December Catchup Post

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So yeah, I’ve been away for a while. The main reason is I wanted to focus all of my attention on creating a game for a month-long Game-Jam. I won’t detail as this blog isn’t for promoting myself, but suffice to say it’s my primary hobby and it’s something I wanted to put some serious energy into getting better at. It was a good month, honestly, so fair warning I may do stuff like that in the future. Hopefully I’ll get better at managing my time as I improve but we’ll see.

But yeah, a fair amount happened since my last post. For one thing, pretty much everything from the first PSO2 Station is now live and the Famitsu Cup came and ended. I’m not going to cover everything that happened, but I will go over the things I had thoughts on and any recently useful information I’m aware of.


December So Far

Christmas is here, which for the Arks means killing things but with Christmas-y music in the background. Hey at least it actually is Christmas music this time around and not the Nights credits theme (thank goodness).

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Merry Christmas on Ice 2016

The quest itself is the standard fare of run around and kill things to make your points go up. The spawns are slightly mixed up by throwing in special bosses from various seasonal events during this year.

You have the standard PSE Burst from wearing the right costumes, but as usual you really just want to clear the quest as quickly as possible. Bursts slow you down, so you’re better off not wearing your Christmas garb for this quest.

What’s potentially interesting is that it seems the callback bosses drop their unique items from their respective events, such as Rainy Day’s Fang Banther dropping Hyper Sunlight. Other drops include:

  • Garel Stones and possibly Nemesis weapons from Diabo
  • Asta Unicorn from White Day Quartz Dragon
  • Eggscarpe from Easter’s Falz Hunar
  • Aura weapons from summer’s Chrome Dragon
  • General Mutation II items from the titled Gal Gryphon
  • Bloodspear Vlam Bram and Raygun Barrel from Halloween’s Zeta Guranz
  • Apparently Dio Hunar can drop items from the current collection file

It’s not terribly great EXP but the quest provides shots at a large variety of rare drops, which may be helpful for those who have unfinished weapons from previous seasons. It also seems to have a pretty decent rate of 2016 Weapon Badges, which well this is basically your last chance to do anything with those before presumably 2017 badges are introduced.

Izane Units

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Additionally, it has a small chance of spawning Emperappy or Izanekazuchi. The former is useful as ever for its Emperembrace grind fodder but the latter can drop a solid set of units.

Izane’s unit stats at +10 are:

  • 361 S-Def
  • 340 R-Def
  • 340 T-Def
  • 150 HP
  • 4% Strike, Shoot and Tech resist
  • +20 all attack
  • +20 Dex
  • 6% Lightning Resist
  • 4% Light Resist

These are the same for all three units. They provide no set bonus either, so you can freely mix and match them with other units as required which is nice. Otherwise this set is clearly defense oriented, providing a large amount of HP and general damage resistance as well as higher defensive stats than any unit in the game so far. The major downside to these units is they provide no passive PP bonuses at all, which may put a lot of people off wanting to use them.

With units of this caliber coming out, it could well be the death of Unit crafting. Arguably that’s been dead for a while but chalk up yet another craft skill that’s becoming useless I guess.

Collection Files

This season offers a small but interesting selection of items.

Astral Blaze

astralblaze

My favorite Twin Sabers from Phantasy Star Universe are back. What’s interesting about these weapons is they’re equippable by Fighters, which sorta revives the classic Fighter Bouncer from the Gran Fol days. It’s also usable by Forces and comes with a modest amount of T-Atk (1012 at +10). Has Heavenly Kite as an innate Photon Art.

The potential does the normal thing of boosting damage (11% at level 3) but it also has a curious way of doing PP regeneration. It has two separate rates; one for automatic recovery while in the air (100% at lv3) and another for attack recovery while on the ground (40% at lv3). Given normal attacks don’t stop automatic PP regen, it kinda effectively boosts it in both states. In any case, its high base attack and decent unconditional modifier alone makes roughly on par on Austere (it might be slightly stronger), which makes it a pretty nice weapon for Dual Blade mains.

Its Special Ability Factor is Modulator.

Fornis Ogend

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The Talis has a curious Potential wherein it boosts damage against enemies weak to Lightning or Light attacks, or the attack’s own element by 14% if the enemy is weak to it. The weapon gives 1% of the damage dealt in healing (up to 50HP) to indicate the potential was active for that attack , much like how the Gryphon NT weapons do.

The power boost on it is slightly conditional, but it’s a significant portion stronger than Austere when active. This is a very strong Talis.

It comes with a Special Ability Factor (need a shorter name for this, maybe just “factor”?) which boosts damage dealt for hitting an enemy with an element they’re weak against by a whopping 2%. While a small number on its own, it does make this weapon a pretty good target for those wanting to min-max elemental damage (though I still think you’re crazy to do this if you’re not a Force!).

