9th PSO2 Station: You Are The Hero

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The 9th PSO2 Station went out this last saturday and it was one that was highly anticipated by the community as it was to reveal the first details about Episode 5. In this post I’m going to mostly be going over my reactions and thoughts to what was shown and ponder some of the implications this has for the game going forward. I’m just gonna be focusing entirely on the stuff that directly affects the game, so the GP and other events that happened during the station won’t be covered.

This post is huge, as such I’ve added links so you can jump to the parts you’re interested in.

Contents:

As you may be aware, Sega are taking down trailers so the only way I can really share the trailers is by linking to the full streams from the official channel:

Part 1:

  • Final anniversary content and Yamato content at 37:11

Episode 5 Trailer

Part 2

  • Hero trailer at 29:18

Yamato 2: Nice Boat

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The last major update in Episode 4’s lifetime will see players going up against an upgraded Yamato. I can’t really pick out any new details that we didn’t know already; that it’s got a bunch of new attacks and that it spawns considerably more missiles during the raid-wipe phase.

They did confirm that a “rematch” quest would be happening for it, however. Much like with Deus Esca, you’ll need to clear the new Yamato raid before you gain access to it. It’s also a 4-man quest but unlike with Gracia it seems the only real change is you have a tighter time-limit to clear the quest. The fight otherwise seems largely the same, which is going to make the missile phase interesting as it doesn’t seem to spawn any fewer missiles than the full raid…

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The upgraded version of Yamato is set to appear in early July while the rematch will arrive a little later on the 19th.

Drops

The re-designed Yamato will come with new drops and give you shots at some older ones too; with the classic Tokyo, Seiga and Quartz weapons returning. Additionally, you have a (remote) chance of getting one of 3 new 14* weapons.

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Dual Blade

Looks like it fires lightning effects whenever you use a Photon Art.

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TMGs

Seemingly wind-based Twin Machineguns that have a wind effect on firing.

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Before I move on to the third weapon, it does appear that these two may be a part of a series of what I’m going to call “elemental weapons”, in addition to the previously released fiery Double Saber from Deus Esca.  I’ve posted their icons below so you can make a comparison:

The Double Saber released with Deus Esca was a fire-based weapon, while the Dualblades are lightning and the TMGs are clearly wind based. I guess we can expect 3 more elemental 14* weapons in the future…

Akatsuki

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The gimmick of this classic sword appears to be when you land a successful Just-Guard the weapon unsheathes. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but presumably the effect is similar to Guard Stance Advance in that it boosts your power for a short time.

Collection Files

Collection files for Seiga, Quotz and the military series will be returning, which interestingly includes things like the Valkyrie TMGS, which were unique to the Kagaseo stone exchange last time around. They’re also reviving the AIS and Yamato files as a separate collection.

Ether Fuses

You’ll also earn a new currency item called an “Ether Fuse”. You can use 20 of these fuses together with a Tokyo, Seiga or Quotz weapon to upgrade to a new weapon or to unlock a new potential on your old ones. So it works a little bit like the Zeinesis/Qliphad exchange, only this offers you the chance to turn old-type weapons into new-types!

Here’s the few upgraded weapons they showed off, two of each of the Quotz, Seiga and military series:

Unfortunately they haven’t actually detailed how the OT to NT exchange will work out. Like what does a +40 exchange into? What-about a +37? To hazard a guess I’d like to say that each level beyond a lv3 potential would translate to half a level in NT (so a Lv3 +5 would be +32.5) but who knows what they’ll actually go with.

Interestingly, rumour has it that the Special Ability Factor of the upgraded weapons will be Power, Shoot or Tech VI. Yes you read that right, VI. We don’t know at this time how much stronger VI will be than V.

I actually also don’t know what the Ether Fuse potentials are for the Quotz, Seiga or Military weapons, so it’s hard to tell if these weapons will be worth going for. They look good, though! As we don’t know the potentials yet its hard to judge their true worth, but if we use the upgraded Sword’s attack power we can see it’s a little bit weaker than Astra though only by 6 s-atk. Depending on the potential these could be decent endgame weapons.

The AIS weapon Ether Fuse potential appears to be similar to Aura’s Battle Coin potential, only it also reduces PP consumed by PAs while the Yamato weapon Ether Fuse potential works much like their regular potentials, only they build up power over time instead of requiring you to get killing blows. So AIS may be pretty good depending on their overall power while Yamato weapons remain pretty bad.


Episode 5 Reveal

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They did it, they finally showed something about Episode 5. So who was right in the end? Was it a Phantasy Star classic revival or did it turn out to be an isekai?

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Turns out the answer was closer to isekai, overall. Though don’t worry, it doesn’t look like our player characters will be killed or forcibly transferred into the new world. Episode 5 will be releasing July 26th, so only around 6 weeks away!

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Episode 5 sees us travelling through a black hole to a medieval land of war, where the villains torment the er… the other guys.. with evil flowers that can summon demons. If you think this sounds dumb, don’t forget we just got done with Earth where the enemies were ghosts created through the power of imagination.

So yeah, we’re off to a land of knights, princesses, goblins and orcs in a land that does battle over flowers called “Ephemera”.  As you can see, the alternative world has faces both new and familiar, with Xierra as a fairy and a certain someone donning a cravat, but more on him in a moment…

Now for those who are a little disappointed that we’re not really going back to a sci-fi setting, don’t worry I feel your pain. It is a little disappointing, really, but at the very least it does seem that this episode will be more closely tied to the main plot. At least in spirit, anyway. The Profound Darkness still looms over the navigation deck and the black hole itself occupies the space that Xion used to take up. Additionally, the flowers in this new world share the same title as the Profound Darkness, namely “Non-Fruit bearing Flower”.

In these four images we have Matoi showing up top-right, so its nice to see her potentially playing a more major role again. Xiao bottom left has grown up and now looks more Harry Potter than akashic record. Bottom right we have the first sighting of Alma; who was the original Claris and one of the first three Heroes of the Arks along with Regias and Casra. Interesting that she should show up again, even if she’s presumably just a ghost, as the alternative universe has what appears to be the first Casra in it.

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“What about Luther?” you may be asking? Well as I understand, Luther is a photoner who took over the first Casra’s body. That’s not Luther’s true appearance, though it is how we all recognise him and it does at first glance seem like the alternative universe version retains Luther’s quirks a bit (or maybe the original Casra was just like that, who knows!?). Notice in the image above, where I’ve put the Luther we know against the one that appears in Episode 5. He no longer has that face marker, which presumably is the mark that its a body possessed by a Photoner, though we don’t really have any other examples of this. The lack of this marker is probably significant, though and for me makes me pretty confident that this is indeed the original Casra’s alternative universe doppleganger.

With the potential for the original three Heroes of the ARKS to re-unite, I wonder if Episode 5 might explore the distant past of the ARKS some more. It would be nice…

While talking about ARKS history, the story summary (ok, it’s a little old but as far as I know it’s still relevant) shows that in the distant past an ARKS ship encountered a black hole and was pulled into it. I doubt this is the same black hole, but regardless I’m curious how the story will justify jumping into a newly discovered black hole after what happened the last time they encountered one!

Either way, hopefully it feels a bit less like a side-story than Episode 4 did, though of course the whole alternative universe thing doesn’t bode well in that regard…

New Field and Enemies

I actually don’t know what the new field is called!

The field itself just looks so… plain to me (pun unintended). It’s dead flat, largely unsaturated tones of greys and browns, giving way to red tones once you’re inside. The field is surrounded by a thick fog, which I guess was intended to make it seem more like a battleground but it only really manages to make the field look dead and empty.

The enemies also win the award for “most unremarkable and generic designs” in the entire game so far. It’s like they went out of their way to make the majority of them look as plain as possible, though I don’t really take issue with all of them. Like I like the look of the reapers, though it’s a little bit of a shame that they’re such an obvious remodel of Luda Sorcerer.

The giant castle boss is pretty nifty at least.

