38th Broadcast Writeup

HAPPYCLARIS

The 38th broadcast went out last night. Being the final broadcast before the actual expansion, its time to iron out any remaining questions surely? Well of course not, while some details are fresh we mostly got stuff we already knew about.

As usual, this post will be a gathering of the various trailers shown throughout as well as sharing my thoughts. Bumped has done their summary of the broadcast as usual, and will cover some details that I won’t. If you’re interested in taking part in the PS4 beta in particular, check it out. Naturally I’ll be talking about some things Bumped didn’t as well as sharing my own dumb thoughts cause that’s what I do here.

First off; Henri is BACK, motherfuckers!

henriiii

Was worried he’d drowned in pussy or something, welcome back you… guy who walked back and forth in the lobby! You’ll notice the area he’s wandering around in is new: more on that in a moment.

Gathering – Phantasy Runescape Online 2

I guess this explains the inventory expansion. I think I’d be livid if they introduced an entire new way to fill your bag up with no expansion to help you out.

Much like with other games, you essentially seem to walk up to a node and press buttons to make a thing happen and you get an item. Fishing requires at least some timing it appears, for which I assume you’re just pressing a button when a fish bites I guess.

fishing_star_online

This potentially re-defines “Phishing” I suppose.

Gathering is limited via a stamina bar. It isn’t certain exactly how this works, but i feel confident in saying that Arks Cash will probably be the miracle cure for fatigue.

So what do you do with these newly acquired materials taking up all that additional inventory space you just got? Why, you take them to Franca’s Cafe turn them into cuisine and rings of course! You know, your regular jeweler in the Cafe. That’s where Henri is wandering about earlier in the post, by the way. That handsome devil.

We’ll be gaining 2 equipment slots in which we can equip said rings. Presumably Rings will be made from metals and such, but some will also need Lambda Grinders. They’ll be in the armor and costume menu. Rings seem to mostly augment class skills, but they can also raise stats. Some mentioned include:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

The skill augments are potentially interesting I suppose, but I can’t help feeling that at some point there’s gonna be some straight up damage boosting rings and those are going to be the only ones worth going for. Unless they keep them strictly utility of course, in which case it mostly won’t be worth bothering with unless the augments really are interesting. I’m being cynical here I know, but I’m so used to them half-assing systems they’ve introduced before. Yes, the skill augments could be interesting but remember when Photon Art customization came out? Remember how that “could” have been interesting? What about Timed Abilities?

Rings seem to have something like a grind value (they’re pictured at +1) but they also have an EXP bar. How this EXP is acquired, who knows. It’d be easy to assume its just via killing enemies and such, but it could also be feeding it materials for all we know right now. They also seem to be restricted to the right or left ring slots, though I don’t know the significance of this yet. As in, what trends might right-slot rings have that left doesn’t and vice versa.

Cuisines are gonna work like the food items we can get now I would assume, so essentially stat boosters. The food shown lasts 1 minute and 5 minutes though, which is kind of a tiny period of time. I assume higher ranked food lasts longer, but who knows.

This system is set to arrive in March. Why so long after the expansion starts? Cause I have no idea, gotta spread it out or something. While on this cynical bent I guess I would say that they’ll probably only release 10 rings and 10 foods initially or something too, then six months later remember they started this project and bother to add some more things. Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!

Other Trailers

We got a good selection of videos this broadcast, but unfortunately the vast majority of the time they don’t really show anything we didn’t already know. As such, I feel the best I can really do here is comment on various tidbits after the trailers.

First is a trailer showing us essentially everything we know about so far. This is a long one and it does show quite a lot of things, worth watching for a refresher and for the adorable emperor Rappy rolling around.

Next is a shorter trailer showing off the Valentines update.

We’re getting a new character creation demo, complete with new bench-marking test video. As always with these, I’m kinda saddened we don’t get cutscene’s this dramatic in-game. That said, maybe I just like over the top cheesy things I don’t know. The demo is slated for release in late February.

Gameplay Demo

Just a couple of videos demonstrating Summoner game-play as well as showing off the Tokyo field. Skip about 5 minutes in to get to actual game-play.

I don’t know, the class looks kind of awkward to me still. Maybe it’ll feel OK to actually play it, but it just seems like you don’t really have as much control over your pacing as this class as you would for all the others. It seems like the game-play would just be too passive for my liking, though this style may well appeal to some. It’s only a little over a week before we get to try the class for ourselves, so we’ll see soon I guess. More importantly we can finally start to answer some questions the developers never seem to, such as how certain class skills interact with pets and how summoner skills may interact with other weapon types (if at all).

Notably, Train Ghidoran doesn’t seem to be the boss of the Free Field on Tokyo. Instead, it;s the boss of what seems to be the 2nd Arks Quest. I doubt the Free Field has a new boss, so instead I have to ponder if the quest itself essentially just functions like an Ultimate Quest; where it ends once you’ve reached the quest point quota. As they didn’t demonstrate it, I can only guess for now.

Tidbits

As we know, the character storage box starts at 300 items but can be expanded to 1000. It seems that you can increase it in 50 item increments for 800 AC each. This brings the total cost of expansion per character to 11,200 AC. That’s kind of expensive, but then +50 personal storage costs 1600AC right now.

Mutation II is coming out. It’s been in the client data for as long as I can remember. You can obtain it from a special titled Diabo Igrythis that only appears in a seasonal Emergency Quest. You can also create it yourself from 5 Mutation I at a 50% success rate. Mutation I boosts the fusion success rate of stat II into stat III. Its more advanced form will do the same for III to IV.

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2016 Weapons Badges are coming out. You can get camos of various PSO weapons with them, that’s about it. You can exchange 2015 for 2016 badges at a 10:1 rate. Given you need 350 just for one camo, that exchange might be a little harsh but then if you got your entire badge supply from the get-go it might impact the upcoming event. The badges will primarily be available during a Limited Quest set on Vopar’s Facility field for the PS Festa event. This will be a full on web-event, so there’s a chance of event bonuses that can be earned as well. Rico and Flowen seem set to turn up, but who cares about them.

There will be a bingo card for this event, but so far the rewards on it look pretty unremarkable compared to previous offerings.

There’s a rumour that soul fusion was mentioned during the show, involving things like Vol Soul and Vardha Soul. Essentially it’s a new Astral Soul type of soul fusion, only with different results. One of the alleged results is an R-atk +35 PP + 3 soul. I have no solid source for this however, so treat it as a rumour.

Tokyo Weapons

Seems Tokyo weapon potentials are out. Seiga series weapons regenerate HP over time and boost outgoing damage by 11%. Earth series weapons grant a 6% damage boost and a 10% damage boost for critical hits. There’s also the Quartz series weapons, which apparently have increased PP regen on attack and a damage bonus when above 30% PP. Unsure on source, so treat this information tentatively.

These are some strong potential abilities if they turn out to be true, possibly even trumping Austere weapons depending on how exactly they work and how strong the weapons themselves end up being.

