Arks League

MARVELOUS

Well now I’ve actually managed to catch some I can share my thoughts on yet another new system.

Overview


Essentially, it’s a more formal version of an Interrupt Ranking with more tangible prizes. You’re matched up with 19 other players and given a task to complete. This will usually be killing specific mobs, but it may include finding items among other things. You’ll be given up to three hours to do as well as you can, after-which there’ll be a 30-minute period before you can then claim your prize. Note that you’ll be matched based on the current character you’re logged in as!

she_who_took_Seaphys_desk.jpg

Mimi is the Arks League administrator. You can find her next to the Daily Order NPC Faina. 

If you’re online as the league starts, you’ll be matched with people randomly. If you log in after, it’ll match people together in the order they logged in. You will not be placed if you log in 15 minutes prior to the current round ending. The league ends at the same time regardless of when you logged in.

Scoring

The scoring, if there is one at all for the objective, is pretty simplistic. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I’ve seen so far:

  • 2 points per kill for “kill a mob of a given type” leagues, regardless of enemy level or size.
  • 1 point per kill for “kill a specific enemy” leagues, regardless of level
  • 1 point per item found for “get a specific item” leagues.

When I say regardless of level, I mean a level 61 enemy is worth just as much as a lv80 one. For size, a Dark Ragne is worth the same as a Dagan for example.

arks_league_menu

You can check on your standing in the current league at any time by bringing up this menu.

Prize Pool

Stargems! Actually quite a lot of Stargems if you manage to place in the top 3. It’s spread out as follows:

  • 1st: 100SG
  • 2nd: 50SG
  • 3rd: 30SG
  • 4th-10th: 10SG
  • 11th-20th: 5SG

Note that to qualify for a prize, you’ll need to get at least one point or otherwise clear the objective at least once.

You can collect prizes by speaking to Mimi 30 minutes after a round ends.

GIMME_MY_PRIZE

Choosing this option will let you collect your prizes. Stargem tickets are consumed upon acquisition.

Matchmaking

There are two main factors in matchmaking for Arks Leagues, though for the most part it’s completely random.

The first is that you’ll be matched based on the highest class level on the character you’re currently logged in as. This will prevent new players from being matched with those who have capped.

The second thing is the time you logged on. You’ll only be matched with people who logged in around the same time as you and a little bit after you. This presumably helps ensure that you don’t get set at a disadvantage because you had real life obligations to attend to. This is also the most abusable part of the system as it is, which I’ll get into at the end of the post.

Techniques


 

So how does one do well in an Arks League? I’ll be up front, a good amount of it is pure luck but enough is usually within your control that you can do well in a League if you play smart. The actual techniques are going to vary depending on what the target enemy is, so this is going to be general advice.

Enemy kill leagues always seem to require the enemy to be level 61+. As any enemy is worth the same amount of points, it’s best to try to kill enemies as close to that level as possible.

For kill leagues. the biggest deciding factor in how well you’ll do is your kills per minute. Nothing else matters, so you’re going to need to work out a way to maximise this. Ultimately, you’re going to have to do some research into this yourself because there’s no telling what targets future leagues will have. So I’m gonna note down some bullet point general advice to help with kills per minute:

  • If you have a large enough group, doing a 12-man MPA farm can be a very efficient way of getting certain enemies. This works well on enemy type and some specific enemies if they have a high spawn rate in a Multi-Party zone.
  • If you have 3 other people, you can hit up Super-Hard Advance Quests.  This can be extremely effective for enemy type leagues if you can consistently pull off PSE Bursts. I do not advise running Desert or other SHAQs which have multiple enemy types for this.
  • If you have 1 other person, consider hitting up Arks Quests and Free Fields which have bosses. The extra person will trigger trash mob spawns in the boss room, which can often be a large amount of the target enemy type. You’ll want to rush these unless the target enemy happens to spawn along the way.
  • Consider quests which have set spawn layouts. This includes Time Attack Quests, Story Quests and Extreme Quests. This can be the most effective way to get some enemies, so it’s worth having all of Story unlocked (at least Episode 4 stuff). Remember, it’s kills per minute you want, so once you have killed a certain number of the target enemy, consider if it’d be quicker to continue or restart to get that spawn again.
  • Look at quest records to see which ones have a high incidence of the target enemy. Not recommended as this is very luck dependent, but for some enemies you may not have a choice.