Buster Quests

A hybrid of Tower Defense and Tower Attack, you’ll need to defend your own siege equipment while assaulting a castle held by demons. Like the regular Mining Base Defense quest, you’ll be collecting resources (in this case, mana) in order to trigger a mechanic known as the “Buster Pile” (gross) which can break down the castle walls.

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Once inside, do battle with the demons within and then face off against a giant animated humanoid castle. Neato!

So if Bumped is right, these are set to be the main quest style of Episode 5. I mean at least they sound like they might be fun; at the very least it’s nice to have a permanent Mining Base style quest available to us. On the other hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that this might mean we won’t get Arks Quests or Free Fields for Episode 5.

The main issue I have with the quest style is it’s designed for a multi-party. That means much like Riding Quests it’ll suffer once the content is no longer relevant. Look forward to standing around at a teleporter waiting for enough players to filter in to begin the quest. I mean it won’t be as bad as at least you’ll only be waiting on 7 others instead of 11. The lack of an Arks or Free Field would mean that this is the only way to enjoy this content though, which I find a little bit sad. Mind they’ve been messing with this formula since Episode 3 and with Vegas being the first field to not have an Arks Quest at all I guess it was only a matter of time before we ended up like this.

The lack of a Free Field would also mean no new skill-rings, incidentally.


New Class: Hero

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HeroClass

Yep, that’s the class name. Hero. In your game, you are the hero, it’s you. But remember, you are not the only hero… Really you won’t be. You know how new class releases go, raids are going to be full of them in the first week or two. We’ll see if they go through the same growing pains as Bouncer and Summoner where people would abandon groups the moment they see you!

You might expect a new class would mean new weapons but you’d be wrong! You might also be mistaken for thinking that you can play this class from the get-go but you’d also be wrong! Hero is slated as the first “Advanced Class” in PSO2. If you’re like me and come from Phantasy Star Universe you might be getting a bit of a cold sweat on but don’t fret, it’s not as bad as it was in PSU.

Also pictured above is the new class trainer for Heroes; Stratos. Stratos bares some striking similarities to Huey, I wonder if that’ll lead to something…

Unlocking

In order to play as a Hero you’ll need to have at least one melee, one ranged and one teching class leveled up to 75 on your account.

  • Hunter, Fighter and Bouncer count as Melee
  • Ranger, Gunner and Braver count as Ranged
  • Force, Techer and Summoner count as Teching.

This will unlock 3 titles on your account. From there if you want to be the hero all you have to do is head over to Koffie and turn in a Client Order. Congratulations! You are the hero!!

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Note that switching to Hero will un-equip your SubClass and Hero cannot be used as a Subclass. As Hero has no subclass, it’ll have access to more Right Skill Rings than any other class, which might create some interesting options.

Weapons

Heroes utilize three weapons that already exist in the game; Swords, Twin Machineguns and Talis. This is where the class diverges strongly from PSU tiered classes however, as these weapons will all behave very differently from their classic counterparts while wielded by a Hero. That is to say, Hero Sword will be nothing like Hunter Sword. This is great, because my main issue with advanced classes in PSU was all they offered was higher stats with the precise same attacks.

To clear up some rumours around the class; yes they do require a Sword, TMG and Talis. They do not use a unique weapon that transforms into all three.

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The reason people think it’s a new multi-weapon is due to the class’s mechanic of being able to switch weapons through certain Photon Arts. In the trailers these weapon swaps are instant, where as anyone who’s played the game any length of time will know there’s a small delay when swapping weapons. The logical answer would be an entirely new mechanic, but well…

These are shots taken during the multi-weapon combos.As you can see, the palette number changes so it definitely is a weapon swap. This does bring up a good question with regard to how the class will behave under laggier conditions, mind…

Swords

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Sword attacks will change depending on how long you  hold the attack button for. For the Photon Arts, this presumably just extends the combos and then ends on some finisher once you release the button (PP is constantly draining during some of the attacks shown).

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Unlike Hunter Sword, Hero Swords cannot block attacks however it does seem that certain Photon Arts have i-frames attached to them. Sword’s weapon action is replaced with “Spirit Bullet”, which is essentially a Ki-Blast straight from Dragonball Z. The longer you charge it, the bigger a bullet you fire!

Twin Machineguns

Twin Machinegun Photon Arts are similar to Gunner’s however they don’t seem to have the ability to rise into the air as easily (at least not from what we’ve seen so far). They may also lack the burst of classic Gunner TMGs with Chain Trigger.

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Hero TMGs cannot recover PP through normal attacks, instead normals actually consume PP! The only way Hero TMGs can actively recover is by using its “reload” weapon action. You slow fall while reloading, so if you are airborne you won’t have to worry about dropping like a stone just to recover PP.

Talis

In addition to Talises gaining Photon Arts that make them resemble Slicers from the older games, Heroes cau also warp to their thrown Talis through its weapon action. The player throws out a marker then instantly warps towards it. There seems to be a bit of a charge time to this, so I doubt it’ll compete with Guren Tessen dashing or even regular running for traversing large distances, however it might be helpful to get within melee range of vertical targets.

Talises seem capable of creating large damage fields, making it the most likely candidate for mobbing, though in the Zeshrayda demo the small disc field seemed to do really high damage even if it was hitting a weak-spot.

Techs

Heroes can cast Techniques like Force, Techer, Bouncer and Summoner. It’s unknown at this point if Heroes have any skills that augment them, however. If they don’t, their offensive techs ought to be pretty weak, but at least they’ll have access to support techs.

On top of this, Heroes use a gimmick where through specific Photon Arts they will automatically swap weapons, allowing them to chain together combos across multiple different attack types.

Class Mechanics

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Above is just as many of the icons I could extract from the trailers. As you can see, each weapon has 2 photon arts with a symbol in their top-right that indicates which weapon it’ll swap to. Red switches to sword, blue switches to TMGs and yellow swtches to Talis. I’m not sure at this point how it determines which point in your palette to switch to, but I assume it just searches down and picks the first one it finds (cycling back to the top if necessary). If it can’t find any, I assume the attack just finishes without swapping.

At the bottom-left is what seems to be Hero’s main class skill in the available and unavailable state. They never seem to use the other skill, which shares War Cry’s skill icon but with PP on it.

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For the first skill though, its the one that was used in each weapon demonstration in the trailer. The skill seems to depend on your weapon gauge; only when your gauge is full is the skill available. Once you activate the skill, the star in the center of the gauge switches off and the bar starts draining. Looks like you can activate some kind of finisher when you press the skill again, which immediately drains the bar to nothing. If the bar reaches zero on its own or you activate this “finisher” it deactivates the skill and puts it on cool-down. The cool-down shown was 120 seconds.

That’s all I can estimate based on the footage anyway, for now we don’t have any details on the precise mechanics behind these skills.

Thoughts

So yeah, that’s the Hero class. Kind of a boring name, but the class itself does look like it’ll be fun. It really looks like a hybrid between Fighter, Gunner and Bouncer more than its weapon selection would indicate. The trailers so far show it to be a potentially excellent bossing class while offering seemingly limited ways to clean up mobs compared to other classes, it depends on how good Talis is I guess.

My initial reaction to this class was pretty negative, as I detested the idea of the class simply being “x but better” as all classes up til now have brought something unique to the table. However, not only does the class bring entirely new mechanics to older weapons it also doesn’t seem like it’ll cover the niches the classic classes will cover. I’m not really sure what the functional differences will be with Twin Machineguns for Gunner and Hero aside their verticality, I guess we’ll see when we learn more about the class later on.


Class Rebalance

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We already knew that PSCrew were going to address the Chain+Maron problem, but we didn’t have any details nor did I expect them to re-balance a bunch of other things. There’s a lot of notes to go through (the full notes are here) so I’m just going to ponder the implications of these changes one topic at a time.

Maron Nerf, Slight Melon Buff

The bean brothers are gonna change very slightly.

