Upcoming Content: Festa Part 2 and Gathering

io_wut

Some new details about upcoming content are out, in part from events and part from the update site itself. Check out Bumped’s summary of the Sapporo event here and the official update site here.

Embedding the trailer below:

Additional Story

What’s that? You wanted more slice of life high school anime in your PSO2? Well you’re in luck, my friend, as we’ll be hitting a number of anime tropes late February including a bath scene! I can feel myself dying inside already.

notXie

No, don’t get excited. This isn’t Xie, it’s just someone who looks a whole lot like her!

Between this and the actual anime, I will be honest I’m kind of holding out that some actual plot will happen at some point. Will it be this update? Probably not.

There is the persistent mystery of who ESC-A are (the company behind the magical wireless internet they have over there and the owner of the giant blue tower) and why their technology is having the effect that it is. I mean it’s managing to create life out of fantasy and projecting people’s PSO2 characters into the actual Arks fleet. They’re completely faceless at the moment and it’s kinda wierd… Earth also feels incredibly empty as well for a planet full of people, but then so did Harukotan and Amduscia; Both planets with some form of society and intelligent life.

There’s also the fact that all these wierd Arks are meant to be a recent phenomenon and even our boss, Ulc, doesn’t know where they’re coming from. After the events of Chapter 1, we know that they’re projections of characters played by Earthlings, sure. But the Anime is set 1 year prior to the events of Chapter 1 and there is an Arks operative freely travelling between Earth and the Arks Fleet. What’s up with that? By the way I have a horrible habit of getting invested into stupid plots for stupid things…

Part 2 of the Festa

Part 2 will arrive with a new bingo card as well as a new Limited Quest. The new one will function pretty much exactly the same as the current one with a few minor differences:

  • It will have some different enemies; essentially the ones that didn’t appear in the previous quest
  • Nemesis weapons will drop instead of Slave weapons
  • Caligulas seem to drop!

psfesta2016bingo2

The new bingo is only marginally better than what we have now if only because it gives 20 gold medals instead of 10. It’s still a fairly weak offering compared to cards of the past. I can’t tell if this replaces the current Bingo card or not given the video doesn’t show the menu navigation to it.

Gathering Info

Gonna just cut to the chase: this system will only be put in place in Forest, Ruins, Coast and Tokyo. That’s it. Why so few areas? Are they going to expand into others later? If so, why so few at first? I don’t get it.

bigthecat

When I first heard about the gathering system I was immediately cynical about it. We’ve had systems introduced to PSO2 in a half-assed state before and then subsequently completely forgotten about. Photon Art crafting is the major one. As I said at the time, “Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!”. They might still! For all I know the Skill Ring and Cuisine systems might turn out to be excellent. They might expand on the system in a timely manner, eventually opening the system across the entire selection of fields. It’s just that starting off with a measly four is for me, kind of worrying. I’d understand if it was a feature that requires a party, as it’s not a good idea to split up the player-base too much for these things. But this is a solo activity…

I don’t really dislike the idea of gathering as if nothing else it does add some purpose in running around on the planets. The Skill Ring system does have some serious potential to be interesting, as it can augment our character skills in various ways if the listed abilities are anything to go by. For reference:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

No, this is not the entire list (could you imagine?). There were some other skills mentioned as I recall, but I don’t know what they were. Who knows with Cuisines, frankly.

Also come on, we have a volcanic cavern peppered with ore veins and a mining facility filled with abandoned materials. We can’t go mining in the actual mine?

At least Henri will be back.

 

Enter The Love Cave

the_love_cave

Valentines is here again and once more we’re saving the women of the ARKS (of which there’s a fuckin lot of them) in the volcanic caverns of Amduscia. We’ve also gained a Limited Quest, “Chaotic Darkness”, as part of the PS Festa 2016 Web Event set in the often forgotten Facility field of Vopal, set to the Temple VR Field music of PSO (A Longing to Ancient Times). As it is a web event, I’m expecting the usual selection of prizes, so it may well be time to get your Dudu on soon…

Just gonna go over some details of the update quick. I know I’m behind on Episode 4 stuff. A Summoner guide is in the works, just been needing to get some particular bits of data for it… Kinda dropped the ball there but oh well.

As new information is coming out for this quest, the contents of this post may change. Let me know if there’s anything I got wrong.

Bingo details can be found at Bumped here. Frankly the prizes aren’t that good this time around, or else I’d put together a quick clear guide.

Limited Quest

As is the trend with these quests lately, it starts on a group teleporter before you’re allowed to begin the run. While I’m sure there are some advantages conferred by this, I’m not a huge fan of standing around waiting for the counter to hit 12/12.

The quest stars every kind of enemy that isn’t a Phantom or regular Aberrations. The bigger thing about the quest is it has multi-boss spawning E-Trials that can include multiple Dark Falz humanoids (as well as Dio Hunar). This quest also sees the introduction of 2016 Weapons Badges, which can be obtained much the same way as the 2015 badges could in their debut Limited Quest, however Bronze Badges don’t seem to exist.

The Exchange

2016badgeExchange

You can use these badges to purchase a selection of nostalgic weapon camos (at 350 gold badges a pop) as well as exchanging them for stones. You can exchange 20 gold for 1 Caligula, Torana or Pleiades stones or 5 gold for a Yurlungur or Gale stone.

This means that you can effectively obtain an Orbit weapon using nothing but badges. You will need to obtain the Neros from elsewhere in order to get an Austere however. That’s not such a bad thing as Neros themselves aren’t too horrendous to obtain. They’re not exactly easy to get either but they’re a fair sight easier than Caligula.

shiny_exchange

Somewhat interestingly, they added an exchange to the Shiny Stone shop that lets you swap 100 of any spellstone for 1 gold badge. This includes small AQ stones, Elder’s Iritista and Loser’s Syncesta. This means you can effectively obtain an Orbit weapon by running VHAQs at the minute, which is a bit surprising though that’s quite a nasty exchange rate.

