43rd Broadcast Thoughts

TEAM_BETHOR

As always, you can read the bullet-point rundown on Bumped here. I’m just gonna be sharing my thoughts on any particular part I feel anything about. So I’m not going to be talking about PSO2es and the additional lolis it’s gaining or the Anime character CD. That said, still quite a lot I want to talk about so strap in and get comfortable if you want to come along for the whole ride.

To start off, here’s a trailer for content coming up in July

Includes a new casino game,  yet more Gunner themed outfits and this year’s Beach Wars quest which sees the return of Emperappy as well as a titled Chrome Dragon as its end-boss.

Casino Coins for Star Gems

What’s that? 1 Star Gem per day isn’t enough for you? Fear not, as you’ll soon be able to buy Star Gems with Casino Coins for the following amounts:

  • 5 Star Gems for 5000CC
  • 10 Star Gems for 9,800CC
  • 20 Star Gems for 19,400CC

So you’ll be able to have a free roll at the Star Gem scratch for the low low price of 77,600 Casino Coins! Who knows, you might even get Casino Coins as a prize from the Scratch! You’re always wanted some of those!

So yeah, fairly obviously this is meant to be a bonus and not so you can use the Casino to gamble your way to victory on the SG scratch. That said, it still feels like a steep price for what it is, but I admit that even I’d be tempted to drop excess coins on it unless some good rare-boss triggers came up.

As an aside, in late July it seems you’ll be getting 1 more Stargem per account per day for simply logging into PSO2es. So they do seem intent on adding extra ways for players to earn gems, so over time the scratch may become more viable for free players. Right now the odds are still stacked against you if you want a particular outfit from the scratch.

 

Final Fantasy 14 Collab Stuff

Miqo’tes, Relic Weapons and more!

Most of the cosmetics stuff looks great and I’m sure this is going to be a popular scratch when it’s out. Again, it’s a bit of a shame there was no female armor among this lot but that would have been a mere cherry on top of a great cake for me.

The Limited Quest

The center of this update is going to be a quest set in the Ruins that’s essentially another all-star dungeon-style quest with set encounters. Featured enemies include Dark Falz Angel, Anga Fundarge and Guar Zigmorde among many others. Odin awaits at the very end of the quest.

Enemy drops are all pooled into a crystal at the end of the quest, much like with the recent Easter quest and the Mining Base Defense quests. That means you must clear the run in order to get any items at all.

Odin

Odin himself works much like he does in FF14, with all his AOE and spear mechanics in place. He also retains his Zantetsuken ability, which is an outright DPS race. If the MPA fails the DPS race and Odin gets to use Zantetsuken at all, the quest immediately fails.

Weakbullet is jammed on Odin, which is fast becoming the standard for PSO2 bosses it seems like. Really if they feel that strongly about Weak Bullet I’m not sure why they don’t just give the skill itself a direct nerf, except perhaps because they’d need to rebalance a bunch of existing content which expects Weakbullet at full strength (such as Magatsu).

Healing effects are also reduced during the fight, which I assume is an attempt to make the encounter feel a bit closer to how it was in Final Fantasy 14. If it’s just using the same method they use for Extreme Quests however the likes of Megiverse and HP-steal weapons shouldn’t be affected. Automate Users may want to be aware, however.

I’m really not a fan of the way this guest is engineered. Because the quest fails when Zantetsuken fires and because items are only handed out for clearing you will lose an entire quest’s worth of drops. Given this is a DPS check right at the end of the quest, for me this seems far too punishing. My worry is if the DPS check is too brutal, then after a short while it’ll be extremely difficult to actually get a run going at all as people furiously check each other’s gear and quit out of panic.

Could you blame people if they did that though? It’s not a short quest, so embarking with a group you know might fail the DPS check is a potential complete waste of your time and boosters! You will gain no items for doing so and you will make no progress with Collection Files either. If the DPS check is brutal, this is a disaster waiting to happen. If it’s forgiving however, it might be alright. The encounter looks fun enough without the DPS check. Yeah, you may argue what’s the point in a DPS check you barely notice as why have the check at all and I actually agree with you! Mostly because I detest DPS checks, however. For PSO2, this normally boils down to “how many people can get away with carrying the entire MPA”, as in how many people with the optimal builds and great gear are needed before the quest isn’t doomed from the start. Or I suppose the inverse question would be “how many people in terrible gear can the DPS check tolerate”?

In short, Sega better be careful about the design of this quest as could create an extremely toxic environment with the wrong numbers.

FF_Odin

Comes complete with FATE JOINED message. FATEs are essentially FFXIV’s equivalent of Emergency Trials, so it’s a nice touch.

Odin will also spawn outside of the quest in regular Free Fields. Not sure if his Zentetsuken remains in-tact and I certainly hope it doesn’t retain its quest-fail mechanic! As someone pointed out on Bumped, it sure would suck to spawn into a map where a random Odin somewhere in the area uses Zentetsuken, resulting in an instant quest fail the moment you warp down there. I mean even if it doesn’t fail, getting randomly one-shot because an Odin across the map got to use the move would still be very irritating.

Weapons

The relic weapons themselves are going to be camos, not drops. There is going to be a weapon collection for this quest however and it’s a new weapon series called the “Aura” series.

aura_weapon

What’s interesting about these weapons is more the implications it has for the game than their power. In terms of attack, they sit about the same level as Revolucio weapons. I judge this based on the Wired Lance shown, which boasts 1350 S-Atk at +35 (after removing affixes). Their latent is entirely focused on bosses however, offering a 12% boost to damage dealt to and a 15% damage reduction from bosses.

As you can imagine, this makes them relatively useless weapons in general but the interesting part of this is that they directly compete with Ideal weapons. In the case of the wired lance, the difference between Ideal Scissors and Aura Wired Lance (can’t interpret its name) is about 142 S-atk. Of course, the Ideal weapon latent is 18% damage to bosses vs Aura’s 12%. So does 142 S-atk cover the difference of about 6% damage? I’m not expert enough in the damage formula to say, but gut feeling says that the two weapons would end up fairly comparable. That fact alone is interesting, because it makes Ideal weapons redundant; at least for as long as this collection file is active (until late August it seems).

While challenge mode has had a bit of an incentive issue for a while now (Ideal weapons are already outclassed by other weapons even for bossing) to have yet another thing come along and erode it even further is kind of sad. Some of my fondest memories of PSO2 come from Challenge Mode…

 

AMERICA – FUCK YEAH

So yeah, they teased the next field and it turns out it’s Las Vegas in the good old USA. I’d joke that PSO2 is finally coming to America but I already did that. So did literally everyone else so… ahem.

Based on the enemies we’d seen in the data, Las Vegas was a strong guess and it turned out that one was correct! Other guesses were just America in general, Paris and Akihabara. I would not have been surprised with any of those outcomes.

Anyway, it’s just as crazy as the Tokyo reveal and I adore it, check out the trailer:

The music is “Neon Days” by a group named Rumblebee, who seemingly previously did music for Sonic Riders.

