Dark Blast Update Infodump

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Just gonna note down whatever useful stuff people have found out about this update. It’ll include info on new gear and Dark Blasts in particular. If any new info is dug up later I’ll probably add it to this post.

Detonation Weapon Series

These new collection files are primarily progressed through Buster Quests. You can only earn credit for Omega Hunar’s part through the Endless Belligerence Emergency Quest, which for now is also the only place in the game he spawns anyway.

Special Abilty Factor

Its SAF is Modulator, so even if you don’t plan on actually using these weapons it may be worth grabbing the files just for some useful fodder items down the road.

Weapon Potential:

The potential works a little bit like the old Ares one in that its power scales based on your Dark Blast gauge (instead of Photon Blast). It also boosts the rate at which you build your Dark Blast gauge and increases the amount of time you can use it for.

  • Lv1: Increases damage depending on your Dark Blast gauge (up to 15%), increases Dark Blast gauge accumulation rate by 10% and increases transformation time by 5 seconds.
  • Lv2: Increases damage depending on your Dark Blast gauge (up to 16%), increases Dark Blast gauge accumulation rate by 15% and increases transformation time by 6 seconds.
  • Lv3: Increases damage depending on your Dark Blast gauge (up to 17%), increases Dark Blast gauge accumulation rate by 20% and increases transformation time by 7 seconds.

It seems that the damage bonus will persist after you’ve activated Dark Blast, which considering it’s not far behind Qliphad in terms of attack power actually makes these fairly decent weapons as at full power they have a 17% damage mod versus Qliphad’s 14%.

What I don’t know yet is what resets the potential’s power, such as:

  • Does it persist through weapon swap?
  • Does it persist through area change?

If the answer to both of these is yes then these are actually good weapons even if they do take some warming up to get to full power. Outside of low-attack weapons these ought to be competitive with Clifford weapons in overall performance (at max power, of course).

For now it only covers a few weapon types, but it feels like a safe bet that we will be getting other Dark Blast types at a later point. The weapons released so far are based on the current Dark Blast (Elder type) in appearance, so the others may be based on their respective Falz types as well. There are 18 weapon types in the game, so 13 more to cover which could easily be spread out among the remaining three Falz types.


Alta Barrel

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A brand new weapon that has a low chance of dropping from Advance Quests included in the current Arks Boost Road (which is Skyscape, Ruins and Facility). It’s essentially the Twin Machinegun version of Altacray, complete with the same Hero-focused potential.

Weapon Potential:

  • Lv1: Boosts power by 5%, additional 12% power increase for 10s after a successful Hero Dodge
  • Lv2: Boosts power by 7%, additional 12% power increase for 10s after a successful Hero Dodge
  • Lv3: Boosts power by 10%, additional 12% power increase for 10s after a successful Hero Dodge

Considering it has slightly more attack than Qliphad, this is a pretty powerful weapon if you’re able to pull off a lot of Hero counters in a given fight.

Special Ability Factor:

Its SAF is Spirita VI (+7 PP), the same as Altacray.


Elder Pain: Omega

The brand new 14-star sword which you’ll probably never see. However, unlike Elder Pain in its day, which was more a gimmick than anything, this weapon is actually solidly practical. Also, unlike Elder Pain, you don’t need to break Omega Hunar’s sword to get a chance of it dropping.

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Its Special Ability Factor is Ability IV, like the other 14*s so far.

Its potential is the classic Vampiric Blade, which recovers 4/5/6% of damage dealt in health. That alone isn’t what makes it practical; it’s the massive 2,201 S-atk the weapon boasts at +35! This is 221 attack higher than Demonia Saber and 224 higher than Akatsuki, the other 14-star swords.

Now the thing with S-atk that high on a weapon is it benefits from elemental bonuses much more than lower attack weapons. For example, Qliphad Calibur at 60% element gains an additional effective 997 S-atk before applying modifiers (element only includes base attack, it doesn’t include affixes so Antithesis Trainer has no effect here) where as Omega gains a whopping 1320.

Below is a chart made with the damage calculator (with credit to RoboArks for the original chart. I’m trusting their numbers on this as it worked out similarly to calculations done by a friend).

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So it slightly beats out Qliphad but also has the benefit of making you near immortal while using it. I’d call that a practical weapon! So unless you’re lucky enough to be sporting a Demonia or Akatsuki then Elder Pain: Omega is definitely worth using if you manage to get one.


Weaponoid Potentials

A few old weapons gained Weaponoid potentials with this update; Ideal Scissors, Astral Riser NT and Avenger NT.

Ideal Scissors

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  • Lv1: Increase damage to bosses by 18% and attack PP recovery by ?%
  • Lv2: Increase damage to bosses by 19% and attack PP recovery by ?%
  • Lv3: Increase damage to bosses by 20% and attack PP recovery by 20%

Remember Ideal weapons? I do, I have fond memories of Challenge Mode at its prime.

Anyway, the new potential makes it a sort of decent weapon if you don’t have a Zeinesis or Qliphad but it’s weaker than them overall mostly due to Ideal weapons having the lowest attack power of all 13*s. The damage comparison works out to something like this (with thanks to NextTime000 for running these numbers). So it’s helpful if you don’t have a 13* Wired Lance already and have the weaponoid stones to spare.

Astral Riser NT

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  • Lv3: Increases damage dealt by 13% and reduces PP consumption by 13% while special bullets are loaded

Not at all convinced by this potential, seems kind of garbage.

Avenger NT

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  • Lv1: Increase damage on non-weak points by 22%
  • Lv2: Increase damage on non-weak points by 24%
  • Lv3: Increase damage on non-weak points by 27%

This potential is sort of curious but perhaps not that useful on a Rifle. For the most part, Rifles tend to hit weak-points on enemies but I mean if you’re against enemies that don’t have weak-points and you also don’t have Weak-bullet loaded that is an awfully meaty damage boost (since the rebalance, a weakbulleted hitbox counts as a weak point regardless of the resulting damage modifier). It just might be too awkward to satisfy its condition with this particular weapon type.

Incidentally, Avenger NT is the only new weapon out of this batch and much like Yamigarasu NT its Special Ability Factor is Soul Receptor. So even if you don’t plan on using it, it might be worth getting to help with affixing future weapons.

Bluesy Requiem NT

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  • Increases power and PP recovery for every successful Just-Guard. Bonus is lost when you take any damage.
    • Lv1: ?% Power and PP recovery for every Just Guard, max of ?%
    • Lv2:  % Power and PP recovery for every Just Guard, max of ?%
    • Lv3: 5% Power and PP recovery for every Just Guard, max of 15%

An interesting potential mechanically but one that has to be maintained actively. On the plus side, if the enemy has lots of multi-hitting attacks you could actually max this potential out quickly though Charge Parry as each hit counts as a Just-Guard. Overall, due to Bluesy NT’s low base attack even if you keep the potential up this weapon is a little wimpy compared to other options.

Like Avenger NT, its Special Ability Factor is Soul Receptor.


Dark Blast: Elder

I’m not going to make a comprehensive guide on Dark Blasts as you can already find that over on Bumped here, but I can go over some quirks about it that might not be immediately obvious.

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Overall

It functions essentially like Nanoblasts did in Phantasy Star Universe, only anyone can use them and you’re limited to using it only once per quest. Unlike Nanoblasts however, if you’re defeated while transformed you just lose the transformation instead of dying.

