New Expert Block Requirements

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

 

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