Seiga Sword is listed as having 1152 attack. As the weapons appear to come with Ability III, Mutation I and Stat III, you can take away 55 attack from them.  This brings Seiga Sword’s base attack down to 1097. This puts it at slightly better than Orbit but inferior to Invade and Austere in terms of raw attack.

The 13* exchange weapons seem to cost 200 Kagaseo stones, so I expect that the overall acquisition rate is going to match Kuron exchange weapons just-about.

Thoughts

 

Still no Ultimate Amduscia! I’m starting to wonder if the area got scrapped. It’s likely more a case of bad timing, as you probably don’t want Ultimate Amduscia coinciding with the release of a new area and a web event. It’s that ever persistent fear of splitting up the player-base that modern MMOs seem to have, but they may have this “fear” for a very good reason. As a reminder, Ultimate Amduscia isn’t on the schedule between now and late Spring.

Overall, between the pets, rings and the associated gathering systems it seems we’re gaining a number of new grinding treadmills. It’s difficult to pass judgement on them completely until the systems have arrived, and much of it won’t be until Spring starts. For all I know, these systems might well boost the experience but maybe it’s my overly cynical mood today but I’m just not convinced.

There’s really not a lot else to say I don’t think, so I’ll end the post there for now. I know this has come across as cynical and I’m sorry for that. Just consider that I’m a bit burned by the developers introducing new systems before, full of promises that then kind of fell flat. For all I know, these systems really could be good, Summoners could be fun to play and pets won’t be irritating to raise. PSO2 may be a better game with all this stuff, or it could be really about the same as it is now. We’ll see.

Road to Episode 4

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With the very last update of the expansion now out, Episode 3 is finally coming to an end. Since we learned more about the expansion after the 37th broadcast the reaction from the fan-base has been generally positive. Well, it’s more either one of excitement, one of bewilderment or one of utter hatred that I’ve seen, though I’ve not seen many people react as negatively at that. It did lead to some forum-based comedy but this blog isn’t the place for that so, ahem. In around 10 days, we’ll be… doing largely what we do now only in a new place I guess.

Just gonna verbally vomit about some of the things that have recently been shaping the PSO2 experience and having thoughts on where the game may be going next, based on what we know so far.

 

Phantasy Stones Online 2

 

I’d relate this to my inventory woes if they weren’t giving us a significant expansion soon. PSO2 has had stone exchanges for some time, dating all the way back to Dark Falz Elder when it was initially released. Then of course Advance Quests added stones for each of its fields which would be doubled later down the line and Extreme Quests added its three sets of three tiers of stones. Dark Falz Loser, Ultimate Quests, Profound Darkness, eventually the Mining Base Defense quests and even  a Free Field all added their own stones.

moarstonesplease

It’s not a wonder people’s inventories are struggling so much currently with the sheer volume of stone currencies available and the new stones we have yet to get. Nagoya’s event revealed that there are at least two more currency items; Tokyo’s area weapons and a new currency attached to the featured quest system.

I don’t actually mind currency grinds necessarily, they do offer a sense of progression after all and aren’t usually as subject to the whims of poor luck. It’s a system of “get lucky or get the gear eventually anyway”, which is generally something I approve of as it mixes progression with the thrill of chance. I also think it’s a good thing that, overall, it’s a lot easier for people to get themselves some decent gear for the sake of making MPA raid quests more… consistent. The issues with the grinds we have come down to the already mentioned inventory woes and the fact that most progression systems in PSO2 are time gated. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that a few progression chains are absurdly grindy, particularly the Ultimate Quest weapon grinds. I’m not gonna say what an “acceptable” grind is however, as it hugely varies from person to person.

But yeah, Advance Quests are gated behind caps, Extreme Quests behind a daily pass (although there are a number of ways you can get additional passes now at least) and of course the likes of Austere and Orbit are both hidden behind Emergency Quests, which is the style I detest the most. While many stone drops are RNG themselves, I can’t help but feel that gating stones behind an RNG schedule somewhat defeats the purpose of them; especially the sheer number of runs they seem to expect players to put in.

I still believe that these currencies really should have their own dedicated storage; entirely separate from our regular inventories. Anyway, whether you like them or not stone grinds seem to be something that is only going to be expanded upon rather than go away anytime soon.

 

Content Expansion

 

One new field. Singular. So far, this means that Episode 1 is the only time the game has arrived with multiple fields, although even it started off with just 2 fields back in the Alpha days. Overall the number of fields added over a given time period seems to have gone down; Despite it lasting longer than Episode 2, both it and Episode 3 added a total of four fields to the game, three of which are accessible all the time in each. Not a bad thing if those few areas are more compelling, after-all Desert was kind of incredibly dull.

oversized_wifi_router.jpg

Turns out the mysterious blue tower seen in promo material is just an over-sized Wi-Fi router. Hope future wireless is a lot better than what we have currently…

If Episode 4 lasts one year, its plausible that it too will end up adding 3 fields, with a 4th one walled behind an Emergency Quest or something. We know we’re at least getting 1 other field on Earth, but it doesn’t seem to be on the current long-term schedule at least. As the anime and in-game stories move on, it may be easier to speculate where we’re headed next, although the giant blue tower (that may belong to the ESC-A OS company) seems a tad suspect.

Related to fields, we still have the fact that no areas before Kuron have Extra Hard difficulty yet either, though in part that may be due to the developers wanting some incentive to run Emergency Quests and the fact they’ve sort of designed themselves into a corner. If they want to release an Extra Hard difficulty for any field, they’d have to add a new currency and some exchange weapons for them to keep them relevant, which is not only awful for our inventories but a pretty taxing task on their end too.

There will be new story quests, fairly expected. Who knows if they’ll be any good, its hard for me to judge not understanding the language. In fact, between now and Summer we seem to be set to get three story chapters. We’ll still only have the one field for all of these, although presumably one of those chapters will have to do with the raid boss (assumed to be the data-mined “Phantom Goddess”). Interestingly the schedule lists “Story Board events” separately. The Story Board is the spiritual successor to the Matter Board, but it otherwise hasn’t been explained how the new system may be different to the old one if at all.

Incidentally. selecting Episode 4 when you log in will only prevent you from playing the story quests for Episode 1 to 3.

 

Summoner 

 

There’s still some missing information regarding Summoners, but we do know a fair sight more than we did. Bumped did a large write-up here, which explains the upgrade and customization process for your pets. I’ll summarize a bit below.

candyboardthing.jpg

So you customize your pets through use of Candies. These candies are placed on a grid, which contain caramel cubes, jelly cubes and paper cubes that occupy space on the grid and prevent you from placing candies there. You can use caramel crushers to get rid of the caramel cubes, but to get rid of the jelly cubes you’ll need to level up. You can’t get rid of paper cubes. To level up, you need to perform Egg Synthesis, which is time-gated much like feeding a Mag is. Candies themselves can be upgraded through grinding, with higher rank candies requiring lambda grinders. This is sounding rather time consuming, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. My bigger concern is the candies and eggs are going to take up even more inventory space!