The chief thing you’re going to notice (besides all the FREEDOM) is that this map has more vertical space than any map released so far. Seeing as the ARKS can’t fly, in order to facilitate this they’ve introduced a chicken-walker style mech called the “Rideroid” that you can use to fly around the map. Vegas also seems to be enormous compared to what we’ve had so far, though that may be a misleading artifact due to the way the trailer was shot.

LV_esca_tower

Notably, but not surprisingly, the Las Vegas field has an ESCA tower just like Tokyo. 

Given the nature of the map, I’m pondering if it might not have the same random generation that all maps have had so far or even any at all. I’m not against this idea, as a properly hand-crafted map would be a refreshing change for PSO2, it’s just this seems like it might be the death of the old style of Free Field quest.

I should say, I don’t think the old style of Free Field quest is perfect by any stretch. I always felt like a free field shouldn’t even have a boss and should instead just be about freely wandering an area til you get bored. The boss arenas should go to a set map like they did with Train Ghidoran’s Arks Quest. In my opinion, the Kuronia and Tokyo fields becoming point grinds was not the right direction to take them as it runs counter to the philosophy of “run at your own pace”, never-mind the really irritating way Tokyo handles its spawns. Hopefully Las Vegas doesn’t handle its spawns in the same way, and with the shift from grinding stones to doing collection sheets there should be no need for a point system.

Enemies

As is tradition, let’s take still shots from the best video we can find and have a look at the enemies and, where possible, try to match them to data-mined names. As is always the case, these are caps taken from a live-stream so the quality of the images is going to be very muddy.

ball_cowskull

Let’s start with the first enemy shown, which is a thing walking on a ball. There is one enemy with AI that has a ball and that’s Phantom Pierrot A. The AI file suggests it also has a knife attack.

That thing in the bottom right seems to be a cow’s skull. While this could be Phantom Buffalo, it seems Buffalo’s AI includes the ability to stomp. I guess a skull could stomp, but these are phantom enemies so for all I know the little guy could suddenly grow a ghost body or something.

Clowns and Jesters

 

By appearance, I would assume this pair of clowns are the two Phantom Pierrot variants. There do seem to be two different enemies here, with the red jester in both of them.

Judging by the AI, however, it seems that both of them are in fact Phantom Pierrot B, as it’s the only one with a chainsaw attack and balloons. Unless one is a rare variant or they decided to split this into two enemies I’m not sure why the two are different colours.

In case you don’t know, a “pierrot” is essentially an old pantomime character which was a kind of sad clown.

Phantom Sniper

I did not expect this to be a rabbit riding the sign for a gun shop, but then who would have? There are two variants of this little guy, one of which  seems to be the sniping variant we see above and the other can fire rockets. We only seem to see the sniping kind in the trailer.

Phantom Biker

Big beards, mullets and leather. Just about everything I wanted out of this enemy.

The AI for this guy is surprisingly complicated, but despite  this there’s only really a couple of methods that stand out. It seems to have dashing attacks as well as the attack it uses in the trailer, which I assume is it’s “drift cutter” ability.

Phantom Caravan

Now, I’m making an educated guess that this enemy is caravan as it aligns with the overall circus theme the map seems to have going for it. Do a Google image search for “Circus Caravan” and you’ll see what I mean.

caravan

It has an attack where it fires something, a “cracker” attack and some slashing attacks. It also may be able to grab the player. It’s possible that it’s using the firing attack during the trailer, where it seems to be shooting balls all over the place.

Phantom Goddess

phantom_goddess

The boss is Lady Liberty riding a Sphinx. I mean, we had various guesses as to what “PhantomGoddess” would turn out to be but I don’t think any of us expected this! It’s dumb as hell and I love it.

Now, PhantomGoddess is one of the earliest datamined enemies for this area and is in fact the source of the speculation that this field would take place in Las Vegas. In particular, she has a number of attacks based on Roulette, attacks involving the Eiffel Tower (seemingly using it as a lance) and of course the Sphinx. These and of course the statue herself were all things present on the Vegas strip, which is where the assumption that the next field may have been Vegas came from. From the AI I’ve seen so far, I don’t see any suggestions as to what status effect it might be weak to however it’s a boss so naturally its AI is long and complicated so I may have missed something. It does appear to have a phase shift at 60% HP.

The rest of the enemies in this section are enemies that are presumed to belong to this field either thematically or because they arrived in the data at around the same time. However, they seemed to be missing from the teaser.

Phantom Maxwell

Has “red shot”, “blue shot” and it may have some self destruction mechanic. Beyond that, I really don’t have a clue what kind of enemy this could be. I just can’t associate “Maxwell” with anything related to the theme of the field and googling so far hasn’t turned up anything.

At least, it didn’t turn up anything for those themes. What it did turn up however was a scientific concept known as “Maxwell’s Demon“. I won’t detail too much, but the important thing is that it’s concerned with violation of thermodynamics by way of separating out hot and cold particles. There was a game based on this concept called “Maxwell’s Maniac” in which the goal was to separate red and blue molecules into color coded chambers. I suspect it’s not a coincidence that this enemy has red and blue shots!

Phantom Laplace

Again, much like Maxwell, “Laplace” as a name just doesn’t ring any bells for the overall themes of “America” and “Circus”.

Laplace does seem to have quite a number of abilities however, including a barrier of some kind, slashing and shooting attacks, the ability to summon things (summons “N” and “B”) and routines to keep track of and to go to its summons. It appears the summons are either Maxwells or it’s just that it has special routines for Maxwells in particular, I’m not sure. The complexity of its AI honestly puts it as a fairly good candidate as a mini-boss or even a boss.

So yeah, evidently Laplace and Maxwell are fairly closely related. So the question is raised, “Does Laplace turn up when I search up scientific stuff?”.Well, it doesn’t turn up in science (outside of the concept of “Laplace pressure”) so much but it does seem to come up a lot in mathematics. In particular, probabilities and statistics.

So we have potentially a  mathematician/scientist theme with Laplace and Maxwell. This seems to be a fairly sharp departure from the overall themes in Las Vegas which makes me ponder if this pair of enemies may actually belong to a future field. Notably, Laplace has some routines specific to story mode.

Notably, Och Miller is a member of Mother Cluster who is a progeny mathematician. So odds seem pretty good that this pair of enemies are related to her.

Phantom Vulture:

Seems to have the ability to stick to targets and may include group-AI abilities. It contains a few grouping methods, but it’s possible that instead of having an enemy with actual flocking behavior it may be.that it’s spawned by a commanding enemy, similar to how Vardha summons Kindidds and Angel summons birds which he subsequently commands to explode.

Phantom “Track”

I guessed a long time ago that there was a good possibility that this would be an american themed field. With that in mind, I figured “track” was meant to be “truck”, especially given we already had a train in Tokyo. Its just “a” in Japanese sounds more like the “uh” sound in how most english speakers would say “Truck”, hence why they might spell it as “track”.

