Darkers and non-Darkers will fight each other) but I kind of doubt they will due to how the aggro mechanics work; it can be hard enough for a player to peel mobs off the towers and they do a lot more damage.

The quest will apparently award collaboration items.

So far, that’s all the information about the event that I’m aware of. Not much to go on, really, but at least the emergency quest looks like it’ll be fun. Kind of hoping the rest of the event isn’t based on gathering items, mind…

Towards the Future: Elite Blocks

gettin_upstaged

Sega is considering adding special blocks which will require players to have cleared specific content before they’re allowed to enter. The aim of this is to filter out unskilled players so that they can design more difficult content down the line without the issues that this presents right now. Currently, their idea is to have the requirement be to have cleared Heaven and Hell floors 1-5, but this may change in the future as its still under discussion. This lock is allegedly going to be treated as a kind of “entrance exam” for the harder content they want to do.

The Scrub Problem


It’s something that seems to have been on some players’ minds for some time, but now even Sega is considering a solution to this problem. So you want to run endgame content, to team up with your peers and take down tough enemies that would either be too difficult or take too long to do by yourself? So you hop on down from your campship and lo and behold, your peers are carrying un-grinded blue weapons or whatever 10-11* junk they happened to find and are proudly adourning their ungrinded unaffixed Gal Griffon units. Then you check out their classes and find that if they even have a subclass at all it’s a completely bizarre one like HuFo or SuRa and it’s only lv10 or so… shit.

Yeah running things like Mining Base or any lv80 raid boss that isn’t Yamato with people who freshly reached lv75 but haven’t addressed their gear yet can be a wholesomely frustrating experience. There’s not much you can do about it personally, as you’re at the mercy of real RNG essentially as to who you end up with when you join a group. Thankfully, the problem is largely mitigated by the fact that most runs can be carried by a handful of well geared players but this does present somewhat of a design problem for Sega.

Now I’m gonna go on record by saying that I don’t hate people who are under-geared by default and most shouldn’t either. Generally speaking, they’re not joining runs to ruin your day and the vast majority are not joining your run to be a “leech” either. They may be genuinely unaware that their gear matters all that much (thanks to how PSO2 is designed, this is fairly common) or that their performance is sub-par or it could just be that the very quest they joined is their only choice to get the gear they need for varying reasons. I may go into detail discussing this in another post..

For Difficulty’s Sake


Sega’s stance with PSO2 has been one where veterans and scrubs alike can play together. There’s nothing wrong with this goal on the face of it, it’s just that it does limit their design somewhat. They can’t make harder content because of it, I mean in the grand scheme of things the recently buffed Profound Darkness is incredibly easy and that’s already annoying enough with a party with enough fresh 75s in it. Imagine if there was a run which required everyone to be well built, well geared and deeply familiar with their class as a baseline? It’d be an utter nightmare to queue for.

The addition of some kind of filter should in theory help alleviate this problem, though difficulty in its own right is a complex issue. Designing hard content for a multiplayer game goes beyond just challenging people’s gear and knowledge; it involves teamwork too.

As a good example, look at Challenge Mode: Mission Start. Clearing this quest requires predetermined roles to be filled, which are often negotiated at the start of the quest. You need someone to tag unkillable bosses, someone to pick up VR capsules, someone to be taken by the Fanji who can burn down Dark Ragne quickly among other things I’ve likely forgotten. PSO2 in general doesn’t really have many teamwork mechanics, there’s only really a few I can think of that actually work:

  • Techer Shifta and Deband
  • Zondeel
  • Zanverse
  • Weakbullet

That’s it. Those are really all the viable team-work mechanics (that arent “do damage”) and they can all be done by 2 different classes. If you combined those two together you’d get the fabled “ultimate support” but you should probably never run that build…

Now, before you start, yes I know there are other skills that are “teamwork” oriented but I said “viable”. Unfortunately, most of the skills in the game outside of these just aren’t effective enough in the current state of things to really be useful. Chain is a bit of an outlier, as you minorly benefit from others using normal attacks in order for your Chain Finish to be all the more powerful.