Thankfully, you shouldn’t notice unless this system adds an absurdly high number of items. With the arrival of Summoner we’ll be getting a free character slot and each character has a personal expandable storage of 300 slots. So you can easily roll a mule if you need to.

I talked about the skill tree before., but some information has since come out for a couple of skills. For one, it’s “Dear Master” not “Tear”, but I couldn’t make out the “de” from the low res pic I was working with.

Dear Master is effectively Summoner’s Iron Will as I understand. There’s a chance you won’t die if you take lethal damage (your pet takes it instead). Handy for the more fragile classes I guess, depends on if there are points left over to spend on insurance skills like this. Trouble is, Summoner seems to have a fairly high HP pool by default..

Alter Ego boosts the power of your pet, but damage your pet recieves will be shared with you. Could be useful for more durable classes to take.

Point Assist is a personal Weak Bullet that only works for your pet and your pet only.

Pet Sympathy increases the effectiveness of Shifta or Resta depending on your pet’s demands. Sounds kinda too unpredictable to be useful…

Hp Restorate gradually recovers HP if it falls below a certain amount. The amount isn’t specified but it sounds like this skill could clash with Automate Halfline and the likes.

Subclass Grow Up is possibly the dumbest skill I’ve ever heard of, as all it does is boost the EXP given to your subclass. That’s it. So what use is it once your subclass has hit its cap? Oh and it’s a main-class only skill, so you won’t be able to use it to level up Summoner!

As far as I know there’s still been no mention how pets behave without a baton or if they can even be used without them. The majority of Summoner’s class skills are still not terribly well understood either, which limits speculation on subclass viability.

Update: Just found out there’s a note at the bottom of one of Shougai PSO’s posts noting that pets are main-class only. Shougai is a very trustworthy site, so I have little reason to doubt them. If they’re right, then this really impact’s Summoner’s viability as a subclass, especially due to how many skills are dependent on a pet and the arrangement of its skill tree.

 

The End Of This Post

anime.jpg

All in all, I’m interested enough to see where the game goes. Yes the story has some cheesy roots in a very average Anime but that we’re leaving Dark Falz and friends behind (even if temporarily) does make me ponder about what kind of direction the game’s story will take. This is both for now and after the adventures of some high school kids no one cares about. They gotta do something with it, after-all we’re still a fair sight away from the 10 year projection Sakai wanted for the game some time back!

The decisions about the game itself have been equally strange, with half implemented systems from way back getting little attention and the new summoner skill tree baring an unsettling resemblance to Episode 2’s design philosophy…

This post was originally considerably longer would you believe, but seeing as the 38th broadcast is tonight, I figure I might as well wait to discuss certain things. I speculated on a lot more things in the draft, essentially. Hopefully more information about Summoners comes out seeing as they’re getting shown off and maybe, just maybe we’ll get some hint about Ultimate Amduscia?

Some images in this post were taken from Dengeki scans uploaded by Manta here. Click the link to check the rest out!

Extreme Quest Expansion

afin_the_dorf_whisperer

It’s something we’ve known was coming for some time, but the exact nature of the update was left purely to speculation. A certain shot from a teaser trailer for unrelated content showed us a later version of the title counter, which seemed to suggest that we would be getting one new XQ and possibly new floors for the existing ones.

Dengeki recently posted an article talking about the January update, including information on scratches and other uninteresting stuff. This is concerning early January, so presumably these are the final Episode 3 updates.

Extreme Solo

On January 13th, a new Extreme Quest will be added, with a few restrictions.

doublefalz_not_falzdouble

It consists of a mere 10 floors and can only be cleared once per week. It also costs 5 Extreme Passes to run at all and as the subtitle suggests it can only be run solo. Clearing the quest will give you a chance at earning a class sticker. That’s it.

No information on new stones or new weapons, so it seems it isn’t quite the Extreme Quest update I was expecting at least. The quest itself does appear to be tough at a glance, with Ultimate bosses being hurled at you along with the above pictured brawl with both Angel and Hunar.

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Not sure what’s going to be more annoying here, the Nyaus or Karin…

While it’s nice to see a new quest aimed at solo players, it’s a little irritating that such a strict limit  and steep cost seems to be placed on it. There’s a chance that once the reward is better understood that this limit may prove necessary. The rewards hinted at so far also don’t seem to justify the apparent difficulty and cost of the quest. Maybe they haven’t revealed all the details yet, but at this point I’m cynical enough to believe that they think a random chance at a bit of aesthetics you can barely see is reward enough.

If this is all there is to the XQ update then I would say I’m extremely disappointed… heh heh… heh.

Thanks to EspioKaos for some clarification.

Profound Update: Addendum

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Just a short post to clarify some information from the previous post about this update, either to clarify some uncertainties or to share some other useful related information which has been discovered since the update’s release.

Progeny of the Apocalypse

Double Tidbits

Double’s wall attack can be evaded through i-frames but it cannot be blocked. Not sure why this is. If you see it coming, switch to a mirage escape weapon if you don’t think step will cover it. Double’s rush attack can be blocked, but if you’re not confident enough you can just run to any corner of the map and it can’t hit you anyway.

Ultimate Buster and Profound Darkness’s Type

PFD

The Profound Darkness is classed as a Darker Aberration. This means that Nemesis Weapons and Coat Doublis can do additional damage to it but regular anti-darker weapons won’t. As an aberration, it’s also susceptible to Ultimate Buster. While this doesn’t matter terribly as the fight is a pretty much guaranteed win anyway, this may be useful to know if you’re aiming to maximize your DPS against it. Remember, Ultimate Buster cannot be put onto 13* weapons.

Self-DPS Check

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When persona attacks you during the penultimate phase of the fight, it seems to be a DPS check. Persona’s HP and status is shared across the entire multi-party, so it’s a raid-wide DPS check not a personal one. This means that, occasionally, you could be doing as much DPS as you could possibly pump out and still fail because the rest of your multi-party wasn’t pulling their weight. The attack Persona uses cannot be evaded (at least not easily), just-guarded (the guard will land but you’ll take damage anyway) or mitigated by any skill in the game except for Iron Will and possibly Katana Combat (need confirmation). It can be avoided by using a Photon Blast however, so if Persona is about to use the attack (you’ll know because you’ll no longer be able to target them but they won’t be incapacitated).

That said, recently I was in a group filled with Techers who were constantly using Shifta/Deband and Megiverse yet somehow we still managed to pass this check. This makes me wonder about the party I was in which managed to fail it…

According to a note on Swiki, it’s possible the damage that Persona deals is relative to the amount of damage you inflict upon it during this phase. This video certainly seems to support this notion. While cool to know, it seems if you’ve been attacking it much at all that the power scales so sharply that you’re almost certainly going to get one-shot by the attack.