Maron’s 2nd stage damage mod will be reduced while the number of hits it takes to reach stage 3 will be increased. So notably Maron will still do all the damage it did before but it’ll take a bit longer to build it up. It’s hard to say how much of a nerf this will be until we see the actual numbers…

Melon on the other hand just won’t randomly blow up anymore after a time limit. Now t’ll only blow up if you fail to catch it, which makes Melon only a little more practical to use. Melon’s damage isn’t that amazing however, so I doubt this will equalize things between these two pets much.

Zanverse Builds are Dead.

Zanverse has been changed so that it no longer takes skills or potentials into account. So rest in peace TeSu, TeGu, GuTe and Niren Orochi BoTe. This puts all Zanverse fields on an equal playing field, so you’ll no longer have issues with JetBoot users creating then anymore! Really this means the death of Zanverse elitism in general, so it really doesn’t matter who casts it as long as someone does.

This is however a nerf to Wand melee, as Wind Mastery no longer affects the power of Zanverse. Assuming you’re using Form Scythe, Zanverse hits will drop from 28% of your damage to 20% if I’ve done the math right (I’m not 100% sure how Zanverse multipliers work, please correct me on this if I’m wrong).

To clarify, this is not a flat 120% as people have been saying. The patch notes only say it’ll no longer be affected by skills or potentials, which means that resistances should still apply. As such, it’ll still be terrible against Dark Falz Elder and deal bonus damage to wind-weak enemies like Escafalz Mother.

TPS Sniping is Dead.

There’s going to be a maximum range placed on the techs used for TPS sniping objects across the map, including Rafoie, Grants, Sazan, Razan, Ilbarta and Sabarta. This means that you won’t be able to depend on Forces to be able to take out Darker Towers from across the map in Mining Base Defense quests, nor will you be able to snipe the jellyfish in the Vegas field. This also impacts Time-Attack strategies that depended on you being able to hit switches from a long distance.

Graptor and Banish Trickery may be Dead

Both Vol Graptor and Banish Arrow are getting nerfed, which affects a number of off-meta or niche builds such as TeBr and FoBr.

For Hunters, they’re buffing every single Partizan PA (aside Graptor of course) so it might work out that the old Graptor-Zenith and other combos will be just as good as they are now.

Similarly, a few Bullet Bow PAs are getting buffed, but curiously Sharp Bomber 0 is getting a slight nerf by increasing its cost. Given it’s Bullet-Bow’s only practical mobbing solution I’m not sure why they felt the need to do this. They also buffed Gravity Point in every way apart from the way it’s actually useful (the suction power is unchanged).

Chain Trickery may be Dead

They’re nerfing Chain Trigger by reducing its power. In the same update, they’ll be making Chain Finish stronger but making it main-class only and only affected by Twin Machineguns dealing Striking or Ranged damage. However, even with both Trigger and Finish it’ll still be weaker overall than it is now.

Chain’s duration is increased and cooldown decreased while Chain Finish will remain 2s.

Clearly they’re trying to make it so that Chain is primarily a Gunner thing again and not a tool of niche combos such as GuFo, FoGu, the classic BrGu and of course SuGu. The death of variety here is a bit sad, honestly, because really the worst issue was with Chain Maron but I guess it does make designing encounters difficult when you have odd combos that can kill bosses that quickly in general.

Overall, the off-class combos suffer while Gunner itself will have easier to apply chains that it can apply more often even if they’re overall weaker. Interested to see how this works out for Gunners in the end, because while this is going to affect the most bursty combos in the game right now the likes of Satellite Aim into Infinite Fire 0 should still be pretty solid.

Weak Bullet Standardized

Weak Bullet will now be a 120% modifier to the target hitbox and the Weak-Bullet “jamming”  mechanic will be removed from the game.

To compensate a bit for this, Weak Bullet’s cooldown will be reduced and the maximum number of bullets loaded increased. So while it’s weaker overall, you’ll be able to apply it more often.

They’re reducing the HP of a number of classic raid bosses from Super Hard and below while Magatsu will have its HP reduced across the board. They’re also increasing the amount of time that Esca Falz Mother spends in her downed state.

Weak Hit Advance Changes

They’re changing how Weak Hit Advance works on Weak-bulleted targets. Instead of running off the modified hit-box resistance value it’ll always apply to a hit-box with Weak Bullet on it.

So really, this is an overall buff to Weak Hit Advance as you’ll no longer have issues with Weak Bullet not bringing a hitbox’s weakness to the threshold where Weak Hit Advance counts (1.2x if I recall correctly). For example, right now if you apply a jammed Weak Bullet to a 0.9x hitbox, it’ll only turn it into a 1.08 which won’t allow Weak Hit Advance to work.

This leaves the likes of Gu/Ra and Br/Ra largely unchanged.

To clarify in case there’s confusion, Sega added an ammendment to the patch notes because the old wording implied that Weak Hit would only apply to Weak-Bulleted targets which would have been a terrible nerf to Rifles and x/Ra builds.

Force and Techer Tree Rework

They plan to compress a number of the skills on both classes skill trees, with the main focus being on element masteries.

They’re going to adjust the values for Mastery 1 lv1-10 and the same to Mastery 2 while also reducing their caps to lv5. So you’ll need 15 SP per element instead of 20, which should free up a few points but it still won’t allow you to make an effective all-element build for Force.

Techers additionally have had the numbers and caps changed for Wand Lovers, Reactor and Element. Wand Lovers new cap will be lv5 while Reactor and Element will be 1. Additionally, the skill caps for Shifta Advance, Deband Advance, Shifta Critical and Shifta Advance have has their caps reduced to 5 (and numbers adjusted accordingly). Likewise, the requirements for Shifta Critical, Deband Cut, Shifta Strike and Deband Toughness have been reduced from 5 to 3.

This combined with the changes to Zanverse frees up quite a lot of skill points for Techers indeed (up to 43 depending on what your build was!). What they should do with all these spare points I’m not sure… perhaps invest into Light and Dark masteries? I honestly don’t know..

Compound Tech Nerf

Compound Techs will retain all their power (except Zandeon which is getting a buff) but will receive a 2-minute cooldown.

So really this means you won’t be able to just build up compounds and use them nearly back-to-back anymore, as was almost the case with Magical Piece shenanigans in Time Attacks.

Bouncer Will Still Be Average

Non-Weak Element will be buffed a bit. That’s it. Also Gran Wave is buffed.

They’re Still Trying To Make Guard Stance Good

Guard Stance Advance will have its power and duration boosted. Much like with other changes the potential impact of this really depends on the numbers. Fury Stance offers 1.2 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.10 (1.4553) in terms of power right now all the time. Guard Stance Advance offers 1.2 for 10 seconds after a successful Just Guard, but of course it has the additional advantage of being way more durable than Fury Stance.

So they can’t really make its power higher than Fury Stance, so I wouldn’t expect a power mod much higher than 1.3.

Note I don’t include Just Attack bonuses because they’re not dependent on stances.

Make Shunka Great Again

A number of Katana Photon Arts are geting buffed.

  • Tskukimi-sazanka, Gekka Zakuro and Fudou Kuchinashi are having their PP costs reduced
  • Hien Tsubaki will generate more gear and do more damage more quickly.
  • Asagiri Rendan has various adjustments as well as dealing more damage
  • Shunka Shunran will deal more damage more quickly.

So yeah, they’re actually buffing Shunka Shunran again. I doubt it’ll be returning to its glory days of Episode 2 (at least I hope not) but it’s still funny that it’s getting buffed in light of its history all the same.

Overall

So in summary;

  • The end of TPS sniping,
  • The end of Zanverse builds
  • The end of quickly building Compound Techs
  • A general nerf to melee Techer and a nerf to Techer casting builds (aside TeFi)
  • A general nerf to x/Gu builds that depended on Chains for heavy burst damage
  • A general nerf to builds that depended on Graptor/Banish for burst damage
  • A general buff to Partizans, Wired Lances and Knuckles
  • A buff to Weak Hit Advance
  • A buff to Katanas overall

Thats quite a few class combos suffering because of one pet!