Item leagues have so far been enough of a rarity that as far as I’m aware no real techniques exist. They’re not level dependent, so common sense would suggest that doing them on the lowest level you can would be the best way to do it.

Finally, something that works generally well for Leagues at the moment is to log in late. As long as you’re more than 15 minutes before the end, you can still qualify for the prizes and you’ll be matched with other people who logged in around the same time. This means you’ll only have to keep your efforts up for say, 20 minutes instead of 3 hours.

 

Thoughts


 

It’s just another method you can get Stargems with, though a particularly effective one. As the matchmaking is random however, it will depend on the luck of the draw a bit. Sometimes you’re going to be placed with players you have no hope in hell’s chance of competing with. However, if you at least try you ought to be guaranteed a spot in the top 10 and if you do the bare minimum you’re guaranteed 5SG.

Is it worth it? Well 100SG works out to roughly 500yen. If you’re lucky and you log in late, that could be a mere 20 minutes of playtime for 500yen’s worth of gems, which isn’t bad. That said, if you’re playing your absolute hardest and 1st-3rd are getting more than twice your points/min or are getting times you cant hope to compete with then I would just throw in the towel. Go for the top 10 in that situation, because it isn’t worth risking your health for a few dollars’ worth of a virtual currency! If people in your group aren’t trying that hard, then put the minimum effort in to maintain 1st, 2nd or 3rd as the payout is quite a lot higher than 4th+. Of course this assumes you actually want Stargems, if you don’t then this system is worthless to you.

It’s kind of clumsy, honestly. The biggest problem it has is there is no incentive to log in earlier for the events, as you’ll have to work considerably harder for the same reward; 3 hours of grinding vs as little as 16min of grinding. I feel like they’d need to give people a set amount of time, for example from logging in you have 30 minutes to get as good a score as you can. It could still match you with people who logged in around your time, it’s just this way the playing field would be a lot more level overall. I suspect this would be a lot more taxing on their system but as it is the current system is incredibly open for exploitation.

The system does have some potential to incentivize running older content, though notably they seem to pair leagues up with scheduled Emergency Quests which rather defeats the point of that. It’s like Collection Files all over again…

Anyway that’s all I have to say about Leagues for now. Thank you for reading and let me know if I got anything particularly wrong in the comments.

 

About This Blog: Thinking Out Loud.

I’ll start this off by saying this blog isn’t going anywhere yet. I’m still enthusiastic enough to write for it, though lately it’s had kind of stiff competition from other things I’ve been wanting to do. For this post, I’m really just gonna be thinking aloud to sorta open up potential discussion about what I could do for the site.

Related, this is my 300th published post! So wahey for that!

300post_celebration

Never thought this thing would go on this long. My first post is back in 2011 which just blows my mind, where did that time go? In light of reaching this milestone, I guess taking the time to have a little self-analysis might be kind of appropriate. I want to keep making posts, so let’s have a think about how I could make things better going forward.

 

How It’s Doing


I gotta say, when I began writing this I didn’t expect anyone to read it. Why would they with other sites about? Who’d want a wordy editorial blog when you can get a to-the-point complete picture of the news from other places?  Despite this, this place gets a fairly regular amount of traffic. Nothing big, but in the region of about 15-30 views an hour. In total, I’m sitting on 650,000 views. That is over 5 years, so yeah like I say my traffic is minor but to me that’s still pretty crazy. I’ve never made anything that’s gotten that kinda attention before. While writing the blog, I’ve always kinda had it as a personal goal to hit 1,000,000 views and I still kinda wanna hit it.

Point is, while my traffic is relatively small I do appreciate the readership I get and I do feel bad when I haven’t written anything in a while. Thank you very much to all those who’ve been reading.