Astral Soul

As mentioned before, Astral Soul requires you to combine four Soul Catalysts and a Darkness Soul. Soul Catalysts require you to combine Elder, Loser, Apprentice, Double and Persona souls (combines at a 10% success rate so good luck..).

The fusion rate of Astral Soul has been found to be 60% which means yes you can raise it to 100% by spending 100 Excubes for a 40% booster.

Astral Soul can be transferred using a Soul Receptor, but only at a 10% success rate.

It still isn’t worth all this effort in my opinion.

Darkness Soul and Returner

Through experimentation, the player-base has noticed that Darkness Soul boosts the fusion success rate and transfer rate of Returner. It seems to boost it by around 10%, but could use confirmation that this is the same across all levels and case scenarios.

Invade/Austere Exchange Stone Rate

So now it’s been a week’s worth of defeated Doubles and Profound Darkness as well as random encounters with Elder and Loser. We now have a much better idea of how many stones we seem to be able to get from each boss.

Rates are dependent on the good old random number generator and are affected by rare drop-rate boosters. For Nero, it seems the enemy needs to be lv76 or higher. Rates are based on things I’ve observed myself and rates I’ve seen reported on forums/twitter etc, so they may not be 100% accurate. Treat it as more a guide.

Boss/Raid Emergency Quests

  • Double and Profound Darkness:
    • 0-6 Caligula (dependent on luck and boosters. Lowest I’ve ever seen is 3, but it may be possible for them to be lower if your luck is bad)
    • 0-3 Nero
  • Dark Falz Elder
    • 0-2 Nero
  • Dark Falz Loser
    • 0-5 Nero
      • I’ve seen a maximum of 5 reported but I’ve only ever gotten 3 at most myself.
    • Note: Experience suggests you only need to run Apos Dorios once in order to obtain all the Nero stones you can get from Loser. Please let me know if your experience has differed with this.
  • Profound Invasion
    • 0-2 Nero

Dark Falz humanoids

  • Dourumble
    • 0-3 Nero
  • Hunar
    • 0-2 Nero
  • Angel
    • 0-1 Nero

Double and the Profound Darkness seem to have the worst Nero drop rate of any of the emergency quest bosses, with myself having gone multiple runs with 350% rare drop rate boosters active without seeing a single Nero. They are however the only source of Caligula stones, so you’ll need to run it if you want the weapons.

While you can get Neros from the Falz humanoids, the only place to reliably encounter them is in high-risk Super Hard Advance Quests. As running these by yourself is still a relatively expensive endeavor and you still might not see Dark Falz Angel that much it already isn’t the most enticing option. Doesn’t help that their drop rate is reportedly abysmal, with reports of only getting a single stone per four encounters with boosters running. According to Swiki, they can drop from lv71+.

Elder and Loser’s own individual Emergency Quests seem to be by far the best way to obtain Nero stones, boasting a better drop rate and with the additional advantage of being able to run the quest multiple times (if you have lv70+ alts anyway).

So how long will it take to get that Austere weapon of your dreams? Well I cant necessarily say for all cases, but I can comment on my own personal progress. Currently I have 91 Caligula and 56 Nero. Assuming the Emergency Quest schedule remains somewhat similar to this, as a player bound to one Ship I’m looking at a little over a month to get one. Though take into account that I also have all the other materials required already, but those can be obtained at your leisure for the most part anyway. This rate also requires you to be able to attend every instance of Progeny of the Apocalypse and any Nero-dropping EQs (the random Falzes at least), of which I think I’ve only missed one this week. That’s a fairly tall order for anyone with a life, work, school, etc…

As Nero can be obtained in decent quantities from two other Emergency Quests, it’s possible that Caligula may be the tougher material for more hardcore single-ship players to obtain seeing as it only comes from a scheduled one. This won’t be an issue for those running characters on other ships for the sole purpose of getting additional Progeny of the Apocalypse runs. Of course, given that both Elder and Loser’s individual EQs can happen randomly on different ships, multi-shippers will also have more chances at the Neros from those quests too. Indeed, multi-shippers have gotten 60% Austere weapons already, although this was through trading for one then using Ideal/Gold Badge weapons to max out their element. A bit annoying for those of us who don’t feel like spending money on top of the money we’ve already been spending on the game for essentially a shortcut to the best gear.

36th Broadcast Trailers, Info and Thoughts

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The monstrous 36th broadcast has just drawn to a close. This won’t be a complete run-down of things (you can find a summary on Bumped here), it will instead be a collection of trailers and things I thought were worth commenting on.

Update Trailers

First, the return of Arks Ship Fire Swirl! Put out the people on fire by shooting them, awh yeah! No lies I actually quite liked this quest so I’m glad to see it making a return. It’s good to have more quests which have goals other than “kill things” or “kill things quickly”.

Also featured is a 4-man Challenge Mode Quest which features pre-set class builds for you to pick from. Unlike other Challenge Mode Quests, it won’t feature multiple stages or shops and unfortunately is only a temporarily available quest as part of the Arks GP contest. Pity.

MORE school girl outfits. Does the player-base not have enough? Will they ever be satiated!?

On a more positive note, seems Zieg will offer weapon camos of the genesis weapons and various legendary weapons wielded by the council and other NPCs. Some pretty cool weapons among them. You will apparently need an item to exchange for them that you can only get from clearing all of an episode’s Matterboards to 100%.

Harukotan is also getting a time attack quest. Seems I might finally need to work out how to kill Anjhadu-lili quickly. It also features Gal Gryphon, making it the first permanently available quest that will feature the boss. Lv70 should be below the drop tier that includes its 13*s though, so no need to get excited. Of course it comes with its own Time Attack Client Order, rewarding 160,000 Meseta.

I WANT TO COMMIT GENOCIDE AGAINST THAT SMALL BOY AND HIS PEOPLE. HOLY BALLS. I have seen a few seconds of him and I already hate him more than I hate Matoi.

New Story and Christmas quest

Meet Aurora, because none of the lolis in PSO2 were loli enough! As it seems, she is the previous host of Apprentice before it tried to take over the young Eucrita. Might explain her obsession with youth I guess. It seems this episode may act as a story explanation for either Ultimate Lilipa or some extra exposition for Mining Base Defense. Could just be Lilipa in general I guess.

Interested enough to see what’s going on, anyway. This chapter will be an extra chapter for Episode 3, possibly acting as a prologue to Episode 4. Plus there might be the chance of obtaining Eucrita’s partner card which should get certain people excited (if only she was wearing her Falz dress…).

Speaking of which, seeing as the Dark Falz story is done where are the Falz avatar outfits? I want to wear Persona’s coat, damnit! Gimme gimme gimme!

Also some collaboration stuff but who cares.

The Christmas quest seems to be the same fair as last year, only this time it has gained Gal Gryphon because it needs to be in EVERY EQ for some reason. It will also be the first quest to feature the humanoid form of the Profound Darkness outside of the story; Dio Hunar. Actually every single Falz humanoid can spawn in this quest, making it potentially a good place to obtain Nero stones from for Austere weapons.