Just for fun, lets see the numbers required:

  • 400 Caligula for 1 60% Austere weapon (requires 200 Nero from elsewhere.)
  • At 20:1, this requires 8000 Gold Badges
  • Requires 800,000 Spellstones of any variety

Yikes, that is a LOT of VHAQing! That said, clearly the intention isn’t to let you run AQs for Orbits but rather it’s to let you actually do something useful with all those stones laying around doing nothing. Let’s do the same for Orbit:

  • 90 Torana and 180 Pleiades for a 60% Orbit weapon. As each individual stone is the same price, lets call it 270 stones.
  • At 20:1, this requires 5,400 Gold Badges
  • Requires 540,000 Spellstones of any variety

Given you can obtain the whole weapon this way, Caligulas only really seem worth it if you absolutely require an Austere weapon for whatever reason (maybe you’re close to the 400 Caligula you need already and so on..).

As for wether or not it’s feasible to obtain the number of badges required in the time the Limited Quest is available it’s hard to say. It’s only available for two weeks and the event itself only for a month, so I’m going to go with “no” unless your tolerance for grind is legendary.

Ultimately this exchange seems to be a means for topping off, not for starting from scratch. It lets you clear out your inventory of stones you don’t need to help you get closer to that Austere or Orbit weapon of your dreams. It’s a terribly impractical way of starting from scratch, particularly if you also want to get some Weapon Camos.

While you can exchange 2015 badges for 2016 ones, it’s at a rate of 10:1. The Yozakura series weapons still require 2015 badges though. While Yozakura are a terrible investment for 13*s anyway, they do have marginal use as fodder for element swapping and synthing, so bare this in mind before you throw all your 2015s away. The old ways of obtaining 2015s now only give 2016 badges at that, so unless they update the exchange the series has become completely unobtainable now (as opposed to almost unobtainable before).

Other Quest Info

FALZ_BROS

Falz Angel can drop 13* weapons appropriate for your class, which seems to be limited to the slave-series weapons. He can also reportedly drop 13* eggs. This change applies to any Falz Angel in the lv71+ level range as far as I know, however it’ll only be in effect during the lifespan of the limited quest. It seems Slave-series weapons are also an area drop of the entire quest, but may not be subject to the class-based bonus to rates that Angel reportedly has.

Diabo Igrithys turns up, but is the regular slowed-down kind you encounter in Ultimate Naberius. It, Gal Gryphon and Falz Angel seem to be more likely to appear towards the end of the quest (around the 1800 point mark). I don’t think Gryphon can actually spawn any earlier than this, but the roughly 1800 point mark seems to spawn a guaranteed selection of rare-dropping bosses.

Unfortunately, Dio Hunar doesn’t seem to be able to drop Caligula or Ares stones (or at least if it can the rates are abysmally low) like it used to in the Christmas Emergency Quest. This is because the EQ version was Lv80 and this one only Lv75.

Valentines Emergency Quest

Another run around in circles affair with a gate that likely won’t get fired until your MPA is 12/12. Standard stuff, really. Has every flavor of Darker along with the Amduscia natives. The main attraction to this quest is the mutated Diabo Igrythis. This variant of the fire-y bird is the same as the pre-nerf Ultimate Naberius, so it will seem much faster and more aggressive than its Limited Quest cousin. As with other seasonals, this Emergency Quest can happen whenever there’s a general emergency on its planet, as well as at the scheduled times.

super_diabo_drops

This Diabo interestingly drops a large number of badges and Gale stones. It also drops items with Mutation II affixed onto it, which boosts the chance of fusing Stat III affixes into Stat IV affixes. Diabo seems to be a guaranteed spawn once you hit the 210 point mark.

 

38th Broadcast Writeup

HAPPYCLARIS

The 38th broadcast went out last night. Being the final broadcast before the actual expansion, its time to iron out any remaining questions surely? Well of course not, while some details are fresh we mostly got stuff we already knew about.

As usual, this post will be a gathering of the various trailers shown throughout as well as sharing my thoughts. Bumped has done their summary of the broadcast as usual, and will cover some details that I won’t. If you’re interested in taking part in the PS4 beta in particular, check it out. Naturally I’ll be talking about some things Bumped didn’t as well as sharing my own dumb thoughts cause that’s what I do here.

First off; Henri is BACK, motherfuckers!

henriiii

Was worried he’d drowned in pussy or something, welcome back you… guy who walked back and forth in the lobby! You’ll notice the area he’s wandering around in is new: more on that in a moment.

Gathering – Phantasy Runescape Online 2

I guess this explains the inventory expansion. I think I’d be livid if they introduced an entire new way to fill your bag up with no expansion to help you out.

Much like with other games, you essentially seem to walk up to a node and press buttons to make a thing happen and you get an item. Fishing requires at least some timing it appears, for which I assume you’re just pressing a button when a fish bites I guess.

fishing_star_online

This potentially re-defines “Phishing” I suppose.

Gathering is limited via a stamina bar. It isn’t certain exactly how this works, but i feel confident in saying that Arks Cash will probably be the miracle cure for fatigue.

So what do you do with these newly acquired materials taking up all that additional inventory space you just got? Why, you take them to Franca’s Cafe turn them into cuisine and rings of course! You know, your regular jeweler in the Cafe. That’s where Henri is wandering about earlier in the post, by the way. That handsome devil.