Rose Skewer

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This tact allows people sub-classing Summoner to summon pets. It also has a whopping 40 more attack than your regular Talis, making it the best Talis in the game so far! This is arguably the most interesting item in this Collection File as it allows you to try other combinations of Summoner with pets out. Ever wondered how TeSu with a Shifta Strike Marron would perform? Now you can find out! It also makes raising your subclass easier seeing as you don’t need to go grab extra gear for it.

Related to this. Summoner’s Skill Tree has gone through some changes that open up some interesting options in general. I may go over this in its own post.

13* Maron Egg

Useful for those of you who missed out on the Ultimate Lilipa train and still don’t have a 13* Maron. It’s a useful spike damage pet, though it takes some getting used to. I’m a terrible Summoner so I’m bad at using it.

Necky Collection Files

Seeing as we’re talking about collection files I just wanna share a couple quick thoughts on this set too.

Necky’s Challenge is gone, possibly for good. Despite this, his collection files are gonna persist for another week or two, which seems a little odd. You can’t make progress on certain parts of the files without actually running Necky’s Challenge. So the only people who can start or clear Necky files are those with access to the relevant Quest Triggers, but it still feels like a wierd setup.

I also gotta say that I’m not a fan of the temporary nature of Collection Files in general but it feels extra shoddy when it ends up splitting up weapon series. This happened with the Seiga and Quotz series before; where some of the weapons can be obtained via stones but the rest of the series is now confined to drop-only forever. I don’t know why they can’t just leave the files up or at least make the rest of the series available via stone grind.

This is also kind of a shame for Form Weapons, whose files were made unavailable after the last maintenance. Form Weapons have one of the most interesting potentials in the game so it’s a shame to see them relegated to drop-only in a quest that few people run anymore.

At least the recent change to NT weapon drops where weapons can drop with higher element and grind cap does mean you’re not cursed to finding 5 of your desired weapon anymore. That does take a lot of the burden out of completing them, but to me this doesn’t really make up for the temporary nature of Collection Files particularly when they have such potential to give incentive to under-run content.

2nd Broadcast Catchup

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To be honest, there wasn’t really a lot that happened during the second broadcast to talk about. It mostly showcased some Christmas stuff which we already have and a bunch of costumes, including a collaboration with Persona 5. It did at least show us a bunch more about the upcoming raid-boss “Esca Falz Mother” and the trinkets she could reward us with.

In any case, in this section I’m going to go over things that were revealed during the broadcast. Seeing as new information has come out since though it’d be inappropriate to go speculating just on the broadcast content alone, so I’ll be including whatever has been revealed since.

Raid Details

The raid itself is a two-part quest, with the first part seeing us chasing Esca Falz around with our Rideroids. The Rideroid automatically moves forward and shoots bullets, but the player will have access to two active skills so you won’t just be spending your whole time dodging obstacles. You’ll have access to a homing missile attack which shoots at desired targets and a spinning melee attack which you can use to hit parts which she er.. offers up to you I guess. You also have access to an “Overboost” which speeds you up if you end up falling behind for whatever reason.

You can take damage from obstacles and her attacks, which can be recovered by flying through the green rings from Las Vegas. As far as I know it hasn’t been said what happens if you run out of health, but presumably you’re given a respawn timer much like with the AIS portions of Magatsu and Yamato.

Here’s the  most recent trailer from the official Youtube channel (includes the Persona 5 collab):

The developers have since revealed in a tidbit that your performance in the Rideroid section won’t affect your access to the 2nd part. You’re there to either “shave off her HP” or just wait until time runs out. I’m not sure if this means that your performance in part 1 affects how much HP Mother has in part 2 or if it simply speeds up part 1.

For those unaware, you can actually fight Esca Falz Mother right now if you run the most recent Story Quest (Episode 4 Chapter 7). While naturally she has much less HP in this state, it does at least give you some indication of what to expect during the fight.

Mother uses many mechanics that resemble moves from other Dark Falzes. The two I saw in my encounter were Elder’s arms and meteors as well as a ring of walls from Double. The Double-Wall ring has one open gate which you need to find and exit through quickly or else you’ll take a moderate amount of damage. Datamining suggests she has moves from Apprentice (she does seem to have the bomb-bugs from Mining Base: Demise in the trailer) and Loser, both of which seem to be absent in the single-player version.

She summons Falz Arms during the fight, which act roughly independent of her. They act much like Profound Darkness bits in that if you break all of them, Mother will be stunned for a while and expose a weak-point. She increases the number of Arms each time.

The trailer shows what seems to be your regular raid-wipe move which seems to be absent from the solo encounter. While hard to tell from the limited footage, it seems like you can attack the cubes that are slowing moving towards the epicenter of the attack. It’s possible that this is a DPS check of sorts, but the actual mechanics are unknown for now.