Miscellaneous

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Just gonna cover a couple of the changes that don’t really fit anywhere else.

Multi-Block Matching

Could this be what I think it is? Is this taking the PVP matchmaking system and applying it to PVE Quests? If so that’s a huge improvement while at the same time one that I’m genuinely surprised they’re offering for a few reasons.

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For one, what does this mean for Premium space? For that matter, how will Expert Block requirements be handled with this? I assume that instead of matchmaking you across all blocks it might just use a select group of blocks instead (for example, all the Extra Hard blocks if you’re currently in an Extra Hard block and all Expert if you’re in an Expert block). Hard to tell at this point as very little information has been revealed about the feature yet.

But yeah, this could solve a lot of issues aside the obvious of it being easier to form a group. For one thing, people AFKing in lobbies won’t be as big a problem and there might be less pressure to go park a spot in a good block well in advance of an Emergency Quest starting to ensure you get a group.

MY INVENTORY: Material Storage

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They’re adding a 2500 slot warehouse that can only store material items. Fucking finally, that’s all I have to say. I hope it’s account shared for convenience!

That’s All!

That’s everything about Episode 5 that they’ve revealed so far. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t exactly blown me away but I also haven’t seen anything I really hate either, just some things I kind of wish they did better with. Mostly I think the enemy designs are just a little too unremarkable and the field they showed really needs something done to it to make it look less bland. The quest itself sounds like it might be fun, but I remain a little sad at the thought of not having any more Arks Quests or Free Fields potentially.

We’re set to learn more about Episode 5 with the 10th PSO2 Station on the 16th of July.

8th PSO2 Station Writeup

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Yeah, I know this post is late, sorry about this. Honestly, I found this broadcast pretty boring to write about. Maybe it being in the shadow of an expansion doesn’t help! Speaking of which, no they didn’t say anything about Episode 5 however they did appear to announce that we’d be getting more information about it on June 10th.

Calling this post a write-up of the broadcast is honestly kind of a misnomer, seeing as the broadcast itself was mostly fluff and the real meat of the presentation was around the upcoming Arks Battle Chronicle event, so this post is mostly going over that.


Update Express

Normally this is where I’d post all the trailers, however Sega has been issuing take-down notices to uploads of footage from streams. Likewise, people caught restreaming have had marks against their accounts. As such, until Sega changes their stance I will no longer be adding trailers to these posts unless Sega uploads them themselves. It sucks, I know, but this is how Sega wants to do things from now on so we’re just gonna have to deal with it.

For now, I’ll share the official upload of the Update Express section of the broadcast which contains all the trailers.

Timecodes:

  • 7:21 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 1
  • 17:15 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 2
  • 24:53 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 3
  • 35:10 – PSO2es 3rd Anniversary

Surprise trailer was an update Phantom Battleship Yamato raid

It certainly is Yamato with extra attacks. Like with previous updates to raid bosses, I worry the fight will end up a clusterfuck of effects and hitboxes however I’ve been wrong every time to far. The real question is how is the rematch version going to work? Presumably it’ll be like Gracia; requiring 80/80 and restricted to a 4-person MPA with some kind of failure condition.

I’m also pondering how it’s going to handle the old Yamato Collection Files. Will they return? Do we even really need them back? Perhaps some kind of Earth weapon upgrade system will arrive with this update allowing you to say turn your Seiga Sword in for some better version of it.

Finally, I hope that the drop rate of gear with Yamato Factor matches the rates of Escafalz Mother and Deus Esca because it’s currently pathetic. The low rates are why Yamato Factor weapons and units are so expensive which makes creating Ether Factor un-necessarily difficult.


Arks Battle Chronicle

The next major web-panel event; a large multi-stage event spanning a number of different quests. It begins with Episode 1 on June 7th and ends on July 26th. Each quest will be up for a week, with the final part presumably covering the rest of the event.

Like other web-panel events, you earn points which unlock prizes by defeating enemies (this time Bosses) in specified quests. Unlike previous events, however, from the 5th of July boosts earned will apply to both Player and Enemy alike. The higher the points, the more difficult and rewarding the quest gets!

These dates are inferred, incidentally. To the best of my knowledge they’re accurate but don’t hold me to them.

Edit: Just as I finally posted this, the update page came out. Kinda excellent timing, but I’m currently not well enough to go making the necessary fixes. Here’s a raw image of the schedule for now, when I’m better I might go and make a separate post about it or just fix this one:

chronicleschedule.jpg

Event Quest Flow:

From 7th June to 14th June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 1

The first quest in the event features enemies from Episode 1 fields and story quests. This includes Rockbear, Vol and Quartz Dragon, Banthers (of at least one flavor), Purple Sword Easy Man (Persona), Chrome Dragon, a special Falz Arms and Hunar and possibly more!

Quite an intense looking quest, overall. In terms of drops, you have a chance to obtain a Coat Edge weapon camo which you can change the Photon Blade colour on. Coat Edge is a nice looking sword and I know a lot of people have been waiting for it to become a camo for some time. I hope I can get one cause damn I like me some lasersword.

From 14th June to 21st June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 2

The second quest in the event features enemies from Episode 2 fields and story quests. Do battle with Org Blan, Bal Rodos, Decol Malluda, Biol Meduna, Vardha Soma, Blu Ringahda, Theodore, Regias and other council members, Persona (Double Saber), Dark Falz Angel and Apos Dorios!

Somehow seems less intense than the first one, but still it’s nice to see that Apos Dorios finally gets to appear in a quest outside of its own raid. The big prize for this one is a recolour-able camo of Coat Doublis. I’m less fond of this weapon myself, but I know some people like it.

From 21st June to 28th June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 3

You get the idea, enemies from Episode 3 fields and story quests. Face off against Giguru Gunnegam, Bal Rodos (again), Nepto Cassadora and Malludarl, Falka Leopard and Leone, Anga Fundarge and Yuga Darkers, ending on a fight against Dio Hunar and Diabo Igrythys. .

The special prize you can obtain from this one is a mini Anga Fundarge Mag Device, d’aww.

From 28th June to 5th July – Breakthrough Training: Episode 4

Now comes Episode 4. Remember Episode 4? Good times.

Kick various phantoms in the face and challenge Train Ghidoran, Devil Trailers, Vegas Illusia, Laplace’s Demon , Anga Fundarge (cat version) with Drago Deadlion and Gruzoras Drago as well as Adam and Deus Hunas.

For the fourth part of the chronicle, you could obtain a camo for Adam’s Rapier (Alchemic Gene: Tact, Wand and Katana camo).

From 5th July to 9th August – Arks Chronicle: Extra Boost

This is when the aforementioned player and enemy boost starts to apply.  I’m not sure why the event boost applies after the event itself has ended though (it’s scheduled to end on the 26th of July) so there might be some extra details that need clarifying there.

Unknown – Breakthrough Training: ALL EPISODE?

We only really know about this one from the original teaser trailer(which curiously, Sega did not issue a take-down for) for the event. Presumably the final quest, it includes battles against enemies from the entire game to date; including Dark Vibrace, Aratron Tolstoy, AIS Exoda and Magastu Sai, Phantom Darker bosses, and ending on Falz Hunar, Angel and Dio Hunar at once.

No word yet on when this quest will arrive or what special prize might be available from it, though I assume it can drop all of the items mentioned so far.

Xie Exchange Shop

During the event, you’ll be obtaining 5th Anniversary Badges which you can trade in for various items from Xie. Xie will hand some out for clearing her Client Orders but presumably you can obtain some by clearing the Limited Event Quests while they’re up.

Below is a composite image of the shop stitched together from the trailer.

xieArksChronicleShop

Xie’s shop includes cosmetic tickets, Lobby Actions,  a music disk, exchanges for old Weapons Badges (2015, 2016 and 2017 badges) and a number of Parfaits. Interestingly this includes Megaton Parfait, which was unique to Challenge Mode. I guess life is going to get a bit easier for those who want to create a Maron revolver build!