We’ll be gaining 2 equipment slots in which we can equip said rings. Presumably Rings will be made from metals and such, but some will also need Lambda Grinders. They’ll be in the armor and costume menu. Rings seem to mostly augment class skills, but they can also raise stats. Some mentioned include:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

The skill augments are potentially interesting I suppose, but I can’t help feeling that at some point there’s gonna be some straight up damage boosting rings and those are going to be the only ones worth going for. Unless they keep them strictly utility of course, in which case it mostly won’t be worth bothering with unless the augments really are interesting. I’m being cynical here I know, but I’m so used to them half-assing systems they’ve introduced before. Yes, the skill augments could be interesting but remember when Photon Art customization came out? Remember how that “could” have been interesting? What about Timed Abilities?

Rings seem to have something like a grind value (they’re pictured at +1) but they also have an EXP bar. How this EXP is acquired, who knows. It’d be easy to assume its just via killing enemies and such, but it could also be feeding it materials for all we know right now. They also seem to be restricted to the right or left ring slots, though I don’t know the significance of this yet. As in, what trends might right-slot rings have that left doesn’t and vice versa.

Cuisines are gonna work like the food items we can get now I would assume, so essentially stat boosters. The food shown lasts 1 minute and 5 minutes though, which is kind of a tiny period of time. I assume higher ranked food lasts longer, but who knows.

This system is set to arrive in March. Why so long after the expansion starts? Cause I have no idea, gotta spread it out or something. While on this cynical bent I guess I would say that they’ll probably only release 10 rings and 10 foods initially or something too, then six months later remember they started this project and bother to add some more things. Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!

Other Trailers

We got a good selection of videos this broadcast, but unfortunately the vast majority of the time they don’t really show anything we didn’t already know. As such, I feel the best I can really do here is comment on various tidbits after the trailers.

First is a trailer showing us essentially everything we know about so far. This is a long one and it does show quite a lot of things, worth watching for a refresher and for the adorable emperor Rappy rolling around.

Next is a shorter trailer showing off the Valentines update.

We’re getting a new character creation demo, complete with new bench-marking test video. As always with these, I’m kinda saddened we don’t get cutscene’s this dramatic in-game. That said, maybe I just like over the top cheesy things I don’t know. The demo is slated for release in late February.

Gameplay Demo

Just a couple of videos demonstrating Summoner game-play as well as showing off the Tokyo field. Skip about 5 minutes in to get to actual game-play.

I don’t know, the class looks kind of awkward to me still. Maybe it’ll feel OK to actually play it, but it just seems like you don’t really have as much control over your pacing as this class as you would for all the others. It seems like the game-play would just be too passive for my liking, though this style may well appeal to some. It’s only a little over a week before we get to try the class for ourselves, so we’ll see soon I guess. More importantly we can finally start to answer some questions the developers never seem to, such as how certain class skills interact with pets and how summoner skills may interact with other weapon types (if at all).

Notably, Train Ghidoran doesn’t seem to be the boss of the Free Field on Tokyo. Instead, it;s the boss of what seems to be the 2nd Arks Quest. I doubt the Free Field has a new boss, so instead I have to ponder if the quest itself essentially just functions like an Ultimate Quest; where it ends once you’ve reached the quest point quota. As they didn’t demonstrate it, I can only guess for now.

Tidbits

As we know, the character storage box starts at 300 items but can be expanded to 1000. It seems that you can increase it in 50 item increments for 800 AC each. This brings the total cost of expansion per character to 11,200 AC. That’s kind of expensive, but then +50 personal storage costs 1600AC right now.

Mutation II is coming out. It’s been in the client data for as long as I can remember. You can obtain it from a special titled Diabo Igrythis that only appears in a seasonal Emergency Quest. You can also create it yourself from 5 Mutation I at a 50% success rate. Mutation I boosts the fusion success rate of stat II into stat III. Its more advanced form will do the same for III to IV.

more_pso_nostalgia_stuff

2016 Weapons Badges are coming out. You can get camos of various PSO weapons with them, that’s about it. You can exchange 2015 for 2016 badges at a 10:1 rate. Given you need 350 just for one camo, that exchange might be a little harsh but then if you got your entire badge supply from the get-go it might impact the upcoming event. The badges will primarily be available during a Limited Quest set on Vopar’s Facility field for the PS Festa event. This will be a full on web-event, so there’s a chance of event bonuses that can be earned as well. Rico and Flowen seem set to turn up, but who cares about them.

There will be a bingo card for this event, but so far the rewards on it look pretty unremarkable compared to previous offerings.

There’s a rumour that soul fusion was mentioned during the show, involving things like Vol Soul and Vardha Soul. Essentially it’s a new Astral Soul type of soul fusion, only with different results. One of the alleged results is an R-atk +35 PP + 3 soul. I have no solid source for this however, so treat it as a rumour.

Tokyo Weapons

Seems Tokyo weapon potentials are out. Seiga series weapons regenerate HP over time and boost outgoing damage by 11%. Earth series weapons grant a 6% damage boost and a 10% damage boost for critical hits. There’s also the Quartz series weapons, which apparently have increased PP regen on attack and a damage bonus when above 30% PP. Unsure on source, so treat this information tentatively.

These are some strong potential abilities if they turn out to be true, possibly even trumping Austere weapons depending on how exactly they work and how strong the weapons themselves end up being.

Seiga Sword is listed as having 1152 attack. As the weapons appear to come with Ability III, Mutation I and Stat III, you can take away 55 attack from them.  This brings Seiga Sword’s base attack down to 1097. This puts it at slightly better than Orbit but inferior to Invade and Austere in terms of raw attack.

The 13* exchange weapons seem to cost 200 Kagaseo stones, so I expect that the overall acquisition rate is going to match Kuron exchange weapons just-about.

