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

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No.

Probably not, anyway.

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

Among the slides you might spy something familiar…

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Expert Block Requirements

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

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

So to recap, all the requirements will be:

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

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

Getting 12* Units

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

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

2017 Badge Units

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

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

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

Gix Arm Unit

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

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

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

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

Itsuki and Rina Arm Units

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

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

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

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

My Current Gear is Better!

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

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

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

 

Arks Live: Questions and Answers

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

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

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

A: No, you must have cleared Zephyros first.

Q: How strong is Deus Esca Gracia?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why was Deus Esca nerfed?

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

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

A: Expert blocks cleared it four times as often.

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

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

A: No.

Q: What’s Hagito up to these days?

A: He’s doing charity work.

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

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

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

A: There are no plans at this time. 

Q: How far in advance is content planned?

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

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

A: Sure, why not?


Additional Details

Deus Esca

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

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

Battle Arena Skill Change

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

Phaleg Battle

You’ll have 7 minutes to defeat her.

All healing effects are reduced by 80%.

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

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

PSO2 Station 6 Writeup

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

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

Trailers

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

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

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

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


Battle Arena Update

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

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

New Weapons

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

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

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

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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


Episode 5 Announced

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

Phaleg Fight

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

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

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

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

Episode 5

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

  • A new world
  • Resurrection
  • Reincarnation

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

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

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

BATTLE WARRIORS

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

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

Da Rules

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

The breakdown works something like this:

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

Ranking

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

Rank ARP requirements:

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

Rankpoints lost on defeat:

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

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

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

There are titles for hitting certain ranks that reward Stargems.

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

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

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

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

General Tips

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

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

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

pvptokyomap
Tokyo map
pvpcavesmap
Volcano map
pvpforestmap
Forest map

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weapons and Photon Arts

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

Nova Break

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

Rising Edge

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

One Point

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

Piercing Shell

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

Foie

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

Zonde

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

Megid

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

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

Battle Coins – Prizes

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

Unlimited Shop

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

battleshop01

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

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

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

Aura

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

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

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

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

Revolucio

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

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

Limited Purchase Shop

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

battleshop02

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Lv80 Cap: Tentative Info

sierrafacepalm

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

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

Skillpoint Orders

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

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

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

Weapon Grind and Affix Requirement

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

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

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

Consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tidbits

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

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

Closing Thoughts

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

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.