However, I didn’t take into account that roller-coasters were a thing, and seeing the focus on one during the trailer did make me consider the possibility that it’d be a bunch of rollercoaster cars attacking us or something. However looking at the AI it does seem like it is indeed a truck, in particular a circus truck.  Its AI file is big compared to regular enemies, suggesting it may be a mini-boss. It attacks with its “carrier car”, has a “horn bazooka” and can drift. It also has methods “Circus” and “Circus Attack”.

Phantom UFO

Las Vegas is a city in the state of Nevada. Another thing that exists in Nevada is “Area 51”, so yes UFOs are quite thematically appropriate for this field. So while no UFOs showed up in the teaser I’m fairly sure this will be in Vegas.

Phantom UFO has a number of abilities, including multiple laser attacks, a method named “UFOCatch” and a “LittleGrey”. In case you’re unaware, Greys are very much a pop-culture icon in the US and the most common depiction of aliens in that region. Though the greys themselves don’t seem to be separate entities from the UFO,  they do have attacks and theres a few routines for their height as well as “greydown”. Given how a common depiction of flying saucers has them grabbing things with tractor beams  I’m surprised there don’t seem to be any grab or hold attacks.

Phantom Dog

Bark! The AI has a dash attack and a “fire” attack.

Phantom Roach

It has an AI file but it’s completely empty. While it’s true that Goldrahda-type enemies are all labelled “Roach”  as well, it’s likely that in this case it means an actual cockroach. This enemy was only recently added, so there’s a chance this won’t show up in Vegas.

 

 

Questions Corner

 

Much like last time, Twitter user @kami_pepe reposted the summaries of the questions and their answers. Special thanks to Mewn and Espiokaos for help interpreting these. Let me know if theres anything drastically wrong.

Q: How do you know the breast-size of characters for the Arks Report?

A: It’s stored on characters as numerical data, so we just calculate the size based on that!

I’m glad the Japanese are asking the important questions.

Q: Sachiko has moving fingers! Will you be adding finger posing to PSO2 anytime soon?

A: There are no plans to implement this. 

Presumably the main problem is they would have to add finger bones and rigging for every single outfit in PSO2, which would be a massive undertaking for such a relatively minor feature in the grand scheme of things. They’d also have to animate the fingers for most existing animations, which is a fair amount of work in its own right but not as taxing as rigging the 100s of costumes they’ve released. This I’m afraid is just going have to be something you’ll have to hope is present in PSO3 instead, whenever that happens.

Q: Why can’t we trade SG items?

A: There are two reasons for this.

  1. Because if we didn’t, people with multiple accounts would take advantage of it given we distribute SG for free.
  2. SG Scratch is aimed at only a portion of the userbase, so allowing trades would go against our intents.

Their first reason seems a little nonsensical to me. For one thing, you can already do this with FUN points. I mean, I guess FUN Scratch doesn’t typically last for 6 months, nor does it ever contain costumes but it can occasionally contain desirable haircuts, accessories and such, all of which are trad-able.

For the second reason, it’s possible that the system is engineered so that people are meant to log in every day. Letting people trade would mean people would just buy what they wanted instead. If this interpretation is accurate, it’s an irritating reason indeed especially given that right now even if people did log in every day they wouldn’t have nearly enough Star Gems for the amount of attempts they’d need to get what they want.There is of course the possibility that it’s aimed at whales which has its own unfortunate set of implications… Either way, I’m more convinced by their second reason than I am their first one and indeed I feel it explains their motivations for the first. A system that wants you to log in every day would potentially fall apart if you allowed people to trade.

Q: What are we supposed to do with duplicate items from the SG Scratch?

A: We plan to implement a way for you recycle duplicate items at a later date. For now,keep any spare items you have in storage! We’re sorry about this, there’s no excuse for expecting you to hold on to duplicate items. 

So yeah, if you have any duplicate items or just generally SG items you don’t want I guess, hold onto them! I mean goodness knows what the eventual recycling items will end up being, but it’s better to hold on and be disappointed than to destroy your items and regret it later.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what items they’ll introduce into such a recycling shop however. I severely doubt it’ll result in a trade-in for additional Stargems, but hey that’d be appreciated!

Q: Why is there a 120 Casino Coin ticket in the SG Scratch?

A: The scratch will be up for six months, so it’s going to be a long-term thing. As you can get SG for free, you’ll have plenty of time to amass the Star Gems you require.

This is a particularly funky answer as it doesn’t really address the question at all… Assuming interpretations are correct it seems that the intention is for you to take an exceedingly long time to get what you want from the scratch. Unfortunately, as I’ve pointed out many times now, if you’re depending on the login bonuses logging in every day will give you an uncomfortably small shot at getting what you want.

Generally,  I’m not at all satisfied with their answers justifying this terrible system they’ve concocted. However, as said elsewhere in this post, it’s plausible we may gain more ways to get Star Gems at time goes on, which may bring things into the realms of obtainable for dedicated players. As of right now, it doesn’t matter how dedicated you are as even if you used all the currently available methods to get Gems and logged in every day for the whole 6 months, you still basically have a small chance of getting what you want. That alone is criminal, and I hope the Japanese continue to pressure Sega over this system.

 

Ultimate Amduscia!??!?

 

There was no mention of Ultimate Amduscia, but fear not because it definitely is not canned.

As of the latest patch, PSO-World user Shadowth117 was able to piece together this shot by swapping out some of the client’s files with some recently added assets for Ultimate Amduscia.

UldDuscia

As you may recognize, it seems to resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Of course, this is a work that is still heavily in progress and the file-swap may have altered the look of the area in unintentional ways, so this does not represent the final product at all. The little glimpse is appreciated, however.

Another thing that was added which suggests they’re working on it still is a new enemy showed up in the client, named “ult_waker_beast”. “Ult Waker” is the internal name given to Anga Fundarge, which may suggest that Ultimate Amduscia may arrive with a brand new variant. All the data can tell us is that it has a tail, has biting attacks and still uses bits like Anga Fundarge does. “Beast” is normally used to describe creatures similar to Rockbear (such as Wolgahda) but given it has a tail and bites, it may not be or resemble a Rockbear re-model at all.

So yeah, it’s still being worked on. Who knows, we may well be getting a teaser trailer for it in a live broadcast or two! Will be interesting to see what they intend to do with it with the apparent death of the stone grind post Episode 4.

The Stargem Scratch – PostRelease

Qounah_Banner

Figured I’d be done with this but I guess this is what happens when you get invested into something made by professional disappointment merchants.

Alright so the SC Scratch is out. So how is it? Was all my ranting for nothing? No! Because it turns out it’s a complete shitshow so much of what I ranted about before remains valid. Because of that, there’s basically no need to rant again as I still feel the same way.