Thoughts

 

Still no Ultimate Amduscia! I’m starting to wonder if the area got scrapped. It’s likely more a case of bad timing, as you probably don’t want Ultimate Amduscia coinciding with the release of a new area and a web event. It’s that ever persistent fear of splitting up the player-base that modern MMOs seem to have, but they may have this “fear” for a very good reason. As a reminder, Ultimate Amduscia isn’t on the schedule between now and late Spring.

Overall, between the pets, rings and the associated gathering systems it seems we’re gaining a number of new grinding treadmills. It’s difficult to pass judgement on them completely until the systems have arrived, and much of it won’t be until Spring starts. For all I know, these systems might well boost the experience but maybe it’s my overly cynical mood today but I’m just not convinced.

There’s really not a lot else to say I don’t think, so I’ll end the post there for now. I know this has come across as cynical and I’m sorry for that. Just consider that I’m a bit burned by the developers introducing new systems before, full of promises that then kind of fell flat. For all I know, these systems really could be good, Summoners could be fun to play and pets won’t be irritating to raise. PSO2 may be a better game with all this stuff, or it could be really about the same as it is now. We’ll see.

Road to Episode 4

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With the very last update of the expansion now out, Episode 3 is finally coming to an end. Since we learned more about the expansion after the 37th broadcast the reaction from the fan-base has been generally positive. Well, it’s more either one of excitement, one of bewilderment or one of utter hatred that I’ve seen, though I’ve not seen many people react as negatively at that. It did lead to some forum-based comedy but this blog isn’t the place for that so, ahem. In around 10 days, we’ll be… doing largely what we do now only in a new place I guess.

Just gonna verbally vomit about some of the things that have recently been shaping the PSO2 experience and having thoughts on where the game may be going next, based on what we know so far.

 

Phantasy Stones Online 2

 

I’d relate this to my inventory woes if they weren’t giving us a significant expansion soon. PSO2 has had stone exchanges for some time, dating all the way back to Dark Falz Elder when it was initially released. Then of course Advance Quests added stones for each of its fields which would be doubled later down the line and Extreme Quests added its three sets of three tiers of stones. Dark Falz Loser, Ultimate Quests, Profound Darkness, eventually the Mining Base Defense quests and even  a Free Field all added their own stones.

moarstonesplease

It’s not a wonder people’s inventories are struggling so much currently with the sheer volume of stone currencies available and the new stones we have yet to get. Nagoya’s event revealed that there are at least two more currency items; Tokyo’s area weapons and a new currency attached to the featured quest system.

I don’t actually mind currency grinds necessarily, they do offer a sense of progression after all and aren’t usually as subject to the whims of poor luck. It’s a system of “get lucky or get the gear eventually anyway”, which is generally something I approve of as it mixes progression with the thrill of chance. I also think it’s a good thing that, overall, it’s a lot easier for people to get themselves some decent gear for the sake of making MPA raid quests more… consistent. The issues with the grinds we have come down to the already mentioned inventory woes and the fact that most progression systems in PSO2 are time gated. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that a few progression chains are absurdly grindy, particularly the Ultimate Quest weapon grinds. I’m not gonna say what an “acceptable” grind is however, as it hugely varies from person to person.

But yeah, Advance Quests are gated behind caps, Extreme Quests behind a daily pass (although there are a number of ways you can get additional passes now at least) and of course the likes of Austere and Orbit are both hidden behind Emergency Quests, which is the style I detest the most. While many stone drops are RNG themselves, I can’t help but feel that gating stones behind an RNG schedule somewhat defeats the purpose of them; especially the sheer number of runs they seem to expect players to put in.

I still believe that these currencies really should have their own dedicated storage; entirely separate from our regular inventories. Anyway, whether you like them or not stone grinds seem to be something that is only going to be expanded upon rather than go away anytime soon.

 

Content Expansion

 

One new field. Singular. So far, this means that Episode 1 is the only time the game has arrived with multiple fields, although even it started off with just 2 fields back in the Alpha days. Overall the number of fields added over a given time period seems to have gone down; Despite it lasting longer than Episode 2, both it and Episode 3 added a total of four fields to the game, three of which are accessible all the time in each. Not a bad thing if those few areas are more compelling, after-all Desert was kind of incredibly dull.

oversized_wifi_router.jpg

Turns out the mysterious blue tower seen in promo material is just an over-sized Wi-Fi router. Hope future wireless is a lot better than what we have currently…

If Episode 4 lasts one year, its plausible that it too will end up adding 3 fields, with a 4th one walled behind an Emergency Quest or something. We know we’re at least getting 1 other field on Earth, but it doesn’t seem to be on the current long-term schedule at least. As the anime and in-game stories move on, it may be easier to speculate where we’re headed next, although the giant blue tower (that may belong to the ESC-A OS company) seems a tad suspect.

Related to fields, we still have the fact that no areas before Kuron have Extra Hard difficulty yet either, though in part that may be due to the developers wanting some incentive to run Emergency Quests and the fact they’ve sort of designed themselves into a corner. If they want to release an Extra Hard difficulty for any field, they’d have to add a new currency and some exchange weapons for them to keep them relevant, which is not only awful for our inventories but a pretty taxing task on their end too.

There will be new story quests, fairly expected. Who knows if they’ll be any good, its hard for me to judge not understanding the language. In fact, between now and Summer we seem to be set to get three story chapters. We’ll still only have the one field for all of these, although presumably one of those chapters will have to do with the raid boss (assumed to be the data-mined “Phantom Goddess”). Interestingly the schedule lists “Story Board events” separately. The Story Board is the spiritual successor to the Matter Board, but it otherwise hasn’t been explained how the new system may be different to the old one if at all.

Incidentally. selecting Episode 4 when you log in will only prevent you from playing the story quests for Episode 1 to 3.