Essentially, PSO2 has three roles a player can fill:

  • DPS
  • Techer
  • Weakbullet – the giver of which is also a DPS

That’s it! This isn’t actually a criticism in case it sounds like one, I don’t necessarily mind things being like this as I have my issues with games employing the old “holy trinity” system among other things. It just means that they’re much more limited in terms of what they can design, because there aren’t really many roles for them to exploit from just the classes alone.

Again, this isn’t necessarily a problem. Like imagine if there were 12 different defined roles that players needed to fill. Can you imagine how much of a nightmare it would be to cobble such a group together from randoms?

Anyway I think I’ve ranted enough about this aspect. The thing to take away from this I feel is the players want harder content, the devs want to give us harder content, but due to how PSO2 is designed this won’t make things easy to pull off.

The Entrance Exam


So ignoring the difficulties of making difficult content, is the entrance exam they propose appropriate? Would it work? Are other tests more appropriate or is the whole idea potentially bad for the game as a whole?

The proposal is for the “Solo Extreme Quest” Heaven and Hell floors 1-5. Anyone who has run the quest should know that 6-10 is considerably harder than 1-5 which is a fair enough point. It’s not a terribly high bar to pass but it is a bar; there are plenty of players who, with the gear they turn up to endgame raid quests with, couldn’t even do that! So in theory it could act as a filter against fresh or lazy lv75s.

Of course the community has proposed their own ideas, including having floors 6-10 be the requirement, clearing XH Traces of Darkness in less than 8 minutes (solo), doing a direct build/gear/affix check before you’re allowed to enter among other things.

A potential problem with having an entrance exam be too strict is it may filter out otherwise decent players that aren’t specifically built for the entrance exam. Glass-cannon DPS will find Heaven and Hell 6-10 extremely difficult compared to a tankier build. You wouldn’t want an MPA filled with tanks though would you? Similarly, XH Traces of Darkness is awful for builds that would otherwise be a god-send to your MPA.

So what about gear? It shouldn’t be difficult to check for +10/+40 on weapons, or +10 on armor. It gets trickier when you then add in crafting, weapon rarity, weapon potentials, element choice and build synergy. Then there’s affixes! There’s all sorts of issues with affixes as there’s not really a “one size fits all” build for them. There’s also the issue that under the current gearing meta, affixes add a barely significant amount to your DPS anyway (most of it is coming from your weapon and build). Even if you could add such rigorous checks, you still run the risk of pigeonholing people too narrowly, again filtering out players that may be beneficial to your raid group.

Then there’s builds. As you can imagine, creating checks for builds could be a very complicated problem; especially again as you might want someone to be in what would otherwise be an inefficient build (say, TeSu) but is otherwise a very powerful support character (TeSu has the strongest Zanverse in the game as far as I know). Even the simpler check of class/subclass is prone to letting bad players through; FiHu sounds like a safe bet but they could be a wierd Guard-Stance build oriented around Chase Advance. Or a FoTe who still thinks it’s 2012 and is running a Lightning focused tree using Photon Flare.The specific builds are unimportant, the big thing is testing based on a build is prone to ignoring useful edge-cases and may make dangerous assumptions on “accepted” builds.

Essentially, pigeonholing by having too strict a set of entry requirements would limit their ability to design challenging content in much the same way as letting everyone play together regardless of build or gearing would. It’d be a self-defeating system.

Finally there’s the question of is this healthy for the game in the long term? Consider the case where we have a good, reliable entrance exam that filters out the scrubs. Great, the veterans can all band together and play hard content in harmony. But what’s preventing them from playing the easy content this way too? Consider an easy-ish raid Emergency Quest comes along. The veterans all pile into their elite blocks to avoid the filthy noobs, you now have nothing but noobs piled together. This could make runs much more frustrating for them than they need to be and it may even trap them in progression hell if they actually need to complete those quests to graduate into the elite blocks.

