Arks League

MARVELOUS

Well now I’ve actually managed to catch some I can share my thoughts on yet another new system.

Overview


Essentially, it’s a more formal version of an Interrupt Ranking with more tangible prizes. You’re matched up with 19 other players and given a task to complete. This will usually be killing specific mobs, but it may include finding items among other things. You’ll be given up to three hours to do as well as you can, after-which there’ll be a 30-minute period before you can then claim your prize. Note that you’ll be matched based on the current character you’re logged in as!

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Mimi is the Arks League administrator. You can find her next to the Daily Order NPC Faina. 

If you’re online as the league starts, you’ll be matched with people randomly. If you log in after, it’ll match people together in the order they logged in. You will not be placed if you log in 15 minutes prior to the current round ending. The league ends at the same time regardless of when you logged in.

Scoring

The scoring, if there is one at all for the objective, is pretty simplistic. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I’ve seen so far:

  • 2 points per kill for “kill a mob of a given type” leagues, regardless of enemy level or size.
  • 1 point per kill for “kill a specific enemy” leagues, regardless of level
  • 1 point per item found for “get a specific item” leagues.

When I say regardless of level, I mean a level 61 enemy is worth just as much as a lv80 one. For size, a Dark Ragne is worth the same as a Dagan for example.

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You can check on your standing in the current league at any time by bringing up this menu.

Prize Pool

Stargems! Actually quite a lot of Stargems if you manage to place in the top 3. It’s spread out as follows:

  • 1st: 100SG
  • 2nd: 50SG
  • 3rd: 30SG
  • 4th-10th: 10SG
  • 11th-20th: 5SG

Note that to qualify for a prize, you’ll need to get at least one point or otherwise clear the objective at least once.

You can collect prizes by speaking to Mimi 30 minutes after a round ends.

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Choosing this option will let you collect your prizes. Stargem tickets are consumed upon acquisition.

Matchmaking

There are two main factors in matchmaking for Arks Leagues, though for the most part it’s completely random.

The first is that you’ll be matched based on the highest class level on the character you’re currently logged in as. This will prevent new players from being matched with those who have capped.

The second thing is the time you logged on. You’ll only be matched with people who logged in around the same time as you and a little bit after you. This presumably helps ensure that you don’t get set at a disadvantage because you had real life obligations to attend to. This is also the most abusable part of the system as it is, which I’ll get into at the end of the post.

Techniques


 

So how does one do well in an Arks League? I’ll be up front, a good amount of it is pure luck but enough is usually within your control that you can do well in a League if you play smart. The actual techniques are going to vary depending on what the target enemy is, so this is going to be general advice.

Enemy kill leagues always seem to require the enemy to be level 61+. As any enemy is worth the same amount of points, it’s best to try to kill enemies as close to that level as possible.

For kill leagues. the biggest deciding factor in how well you’ll do is your kills per minute. Nothing else matters, so you’re going to need to work out a way to maximise this. Ultimately, you’re going to have to do some research into this yourself because there’s no telling what targets future leagues will have. So I’m gonna note down some bullet point general advice to help with kills per minute:

  • If you have a large enough group, doing a 12-man MPA farm can be a very efficient way of getting certain enemies. This works well on enemy type and some specific enemies if they have a high spawn rate in a Multi-Party zone.
  • If you have 3 other people, you can hit up Super-Hard Advance Quests.  This can be extremely effective for enemy type leagues if you can consistently pull off PSE Bursts. I do not advise running Desert or other SHAQs which have multiple enemy types for this.
  • If you have 1 other person, consider hitting up Arks Quests and Free Fields which have bosses. The extra person will trigger trash mob spawns in the boss room, which can often be a large amount of the target enemy type. You’ll want to rush these unless the target enemy happens to spawn along the way.
  • Consider quests which have set spawn layouts. This includes Time Attack Quests, Story Quests and Extreme Quests. This can be the most effective way to get some enemies, so it’s worth having all of Story unlocked (at least Episode 4 stuff). Remember, it’s kills per minute you want, so once you have killed a certain number of the target enemy, consider if it’d be quicker to continue or restart to get that spawn again.
  • Look at quest records to see which ones have a high incidence of the target enemy. Not recommended as this is very luck dependent, but for some enemies you may not have a choice.

Item leagues have so far been enough of a rarity that as far as I’m aware no real techniques exist. They’re not level dependent, so common sense would suggest that doing them on the lowest level you can would be the best way to do it.

Finally, something that works generally well for Leagues at the moment is to log in late. As long as you’re more than 15 minutes before the end, you can still qualify for the prizes and you’ll be matched with other people who logged in around the same time. This means you’ll only have to keep your efforts up for say, 20 minutes instead of 3 hours.

 

Thoughts


 

It’s just another method you can get Stargems with, though a particularly effective one. As the matchmaking is random however, it will depend on the luck of the draw a bit. Sometimes you’re going to be placed with players you have no hope in hell’s chance of competing with. However, if you at least try you ought to be guaranteed a spot in the top 10 and if you do the bare minimum you’re guaranteed 5SG.