In terms of my enthusiasm? I will admit, there have been times where I’ve burnt out a bit on the game. I’m sure most of you have, too. Episode 4 has been a particularly divisive one, with all sorts of disappointing features and approaches the development team have taken which has made some people quit the game entirely. Personally, Episode 4 hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me, even if there are things I feel pretty let down by (Stargems I’m looking at you in particular). That might be the subject of its own post down the line though so let’s keep this roughly on topic.

Writer’s block is also a thing that happens!

 

The Blog’s Purpose


The main purpose has been and still sorta is my opinions on stuff. As I say in my now ancient “About” page, I’m really not suited for picking up on news as it comes out. That said, often I either don’t have opinions on something or I just don’t feel my thoughts on specific subjects would be terribly interesting to read.

That said, I’ve been into Overwatch lately (a team-based hero shooter from Blizzard) and with that I’ve been watching a fair few Youtube channels on it. Things like Unit Lost, Force Gaming and others I forget the name of. They fairly frequently share thoughts on all sorts of aspects of the game, from news to thoughts on features among other things. Most of these things I could do here for PSO2! Seeing them has sorta rejuvenated me but I still feel I need to take a fairly objective look at how I do things to explore the following questions:

  • What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?
  • What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?
  • What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?

Something to make clear. I don’t see this as a competition. For one thing I am no competition to other sites, but really competing for popularity is never what I set out to do. I don’t care if this site gets little to no traffic or even if it got none at all. It’s fun to write and as long as its fun I’m gonna keep doing it. From a more professional point of view, it’s about sharing thoughts on a game I love and want to see do better in the future. In that light, other blogs on the game are more my peers in that we’re all supporting the game in our own ways.

 

What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?


I really do want to make more regular posts, but the posts I make tend to be very long and take a very long time to make. Often I have to dedicate an entire day just to writing one post, which would be fine if there wasn’t other things I’d be wanting to do. So one thing I’m considering doing is splitting my posts into smaller chunks or just making a conscious effort to keep things as brief if I can. Brevity is the soul of wit, so it’s said.

So what kinda target could I make? Well I’m not satisfied with one post per month. I really feel like I could bring it up to 4 a month again if I wanted to, but I’m not going to force myself to make posts on things for the sake of posting. That’d make for potentially flimsy posts as I’d have less fun writing it.

So in terms of what I think I could do to help myself out:

  • Keep blog posts shorter.

Sometimes a long post is unavoidable and I’m sure the 45th Broadcast write-up will be long. The odd long post is probably fine, but I can’t keep the blog regularly updated if it takes 1 or 2 days just to make the post.Not with other things going on in my life too!

  • Techy stuff.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for me. Something that would make life easier would be to have access to CSS features so I didn’t have to copy and paste chunks of html code to make posts or be stuck with the limited contole over the sidebar I have for links to other sites. It’d also be nice to have my own domain so my URL isn’t as long, but that’s a more minor thing.

I might be able to do this in the future, but for now I have zero income so I can’t really. I also don’t really want to stick adverts in here to generate money for it cause I’m not really comfortable with money getting involved in something like this (I don’t really get the traffic to make that a viable option anyway). As long as it’s free, it’s my impartial opinions only subject to my personal biases and nothing else. I don’t feel pressured to write just to keep advertising income up.

Still feel like I could do something to tidy up that mess of links I have though, hmm…

 

What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?


Right now I write about my thoughts on major new features and the odd bit of speculation whenever a juicy bit of data-mining comes up. Occasionally I’ll post some thoughts on the odd bit of info that crops up elsewhere, which mostly comes from G-Heaven but occasionally from other blogs too.

drafts

A sample of some of the posts that never made it. I’ve got about 56 different draft posts laying around, some consisting of notes and others approaching 2000 words. 

Occasionally, I’ll think of things to write about but either don’t because I’m not convinced what I’m writing is interesting or I’ll give up because another blog wrote about it already or someone posted about it on a forum. That’s an attitude I need to lose, because my opinions are always gonna be slightly different to others; my insights are going to be different.

  • Perhaps be less fussy about specific things to write about.

