Sakai’s updated the official PSO2 blog today. The biggest news is he announced that we may hear something about the Open Beta at the end of May. Open Beta may not be all that far off after all if so. Maybe.
Also, due to the changes in Japanese law the complete-sheet gachas will be removed from PSO2. That’s the complete-sheet only, gachas (cash shop item lotteries) will still be in PSO2.
Character creation contest results – In case you care.
Also the winner of the character creation contest was announced. The only remotely interesting character design won, with the rest of them looking like something the random generator would spit out.
As the prize included an NPC of them appearing in-game, expect “mw” to turn up at some point. Though exactly what this homage to a famous Japanese transvestite will actually do in-game is anyone’s guess.
I’m somewhat amused by the 2nd place winner, given that the prize is a 3D print. A skinny loli with the FOnewearl hat, which itself has long thin bits on it? Yeah the 3D printer is gonna love that.
As for the rest, who cares. If you happen to, you can check the rest out here.
Been a while since we’ve had one of these. This time it’s of the outfit that Lisa wore. That Cast with the huge “I want to stab you while you sleep” eyes who’s in the banner of this post. Seen at least 2 gimmick twitter accounts of her floating about..
Wonder if they’ll add a female Cast set that doesn’t show skin on the upper thighs at some point…
PSO2 news has sort of slowed down for now, so this is a minor post of information and other things I felt like sharing.
When’s That CBT Report?
According to this tweet on Sega’s official PSO2 twitter, the report is scheduled to appear mid-May. No specific date has been announced.
Has a US/foreign version been talked about? Even remotely hinted at?
There has still literally been nothing at all to suggest it’s happening from official channels. As fans, we’re left speculating based on datamined files in the client which show localization functionality at the very least. Sega of America still hasn’t really acknowledged that the game even exists yet, either.
With the official release time getting close now, the lack of any word at all is a little concerning for anyone hoping for a localized version. They could of course announce it afterwards, but the hope of a global release is all but gone.
What’s Sega up to?
Posted originally here by PSO-World user MrTurkleton. Seems all 10 servers are up, or at least the client interprets them as so. According to the original poster, attempting to connect would return an error message. No illicitly logging in for anyone with severe withdrawal symptoms, then.
It’s a little weird that the client can ping their servers still or that the test servers would be connected to the internet but there you go.
Base Racial Stats
A reader sent me an email asking how the racial stats are in PSO2’s CBT. In the thick of my study-time (almost over now!) I managed to miss it. Sorry there, internet guy.
So yeah, here are the racial base stat modifiers. Thanks to Agrajag of PSUmods for obtaining them.
Update 30/7/2013: Since Dewmans were actually released these base stats have changed.
Wait What, Dewmans?
Yes, Dewmans. The race of eyepatch wearing emo space pirates from PSP2:Infinity. The race has been mentioned in the client’s strings since the 2nd alpha tests, complete with base stats.
Does this mean PSO2 is getting Dewmans? Not necessarily, for all we know that could just be a placeholder. In any case they’re definitely not going to be available early on, as Sakai has stated that the game will be released with just 3 selectable races. He did also state that more could be added in the future and this find certainly supports that notion. It seems the client is at the very least capable of adding any number of races they feel like adding, it’s just that so far Dewmans are the only additional race hinted at.
Even if they do add Dewmans, however, those racial stats may not reflect what they end up being when they’re officially released. There is also no guarentee on what PSO2’s Dewmans would even look like, but I think it’d be nice if they got a bit more creative than pale skin and eyepatches being their defining racial features.
So What About Beasts?
Yes, there has been mention of Beasts as well in the client, but this is less significant. The place in which Beasts were found lists the order of the races as Human, Newman, Cast, Beast and Dewman. Everywhere else that mentions races goes Human, Newman ,Cast and Dewman. The theory is it’s simply a leftover file from a previous game.
Character Creator Glitches
Well out there in the hands of the public, someone was bound to find issues with the creation demo. One of the more famous ones (as well as one of the most viewed PSO2 videos to date) is this thing, uploaded by YouTube user turk645.
As hilarious as that is, it does pose a question. Would a character with bugged out boobs be accepted by the server? Will the open beta test will an assault of flapping mammaries everywhere? What other character creation limits can be broken through either glitches or memory editing? If the server just blindly accepts whatever character it’s given all sorts of monstrosities could be populating the future lobbies! I kind of can’t wait to find out.
Another somewhat related glitch is a nudity glitch that was discovered some time ago, at least for Casts. Well, as nude as you can get in PSO2 before you start tex-modding or something. Here’s a video uploaded by YouTube and PSO-World user Sizustar to prove that this glitch can carry over onto the live servers.