Is it worth it? Well 100SG works out to roughly 500yen. If you’re lucky and you log in late, that could be a mere 20 minutes of playtime for 500yen’s worth of gems, which isn’t bad. That said, if you’re playing your absolute hardest and 1st-3rd are getting more than twice your points/min or are getting times you cant hope to compete with then I would just throw in the towel. Go for the top 10 in that situation, because it isn’t worth risking your health for a few dollars’ worth of a virtual currency! If people in your group aren’t trying that hard, then put the minimum effort in to maintain 1st, 2nd or 3rd as the payout is quite a lot higher than 4th+. Of course this assumes you actually want Stargems, if you don’t then this system is worthless to you.

It’s kind of clumsy, honestly. The biggest problem it has is there is no incentive to log in earlier for the events, as you’ll have to work considerably harder for the same reward; 3 hours of grinding vs as little as 16min of grinding. I feel like they’d need to give people a set amount of time, for example from logging in you have 30 minutes to get as good a score as you can. It could still match you with people who logged in around your time, it’s just this way the playing field would be a lot more level overall. I suspect this would be a lot more taxing on their system but as it is the current system is incredibly open for exploitation.

The system does have some potential to incentivize running older content, though notably they seem to pair leagues up with scheduled Emergency Quests which rather defeats the point of that. It’s like Collection Files all over again…

Anyway that’s all I have to say about Leagues for now. Thank you for reading and let me know if I got anything particularly wrong in the comments.

 

45th Live Broadcast

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In hours of the day I’d like to pretend don’t exist, the 45th Broadcast took place. In this post I’ll go over some of the stuff I found interesting and as always you can find a complete summary of things over at Bumped. It was also the last time we will see the likes of Ichitaro. He will be missed.

Some other people are leaving too but who cares about them.

Trailers


Las Vegas Update Part 3: Including seasonal Bingo (boasting a 20SG reward) and the ability to bribe the Profound Darkness to show up… Paid shortcut to Austere weapons eh? Hm. Also includes upgraded versions of Gal Griffon weapons via Collect File and the next part of the story. Och Miller gets her purple demon out for us and Huey shows up more bad-ass than ever.

Due early September.

Las Vegas Update Part 4: Orga Cats shows up along with their mousy friend that no one cares about. The audience flips out over Phaleg’s dress and eyestyle, which no one is going to be able to afford ever. Giliam fucks up again.

Due late September.

 

Long Term Schedule


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Gonna do a rundown and post brief thoughts on the new long-term schedule, at least on what I can comment on. Bullet-point translations taken from Bumped.

Autumn

New Ultimate Quest – Guess.

Episode 4 Chapter 5

More PA & Technic Customizations – The cynic in me is expecting maybe one tech and three Photon Arts much like last time. Still, nice that they’re still planning on doing stuff with this system. 

PA and Skill Balance Adjustments – Interesting. Genuinely curious to see what they’re going to do with this. Maybe Gunner and Bouncer will get the attention they’ve been needing since Episode 3?

Pet Egg Added

Collaboration Interlocking WEB Event – More Bingo! More Dudu christmas! I have no idea what the collaboration might be.

PSU 10th Anniversary Project Part 2 – Was sort of hoping the next event would be PSU themed seeing as PSO got an event. Still kinda glad to hear that there will be more to this, as while what they showed was cool it still felt like it was lacking a certain… something. Also showing Laia and not having Laia there was kinda mean.

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – Franka magically able to move her entire business at will. Either photons or the power of capitalism.

New Team Room

PSU Anniversary

Winter

Episode 4 Chapter 6

New Type Grinding System Expansion – Curious what this could be about. Maybe it’ll include Units?

Appraisal Shop Expansion – Presumably the bulk untekking that people have been wanting for forever. 

Pet Egg Added

12 Player Raid Boss – The tradition of the Christmas raid seems set to continue. Presumably something phantom related, but there’s little in the data to suggest what this could be (unless it’s DPP1 of course). Doubtless it’ll become clearer as the story progresses. 

SG Scratch Volume 2 – :( Hope I got the costume I want before this happens! Then a brand new round of pain and disappointment awaits those that end up wanting something in the next batch. Personally, I hope it sucks!

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – It’s a Christmas miracle. 

Notably no new fields (aside Ultimate) and, honestly not a lot of tangible mew content in general for the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some interesting stuff coming up as I noted, but given it’s meant to cover half a year it just feels a little thin to me. Guess that’s par for the course though. These days I don’t really mind if I run out of things I want to do in PSO2 as I can just play something else meanwhile.

Least the story seems set to move at a good pace.

New Time Attack


The next time attack will be set in Tokyo. Unlike recently released Time Attack Quests this one is not just a kill-fest. Nothing wrong with a straight up kill-fest of course, just wouldn’t be interesting if that was the only new type of Time Attack they did. It releases with the late September update.

Players are instead greeted with something akin to an obstacle course, where they’re going to have to utilize the run-boosters and platforming skills in order to get the shortest time possible. Of course there are enemies to slay along the way and potential mayhem awaits at the end of the quest with Ghidoran, T-54 and a slew of other enemies.

Also unlike recent Time Attacks, enemies do actually give EXP it seems.