 

Summoner 

 

There’s still some missing information regarding Summoners, but we do know a fair sight more than we did. Bumped did a large write-up here, which explains the upgrade and customization process for your pets. I’ll summarize a bit below.

candyboardthing.jpg

So you customize your pets through use of Candies. These candies are placed on a grid, which contain caramel cubes, jelly cubes and paper cubes that occupy space on the grid and prevent you from placing candies there. You can use caramel crushers to get rid of the caramel cubes, but to get rid of the jelly cubes you’ll need to level up. You can’t get rid of paper cubes. To level up, you need to perform Egg Synthesis, which is time-gated much like feeding a Mag is. Candies themselves can be upgraded through grinding, with higher rank candies requiring lambda grinders. This is sounding rather time consuming, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. My bigger concern is the candies and eggs are going to take up even more inventory space!

Thankfully, you shouldn’t notice unless this system adds an absurdly high number of items. With the arrival of Summoner we’ll be getting a free character slot and each character has a personal expandable storage of 300 slots. So you can easily roll a mule if you need to.

I talked about the skill tree before., but some information has since come out for a couple of skills. For one, it’s “Dear Master” not “Tear”, but I couldn’t make out the “de” from the low res pic I was working with.

Dear Master is effectively Summoner’s Iron Will as I understand. There’s a chance you won’t die if you take lethal damage (your pet takes it instead). Handy for the more fragile classes I guess, depends on if there are points left over to spend on insurance skills like this. Trouble is, Summoner seems to have a fairly high HP pool by default..

Alter Ego boosts the power of your pet, but damage your pet recieves will be shared with you. Could be useful for more durable classes to take.

Point Assist is a personal Weak Bullet that only works for your pet and your pet only.

Pet Sympathy increases the effectiveness of Shifta or Resta depending on your pet’s demands. Sounds kinda too unpredictable to be useful…

Hp Restorate gradually recovers HP if it falls below a certain amount. The amount isn’t specified but it sounds like this skill could clash with Automate Halfline and the likes.

Subclass Grow Up is possibly the dumbest skill I’ve ever heard of, as all it does is boost the EXP given to your subclass. That’s it. So what use is it once your subclass has hit its cap? Oh and it’s a main-class only skill, so you won’t be able to use it to level up Summoner!

As far as I know there’s still been no mention how pets behave without a baton or if they can even be used without them. The majority of Summoner’s class skills are still not terribly well understood either, which limits speculation on subclass viability.

Update: Just found out there’s a note at the bottom of one of Shougai PSO’s posts noting that pets are main-class only. Shougai is a very trustworthy site, so I have little reason to doubt them. If they’re right, then this really impact’s Summoner’s viability as a subclass, especially due to how many skills are dependent on a pet and the arrangement of its skill tree.

 

The End Of This Post

anime.jpg

All in all, I’m interested enough to see where the game goes. Yes the story has some cheesy roots in a very average Anime but that we’re leaving Dark Falz and friends behind (even if temporarily) does make me ponder about what kind of direction the game’s story will take. This is both for now and after the adventures of some high school kids no one cares about. They gotta do something with it, after-all we’re still a fair sight away from the 10 year projection Sakai wanted for the game some time back!

The decisions about the game itself have been equally strange, with half implemented systems from way back getting little attention and the new summoner skill tree baring an unsettling resemblance to Episode 2’s design philosophy…

This post was originally considerably longer would you believe, but seeing as the 38th broadcast is tonight, I figure I might as well wait to discuss certain things. I speculated on a lot more things in the draft, essentially. Hopefully more information about Summoners comes out seeing as they’re getting shown off and maybe, just maybe we’ll get some hint about Ultimate Amduscia?

Some images in this post were taken from Dengeki scans uploaded by Manta here. Click the link to check the rest out!

Extremely Lonely: Solo XQ

thisstickermaynotbeworththeeffort

The somewhat anticipated Extreme Quest update is here and it’s just a 10-floor solo quest. All I’m gonna do here is summarize the floors and briefly write my thoughts up on it. This should act as sort of a guide, but I’ll link some others I find towards the end of the post if I find any.

Each run costs 5 Extreme Passes and you’re allowed up to 5 clears per week per ship. Clearing stages 1-5 counts towards this limit, so at most you can only do 4 runs of 6-10 this week. The quest doesn’t “clear” like the other Extreme Quests, so you only need to unlock 6-10 once.

The Quest!

Stage 1:


 

Stage Order: Don’t take damage for 30s.

Enemies: ALL the Nyaus

Consider kiting them if you’re not confident a stray hit won’t get you.


Stage 2:


 

Stage Order: Defeat 3 enemies from the front

Enemies: Knight Gear -> Dragon Ex -> Gigur Gunnegam.

Nothing much to say about this. Just defeat the bosses as they appear. Their HP is lower than normal, so they should die pretty fast.


Stage 3:


 

Stage Order: Break 3 parts of Diabo Igrithys

Enemies: Bird Darkers -> Nove Ringadarl and Agnis -> Diabo Igrithys

Don’t kill all the birds at the start, or you’ll have to deal with both Nove Ringadarl and Diabo at once. Kill the Bird Darkers first. When Ringadarl spawns, simply break its rings then burst it down via its weakspot. Then kill the Agnis to spawn Diabo. Beware that Diabo has its un-nerfed AI so its much faster than the variant you’ll find in Ultimate Naberius. Try to break its wings and horn to clear the stage order, though it can be tricky with some weapon types.


Stage 4:


 

Stage Order: Defeat 5 x Bonta Bearahda via their weakspot

Enemies: 6x Bonta Bearahda, Toy Darkers and various Kuronites

A very easy stage order. Simply tap a bear to make it turn around and show you its weakspot then smash it. You even get an extra bear so you’re allowed to make up to one mistake.