Ares Weapon Exchange

The interesting thing here is that they will be adding a new exchange shop for Ares weapons. With 60 Ares stones you can obtain a 20% Ares weapon, meaning you’ll need 180 for a complete weapon. Of course, Dio Hunar can drop them, but you can also get them by exchanging unwanted Ares Weapons for 20 stones per weapon. Not the greatest exchange rate but it’s nice that you can do something with the unwanted weapons. I bet the people who threw away Ares weapons for inventory space are feeling a bit sour, though…

Theory Time

This is just a thought I had, but given that Apprentice was seemingly adept at summoning things to an ability that far out–classes the other Dark Falzes and seeing as both of the Apptentice hosts have decided to show up, I can’t help but speculate that this is how the Summoner class may be introduced into the story.

It’s possible that they were already summoners and that Apprentice simply used their powers for its own gain, or that the pair may have gained some abilities from Apprentice allowing them to create a new class. Suppose we may see in a couple of months… It’s just a thought, it could be complete bullshit.

Mining Base Defense 4: Demise

This is the final Mining Base Defence quest and it promises to be the hardest yet. The very first wave had a Dark Vibrace spawn! Additionally, all three Dark Falz humanoids will be joining the fight, making for an incredibly intense quest.

By wave 3, corrupted AIS will start attacking the towers. These corrupted AIS seem to be resistant to Weak Bullet, not sure if this weakness applies to other enemies. The corrupted AIS can seemingly deal massive amounts of damage to towers if they’re allowed to, but they don’t seem to be particularly durable. They also give a fairly long time before they fire their photon cannons, though they do seem to fire them upon spawning.

The quest also features a new enemy, “Damoth” (internally referred to as buglegion”). As their internal name might suggest, they’re small but swift swarming enemies. The demonstration seemed to imply they have a very low amount of HP each, making me wonder if they’re actually a mob that players should prioritise instead of AIS going after them.

Of course, this is also going to be Apprentice’s full form’s debut. During the final wave, Apprentice will smash its way onto the arena and give you all an earful.
Remember, you’re still in a Mining Base Defense quest, and Dark Falz is as eager to destroy them as it was to prey upon small girls. It can seemingly summon
corrupted AISes, small bombs and possibly other things not shown as well as throw a considerable number of its own attacks at players. It also features a giant
laser beam, because everything is better with giant lasers. The actual mechanics of this beam aren’t that well understood as far as I know, though the trailer
does show what amounts to a Dragon Ball Z-like energy beam battle between Apprentice and a giant laser cannon.

Notably it’s called “DF Apprentice Gia”. Not sure what the significance of this is, but it might have to do with the seeming reality that Apprentice currently lacks a host and by this point also lacks a creator as the Profound Darkness has been repelled. It could be that the body is acting on it’s own accord, but this is just speculation.

The quest looks like it’ll be a hectic experience at least, which is fine. My worry is just that the inherent lack of teamwork present in random groups is going to create considerable annoyance in trying to get any good items from the quest. Remember, Mining Base Defense scales its drop rolls depending on how well you do. Though anything better than a C-rank was fine in previous quests.

Also oh dear at that lobby action… oh dear indeed. I assume they’re syncing up character actions there because if you can just perform romantic domination on anyone you feel like it could get a might uncomfortable in the lobbies!

Episode 4 Tidbits

The first bit of news is the next episode will be arriving on the 27th of January. For something releasing in a mere three months I feel we have shockingly little information about it but hey, they have time to say things. They did at least unveil a couple of new things; additional character customization options and a new class.

Before that, a short tidbit about characters and storage. Character warehouse storage can be taken up from 300 to 1000 slots through Arks Cash. The character’s inventory (item pack) can be expanded to 150 slots through Arks Cash.

The first revealed feature is that a number of new customization options will be added to the game, including accessory rotation and scaling. Additionally, you will be able to finally adjust your character’s waist, butt size, neck size and head size. These are nice to see as it’s currently nearly impossible to adjust these parts of your character without altering too much of the rest of their build. There’s also a modifier added for the head and neck, allowing you to scale both. The absolute monstrosities this will allow players to create should be impressive, but I am pleased they added these.

A second body paint has been added, allowing you to combine body paints.

You can also preview your character in different locations in the game and adjust
the lighting conditions. The latter I’m particularly impressed by as its something so few character creators do, which can create some annoying discrepancies between
what you see in the character editor and what you end up seeing wandering around in the world. The perfectionist is due to get some powerful tools to help them out soon!

Finally, you can adjust the position of your weapon on your back. No longer will you have to put up with your weapons mysteriously floating 3 feet behind you! Potentially, anyway.

Overall gotta say I’m impressed, although those bothered by silly-looking characters might not like the monstrosities these new features are sure to spawn. I’m sure
there are going to be a good number actually nice-looking combinations.

I also have no real clue what the trailer music may be. It could be a theme of the boss of whatever area the phantom-type enemies belong to, but that’s kind of a shot in the dark.

New Class: Summoner

Seems the data-mining was on the money with this one, as the Summoner class was confirmed. As the name suggests, it’s a pet-based class with a number of Pokemon-like critters at its disposal. The summoner directs their minion around using a weapon akin to an orchestra conductor’s baton.

Beyond that, there isn’t a terribly large amount known about how the class will work. Presumably we’ll be getting details at a later date. At the very least,
like other classes it will come with its own outfit. I suspect it may be an AC item like Bouncer’s class outfit turned out to be…

The summons themselves are kind of sickeningly cutesy, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but given the diversity our characters can show
it might be nice to have some more bad-ass or outright monstrous summons as well. I’m sure they haven’t shown every single kind of summon the class has
at its disposal.

Besides the aesthetics of the class summons, I’m a bit concerned with how this class is going to fit into a game such as PSO2. PSO2 is a fairly intense action game, so having a class where your character is essentially just standing around may feel jarring. That said, it does seem to behave as a weapon rather than an independently functioning entity, so the class’s performance won’t necessarily be dependent on random number making the AI do the right things at the right time. I’m also curious to know if the summons are tied to the weapons or if a Summoner can freely use other weapons alongside their summons. If they can’t, this could seriously impact the class’s viability as a sub-class, as it may not offer any useful skills to them while also potentially denying them the ability to summon. If they can, it wasn’t demonstrated. Their un-named weapon seems to allow them to use something like Mirage Escape (the sound, speed and visual effects seem different to it). They were not demonstrated as being able to cast Techs.

I’m also disappointed that the summoner is more Pokemon and less Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.I guess I’m not going to go dropping a steamroller on a Rockbear anytime soon…

They also don’t really seem like the R-atk T-atk hybrid that people were assuming was going to happen. The assumption was that they might end up with a magic pistol or something which isn’t something without precedent. Persona 3 let you summon things with pistols! Having your character shooting themselves in the head might not be terribly appealing I guess.

I’m willing to give the class a chance, so I guess in the meantime we’re just going to have to wait until they reveal more information about it.