While it looks like they put a fair amount of effort into this quest, I’m not really looking forward to doing platforming in PSO2 again. I spent enough time falling off the platforming section in Amduscia (more-so since they buffed running speed!)  to learn that platforming in this game feels stiff and awkward. That said, the run-boosters do standardize your motion so perhaps it won’t suffer from the same pitfalls that regular platforming does. We’ll see when it’s released I guess. Overall, it’s good to see them trying more unusual things out.

In terms of if it’s worth running? That’s going to be impossible to tell until it’s out. As it stands though, it won’t be because getting your weekly Time Attacks done is much more efficient if you just run Harukotan. This doesn’t look like a quest you can clear in a comparable amount of time, so I’m not sure how they’d give incentive for people to run it.

Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary


It’s great to see this game getting some love instead of the original PSO for a change, however much of the meat of it is going to be behind Arks Scratch it appears.

As datamining found earlier, you’ll be able to get Ethan’s Illuminus outfit and Mirei’s dress. Surprises include Kakwane Suit and something from Project CUTE. Seems Ethan and Karen’s original costumes will be getting a revival as well.

Ethan and Karen are set to appear in the lobby as temporary NPCs. You know the drill by now; run their Client Orders and get their Partner Cards. Additionally, you can get Huge Cuter, Daggers of Serafi NT and Crea Doubles as 13* weapons. Datamining suggests at least two of these are obtainable by completing their Client Orders but this hasn’t been said officially.

QUACK.jpg

Kakwane is watching…

So far, that’s it. There is however a part 2 to this on the Long-Term schedule, which hopefully does something a little more interesting. Otherwise for what’s meant to be celebrating the 10 year  anniversary of a previous game in their own series this feels barely more than a generic collaboration. I’d at least like to see Laia or something, though not sure how they’d pull her off with the lack of Beasts as a race. Ear accessory perhaps? Along with some unique face model…

The first part of the Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary will go up on August 31st.

Ultimate Amduscia


 

Yes, they finally revealed it. We first saw snippets of the area in the data way back in February 2015. To give some perspective, this was before Ultimate Lilipa was even out!

It’s due for release sometime in October.

In terms of appearance, it does somewhat fly in the face of recent mining which suggested the area would resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Instead, it seems like it’s set deep underground in crystalline caverns. The color scheme seems to change dynamically which is pretty nice, though its hard to tell how nice the area looks from the low-res video. If it’s anything to go by though, those boulders look horrendous…

Enemies

Amduscia’s native fauna seems to have become crystalline, some even more so than before. The Dinians themselves have been entirely consumed by crystals. They seem to have the trademark aggression of Ultimate enemies, though they seem to be less aggressive than the pre-nerf Naberius ones. Dinians still seem susceptible to being stun-locked to death.

Taken some shots from the trailer to have a look at the various enemies shown. As usual, it’s from a recorded live-stream so the quality is going to be muddy.

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A Dinian that decided that one wand was not enough.

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A bunch of badass bow-wielding Dinians lookin like theyre about to rain down arrows on the nonbelievers! It’s a shame you don’t see more spawns like this.

STELLAAAA

Ult variant of Sil Dinian, with a pretty nice looking sword.

 

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This Dilandarl seems to have asymmetrical arms. Perhaps they can transform, allowing it to have swords or a lasergun or goodness knows what.

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An Ultimate variant of a Pendran

 

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Darker Aberrations show up of course, with Goldrahdas being the most visible in the trailer. You can however see the tell-tale red blades and ground effects of Luda Sorcerer which confirms that an ultimate variant of those will be showing up. Again, it’s too blurry to get a good visual on them from this trailer.

Box Deuxbles

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Finally, we get to see what the heck the “Dragonmizer” might even be. Looks pretty cool, though it seems to lack the transforming ability that Tranmizer does. Not too surprised as er.. flesh and bones don’t really work that way.

I don’t really get its name at all…Aside the “box” part referring to its boxing glove like arms.

Drago Deadlion

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True to its name, this Ultimate variant of Dragon Ex has a lion’s mane. It uses much of the same attacks that Dragon Ex does though it doesn’t have the transforming wings anymore, instead it wields a very large lance-like thing which seems to grant it enormous reach. Its sword-stab into the ground now creates a large frontal-cone AoE attack.

Gilzoras Drago

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The ultimate variant of Quartz Dragon and it’s the bling-iest dragon yet. Adourned in gemstones and shards of gold, it’s a fairly shiny creature!

It looks distinctly more like a traditional image of a European dragon than a wyvern, with its sizable fore-arms and long neck. Much like Quartz, it boasts a large number of swooping and laser-based attacks. It seems that its lightning crystal array now fires in front of it in a large area rather than just immediately around it.

So yeah, it seems that much like Ultimate Lilipa that Amduscia will have two bosses instead of one. Unlike Lilipa, I imagine it will have Box Deubles as its mini-boss, though they usually spawn in pairs or triples when that many players are around. Either way, there are three new enemies that are likely to have new Soul affixes, which may mean the long awaited R-Atk+35 PP+3 soul may finally arrive.

Anga Fundarge!?

What if Fang Banther and Anga Fundarge got together and had a baby? Your sick fanfiction fetishes aside, the new variant of Anga boasts a large array of new attacks and is a lot more nimble than its old self.