To unlock it for your characters, either clear Episode 5 Chapter 2 or clear the Endless Belligerence quest on Super Hard or above at least once. This unlocks it for your account.

EXP Gain

Dark Blasts gain a portion of your EXP in a similar way that Skill Rings do. They will only gain EXP from enemy kills which is totaled up and added to your Dark Blast’s total EXP at the end of a quest. As such, don’t bother chugging EXP tickets.

The proportion of your EXP gained depends largely on what enemies you’re killing. It’s 10% for most enemies in the game while it’s 30% from Aquatic Darkers (of all types, aside Phantom), Dark Falz and any enemy in Buster Quests taking place in the Verun Empire.

This means aside catching Endless Belligerence or any Falz raid the most effective way to level up this particular Dark Blast is by hitting up the Ruins Advance Quest on either difficulty.

Dark Blast Gauge

So how do you progress the gauge? The short of it is “no one seems to know”.

The gauge seems to have a different rule set to the likes of Compounds, Hero Gear and Photon Blasts. As far as is known, it’s based on the amount of damage you do to enemies (but it may not be relative to their max HP as is the case with other gauges like this).

It also seems like there’s a timer that has to expire before you’re allowed to make progress, as often you might see your Photon Blast is full before your Dark Blast even has its first bar.

Ultimately, this gauge isn’t actually that well understood for now. Hopefully it’s worked out soon and I’ll replace this section when we know for sure how it works.

Other Tidbits

Exp you earn will go into an account-wide EXP pool. Note that this the total amount of EXP that each of your characters gets to spend on their respective Dark Blast skill trees, so you won’t have to earn more to cover your alts. The displayed amount of EXP in the Dark Blast skill menu is that particular character’s unspent EXP, not your total.

You’ll need a total of 225,555,190 Exp in order to max out every Dark Blast skill, which works out to earning 2.25Bn-751M real exp from enemies and quest clears depending on which enemies you kill. Swiki works this out to be the equivalent of getting 9 classes to lv80 + another class to lv34 to 27 classes to lv80 and one class to level 65. Considering there’s a chance that other Dark Blast types might be released in the future these seem pretty darn insane requirements, but at least they had the mercy to make this account-wide.

Thoughts

It’s nifty but it feels kind of weak compared to my regular attacks, at least in the early levels. Between that and only having a minute every quest to learn how to play it has made exploring this feature awkward. It gets some crazy air with its double-jump however and between its jump-kick and Physical Dash it can cover an enormous amount of ground quickly.

My early impressions are that Tyrant Strike is your gap-closer with pretty respectable AoE to boot. Infinity Rush is for wailing on single targets, like bosses and raidboss weakpoints (particularly if they’re static as its DPS raises over time). Punishment Knuckle is a pretty good frontal AoE attack useful for dealing heavy damage to piles of enemies at once. So I mean, in terms of Photon Arts it covers what it needs to and as its Photon Arts keep you airborne combined with its incredible jumping power aerial targets shouldn’t be an issue either.

One thing to be aware of is even though it has a lot of HP, Dark Blast: Elder is surprisingly fragile, with a meager amount of defense stats. It really can’t take a lot of punishment, so be wary about going gun-ho against particularly dangerous enemy attacks (such as Omega Hunar’s ground slam attacks) and from going too deep into a pile of enemies.

Towards The Future

As I said earlier, it seems pretty obvious to me that they’re going to release additional transformation types in the future. We have 4 Falz types afterall, the 4 kingdoms of Omega are all based on the different Falz types and so much of the current Dark Blast’s aesthetics, moves and mechanics are based on one of the Falzes.

That said, there’s been no official confirmation that that’s the plan and so far all we’ve had is that Dark Blast colours will be customizable at a later date. There’s also nothing in the data that supports additional blast types yet, aside inferring it via the internal name specifically referencing Elder.

Whatever their plans are, they’re keeping their lips sealed for now so we can only speculate.

Sega To Revive IPs: Is PSO2 Coming To The West?

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No.

Probably not, anyway.

In case you’re unaware, Sega recently announced that they are planning to revive their old IPs and aim for global releases of their future content, among other plans for their Business Roadmap to 2020 which can be found here. 

Among the slides you might spy something familiar…

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So why might this not include PSO2? Well there’s no guarantee that it won’t, but it’d seem rather strange in the face of PSO2 closing down in Taiwan and South-East Asia.

It might just be too late to try. PSO2 is coming up to 5 years old now and the US version announcement is now nearing the same kind of age. The enthusiasm and excitement for a localized PSO2 has surely long gone.

That’s no guarantee, mind, I’m just making assumption based on the time scale for the general populous. I know from people contacting me through Twitter that there are still people out there eager for an official US release and I’m sure if it did happen they might do OK. However I feel even then they would have to release it with everything up to the end of Episode 4 and possibly some of Episode 5 in order to avoid the dreaded Content lag that plagued PSU and the SEA/TW versions of PSO2 before it. Even with all that, people rightfully have trust issues with Sega of America after their dubious performance with PSU (even if that may have arguably been Sega of Japan’s failings that ultimately caused that).

For me, I believe if this presentation means anything that it suggests PSO3 may have become more likely to be a global release. PSO3 could be another 5 years off, as Sakai planned to support PSO2 for 10 years and we’re only halfway through that (though even that’s not guaranteed!). One thing to take into account is this is their company plans for the next 3 years, so it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be acting on all the things they said right this very moment and that PSO2 announcements will occur any day. If they did act on any of these plans it’d take some time for their effects to be noticed, if at all.

It’s honestly hard to tell with a company like Sega. Remember that PSO2 did have a few hints that they were intent on an international release at one point, but for whatever reason those plans fizzled out seemingly abruptly. PSO3 could share the same fate.

Ultimately, this presentation while nifty to think about may be absolutely meaningless. It’s only a set of plans, and particularly vague ones at that. They may not deliver on most or any of it in the end.

New Expert Block Requirements

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During the recent PSO2 Station, it was revealed there’d be an additional requirement to enter Expert blocks:

A new title will be added which requires you to have 12* rear, leg and arm units grinded to +10 and equipped. This title will be required to enter Expert blocks from the 7th of June

So to recap, all the requirements will be:

  • Clear floors 1-5 of Heaven and Hell
  • Have a +35 13* weapon or lv120 pet
  • Have +10 12* units

This new requirement has created quite a stir, possibly more-so than the weapon requirement. But why?

Getting 12* Units

With a few exceptions, getting 12* units is entirely down to luck. There are no collection files for them so if you’ve been unlucky so far you might not have a full set of 12*s even if your gear is otherwise solid.

But as I said, there’s exceptions to this rule and I’m gonna go over the main ones.

2017 Badge Units

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I know, these units are absolutely terrible and no one in their right mind would wear them into a quest. However, they are a pair of units that are guaranteed to get. You’ll need 50 Weapons Badge 2017 for each one.

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If you want a unit that’s not absolutely terrible, you could head to PVP and farm Battle Coins to get yourself a Shine Red or Shine Blue unit. These units aren’t actually that bad, with Blue focusing on HP/PP and red on Attack.  However, these items are, for whatever reason, only temporarily available. You have until the 9th September to pick em up, which is plenty of time but it still feels arbitrary to me.