Incidentally, who the heck wants Nero stones anymore? Who is still going for Austere weapons or units? Its not that they’re bad, Austere is still solid at endgame but in light of recent gear and PSCrew’s intent to force you to phase them out in favor of 12* units and 13* NT weapons I’m not sure why anyone would bother investing in them anymore.


Thoughts

Let’s face it, it almost doesn’t matter how good this event is because it exists under the shadow of an expansion. Even if there’s not much hype around Episode 5 and that PSO2 Expansions tend to be rather lackluster, it’s still significant enough to pique interest. People wanna know what it’s all about! I wanna know what it’s all about! We want to see the direction the story is gonna take, the new enemies we’re gonna fight, what the heck the new class is gonna be. Beyond that, what mechanics and gimmicks will they introduce and hopefully not immediately forget about?

As of publishing this post, we’re hopefully now about 2 weeks from getting at least a taste of what Episode 5 will offer, though in some ways the fact they’ve said so little about it when its due for release relatively soon is kind of concerning…

Sega To Revive IPs: Is PSO2 Coming To The West?

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No.

Probably not, anyway.

In case you’re unaware, Sega recently announced that they are planning to revive their old IPs and aim for global releases of their future content, among other plans for their Business Roadmap to 2020 which can be found here. 

Among the slides you might spy something familiar…

SegaPSO2Plan.jpg

So why might this not include PSO2? Well there’s no guarantee that it won’t, but it’d seem rather strange in the face of PSO2 closing down in Taiwan and South-East Asia.

It might just be too late to try. PSO2 is coming up to 5 years old now and the US version announcement is now nearing the same kind of age. The enthusiasm and excitement for a localized PSO2 has surely long gone.

That’s no guarantee, mind, I’m just making assumption based on the time scale for the general populous. I know from people contacting me through Twitter that there are still people out there eager for an official US release and I’m sure if it did happen they might do OK. However I feel even then they would have to release it with everything up to the end of Episode 4 and possibly some of Episode 5 in order to avoid the dreaded Content lag that plagued PSU and the SEA/TW versions of PSO2 before it. Even with all that, people rightfully have trust issues with Sega of America after their dubious performance with PSU (even if that may have arguably been Sega of Japan’s failings that ultimately caused that).

For me, I believe if this presentation means anything that it suggests PSO3 may have become more likely to be a global release. PSO3 could be another 5 years off, as Sakai planned to support PSO2 for 10 years and we’re only halfway through that (though even that’s not guaranteed!). One thing to take into account is this is their company plans for the next 3 years, so it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be acting on all the things they said right this very moment and that PSO2 announcements will occur any day. If they did act on any of these plans it’d take some time for their effects to be noticed, if at all.

It’s honestly hard to tell with a company like Sega. Remember that PSO2 did have a few hints that they were intent on an international release at one point, but for whatever reason those plans fizzled out seemingly abruptly. PSO3 could share the same fate.

Ultimately, this presentation while nifty to think about may be absolutely meaningless. It’s only a set of plans, and particularly vague ones at that. They may not deliver on most or any of it in the end.

New Expert Block Requirements

youknewthiswasgettinusedasabanner

During the recent PSO2 Station, it was revealed there’d be an additional requirement to enter Expert blocks:

A new title will be added which requires you to have 12* rear, leg and arm units grinded to +10 and equipped. This title will be required to enter Expert blocks from the 7th of June

So to recap, all the requirements will be:

  • Clear floors 1-5 of Heaven and Hell
  • Have a +35 13* weapon or lv120 pet
  • Have +10 12* units

This new requirement has created quite a stir, possibly more-so than the weapon requirement. But why?

Getting 12* Units

With a few exceptions, getting 12* units is entirely down to luck. There are no collection files for them so if you’ve been unlucky so far you might not have a full set of 12*s even if your gear is otherwise solid.

But as I said, there’s exceptions to this rule and I’m gonna go over the main ones.

2017 Badge Units

xie2017units

I know, these units are absolutely terrible and no one in their right mind would wear them into a quest. However, they are a pair of units that are guaranteed to get. You’ll need 50 Weapons Badge 2017 for each one.

shineunits

If you want a unit that’s not absolutely terrible, you could head to PVP and farm Battle Coins to get yourself a Shine Red or Shine Blue unit. These units aren’t actually that bad, with Blue focusing on HP/PP and red on Attack.  However, these items are, for whatever reason, only temporarily available. You have until the 9th September to pick em up, which is plenty of time but it still feels arbitrary to me.

This will cover your Leg and Rear units so now you’re just short an Arm unit. I’m afraid the arm unit is going to be a might trickier to get…

Gix Arm Unit

GixArmTitle

As far as I know, this is the only 12* arm unit you can “work” towards, though this may be difficult for most people gearing up to get. To get it, you’ll need to clear Ultimate Amduscia in less than 7 minutes. This is no small feat, particularly as most of the people who will be going for this title are people who don’t have great gear in the first place.

You could argue this acts as an effective choke point for people attempting to get into expert blocks on face value; Clear this difficult quest with an S-rank and you gain access! But in practice I doubt it’ll work like that, because really it’s effectively RNG. Instead of the RNG being on the drop it’s going to be on the quality of the other 11 people who happen to be running the quest with you. As hard as you could try, you’re not S-ranking this quest on your own.

You also have the added difficulty of finding 11 other people to run the quest with in the first place…

You could get lucky in your attempts and obtain a 12* Deadlion Arm but don’t count on it.

Itsuki and Rina Arm Units

itsukirinaunits

Most people who ran recent seasonal quests probably have a stockpile of these units as-is. If you don’t, you might find this is the first 12* unit you get, because they seem to be given out at a pretty decent rate whenever you come across an Itsuki x Rina or Itsuki x Soro E-trial. However, this is still RNG and probably not a viable farming target, I just figured it’s worth mentioning because you may already have some.

Itsuki’s unit (blue) is a pretty decent defensive unit, providing 150 HP. It’s good for all classes, really.

Rina’s unit on the other hand is geared more towards ranged types, so I only really advise Rangers and Gunners invest anything into it.

So aside the complications of obtaining 12* units in the first place, the next issue is the same as the one that plagued the +35 NT weapon requirement:

My Current Gear is Better!

Currently, Saiki, Austere and Orbit units are perfectly viable at end-game and for the large part are more effective than 12* units. For players who invested a lot of Meseta into their affixes, they’ve felt no pressure to go and upgrade to a full 12* set.

Add to this that 12* unit drop rates are so abysmally low that they might not have found any yet and this requirement seems set to bar players with exceptionally good gear in favor of those who just picked up whatever crap they found or just plain Xie units.

This is why it’s the same problem as the weapon requirement; a player with a crappy +35 Revolucio weapon is let in while a player with an exceptionally well affixed Austere weapon (which is still solid at endgame, though is now beaten out by Zeinesis/Qliphad and Fornis alike) is barred from entry! Heck you could just raise a pet to lv120 and enter an expert block with any old shit.

This is what makes these Expert block requirements run counter to their own purpose: They encourage cheap shortcuts for entry rather than enforce an effective test to separate novice from expert.

Thoughts

This is a difficult problem they’re trying to solve; they want to make harder content and for that they need a better measuring stick for player performance with which they can tune said content. It’s particularly difficult in a game where player performance can vary so hugely due to so many different factors (class loadout, skill trees, gear, affixes, Mag stats, access to Team Tree buffs and of course skill).

I think the main concern with this is your progress could be halted by RNG and the idea that your worth as a player is measured by the roll of a dice isn’t a comfortable one. For now, getting a 12* Arm Unit is pretty much entirely luck unless you happen to know 11 other people you can run Ultimate Amduscia with.

However, this is really just under the conditions we have currently. We don’t know what content they might add down the line that might make meeting these requirements easier but then that has the danger of running into another issue; If the expert block requirements are too easy to meet, then are they really an effective barrier to keep novices out?