Anga_Bark

In terms of plot significance, as Anga Fundarge is essentially the harbinger of the Profound Darkness and the vehicle through which it spreads its corruption this could only mean that at some point in the story it’ll become active again. Right now, the Profound Darkness is stuck in a time loop, I believe owing to the influence by Persona and Xion. Perhaps this will be related to certain events speculated upon in the previous data-mining post?

Also have to wonder what it’s going to drop. Ares weapons are a little out-dated now…

So yeah, Ultimate Amduscia looks like it’ll be hectic fun. Aside some enemies that have yet to be revealed, there’s the big question of “how will they incentivise running it?”. Stones like with previous Ultimate Quests seems unlikely with the arrival of Collection Files, but Collection Files are temporary while the stone exchange is permanent…

There’s also the question of who is it aimed at? Is it aimed at players who are loaded up with 13* weapons or is it for anyone? Is it going to introduce the next tier of gear or add yet another stepping stone towards Austere?

For that matter, will some kind of rejuvenation effort happen for the other Ultimate Quests? They kind of need it if they want them to stay at least somewhat relevant.

Also with that revealed, I guess we’re waiting on whatever crazy thing is found in the data next for us to speculate on for the next year and a half! Maybe some Ultimate Harukotan enemies will show up next and then finally appear sometime after Episode 5 is well underway.

Vegas Patch: Datamining

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We couldn’t have a 2.5GB patch without some new tidbits to comb over and speculate on, surely? Well actually we could have… there have been larger patches in the past which just updated content we already had. This post wouldn’t be happening if there weren’t a few things to go through however! So this is was not one of those notorious patches.

As always, remember that datamined information is unearthing content that’s still heavily in development. As a result, things may change before content goes live or it may not even be added at all. Also somewhat self explanatory is that such data may contain spoilers for the story. I’ll warn when spoilery stuff starts.

Icons – Phantasy Star Universe Goodies.


The community has extracted a bunch of icons for weapons and outfits from client. They were all uploaded to Imgur galleries here for weapons and enemies  and here for costumes/parts.

As you can probably see, there’s a bunch of PSU items in there which are almost certainly related to the upcoming PSU Anniversary event. This event still has no date as far as I know.

Among them are Crea Doubles and Huge Cutter, pictured above. Given how disappointing the likes of Stag Cutlery ended up looking in PSO2 I’m not holding out much hope for Crea Doubles but who knows. As long as they get the photon effect and weapon scale right it should be fine. If the text data is correct, you can get these weapons via limited Client Orders.

Ethan’s Illuminus coat and Mirei’s dress are the two new costumes. Ethan’s old Braves Jacket and Karen’s outfit were both already added to the game some time ago as part of some promotional deal I’ve long forgotten about.

More Phantasy Star Universe Stuff


As you can probably guess, Ethan and Karen are going to be the temporary NPCs added for the event. The pair of them give out Client Orders and the indications are you’ll be able to get their Partner Cards. While Ethan seems to wield a Huge Cutter, Karen wields Daggers of Serafi.

Along with weapons, there are a few affixes referencing PSU:

  • TENORA Boost: +35 S-Atk
  • GRM Boost: +35 R-Atk
  • YOHMEI Boost: +35 T-Atk

Essentially the Noble Boosts but without the PP. These are referring to the three main weapon manufacturers in PSU while roughly aligning with their specialties.

There’s also an Airboard lobby action. With it you could dress up as Ethan, trigger the Phantom Cars Etrial in Tokyo and recreate the greatest scene in PSU.

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As far as the data shows, this is it for the Phantasy Star Universe event. We might see if there’s anything else in the next live broadcast in a few days.

Enemies


The majority of the enemies aren’t worth mentioning in this post as you can go fight many of them yourself in today’s Story Quest. There’s a couple among the icons that warrant brief mention however:

These two appear to be Phantom Laplace and Phantom Maxwell. I’m guessing this is so as Laplace’s AI summons Maxwells and well, one of these is quite a bit larger than the other… They took the philosophical concepts of Laplace and Maxwell’s demons fairly literally it seems. I also can’t help but think of Monster’s Inc a bit here…

New Enemies

Beyond Las Vegas, a bunch of new enemy names have shown up in the client and well… let’s just say they’re fairly interesting if you’ve been sticking around PSO2 for some time.

OK, the spoiler warning is here. Don’t read beyond this point if you don’t want potential spoilers for the story. If you’re good with spoilers, then carry on!

Continue reading

Lambda Grinder Eggschange

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Rejoice! For all those egg drops you get when you’re not playing summoner will actually have a purpose. From the 24th of August you’ll be able to exchange 10 x 10* or 11* eggs in for 1 Lambda Grinder. Fancy!

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Official announcement on this was posted here. The image is from Gheaven’s tweet on it here.

I mean the fact that 11* eggs are subject to the same exchange rate as 10* despite being rarer is a little strange, but they’ve done this kind of thing before with 10 and 11* weapons and units. The two are effectively considered the same category, despite one still being visibly less common than the other.

