PSO2 Station 6 Writeup

hot.jpg

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.

PVPbulletbow

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

deadcats.jpg

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…

Hi, Mom!

ardembanner

With the latest update we got to face off against Episode 4’s second raidboss; the malevolent shell of Escafalz Mother. I hope you’re somewhat used to the Rideroid by now!

I did want this post out sooner but new information kept kinda trickling in, making me re-write good portions of it. It’s possible some of the information in this will turn out to be wrong later on anyway..

The Fight

Chase

mom_chase

You’ll chase Mother around the moon base on your Rideroid. The base is more like a racetrack, which you can end up doing multiple laps of before it times out. Each lap the course gains additional obstacles, making keeping up with Mother increasingly difficult.

As well as avoiding obstacles, Mother herself will be throwing a large array of attacks at you all of which do considerable amounts of damage. There’s not much you’re going to be able to shrug off, as the healing circles restore very little of your health.

You’ll need to keep up with her, as if you get too far away you’ll take constant damage and be killed.

mom_walls
Get close and break her balls! You can also barrel-roll into her wall attack to deflect them into her. Doing so seems to slow her down.

In order to defeat Mother, you’ll need to break her four cores which stuns her. In that time, you’ll need to do as much damage to her as you can! Repeat this a few times (she’s typically down on her third break) and she should be defeated with relative ease. They give you a huge window of time to do this, so after people get used to the Rideroid part you should see very few failures. If you do fail, you’ll get a B rank which has a huge impact on the amount of drops you’ll get. At that point, you may want to consider abandoning unless you’re not sure you’ll get an additional run. It’ll still count just the same for collection file progress even if you do get a B-rank.

You have a few abilities at your disposal:

Autoshoot

Autoshoot will automatically fire at Mother as long as your crosshairs are over an attackable point.

Missiles

Fires a bunch of homing missiles that do decent damage. Again, you need to have your crosshairs over an attackable target for this to work. Take the environment into account, too, because the missiles can crash into them wasting your attack.

Do a Barrel Roll

You’ll spin on the spot, dealing damage within melee range. This is by far your most damaging attack and you should be mercilessly spamming it when the opportunity presents itself. This attack also serves other purposes, such as reflecting Mother’s spinning wall attacks back at her!

Overboost

Puts your Rideroid into overdrive, letting you catch up to Mother more quickly. It should be noted that most of the time you’re moving faster than Mother is but she can move in bursts or you spend too much time dodging and she gets away from you.

Dying

Well it’s sort of an ability! If you run out of HP you’ll be “dead” and have to wait 5 seconds to be respawned. You’ll be respawned right in front of Mother and are allowed up to 12 deaths before it negatively impacts your rank. As a result, if you fall behind far enough it might be better to die and respawn than attempt to catch up.

Phase 1

Phase one is relatively straightforward. She uses a bunch of well telegraphed attacks, based largely on which arms happen to be up. The main body is invulnerable while arms are alive, so the only thing you can do here is DPS those down. Once all arms are dead, Mother will be stunned for a while, exposing her core. Burn the core as hard as you can, as you only have a limited window.

She’ll repeat this cycle a few times, summoning more arms each time you down her. The more arms she had at the time, the longer she’ll be stunned for when you break them all. The number of times you’ll have to do this depends on your MPA’s DPS, as if your MPA fails to meet the DPS check while she’s stunned you’ll have to stun her an additional time meaning you’ll have to kill more arms. Their HP is not shared with Mother, so failing these checks will mean a significantly longer fight, overall.

Each arm has an attack or two borrowed from a Dark Falz. You can tell which arms are generating which attacks by looking at their crowns; Loser has wings, Double has a wall , Apprentice has sort of bug-eyes with mandibles and Elder has the head and fins from its Falz Arms. Due to the way they attack, generally Loser’s arm ends up being the last one to be taken down as it’s the most mobile. The most dangerous one is Double’s, which can put up a circular wall around the party and deal devastating damage to anyone who fails to escape. The rest deal very little damage and isn’t difficult to heal through.

Overall I like this phase but it overstays its welcome if your MPA’s DPS isn’t up to scratch. You can end up going through the cycle of breaking arms and assaulting Mother’s chest up to six times and personally by the fourth I’m bored of it. It feels repetitive, which is a shame because otherwise mechanically I quite like it.

There’s other minor annoyances in this part too, such as Mother’s hitbox taking priority if an arm wanders near her. If this happens, the Arm won’t take any damage! This is because the arms are not considered separate targets like Falz Arms are, which means you can only hit one at time even if they’re clumped together.

Phase 2

mom_fight

Mother plants herself in the arena and starts using a number of new attacks. She is incredibly aggressive in this state and can dish out surprisingly high amounts of damage out of the blue. Techers will want to try to keep pumping Resta out or putting down Megiverse fields just so your DPS can keep it up.

So much happens here that it’s kind of a cluster-fuck and as a result I can’t say I’m much of a fan of it. At least a lot is happening and she does have a wide variety of attacks it’s just the speed and number of them might be a little much for me. Mother herself also moves a lot, so if there are any mechanics attached to breaking parts I’m not going to find out any time soon as a sword Hunter! Otherwise the only thing I could really pick out so far is she summons bombs which I think you can break to neutralize.

That said, this phase is a welcome sight in certain groups after the first phase has long out-stayed its welcome.