If handled right, having a pile of noobs together could work out, because as they can’t be carried by a veteran it could force them to learn how to play the game better. This may also highlight their gear/DPS shortcomings and force them to gear up so they themselves can get better runs. So it’s not all potential doom and gloom, I’m just not 100% convinced it’d actually work out this way.

Anyway, this was a long-ass rant. I felt I had a lot to say on this subject but ultimately it’s just my opinion. I’m likely wrong on some things. If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope what i wrote was enjoyable or thought provoking in some way.

Rideroid Quests

you_killed_my_family_you_may_as_well_finish_the_job

The Vegas update added a brand new type of quest, which is essentially a “score attack” mode. As the name suggests, it heavily involves the Rideroid vehicle so you’ll need to become familiar with using them. I’ve written up a short guide on how to ride your ‘roid here.  In this post I’m going to go over the basic mechanics and general advice for doing well in this new quest type.

Overview


 

You’ll need to score as high as possible, as your score directly influences the rare drop boost at the end of the quest. You have 10 minutes from the end of the teleporter countdown to get as many points as you can. Kill enemies and clear E-trials to score points.

the_score

During the quest, you’ll get events called “Emblem Time”. During these, collecting emblems will boost the % number next to the score. This number is your score multiplier, so the higher it is the better. This % is not your drop rate boost, that’s all on the score. 

You can also raise the score multiplier by killing rare enemies  (+25% each) and rare bosses (+100% each). The maximum boost limit is 9,999%.

There are six variants of the Las Vegas Rideroid quest; 3 each for night and day. There’s not really a significant difference between them aside layout and the song being played. These variants are rotated on a daily basis.

Scoring


 

The following chart is a direct translation from the one present on Swiki:

Diff. Enemies Miniboss Boss Etrial Clear (Max)
N 10
20
100
200
200
400
1,000
20×Kills
H 20
40
200
400
400
800
2,000
40×Kills
VH 30
60
300
600
600
1,200
3,000
60×Kills
SH 50
100
500
1,000
1,000
2,000
5,000
100×Kills
XH 100
200
1,000
2,000
2,000
4,000
10,000
200×Kills

Red numbers are for rare variants. All scores are before bonuses are applied.

As you can see, completing E-trials is by far the greatest way to get points, with killing being the only other way to get them at all. The first priority would appear to be to kill enemies to spawn E-trials and then clear those E-trials as soon as possible.

You’ll still need at least one person collecting emblems of course, as this will scale your score multiplier.

Emblem Time


 

emblems

Emblem times occur at set times during the quest:

  • Bronze emblems will appear at 9 minutes remaining
  • Silver emblems will appear at 6 minutes remaining
  • Gold emblems will appear at 3 minutes remaining.

Additionally, Rainbow emblems will appear from time to time. One at 8 minutes, one at 7 and one at 5. They can then start appearing randomly from 1min30s onward, with their frequency greatly increasing at time ticks down. While their locations are randomly chosen, the locations themselves are pre-defined. With enough practise, you can learn where these emblems can spawn which will greatly speed up acquisition.

rainbow_emblems

Rainbow emblems are marked on the radar as above. It will not tell you their vertical location however!

Collecting them will raise your score multiplier by the following amounts:

  • Copper will raise the bar by 1 point
  • Silver will raise the bar by 3 points
  • Gold will raise the bar by 7 points
  • Rainbow will raise the bar by 50 points

It’s advisable to have very few people dedicated to collecting emblems (as few as 1 even) outside of Emblem time, as killing enemies to trigger E-trials is very important for racking up a score. So you need most of the MPA killing at all times. This is especially important in the final minute of the quest as this is when your multipliers will be their highest.

E-trials


 

Where the big scores are! Clearing E-trials as fast as possible is the main priority if you want a good score.