The upside is you can gain something from picking up all those SPECIAL EGG?s laying around at the end of emergency quests with the minor downside that you’re going to have to pay to untek them for the pleasure. It’s gonna be up to you whether you think Lambda Grinders are still worth picking up this way or not.

 

Rumour Mill: Yasminkov4000F The Austere Slayer

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This information comes from a Japanese blog here, which goes into some detail about a lot of the stuff shown at the last live broadcast event. The interesting part is the data on weapons a little way into the post. I plan to talk more about those when they’re actually released in a few days, but for now I’m going to focus on the one weapon.

I’m filing this under the rumour mill because I have no idea where the above post got most of its data from. As a result, I can’t verify most of this.

Stronger than Austere!?


If that blog is right then Yasminkov 4000F boasts a whopping 1590 R-Atk at +35, which is a whole 3 R-Atk stronger than Austere Cannon. It comes with the same potential that Double Cannon has, which is 15% boosted damage and 15% increased PP consumption at Lv3 (it’s currently 30% but it’ll be changed to 15% with this update. This affects all weapons with this latent!). Given Austere Cannon’s potential is 11% increased damage, this means that Yasminkov4000F will be the strongest Launcher in the game, though it will have that 15% PP consumption drawback.

I feel like this is at least somewhat significant if it turns out to be true, because while there are weapons that do beat out Austere in specific niches as far as I’m aware this would be the first one to out-class them almost in general.

yasmincough

Possibly the first weapon that almost unconditionally out-damages its Austere counterpart and it looks like a Nerf gun… According to the blog, it seems like it’ll be an area drop from the Vegas field.

I’ve been wondering how long it would be before Austere weapons would be out-classed. As MMOs progress in content, they typically add new tiers of gear to go along with new tiers of enemies. So it’s potentially a matter of time before Austere weapons are out-classed. PSO2 tends to do this kind of progression very slowly for better or worse, so your time invested into Austere weapons probably won’t go to waste anytime soon.

There’s two big things that as far as I’m concerned makes making a new tier sort of awkward right now. For one thing there are no new tiers of content on the horizon, though with how long it’s been delayed it can only be assumed that Ultimate Amduscia will arrive with it. It’s the only way I can imagine them making the area relevant, especially if future waves of weapons end up competing with Austere.

The other big thing is the significance of Austere weapons themselves. They do come from essentially the most destructive force in the PSO2 universe so it’d be strange if just a general trash mob on earth dropped something better. Completing them also kind of requires you to run a large amount of content including Extreme Quests, various quests with Lv75+ Dark Falz enemies, Challenge Quests (sorta) and Ultimate Quests. While many of the items do have alternative ways of getting them now, making these weapons obsolete could also make a large amount of content pointless to run which is an issue they haven’t had to deal with in previous tiers…

Guess we’ll see in a few days!

About This Blog: Thinking Out Loud.

I’ll start this off by saying this blog isn’t going anywhere yet. I’m still enthusiastic enough to write for it, though lately it’s had kind of stiff competition from other things I’ve been wanting to do. For this post, I’m really just gonna be thinking aloud to sorta open up potential discussion about what I could do for the site.

Related, this is my 300th published post! So wahey for that!

300post_celebration

Never thought this thing would go on this long. My first post is back in 2011 which just blows my mind, where did that time go? In light of reaching this milestone, I guess taking the time to have a little self-analysis might be kind of appropriate. I want to keep making posts, so let’s have a think about how I could make things better going forward.

 

How It’s Doing


I gotta say, when I began writing this I didn’t expect anyone to read it. Why would they with other sites about? Who’d want a wordy editorial blog when you can get a to-the-point complete picture of the news from other places?  Despite this, this place gets a fairly regular amount of traffic. Nothing big, but in the region of about 15-30 views an hour. In total, I’m sitting on 650,000 views. That is over 5 years, so yeah like I say my traffic is minor but to me that’s still pretty crazy. I’ve never made anything that’s gotten that kinda attention before. While writing the blog, I’ve always kinda had it as a personal goal to hit 1,000,000 views and I still kinda wanna hit it.

Point is, while my traffic is relatively small I do appreciate the readership I get and I do feel bad when I haven’t written anything in a while. Thank you very much to all those who’ve been reading.

In terms of my enthusiasm? I will admit, there have been times where I’ve burnt out a bit on the game. I’m sure most of you have, too. Episode 4 has been a particularly divisive one, with all sorts of disappointing features and approaches the development team have taken which has made some people quit the game entirely. Personally, Episode 4 hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me, even if there are things I feel pretty let down by (Stargems I’m looking at you in particular). That might be the subject of its own post down the line though so let’s keep this roughly on topic.

Writer’s block is also a thing that happens!

 

The Blog’s Purpose


The main purpose has been and still sorta is my opinions on stuff. As I say in my now ancient “About” page, I’m really not suited for picking up on news as it comes out. That said, often I either don’t have opinions on something or I just don’t feel my thoughts on specific subjects would be terribly interesting to read.