Death Cubes

cube_mom

This is Mother’s raid-wipe move. She’ll use it at 50% and at around 25% HP. She creates a ring of cubes that slowly make their way to the center of the arena, while also gently pushing players out toward the edge of the ring. You’ll need to break as many cubes as you can before they reach the center of the arena, as the damage she deals after scales with the number of cubes left alive. I’m not sure what the lethal cutoff point is, but the attack pulses and hits around 4 times (possibly more at higher numbers of cubes left). With 4-5 cubes left, she was dealing 350 damage to me, for a total of 1400 damage which is only just under my maximum HP. So I’d say you wanna shoot for 1-5 cubes left, as any more and unless you have a tank or Deband Toughness up you’re going to lose people. The damage is Tech based, so the higher your T-def the less damage you’ll take from the attack.

cubesplosion

You can’t guard the damage but you can dodge it if your timing with evasion skills is spot on.

Note that the cubes are not considered separate targets, so area-of-effect attacks will still only hit one cube.

Your typical MMO raidboss DPS check. I was never a fan of this kind of thing and it’s sad to see it come up more in PSO2. It’s not the most strict check, but again it’s the classic problem with raiding in a game like this; its intended for random groups to run it so you have little control over everyone’s builds and such. You don’t know if they’re going to be running ideal builds or having ideal weapons for dealing with the raid-wipe mechanic, which favors classes that can do sustained damage in an area without the worry of the push-back effect moving them out of effective range. Worse is when you have a bunch of people giving up before the DPS check begins; holding the Photon Blast button while those without end up doomed to the attack!

That said, the raid doesn’t end when everyone’s dead so there’s no punishment for being caught in the attack. So it’s not really a big deal.

Loot

Mother can drop the game’s very first 14*s but you’re basically never seeing them. She can also drop 12* units, but their rate is similarly dire. Not comparable to 14*s but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were comparable to Invade Units.

The 14*s

Just gonna go over what is currently known about the weapons. The information out there is still shakey and at times outright self-contradictory. Expect this bit to change as things become more well known.

Kazaminodachi – Increase effect of Katana Gear (12% at lv3) as well as Gear fills up when weapon is unsheathed.

If it’s as it sounds this is potentially fun at least. It means that you’ll be under the effects of Katana gear for longer so you’ll want to be triggering it to get the most out of the weapon. I mean you kind of have to do that anyway, so the only real difference is in theory it’ll be easier to keep the effect up with this weapon.

The below twitter video demonstrates the gear aquisition effect while the weapon is unsheathed during Katana Gear. That’s a sentence that’s gonna make no sense to anyone not familiar with this game… Anyway so yeah as you can the regeneration rate isn’t enough to neutralise the decay, but it does greatly slow it down. The clip shows the regular decay later on in the vid for comparison.

Spread Needle – Increased damage and chance to stun enemies. Also damage increases when you get closer to enemies.

This one’s hard to call because there’s so many unknowns around it. Does the effect apply to Photon Arts? How strongly does the close range damage effect scale? Unfortunately this doesn’t align with the rumoured potential which is unfortunate all things considered. I’ll have to update my opinion on this when we actually know more about it.

It does fire multiple projectiles like the classic Spread Needle, but it’s believed this is just a visual effect and only the regular center bullet is the valid one. Scratch that, it’s not just a visual effect! This makes its basic attacks significantly stronger than any other rifle in the game, potentially.

I still don’t have any numbers to hand, but apparently the “close range” effect kicks in on the same range that Sharpshooter counts from. This means there’s a narrow range in which you can have both bonuses up, which makes it an overall impractical weapon for traditional RaHus. GuRa is probably gonna be the one to get the most out of this weapon, as they can abuse it’s multi-projectile effect on Parralel Slider and One Point the most. This information is still tentative.

Eternal Psychodrive – Confirmed as Boosts Element Conversion’s power, reduces PP consumption
Its Special Ability Factor is “Ability IV”

As far as far as I’m aware the only one confirmed is Eternal Psychodrive with one known drop. Its potential apparently boosts the power of Element Conversion by 50%, which means you get 45% additional damage with matching element instead of 30%. If the element doesn’t match, it’s boosted by 200% so instead of 15% you do 45% damage. So if the stars align and you do get one, you only ever need that one! Now of couse forces can get 30% from element convert with any 13* rod, so really the effective potential is a 15% boost in damage. Boring, but it does mean getting one will free up a few slots in your inventory!

Max potential Gix is allegedly slightly stronger than this, but realistically you’re not going to have that up at all times.

Falz Drops

During the Christmas broadcast it was revealed that the 14*s can actually drop from all old Falz raids and Profound Darkness. However the drop rates in those quests are even lower than they are in Mother’s raid if you can believe that. Still, good to know that they didn’t forget about the old content.

Astra Weapons

The replacement for Austere is here! They’re not really much of a replacement…

collection_files

Alright I’m being a little unfair. They’re solid weapons, it’s just for something that was heralded as something to topple Austere I was just expecting something a bit more than a tiny bit of extra attack and PP regen. For those who’ve had Austere for months it’s an upgrade you’re barely going to even notice for most weapon classes. For those who haven’t and instead are wielding previous collection file gear such as Gix you might also feel a little underwhelmed. However, their potential is active at all times without stringent conditions that Gix weapons have.

Suppose I should actually say what the potential is:

  • 12% additional damage and 40% additional PP recovery on attack.