This will cover your Leg and Rear units so now you’re just short an Arm unit. I’m afraid the arm unit is going to be a might trickier to get…

Gix Arm Unit

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As far as I know, this is the only 12* arm unit you can “work” towards, though this may be difficult for most people gearing up to get. To get it, you’ll need to clear Ultimate Amduscia in less than 7 minutes. This is no small feat, particularly as most of the people who will be going for this title are people who don’t have great gear in the first place.

You could argue this acts as an effective choke point for people attempting to get into expert blocks on face value; Clear this difficult quest with an S-rank and you gain access! But in practice I doubt it’ll work like that, because really it’s effectively RNG. Instead of the RNG being on the drop it’s going to be on the quality of the other 11 people who happen to be running the quest with you. As hard as you could try, you’re not S-ranking this quest on your own.

You also have the added difficulty of finding 11 other people to run the quest with in the first place…

You could get lucky in your attempts and obtain a 12* Deadlion Arm but don’t count on it.

Itsuki and Rina Arm Units

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Most people who ran recent seasonal quests probably have a stockpile of these units as-is. If you don’t, you might find this is the first 12* unit you get, because they seem to be given out at a pretty decent rate whenever you come across an Itsuki x Rina or Itsuki x Soro E-trial. However, this is still RNG and probably not a viable farming target, I just figured it’s worth mentioning because you may already have some.

Itsuki’s unit (blue) is a pretty decent defensive unit, providing 150 HP. It’s good for all classes, really.

Rina’s unit on the other hand is geared more towards ranged types, so I only really advise Rangers and Gunners invest anything into it.

So aside the complications of obtaining 12* units in the first place, the next issue is the same as the one that plagued the +35 NT weapon requirement:

My Current Gear is Better!

Currently, Saiki, Austere and Orbit units are perfectly viable at end-game and for the large part are more effective than 12* units. For players who invested a lot of Meseta into their affixes, they’ve felt no pressure to go and upgrade to a full 12* set.

Add to this that 12* unit drop rates are so abysmally low that they might not have found any yet and this requirement seems set to bar players with exceptionally good gear in favor of those who just picked up whatever crap they found or just plain Xie units.

This is why it’s the same problem as the weapon requirement; a player with a crappy +35 Revolucio weapon is let in while a player with an exceptionally well affixed Austere weapon (which is still solid at endgame, though is now beaten out by Zeinesis/Qliphad and Fornis alike) is barred from entry! Heck you could just raise a pet to lv120 and enter an expert block with any old shit.

This is what makes these Expert block requirements run counter to their own purpose: They encourage cheap shortcuts for entry rather than enforce an effective test to separate novice from expert.

Thoughts

This is a difficult problem they’re trying to solve; they want to make harder content and for that they need a better measuring stick for player performance with which they can tune said content. It’s particularly difficult in a game where player performance can vary so hugely due to so many different factors (class loadout, skill trees, gear, affixes, Mag stats, access to Team Tree buffs and of course skill).

I think the main concern with this is your progress could be halted by RNG and the idea that your worth as a player is measured by the roll of a dice isn’t a comfortable one. For now, getting a 12* Arm Unit is pretty much entirely luck unless you happen to know 11 other people you can run Ultimate Amduscia with.

However, this is really just under the conditions we have currently. We don’t know what content they might add down the line that might make meeting these requirements easier but then that has the danger of running into another issue; If the expert block requirements are too easy to meet, then are they really an effective barrier to keep novices out?

I am starting to wonder if segregating the player-base like this was really a good idea in the first place. One effect it may have is to put off returning players from returning at all, because they may not meet the expert block requirements yet and to do so will require them to put up with a potentially painful grind in the regular blocks which struggles to pass the content required to get the gear they need to get.

 

Arks Live: Questions and Answers

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So there was an information broadcast held today, in which various questions about upcoming content were answered. This is just gonna be a quick and dirty post to go over some of the questions and info sourced from this blog post here. I don’t speak or read Japanese however, so I’m largely depending on Google translate and bits of interpretation here and there. Hopefully I’ve got it accurate enough, though I’m leaving out some questions that got completely mangled by auto translate. Just a heads up though, there might be some inaccuracies.

Edit: Ah Bumped did one over here. They can actually translate rather than depend on a machine so check em out.

Q: Can any 80/80 character join the Deus Esca rematch quest?

A: No, you must have cleared Zephyros first.

Q: How strong is Deus Esca Gracia?

A: Its HP is reduced to about 40% but all damage dealt by players is reduced to around 50%. 

Because its attack power is high, it’d be wise to dodge its attacks. Gracia uses the same attack pattern as Zephyros.

This is a kind of strange approach they’re taking here. By reducing its health to 40% but also halving the damage we do to it its effective health is actually 80%. This is also effectively a buff to Summoner/Gunner and other Chain builds, because the damage cap will still be 999,999 damage but now each point of damage is worth effectively twice as much… I’m not sure they intended to make things even easier for Gunner types in light of the reason they implemented the damage cap in the first place!

So how tricky is this going to end up being? Well the actual fight is using the same attack patterns so it’ll be as difficult as it is now really. The main hangups are going to be at the 5-minute DPS check at the end and whether or not your party manages to not die 5 times. As far as I know, Zephyros has around 10M hp during the DPS check which doesn’t count the dragon heads. It typically takes a minute to kill the heads, so its more like 10M hp over 4 minutes which is 320 seconds. 10M/320/12 = 2600 total DPS per person at an absolute minimum. It’s a pretty low bar but after having seen some Damage Parser results I can guarantee you some people do not meet this bar.

So Gracia has its hp reduced to 40% and damage dealt to it is halved. Let’s say it still takes 1 minute to deal with the dragon heads so its 4M hp over 320 seconds between 4 people. This means your DPS will need to be around 3100 at the absolute minimum. Now of course, seeing as your damage is halved it means your current DPS needs to be higher than 6200. 6200 effective DPS is still a relatively low bar but you could well end up with people who can’t even do 1000 DPS. It’s gonna largely depend on your luck, really, but as long as each of you is doing at least 10K DPS to Zephyros right now you should quite comfortably clear it. For reference, the top players tend to do in the region of 25-35k DPS, depending on build and circumstances, so it might be possible to solo-carry Gracia in extreme cases.  These players make up a really small proportion of the playerbase though, so I wouldn’t count on it!

This rather brings up a design issue with the game if they’re going to start including more content like this; there is no way right now to measure your DPS without the use of tools that Sega has officially come out and said are a bannable offence. So how is a player meant to know if they’re good enough to run this content?

Q: Why was Deus Esca nerfed?

A: It was a balancing failure on our part. The first week clear rate was a mere 50%. 

Q: What was the clear rate difference between Extra Hard block parties and Expert block parties?

A: Expert blocks cleared it four times as often.

That’s pretty shocking! I had heard from people stuck in Extra Hard blocks that the clear rate was low but I had no idea it was that bad! In that respect, it really isn’t a surprise they felt the need to reduce the boss’s HP. This does rather highlight a serious issue with the current state of the game though and that’s the sheer variance in party performance due to just how much your damage scales off your gear. Whatever the reason people have for not upgrading their gear, the effect is dramatic.

Q: Can you get Phaleg’s Partner Card for defeating her?

A: No.

Q: What’s Hagito up to these days?

A: He’s doing charity work.