That said, I’ve been into Overwatch lately (a team-based hero shooter from Blizzard) and with that I’ve been watching a fair few Youtube channels on it. Things like Unit Lost, Force Gaming and others I forget the name of. They fairly frequently share thoughts on all sorts of aspects of the game, from news to thoughts on features among other things. Most of these things I could do here for PSO2! Seeing them has sorta rejuvenated me but I still feel I need to take a fairly objective look at how I do things to explore the following questions:

  • What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?
  • What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?
  • What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?

Something to make clear. I don’t see this as a competition. For one thing I am no competition to other sites, but really competing for popularity is never what I set out to do. I don’t care if this site gets little to no traffic or even if it got none at all. It’s fun to write and as long as its fun I’m gonna keep doing it. From a more professional point of view, it’s about sharing thoughts on a game I love and want to see do better in the future. In that light, other blogs on the game are more my peers in that we’re all supporting the game in our own ways.

 

What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?


I really do want to make more regular posts, but the posts I make tend to be very long and take a very long time to make. Often I have to dedicate an entire day just to writing one post, which would be fine if there wasn’t other things I’d be wanting to do. So one thing I’m considering doing is splitting my posts into smaller chunks or just making a conscious effort to keep things as brief if I can. Brevity is the soul of wit, so it’s said.

So what kinda target could I make? Well I’m not satisfied with one post per month. I really feel like I could bring it up to 4 a month again if I wanted to, but I’m not going to force myself to make posts on things for the sake of posting. That’d make for potentially flimsy posts as I’d have less fun writing it.

So in terms of what I think I could do to help myself out:

  • Keep blog posts shorter.

Sometimes a long post is unavoidable and I’m sure the 45th Broadcast write-up will be long. The odd long post is probably fine, but I can’t keep the blog regularly updated if it takes 1 or 2 days just to make the post.Not with other things going on in my life too!

  • Techy stuff.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for me. Something that would make life easier would be to have access to CSS features so I didn’t have to copy and paste chunks of html code to make posts or be stuck with the limited contole over the sidebar I have for links to other sites. It’d also be nice to have my own domain so my URL isn’t as long, but that’s a more minor thing.

I might be able to do this in the future, but for now I have zero income so I can’t really. I also don’t really want to stick adverts in here to generate money for it cause I’m not really comfortable with money getting involved in something like this (I don’t really get the traffic to make that a viable option anyway). As long as it’s free, it’s my impartial opinions only subject to my personal biases and nothing else. I don’t feel pressured to write just to keep advertising income up.

Still feel like I could do something to tidy up that mess of links I have though, hmm…

 

What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?


Right now I write about my thoughts on major new features and the odd bit of speculation whenever a juicy bit of data-mining comes up. Occasionally I’ll post some thoughts on the odd bit of info that crops up elsewhere, which mostly comes from G-Heaven but occasionally from other blogs too.

drafts

A sample of some of the posts that never made it. I’ve got about 56 different draft posts laying around, some consisting of notes and others approaching 2000 words. 

Occasionally, I’ll think of things to write about but either don’t because I’m not convinced what I’m writing is interesting or I’ll give up because another blog wrote about it already or someone posted about it on a forum. That’s an attitude I need to lose, because my opinions are always gonna be slightly different to others; my insights are going to be different.

  • Perhaps be less fussy about specific things to write about.

While there are times when there’s a bit of a drought in content updates which makes for slim pickings in terms of things to write about, there are a few things even lately that I felt I could’ve written about but didn’t. Thinks like the Odin fight, the healing nerf during the Limited Quest, how they handled Beach Wars 2016, what I think about Arkuma slots among other things. To go further back, how the skill rings shook up some classes, the state of my main class (Hunter!)… In short, I think lately I’ve been too short-sighted on the things I could write about for the blog and I could easily fix this.

There’s also game design aspects and thinking about things from a game design point of view. I’m an aspiring video game developer; I’ve made some small incomplete games and most of my time right now is spent studying to sharpen skills to improve my game design. One of my worries has been that this blog may eat up time I could be using to develop my skills, but if anything analyzing a game ought to work to my benefit. I could discuss what I might do to improve it, make thoughts on what the aims of the developers might be for certain decisions and other things. Maybe even throw some game theory in there as I pick that up. As I learn more about that kind of stuff it might actually get more interesting to write about that stuff, so it’s something to seriously consider.

So I think going forward, I need to be less worried about if something’s already been covered or not. I could expand on the topics I cover; making sure that they are in fact topics I can comment enough on and  I could expand by approaching things from a game design point of view.

 

What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?


There’s a few things I’d like to write about more but I simply can’t do them justice. Mostly it’s the language barrier; because as I can’t understand Japanese there’s a lot of blog posts and speculation from Japan that I never get to see or can’t be confident enough in machine translation to write about.

One major topic this language barrier prevents is story. I basically can’t comment much on story stuff; at least not to any great detail. I can get the general gist of a story and get some extra tidbits through machine translation and discussion with other people, but the finer details are very difficult for a foreigner to obtain. Those details could make certain speculations pointless, as it raises questions that may have been answered long ago (such as “where the heck is Matoi anyway?”).

Then there are things like opinions on classes. I don’t play every class equally. I don’t use all weapon types on the classes I do play equally. So often, I have to consider second-hand opinions when discussing things I’m not familiar with. This doesn’t make for terribly good writing, as I’m not confident in the things I’m sharing and the information may not be accurate. It doesn’t help that PSO2 is very restrictive in terms of what builds you can try out due to skill-tree resets being locked behind a pay-wall and affix load-outs being prohibitively expensive to try.