Their special ability factor is “Phase Recovery” which boosts PP recovered on attack by 5%, so you can put this on your Astra weapon to boost it up to 45%.

The files themselves are pretty generous enough, with a 250% booster meaning you’ll need  to attend something like 18 runs to get a 60% (assuming no cooldown time on the files). The rest of the file can be done in Riding Quests, which are fairly active again because of this. With a 250% booster on you’re looking at 4-5 kills for each boss. The alternative is to see if your target weapon drops from an enemy elsewhere, because it’ll also count towards your file progress is so. As far as I know, for Summoners the only option is the bosses specified. If you’re need Train Ghidorans I’d suggest going to Train Ghidoran’s Arks Quest.

Astra Units

They exist, I assure you. You just might not ever see one if the rates are anything like Invade Units.

Stats:

  • S-DEF – 233
  • R-Def – 230
  • T-Def – 236
  • S/R/T-Atk+20
  • All def attribute +2%(S/R/T and all element)
  • HP+60
  • PP+10

Pretty good, overall. They have a set bonus with the weapon and arm unit which grants 60 Dexterity. I don’t know why they bother with set effects that terrible, honestly. If you’re gonna drop Set Bonuses because you’re put off by the idea just drop them entirely don’t half-ass it.

Like the weapons, these can be recolored which is neat!

Ledran

ledran

The newest addition to Summoner’s ever-expanding selection of pets. This time though it’s a badass little dragon with moves reminiscent of Panzer Dragoon. Or maybe I’m justing seeing Panzer Dragoon in it because I want to, I don’t know. It has homing lasers!

I don’t really play Summoner enough to give an in-depth so I’ll only go over some factual stuff and the rest is kinda third-hand info.

Personalities

It has two personalities like all the other pets (with rare drop variants of course)

The first is a stacking buff where Ledran’s power increases with every kill by 0.8% / 1.0% / 1.2% / 1.4% / 2.0% up to a rather staggering maximum of a 50% boost. Whats more is according to rumours, this carries across to new areas. The effect is reset on swapping pets or getting into a vehicle however.

The second is a scaling buff which depends on the number of enemies near the pet. It’s 1% / 2% / 3% / 4% / 6% for 1-4 enemies, 2% / 4% / 6% / 8% / 12% for 5+. While weaker than the other personality in total, this one doesn’t require you to kill enemies to generate it. “Nearby” in this case means within its auto-attack range, which is fairly big.

Between the two I think I’d prefer the killcount one, but the other would be superior for raid boss quests where you don’t get the chance to kill anything. That’s just my gut feeling though, I’d need to play the class more to really judge because there might be nuances to either personality that I don’t understand.

Attacks

Ledran Laser

ledran_laser
It looks like a homing attack!

It has a homing laser attack which can be charged up. The longer you hold it, the more lasers will lock onto things. I believe it stacks up to 8 lasers, which all deal a moderate amount of damage each. It functions a little bit like Homing Emission in that it can lock on to targets that you can’t. While each individual hit isn’t much, it does charge fast so I feel like it’s an alright mobbing PA so far.

Ledran Slash

A simple melee slash attack which also returns the pet to the user. Helpful for ending its auto-attack but not much else.

Ledran Gravity

ledran_gravity

Creates a gravity well wherever the projectile lands. Similar sort of effect as Gravity Bomb but I think it persists for a bit longer.

Ledran Burst

ledran_burst

Like Ledran laser except it locks on to one target and charges up to 8 projectiles to launch at it. Unlike Laser, each hit is pretty strong making its overall damage fairly high. Useful for high HP single targets and bossing.

Ledran Mine

Not gotten to use this yet, but it places a mine on a target which when detonated by most other Photon Art creates a damaging area (it can’t be detonated by Ledran Slash). This mine works much the same as the Vol Graptor projectile, as in if Ledran is too close to the enemy (launching the projectile inside an enemy hitbox I believe) the mine will disappear even though it displays the hit effect.

This includes Ledran Gravity, so placing a mine then firing the gravity well results in enemies trapped inside the AoE. It’s also apparently fast enough that you can sneak one in before the homing lasers reach their target, allowing you to deal additional damage.

Consensus

Again, this is really third hand stuff but the general consensus I’m getting for Ledran is it’s an overall solid pet. It’s good at both bossing and mobbing (it’s likely inferior to Aero and Maron for bossing power, however), so for Summoner mains or alts this might be a good one to get. Though for a while it’ll be expensive to get one with a different personality than the Collection File offers.

PSO2 Station #3 Writeup

fartdemon.jpg

Saturday saw the broadcast of the third PSO2 Station at an ungodly hour for UK folk. This time they went over some of the content coming up in January/February as well as unveiling the new long-term schedule which covers things up to early Summer.

For such a short broadcast compared to the old format there ended up being a lot of things to go over this time, including a large selection of quality-of-life changes, PVP stuff and some interesting new things on the horizon.. Brace yourselves, this one’s a big ‘un.

Arks New Year Carnival 2017 Part 1

Starting us off is a web-event in January. This comes complete with a Limited Quest set in Las Vegas that pits players against a wide selection of enemies, so your usual all-star quest. This time they’re throwing ESCA Darkers into the mix and Anga Fundarge can show up in it which is neat. I’m kind of curious if ESCA Darkers and Darkers would fight each other… The quest ends with a special titled Falz Dourumble.

