Filthy. The final part of Where Darkness Gathers is impending, with the last two panels on the update page having been revealed. This is the actual final part this time, not me jumping the gun. Along with this a new post was made at the official PSO2 blog here.
Much of the stuff at the beginning is things we’ve already seen; New Year’s lobby and the outfits that were released yesterday. The new material is due to arrive on the 9th of January
A new field is coming. Much like “DRAGONLAND”, Darkernest is not the official name of the field it’s just the internal name used for it. Not certain what the structure in the sky is, it looks like an upside-down city of sorts, perhaps the collected wreckage of an ARKS ship? You can clearly see space in the center of it so it’s not a spherical object as was presumed before.
The field is populated by nothing but Darkers of both fish and insect flavours, including “Predikahda” which is a new enemy internally known as “mantiswarrior”. A lucky few players have already encountered Predikahda Nero in a Parallel Map.
So where does this new field fit in? Is it just limited to the escape quest (detailed in the next section of this post) or is it also a regular selectable field? Going by the website and blog the only mentions of the field are with the escape quest, but the trailer shows portions of the field with and without a timer. Presumably the escape quest is the timed one, so is the non-timed one the regular field?
What about Falz Hunar? He’s only mentioned as being encounter-able in the new Emergency Quest set in the Urban field, yet he’s clearly also in the Darkernest in the trailer complete with an intro. Is he the final encounter in the escape quest, or is he part of the regular version of Darkernest as its boss?
The trailer shows Hunar in what can only be interpreted as a boss arena (as all other boss arenas have the same general map layout). The trial text indicates that the quest’s aim is to defeat Hunar as well as 4 other targets. ARKS Clones? But Arks Clones are meant to be a rare encounter, so it’d a little contradictory if they also fight alongside Hunar in a regular field. Despite the lack of a timer however, this could be the same as the escape quest, so this would be its end goal. This doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of a regular field existing, but all things seem to point to the field as something you won’t see all that often.
Occasionally,when you attempt to start a quest the Campship will be attacked by Darkers and you’ll be forcibly transferred to the new Darkernest field. In this quest, your objective will be to escape from the field within the time limit. Unlike normal quests you will not be able to return to the camp ship at any time. Not even to re-stock on items. This would appear to give Forces and Techers a pretty clear advantage in this quest…
Only ARKS considered “elite” by the Darkers will be kidnapped. Exactly what this means still isn’t certain, but I doubt it will require all that much.
If you succeed in escaping your character’s data including appearance, weapons, photon arts and even auto-words may be copied and used to create an ARKS Clone. This clone can attack anyone at any time, including you, in a rare emergency trial. This effectively acts as a pseudo-PVP mode.
ARKS Clones will drop items when defeated, just like regular enemies. There will be weapons that can only be obtained from ARKS Clones at that. I wonder if those will turn out to be the red versions of basic weapons which were data-mined a little while ago? You can obtain better drops if you defeat your own clone or the clones of your friends.
There hasn’t been any real specifics released yet, but going by the screen-shots I think a few things can be assumed:
- The number of Arks Clones might scale to the party size. The screen-shots show a party of four encountering a group of four clones. If you’re on your own, presumably you’ll only face one. I wonder if a full multi-party will end up fighting 12 clones at once? If this is the case you’re probably more likely to encounter your own clone if you spam MPAs…
- The strength of Arks Clones is set to the quest you’re currently running. Which seems to be sensible, I mean it would be pretty bullshit for a new player running Oodan Extermination at lv1 to encounter a lv50 clone…
- ARKS Clones use the partner character symbol, which makes me wonder if they also use partner character AI…
- As ARKS Clones are presumably aligned with Darkers they could attack native enemies, as well as be attacked by them.
- ARKS Clones do not have Mags. Makes sense.
Then there are questions
- Will the stats of ARKS Clones be the same as players? Will they be the same as Friend Partners (low attack, high health, ignores all entries on the skill tree) or what?
Presumably their attack will be lower and health higher at least. Afterall, players are engineered to fight monsters with thousands to tens of thousands of hit-points whereas players themselves only have hundreds. If the clones were the same as players, fights would be extremely short which doesn’t really make for a particularly interesting struggle.
Due to the way PSO2 is engineered, actual PVP is something that would never work out sadly. It has little to do with balance or the gameplay, it has much to do with how the client and network functions. As such, this is the closest you’re getting and it’s a bit of an experiment on their part. Will this experiment work out is what we’ll see when the update goes live on the 9th of January.
New Longterm Schedule
Well it’s sort of a long-term schedule. There is little to no actual detail and some entries are vague but here goes.
- Code: Clone, the addition of Darkernest and all the junk this post was talking about pretty much.
- “Valorous Vanguard” update? – Valentines!
- Level cap increased to 55
- New type of quest: “Advance Quests”
- Adjustment to the way in which rare items are acquired?
- Launch of the PSVita version of PSO2
- Start of the “Those Who Walk Together” update, which carries on through March
- New Story Quest. Presumably this is the side story quest and not the beginning of Episode 2.
- New boss – Chrome Dragon?
- New additions to the premium set.
- New Field – Note that Darkernest is the last known field in the client, so this one could be completely new. Given that Chrome Dragon might have been added as a story boss it’s possible that this new field would have it. If so, this could be a new field on Amduscia…
- Class level raised – amount not specified
- New type of high difficulty quest. Whether this is a new difficulty (like Ultimate) or not isn’t really explained.
- One year anniversary event
There will also be various scratch rotations going on as well as the usual bug fixes. Presumably new outfits and accessories throughout. Thanks to Mewn for help with interpreting this.
Hopefully some of the confusion will be cleared up before the update hits, but we’ll see soon enough either way!
[Sources: Official Blog, 4Gamer, Mewn and Espiokaos for help interpreting parts]