So yeah, kinda neat that we got an interactive preview of the raid this time around!

14* Weapons

Mother will be introducing the first 14* weapons, with the Katana “Kasami Notachi” (reminiscent of PSO’s Kasami Bracer ), the Assault Rifle “Spread Needle” and the Rod “Eternal Psychodrive”. These weapons will not have collection files and so will be drop-only. The drop rates are expected to be very low (lower than Austere!), however interestingly they’ve engineered it so you’ll only ever need to get one drop to complete the weapon. They will drop with a +35 grind limit and max element, which means you won’t need to feed it additional copies of itself to finish it. You will need to grind them as you would any other NT weapon otherwise.

Kasami Notachi

14katana

Additionally usable by Hunters.

Spread Needle

14sneedle.jpg

The devs noted that this is also Gunner equip-able, which is kinda a moot point given Gunners can use all Rifles…

There’s an unconfirmed rumour that this weapon may be able to fire multiple bullets per normal shot. If true, I assume it shoots in a spread pattern much like the original Spread Needle.

Eternal Psychodrive

14epd

Usable by Techers.

In essence, these weapons feel like the spiritual successor to the 12* drops from Elder way back in the day; Ultra rare drops that you might only see one of every so often across the entire server! However, they did also say that 12* units would drop less often than Saiki units which much of the player-base came to doubt rather quickly whilst farming Ultimate Amduscia. Of course, we don’t actually know the metric they were using to compare the drop-rate to because if it was comparing it to Giguru Ginnegam’s drop rate…

Assuming the rumour about Spread Needle turns out to be true, I can’t help but ponder if the other two weapons will have unique abilties as well. I couldn’t hazard a guess as to what they’d be, but I’m all for more interesting abilities on weapons that aren’t just power boosts. We need more weapons like the Form series, because it offers up shifts in game-play and increases the functional diversity of weapons in general. If this means fewer weapons that’s fine because PSO2 has too many weapons as it is…

Astra Weapons

Mother’s collection file introduces an entirely new weapon series to the game; the Astra series. Presumably these can also drop. According to recent information from the developers this series is intended to be a replacement for Austere. I know I’ve defended Austere in the past mostly due to the sheer number of steps you had to go through to get one, but the weapons are now a year old so it really is time to move on. Whether or not they will be a true Austere killer all comes down to their stats and potential of course, which regarding that…

It seems its potential may be as follows:

  • Lv1. Boosts damage by 6% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 20%
  • Lv2. Boosts damage by 9% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 30%
  • Lv3. Boosts damage by 12% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 40%

This data was mined from PSO2es by someone from the Arks Visiphone site. If correct, that does make these weapons particularly useful for the PP-heavy but slow-recovery weapon types such as Sword, Partizan and Knuckles. It’s less useful for those who have no issues recovering PP, although these are still solid weapons in terms of overall damage.

Are they an upgrade from Austere? Well assuming this turns out to be their potential, I feel like if you already have an affixed Austere weapon I reckon you’re fine to stick with what you got unless you main any of the three weapons mentioned earlier. They’d be an upgrade but it’s such a minor one that I’d question if it was worth putting in the Meseta for a new round of Affixes.

We’ll see. I remember speculating that a completely unrelated potential was going to turn out to be for Gix weapons. That’s just one of the pitfalls of Datamining, sometimes you’re left guessing.

Incidentally, much like with Austere weapons, the Collection files will require you to run content outside of the raid to complete. We can see a blurred out Vegas Illusia in the trailer, but according to the update page it involves various enemies from Earth. At the very least you might have to hit up Riding Quests or Vegas Free Field or something.

Mother also drops a unit set, but there’s currently no information about them at all. Hopefully they’re not as rare as Invade units…

The End – For Now

That’s all for now. I was going to write up some stuff about the PVP mode coming up because boy have I got some opinions on that but I’m holding that back because we’re apparently going to get a live demo of that sometime soon. If so, I may as well wait for that to come out before I really talk about it at any length. I will say, my gut feeling is that it’ll be an unbalanced mess but something completely optional that shouldn’t have any major impact on the game as whole. I’m just hoping nothing too valuable ends up attached to it.

Come the 17th, we’ll have the 3rd PSO2 Station. Assuming I’m in good health then I’ll be doing my usual write-up of it when it hits. This one is a potentially interesting one as they’ll be going over some of the January updates as well as I believe they’ll be revealing the next long-term Schedule. Given Episode 4 may be coming to a close in the coming weeks, we may start to see the first shreds of Episode 5 peeking their way around the corner. There’s been nothing mentioned about Episode 5 yet, nor has there been anything particularly tantalizing from data-mining in that regard. This could mean Episode 5 is further off than Episode 4 was this time last year.

 

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