2017 Weapon Badges

Right out of the gate we’re getting 2017 Badges. These can be exchanged for various items in Xie’s brand new shop (yep she’s back), which includes a weapon series named “Shin-Wafuu”. At first I thought they were yet another reskin of the old Sun God weapons but they are actually something new.

xieweapons.jpg

In terms of stats, historically Xie’s weapons have always been a bit underwhelming. The sword this time has 1192 S-Atk at +0 and comes with Freeze V, Ability III, Power III and Vinculum. So that’s 55 in affixes, bringing its actual S-Atk to 1137. This puts it at the same level as Invade Calibur… So yeah I suspect these weapons won’t be worth bothering with unless they have some decent Special Ability Factor. I can’t even suggest it for covering any gear gaps  because Astra weapon files will be out by then and the weapons don’t seem usable by multiple classes either.

I note she still offers Photon Boosters, Caligulas and Toranas at least. Caligula and Torana are also still 20 gold badges each, though Photon Booster seems to have come down to 30 gold. Not sure what the point is really as I doubt anyone will be after Austere weapons or units anymore.

Turret Buff

Seems Turrets are gonna get buffed as they teased about in the last stream. This seems to only affect the gatling-gun variant of turret and as far as i can tell the only real change is they increased the amount of damage it does. I can’t remember the current damage numbers right now, but it looks like they doubled it? I mean that’s nice for those classes that find dealing damage to Magatsu before the first knee break difficult to impossible, but I can’t really see the use for it anywhere else in the game.

Mag Stealth

You’ll be able to stealth your Mag by feeding it a stealth device. This will make your Mag invisible, as you might expect, but it will otherwise still function as normal. This is one of those things that I’m surprised took them this long to add, given how much of the game focuses on cosmetics.

Though I don’t know why it couldn’t be a UI fix instead of a Mag Device that will set you back 10 AC scratch items each time. This makes switching back and forth awkward or not even a choice at all for those who have an uncommon or unobtainable Mag skin…

Hide Sticker

Now you can choose to not have a sticker on your costume. This one surprises me even more than the Mag device!  Unlike that though, it seems this one will be added for free and you can just select it in the Este counter.

Is This Eaaasy Mode?

Story Quests will now have an Easy Mode added to them. I have no idea why because surely the Story Quests are easy enough as they are? Well, if you’re one of those people struggling to clear Story Quests I guess this is a good thing for you at least.

Critical Indicators

Just a simple change to make critical hits stand out more. Beyond the more striking color, they seem to take display priority over normal hits. This will be sorta handy for those doing damage tests I guess, otherwise the clearer feedback for landing crits might be welcome.

Boost Item Toggle

You will be able to set whether or not your boost items will be consumed during the current quest. This choice takes place at the drink counter and will be in effect the moment you choose a drink.

This is needed really, because I know there’s been times where I’ve chosen not to run content because I have boosters active. So it’ll be nice to have the additional flexibility in when and where I want my boosters to count down.

Cuisine in the Player Shops

hi_im_gilliam.jpg

You’ll be able to list completed cuisines on your shop, which is great and all but unless the food involves rare ingredients it’s really just removing one step from what you can do already by just buying ingredients. As it costs Meseta to make them however, I wonder what degree of profit the market will settle on. Will there be a good reason to sell the cuisines rather than the individual ingredients?

Skill Rings

With gathering set to arrive in Skyscape and Seabed comes a new set of skill rings. So far 5 have been announced;

R/Panic Guard

Grants immunity to Panic at lv20.

R/Quick Mate

Grants access to Braver’s “Quick Mate” skill. Presumably stacks with Mate Lovers.

I feel like Mate Lovers is fast enough if your build needs fast-use healing items. Doubt this ring will see much uptake.

R/Another Rod Shoot Mode

Changes Rod Shoot to multiple slow moving projectiles that explode on contact

Guess the usefulness of this one depends on the function of the new projectiles. The main point of Rod Shoot is for PP recovery (though it can do some pretty alright damage) at a distance on command. The projectiles this ring replaces them with move very slowly in comparison, though if the PP recovery is counted for each one I imagine this will be a pretty nice way to recover PP quickly for point blank casting (such as spamming Ragrants into bosses).

L/Step JA Combo

Adds a Just-Attack circle to Step.

This seems like one that might go down well in the community and for decent reason; being able to just-attack out of a step is kind of a big boon. Just-Attacks make up for a lot of the damage you deal, afterall (even more if you’re a Hunter main or sub).

L/Just Reversal B

Adds a shockwave on successful Just Reversal that damages and potentially stuns enemies.

This is a really cool ring. I imagine the damage won’t be that great, but the chance to stun enemies could be that extra bit of crowd control you need to top your health up once you’re back on your feet.

Arks New Year Carnival Part 2

Mostly story stuff in this one with a look at Where’s the Chocolate 2016 for Valentines season. Not nearly as much to go over in this trailer in general.

Where’s the Chocolate 2017

You know the deal with this kinda quest by now. Seems this time we’ll be seeing Ultimate Amduscia enemies as well as the usual mix of dragons and Darkers. Interestingly unlike previous seasonal emergency quests this one seems to lack a point counter and instead has a boss E-Trial as the quest target. The target seems to be a special titled Drago Deadlion.

valentines_collection.jpg

Of course the new tradition is the seasonal Collection File! This Valentines you’ll be able to obtain a new 13* Wired Lance, Twin Dagger and Twin Machinegun. Also included are sheets for the 13* eggs of Viola and Synchro in case you missed out on those.