Q: It seems like the Just-Guard timing on Sword and Katana is different, is this true?

A: No, the timing is the same for both weapon (about 0.3 seconds)

Q: Are there plans to allow us to adjust and scale Units?

A: There are no plans at this time. 

Q: How far in advance is content planned?

A: We typically have a plan for the next 1 and half years. For example, plans were in place for implementing Dark Falz Elder and Kuna’s concert since the game’s release. Earth was also planned fairly early, however Episode 5 was not in the initial plans at all.

Q: There are four races among the ARKS, but are there children born to interracial couples?

A: Sure, why not?


Additional Details

Deus Esca

Disconnection policy still applies to Gracia (leaving or DCing enough could get you banned).

You can retry the quest if you fail, as long as you’re still within the 30 minute window to start the quest (unconfirmed).

Battle Arena Skill Change

It seems the Battle Arena skill “Protection” is getting nerfed. The plan appears to be to to reduce the max number of uses per match to 1 from 2.

Phaleg Battle

You’ll have 7 minutes to defeat her.

All healing effects are reduced by 80%.

The battle ends on death, but skills like Iron Will still work.

Phaleg will be able to gain weapon and element resists like Anga Fundarge, but can only resist one of each at a time.

PSO2 Station 6 Writeup

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It’s that time again! The 6th PSO2 Station went out earlier and it introduced a bunch of new trailers and some things to discuss. This time around we have new PVP features, Easter 2017, a glimpse of the new raid-boss Deus Esca Zephyros and the final part of the PSU celebration.

Also, say “エピソード4いよいよ完結” in-game before the 29th to get yourself a bunch of voice tickets!

Trailers

Easter 2017. Includes the Easter lobby, weapon and costume design contest winners (including Sadinian Suit for you wannabe Argonians out there) and the final chapter of Episode 4. Curiously does not include any Easter Seasonal quest…

A lot of stuff in this next one. Battle arena update, including new weapons and a skill system. Also a mini Rappy suit, the return of Annette and Jean (with Bruno as a new arrival), new Timed Abilities, Fashion catalogue system, furry themed costumes and the new Raid Boss.

For the final part of the Phantasy Star Universe celebration: Laia, Lumia and Beast face.

So yeah, a few bits to go through. I’ll only go over the stuff I personally feel is interesting to talk about, but as always you can find a full recap over at Bumped.


Battle Arena Update

So the update introduces 3 new weapons and an expansion to the system in the form of skills. So yeah, the mode has barely been out and they’re already adding a brand new system to it…

Yeah I know, that sounds like the most pointless whine and it probably is but I feel like for something competitive like this introducing something that can completely shatter the meta so soon after releasing it just feels wrong to me. That said, the mode as it stands does lack depth, so perhaps the addition of the skill system will go some way to address this… maybe. It’s just it feels like rather than this being an update it instead comes across as they released the mode before it was properly finished and are only now rolling out the rest of the features they wanted for it. Maybe I’m overthinking this, though.

New Weapons

The new weapons this time are Bullet Bow and Jet Boots.

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Bullet Bows come with Last Nemesis, which is an attack that takes a very long time to charge but hits very hard when it fires. It also has considerable rage in PvE but it remains to be seen how much of that is kept for the PvP version.

I can’t imagine Last Nemesis really successfully hitting many people in battles unless they’re distracted, because the charge time is so long and well telegraphed that outside of corridors people are going to have plenty of opportunity to either head for cover or attack you while it’s charging up. even in a corridor situation, a Sword user could block it and if the latency is low enough it should be trivial to time your i-frames around the fire time.

That said, one thing to remember about Bullet Bows is their normal attack damage is actually quite high. This makes them a potentially powerful ranged attack which doesn’t even require PP to utilize.

PVPJetboots

Jet Boots are going to be a pretty interesting addition as well. They retain their ability to double-jump, making these the most mobile weapons in the mode so far. It also lets you attack from angles that other weapons currently can’t by allowing you to jump up to areas that are otherwise tricky to access. Effectively they’re gonna be the Genji of this game if that makes any sense to you.

Jetboots come with two Photon Arts: Gran Wave and Strike Gust.

Gran Wave retains its ability to home in on players, though the demo footage suggests it might be tricky to actually land it on people. It could be the demo player was bad at using it but it just seems like it can whiff pretty easily. It also retains its shift action though, which is an absurdly long period of i-frames. This could let you zoom in for an attack then try to use your i-frames to escape. It does not retain its ability to cast Deband, however which would be pretty ridiculous if it could.

Strike Gust shift-action seems like it’s a hard hitter, though it has much smaller range than the likes of Nova Break or Rising Edge. I could maybe see it being used to get a surprise attack from above, but other than that I feel like this PA would be too easy to miss with and might leave you too vulnerable. It does not retain its Shifta effect.

So yeah, the pair of weapons seem like they’ll be interesting additions to the mode at least. Bullet Bows will grant a back-line sniper role that may be more effective than current sniping options and Jetboots seem to suit a more assassin type of playstyle. These are my thoughts of course, it’s hard to tell exactly where these weapons will fit into the meta until people have had the chance to try them.

One downside I can think of is there will be a bigger pool of items that are going to be randomly assigned when you use one of the weapon nodes. This means you’re going to be less likely to get the weapons you want or the ones your team needs than you are currently. This problem will only get worse if they add more weapon in the future (and datamining does suggest there are more to come, including Katana and Launcher if I recall correctly)

PVP Skill System

Either at the start of a Battle or whenever you respawn (it’s not exactly clear) you’ll get the choice between 3 different skills to take. These 3 are randomly chosen out of a pool of 5 different skills, because the game mode needed yet more randomness.

Once you pick a skill, it gets added to your action bar and you can use it a certain number of times. There seems to be no apparent cool-down on these skills.

Protection 

Massively reduces the amount of damage you take for a period of time.

It’s essentially an on-command use of the spawn-room buff you get whenever you re-spawn. It looks like it reduces damage by around 90% which is pretty crazy as it’d allow you to pretty much tank any attack the game currently has including Rising Edge. Might allow Sword users to jump into a pile of enemies without fear to help break a bunkered team in the rainbow emblem spawn area perhaps.

Sprint

Increases your movement speed for a short time.

Straightforward ability. The demo footage uses it to get behind enemy lines quickly which is what I imagine the main use of this skill would end up being. It could also be used as an escape tool, though it might not work that well if the enemy is using ranged attacks (or you’re lagging…). Seems to be a pretty minor buff to movement speed, so I don’t know I’m honestly not sure this skill would have much of an impact generally.

Stun Shot

Fires a fast moving projectile that inflicts a short duration stun on enemies.

If you want to make PVP an un-fun experience a surefire way to do it is to add crowd-control abilities. Stunning a player successfully pretty much turns it into a guaranteed kill if you have a followup attack to use with it. Combine this with lag and this either has the potential to become one of the most frustrating abilities in the mode or one of the most unreliable. It depends on how it interacts with lag, really.

PP Unlimited

Massively reduces the PP consumed by Techs and PAs

I feel like the application of this skill should be obvious. The ability to spam your PA without consequence is kind of major.

Cure

Recovers HP and cures status effects

Effectively quadruples your HP pool. This could be potentially nasty if combined with the relatively high HP that sword grants but naturally the ability to self-heal is a powerful addition to any weapon type.