Things not said

Still no Ultimate Amduscia! For that matter, nothing on Extreme Quests either, however it was noted by a user of PSO-World that the titles shown during one of the trailers suggested that we would be getting a new Extreme Quest as well as new floors. This is because each quest has 5 different tiers of Stage Order titles. While cool, guess you can say goodbye to 4 more inventory slots, potentially!

Other than that I believe we’re pretty much set for the road towards Episode 4. We don’t know terribly much about it yet, but I imagine we’ll be due another broadcast soon tat will reveal more. Hopefully not another 15 hour one, though. Those poor people by the end looked like they wanted to just keel over and die…

Let me know if I got any information wrong or if any looser parts were in fact clarified during the stream and I just missed it.

The Profound Update

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Episode 3’s finale finally arrives with the showdown against Dark Falz: Double and the Profound Darkness.

Progeny of the Apocalypse

Let’s go over the quest briefly. This will not be a breakdown of tactics and mechanics, as its too early to make an exhaustive list of what the boss does to you and you can do to it. So instead it’s going to be more of an overview.

As was stated in promotional material, the quest works just like the “Utterly Profound” quest where players face off against Dark Falz Elder and Dark Falz Loser in succession. It’s slightly more complicated in its cutscenes and one quest directly leads into the other with Double’s arena shattering upon defeating it.

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Double’s attacks are fairly nippy for such a large boss, it’s also invulnerable everywhere apart from its weakspot attached to one of its “legs”. Melee classes might have issues keeping up with the weakspot due to how quickly it can move, where forces should have the easiest time with their tracking attacks. Beyond this, most of its attacks are well telegraphed enough that they shouldn’t really cause a problem for most players. Its wall and sweeping attacks can hit pretty hard, but it lacks a raid-wipe move like Falz Loser.

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Profound Darkness itself has at least 4 phases. Mechanically, there isn’t really a lot to the fight, as it throws attacks at you and you can throw attacks at it as long as it’s next to the arena. There’s no complicated order to things like there is with Dark Falz Loser or arguably even Magatsu. During phase 3 your raid will need to defeat some floating balls it sends into the arena however, as much like Anga’s bits destroying them all will stun the Profound Darkness, allowing you to freely DPS it.

The part of the fight that I thought was the coolest was the part where players are separated into their own spaces and they have to challenge themselves. It’s much more than clone fight however, as your alternative self behaves much more like an enemy with its own unique movesets and abilities. This is seemingly Profound Darkness’s raid-wipe mechanic, as failure to deal enough damage to your alternative self will result in the Profound Darkness dealing massive damage to the entire raid. Once you pass this DPS check the boss is seemingly motionless until you defeat it.

For both parts, Weak Bullet is significantly weaker than it is in the rest of the game. Instead of a 250% damage mod it’s around 120%, which is nice to have but it won’t make or break a multiparty (hooray!), . It really doesn’t matter much, as both bosses have much less HP than the other raid bosses meaning you won’t need to worry about your multiparty failing, especially as they give you an hour to complete it. You’re also given a stacking bonus to your stats (PP regeneration and HP at least) which all but trivialize an already easy but definitely cool fight.

So what does Episode 3’s final boss give you?

Nero/Caligula Rate

For the gear hunter in all of us, this is probably the most interesting part. That is to say it isn’t terribly interesting but whatever.

Judging from posts by players and my own experience with the quest it seems to give roughly 6 Caligula stones on average, with a varying amount of Nero stones (I’ve seen reports of 0-2).

At this rate, it would take at worst around 67 runs worth of Caligula stones in order to obtain a 60% Austere weapon. Given they probably aren’t going to typically do more than 2 rounds per day (more at the moment because they tend to do additional rounds of freshly released emergency quests), but of course this is just taking Caligula into account. Why not count the significantly more scarce Nero? Well let’s talk about that…

Nero stones can drop from any Dark Falz and Dark Falz humanoid. This means Angel, Dourumble,Hunar and Apprentce Doppleganger can all drop them. While this is great, what isn’t known is what the drop rates on them will be. The jury’s out on this one, as people haven’t done enough runs to really establish how good or bad the rate is. It’s assumed however that it only drops in the lv76-80 tier, which does severely limit your options for hunting them. This essentially restricts it to any Extra-Hard Emergency Quest featuring any of the Falzes and Super Hard Advance Quests at +12 risk or more, with Ruins being the one most likely to give you a Falz to fight. Data collected so far suggests the rate isn’t particularly good, which isn’t surprising.

Austere weapons will take a long time to obtain as a result; at least a month assuming you manage to catch every instance of the quest. Those with multiple characters parked on multiple servers with enough friends to assist may get the weapon more quickly if they’re willing to transfer characters to pool their resources. The quest is limited to once per ship, not once per account. That isn’t an approach I recommend, but doubtlessly some of the richer players in more organised teams will be doing this. This isn’t the most unreasonable of grinds they’ve presented to us even if we assume that currently observed rates are the standard.

When you clear the quest you may be given a number telling you which position you came in on your ship. It has absolutely no effect on your drops or your mission rewards, it’s purely for ego stroking and nothing else. It’s OK, we all like a good stroking now and then.

Drops

So what about general drops? An average if running the quest with +250% and +100% boosters seems to be around 30 10*+ items. Pretty decent. It’s a pale shadow of the Excube pinata that is Magatsu but Double and the Profound Darkness can drop a much wider selection of weapons and has the largest pool of 13* weapons to pull from than any enemy in the game.

It seems to be able to drop any Dark Falz 13* weapon as well as significant 11*s from other bosses (including Gran Fol). It can also drop the Invade series weapons, which will significantly reduce the Caligula stone requirement should you get the type you want, it’s just an inventory space waster otherwise. What’s more, the boss can drop Austere weapons, allowing players to potentially skip this item grind entirely.

Invader and Austere Weapons

So you go through the trouble of getting all those materials together, or maybe you’ve got some gear gaps to fill in and Invade weapons look promising, how good are they really?

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Invade weapons will only be +10, 60% with no potential if you purchase them from Zieg for 100 Caligula and 100 Excubes. Apparently they have a potential which boosts critical hit rate by 40% at level 3, which isn’t a terribly useful latent for most builds but it could be worse. Essentially if you’re hurting for gear, Invade weapons even with no latent could be an excellent stopgap, as they still provide a ton of attack power. At the rate discussed earlier, you should be guaranteed an Invade weapon after about 17 runs.

Austere weapons however are the strongest weapons in the game right now. Their potential is 12% bonus damage with a 10% bonus to passive PP regeneration, which combined with their superior attack and the fact that their damage bonus is unconditional makes them stronger than Ares weapons. That said, they’re not a massive improvement over them, so those with finished Ares weapons might not really miss them.

New Affixes

Surprisingly, this update added three new affixes, two of which we had no idea about.