What we can do however is whine about the odds of getting what we want, as Sega now has to list the actual percentage chance of getting each individual item on their scratches. You can find the complete list here on the official site but here’s a summary:

  • 20.8% – Fenale Costume
  • 14.4% – Male Costume
  • 5.6% – Hair/Accessory
  • 12.8% – Music/Voice/Sticker
  • 4% – Affix item
  • 36% – Booster Item
  • 8% – 120 Casino Coins

For these numbers, I rounded up to 1 decimal place. Due to rounding issues, the total won’t be exactly 100%. Now I want to say I appreciate Sega doing this but I have a feeling that they may have been forced to do it…

Additionally, none of the costumes are recolourable. So if you get a colour you don’t want you’re stuffed. I dreaded this could be the case due to them not aligning with the known colour channel I’d seen on Persona’s outfit. That’s such a scummy limitation to place on something you can’t trade away.

What’s more, you may have noticed that they added Affixing items into the mix. This is in addition to the filler they announced before, which means they thought that the filler I was on about last time wasn’t enough!

…Anyway, it’s tempting to rant again. If you really want that rant go read my last post, cause I’m basically about to repeat what I said then.

 

The Sacrificial Whale

Over in Japan, one whale decided to take one for the team and roll 108 attempts at the scratch. These 108 attempts netted them at least one of every item and they helpfully decided to post the quantities of everything they got.

It’s er… it’s not terribly pretty. Especially when you consider that all those attempts set them back about 228 quid ($324) in StarGems. Holy shit.

Out of their 108 attempts, they got 44 filler items, 34 costumes and 30 items related to Dark Falz that I can’t be arsed to categorize. So they were on the lucky side if my odds posted above are an accurate reflection but they weren’t too far off. Also the highest count for an individual item is 12 Casino Coin tickets. Yikes.

So yeah, it seems like even for whales this system is genuinely shitty. I don’t think I’ve seen one positive reaction to this scratch, but of course the system isn’t going to change as long as whales like the above are actually willing to throw down cash on it anyway. If it turns out they’re not, then we might see a change…

In the meantime? This fucking blows. They’re taking the piss with the 80 SG cost, trade limitations, the filler items and the odds they’ve set with all this. I’m hesitant to even drop my free SG on this and I really want some of these outfits, but I know plenty of people are rolling which means things are going to remain this bad probably.

The Stargem Scratch – PreRelease

sara_goin_for_the_facepalm

Man I was already salty about this, but I recently found out a couple more things that just make me all the more irritated at it. Time for another rant on this subject.

If you don’t know, the Stargem Scratch is going to work just like the regular AC Scratch, only it’ll use Stargems instead. Also the items obtained through it are untradable. All sound terrible so far? Well I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the Dark Falz costumes and accessories will be exclusively available through it. Well OK, if you didn’t want those costumes anyway you probably are pleased to hear this or at the very least neutral, in which case good for you! I feel especially bad for the Apprentice clone characters out there, though!

Costumes

Alright, so last time I brought this up I argued that maybe the scratch wouldn’t be so bad because it has a smaller pool of items to pick from, right? I mean you have 5 costumes, related accessories, hairstyles, maybe other related items. It still didn’t bode terribly well if you were a freemium player or even a premium player not willing to spend beyond the subscription fee but it was in the realms of obtainable. Throw some gems gained from Bingo Cards and stuff and you’d probably get what you want eventually.

IMG_20160608_002610

Well there was another factor that I didn’t anticipate and that was colour variation. Now I don’t know if the costumes are re-colourable, but I do happen to know via modding that the Falz costumes have one colour channel. These outfit variations do not seem to be limited to that channel, which is a little foreboding. This indicates that you now will also have the additional burden of having to get the costume you want AND the colour you want. It went from a pool of 5 costumes to a pool of 30, which is pretty irritating.

On the plus side, they added colour variations! Like let’s not forget that having this variety is an unexpected surprise, as I’d have been pretty OK with them just leaving them as their default colours. I’m just arguing that due to the limitations they’ve placed on the SG scratch that this inadvertently makes life rougher on those gunning for a particular look.

Filler Items

Getting an outfit at all among hairstyles and accessories getting in the way, then getting the right outfit in the right colour you want isn’t bad enough odds. So they added in a bunch of filler items in the form of drop, Meseta and EXP boosters and a Casino Coin ticket.

84433

At least the music disks and voices are appropriate, but the rest are blatant filler. That said, there’s a chance that these boosters might actually stack on top of other boosters so the items themselves won’t necessarily be completely useless. That’s not going to be much comfort for those who waited 1-2 months for enough Stargems to maybe get a costume they want only to end up with a goddamn Meseta booster or those who spent money on Gems only to get 120 Casino Coins… Seriously, that’s fucking terrible.

End Rant

Look, I get it. Stargems are meant to be a cash-shop currency. It seems like a bit of a un-necessary step here especially given you have to buy AC and then buy Stargems with that AC in order to play this scratch, but in spirit it’s really no different to regular AC Scratch.

I won’t deny it, good deal of my saltiness is I was waiting for these costumes to come out and that I can’t just get them like I can get literally any other cash shop costume. The main problem I have with this is the items are untradable. Why is this restriction needed? As you can’t trade away the items you don’t want, you’re at the complete mercy of RNG. So those who are whaling it are getting screwed because they can’t make Meseta off the excess and those who are throwing SG at it whenever they can have the odds seriously stacked against them due to the costume variations and filler items.

Let’s not forget that it’s 80SG a go. This is 40 days’ worth of SG if you’re Premium, 80 otherwise and this is assuming you log in every day. Worst case of course, as this isn’t taking SG gained from Bingo Cards or other sources into account. So you’re looking at 1-2 months a go unless you’re willing to throw down extra cash for the privilege, which when you’re already paying a subscription fee feels a little scummy in my opinion.

SG_date

So it’s already bad enough that they’re untradable, they’re also time-limited like all other scratches. If the screencap from the trailer above is accurate, you have until the 14th of December to get what you want, which is considerably longer than most scratches. That said, if you’re limited to just the SG you get for logging in, you will get about 4 shots at the scratch if you’re premium and maybe 2 if you’re freemium. Yeah, that many attempts for logging in every day for nearly half a year. That’s real fuckin generous of you, Phantasy Star Crew!

Incidentally, the SG scratch is actually slightly cheaper per attempt than AC Gold. Each attempt at AC gold is around 3 quid ($4.30) and each attempt at SG is roughly 2 quid ($2.89). Except AC Gold isn’t filled with filler items, You’re only getting costumes or accessories! It might be fairer to compare it to regular AC scratch at 1.29 GBP ($1.87) which would mean that SG is actually more expensive, but then its hard to gauge its relative worth given the regular AC scratch has more filler items and we don’t know the odds on each individual item. So in terms of real money value, it’s hard to say at the moment but at least you can sell the items you don’t want from either AC scratch!

Anyway, I went on longer than I intended. The tl;dr is the SG scratch is bloated a bit with some filler items and their untradability combined with slow acquisition of the currency and limited nature of the scratch makes it seem scummy to me. Cheers for reading, hopefully have something cheerier to write about in the future!

42nd Broadcast Thoughts

Claris_Permanent_Kisama

I’m a little salty! I’m not ashamed to admit that. With that in mind, I’m going to go over some thoughts on some of the things they announced today.