Roadmap Overview

Something new for PSO2 broadcasts is this general teaser for future content down the line. We get a bit of sneak peak at Solo Emergency Quests, 4-man “Multi Quests”, the Battle Arena and what I assume is the CG intro to Episode 4’s second and final raidboss.

Along with that, they posted the usual text form up:

roadmap.jpg

It reads:

Winter to Spring:

  • 4-Man Multi Quests (limited time)
  • Solo Emergency Quest (limited time)
  • PSO2 Anime Characters are back (yay…)
  • Union Weapon series in an Exchange Shop

Spring to early Summer 1:

  • Battle Lobby and Battle Arena
  • Gathering update
  • Franka’s Cafe seasonal change
  • PA and Tech customization update
  • New Bonus Quest
  • Nier Automate Collab
  • Class Level raised to 80

Spring to early Summer 2

  • Episode 4 chapter 8 (part 2)
  • New 12man Raidboss
  • Design Contest Scratch
  • PSU 10th Anniversary Part 3
  • New fashion feature?

So yeah I’m gonna comment on the major things I can here.

Union Weapon Series

They’re Ray weapons with a little bit stuck to them I guess.

unionseries.jpg

What is kind of curious though is they’re listed as an exchange item and not a Collection File one. Does this mean we’re not quite out of the stone age in PSO2 or is there going to be some entirely new exchange mechanic introduced with these?

To go along with those, it seems like there’ll be a matching upgrade to the Ray Unit set as well. Will these also be exchange items I wonder?

Solo Emergency Quests and 4-man Multi Quests

Well this is a surprise! Seems during January we’ll get to challenge Double and Profound Darkness 1v1 as well as take on various Ultimate enemies in a single party. I’d say that we’re finally seeing some content that isn’t intended for 12 players but unfortunately it seems like these quests will be temporary. I kind of hope we’ll be seeing more quests like this in the future though, because really I’ve despised for some time how it feels like every new thing that comes along requires 11 other people or you may as well not bother.

double_dragon
Somewhat interestingly the quest expects you to take on multiple bosses at once, which is often more than they expect for 12-man Ultimate Quests. Presumably they have less HP than their full MPA counterparts, though.

I should say I don’t hate 12-player content nor do I think its a bad idea for the devs to keep making it.

Speaking of which…

New Raidboss

earthraid3.jpg

Due some time in Summer, Earth will be getting its third and presumably final raid. As Mother has perished (or has been absorbed, you can never fully tell with PSO2’s story) this would be Ardem’s doing. The trailer shows a continent materializing out of nowhere.

Given Episode 4’s mythology undertones I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be something like Atlantis (even though it’s clearly rising in the Pacific!) or The Garden of Eden or something. Whatever it is, it seems set to be the stage for Ardem’s forced evolution of humanity or whatever it is he wants to do.

Maybe there’s some story details I’m missing out on but er … why do the ARKS care about this situation? Mother was the one who wanted to go after the ARKS and she’s gone now so are we just being heroes for the sake of it? Maybe there’ll be an explanation between now and then I don’t know. For now we have a continent with no context and giant ether Cthulu tentacles sprouting out of the ground.

Level Cap Raise

Rasing level caps isn’t anything new for an MMO, but PSO2 I felt had designed itself into a corner with all the level-cap related stuff it’s added over time. Things like Excubes, Class Excubes and Skill Point orders beyond cap… these are things that become a bit more awkward with a higher level cap.

There’s also the problem of whether or not there’s any new content to warrant levelling up, but the same thing can be said for adding new tiers of gear and they’ve been adding new gear long after we got the lv75 cap. It could be they reached a point where it felt wrong to continue giving us new levels of content without also letting us level up. In the end it’s just a number.

In any case, new levels means more skill-points, which may also mean new skills to put those points in. They haven’t confirmed this (there’s nothing on the schedule for it at least) and there’s a few classes that probably could use the extra SP somewhere but there’s also a few that players may struggle to work out where to put them. I’m sure additional details will be revealed closer to release.

But yeah, this has been a long time coming hasn’t it! We got the lv75 cap sometime in November 2014 just to give a bit of perspective. So it’s only been two years…

Phantasy Star Universe Anniversary Part 3

psustuff.jpg

It’s on there! Looks like we’re getting the third and final part of the anniversary some time in the Summer.

This crossover event has gone on for some time now, considering it started in August this year. With the last part some time in the Summer this could bring the entire event to a span of about 8 months or so.

As for what they might do we can only speculate. There’s not even anything in the data to help with it as far as I know, so it really is anyone’s guess. It could be just costumes, weapons and partner cards (with some additional cutscenes like we had for Emilia) or it could be a Limited Quest like they did for PSO complete with a remade boss from PSU. I mean I know I’d kind of like to see one of the PSU bosses ported over, but that’s really just my love for PSU talking.

Episode 5

No mention of Episode 5! I think anyone following along with Episode 4 can tell that things are starting to wrap up, so it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see something regarding the next episode turning up. As it hasn’t, this indicates that we may he with Episode 4 longer than we were with previous episodes and it may not turn up until late Summer or later still.

For perspective, Episode 4 started on January 27th. If we assume “Early Summer” covers up til the end of June then the expansion seems like it’ll end up with a lifespan of at least 18 months (because I assume it wouldn’t hit in July unless there were some announcements between here and then).