Darkness Soul: +15 all attack, HP+15 and PP + 2

Soul Catalyst: HP+10, PP + 1

Astral Soul: +35 all attack, HP + 35, PP + 5

Creating these affixes requires some significant investment on the part of the player. Darkness Soul can simply be obtained from anything that drops from the Profound Darkness. Soul Catalyst and Astral Soul both need to be synthesized from other affixes however.

To make a Soul Catalyst, you will need to combine any four of Elder Soul, Loser Soul, Double Soul, Apprentice Soul and Persona Soul. This will grant a 10% success rate for creating a Soul Catalyst. Yes you read that right, 10%. Once you manage to succeed with this, your job isn’t over yet, as if you want Astral Soul you’re going to need to use four Soul Catalysts together with a Darkness Soul in order to create Astral Soul. The transfer rate on Astral Soul currently isn’t known.

That sure is a lot of gambling steps on top of a system that is already absolutely riddled with gambling steps! It’s a lot of work for +5 PP per item, but it is 20PP if you manage to get it on all of your units and your weapon. That’s a pretty significant amount, so min-maxers are likely going to want to go for it. For the rest of us, frankly it might be too much effort and you’ll be better off sticking to certain Ultimate souls instead.

40% Affix Success Rate Booster

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Hey! Related to the previous section, don’t fret about those abysmal transfer rates because if you’re willing to put up 100 Excubes for a 40% booster you can bring Soul Catalyst creation to a nifty 50%! More likely this is an item intended for regular affix synthesis to cover things that may cap out to less than 100% with the 30% booster. Given it’s 5 times as expensive as the 30% booster, it really isn’t worth using unless failing a 90% would incur a significant Meseta loss. There are certainly affixes out there that this is a genuine concern for (hello, Modulator).

Thoughts

This was already a fair amount to go over so I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief.

The Austere/Invade weapon grind on the surface doesn’t seem that bad a grind, though you need to consider that Caligula stones are entirely restricted to the quest. This is not a quest that is available at all times, or one that can even happen randomly. This means that the rate at which you could obtain the weapons from it is almost entirely dependent on whenever Sega fancies allowing you to do the quest. If it’s twice per day, you might obtain an Invade weapon in a week or an Austere weapon in a month and a half. There could be weeks however where the quest only occurs once or not at all, in which case who the fuck knows when you’ll ever have enough materials for a weapon! Essentially my issue with it isn’t that it’s a grind, as a grind suggests its something you can work towards when you want to. This is something you can only work towards when yours and Sega’s schedules happen to be convenient for each other…

My other problem with this quest is that it’s the conclusion to the story. As such, to me it just feels kind of strange to have it confined to a quest that happens occasionally. If it was something that happened on a rotation both my main issues with the quest would be largely gone.

That said, I do overall really enjoy the quest. It’s not particularly challenging, however it is fun in a lot of ways which for me makes up for the lack of difficulty. It’s visually very appealing and technically quite impressive for them, both of which make me eager to see what content they have in store for us down the line. It also feels like a satisfying way to end Episode 3, particularly with the story events that lead up to it which I also enjoyed even if I couldn’t understand them. Ignorance might well be bliss in this case, who knows… Roll on Episode 4, I say!

The Dark Falz Family

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Guess that could be the Profound Family too? This post is dedicated to everything Dark Falz so far!

As this post is going to contain story details this is likely to contain big spoilers. If you haven’t done the story and care about spoilers, don’t read this post! This also contains a good deal of my interpretation as well as observed interpretations of the story, so let me know if I’m way off base with anything! Details are fairly sketchy on some Dark Falzes…

Not helped that there isn’t a story wiki of any kind and as far as I’m aware the efforts to translate the story ended some time ago (Update: They are still going apparently, though at a very slow rate compared to the older days). That said, there is a Japanese site that has story dialogue here, though naturally it’s all in Japanese.

Dark Falz: Elder

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Also known as “Collosus”, Elder was the first full Dark Falz introduced into Phantasy Star Online 2. Elder was sealed in the Naberius Ruins area 40 years before the player character became an ARKS operative. During the events of Episode 1, a man named Gettemhart unsealed it and became its new host (seemingly unwillingly, at that). It is the head of all fish-type Darkers.

This is by far the largest of the Dark Falz introduced yet, being the size of a small planet at full power. The only way the ARKS can successfully fight him is to wear him down slowly by defeating many thousands of its fragments, known as “Dark Falz Arms”.  Despite its sheer size, when it erupts from Naberius the planet doesn’t seem to suffer any major effects.

Dark Falz Elder in its current form is rash, reveling in the thrill of battle and as such is eager to duel with any ARKS operative he deems worthy of his attention. He just really fucking loves fighting, it doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses. In fact, losing seems almost preferable to Elder as it meant he found a worthy adversary. Despite his status as a force of evil, Elder does seem somewhat honor-bound as he refuses to fight the ARKS while they’re tending to the wounded Shina and waits patiently for Zeno and the player to be ready to fight him.

Dark Falz: Apprentice

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Apprentice is technically the second Falz introduced in the story via the “End Cluster” cutscene. Apprentice was severely wounded in a battle with the second Claris around 10 years ago. In her dire state, she opportunistically made Yucretia, Affine’s sister, into her new host. While she was transferring into her new host however, she was devoured by Dark Falz: Double, rendering the process somewhat incomplete and arguably not a true Dark Falz as a result. She is the leader of all insect-type Darkers.

Notably, her hair has retained some of its original colour. This is unlike any character that has transformed into a Dark Falz shown so far. This presumably is due to her incomplete status.

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Nothing is known about Apprentice’s additional forms, though I believe it is implied that she does have a full body buried somewhere on planet Lilipa. It’s possible that it may be underneath the mining bases, but I don’t know where in the story this is confirmed. It would explain why she’s so focused on attacking the bases, however. Data recently discovered in the game client confirms she has a full form, at least. 

The current Apprentice is more cautious and strategic than Elder, preferring to plan an attack method rather than jumping into fights with the ARKS fists flying. In fact so far she has never directly challenged any ARKS to a fight in her current incarnation, where her past incarnation seemed more aggressive. Her summoning abilities seem to out-do any of the other Dark Falzes revealed so far, seeing as she is capable of summoning an entire army to do her bidding. This is all the more impressive when you consider that she’s been partially devoured by Dark Falz Double.

Dark Falz: Loser

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Otherwise known as “the vanquished” (and “dentist”). Dark Falz Loser is the end result of the ultimate ambition of a Photoner scientist by the name of Luther. Luther was combining Darkers with all sorts of things, including Dragonkin and even citizens on the ARKS ships. He was hoping to combine it with Xion, a world computer, in order to fuse it with himself and obtain omniscience. He essentially wanted to become a god as far as I could tell, but anything and everything that could go wrong for Luther did go wrong, except for his fusion with the Dark Falz he created. He was the leader of all bird Darkers.