Thoughts

I have serious concerns about this system for the health of the mode. Now, my concerns in the past have proven needless before (I will never forget my post on Bouncers..) but I honestly think these skills in general will make the mode more frustrating than it is now.

Now you may rightly point out that other PVP games have skills just like this, what’s the issue? I argue the issue lies in the fact that anyone could have any skill. In other PVP games you can tell either by their class or by the character the enemy is using what skills they’re likely to have at their disposal. So you can potentially bait out dangerous skills or anticipate abilities that might be dangerous to you and decide whether you can countermeasure them or just choose not to engage because you’ll likely lose if you do. You can do that in PvP at the moment because you can see the enemy’s weapon which gives you some idea of how you could go about fighting them. Do they have a Sword? If you have One Point it’s not a wise idea to engage unless there’s considerable distance or they’re distracted. Do you have Piercing Shell? You can greatly cripple their survivability! You can make these kinds of decisions when you have some idea of what abilities the enemy is going to have; you can’t with the skill system because it’s completely random.

It’s also an additional level of RNG at the spawn. What happens if one team ends up with a majority of a skill that the other team rolled no effective counters to? For example, the enemies get majority Cure and none of yours do? One team is likely to utterly stomp the other! This could be a real issue as winning a fight early gives you control over the Rainbow Emblem spawning area, which can be very difficult for the losing team to take back. .

I’m not even going to go into the issues that lag could create with these skills…

But as I said, I’m not sure if these skills are assigned at the start of a match only or if they’re rolled every time you die. It’s also probably not going to be as bad as I suggest it is, honestly.

New Battle Coin Items

PVPShopmk2

You can obtain the new Jet Boots and Bullet Bow as weapon camos. You can also obtain Rappy Suit Mini for the princely sum of 100,000 coins!

I should note that being smaller doesn’t reduce the size of your hitbox in this game, however it might make you harder to spot…

All of this will be arriving late April.


Phantasy Star Universe Part 3

So yeah, data-mining was right about Laia and Lumia joining us in the final part of this event. Laia arrives sporting Guardians Formal and wielding her signature weapon “Laia Axe”, which turned out to be a Partizan. Lumia meanwhile is sporting the Guardians Uniform F and is wielding her rod the Viedima, which is a low-tier rod made by GRM (a weapons company in Phantasy Star Universe).

So in the end it seems they decided to create a new face model type for Laia. I was curious how they were gonna handle her beastly features. I’m also quite glad to see Guardians Formal make its way to PSO2 as it’s one of my favorite outfits from the game and it doesn’t look like they went too nuts with the physics on it. As for how it looks, it does seem rather flat like other PSU model ports, but it’s hard to really tell with compressed video.

Beyond that the event will see the revival of a bunch of different Phantasy Star cosmetics, including a lot of the PSP2 outfits we already have and the addition of the default Beast costumes from PSP2:Infinity among other things.

BeastFace

You’ll also be able to get the Beast face model for your character…. if you’re willing to shell out enough cash because they stuck it in the Bonus Scratch. God damn it.

And that’s it for the Phantasy Star Universe event. In the end it was some crossover characters and a large pile of cosmetics. Pretty nifty as I like the characters and some of the oufits, I’m just a little disappointed that we didn’t get any of the bosses like they did for the PSO event.

The final visit from the Guardians of Gurhal will start mid-April and they’ll be around in the lobby until the 7th of June.


Deus Esca Zephyros

The boss whose name just keeps on growing it seems. The (probably) last raid boss of Episode 4 will be arriving in late April.

DoosEsca.jpg

Like the Yamato quest, the first part will see the Arks going up against hordes of heavenly Phantom Angel enemies as they climb Yggdrasil. This includes a re-skin of Maxwell’s demons and Kuron’s centaur enemies. All of the minions on the way to Deus Esca seem to be weak to Dark element.

Deus Esca himself however is weak to both Dark and Light which… I don’t understand why we needed yet another Raidboss weak to Light. Guess the Ragrants spam carries on!

It also generally doesn’t appear to hit that hard and no raid-wipe move was demonstrated. It did fire off an attack which did between 1200-2200 damage to anyone it hit, which depending on which stats it scales from could effectively be a raid-wipe but it doesn’t appear to be attached to any mechanics plus you can just move out of the way of it…

Zenesis Weapon Collection

It wouldn’t be a raid-boss post Episode 4 without a weapon collection!

ZenesisCollection.jpg

All we really know about the Zenesis series so far is numbers and what they look like. We know absolutely nothing about the weapon potential.

The weapons come with Ability 3, Deus Factor, Stamina 3 and Spirita 3. It can be assumed that Deus Factor will be +20 S-atk, +10 T-atk, +10 R-Atk, 20 HP and 1 PP based on Yamato and Mother Factors. So S-Atk weapons come with +35 attack and all others come with +25. With that information, we know that Zenesis Sword comes with 1232 S-atk at +0, which makes it ever so slightly stronger than Astra Separ and 51 S-atk weaker than Gix Zangulum. As always it really just comes down to whatever its potential turns out to be.

This Collection Sheet does not come with any eggs, but it does have a 13* Tact. You can obtain a 13* Rappy but only as a drop.

Zenesis Units

ZenesisUnits.jpg

They’re units from a Raid Boss. Even if they’re decent they might as well not exist.

I might be a little bitter about unit drops given that I have yet to get a single Mother unit since its been our and I’ve only ever seen one Invade Unit drop.

Aside its appearance though we know nothing about its stats so who knows maybe they’re rubbish anyway.

14* Weapons

Speaking of items you will never see, Deus will come with 3 brand new 14* weapons; a DoubleSaber, Wand and Tact. Yes, a 14* Tact.

tact

The Tact seems to be Rykros Baton from Phantasy Star Portable 2. It has the special ability to fire un-charged Megids with each swing.

14wand

The Wand seems to be Lavis Cannon. Its special ability seems to be the same as Form Wand in that it can fire shock-waves on each swing.

14dsaber

The Doublesaber however is a mystery. It was initially presumed to be Twin Blaze from Phantasy Star Online but it doesn’t really look very much like it. It’s also unknown what the weapon’s special ability is as they don’t really demonstrate it doing anything unique.


Episode 5 Announced

The teaser at the end of this broadcast actually teased two separate updates; a Chapter EX for Episode 4 and the announcement of Episode 5 in name and vague theme alone.

Phaleg Fight

Phaleg has taken off the training gloves and will be going all out, testing Player-chan for all they’re worth.

The fight seems to play out much like the one we’ve already had with a couple of new moves; a ranged stun combo and a large area-of-effect stomp.

She also seems to pull off a cutscene phoenix-kick attack that nukes the tower platform. It’s not known at this point whether this is a punishment for failing a raid-like mechanic, for running out of time or if she’ll use this move regardless of wether you win or lose because she’s canonically far more powerful than anything else in the current lore (including the player character).

I’m also not entirely sure when this fight is set, because it’s slated as “coming soon”. So this could either be happening before or after Ardem’s defeat, it’s hard to tell at this point.

Episode 5

Here we go, official confirmation that Episode 5 is happening. They didn’t share any details aside some themes however, which are:

  • A new world
  • Resurrection
  • Reincarnation

This has led some to worry that the reincarnation system from PSP2:Infinity might be coming back but I think they’re jumping the gun a bit sharply. For one thing, you could equally argue that the theme of Episode 4 (which was “Reborn”) could have been that as well. If I were to hazard a guess, it has something to do with Profound Darkness doing something to finally break free of the time-loop that Persona and Xiao have had it trapped in for the last 2 years. However with so little information to go on I feel like any speculation is no better than a shot in the dark for now.