Stage 5:


 

Stage Order: Defeat 1 Rappy in 60s

Enemies: ALL the Rappies and Gryphon Gels

The Rappies can actually be tricky to keep an eye on with an angry Gryphon running amok. Consider using Nifta to gather all the Rappies in one place to take them out. This’ll make hitting them again when they get up significantly easier.

And you’re done with the first part! Nothing too horrible here, as long as your gear is OK you should have no issue clearing these five floors. The next 5 ramp up the difficulty…


Stage 6:


 

Stage Order: Defeat 2 enemies via weakspot.

Enemies: 3 x Catadran and 1 x Vol Dragon

A potentially hectic floor if you don’t keep your calm. I find it’s easier to focus down Catadrans to kill them via their tails or out-stretched bodies. Just keep an eye out for Vol Dragon’s fire breath, though you could consider breaking his tail or freezing him to reduce the chaos a bit.


Stage 7:


 

Stage Order: Don’t die.

Enemies: Bug Darkers, Fish Darkers and Bird Darkers with Decol Malluda and Wolgahda. Defeating Wolgahda and Fish Darkers will spawn Elder’s avatar, defeating that will spawn Falz Hunar. Defeating Bug Darkers will spawn Apprentice Doppleganger. Defeating Decol Malluda and the Bird Darkers will spawn Loser Clone, which will spawn Falz Angel on defeat.

There are a few very dangerous enemies on this floor, so the main aim is to spawn the Falzes in a controlled manner. I suggest going Apprentice -> Hunar -> Angel, as Apprentice and Hunar both have low HP and can be burst down fast. Angel can be a bit more awkard and has considerably more dangerous attacks, so killing everything else before him will make things considerably easier. Loser’s Clone is the least dangerous avatar, so clearing out all the birds then leaving him til after you’ve defeated the others is a potential strategy.

Interestingly, Elder’s Avatar will attack Darkers and other Dark Falzes as seen here. It has little strategic value but it’s fun nonetheless!


Stage 8:


 

Stage Order: Do not heal for 100 seconds.

Enemies: Naberius and Ult Naberius Trash. Defeating Oodan etc will spawn Rockbear and defeating Rockbear and will spawn Bayaribbles. Defeating wolves will spawn Snow Banther/Banshee and defeating them will spawn Falka Leone/Leopard. Defeating Malmoths will spawn the ultimate variety.

This can be an extremely hectic floor, but most enemies here have significantly reduced HP so they should die fast. Consider breaking Falka parts to keep them stun-locked.


Stage 9:


 

Stage Order: Do not take any damage for 60 seconds.

Enemies: Matoi and Persona (Sword)

Both enemies have very low HP, but you may want to kite them around for a minute before you engage just to clear the stage order safely. If you’re technical enough, you could burst them down before they get the chance to attack but its a considerable risk as failing the order will make Stage 10 difficult to impossible to clear.


Stage 10:


 

Stage Order: Defeat Profound Darkness from the front

Enemies: Casra, Claris Claes, Huey and Regias. Anga Fundarge, Dio Hunar and Profound Darkness.

This is where shit gets real. This stage is significantly harder than the rest, so brace yourself.

Ideally you want to burst down all four NPC enemies at once, but if this isn’t possible then prioritize Casra and Claris as they’re by far the most dangerous. Beware that both Huey and Regias can both lock you down. Consider using Nifta at the start to group them all up and AoE them down.

Those guys are already hard, it just gets rougher from here. Anga Fundarge spawns next and you will want to DPS it as hard as you can. It absolutely needs to die, and unfortunately for you it seems to have considerably more HP than any enemy in the quest. If you can’t kill it fast enough, Dio Hunar will spawn during the fight which will make things significantly more difficult. Anga lacks its weapon-resist ability, so you won’t have to worry about that.

If Dio and Anga are up, keep prioritising Anga but beware of Dio’s attacks as they can hit extremely hard. Also beware of doing too much damage to Dio as if you accidentally send her to Phase 2 things may get impossibly difficult. Consider using a photon blast during Dio’s nuke if you’re not confident you’ll dodge it. Once Anga is dead, defeat Dio by breaking her arm cores then bursting her down while she’s stunned.

After Dio is defeated, Profound Darkness will spawn. It’s the solo-part of the raid fight, only with higher HP, slightly altered attack pattern and a massive boost to damage. Beware that if Anga still isn’t defeated by this point you’ll be fighting both of them at once. The Profound Darkness needs some caution, as their over-end attack comes fast and will deal around 1300 damage if it hits you. Don’t ever sit still! Keep moving and DPSing as best you can and you should clear it.

This stage is so much harder than all the others that I’d say it’s a little overtuned. The bosses deal too much damage and Anga has way too much HP I feel. It’s refreshing to have such a challenging encounter in PSO2, but Phantasy Star Crew may want to consider reducing the difficulty somewhat or increasing the rewards to offset this significant challenge.


Overall:


 

Ranger is going to have the toughest time here, as Weak Bullet is jammed throughout the entire quest. Some enemies also lack a weak point, meaning Weak Hit Advance won’t apply.

High durability builds and HP recovery builds may have an easier time staying alive, but don’t sacrifice too much DPS. Hunter main and subs are going to manage this quest a little easier with Automate or Iron Will (don’t take both) as even if you’re usually amazing at avoiding damage it can be tricky to keep track of the number of highly aggressive enemies present in the later floors. Braver / Hunter may be the most reliable class for this quest with its access to Katana Combat invulnerability.

As usual, a well-played and well-geared Force shouldn’t find this quest too hard. Force brings by far the highest damage to this quest at the cost of durability and life-saving skills. Use your cool-downs and compound techs wisely and you should be able to burst down any enemy before they become a major problem (even Anga). Light and Ice are particularly powerful here. Beware however that being hit by even one attack may set you up for being stun-locked to death, which can easily happen with a badly timed charge.

