What’s New, Alpha Test 2?

Sakai posted a blog entry today on the official blog to summarise what’s coming up in the 2nd Alpha Test. There are only 4 days left for people to sign up to the 2nd Alpha test (open to Japanese residents only), but as of yet still no actual date as to when the tests will take place.

It still seems to take time to consume a healing item, although now you’re drinking the item instead of injecting yourself with it (apparently people didn’t like this). Wether this is a decision that will stick through to the final game or not, who knows. Now, heals are instant in PSU and PSO, sure, but in those games you couldn’t really defend yourself. By that I mean the only form of defense in either of those games was to simply have as much health and as high resistance as you could to soak up as much damage as possible, you couldn’t really prevent the hits themselves. In PSO2, like PSP2, you can dodge roll and you can block. Now that players can directly influence the damage they recieve, having heals be instant might not make these new mechanics all that important. As a player, you will now have to anticipate safe moments to heal, based on enemy behaviors which youre going to have to learn anyway if you want to pull off perfect blocks. That said, who knows how it’ll feel in practise.


List of Things in the 2nd Test

In the above mentioned blog, Sakai posted a big list of features to expect in the 2nd Tests. It was translated in full over at bumped here. Most of it we already knew was coming, but there are a few new things. To go over various points myself:

Race and Class

  • No new races, no new classes.
  • Your class level is still your character level.
  • Players who level past 10 will be automatically eligable for the closed beta test.

I can’t say I particularly expected anything else. Sakai did mention, once upon a time, that new races may be added in future content updates but I really honestly don’t ever expect to see the return of Beasts or Dewmans.

Character Creation

  • Cannot change outfit after creation for now
  • CASTs will have the choice between hovering and running
  • Undo and Redo functions were added

It’s definitely nice to see that they’ve granted CAST players the choice between running types. I’m sure not all players were keen on the idea of all having jetboots, afterall.

Areas, Quests and Enemies

  • Volcano Cavern and Forest fields will be available
  • Can choose to display party HP bars over the heads of party members and multi-party members
  • Can start “Free Field” quests without needing to start a quest at the counter
  • Free Field quests will end with each party facing off against a boss, although you may randomly encounter a boss sooner!
  • When boss enemies appear in a multiparty area, their name may have a prefix. These bosses in particular have stronger powers and abilities, even changing the abilities of enemies nearby.
  • Enemies of different types can attack each other.

From what I can gather from the remaining points, it looks like “Free Field” quests will function similarly to just going to areas in PSO without first starting a quest from the Hunter’s Guild. Also good to know that the “raid” versions of the monsters will behave differently to their regular counterparts. Really can’t wait to see more details about multi-party shenanigans. Also hell yes, AI fights!

My Room

  • Unlike PSU, it is 1 server per room as opposed to 1 character per room

Somewhat unexpected, but it looks like your character will be sharing their room with all your alts as well. Cozy.

Thanks to Ricardo for translating. The points I didn’t go over are of course on his blog, I just chose to comment on points of particular interest to myself.


UI Changes

A few changes to the UI have happened. For one thing the icons have changed, as per request from the first batch of alpha testers.

An example of the old UI and icons
New UI and Icons!

Essentially they moved player health closer to the quick bar, which is fair enough as this is where players may be looking. It would however be nice if you had the option to put the health bar at the top or bottom of the screen as I know some players do prefer to have their health there.

Along with that, is the addition of a function known as “Interface Zoom”. A customisable UI! Well, sort of. You can change the size of the UI to 3 different pre-sets and you can only change it in the launcher options. A fair cry from some MMOs which allow players to simply click and drag elements of the UI about as they see fit, but it’s still a welcome sight for players who play on high resolutions.

Yeah I know this isn't PSO2, I'm using it to illustrate a point!

As you can see from this shot of PSU, where you can’t change the size of the UI, it can get tricky to keep an eye on important stats because the health bar is small (and smaller still if you pump the resolution up futher). This of course also affects other parts of the UI such as menus, the radar, etc. Below is a pair of comparison shots showing you the difference between the regular sized UI and a zoomed UI in PSO2, taken from the official blog.

Interface at regular size
Interface at 1.5x size

Stat Changes

Copied and pasted from Bumped:

  • HP
  • PP
  • 打撃力 (Striking Power)
  • 射撃力 (Range Power)
  • 法撃力 (Force Power)
  • 技量: Ability (aka Skill)
  • 打撃防御 (Striking Defense)
  • 射撃防御: (Range Defense)
  • 法撃防御 (Force Defense)

Compare with the old stats from a previous post, which happened to compare stats between various race/class combos (with worrying implications):

Incidentally, those stats were never completely confirmed. So now we have 3 different attack stats and 3 corresponding defense stats. I gotta say I don’t really feel strongly one way or the other about it, it’s something I’d have to feel for myself when I eventually do play PSO2. Haven’t got a clue what “Ability” could mean.


Reminders

As a final thing for this post, a reminder of a couple of things that are not in the 2nd Alpha Test:

  • MAGs. So sorry, I don’t expect much more information about these little guys.
  • The city area. Despite it having been demonstrated months ago, this combat field will also not be available during the tests. Who knows, maybe it’s being saved as dripfeed content for later? It’s somewhat reasonable that they don’t want to demonstrate too much content at once I guess.

Sources: PSBlog and Bumped

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