A new world does suggest we’re heading to a new planet at least, though it might also be referring to the world we knew but changed in some drastic manner. Or indeed the comment thread on the datamining post is on to something and it turns out we’re re-writing Phantasy Star 3…

We should definitely know more before spring is done, mind, as Episode 5 is due for release some time in the Summer.

BATTLE WARRIORS

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The PVP arena has arrived and honestly overall it’s not that bad. It’s not terribly good either, but there’s a lot to appreciate about it I think. This post will be entirely dedicated to most things Battle Arena.

There’s still some information in this post that needs verifying, so bare in mind it may get updated in the future.

Da Rules

It’s a point race, essentially. You gain points by grabbing allied, enemy and rainbow emblems. You’ll also earn points for killing enemies and lose points for getting killed.

The breakdown works something like this:

  • Allied emblems are 1 point each.
  • Enemy emblems are 5 points each
  • Rainbow emblems are 10 points each
  • The team’s score is the total of each of its member’s individual scores.
  • The team with the highest total score is the winner.
  • Killing enemies gives you 10% of their individual points.
  • Dying (including by suicide) causes you to lose 10% of your points.
  • Lava is bad for you. Don’t swim in the lava.
  • You’ll only earn Battle Coins for doing Ranked games
    • You can only solo queue for ranked.

Ranking

Your rank is entirely dependent on what your current “Arena Point” score is (ARP). You will only gain Arena Points when you win matches and beyond a certain rank you’ll lose some when you’re defeated. The lowest rank is D5 while the highest is Legend.

Rank ARP requirements:

  • D5 – 0 ARP
  • D4 – 20 ARP
  • D3 – 40 ARP
  • D2 – 60 ARP
  • D1 – 80 ARP
  • C5  – 100 ARP
  • C4 – 140 ARP
  • C3 – 180 ARP
  • C2 – 220 ARP
  • C1 – 260 ARP
  • B5 – 300 ARP
  • B4 – 380 ARP
  • B3 – 460 ARP
  • B2 – 540 ARP
  • B1 – 620 ARP
  • A5 – 700 ARP
  • A4 – 800 ARP
  • A3 – 900 ARP
  • A2 – 1000 ARP
  • A1 – 1100 ARP
  • S5 – 1200 ARP
  • S4 – 1360 ARP
  • S3 – 1520 ARP
  • S2 – 1680 ARP
  • S1 –  1840 ARP
  • LEGEND – 2000 ARP

Rankpoints lost on defeat:

  • D5-D1 : 0pt
  • C5 – C1 : -5pt
  • B5 – B1 : -6pt
  • A5 – A1: -10pt
  • S5 – S1: -15pt
  • LEGEND: -20pt

So in terms of rank progression, you’ll only progress if you’re exceeding a certain win percentage. For each rank:

  • D5-D1: No loss in progress, so any win-rate.
  • C5-C1: Greater than 20% win-rate
  • B5-B1: Greater than 23% win-rate
  • A5-A1: Greater than 33% win-rate.
  • S5 – S1: Greater than 42% win-rate.

There are titles for hitting certain ranks that reward Stargems.

  • 20 Stargems: Play a ranked match.
  • 30 Stargems: Reach C-rank
  • 50 Stargems: Reach B-rank
  • 100 Stargems: Reach A-rank
  • 300 Stargems: Reach S-rank
  • 500 Stargems: Reach LEGEND rank.

Your rank points are reset every month. At the end of the month your rank is set to:

  • Legend -> S1
  • S1-S4 -> S5
  • S5 -> A1
  • A1 – A4 -> A5
  • A5 -> B1
  • B1-B4 -> B5
  • B5 > C1
  • C1 – C4 -> C5
  • C5 -> D1
  • D1 – D4 -> D5
  • D5 -> D5.
  • So if you’re B1 at the end of the month, your rank is set to B5.

There are apparently monthly prizes for whatever rank you managed to get. As far as I know there’s no details as to what these prizes are.

General Tips

This is just gonna be a few things I feel is generally good advice when playing this mode. While you’ll still get Battle Coins for losing (and not much more for winning), it’s a competitive mode so come on. You wanna win. Bare in mind this is largely gut feeling and personal experience, though.

Because it’s a team score, not an individual score, dying is a pretty big deal. Like it costs your team possibly more points than they’ll be able to make back in a reasonable time, so playing overly aggressively is a bad idea. You want to pick your battles carefully. Look for enemy players that are way out of position/too far from allies that can be picked off while being wary not to wander too far from allies yourself!

In particular on the Volcano stage, do not try a jump you don’t think you can make. Dying costs your team points, so every time you fuck up a jump and end up in the lava you put your team at a real disadvantage.

pvptokyomap
Tokyo map
pvpcavesmap
Volcano map
pvpforestmap
Forest map

The most valuable spot on the map is the area the Rainbow Emblems spawn. If your team manages to control this spot you’ll be at a major advantage. On the maps pictured nearby it’s on center-left in Tokyo and middle on both Volcano and Forest. As stated though, don’t be reckless and just throw yourself at this area, because you could just end up feeding if you do. If the enemy are guarding this area too well, consider hunting stragglers/respawners but you really want to try to join a group push to re-take the rainbow emblem area because its a very lucrative spot.

The top 3 players on each team are marked on the map and visible by an emblem over their heads. They’re worth more points for your team, so use the fact you can see them at all times to your advantage to set up an ambush. Beware that this cuts both ways, as in when you have an emblem over your head you’ll no longer be able to pull off a sneak attack. Additionally, when you’re in the top 3 your team loses more points when you die.

Spending time farming for weapons is time you’re not spending collecting emblems. However, this mode isn’t terribly well balanced and some attacks are just significantly better than others. It might be worth farming nodes for replacement weapons if the one you have will put you at a significant disadvantage. For example, if the enemy are all camping an area you really want to have some ranged pressure to apply, which a sword won’t allow you to do.

Positioning is relatively important I feel. Like if you have a melee weapon you really don’t want to be out in the open, you want to be around corners and in places where you can get the jump on an unsuspecting enemy. You’ll generally want to try to use cover to your advantage, however you’re less vulnerable if you have a ranged weapon. If you have a teching weapon, charge your tech from behind cover then jump out to fire it, as charging in the open is risky.

If you respawn and the weapon upgrade message happens, you’ll want to get a new weapon quickly unless you have something like Onepoint or Rising Edge.

I feel like prioritizing kills over emblem collection might actually be worth it, because enemy deaths cost their team so heavily. Going for enemy emblems is generally too risky to be worth it, as you’ll be at re-spawn disadvantage and when you die you’ll lose more points than you gained.

Those are my thoughts at least. Hopefully they work for you but I’m promising nothing!

Weapons and Photon Arts

For now there are only three weapon types: Sword (Nova Break, Rising Edge), Assault Rifle (One Point, Piercing Shell) and Rod (Foie, Zonde, Megid). I’ll go over my opinions of each of them.