So for the heck of it let’s compare:

  • Episode 1 released with the game of course: 4th July 2012
  • Episode 2 released 12th July 2013
  • Episode 3 released 27th August 2014
  • Episode 4 released 27th January 2016

So from that we can say:

  • Episode 1 lasted 12 months
  • Episode 2 lasted 13 months
  • Episode 3 lasted 17 months
  • Episode 4 lasts for at least 18 months going by the roadmap

So at the very least we can say that Episode 4 is looking to end up the longest lasting episode in the game so far. We can also say that they’re slowing down but there’s more going on here. I mean this doesn’t take into account the volume of content added with each episode or the amount of story there was (Episode 1 had more chapters than Episode 2 for example).

I guess for fun we could also project and guess how many episodes PSO2 will have in the end. Sakai once said that he intended the game to last for 10 years and it’s gonna be its 5th year once we get to the end of the current roadmap. That may be no coincidence; it could well be that Episode 5 will end up releasing on the 4th of July 2017 to mark PSO2’s 5th anniversary. It certainly would be thematically appropriate! But yeah how many episodes might we end up with by the time it’s time to take PSO2 out back and put a bullet in its head? Well seeing as they’re slowing down each episode and they have a total of 120 months to get through (60 by the 5th anniversary of course), let’s say 22 months of Episode 5 and  23 months of Episode 6 just to sorta resemble the pattern. By the time this theoretical Episode 6 is out, there’ll only be 15 months of  PSO2’s planned life left and by then we’ll have probably had PSO3 announced or something. So I reckon that’ll be it, I suspect Episode 6 is going to be their final one.

Now to be clear that’s just a bit of fun, I’m not making any serious predictions here. If you’re reading this from the future, let me know if I was right though.

In terms of potential plot points, well we still have the Profound Darkness to deal with which I don’t know if they could stretch that out over two years but you never know. Maybe we’ll end up spending another episode on Earth… :(

PEE VEE FUCKIN PEE

So yeah, chalk this up as another feature I never thought they’d actually add! To be fair, I had plenty of decent reasons as to why something like this wouldn’t work such as latency issues, the game’s wonky class balance, the fact players have 1000hp and are tuned to fight things with 100,000s of HP…

Anyway, I wanted to withhold comment about this since they announced it in the 2nd PSO2 Station because I knew they were going to talk a bit more about it. Irritatingly this is where my lack of Japanese really does hinder me as someone’s clearly explaining mechanics in the background. For now I’m going to have to put together something from my own observations and things I’ve seen mentioned in the community at large.

Class

In order to solve the issue of class imbalance every player is set to the same class in the Battle Arena. It functions much like Challenge Mode in that respect and much like the Challenger class you can use any weapon you find in the field.

In terms of passive abilities, it seems the PVP class has Summoner’s HP Restorate as you slowly recover HP over time.

It seems you recover PP very slowly in this mode too, but I do see it also recovers in bursts without the player seemingly doing anything. It looks like it might be tied to picking up Emblems.

Emblems

The main mechanic of a match seems to be emblem collection. While you can kill enemy players, obviously, it’s not actually the main objective of the match. There are friendly, enemy and neutral (rainbow) emblems, though their individual worth in a match is unknown. It’s assumed that enemy emblems are worth the most to your team. There’s also some kind of effect that can make a lot of emblems appear near your spawn point.

Emblem collection also seems to occasionally have some kind of detrimental effect on the enemy team. The effect shown was a massive stacking Injury debuff which lowered the players HP to something like Fighter’s Limit Break levels.

Weapons

Weapons can be “mined” from various locations, with a bunch of nodes at the spawn point and various nodes placed on the actual field. You can re-roll your weapon by mining a field node, but there’s some kind of cost for doing so. Observed weapons are Sword, Rod and Rifle. There seem to be different tiers, as there’s a regular Sword and a 4* Calibur.

How you actually get the higher tiers of weapons I’m not certain, as during the video the players seem to get them from field nodes and spawn nodes on occasion, but then get the lower tier weapons afterwards. Maybe it’s random?

All weapons have in-built photon arts. Observed are:

  • Sword: Nova Break and a variant of Rising Edge with a greatly extended blade
  • Rifle: Piercing Shell, One Point
  • Rod: Megid, Foie, Zonde
  • You can also run in unarmed if you like but you probably shouldn’t!

Each weapon only has one photon art.

Additionally it seems the weapons do boost your other stats, as Sword users appeared to gain 100 HP or so.

Thoughts

So yeah, making everyone the same class and giving them equal access to all the same gear was one of the only ways they could really make things fair in a game like this. Letting people bring their own class and gear introduces so many variables that I’m not sure you could ever get anything resembling balance with PSO2 having been engineered the way it has been.

I’m also on board with their decision to make it objective based rather than about player duels. Player dueling is at least a small part of the mode however and in that respect I actually think that damage is a little too high still. It’s not really a fight if it’s over in one attack which it seemed to be most of the time in the demo video.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the randomness from a competitive point of view but from a “mode to fuck around in when bored” sense it’s perfect. Like to me, this whole thing comes across as a mode intentionally designed to be not taken seriously, which is for the best as I doubt PSCrew are capable of making something competitive with all the tweaking and balancing that requires.  But really if PSO2 has to have a PVP mode something that’s there just for shits and giggles is pretty acceptable to me.