I am starting to wonder if segregating the player-base like this was really a good idea in the first place. One effect it may have is to put off returning players from returning at all, because they may not meet the expert block requirements yet and to do so will require them to put up with a potentially painful grind in the regular blocks which struggles to pass the content required to get the gear they need to get.

 

Arks Live: Questions and Answers

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So there was an information broadcast held today, in which various questions about upcoming content were answered. This is just gonna be a quick and dirty post to go over some of the questions and info sourced from this blog post here. I don’t speak or read Japanese however, so I’m largely depending on Google translate and bits of interpretation here and there. Hopefully I’ve got it accurate enough, though I’m leaving out some questions that got completely mangled by auto translate. Just a heads up though, there might be some inaccuracies.

Edit: Ah Bumped did one over here. They can actually translate rather than depend on a machine so check em out.

Q: Can any 80/80 character join the Deus Esca rematch quest?

A: No, you must have cleared Zephyros first.

Q: How strong is Deus Esca Gracia?

A: Its HP is reduced to about 40% but all damage dealt by players is reduced to around 50%. 

Because its attack power is high, it’d be wise to dodge its attacks. Gracia uses the same attack pattern as Zephyros.

This is a kind of strange approach they’re taking here. By reducing its health to 40% but also halving the damage we do to it its effective health is actually 80%. This is also effectively a buff to Summoner/Gunner and other Chain builds, because the damage cap will still be 999,999 damage but now each point of damage is worth effectively twice as much… I’m not sure they intended to make things even easier for Gunner types in light of the reason they implemented the damage cap in the first place!

So how tricky is this going to end up being? Well the actual fight is using the same attack patterns so it’ll be as difficult as it is now really. The main hangups are going to be at the 5-minute DPS check at the end and whether or not your party manages to not die 5 times. As far as I know, Zephyros has around 10M hp during the DPS check which doesn’t count the dragon heads. It typically takes a minute to kill the heads, so its more like 10M hp over 4 minutes which is 320 seconds. 10M/320/12 = 2600 total DPS per person at an absolute minimum. It’s a pretty low bar but after having seen some Damage Parser results I can guarantee you some people do not meet this bar.

So Gracia has its hp reduced to 40% and damage dealt to it is halved. Let’s say it still takes 1 minute to deal with the dragon heads so its 4M hp over 320 seconds between 4 people. This means your DPS will need to be around 3100 at the absolute minimum. Now of course, seeing as your damage is halved it means your current DPS needs to be higher than 6200. 6200 effective DPS is still a relatively low bar but you could well end up with people who can’t even do 1000 DPS. It’s gonna largely depend on your luck, really, but as long as each of you is doing at least 10K DPS to Zephyros right now you should quite comfortably clear it. For reference, the top players tend to do in the region of 25-35k DPS, depending on build and circumstances, so it might be possible to solo-carry Gracia in extreme cases.  These players make up a really small proportion of the playerbase though, so I wouldn’t count on it!

This rather brings up a design issue with the game if they’re going to start including more content like this; there is no way right now to measure your DPS without the use of tools that Sega has officially come out and said are a bannable offence. So how is a player meant to know if they’re good enough to run this content?

Q: Why was Deus Esca nerfed?

A: It was a balancing failure on our part. The first week clear rate was a mere 50%. 

Q: What was the clear rate difference between Extra Hard block parties and Expert block parties?

A: Expert blocks cleared it four times as often.

That’s pretty shocking! I had heard from people stuck in Extra Hard blocks that the clear rate was low but I had no idea it was that bad! In that respect, it really isn’t a surprise they felt the need to reduce the boss’s HP. This does rather highlight a serious issue with the current state of the game though and that’s the sheer variance in party performance due to just how much your damage scales off your gear. Whatever the reason people have for not upgrading their gear, the effect is dramatic.

Q: Can you get Phaleg’s Partner Card for defeating her?

A: No.

Q: What’s Hagito up to these days?

A: He’s doing charity work.

Q: It seems like the Just-Guard timing on Sword and Katana is different, is this true?

A: No, the timing is the same for both weapon (about 0.3 seconds)

Q: Are there plans to allow us to adjust and scale Units?

A: There are no plans at this time. 

Q: How far in advance is content planned?

A: We typically have a plan for the next 1 and half years. For example, plans were in place for implementing Dark Falz Elder and Kuna’s concert since the game’s release. Earth was also planned fairly early, however Episode 5 was not in the initial plans at all.

Q: There are four races among the ARKS, but are there children born to interracial couples?

A: Sure, why not?


Additional Details

Deus Esca

Disconnection policy still applies to Gracia (leaving or DCing enough could get you banned).

You can retry the quest if you fail, as long as you’re still within the 30 minute window to start the quest (unconfirmed).

Battle Arena Skill Change

It seems the Battle Arena skill “Protection” is getting nerfed. The plan appears to be to to reduce the max number of uses per match to 1 from 2.

Phaleg Battle

You’ll have 7 minutes to defeat her.

All healing effects are reduced by 80%.

The battle ends on death, but skills like Iron Will still work.

Phaleg will be able to gain weapon and element resists like Anga Fundarge, but can only resist one of each at a time.

Deus Esca Infodump

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All I’m gonna do in this post is collect data related to new content that arrived with this update. A lot of this data is still being discovered, so expect the post to change in the coming days and possibly weeks.


Phantom God of Creation

The raid functions much like the Yamato raid; you’ll need to carve your way through a large pile of regular enemies before you get to the big boss itself. You’ll also come up against two different forms of Deus Hunas along the way. I’m just gonna summarise what happens at each part of the raid; this isn’t a guide for the best tactics to defeat him quickly.

Deus Hunas

Deus_hunar.jpg

Beware of his lightning attack; it functions much like Falz Hunar’s ground slam in that it spawns multiple projectiles at once. If you’re in the center of them, unless you time a dodge or guard well you\ll be instantly incapacitated.

He doesn’t have a lot of HP so this part should be over quickly.

Esca Angel Squad and Vines

Not much to say about this section. Don’t run into the vines and kill anything that stands in your way.

Deus Anges

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It’s Hunas again but with a hat and a new selection of attacks. Most of them aren’t terribly noteworthy though, so just hit him until a cutscene plays.

One attack to watch for is when he teleports into the center of the arena. The ground will start glowing; you’ll want to move to an area of the arena that isn’t glowing! These are typically at the edges closest or furthest away from him but the attack is also fairly easy to dodge with a step or mirage or any abusable i-frames.

Deus Esca: Part 1

Damage snake-heads until their heads are covered in bramble at which point they’re immune to damage. Once all heads are immune to damage, they’ll begin charging an orb. Attack the orbs to stun the heads. Once all heads are stunned, you can jump onto them and traverse them to attack Deus Esca’s core.

snake_road
Unlike a certain anime, you can’t fall off this road and end up in hell but the boss will occasionally fail to create this road properly leaving you stuck on the main platform…

Beware, once Deus Esca recovers he’ll split the arena in two; if you’re near the attack use i-frames or you’ll take around 3000 damage.

deus_arenasplit
If you see Deus Esca holding hiw weapon up like this don’t be where the idiot pictured is standing.

This attack splits the MPA up; each side will have to work on their own snake heads. Once they’re down you can attack the core again

Deus Esca: Part 2

deus_phase2

In this phase Deus Esca will start to use more aggressive attacks on the arena itself. However his core is permanently exposed, so attack it whenever he’s between attacks.

Deus Esca: Part 3: The DPS Check

Deus Esca will blow up the moon, which is rather rude of him. This signals the final part of the raid which starts a 5-minute countdown. This is a DPS check; you\ll need to defeat Zephyros before this timer expires or else you’ll immediately fail!

Break the snake heads first to make him use attacks similar to the 2nd phase, then hit his core as hard as you can when you can to bring this god to its knees.

At some point you’ll deal enough damage to make the boss pass out on the arena. This is actually a secondary DPS race in that you’ll need to defeat the boss before it gets up again or else it’ll use a move that kills everyone in the MPA.