As always, a complete list without wordy opinions can be found on Bumped here. I’m just here for a rant mostly.

Summary

To briefly summarize what’s coming up;

  • Limited Quest set in Sanctum and event in June
  • New story stuff
  • Some new PA customizations (!)
  • Stuff about Es but no one cares about PSO2Es
  • A bunch of new costumes, some new but mostly collaborations and Anime crossovers (collabs from FF14 and Sakura Wars)

That’s kinda it really. They didn’t show off a whole lot of actually new stuff.

Trailers:

 

Stargem Shop and Scratch

This is the source of most of the salt I’ve got and most of the salt I’ve seen from the general community. The star gem shop displays a random selection of items at random prices. I’m not sure how often the items are re-shuffled, but it seems you only get 3 items at any given time. It also seems to re-roll the one item you bought, so you can’t just endlessly buy the same item for the same price.

Items so far include:

  • Triboost 100%
  • Mining Base Defense Trigger
  • Magatsu Trigger?
  • All-Candy Remover
  • Multiple of any of the above?

As the prices are randomized, there’s not much point listing them.

So yeah, they’re adding the ability to essentially buy your way into Emergency Quests, effectively turning them into Guardians Cash quests from PSU in a sense. This probably isn’t that big a deal, but for me it sets a worrying precedent when people can directly buy additional goes at lucrative Emergency Quests.

The_salt_factory

Scratch

The Dark Falz outfits are finally being added to the game! But they’re also locked behind the Star Gem grind as part of the Star Gem scratch. This probably caused me the most salt given I was waiting for these outfits to come out and now I’m not sure I can even reliably get them.

But PSO2Blog, you silly sausage, most outfits are part of a random pool of items you have to pay real money to have a go at. Why is this any different? Well, I will tell you!

The biggest problem is they’re untradable. That’s right, they’re account locked. This means that unlike with Arks Scratch Gold or whatever, if you get something you don’t want you can’t sell it off to someone who may want it! This sucks for everyone, because the people willing to pay don’t get to make any Meseta and the people not willing to pay  more than the Premium subscription fee are going to have a significantly harder time getting the outfits they want.

The rest is sort of a compound issue. First, unless you’re willing to spend cash beyond a premium subscription you will be acquiring Stat Gems very slowly. You’ll be getting them faster than you are now at least, as they’ll be changing the login stamp system to include a 5-Stargem ticket every 5 days. This means effectively you’ll be getting 2 per day if premium or 1 per day if freemium. Given it then costs 80 Stargems per attempt, combined with the fact you’re much more likely to get something you don’t want it’s a pretty shit deal.That’s like, one roll every 80 days for freemium and 40 days for premium players, worst case. That’s just to have a try, mind. Remember, it’s random what you get!

Now, we don’t actually know what the odds are for getting the outfits. It’s hard to tell as we don’t know the complete list of items the scratch will include, just that four of them will be outfits. Accessories will presumably be in judging by the fact that Persona’s mark isn’t forced on and there’s a chance that it may include other tickets like makeup or hair.

Ultimately, if you don’t want the Dark Falz outfits anyway you haven’t lost anything, but this situation is a real kick in the teeth for those who have been waiting for them to be released for some time.

I remember when they said that Star Gems would be restricted to stamina bars and things. Either I made that up or they sure turned on that quick…

 

Web Event

We’re going to the Sanctum this time! To fight all the dragons, or well most of the dragons. Also featuring Banthers because why not. This limited quest is the main focus of this years PSO2 anniversary and is your typical “run around until you max out the quest points” affair, with presumably the recent trend of ending the quest with some big encounter (which this time seems to be Goron Zoran plus another boss).

WebEventQuest

Seems like your general Web Event, complete with limited time Xie orders and Bingo cards. The main difference is this time we’ll also have the winners of the Weapon General Election as supposedly all-class 13*s. There is a rumour however that these weapons are incredibly weak (weaker even than Xie’s weapons), though I’m finding it difficult to find a source. They may still potentially fill in some sub-class weapon gaps (at least while Crafting is falling behind).

 

Boosted Profound Darkness

Double and Profound Darkness will be getting the same treatment that Elder got back in the day it seems. It’s a bit more like Loser’s boosted self for Extra Hard in that the pair of bosses have gained a number of new moves. This will also be lacking the Arks Effect buff present in the current quest.

Seeing as I never got round to posting it, here’s the trailer for it from the 41st broadcast.

While this is cool and all, I feel I need to point out that most of the reason Double and Profound Darkness are so easy in their current form is due to the Arks Effect buff trivializing their attacks. The pair are otherwise the most aggressive and among the hardest hitting bosses in the game. Like if you took the buff away, they’d already be considerably more difficult! I’m sure the additional moves will at least revitalize the quest for some people, though I am concerned that much of the new difficulty may be due to the fact that it’s a sea of particle effects making it difficult to actually mitigate incoming damage. Some attacks also seem like they hit excessively hard, like the chest laser Profound Darkness uses. Seriously, 1800+ damage? Why? Most people are running around with <900HP, even the tankier builds tend to not go over 1500. That level of damage seems excessively high, but it may be what’s required to make the boss remotely challenging to a 12-man MPA. Plus the attack does have a long windup, so it’s probably a lot more fair than the trailer makes it seem. Either way, I look forward to trying it out at least!

This will arrive with a new collection sheet for the “Ray Series” weapons. Not a lot to say about them, other than the fact they seem to have a decent amount of attack power and that I’m not really sure why they felt the need to add a new weapon series for this quest. Ray Sword has 1130 attack on it at +0, which puts it slightly above Seiga Sword and slightly below Sword Revolucio. No details at all on its potential, of course.

 

PA Customizations

THEY_REMEMBERED

They remembered this existed! Don’t panic, I’m sure they’ll forget about it again soon. You can see them in action in the first trailer but I’ll go over them briefly.

Other Cyclone Type Zero

Spin to win, baby! Much like with Twister Fall Zero you can hold the button to spin and spin and spin and spin. What’s more, it doesn’t seem to blow enemies away anymore.

Infinite Fire Type Zero

Remember when Infinite Fire was great? Well I’m not sure if this will bring it back into a usable state as I’m not sure how much additional power it’ll get (the notation shown is 2594% (thanks to this tweet), which is quite a bit higher than its current 1526%) . It does root you in place however, which is pretty risky so it had better be worth it.

Kestral Rampage Type Zero

Consume all your weapon’s Gear Gauge and go fucking apeshit with Dual Blades. It’s nice that they finally got an interesting Photon Art after all this time I guess, though honestly it looks so different to vanilla Kestral Rampage that I’m not sure why they didn’t just make this a new Photon Art. It’s not like Bouncer has too many Photon Arts… That said, it’s nice that they finally got a PA customization at all, though Jet Boots are now somewhat left out.