Nova Break

It’s a kind of short range, slow but fairly hard hitting attack. If you follow up with a step attack fast enough, you’ll kill the enemy player before their ground i-frames kick in. It does have a short wind-up time that leaves you vulnerable, however.

Rising Edge

This unique version of Rising Edge has extended range and deals a huge amount of damage; enough to one-shot most enemy players. Its not a terribly wide attack however, so some accuracy is required. It also locks you in place, so if you miss the enemy do not spam the PA button or else you’ll end up missing again. This attack does leave you sort of vulnerable while using it.

One Point

Deals consistent, easy to apply damage at long range. Its damage is kind of low, however and while using it you’re either staying still or moving slowly which makes you an easy target. One Point also doesn’t flinch, so combined with its low damage it is possible to run up to someone using One Point and melee them to death.

Piercing Shell

Deals low damage and inflicts a heavy injury debuff on enemies it hits. It can pierce enemies, however its a pretty small projectile so it’s not going to happen often. The projectile is slow moving however, so it’s hard to hit moving targets with it unless they’re moving directly at or away from you.

Foie

Foie is as solid as ever. Fairly quick charge time and hits hard. You can also graze enemies with it, allowing you to hit multiple enemies at once. Beware that you’ll need to lead shots with it if the enemy is far enough away.

Zonde

Deals moderate damage to an enemy at kinda medium range. Takes a long while to charge but is actually pretty difficult to miss with if the enemy is in range. Charging it up from behind barriers can be an effective way to snipe unsuspecting players. You won’t kill them in one hit, but you’ll weaken them significantly.

Megid

Deals good damage in a large explosive area. The projectile travels very slowly however, giving enemies plenty of time to avoid it unless they’re lagging. Works well on enemies in areas where movement is restricted like corridors.

Overall, I feel One Point and Rising Edge are the most effective attacks in the arena however if used right all of the attacks can be pretty effective. It’s just personally I feel like Megid and Zonde are a little too niche and Piercing Shell a bit unreliable. Zonde might see more use if its charge time and range wasn’t so restrictive. Megid just needs a faster projectile.

Battle Coins – Prizes

So after every game you earn a varying amount of battle coins, with bonuses for winning, getting MVP in various stats and for being the underdog in an uneven match. For your trouble, you can get a selection of cosmetic and functional items.

Unlimited Shop

There is no limitation on the items you can buy in this shop. Buy as many as you like!

battleshop01

  • 2,800 coins: Sword Camo, Rifle Camo and Rod Camo for
  • 2,800 coins: Rappy Make-up
  • 1400 coins: 4-slot Vraolet
  • 2800 coins: 6-slot Vraolet
  • 250 coins: Arena Booster
  • 200 coins: Lambda Grinder
  • 200 coins: Extreme Pass
  • 200 coins: 15000 EXP Ticket.

The Vraolets include Phrase Receptor and Sentence Receptor, allowing you transfer the Special Ability Factors of Gix and other weapon series (such as Astral and Fornis) without having to sacrifice another +35 of those series to do it. I see it as more of a future proofing mechanism so you can still use those affixes long after the Collection Files have disappeared.

Arena boosters are used to unlock Arena potentials on certain weapons. So far the only two series to have Arena Potentials are Revolucio and Aura weapons. As with other Potential unlock items, you’ll need 12 of them to max out your weapon. This means you’ll need 3000 coins for every weapon you wish to unlock the Arena Potential on. Their potentials are as follows:

Aura

  • Power and passive PP recovery increases depending on how many abilities are on the weapon. It also boosts PP recovered on attack by the number of abilities.
  • Numbers are per ability on your item.
  • Lv1:
    • Power : 1.25%
    • PP recovered on attack : 2%
    • Passive recovery : 2%
  • Lv2:
    • Power : 1.5%
    • PP recovered on attack : 2.5%
    • Passive recovery  : 3%
  • Lv3:
    • Power : 2%
    • PP recovered on attack :  3%
    • Passive recovery : 4%

A curious potential indeed. It means to get the most out of it you’re going to need to raise the weapon to 8-slot which is going to be tricky. If you do manage it however, you now have a weapon with a 16% power boost with 24% additional PP recovered on attack and +36% passive PP recovery. That’s pretty solid, overall! I mean heck, that’s 12%/18%/24% if you go for a more modest 6-slot.

That said, you do actually want to put decent affixes on your gear, so it’s not wise to just up-slot the weapon for the sake of having a stronger potential.

The Aura Collection File is set to return in the near future.

Revolucio

  • Increases power every time you deal a certain amount of damage, take a certain amount of damage and use a certain amount of PP
  • Lv1:
    • 1% increase for every 150,000 damage dealt, 750 damage taken and 250PP used
  • Lv2:
    • 1% increase for every 100,000 damage dealt, 550 damage taken and 175PP used
  • Lv3:
    • 1% increase for every 50,000 damage dealt, 300 damage taken and 100 PP used
  • To a maximum power increase of 16%
  • Resets on weapon swap

This potential really only suits builds that only use one weapon and can play very aggressively. However, the damage dealt part of the potential should get you to max power fairly quickly so this at least negates some of the reset issues this weapon could have. Overall not completely sold on this one, but 16% damage boost is pretty nice and if you haven’t gotten a 13* yet this wouldn’t be too bad.

Limited Purchase Shop

Most items in this shop are limited to a certain number of purchases per week. There are also items that are only temporarily available in the shop.

battleshop02

  • 200 coins: 10 Star Gems (5 per week)
  • 200 coins: 5 Star Gems (10 per week)
  • 11000 coins: Blue Rapid Suit, Blue Rapid dress, Red Rapid Suit, Red Rapid Dress (1 per week)
  • 5500 coins: Winner Dance (1 per week)
  • 3300 coins: Rear / Shine Blue (1 per week)
  • 3300 coins: Rear / Shine Red (1 per week)
  • 2800 coins: +2% Element (1 per week…)
  • 1100 coins: Affix success rate boost +40% (1 per week)
  • 50 coins: +20 Mining Stamina Drink (10 per week)
  • 50 coins: +20 Fishing Stamina Drink (10 per week)
  • 50 coins: Advance Capsule d, e and f (50 per week)

Rapid Suits, the Lobby Action and the Shine units are available until the 20th of September because… I have no idea why honestly.

So yeah, probably the most interesting items there are the units and the Stargems. It doesn’t take that long to earn 1000 Battle Coins so an extra 50 gems per week isn’t too shabby (or 3000 to get the rest for a total of 100 Stargems per week).

The two units have very different stats. The blue unit gives HP and PP while the red unit gives stronger attack and defense stats. Here are the known numbers:

  • Rear / Shine Red –
    • +80 all attack
    • +80 DEX
    • +3% strike/shoot/tech resist
    • +10% fire resist.
    • 337/330/334 S-R-T-def at +10.
  • Rear /Shine Blue –
    • 150 HP
    • 5 PP
    • +3% strike/shoot/tech resist
    • +10% ice resist
    • 323/319/322 S-R-T-def at +10

Not completely sold on either of these units, honestly. The lack of HP and PP on the red unit kinda hurts it and the complete lack of attack on the other makes it fairly lackluster too. However, these are 12* units still and they’re significantly easier to obtain than other 12*s for now. They might be worth getting if you really need the additional Ring slot.

Overall Thoughts

It’s surprisingly fun. I thought it would honestly be a lot more frustrating than it is but the mode works well enough that it feels good to strike enemies down through careful positioning and mind games. Of course you can also get killed because someone ran up to you with Rising Edge.