While there are times when there’s a bit of a drought in content updates which makes for slim pickings in terms of things to write about, there are a few things even lately that I felt I could’ve written about but didn’t. Thinks like the Odin fight, the healing nerf during the Limited Quest, how they handled Beach Wars 2016, what I think about Arkuma slots among other things. To go further back, how the skill rings shook up some classes, the state of my main class (Hunter!)… In short, I think lately I’ve been too short-sighted on the things I could write about for the blog and I could easily fix this.

There’s also game design aspects and thinking about things from a game design point of view. I’m an aspiring video game developer; I’ve made some small incomplete games and most of my time right now is spent studying to sharpen skills to improve my game design. One of my worries has been that this blog may eat up time I could be using to develop my skills, but if anything analyzing a game ought to work to my benefit. I could discuss what I might do to improve it, make thoughts on what the aims of the developers might be for certain decisions and other things. Maybe even throw some game theory in there as I pick that up. As I learn more about that kind of stuff it might actually get more interesting to write about that stuff, so it’s something to seriously consider.

So I think going forward, I need to be less worried about if something’s already been covered or not. I could expand on the topics I cover; making sure that they are in fact topics I can comment enough on and  I could expand by approaching things from a game design point of view.

 

What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?


There’s a few things I’d like to write about more but I simply can’t do them justice. Mostly it’s the language barrier; because as I can’t understand Japanese there’s a lot of blog posts and speculation from Japan that I never get to see or can’t be confident enough in machine translation to write about.

One major topic this language barrier prevents is story. I basically can’t comment much on story stuff; at least not to any great detail. I can get the general gist of a story and get some extra tidbits through machine translation and discussion with other people, but the finer details are very difficult for a foreigner to obtain. Those details could make certain speculations pointless, as it raises questions that may have been answered long ago (such as “where the heck is Matoi anyway?”).

Then there are things like opinions on classes. I don’t play every class equally. I don’t use all weapon types on the classes I do play equally. So often, I have to consider second-hand opinions when discussing things I’m not familiar with. This doesn’t make for terribly good writing, as I’m not confident in the things I’m sharing and the information may not be accurate. It doesn’t help that PSO2 is very restrictive in terms of what builds you can try out due to skill-tree resets being locked behind a pay-wall and affix load-outs being prohibitively expensive to try.

I also can’t comment too much on the meta. I’m not a top-end player, nor do I really communicate with people who are in the top end of things to get some reliable opinions on the intricacies of what’s strongest, weakest, niche or whatever.

Naturally this limits what I can do in terms of guides, though I can at least consider writing guides as a base to help people out instead of worrying about “how to be the best of the best”. “How to be competent at PSO2” not “How to win interrupt Rankings or get 5 runs of Mining Base: Incursion”.

Now some of these things I probably could write about anyway as long as I disclose that the information may be flawed. I can argue opinions on things as if they were true, as long as it’s clear that it’s definitely a “what if” and not a “what is“. It’s OK to be wrong as long as I admit I am and I remain open to the fact that I could be wrong. I feel like I do that anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind especially for the kinds of topics that fall into this category.

 

Things I Likely Won’t Write About


What I generally don’t post about is news if I don’t have any thoughts on it. I’m not good at it for one thing and I can’t speak or read most Japanese. It’s also not terribly interesting to me to write about anyway, which I quickly found back in the day when I did used to make news posts. It’s fine because other sites do this very well so I’m not letting anyone down.

I’m not interested in writing about PSO2es. It’s not that I hate the game; it’s OK for what it is, it’s just much of it is again a language barrier thing. I also don’t feel I really play it enough to have any real opinions on certain things. There are some really dedicated players of that game however and I’m surprised there’s not an english blog out there specifically for it.

I’m not going to post about PS:Nova… at least until I get to play it. I don’t have a PS:Vita so that’s a bit of a problem! It’s also all in Japanese, though there are rumours that a translation project may begin for that. If I get to play it, I might post about it because honestly it may be interesting to compare it to PSO2 much like it was to compare PSP/PSP2i to PSU back in the day.

I’m not likely to post about PSO2:SEA specifically. The main barrier is the IP block which prevents me from investigating things for myself. I don’t really know my way around VPNs well enough to address this.