I also can’t comment too much on the meta. I’m not a top-end player, nor do I really communicate with people who are in the top end of things to get some reliable opinions on the intricacies of what’s strongest, weakest, niche or whatever.

Naturally this limits what I can do in terms of guides, though I can at least consider writing guides as a base to help people out instead of worrying about “how to be the best of the best”. “How to be competent at PSO2” not “How to win interrupt Rankings or get 5 runs of Mining Base: Incursion”.

Now some of these things I probably could write about anyway as long as I disclose that the information may be flawed. I can argue opinions on things as if they were true, as long as it’s clear that it’s definitely a “what if” and not a “what is“. It’s OK to be wrong as long as I admit I am and I remain open to the fact that I could be wrong. I feel like I do that anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind especially for the kinds of topics that fall into this category.

 

Things I Likely Won’t Write About


What I generally don’t post about is news if I don’t have any thoughts on it. I’m not good at it for one thing and I can’t speak or read most Japanese. It’s also not terribly interesting to me to write about anyway, which I quickly found back in the day when I did used to make news posts. It’s fine because other sites do this very well so I’m not letting anyone down.

I’m not interested in writing about PSO2es. It’s not that I hate the game; it’s OK for what it is, it’s just much of it is again a language barrier thing. I also don’t feel I really play it enough to have any real opinions on certain things. There are some really dedicated players of that game however and I’m surprised there’s not an english blog out there specifically for it.

I’m not going to post about PS:Nova… at least until I get to play it. I don’t have a PS:Vita so that’s a bit of a problem! It’s also all in Japanese, though there are rumours that a translation project may begin for that. If I get to play it, I might post about it because honestly it may be interesting to compare it to PSO2 much like it was to compare PSP/PSP2i to PSU back in the day.

I’m not likely to post about PSO2:SEA specifically. The main barrier is the IP block which prevents me from investigating things for myself. I don’t really know my way around VPNs well enough to address this.

If an American/European version ever happens, I would be interested in writing about it. This is assuming there aren’t any barriers introduced like what happened with PSO2:SEA.

I also won’t write about PSO3 or PSU2 or whatever ends up being the followup to this game; at least not on this blog. If that happens and I’m still interested in writing for it I’ll likely just start up a new blog!

THE END


Alright, so this turned into a long ramble which yes I know this is one of the very things I said I feel I need to work on. If you made it this far through the article, thanks for listening to my thoughts and I’d be interested in hearing what you might think I could do going forward too.

Ultimately, I write for the joy of writing. It feels good for the soul. I just felt taking a little time to analyse myself and how I do things here may help improve things for me and the blog.

44th Broadcast Writeup

ElderRappy

The 44th broadcast happened today so let’s get this opinions machine rolling again.

Bumped has its bullet point write-up here as always. As usual, I’ll generally be sharing my opinions on the stuff I care about as well as a gathering spot for the various videos captured from the stream.

GODZILLA


Las Vegas Update Trailer 1:

Arks League

ArksLeague

Seems to be a new ranking system in which you’re matched up with 19 other players. If you score well within your league, you can earn prizes like Stargem Tickets and Tri-boosters.

It’s nice that at least casual players will stand a hope in hell’s chance of actually competing as opposed to a ship-wide ranking. That said, I’m curious if there’s any matchmaking involved or if it’s just completely random.

SG Scratch Recycle

SG_recycle

So this was finally shown and no surprise it’s a disappointment. For one thing it requires 40 Stargem Scratch items to be exchanged, which is a huge number of items. Secondly, the selection of items you can exchange for doesn’t include every item in the scratch. In particular, you can only exchange for the default variations of the Dark Falz costumes excluding the battle damaged Apprentice costume. So if you want any color variation or that, you’re still at the mercy of RNG.

To illustrate, you will need 3600 Stargems total (80 * 40), which means you need to be earning 21 Stargems per day (153 days until the scratch expires, so 3600/21). If you’re not, you don’t stand a hope of using this exchange unless they get very liberal with Stargems down the line.

As someone who has been wanting these costumes for nearly 4 years, this system continues to be an insult.

Chat Commands

Chat commands to change your facial expression and your fashion preset will be added. Not sure why it took them this long to add these, really.

New story stuff

StoryStuff

Seems we’ll be learning more about “Earth Guides”, the resistance force against Mother Cluster. New Unite E-Trials will appear on Earth featuring members of the Earth Guides battling against Phantoms.

During the events, we meet yet another Mother Cluster Apostle, this time an Apostle of Fire named “Phaleg”. She’s demonstrated to have considerable power, which surprises the player even after the tough enemies they’ve had to deal with in the past. Not sure why we needed another apostle introduced so soon seeing as we’ve barely gotten to know the 5 they introduced all at once last time.

Bikini Scratch

Bikinis

Normally I wouldn’t write about this kinda stuff but it’s interesting because the three costumes on the right are the first conversions of old outfits into the Layered wear system. So it seems they are willing to do this after all, which naturally makes me ponder what other outfits are due for conversion.