I would recommend having at least a 12* or at least a decent 11* fully grinded (+40, preferably damage-boosting potential), affixed and 50% element and a full set of top-end or at least special Ex8 crafted 11* armor before attempting this quest. Preferably affixed with at least 100 attack, durability affixes are still optional but they might help. This quest is tuned for end-game geared players, so having less than this may make things significantly harder though it probably is still possible to clear it. You’re also going to need to play well and play smart for this one, particularly in stages 7, 8 and 10. Bring a Half Doll as insurance, 5 passes is a lot to lose to a mistake and one mistake is all it will take on Stage 10.


Loot

 

disappointment_probably

So what do you get for your five extreme passes and clearing this reasonably challenging quest? Not a whole lot, really. You have a small chance of getting Toranas, Lambda Grinders and Photon Boosters which is nice but really their quantities are quite small for the investment. You get a decent amount of Tier 2 Extreme Quest stones of all flavours, which is a considerably faster way to acquire them than running the regular Extreme Quests. You also seem to have a decent shot as Nox weapons as well as various 10-11* weapons and units.

Like the other Extreme Quests, enemies do not have their usual loot tables and thus you won’t be able to get things like Ares Stones, Caligulas etc.

There is a small chance that Profound Darkness will drop a class sticker upon defeat. Yeah, despite the challenge you’re even subject to RNG to be recognised for overcoming it… Though I suppose you could also just wear the title for clearing it!

Like the other quests, you’re limited to a choice of 3-5 of whatever drops depending on how many stage orders you failed.


Other Guides

I’ll link some other guides here as I find them. Let me know if you have any guides.

Fulldive.nu

PSO-World Guide


Thoughts

It’s a quest that could use some fine-tuning. It’s a refreshing challenge, especially as the upper end and I do like the selection of enemies they chose for the quest. But due to the steep entry cost and level of challenge it presents, the rewards are really underwhelming. I’m also not convinced that Stage 10 is properly balanced at all, as the damage the enemies deal out there as well as Anga’s durability just seems too harsh compared to the other floors. It’s right that the final floor should be the hardest, but  it’s so much harder than the previous that it almost feels like a mistake. I’m not sure if I’d prefer them to reduce the difficulty there or raise the rewards instead, though the best result may well be a mixture of the two.

Is it worth running? If you want quicker access to Tier 2 Extreme Quest stones and Photon Boosters it actually might be. It’s actually pretty generous for both of these items. For anything else? No, it isn’t worth it.

Summoner Skill Tree

 

G-heaven just posted this up today. It’s a composite screen-cap from the trailer showing all the skills Summoner is set to have. With a little help from EspioKaos, I’ve put together a basic edit to show the skills in English:

SummonerSkills

This mostly makes me ponder its viability as a sub-class, given it has a couple of all-round attack and stat-boosting skills. Assuming the All-Attack Bonus skills are percentage based and their numbers are decent, it could effectively work for any class. Classes are a little more than stats though, there’s certain functionality too (such as Weak Bullet for GuRa or Chain for BrGu and so on) and as far as I know it wasn’t explained whether or not a Summoner could use pets without using their Baton weapons. If they can’t, then that makes a large number of these skills fairly useless for sub-classing.

As for what could sub-class Summoner, I’m really just going to have to guess on this one as there’s still a lot not really known. If your pets can benefit from other class skills, melee type pets would benefit potentially massively from Fighter as a sub-class. If there are more tech-oriented pets to be added down the line, it’s possible Braver may be better to take advantage of elemental weakness.  If you can keep a pet out without a Baton, then Ranger or Gunner as subs could offer significant burst as well.

Those are just some thoughts, anyway. More hardcore players may have some more solid ideas of where this class could end up fitting as a sub or what could be a decent subclass for it.

 

 

Broadcast 37 Writeup

romance

Well, that certainly was a show. Let’s preface this article by saying no one gives a shit about the cosplay contest, Arks GP, collaborations or any of that stuff. We’re just going to be looking at the actual expansion content and what’s there has both impressed and left parts of the community speechless. That’s not the good kind of speechless.

Final Episode 3 Content

Border Breaking Chaos returns as a level up quest. This ought to take a chunk out of Persona Soul’s price, though I still argue Astral Soul is more trouble than its worth.

We also get a look at the solo extreme quest in action, showing additional battles with Gal Gryphon, Dragon Ex and Knight Gear among the floors we already knew about. The video also confirms that the quest does not come with its own unique rewards, however it does seem to drop the 2nd tier stones from all three Extreme Quests as well as the recently added Torana stones. Like the current Extreme Quests, you can pick up to 5 items. Other rewards include Photon Boosters, Lambda Grinders and you can get Nero stones from title rewards. The quantities seem low for a weekly limited quest, but it’s at least nice to see that the quest gives more than a sticker! That it won’t eat up an extra inventory slot is also a plus.

New Summoner Trailer

Unlike other classes added so far, Summoner is considerably more complicated an affair.  It includes its own user interfaces, both for levelling the class and its mechanics as well as in battle (if datamining turns out to be accurate).

Finding eggs lets you name and raise your pet, combining eggs lets you level them up. This makes it almost a 2nd mag, though given how dependent Summoner is going to be on the pet I’m not sure how this is going to work out in practise. If the pet lags behind the player’s level or the player lags behind the pet will things get awkward?

You can also use candy items in what looks like an inventory management system from a classic PC RPG in order to customise your pet’s abilities. It’s also reminiscent of the chip system from Megaman Battle Network.

There really isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t been said already about the class; it doesn’t look like something that belongs in Phantasy Star Online, but in retrospect it does somewhat stylistically remind me of things that might have shown in up classic Phantasy Star.. I mean Phantasy Star did have Nyau.. I can say the class seems to be needlessly complicated but the pet raising side of the class might appeal to some people. It isn’t clear if there are more than the three pets shown, either.