Type Zero Zonde and Type Zero NaZan

This is an interesting turn up. I did not expect techs to start to receive the same treatment as PA customizations. Zonde ends up being turned into something resembling Sattelite Cannon and NaZan changes into a small amount of damage followed by many small hits as the enemy is trapped in a whirlwind. We’ve seen too little of either tech to make any real assumptions as to what their practical uses are going to be, however.

While these are neat, not sure why it it took so long to have only 6 new customizations added. It still leaves this system dreadfully under-utilized which is a shame, but all the same it’s nice that they added any new ones at all. I wonder how long it will be before they add any more…

 

New Skill Rings

OK, it’s been a while since I posted. My last post was about the skill ring system. Since then, they’ve added 4 Skill Rings and now 2 more are on the horizon. The 4 they added before were AIS Exclusive rings and they were almost completely awful. Now they’re adding two more rings at least, both of which relate to resisting Status Effects.

Now, in my posts about this I voiced concern that their effort would fizzle out on this like it did with PA Customizations. So far, I feel like I’ve been proven pretty correct. The last four rings added literally nothing to the existing classes as they were just for AIS and these new rings will be added without expanding on the gathering system as they use a new event quest exclusive item named “Pure Photon”. Alright, I won’t deny it, my inventory is happy that they’re taking their time adding new gathering items and I’m not really a fan of the gathering system anyway. So my primary concern rests in the lack of new class augmentations that these rings were meant to provide. I mean there’s still nothing for Rangers in the left ring slot!

That said, it’s only been three months. It’s a little soon to be throwing my hands up all “Hah! I knew it was going to go the way of PA Customizations!”. There aren’t any new skill rings on the longterm schedule, but the schedule isn’t actually all-inclusive (as these new rings weren’t on there either). We’ll see! My cynical asshole senses are tingling that’s all.

 

Collaborations

As has been the norm for a long time, the collaborations keep on rolling out. I’m not too fussed mind as Collaborations have produced some genuinely cool outfits and it seems like just about anything fits in PSO2’s setting, so they’re really fairly harmless.

SakuraWars

This time we have Sakura Wars (and also Hagito) and Final Fantasy 14 stuff. Both of which for the most part look generally fantastic, with some great looking weapon camos thrown in for both collabs.

The FF14 selection includes both Miqo’te male and female outfits, as well as the relic outfits and weapons for White Mage, Black Mage, Dark Knight and Pugilist. Not sure on the gender limitations on the last outfits or if they’re Unisex as the trailer didn’t really demonstrate much. Seems like White Mage and Monk are female and Black Mage and Dark Knight male, which is a slight shame as it could have been an opportunity for some cool female armor. That all aside, the FF14 stuff all looks great. They did a fantastic job with this collaboration.

 

Question and Answers

Thanks to twitter user @kami_pepe for re-posting and summarizing the questions and answers during the broadcast I can attempt to post a summary of this section of the broadcast. I am however dependent on Google Translate and Bing so this is really my best interpretation. Let me know if I’m grossly wrong. I won’t re-post anything that gets truly mangled of course.

Q: Why is the post-quest photo-op on the deck of the Yamato after we destroyed it?

A: Cause it’s cool! Also because the photo didn’t fit in the landing craft.

Q: Does breaking the guns on Yamato yield extra drops?

A: No.

Q: What is a summoner’s pet?

A: Artificial life created from Photons. Not to be confused with robots.

Q: What’t the male/female ratio of the development team?

A: About 9:1 male:female.

Q: Are the timelines of PSO2 and the PSO2 Stage Play the same?

A: They’re considered parallel universes.

Q: Will Collection Files come back after they’ve expired?

A: Nope! This will be your only chance to get these weapons via collection files. Once the file expires, it’s gone forever.

I’m tempted to share my thoughts on collection files another time, but suffice to say I’m perplexed by the temporary nature of them. This makes no sense to me, so it’s even more perplexing to hear that they really are a limited-time deal and won’t be available later. 

Q: Is there a plan to add more Ultimate Quests?

A: In the distant future, yes.

Yes there was still no Ultimate Amduscia. Who knows when we’ll see it but this does suggest we will see it at some point at least.

Anyway, this was fun to write. Cheers if you read this far and let me know if I got anything horribly wrong.

 

The Ring System

 

Lisa_in_Tokyo

The Skill-Ring system was one of the things shown during the 38th broadcast and then mildly teased a bit further in the 39th broadcast recently. It seems to be a way to further tweak our characters by augmenting actions and granting access to class skills.

Here I’ll be trying to gather whatever known information there is out there from various sources, including Bumped, Gheaven, analysis of the early March update trailer and wherever else I find information. There’s also going to be some speculation strewn about for good measure. Added some additional notes from this post on PSO-World concerning a newer Gheaven post here. 

Thanks to Mewn and EspioKaos for help with clarifying some details. Thanks also to Agrajag for assistance with obtaining data.

Please let me know if anythings inaccurate or if I’m speculating on stuff that’s been established elsewhere.

Basic Info

Just gonna go over some of the basic stuff here in a kind of sketchy detail.

  • You exchange materials obtained from the gathering system as well as other items and Meseta for rings.
  • You have two ring slots;  a left ring and a right ring. You can only have one of either ring equipped at a time.
  • Left Rings seem to exclusively be action augments of some kind. Things that will alter the way you do things, such as attacking, guarding and even altering class skills
  • Right Rings seem to exclusively be about granting access to off-class skills without requiring you to sub-class for it..For example, it can let you use PP Convert even if you aren’t a Techer main or sub.
  • Rings can be upgraded through fusing materials with them in the Item Lab.
  • Left Rings have stats attached. These stats can be upgraded through the Item Lab.
  • Rings have EXP bars. You earn EXP for your equipped rings by killing monsters. It’s uncertain if Client Orders will also contribute. I don’t know what benefits there are to levelling rings this way.
Materials and Exchanges

ringexchange

They didn’t show many exchanges during the trailer and unfortunately the kanji is kind of blurry so I can’t make out the exact names of some things. Here’s a rough list anyway:

  • L / JG Sonic Arrow – Naberu Rock x 3, Amethyst x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / JG Heavenly Fall – Vopal Rock x 3, Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / JG Rising Flag – Ice Rock x 3, Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / DS Whirlwind –   Ice Rock x 3, Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / TD Air Chase – Naberu Rock x 3, Emerald x 6, Lambda Grinder x 15, 30000 Meseta

It’s hard to say how expensive these are given we have no idea at present how long it will take to get each material. That said, it seems one of these items is a bit more expensive than the others, for reasons I can’t really pin down. Like the difference in material cost seems almost arbitrary.

I’m uncertain on “Ice Rock” by the way. The only reason I’ve listed it as Ice is its the name that ends up easiest to read for me. It isn’t the usual rendering of “ice” as in romaji the above material is written as  “a-su” whereas ice is “aisu”. Another potential name is “Ace” but that’s rendered as “e-su”. Pronouncing “a-su” is closer to “arse” than any of the above and as amused as I am by the notion of an “Arse Rock”  that’s probably not it either! So yeah, I’m not a translator so suggestions welcome there.