Las Vegas Part 2

 

The two main things of note with this update are the new pet and selection of skill rings.

New Pet – Lucari- er Synchro

The main gimmick of this pet is essentially Tech-Arts, in that the pet’s power rises as you combo different PAs together.

Might be interesting, I just personally have no interest in playing Summoner myself so I’ll likely end up sticking to easy-mode Wanda whenever I’m on that alt.

Skill Rings

LV_skillrings

These are the skill rings shown so far (with credit to Bumped for the names).

  • L / Bullet Bow Homing
  • L / JB Elemental Keep
  • L / Standing Sign
  • L / A Launcher Mode
  • L  / Short Mirage
  • L / Wand E Change
  • L / Mate Lovers
  • R / J Reversal Cover

Ranger finally gets some skill rings!

Another Launcher Mode changes Launcher’s basic attack to be like that of PSU Grenade Launcher weapons. Not sure why you’d do that seeing as I’m fairly sure that would make the weapon much more inconenient to use. Standing Sign on the other hand shows an effect when Standing Snipe is active which… why is this even a ring? Sure, it’s useful but this is a basic gameplay feature they’re relegating to something you have to grind for. I genuinely feel bad for Rangers right now unless those rings have some other bonuses.

Bullet Bow Homing sounds like it might change up Bullet Bow gameplay a bit, depends on how accurate it is.

Mate Lovers has a kinky name, but it’s hard to guess exactly what this ring will do. May be use-time, may be boosted heals, may change the animation, it could be all the above and other things I’m too dumb to think of.

Wand Element Change could be potentially interesting, enabling Wand users to get away with just having a single Wand rather than a rainbow selection of them. Kinda sucks for those players who already gathered a rainbow selection, but at least they have a ring-slot freed up.

Rider Quest

LasVegas01

Kill enemies to get points, collect emblems to get bonus points. Try to get as high a score as you can within the time limit!

Enemies will still reward drops and exp, however all drops will be pooled into an end-crystal like with the current Odin Limited Quest and Mining Base Defence. The higher the score, the better your rare drop rate will be.

An emergency trial can occur during the quest which is essentially a giant Independence Day reference. Destroy the UFO’s shields before it annihilates the city!

This is a new type of quest which is separate from the Free Field. I don’t know what kind of limitations there’ll be on it if there are any. There is however at least a Klotho Client Order associated with it, though it only pays out a measly 10,000 Meseta. Sugar daddy letting me down.

Las Vegas Field

 

LasVegas02

Las Vegas will first be appearing in story mode, which is slightly unusual for the release of a field but they did do it before with Kuron in Episode 3.

Aside the verticality of the map, the free field seems to be mechanically identical to the Tokyo field in that enemies are pointed out on the radar and you need to grind out quest points to clear. This may, much like Tokyo, make the field tedious to complete solo due to the smaller spawn sizes. The lower point requirement may ablate this somewhat, I also ponder if the boss may be guaranteed to spawn at a certain point quota as with recent event quests.

The map looks alright enough, albeit embarrassingly low poly in places. The most striking thing is how small it feels while riding around on the Rideroid vehicle. On foot, the map feels spacious enough but in the air it ends up feeling really small. It does also seem like it won’t be using the old map-generation system present in other areas.

Other Trailers

 

Es Update: Starring the new character EDGELord and a badly drawn weaponoid made by someone who has never seen a woman in real life or has no understanding of anatomy at all (Whipblade Paratizel). Some pretty dang nicely drawn ones in there as well.

 

Arks Festival Items: WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB

 

Live Concerts: Featuring Dark Falz Loser as an old woman firing lasers into the Arks Shopping mall.

I’m afraid this was the surprise trailer, so no grand surprises to talk about this time.

 

Question and Answers

 

Once again, thanks to Kami_Pepe on twitter for posting summaries of these. These are interpretations based on machine translation, so please please get in touch if you can provide something more accurate or if I’ve gotten something horribly wrong.

Q:武器迷彩を複数装備できるようになる?
A:元々武器迷彩自体がイレギュラーでしてシステム上難しいので今後も絶対にないです。

Q: Why can’t we have multiple weapon camos at once?

A: The original implementation of the weapon camo system was clumsy, so we can’t do this for now.

This is reminding a bit of the problem they had back in PSU when they wanted to expand the number of Photon Arts a character could learn but couldn’t due how the game was programmed. One day, Sega will learn how to do basic software engineering I’m sure…

Q:一括鑑定できるようにしてくれない?
A:前々から試行錯誤してまして、早くても年末や年明けになりそうです

Q: Is it possible you could allow for bulk weapon appraisal?

A: It’s something we’re currently doing a trial and error approach for, we may have something for the end of the year or early next year.

Nice to hear I guess, though I’m not sure how they’d handle the element portion unless people would be fine having bulk appraised weapons all having the same element. For the most part, I would be anyway.

Q:ラスベガス実装にともなってロケとか行かれたのですか?
A:行ってないですよ Googleストリートビューを元にしました

Q: Did you go to Las Vegas to do research for the new field?

A: No, we just used Google Street View.

Astounding.