Rewards

Clearing the raid gives you shots at 14* weapons, a 13* Rappy and any Zeinesis item. For the most part though you’ll be getting Nox weapons and 10* trash.

The boss drops special exchange items named Qliphad Fuses. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’re back to the stone-age. The boss typically drops 1-3 of them so you’re looking at an average of 60 runs to be able to afford the 120 Fuse fee for Qliphad exchanges or to unlock a potential. 90 if you want a full set of Qliphad units. That’s pretty rough…

Deus Factor

The S-Atk factor finally arrives. It’s otherwise exactly the same as the other two factors.

It provides 20 S-atk, 10 R-atk, 10 T-atk, 20 HP and 1 PP.


Weapons

ZeinesisCliffordCalibur

The difference between Zeinesis and Qliphad weapons is entirely cosmetic. You will need 120 Qliphad Fuses and the corresponding Zeinesis weapon in order to obtain a Qliphad weapon. Like the Ray series update, the weapon retains its grind, element, potential level and affixes.

Unlike the Ray upgrade however, it seems the weapon will force you into the Qliphad potential when you upgrade.

Potentials:

The names here are not translations of the actual affix names, just placeholders.

  • Affix Booster
    • Lv3 Boosts success rate of affixes by 10%
      • Only applies to this weapon, not if it’s an ingredient item.
  • Party Booster
    • Boosts power by 12%
    • Heals 10% of each party member’s HP every 30s
      • The timer for the heal starts on area change.
    • Boosts party attack power by 2%
      • The attack boost is like a small, passive Shifta that applies as soon as you enter an area and re-applies every 30s.
      • The buff lasts for 30 seconds
      • Note that it’s like a Shifta buff, so its only raising your base attack by 2% not the amount of damage you do.
    • The heal ability will pulse for all party members, meaning if all 4 people have the potential you get a 10% heal 4 times.
    • The attack boost is fixed, however. It’s always 2% regardless of how many people in your party have it.
    • The attack buff persists even if you swap weapon.
  • Qliphad potential
    • 14% Damage bonus and doubles the stats of your affixes.
    • This seems to include most kinds of affixes, including HP, PP and Resists. It’s not known if it affects things like Phrase.

The “Qliphad potential” potential requires 120 Qliphad fuses in order to unlock. I’m not sure which of the three this is at the moment.

Special Ability Factor

Zeinesis’ Special Ability Factor is “Sentence Triple”. It boosts all attack stats by 30, so it’s essentially equivalent to Modulator and can of course be stacked with it. It presumably cannot be stacked with other Sentence abilities.


Units

Unlike weapons, there are in fact differences beyond the cosmetic. Qliphad units will require 60 Qliphad fuses each as well as the corresponding Zeinesis unit. For the other way round, you only need the corresponding Qliphad unit.

Stats

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  • Zeinesis:
    • 120HP, 4PP, 15Atk
    • Rear: 3% S-Res, 3% R-Res, 2% T-res
    • Arm: 2% S-Res, 3% R-Res, 3% T-res
    • Leg: 3% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 3% T-res
    • Each unit also offers 2% all element resist

Qliphadunits

  • Qliphad:
    • ??HP, ??PP, 35Atk
    • Rear: 2% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 1% T-res
    • Arm: 1% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 2% T-res
    • Leg: 2% S-Res, 1% R-Res, 2% T-res

So it seems that Zeinesis units are more defense oriented where Qliphad offers more PP. The values for Qliphad likely aren’t going to be known for a few days as people collect enough Qliphad Fuses.

There does not appear to be a set bonus.


14* Weapons

There’s very little information about them currently, as very few people have been lucky enough to obtain one then go on to share data about them. As such it may be some time before we know the full capabilities of these weapons. To put it into perspective, there’s still some confusion about the Escafalz Mother 14*s and she came out a few months ago..

Lavis Cannon

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  • Potential: 未知なる魔杖
    • Boosts the power of normal attacks. Fires a shock-wave on the third part of the combo.

Interestingly, this Wand comes with kinda low S-Atk. Kind of wierd when the potential seems focused on normal attacks and we know from the reveal that it’s innate ability is to speed up Step and Normal Attack speed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how much it boosts normal attack damage by to judge this one properly, as well as how the shockwave functions (as in, does it function like Form Wand’s?)

Rykros Staff

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  • Potential: 闇の一瞥
    • During Alter Ego, your Pet’s Sympathy requests are automatically fulfilled.

A fairly handy innate ability, as you won’t need to interrupt your own attacks or lose PP to heal/buff your pet when it requests it. We also know from the trailer the staff will auto-cast Megid whenever you issue commands to your pet.

Kuvele Scarlet(?)

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A double saber that turns DS whirlwinds into firey tornadoes.

  • Potential:  緋炎の両刃
    • Increases the power of DS Kamaitachi. Increases power by ??%

DS Whirlwind is already how Double Sabers do a heck of a lot of damage (thanks to the DS Whirlwind Skill Ring) so the fact it boosts the power and duration of those is already enough to make this a potentially seriously powerful weapon. We’ll know for sure once the potential’s numbers have been worked out.


Episode 4’s Astral Soul

As the subtitle suggests, Episode 4 has gained its own version of Astral Soul. What’s more is it could stack with Astral Soul making for some potentially obscene affix loadouts.

The affix is named “Ether Factor” and it boosts all stats by 30, HP by 10 and PP by 6.

You’ll need to do the following to obtain it:

  1. Fuse Yamato Factor + Mother Factor + Deus Factor = Factor Catalyst 10%
  2. Fuse To’ou Soul + Full Vegas Soul = Ether Soul 10%
  3. Fuse Factor Catalyst * 4 + Ether Soul = Ether Factor 60%

So suddenly the likes of Yamato Factor become relevant again. Ether Soul shouldn’t be a problem as those souls are readily available; but supply of the factors will only occur when the relevant raid is up.

While you could combine it with Astral Soul it won’t be easy, however having both would give you 65 in all stats as well as 45 HP and 11 PP. That’s pretty nuts for just 2 affixes!

This would also make Astral Soul, Ether Factor, Returner V and Ability 3 the most solid all-round 4-slot affixes in the game. Getting it would be nearly impossible for most players, mind. For clarity, that would be:

  • 110 all attack, defense and dexterity
  • 75 HP
  • 16 PP

Obscenely good for 4 slots but err… good luck!

I mean if we went completely nuts and shot for the stars you could go for Astral + Ether + Returner + Modulator + Doom Break + Ability  + MutaII. That would give:

  • 170 all attack
  • 110 all def and dex
  • 90HP
  • 18PP

The ultimate all-rounder unit. Or you could throw out the MutaII and put Stat V and Elegant Stat if you want to focus on one attack stat. This is so far into crazytown though I don’t want to contemplate it any..


New Recycle Shop Addition : Class Cube Shop

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This shop offers Grind Limit +1 items for specific weapon types. The exchange rate is one Weapon Specific Grind Limit +1 for 300 class cubes.

Pretty nasty… You get 5 class cubes every level up at 80, which is 9.8M exp per. So each of these items costs 60 level up bonuses at lv80, or around 588M Exp per item. I’m speechless.

PSO2 Station #7 Writeup

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Not a lot to go over with this one, honestly. Much of it was just going over stuff we’d already seen from the last broadcast with some additional details along with the new roadmap. An oddly dull set of updates, in my opinion.  Episode 4 seems set to go out with a fizzle rather than a bang.

Oh one thing to make clear right at the start is there was no info at all about Episode 5 this time. I expect we’ll get something in the May broadcast.


Trailers

With thanks to Goukezitsu for uploading these as usual.

Deus Esca, Wedding Lobby and more Design Contest winners and Phaleg fight.

Rainy Season 2017, Episode 4 oufits (Kohri and Enga)

PSO2es May Update. Usual guff, new weaponoids (more male ones at that!).