They haven’t said if there are any items you can earn by playing this mode yet. I kinda hope there aren’t, mostly because I want this to remain a completely optional mini-game rather than something you’re expected to do. I mean, if the mode turns out to be fun then I guess it doesn’t really matter either way but otherwise if there was to be some progression tied to PVP I’d want it to actually be competitive. Competitive PVP is something I just don’t think is ever going to be viable in a game like PSO2 right now, because if nothing else it’s going to have netcode and latency issues that I don’t think PSCrew would ever be able to come up with good solutions for.  Even if they could for Japanese natives, anyone playing from outside would be at a major disadvantage.

December Catchup Post

eyebrows

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

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


December So Far

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

xmasquest.jpg

Merry Christmas on Ice 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Izane Units

xmasizane

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

Izane’s unit stats at +10 are:

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

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

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

Collection Files

This season offers a small but interesting selection of items.

Astral Blaze

astralblaze

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

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

Its Special Ability Factor is Modulator.

Fornis Ogend

talisidk

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

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

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

Rose Skewer

rosetact

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

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

13* Maron Egg

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

Necky Collection Files

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Broadcast Catchup

2ndbroadcast_important_moment

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

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

Raid Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14* Weapons

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

Kasami Notachi

14katana

Additionally usable by Hunters.

Spread Needle

14sneedle.jpg

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

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

Eternal Psychodrive

14epd

Usable by Techers.

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

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

Astra Weapons

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

It seems its potential may be as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End – For Now

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

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

 

Ultimate Amduscia: Thoughts and Tidbits

deaddeadlion.jpg

Today saw the release of Ultimate Amduscia. So was it worth the year long wait? Is the gear any good? This and other important life questions will be considered momentarily, while also throwing in some actually useful information.

Note that the community is still figuring a fair amount of things out. As such, the contents of this post may change in the coming days.

On an unrelated note, WordPress seems to kill the contents of

tags now. That’s why this post lacks the black bar titles that are in most of my posts these days. I can’t figure out a way to prevent WordPress from modifying my tags, so for now I’m having to use the default headers. Custom CSS is a paid feature so..

The Quest Itself


ultquest_maingate

So rather than do the circuit-style of the other two quests, we instead have semi-randomized spawns with a fixed layout. The map is split into sections which you teleport to randomly, which then chooses from a small selection of fixed spawns.

box_deubles

One of these sections is guaranteed to be a Box Duvals and it seems like every run has at least one spawn of Darker Abberations. There’s a chance one of the spawns will be replaced with an additional shot at a  boss.

After going through 4 different sections the big forcefield is dispelled and you’ll face off against either Gruzoras Drago or Drago Deadlion. After defeating them, the new Anga Fundarge spawns and after defeating that the quest is clear. So yes, you will always get an Anga Fundarge and at least one boss here, unlike in previous Ultimate Quests.

An average run should last between 6 to 10 minutes, depending on MPA quality and a bit of luck. Rank is based on time, with an S rank requiring you to clear the quest within 7 minutes. If you manage to do this, you’ll earn a title that rewards you with a Gix unit.

archer_room.jpg
This room full of archers is arguably the biggest obstacle to getting an S-rank. The archers are spread throughout the room, far beyond Zondeel range. The MPA will need to split up ideally one person per archer.

So yeah, I actually like this approach to the quest to be honest. It’s random enough but it gives you fair shots at just about everything the quest has to offer. This makes filling out the collection files much less frustrating than the Vegas files ended up being.

In terms of difficulty, it’s a little lacking for end-game players. Players at the top end are so well geared that very little gets to live long enough to do anything, but an average MPA may find things hectic enough that you at least don’t feel completely safe. I feel like most deaths will come from getting randomly combo’d in all the chaos.

Oh, and you’ll need to be lv75 on both Main and Subclass in order to participate. I’m not really sure why as the quest’s overall difficulty really doesn’t warrant it, but it’s there so you’re gonna have to deal with it.

New Gear 


The arrival of the Gix series, 12* units and a few other bits and bobs. I’ll go over what’s known here, but be aware that this is still being researched.

Collection Files

gix_sheets

Ultimate Amduscia’s collection files all offer similar sort of gear; an 11* Sun God weapon matching the weapon class of the file and various 11*/10* junk. Each part of the file requires kills of a specific boss in the quest to progress. Essentially, only boss kills will progress you towards completing these files.

Summoner gained collection files for eggs, which is interesting in its own right. It’s also fair, all things considered, as pets are essentially their weapons.

Zinga, Aero and Popple require the same things as the Gix weapons do; kills of various Ultimate Amduscia bosses. They give out various candy board items, including a Spirita Cookie + 3, rolls of various types, 2-layer pancakes and candy canes.

Synchro was added to the Trick or Treat files, offering a 2-layer pancake, Technicookie and Stamina Cookie.

As for wether or not the new pets are any good I’m the wrong person to ask. I simply don’t play summoner enough to say.

Gix Weapons

The Gix series boasts he highest base stats of all weapons in the game. On initial thoughts, the potential was unnerving but as it turns out it’s actually a strong set of weapons overall.