Loser is extremely convinced of his own power. He considers himself god-like and has tremendous technique power as well as a degree of control over time itself to back up his claim. He seems to bear no camaraderie with any other Dark Falz. In fact, the other Falzes don’t consider Loser a true Falz at all. Also unlike the other Falzes, as the host Luther seems to be in total control.

After the ARKS find and defeat Loser in the center of the corrupted Mothership, Loser is executed by Regius with his unsealed Yonohate. His corpse is devoured by Dark Falz: Double, who thereafter gained the ability to create clones of Loser at will. Despite being killed, Luther somehow got better and is currently alive within Double’s inner universe. However, he is not eager to escape into the outside world, as Xion is now dead and he has lost his chance of gaining omniscience forever.

Dark Falz: Double

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The third Falz introduced during the “End Cluster” cutscene, this Falz is unique in that as the name suggests it is a pair of hosts instead of a singular one. Little is known about Double’s origins, although it is shown destroying a planet in an early cut-scene in Episode 3. It is the leader of all toy Darkers..

Double isn’t mentioned in the PSO2 timeline as far as I know, so there’s not much of a history to speak of. It behaves in a distinctly childlike manner however, doing a lot of what it does seemingly for fun and turning the things it encounters into toys until it gets bored of them. Currently, it considers the Kuronites of Harukotan its playthings and is the main antagonistic focus of Episode 3. Alarmingly for the other Falzes it won’t hesitate to turn other Dark Falzes into its toys if it gets the opportunity. It devoured Dark Falz: Loser after Reguis killed him and it also partially devoured Apprentice. It may or may not have also consumed Dark Falz Elder, we’ll see when the next story chapters are out.

While its actions may seem selfish and immature, it’s possible that Double may be the only Dark Falz that remembers its true purpose; the revival of the Profound Darkness. Elder exists only to fight, Apprentice being a shell of her former self isn’t really sure what her purpose is and Loser was solely in it for himself. In this sense, absorbing the other Dark Falzes is an essential part of reviving the Profound Darkness, as the other Falzes have forgotten their true purpose anyway. As such, defeating Double may be the only way to prevent the Profound Darkness from being reborn.

While this may be true, the other Dark Falzes aren’t willing meals for Double. On Lilipa, Dark Falz Elder challenged Double directly. Elder considers Double’s actions a betrayal, regardless of whether or not they may have been correct. During their fight, they teleport away. It isn’t known yet what the outcome of the fight was, however as Double seems to have gained some of Elder’s abilities it doesn’t bode well for Elder.

Dark Falz: Persona?

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A recurrent character in the storyline, Persona hounds the player initially with murderous intent. However, despite wearing the clothes of the other Falzes and having a lot of the same abilities as them, Persona is never directly referred to as a Dark Falz and is merely presumed to be one. Unlike the other Dark Falzes so far, Persona does not appear to be in charge nor is he ever shown to be able to summon Darkers. Though it is implied that he can influence Darkers when he was hunting for a fragment of the Clarissa in Episode 1.

Despite challenging the player on a frequent basis, Persona is arguably the weakest Dark Falz yet. Until recently Persona didn’t have any additional forms in the data nor was it implied to have any addiional forms. This may have changed with the last patch, adding in a reference to “DpAbyssChar ProtagonistEnemy enemy/en_dp_abyss_char.ice”. More on that in another section.

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At the battle between Claris and Apprentice 10 years ago, Persona is revealed to have the player character’s appearance. While it is strongly implied that Persona is actually the player character (possibly from a different timeline) it has yet to be fully confirmed this is the case as far as I know. Originally, Persona was out for the player’s life but lately they seem more interested in warning them about the Profound Darkness for whatever reason. Indeed, during the cutscene they attempt to kill Matoi even after they’ve begun turning into whatever it is Matoi is turning into. If she is turning into the Profound Darkness and the resurrection of it is their true goal, why did they try to kill her? Similarly, why did Persona protect her from Apprentice if the goal was to kill Matoi anyway?

Aside the player and possibly Xiao, Persona seems to be the only other character doing any time travelling. Apparently the player requires Xion or Xiao’s Matterboard technology in order to travel through time. If Persona is the player then they may still be in possession of their own Matterboard, presumably allowing them to travel through time as well. This is just speculation, of course.

Dark Falz: Abyss?

This is an as-yet unreleased and technically unrevealed Dark Falz. Although the player character was deemed “Code: Abyss” when they were marked an enemy of the ARKS by a mind-controlled Regius this is could be nothing but a coincidence. In that case, the “Abyss” was instead an “Avis” (絶対令), or an absolute order. At the time, the absolute order was to take down public enemy number 1, which was you!

What’s known about Abyss is entirely data-mined stuff for now. It has a human and full form in the data, making it a likely candidate for the next Dark Falz encounter beyond Double. That’s actually all that’s known for now, so the rest of this section is pure speculation.

Is Abyss the Profound Darkness?

I argue this as somewhat unlikely, as the enemy file’s internal name includes “dp”, which is used on all other Dark Falz. For those unaware, another translation of Dark Falz is “Dark Phallus”. Yes, get your giggles out of the way. Point is, the Profound Darkness is the source of Dark Falz but isn’t a Dark Falz itself.

Who is the host?

Judging by recently data-mined information, the indicatoin is that it is you. Or rather, Persona. This would mean that “Dark Falz: Abyss” and “Dark Falz: Persona” are in fact one and the same, but as this isn’t confirmed yet I felt it better to split them into their own sections. Before this latest data however it was presumed that the host would be Matoi under the assumption that Abyss is the Profound Darkness.

The Profound Darkness

The ultimate goal of the Falz family is to resurrect their creator, even if some of the Dark Falzes appear to have forgotten this goal. This entity is mentioned numerous times throughout the plot, finally being revealed to have apparently been an attempt by the Photoners to create an artificial world computer, an Akashic Record like Xion. Unfortunately, it absorbed negative emotions (as photons are fueled by emotions, I don’t know either) and it became the destructive force it’s now known as.

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It’s implied that Matoi, or the second Claris, is the current host of the Profound Darkness. During her transformation, Xiao remarks that the energy emanating from her is much worse than that of a Dark Falz. Beyond this, I believe there’s very little to speculate on about the Profound Darkness.

The Profound Darkness has been the main antagonising force behind almost the entire classic Phantasy Star series, with leaking fragments of it manifesting as Dark Falz in all of the games and finally showing itself during the events of Phantasy Star 4. PSO2 is the first online game in which the Profound Darkness may make a direct appearance (even if it was argued to be Amplam Umbra in PSO:Episode 3). Defeating the Profound Darkness in PS4 ended the 1000 year cycle, preventing any future Dark Falz from being generated. However, there is no known link between the classic series or the online series (though there has been plenty of speculation) so it’s likely that it’s a separate universe.

As we have another story chapter coming out soon it’s likely some of the information in this post will need to be updated. As said before, much of this is interpretation and speculation, as some of the facts haven’t even been acknowledged canonically. That said, if I’m wrong about anything let me know, preferably with reasons why. It’d be nice to nail down some of the looser information here.