Much like with the addition of Braver and Dewman, you will be given an additional character slot. The maximum number of characters any one account can have has also been increased from 12 to 20.

Episode 4 Trailer

The main course is coming. The expansion content itself! The first thing on the menu is additional character customization options.

This is an extended version of a trailer we’ve seen before. I’m still impressed with the additional morphers they added, as it should help address some glaring shortcomings with character creation as it is. The additional accessory and weapon positioning options as well as layered body paint are also nice additions.

A brand new feature is layered clothing. The three layers are “Inner”, “Base” and “Outer”. Inner seems to be types of underwear, base some clothing and outer things like jackets and coats. Casts will also gain this system. This layered system means that you’ll be able to mix and match individual layers, granting a new dimension to your clothing not seen since Phantasy Star Universe. The “inner” layer goes underneath body paint, so you won’t have your underwear on top of your tights (maybe I want to be Superman though!).

This is a nice new addition, though I’m assuming this will only apply to outfits added from here on out. I won’t rule out the possibility of them going back to outfits they’ve added before and seeing if they can reasonably split them into these layers, but I imagine many outfits would be incompatible with this system for various reasons.

Story Expansion

Introducing: The Story Board! It’s different to the Matter Board because I don’t know it’s different OK? Look! The interface design is different and everything! In all seriousness it is supposed to be different to the Matter Board system but there are no details at this time. All I can say is, it just looks like a rose by another name.

Some things to note at least are that Episode 4 can be skipped to by all players, even new characters. So it’s getting the same treatment Episode 3 got. It also seems that Episode 4 may include areas only accessible if you choose “Episode 4” when selecting a character upon log in. Given the story seems to show your character waking up from cryogenic sleep or something like it, it’d seem that Episode 4 won’t be taking place on the Arks Ship at all. Could this mean an entirely separate lobby?

“New” Planet Trailer

Yup, Earth. More specifically, Japan in the year 2028. Who would have thought that after going to Planet Japan in Episode 3 that we would go to actual Japan afterwards? Well, more to the point, it’s more like planet Anime if the story trailer is anything to go by. I wanted to talk about it in that section but I figured it’d ruin the surprise a bit.. or something I don’t know I haven’t slept well oh god.

So the Phantom type enemies turned out to be ghosts, essentially. It includes mutated humans, Polar Bears and even Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So we’re going to planet Anime and we’re going to beat up T-rexes in Tokyo. I mean the actual content itself is at least surprising. I will throw my hands up and admit I didn’t see this coming. The community reaction to this news has been incredibly negative to the point of entertaining. Some people are very salty about this trailer. In general my overall reaction is one of confusion…

Thoughts

There is so much confusing stuff in this trailer that I don’t think I can coherently summarize all of it. All I’ll say is I can understand people’s concerns from a story/setting point of view. So far, the game has essentially been about chasing and suppressing space-Cthulu in various alien worlds. It was a bit science fictiony, but it was mostly fantasy with smatterings of thematic roots in Star Wars. When thinking about the game from this point of view, having a story trailer which looks like it was taken from a slice-of-life anime set some kid’s bedroom it’s a bit of a unexpected shift. Going from space-Japan to actual Japan also feels incredibly hokey.

That said, I’m actually somewhat impressed by some of the creativity shown in the enemy design. A T-Rex that opens its chest cavity to fire a laserbeam from its skull? An emergency trial where you’re anime running alongside drifting ghost cars? A transforming tank? A hydra made out of TRAINS? I actually kind of like it! The area these enemies are set in isn’t terribly interesting looking, given its an environment that we’re naturally fairly intimate with already. That said, I actually don’t think it’s any less interesting than say, Shironia. I’m slightly sad that it’s another point grind quest like Kuron if nothing else because it means they’ve given up trying to make Free Field quests interesting anymore. There’s also a distinct lack of environmental hazards, which has been another thing missing in areas lately. Finally, there’s the somewhat uncomfortable fact that we already have a city field…

Tokyo is just the first field that Earth will be getting. What the other fields will be is anyone’s guess at this point, though I feel like watching some anime might help narrow it down. Judging from the schedule, we won’t know until next summer… I cant imagine anything terribly earth-shattering (heh heh) but who knows, Earth has a lot of interesting places on it. Not that most of you would know.

Yes, it isn’t a direction I would have liked to see the game go. I’d have preferred it being set on an alien planet whose tech level matches the modern era, given we’ve already been to planets that are in their respective pre-historic and medieval eras.  Or that the phantoms turned out to be a split faction within the Arks, setting the stage for some kind of civil war. It didn’t need to be set on Earth, this is a game where we’re meant to be exploring the unknowns of  a fictional universe!

Unfortunately, it seems it’s going this way as part of the transmedia campaign that PSO2 seems to have become, tying it in with the anime possibly. I mean it already had mini novels, a stage play, a radio play and possibly other things I’m forgetting. PSO2 isn;t just a game anymore, it’s a marketing campaign which includes a lot of different forms of media. That its story is spread among them is what I believe makes it trans-media. Is this a good thing? I don’t know, it frankly depends on what is important to you. What I will say is that the community response while extreme in some places is at least understandable. For the most part, we only care about the game and increasingly it could be seen like the game is being pushed into the background.

It’s wierd, but it isn’t destroying the game for me. Could be worse! The area could’ve been an anime high school (wait we go to an anime high school as part of the story, SHIT!) or we could have sprouted from a PC monitor like out of some basement dweller’s wet dream. I will say that content past Earth had better go back to alien worlds again.

Also still no mention of Ultimate Amduscia! It’s not even on the long term schedule! Truly, Dragonkin Aberrations are the real phantoms…