If an American/European version ever happens, I would be interested in writing about it. This is assuming there aren’t any barriers introduced like what happened with PSO2:SEA.

I also won’t write about PSO3 or PSU2 or whatever ends up being the followup to this game; at least not on this blog. If that happens and I’m still interested in writing for it I’ll likely just start up a new blog!

THE END


Alright, so this turned into a long ramble which yes I know this is one of the very things I said I feel I need to work on. If you made it this far through the article, thanks for listening to my thoughts and I’d be interested in hearing what you might think I could do going forward too.

Ultimately, I write for the joy of writing. It feels good for the soul. I just felt taking a little time to analyse myself and how I do things here may help improve things for me and the blog.

43rd Broadcast Thoughts

TEAM_BETHOR

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

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

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

Casino Coins for Star Gems

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

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

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

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

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

 

Final Fantasy 14 Collab Stuff

Miqo’tes, Relic Weapons and more!

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

The Limited Quest

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

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

Odin

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

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

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

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

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

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

FF_Odin

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

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

Weapons

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

aura_weapon

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

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

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

 

AMERICA – FUCK YEAH

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

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

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

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

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

LV_esca_tower

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

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

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

Enemies

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

ball_cowskull

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

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

Clowns and Jesters

 

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

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

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

Phantom Sniper

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

Phantom Biker

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

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

Phantom Caravan

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

caravan

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

Phantom Goddess

phantom_goddess

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

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

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

Phantom Maxwell

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

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

Phantom Laplace

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

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

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

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

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

Phantom Vulture:

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

Phantom “Track”

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

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

Phantom UFO

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

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

Phantom Dog

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

Phantom Roach

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

 

 

Questions Corner

 

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

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

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

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

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

A: There are no plans to implement this. 

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

Q: Why can’t we trade SG items?

A: There are two reasons for this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ultimate Amduscia!??!?

 

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

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

UldDuscia

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

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

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

The Stargem Scratch – PostRelease

Qounah_Banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Sacrificial Whale

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

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

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

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

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

The Stargem Scratch – PreRelease

sara_goin_for_the_facepalm

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

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

Costumes

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

IMG_20160608_002610

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

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

Filler Items

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

84433

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

End Rant

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

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

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

SG_date

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

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

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

42nd Broadcast Thoughts

Claris_Permanent_Kisama

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

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

Summary

To briefly summarize what’s coming up;

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

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

Trailers:

 

Stargem Shop and Scratch

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

Items so far include:

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

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

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

The_salt_factory

Scratch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Web Event

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

WebEventQuest

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

 

Boosted Profound Darkness

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

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

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

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

 

PA Customizations

THEY_REMEMBERED

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

Other Cyclone Type Zero

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

Infinite Fire Type Zero

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

Kestral Rampage Type Zero

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

Type Zero Zonde and Type Zero NaZan

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

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

 

New Skill Rings

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

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

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

 

Collaborations

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

SakuraWars

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

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

 

Question and Answers

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

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

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

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

A: No.

Q: What is a summoner’s pet?

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

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

A: About 9:1 male:female.

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

A: They’re considered parallel universes.

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

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

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

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

A: In the distant future, yes.

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

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

 

The Ring System

 

Lisa_in_Tokyo

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

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

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

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

Basic Info

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

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

ringexchange

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

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

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

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

Ring Abilities

ppconvertring

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

Descriptions written in pink are a speculation.

Left Ring

 

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

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

 

Right Ring

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

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

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

Unknown

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

Ring Stats

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

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

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

 

Ring Upgrading

duduring

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Datamining

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

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

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

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

Bouncer

Bouncer has no unreleased skills at all. Ho hum.

Braver

  • Victim Likely abandoned. 
  • VictimBomb Likely abandoned. 

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

Fighter

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

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

Force

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

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

Gunner

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

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

Hunter

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

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

Ranger

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

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

Summoner

  • AllJAComboUp
  • AllJAUp
  • SummonerJAPPSave  – Nope.
  • TamingMaster

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

Techer

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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