Attack/Duel

Just kill the enemies, straightforward. Includes T-15 Tanks, Devils Trailers, Night Gears, Train Ghidoran, Vegas Illusia and Cougar NX for bosses/minibosses. Typically it’s one boss or two mini-bosses. There is of course also the killing regular enemies kind.

rare_enemy_etrial

These will occasionally change over into rare enemy kill trials. You have a certain amount of time to kill as many of these enemies as possible. Enemies will continuously respawn in this time.

Repel the Unidentified Organisms

jellyfish

This is the one where Jellyfish will spawn all over the place. You’re meant to just plough your Rideroid into them, but if you have Forces in the right place you can actually use TPS teching to destroy them instead (as a few techs when aimed this way have infinite range). Despite their huge resistances to anything that isn’t a Rideroid they have very low HP even on Extra Hard. The issue with this approach is that the Jellyfish may be hiding behind buildings or otherwise out of line-of-sight for Forces, so you’ll want to spread out or get on a very tall building to do this.

Destroy the Floating Fortress!

indepedance_day_joke

It’s essentially a static version of the Jellyfish E-trial. Slam your Rideroid into the blue shield generators (the blue pillars pictured above) and then slam it into the exposed core a bunch of times until you win. The shield generators are displayed on the map so refer to that if you get lost.

Beware that the barriers and laserbeams will damage your Rideroid and can fairly easily destroy it if you’re being careless.

the_core

Smash yourself into the core a bunch of times once it’s exposed to win!

Unlike the jellyfish, the generators have a lot of HP so you’re better off slamming your Rideroid into them than abusing infinite range Techs. Note that their HP is high enough that one hit from a Rideroid might not be enough to destroy them but it usually is. Similarly, the core will require at least 10 hits to destroy it.

 

Thoughts


 

It’s a fun enough type of quest though to do well in it you’re going to have to get good at using the Rideroid, which can be a bit of a learning curve in its own right. It’ll also get easier to get high multipliers as you learn where the emblems can spawn. The rest is kind of random and while bad luck won’t cheat you out of getting a good score it may cheat you out of breaking 2 million+.

Personally, I find the quest very irritating as a melee class. For one thing, enemies have lowered HP and are very spread out. This means that enemies are likely to be long dead before you can get in range to contribute much in the way of kills. That said, melee can contribute a good deal of punishment to mini-bosses and bosses still. As killing speed is the most important thing however, I feel like this is a quest there Force/Techers once again shine strong.

It may also suffer from being a 12-man quest, as finding full groups for it may become difficult to impossible down the line. While you can run it in a smaller group you are at a major disadvantage if you want the higher scores. This alone may prevent future groups from settling for say, 8/12 but who knows. This community can be unpredictable.

Anyway I hope this post was helpful enough and good luck getting those top-end scores. Let me know if there’s anything I got horribly wrong or if you have some information that I don’t.

 

 

Rideroid Controls

buttride

With the introduction of the Las Vegas field came an entirely new vehicle; the Rideroid. Aside sounding remarkably unpleasant (I mean your character stands on it kinda like they have another kind of roid…) the controls were a bit of a shock to a lot of players, especially those expecting the vehicles to control like AIS.

This is gonna be a quick post going over the Rideroid controls. You’ll need to get used to these if you want to score well in the Rideroid quests for obvious reasons.

Official Video Guide


There’s actually an official video guide here:

While it is all in Japanese, it’s got a fairly comprehensive visual demonstration of what not to get the most of your ‘roids.

 

Controls


A lot of people’s first thoughts when getting on a Rideroid was “how the heck do I actually move forward?”. It’s the first button on your action palette: the X button if you’re on a 360 controller or left-click on a mouse. This is the big thing to get used to in my opinion; your normal controls for moving forwards and backwards on foot will move you up and down on the Rideroid. This can be a bit jarring at first but you should soon get used to it.