5 Year anniversary project. Cosmetics and Lobby Actions. An Offline event.

Towards the Fu- I mean Arks Battle Chronicle! Plus new Quna concert


Deus Esca: Grasia

In early May, the Deus Esca raid will be getting a follow-up quest which you gain access to after clearing the raid; a rematch against a tougher version of the boss with 3 other players instead of 11. This requires lv80/80 however, so if you haven’t finished levelling up you might want to abuse the boost week while it’s up.

The 4-man version additionally has a quest fail condition; your party must not suffer more than 5 incapacitations total or the quest automatically fails. Sure hope you don’t get lumped with someone who keeps dying…

The trailer doesn’t really reveal any insights into the boss’s mechanics still. We see it doing a sweeping attack that deals in the region of 60K damage so I guess that’s the good old fashioned Raid-wipe attack. Presumably it also has the damage cap like the regular version of the boss, so SuGu won’t be able to cheese it as hard.

While I do hope it is trickier than the regular raid I kinda hope its not too much. This is content that occurs randomly after all, which in my opinion is an inappropriate place to make content that’s too difficult. What’s more is each character’s individual performance and build becomes much more important when there’s fewer characters in the quest, so any badly geared horror story is going to have much more impact than they would in a full raid… All the more motivation to start making friends!

Weapons and Units

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The only thing of note here is confirmation that the difference between Zeinesis and Qliphad weapons is entirely cosmetic. They both have exactly the same stats and presumably will also have the same three potentials. You can even swap Qliphad back to Zeinesis if you prefer the look of it.

  • Zeinesis to Qliphad requires a Zeinesis weapon and 120 Qliphad Fuses.
  • Qliphad to Zeinesis requires a Qliphad weapon.

A kind of one-sided exchange considering the only real difference between the weapons is looks, but I guess they intended Qliphad to be kind of the prestige version of the weapon.

You apparently only get one fuse per clear, mind, which means 120 clears of the raid for one weapon. Kinda nasty, but you might get lucky and have a Qliphad drop from Deus Esca Grasia (Zephytos drops Zeinesis).

I actually didn’t cover the weapon potentials when they were announced, so here’s what we know about them from the Arks Live broadcast a while ago:

  • Boost Affix transfer rate by 10%
  • Recovers party member HP every 30 seconds and boosts party damage
  • Doubles the numeric value of affixes (example: Power 3 becomes 60 S-Atk instead of 30)

So lacking some important details. The stat-boost potential might actually be interesting for some classes if it also boosts the affixes on your units (particularly for Katana Braver).

Units on the other hand do appear to have some differences. Qliphad seem to have slightly lower defense and offer no element resistences unlike Zeinesis. At this point we know absolutely nothing about what the units offer but just be aware it does seem like there may be a functional difference between the two. Unit upgrades require 60 Qliphad fuses per unit as well as a Zeinesis unit.

Deus Esca’s rematch is set to arrive in early May.


Phaleg Side Story

They only really announced a couple of tidbits for this quest. Essentially, the only reward for the fight will be a title for the class you cleared the quest on. So really it’s just a bonus Super-Boss style encounter, which is to say it’s entirely optional. As such, they’re free to make the quest as difficult as they like and it certainly does seem like the quest will be extremely difficult if it lives up to the hype.

The quest disables the use of Scape Dolls and Half Dolls, but it also implements the healing reduction that was present in the Odin quest. This means that all sources of healing will be 20% as effective as normal (that is, a Trimate will only heal 20% of your HP and Monomate a mere 6%). You’ll also need to defeat her in 6 minutes or less.

Its kind of hard to gauge how much damage she does, as the test character is using Guard Stance to muddy the waters a bit but she seems plenty aggressive and possibly deals plenty of damage. This combined with the restrictions on healing does have the potential to make the encounter quite a tough one, though much like the Odin quest this does effectively mean class combos with access to Resta will have a pretty huge advantage. I also suspect Megiverse will be entirely useless.

The footage also reveals that Phaleg is weak to ice, which suggests to me that Ice Force combos are going to be the ones that will find this quest the easiest unless she has some modifier for Tech damage..

Phaleg will have the damage cap fix enabled, which means you will not be able to deal more than 999,999 damage to her per hit. This is an attempt to prevent SuGu from cheesing it, but it also affects BrGu and of course main-class Gunner variants as well as class combos that took advantage of Banish/Graptor. That said, 999,999 damage is still quite a lot and honestly if the likes of the Maron revolver still have trouble taking Phaleg down when they can on-demand deal nearly a million damage I dread to think the issues other class combos are going to have against her…

This fight also lacks an HP bar on the enemy, which for a challenging fight is annoying because you’ll have no idea how close you came each time you fail.

You can do battle with the ARKS favorite anime cliche in early May.


Arks Battle Chronicle

For the 5th Anniversary event we’ll be getting a special quest paying tribute to all of the major content updates along the way.

As well as starring the regular encounters from free fields it’ll also be re-using story mode and emergency quest enemies, with Theodore, Aratron and Dark Vibrace being among the long list of enemies to battle your way through. It also has things like Apos Dorios, which I believe is the first time that boss has ever appeared outside of its raid quest.

There’s quite a lot of hefty looking encounters in this quest, to the point where I wonder if what we’re seeing is actually multiple different quests that are all part of the same event? One for each episode, perhaps?

There’s currently no actual date set on this, but I assume it’s arriving in early June.


The Final Roadmap

…For Episode 4. There’s going to be another when Episode 5 hits.

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So yeah, Episode 5 is going to hit in the Summer. Other than that, to quote Bumped:

Current Update

  • 12 Person Raid Boss
  • Added Emergency Quest Rematch
  • Design Contest Scratch
  • Episode 4 Side Story

5th Anniversary Event: Phantasy Star Festa 2017 Online

  • 5th Anniversary Web Event [ARKS BATTLE CHRONICLE]
  • New LIVE Event
  • Boosted Raid Boss & Boosted Raid Boss Rematch
  • Frame Arms and Frame Arms Girl Collaboration
  • Famous Designer Collaboration Scratch
  • Tokyo Field Real Store Collaboration Part 3

So yeah, a kind of bare-bones roadmap overall. The only noteworthy item there that isn’t already covered in this post is the possibility that the boosted raid boss is referring to Phantom Ship Yamato. While this could be the case, I’m kind of curious how the rematch quest would work for that, given it’s a 4-man quest and I imagine the missile section would be quite tricky with 4 people…

That said, data-mining supports the hypothesis that it’s a boosted Yamato, as “PhantomShipEx” does exist in the game’s data. “Ex” is a term reserved for boosted versions of raid-bosses in the past.


Thoughts

Seems like a regular set of content updates as far as I’m concerned. New seasonal quest, new event quest, some story stuff and a new raid. That’s not too bad for 2 months all in all, and yet somehow it feels… lacking.

Is any of it interesting? I can’t say I’m jumping for joy at it all, except for the Arks Battle Chronicle cause that looks fun. I think my lack of excitement is just I don’t care a lot about the Raid in terms of the story. Ardem just was not that interesting an enemy; in fact everything past Escafalz Mother feels tacked on to me. The rewards for the raid are also not terribly interesting on the face of it, but that may change as more details are revealed. As for the fight itself, who knows the fight might be fun and it might still drop a decent amount of cubes or something worthwhile.

It could well be that the game is just starting to feel its age. Maybe it’s getting stale or the developers are getting sick of working on it and we the audience are unknowingly sensitive to this.

Or it could be that I and others got themselves hyped up for Episode 5 and felt a bit let down when nothing was said! In fairness, it makes more sense to wait until the actual fifth anniversary before they say something (indeed, I speculated as such some time ago).

It could also just be that the upcoming stuff just feels too by the numbers. We expect a seasonal quest, we expect a raid boss every few months and an event here and there. That they’re delivering on it is absolutely fine (indeed, preferable) but it’s hard to be excited when there are no surprises. I don’t know, I’m theorycrafting here and probably overthinking it.