Ring Abilities

ppconvertring

This is a gathering of all the Rings I’ve seen posted around. This may not be a complete list of all the revealed rings and there’s also a chance that some people were bullshitting, so take it with a bit of salt.

Descriptions written in pink are a speculation.

Left Ring

 

  • L / Double Saber Whirlwind  – Automatically activated whirlwind after certain attacks with a Double Saber. This does not consume gear but it’s still bound by whirlwind limit.
  • L / JG Heavenly Fall*  – Activate Heavenly Fall on a successful JG with a Wired Lance
  • L / JG Sonic Arrow* – Activate Sonic Arrow on a successful JG with a Sword
  • L / JG Rising Flag* – Activate Rising Flag on a successful JG with a Partizan
  • L / Hunter Gear Save  – Slows down gear loss for Swords and reduces gear consumed by Hunter weapons. Requires Hunter Gear Boost to be satisfied.
  • L / Knuckle Chase – Automatically moves you towards the target with Knuckle normal attacks while you’re on the ground.
  • L / TD Air Chase – Automatically chase enemies with Twin Dagger while mid-air. Works with normal attacks and some PAs.
  • L / Katana Gear Guard R – Holding guard for 3 seconds will activate Katana Gear even if nothing was blocked. Requires the gauge to be full. Alters the way Gear is consumed if activated this way.
  • L / Short Combat – Attacks during Katana Combat no longer track.
  • L / DB Snatch – Adds a snatch-step effect to Dual Blade’s shift action.
  • L / Tech C Parrying – Just-Guards attacks while charging techs with a tech weapon. Presumably works like Hunter’s Charge Parrying.
  • L / Recast Reverser Field – Reduces the cooldown of Reverser Field.
  • L / High Time Keep – May preserve High Time if you take damage. Only works while Showtime is active.
  • L / Front S-Roll –You can perform a forward S-Roll with TMGs

* Attacks launched this way will count as a Just-Counter and will have all bonuses of a Just-Attack. It isn’t know if they will consume PP.

 

Right Ring

Right Rings have so far exclusively been class skills. These will allow you to use the skill attached to them on other classes, though there are apparently restrictions still. You cannot use a Skill Ring on the class from which the skill was taken (for example, a Hunter cannot use the Massive Hunter ring). There is no mention if this applies to sub-class Hunter. The skills match their class skills, so there’s no need for a description of them.

  • R / Killing Bonus  – Cannot be equipped by Ranger.
  • R / Massive Hunter – Cannot be equipped by Hunter.
  • R / PP Convert – Cannot be equipped by Techer.
  • R / Attack Advance – Cannot be equipped by Braver
  • R / Boost Slayer (Gathering Order reward) – Deal bonus damage to and take less damage from boosted enemies.
  • R / Critical Strike Melee
  • R / Critical Strike Ranged
  • R / Critical Strike Tech
    • The above three rings cannot be equipped by Fighter.
  • R / Perfect Keeper Melee
  • R / Perfect Keeper Ranged
  • R / Perfect Keeper Tech
    • The HP threshold is unspecified. These cannot be equipped by Gunner.
  • R / Photon Flare – Cannot be equipped by Force
  • R / Element PP Restore Field – Cannot be equipped by Bouncer

Boost slayer is an interesting one, for reasons I’ll go into later in the post.

Unknown

I haven’t seen anything to confirm which ring slot these go into, though you can likely speculate given the established rings so far.

Ring Stats

Left rings seem to be the only ones to have stats on them. They also seem to be limited to boosting three stats in particular. Going down the list once more:

  • L / JG Sonic Arrow – S-Atk, R-Atk and Dex
  • L / JG Heavenly Fall – S-Atk, R-Atk and Dex
  • L / JG Rising Flag –  S-Atk, R-Atk and Dex
  • L / DS Whirlwind –  S-Atk, T-Atk and Dex
  • L / TD Air Chase – S-Atk, T-Atk and Dex

The sample size is small, but so far it seems to be focused on attack power and the pattern is consistently 2 attack stats and Dexterity.

 

Ring Upgrading

duduring

Yeah, you gotta take your rings to Dudu and you’ll also note that the success rating is in blue so there’s a chance to fail as well. This particular ring (L / DS Whirlwind) requires 3x Ice Rock and 5x Grinder as well as 30,000 Meseta. Not cheap for a grind but not that expensive. Again, it’s difficult to pass judgement as we don’t know how long it will take to get the rocks required.
ringupgradestats

Note that when you grind a ring, at least a left ring anyway, you can select which stat you wish to level in the first drop-down menu on the left. After you’ve done so, you’re presented with the above window, showing you the change you’re about to apply.

In the case of DS Whirlwind, you can choose between S-atk, R-atk and  Dexterity.

Note that the upgrade also raises the level of the ring’s ability by 1 as well.

It isn’t known what the cap is on ring upgrading, but pictures so far have shown Lv20 rings so that might well be it. Notably the text next to the level is orange when they’re lv20 as well. As you can only choose one stat per upgrade I’d imagine it’d be smart to just focus on one stat for any ring as you probably won’t have enough room to make it a good hybrid. I mean Mags go up to lv200 and you still can’t make an adequate hybrid so…

It’s speculated that rings gain EXP through killing monsters, but there’s no indication as far as I know as to what Ring EXP actually does. Grinding and levelling ring abilities and stats seems to be separate from Ring EXP, so I’m at a bit of a loss here.

 

Datamining

No, there’s no data in the client telling us what the rings all are. However, some old data may well be relevant again for this system and I’ll explain why in this section.

Remember R / Boost Slaying from earlier? Well it and L / Tech C Parrying seem to be revivals of unreleased class skills that have been in the client for some time. Specifially, Fighter’s “Boost Slayer” skill and Force’s “Rod Charge Guard”, although in the latter case it seems the Rod requirement may have been dropped.

As such, I think it’s reasonable to assume that other unreleased skills may well see themselves being turned into Rings. I mean they’ve done this before with weapon potentials too, with Fighter’s “GiantKilling” skill being turned into the potential for Ideal-series weapons. So in this section I’m going to list a number of unreleased skills for speculation.

Where possible, I’ve made notes next to skills I feel are unlikely to be added, skills that are similar to skills possessed by other classes and skills that were turned into potentials already. I’ve also omitted any skills that were just upgrades of currently existing skills, such as Guard Stance Advance 2 and Zero Range Advance 3, as I feel they’re almost certainly not getting revived. This list is mostly just to stimulate speculation on potential future rings. Note that these are internal names, not the names you end up seeing in-game.

Bouncer

Bouncer has no unreleased skills at all. Ho hum.

Braver

  • Victim Likely abandoned. 
  • VictimBomb Likely abandoned. 

Braver only has two skills which seem to belong to an abandoned idea for a mechanic. Who knows what this could have ended up being, but given the skills are dependent on each other it seems unlikely to return in ring form.