Gettin on your Roid:

roid_terminal

Simply walk up to an orange terminal and interact with it. You’ll immediately get on a Rideroid. Getting on one will switch you to a separate HP and PP bar just for the vehicle; your own HP and PP won’t change. If your Rideroid runs out of HP then it’ll explode and you’ll be forced to dismount. If it runs out of PP you just won’t be able to perform any actions on it but it can still move around.

green_ring

Fly through the green rings to restore 60% of your HP and PP.

track_rings

These rails will move you along at max speed along a pre-determined track for free. You can exit at any point by simply hitting jump and a direction. You can actually enter these tracks at any point as well; any ring along the way will attach you to the track.

Steering

To steer, use your Camera controls (or your general movement controls if you’ve switched from TPS mode). This is the right analogue stick on controllers or by moving the mouse. Note that getting on a Rideroid will automatically switch you to TPS mode.

Going Forward

Hit action 1 to go forward, hit it again to go forward faster which will drain PP at a slow rate (around 2PP/sec). Hit it a third time to enter a “braking” state. While in this state, your turn angle is considerably tighter so consider using this to turn around quicker!

Dodge

Hit jump while holding a direction to dodge in that direction. Doing so will cancel your current movement state, so you’ll need to hit action 1 twice again to carry on moving. This costs 5 PP to execute.

Quick Turn

Hit shift-action 1 to do a 180 degree turn. Again, this will cancel your current movement state, so you’ll need to hit action 1 again to move. Costs 5 PP.

Dismount

Hitting action 2 will dismount from the Rideroid. If you’re a clumsy fool like me you’ll do this accidentally a bunch. Note that dismounting will switch you to free camera mode if you’re still in TPS mode.

Dealing Damage

Simply flying into things will deal a small amount of damage (greatly enhanced against E-trial targets like Jellyfish and shield generators). You can deal a larger amount of damage by dismounting, as it’ll hurl the Rideroid forward after you jump off.Aiming with this is a little fiddly I’ve found.

That’s it! It’s not a terribly complicated thing but regardless it’s different enough from the rest of the game that you’re going to need some pointers at least initially. Let me know if there’s anything I missed out on.

Vegas Update: Skill Rings

busy_place

A bunch of new rings were added with the Vegas update. This post’ll just gather as much information as I can about them. Most of the information here is based on the swiki page, so credit to the people updating that data firstly and secondly said data is incomplete as of writing this post so expect things to change over time.


Wand Element Change

Lilipa Rock x3, Lapis Lazuli x1

Changes your wand’s element if you fully charge a tech with it. Finally, Techer wand mains can get away with having one wand instead of 6! There is the very important drawback however of the fact that Zanverse, Megiverse and Zondeel will also change its element. If you can live with that, this could save you an incredible amount of grinding. If you already have rainbow wands then you can just skip this I guess.

Shifta, Deband, Resta and Anti will not change your element. Namegid and Nabarta are also excluded.

This ring works with Wand Gear Element, which means the status effect you could inflict changes with the element of the last charged tech. Nifty.

Swapping weapons will return the wand back to its original element.

Has an 80% element conversion rate at Lv1, capping at 100% at lv20.


L / Standing Sign

Vopal Rock x3, Tourmaline x6, Lambdagrinder x15

De-mystifies Standing Snipe. That’s it. Not recommended as you can just let other people finally work out the nuances of Standing Snipe then forget this ring even exists.
Two things it’s confirmed so far are that the end of Grim Barrage is enough to set up Standing Snipe. PAs after Heel Stab and Shift Period will also gain Standing Snipe.
Reverse Tap breaks Standing Snipe in its final frames.

Essentially, use this to get used to Standing Snipe but once you’ve gotten a handle on its nuances you can just discard it. As a result, I wouldn’t invest any materials beyond the initial purchase.

There’s seemingly a rumour that Standing Sign doesn’t work properly on conveyor belts, but I haven’t had the means to confirm it myself.