  • Gain a damage bonus that increases in power over time, up to a maximum of 20% at lv3.
  • The base power boost is 6%, though it may he higher at higher levels (up to 8% at Lv3)
  • Weapons that belong to a given attack type all have a mechanism that will reset the currently gained bonus to base.
  • Damage bonus resets to base if a mate item is used. This includes through Automate skills. Takes 70 seconds to fully charge.
    • Sword
    • Wired Lance
    • Partizan
    • Twin Daggers
    • Double Saber
    • Knuckles
    • Katana
  • Damage bonus resets to base if you take any damage. Takes 50 seconds to fully charge.
    • Gunslash
    • Dual Blades
    • Assault Rifle
    • Launcher
    • Twin Machinegun
    • Bullet Bow
    • Wand
    • Jetboots
  • Damage bonus resets to base if you use any evade skills. Takes 60 seconds to fully charge.
    • Rod
    • Talis
  • Swapping weapons will reset the bonus.

These are all conditions that are likely to happen very frequently making it overall impractical to stay at maximum power. That said, due to their high stats their base effectiveness is actually pretty close to Austere (within 2%) and you won’t have to wait too long before the weapon actually out-damages them. You may have to change your game-play approach in order to get the most out of them.

Should you upgrade from Austere? That’s up to you, personally I’d say refrain if you’re really comfortable with your playstyle. If you don’t have an Austere yet then I’d recommend getting one of these over it as they’re almost as strong at their worst and they’re much, much easier to get.

Due to the mechanics of the potential, melee users who only use one weapon type now benefit greatly from having a dedicated healer in the party. Keep the Gix using melee train topped up with Resta and they’ll be able to maintain max power for longer. The value of support-oriented Friend Partners may have increased a tad…

Of course the fact you can’t swap weapons is a bit of a liability if you’re aiming to keep max power up.

Less mainstream combinations can make use of these weapons; such as the self-healing HuSu as well as HuTe. Any melee combination that has access to Resta, Megiverse or some auto-heal that doesn’t consume Mate items essentially. I guess it’s nice they got chucked a bone, eh? Even with a weapon as strong as this behind it though, the likes of HuSu and HuTe would not be able to compete with HuFi for damage, so it’s really not recommended.

 

I still personally think they look like poorly made hunks of plastic…

Boss Weapons

Names are my own interpretations. Let’s just say I’m no translater, so awaiting better names for em.

Gruzoshoes

  • Drops from Gruzoras Drago
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Deadliogridda

  • Drops from Drago Deadlion
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Box Duvleos

  • Drops from Box Duvals
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Kind of a nifty potential. In fact, the wand would have been pretty amazing were it not for the addition of Form Wand with Vegas a while back. If you missed that gravy train however, this would be a solid wand to pick up. Knockback immunity would be pretty handy for Knuckles too, with the damage resist making you that bit more durable while using Limit Break. I’m not familiar enough with Jet Boots to say if the protection from knockback would be that helpful.

Units and Set Bonuses 


12* units are here and they’re also remarkably underwhelming in terms of stats. We were told a little bit back by the developers that Austere units would not be becoming irrelevant just yet!

Ray Units

  • Individually, they provide 50HP, 9PP, 25 all attack, 2% all resist.
  • They can be dropped by Profound Darkness Lv76+
  • Ray units have a set bonus with Ray weapons, granting you an additional 60 Dexterity…

Gruzoras Unit

  • Rear only.
  • Can be dropped by Gruzoras Drago.
  • Provides 40 T-atk, 15PP, 1% strike resistance and 2% fire resistance.
  • Gruzoras’ unit pairs up with the Jetboots it can drop, granting a measly 40 T-def…

Deadlion Unit

  • Arm only
  • Can be dropped by Dragon Deadlion
  • Provides 150HP, 40 S-Atk, 3% Strike Resist, 2% Fire Resist, 1% Tech Resist.
  • Set bonus currently unknown.

Gix Unit

  • Arm only
  • Title reward for clearing Ultimate Amduscia with an S-rank
  • Can apparently drop, but source is unknown.
  • Provides 50HP, 10PP, +30 all attack.
  • The Gix unit can pair up with any Gix weapon to give you 20 Dex and 2% Light and Dark resistance…

What’s with these limp set bonuses? I know they don’t want to make Austere irrelevant yet but jeez this is treading just a tad too carefully! The bonuses are so bad they may as well not exist. The base stat bonuses they provide are actually pretty alright, with the Ray set being particularly decent.

The main draw to 12* units is of course the ability to socket L / Skill Rings into them, allowing you to effectively equip 5 rings at once (including your R/Ring). While an alluring prospect, it does mean actually obtaining a full set of 12* units, which means you’ll need to re-affix the lot of them. Add in that you’re also losing a potentially decent set bonus and the whole thing is a lot less attractive. It may be better to hold out for a bigger upgrade if you’re already sporting a good set of units (Saiki, Orbit, Austere and a select few others). Again, like with Gix weapons, if you lack such gear then go for it.

So yeah generally an underwhelming update for those ready for the next tier of gear.I mean we don’t really have a new tier of content to use this gear on anyway, but that hasn’t stopped them before!

Thoughts 


So yeah, overall it’s a fun enough quest. I like the approach they took with this one it’s just a shame the gear in it is considered underwhelming for those at the upper end of the gear spectrum. The enemies are fun enough, the bosses are particularly decent.Hopefully the quest doesn’t suffer the same fate as Riding Quests and end up near impossible to get runs going in the near future. However, the quest isn’t so difficult that you couldn’t just get a group of 3 or more people together to get a good clear. That’s at least one positive note with regard to the quest’s overall lack of difficulty.

Let me know if any information is wrong in this post. There was still some unknown stuff as of writing this, so as said at the start the post’s content may change.