Fighter

  • AirStrike – Not to be confused with the Bouncer skill of a similar name. This is an unreleased Fighter skill, but odds are it’s now abandoned.
  • BoostKilling – This has actually been revealed in the teased content so far. 
  • BreakMaster – Not to be confused with the Bouncer skill of a similar name. This is an unreleased Fighter skill, but odds are it’s now abandoned.
  • ElderSlayer Likely abandoned. 
  • GiantKilling – Turned into the weapon potential for the Ideal series weapons. 
  • None_Guard Likely abandoned. 
  • NotoriousnessKilling Likely abandoned. 
  • PotentialBlowFighter Likely abandoned. 
  • RareBoostFighterDoubleSaber Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostFighterGunSlash Unlikely.
  • RareBoostFighterKnuckle Unlikely.
  • RareBoostFighterTwinDagger Unlikely.
  • RareEnemyKlling Likely abandoned. 
  • ThirdAct Likely abandoned. 

Fighter has a number of skills, one of which is confirmed as a Skill Ring. The rest were either re-worked for other classes or turned into potentials. “ThirdAct” is likely an abandoned mechanic for the class and it doesn’t even have any data to suggest what it might have been.

Force

  • BlastForce
  • DarkTechnicShortCharge
  • ElectroPress
  • ElectroShock
  • ForceAssist
  • ForceSense
  • IceTechnicShortCharge
  • LightTechnicShortCharge
  • MassiveFlare
  • MirageEscapeAdvance
  • PhotonCircle
  • PotentialForceForce Likely abandoned. 
  • PPRegenerate – Not to be confused with the Techer skill of a similar name. This is an unreleased Force skill, but odds are it’s now abandoned.
  • RapidBlast – Not to be confused with the Bouncer skill of a similar name. This is an unreleased Force skill, but odds are it’s now abandoned.
  • RareBoostForceGunSlash  Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostForceRod  Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostForceTalis  Unlikely. 
  • RodChargeGuard – This has actually been revealed in the teased content so far. 
  • RodKeepBonus
  • Spread
  • TechNonChargeSave
  • ThunderTechnicShortCharge
  • WindTechnicShortCharge

Force has a large number of unreleased skills that could be turned into rings. As they’re tech element specific, it could mean Force may have yet another tremendous gear treadmill to look forward to. Hopefully not, but it would be kind of business as usual for Forces.

Gunner

  • ChainFinishStar
  • DanceTime
  • PotentialShootGunner Likely abandoned. 
  • RareBoostGunnerGunSlash  Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostGunnerTwinMachineGun  Unlikely. 
  • SRollStar
  • TwinmachinegunGearPlus

While Gunner has fewer unreleased skills, I feel a number of these could potentially be revived as rings, especially if some of these kills augment showtime in various ways.

Hunter

  • AdvanceGuard
  • BlowAssist
  • BraveGuard
  • GuardAbsorber
  • GuardStanceAutoMate
  • GuardStanceHeal
  • HoldDiffence
  • JustGuardAdvance
  • JustGuardMaster
  • JustGuardStan
  • PotentialBlowHunter Likely abandoned. 
  • RareBoostHunterGunSlash   Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostHunterPartisan   Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostHunterSword   Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostHunterWiredLance   Unlikely. 
  • Sacrifice
  • StrikeSense
  • SweetMate
  • WarHowl
  • WarSpirit

Hunter competes with Force for number of unreleased skills and number of potential rings. Some of these are legacy skills from the 2nd Alpha, but could easily come back.

Ranger

  • BulletKeepGs – THIS THING.
  • Concentrate
  • Engineer
  • OneMoreTrap
  • PotentialShootRanger Likely abandoned. 
  • RareBoostRangerGunSlash  Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostRangerLauncher  Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostRangerRifle  Unlikely. 
  • ReloadBindAdd
  • ReloadWeakAdd
  • ShootAssist
  • ShooterSite
  • ShootingSense
  • SupportFire
  • TrapFlashCustom
  • WeakSnipeAddPB
  • ZeroRangeBonus1  – Not to be confused with the Gunner skill of a similar name. This is an unreleased Ranger skill, but odds are it’s now abandoned.

Another class with a large selection of potential skill rings. Though a number would augment bullet skills that no one in their right mind should be using anyway!

Summoner

  • AllJAComboUp
  • AllJAUp
  • SummonerJAPPSave  – Nope.
  • TamingMaster

As Summoner can’t Just-Attack, you can guess that most of these aren’t ever arriving as class skills. That said, I could see potential rings that boost all power when landing a Just Attack. TamingMaster is a bit more difficult to call..

Techer

  • DebandProtection
    • Grants a iron will effect to those affected by the user’s Deband.
  • MirageAdvance
  • PanicAdvance
  • PoisonAdvance
  • PoisonIgnitionUP
  • PotentialBlowTecher Likely abandoned. 
  • PotentialForceTecher Likely abandoned. 
  • PPConvertForce Likely abandoned. 
  • PPConvertStrike Likely abandoned. 
  • RareBoostTecherGunSlash Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostTecherTalis Unlikely. 
  • RareBoostTecherWandUnlikely. 
  • TerritoryBurstAdvance
  • TerritoryPower

Like Force, Techer has some potential in its unreleased skills That said, Territory Burst is no longer an active skill like it used to be, so I’m not sure the augments for it are really applicable any more.

That’s all for the data. Remember, odds are a lot of the skills I didn’t tag as “likely abandoned” probably are abandoned and may not return as skill rings. Also note that Summoner and Bouncer lack the RareBoostClassWeapon skills as well as Potential skills, suggesting that those are abandoned ideas unlikely to return. If it’ll help, I may go over this list in the future and make an attempt to describe what some of these skills do based on their stats. There are no official descriptions for almost all of these and the stats listed under the skill may not be adequate enough to guess what the skill does.

Thoughts

I gotta say, this is about the only system in PSO2 as of late that I’ve had any genuine interest over. Some of the skill rings revealed such as Knuckle Chase could significantly alter how you use the weapons and thus have a measurable impact on the gameplay. Anything like that is welcome to me, as long as it’s well thought out of course!

I’m not so sure about the stat augments on the left rings and having to level them up in a Mag-like fashion. That said, the stat bonuses seem to be pretty low so I doubt they’re really worth worrying about.

As always with any new system involving items comes the question of how much of a grind is it going to be. Let’s just save comment on that until the system it out in a couple of weeks, eh?

I still maintain some cynicism about the release schedule of the content however, as the gathering system will only apply to four areas of the game out of the fifteen or so that are available for them to put things in. While the data-mining may suggest that there’s a good amount of material to expand into, this could still end up like Photon Art Customization did and that would be a real shame for something with such interesting potential.

Of course I also suspect that it’ll soon be established which Skill Ring may be the one ring to rule them all, the one ring to find them, the one ring to bring them all and in the meta bind them. It could well be that it may be beneficial to swap out rings mid-run however for various reasons, which if so I hope we get some kind of command to do it via a hotkey or macro.

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.

more_pso_nostalgia_stuff

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

rappy_anus

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!