L / Another Launcher Mode

Earth Rock x3, Las Vegas Diamond x1

Changes the Launcher basic attack to a parabolic curve; mimicking the Grenade weapon from PSU. It also increases the damage and splash-damage radius of normal attacks.
Judging from video footage, it seems like the skill may have been intended to be used in first person only. It seems particularly awkward to try to use normally or with lock-on.

It boosts damage by 101% at lv1, caps at 110%
It boosts splash damage radius by 102.5% at lv1, caps at 150%


L / Short Mirage

Vopal Rock x3, Tourmaline x6, Lambdagrinder x15

Shortens the duration of Mirage Escape. That’s it.


L / JB Element Keep

Earth Rock x3, Las Vegas Diamond x6, Lambda Grinder x15

Allows Jet Boots to keep their current element even if you use weapon actions. Using this ring will effectively disable Elemental Burst.


L / Bullet Bow Homing

Vopal Rock x3, Tourmaline x1

Causes charged Bullet Bow normal attacks to home in on targets.

I have no idea what the numbers mean, but er..

“Induction” is 30 at lv1, caps at 150.
“Induction time” is 0.1s at lv1, appears to cap at 1s at lv10.

I’ll change this if I find out the significance of these numbers later on.


L / Mate Lovers

Lilipa Rock x3, Topaz x1

Increases the speed of consumption and the amount of HP recovered of mate items. This is a very powerful ring, turning mate usage into a much more practical endeavor at higher levels of the game. It’ll scale better with higher HP builds.
It only boosts healing amount from lv12 onwards, adding a multiplier on top of the Mate item’s inherent multiplier. For example, at lv12 it’s 102%, which when multiplied onto a Monomate’s default 30% this becomes 30.6%.
It dooes not affect Automate Halfline at all! It only changes the power of manually consumed mate items.
It does stack with Braver’s Quick Mate skill, making for extremely fast self-healing.

Boosts mate usage speed to 110% at lv1, caps at 160% at lv11.
Boosts the portion of health recovered by mate items to 102% starting from lv12, unknown cap (110% at lv16)


R / Heal Share

Earth Rock x3, Las Vegas Diamond x1

Shares a portion of the healing you recieved with other players.

Works just like the Bouncer skill, though curiously it seems to double-stack for Summoners. If you use Resta on both yourself and the pet, the pair of you will share a portion of your healing with other players. This effect apparently scales with Pet Sympathy.

Shares 1% of healing recieved with other players. Unknown cap (6% at lv6).

Cannot be used by Bouncer main or sub.


R / Just Reversal Recover

Earth Rock x3, Las Vegas Diamond x1

Recovers HP on a successful Just Reversal. A very good effect as it effectively cancels a portion of the damage you just took after being knocked back. Assuming that damage didn’t kill you of course.

Starts at 5% of your max HP. Unknown cap (10% at lv11)

Cannot be used by Braver main or sub.


R / Adrenaline

Vopal Rock x3, Tourmaline x1

Extends the duration of recieved pulses from Shifta and Deband. Like the fighter skill, unless you were hit by a Techer using Extend Assist (or you have that yourself) you’re still capped to 1 minute. This ring can make maintaining self buffs much easier.

Cannot be used by Fighter main or sub.

Starts at +10s per pulse and caps at +30s per pulse.

Thoughts


So yeah, Ranger’s still kind of getting the short end of the stick here. That said, they did add some interesting rings this time around which is generally nice to see. The likes of Bullet Bow Homing, Another Launcher Mode (as awkward as it may be) , Wand Element Change and Jet Boots Element Keep are all game-play altering things which is the kind of thing I’d prefer to see out of this system. Granting access to class skills is still interesting enough, mind, it’s just if you’re going to have a system like this which changes up how the classes play then gameplay altering things are going to have a much longer lasting impact than say “20% more damage on normal attacks”.

Going into the future however, as more rings get added I wouldn’t mind the addition of a command that lets you change between Skill Rings quickly.

Let me know if I got anything particularly wrong or if you have more data to share.