My main beef with it is how it handles latency, as my connection is bad enough that some attacks are outright impossible for me to use. For example, me using Megid is almost pointless as the enemy can easily dodge it, while I can’t dodge enemy megid because even if I jump behind cover the server will still register the hit. I’m often getting killed without any damage numbers at that, which feels so bizarre. However, this is the kind of thing I did expect going into an action-based PVP game hosted in Japan. For those having a similarly lag filled experience, I advise sticking to Assault Rifles, Foie and Zonde if you can as these seem to be the most lag-friendly weapons.

Will this mode last? I think it might, though I suspect it’ll be a lot less active once people have gotten the cosmetics and units they wanted to get. Beyond the weekly Stargems and possibly Receptor gear though I don’t think there’s enough reward for it to be really active longterm.

That said, the game uses a cross-block matchmaking server to create games and it seems like they might be hosted on a different server. This will help its longevity somewhat. My only beef with this system is why isn’t something like this present for the entire game at large? Removing dependency on parking in blocks for content would alleviate so many issues the game has it’s kinda unreal. Aside technical issues, I suspect the main thing holding them back is the existence of Premium block space, as losing that incentive might not be worth it to them…

Anyway that’ll do for one post. There’s a few more non Battle-Arena things I want to go over but I think I’ll do those in separate posts.

Lv80 Cap: Tentative Info

sierrafacepalm

Just a short post speculating on what’s out there for the lv80 cap raise coming up in March. I’ll likely talk about this again as we’ll be getting some new info on the 28th with the 4th PSO2 Station. In this post I’m just going to go over and have a bit of a rant on what’s known with my primary source being this post on GHeaven.

Unlike more recent level cap raises there’s going to be a couple conditions you’ll need to satisfy in order to level past 75.

Skillpoint Orders

The first is arguably reasonable in the current environment most lv75s are in. It may require you to have completed all of your class’s SP orders. Seeing as you’re likely going to want to  have both your main and at least one subclass to lv80 you’re going to want to make sure you have those SP orders done! If you haven’t, start running your daily Featured Quests for shots at Bonus Keys or hit up Advance Quests with some friends.

For new players however this could make the levelling up experience stilted, because once they hit lv75 they effectively now have to level from lv74 to lv75 22 more times in order to then be able to proceed to lv76. Unless they make getting those class cubes easier later on that’s going to create something that could feel like a brick wall to new players, especially when you then add in that they’re going to have to do it for their subclass as well!

However! The alternative significantly less dumb idea is that the SP orders will simply shift to lv80 instead, which means it’ll take longer to clear them as each class cube will take longer to earn. Still dumb but not a massive bump in the road dumb.

Weapon Grind and Affix Requirement

But there’s more! So we know recently they’ve been considering measures to try to combat people entering end-game Emergency Quests with really bad gear by adding a weapon grind requirement to Expert Blocks. I assume that this condition, if it turns out to be true, is yet another attempt to combat it with content beyond Extra Hard on the horizon.

If Gheaven is right, you will need to have +35’d a weapon and have at least 6 affixes on it.

I genuinely hope they don’t go through with this mostly because +35ing a 13* weapon is a tedious affair even if you’re playing relatively hardcore. The affixing requirement on top of that just seems like overkill to me, especially when you can have a more than adequate weapon with 4 affixes!

Consider:

  • +35 Astra weapon with some attack soul , stat IV, Flict/Alter and Noble/Elegant.
  • vs
  • +35 Astra weapon with Spirita 1, Power 1, Arm 1, Mind 1, Body 1, Lucky rise 2

I know which I’d rather people have! It’s not the quantity of affixes, it’s which affixes that are important. Beyond that, actually creating a 6-slot affix can be pretty irritating to pull off.

Typically when affixing, people tend to push from lower slot count to higher slot count because it’s cheaper to do so. However doing so comes with a risk, as up-slotting reduces the success rate of every affix depending on the current total number of slots. It’s harder to up-slot from 3 to 4 than it is from 2 to 3.

With careful planning and using booster items you can keep up-slot success rates at 100%, which is wise as some affixes are very hard to obtain. However, this luxury ends at 4 slots. You can check for yourself at http://pso2affix.seilent.net/ but I’ll go over some numbers here:

  • Pushing from 3 to 4 slots reduces success rate by 40%.
    • The maximum booster happens to be 40%, so this is the last time you can completely cancel out the chance of failure outside of an event boost
  • Pushing from 4 to 5 slots reduces success rate by 50%
    • Event boosts tend to be 10%, so this combined with the strongest boost item you can use will be the last time you can cancel out failure even with an event!
  • Pushing from 5 to 6 slots reduces success rate by 55%
    • Doesn’t take much math to work out you can max out your odds at 95% with an event and 85% without.

The thing to keep in mind is if it’s 100% you’re going to pass. If it’s 95% this success rate is rolled on every single slot you have, which means in this case it’s 95% 6 times. During an event and using a 40% booster your total chance of success is 73% which is pretty good odds. Without it’s 85% 6 times, which leaves you with an uncomfortable 37.7%. This is why people making high slot affixes treasure event boosts so heavily because that 10% makes an enormous impact when spread out over 6 slots! Note that this assumes you manage to get 100% before the up-slot on all affixes, because if you don’t the odds of that 6-slot succeeding go down even further.

Point is, they effectively expect you to do a gamble in order to earn the right to level up to 76. I get the idea, you want people to have better gear in the very top end of the spectrum but this isn’t going to achieve that because this system doesn’t care what affixes you use. It’s also just going to serve as a barrier to those with solid gear just because the affix count isn’t quite high enough, which is ridiculous. If you have something like Astral Soul, Power V, Modulator, Flict/Alter Arma and Elegant Power you are more than decent enough. Adding one affix isn’t going to change your performance much, though arguably in the face of high weapon attack power affixes in general don’t have the impact they used to so putting so much importance on them just seems silly. For example, on a weapon with 1500 attack, adding 30% more element is adding 450 more effective attack to it. That competes with the total attack you could get from weapon and armor affixes, let alone dwarfing the amount of attack you could gain from the most extreme 8-slot weapon affix never-mind 6.

Tidbits

According to G-heaven there will be no new skills added with the lv80 cap raise. It’s just simply going to amount to 5 more Skill Points and some extra stats. That’s it. Pretty disappointing to find this out, especially for classes already struggling to work out where to put all their points as it is.

It does seem like there will be content in the future that will require lv80; content possibly beyond Extra Hard. The cynic in me is convinced that this is going to end up being Emergency Quests only and the rest of the game will remain untouched but hopefully I’m proven wrong on that. Just like I hope my rant on the affixing requirement turns out to be a waste of typing because it’s that stupid.

Closing Thoughts

If this update plays out as current information seems to suggest it will this could possibly be the stupidest update that PSCrew has ever rolled out. The requirements as proposed are likely to have a negative impact on the game going forward as it presents an unreasonable barrier to new players and an unexpected barrier to older ones. It’ll also fail to create an environment where everyone queuing up for end-game content has consistent or at least reasonable gear unless the actual requirements are more intricate than they’ve let on. Guess we’ll see on the 28th but my best hope at this point is that it isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Who knows though, maybe this entire post is wrong. That’d be nice…