There is a separate glitch which allows non-Casts to get naked as well, but it’s less widespread than the naked Cast glitch. You can find more on this in the original thread here.
At the very least I hope that the server doesn’t accept as much information from the client as it used to when creating a new character. If it does, some actually harmful things could happen..
I think this order is somewhat off, myself. I’m not sure I’d want my character as an NPC in the game, it’d be kinda creepy seeing it. I personally would much rather have the 3D print, or hell even the drawing. If nothing else, those two prizes are potentially immortal, whereas the grand prize loses weight as soon as I stop caring about the game.
In any case I’m not a Japanese resident so I probably can’t enter anyway. There is apparently nothing that explicitly states this, however. I also wonder that given that a 3D print is a prize that they may well continue on and actually implement a 3D printing service. Guessing that they’ve found a company at least.
Of course, I’d imagine these fields would need to be filled in in Japanese!
The entry period is April 11, 2012 – April 20 (Wed) 23:59 (Friday) Japan time.
You can only submit 1 character for the contest.
So how many characters do you think you’ll be limited to without paying to make more? 4? Wrong, but not unreasonable given the limits the previous Phantasy Star Online games have offered. 2? Wrong again!. You’re only allowed to make 1 character. You have to pay to make more. There is also an upper cap of 12 characters per account.
Now I don’t think anyone imagined you’d be able to created an unlimited number of characters, no MMO that I know of offers this to their players. It is honestly a little surprising for them to limit it to just the one, however. I know a lot of people who like to raise alts, so having to pay for the pleasure is going to rub them the wrong way. For me it depends on the price of the slots as well as the price of related account services (remembering that there may be the possibility that you’re going to be renting your room). Plus the addition of having to pay for an extra slot might actually motivate me to complete a character’s gear loadout without getting distracted by the novelty of rolling new characters. Extra character slots are naturally permanent additions to your account.
Worried about the lack of outfits and hairdos? Well Arks Cash is here to save the day! I’m somewhat worried that ALL extra costumes outside of the defaults may be cash shop only but they’ve not actually directly said this. Even if they are, however, PSU’s history suggests they may be tradeable anyway. If that’s the case you’ll be able to buy them from players for Meseta, which for me would be acceptable.
Now there will be new outfits in the beta, but it seems we won’t actually get to wear them. Instead there’ll be NPCs showing them off to tease us.
If you’re unaware, then the character creation demo has in fact been released. You can download it here, with no need to have signed up for the beta test or have been in previous tests. It’s essentially an edited version of the actual client, complete with tidbits of data that may or may not be discussed in a future post.
Windows XP Users- IMPORTANT INFO
The character creation demo installer may crash when you attempt to run it. There are rumors that the creator will install and run if you have at least Service Pack 3, but I cannot confirm this. Let me know if this is in fact the case.
So How Do I Make Characters?
After starting the demo you’ll be presented with the following menu:
Once you’re past that, select the 2nd option on the title screen to begin making your freaks. You can find plenty of information in a mini-guide written my Ricardo here, but I will at least give you a summary on this blog.
First thing you’ll have to do is pick your race/gender combo. Examples will be presented to you as you hover over an option. Next you’ll be selecting a class, although this step is actually completely unimportant in this demo. It won’t affect the creation process and your save data is limited to race/gender, not class.
Speaking of saving, your character data will be stored in \Documents\SEGA\PHANTASYSTARONLINE2. The filename extension matches the race and gender of the character as so:
.mhp – Male Human
.fhp – Female Human
.mnp – Male Newman
.fnp – Female Newman
.mcp – Male Casts
.fcp – Female Casts
These files will be useable at least in the upcoming closed beta tests. Beyond that, I have no idea, but it would be pretty awesome if we could use the data in the release version as well.
Argh! I Accidentally Clicked Random!
This is the most common issue, because it is incredibly easy to hit the random button without meaning to. However, nothing is lost! Just click on the undo button at the bottom of the window. This is good to know for any changes in the more fiddly areas of the character creator you may not be happy with.
Is There An NDA?
No, but for some reason Sega still wants you to leave copyright notices in-tact on your screenshots and put copyright notices on your videos as well. Oh, didn’t you know? You work for Sega and are thus obliged to help them advertise their product. It’s always been a responsibility of a consumer to tell other potential consumers that the product they’re showing off is a work in progress and is copyrighted.
I’m not happy at all that Sega decided to give the software out and then claim ownership of all screenshots and videos, as if it were a closed test of some kind. I do not think people should have to do it, but you do jeopardise your chances of getting into the beta if you don’t.
So although I disagree with the necessity of it, here’s their copyright notice:
「画像は『PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2』キャラクタークリエイト体O版において撮影された実機画像です。」
They want you to post this on any page you post images to. Additionally you’re not allowed to edit your videos in any way beyond adding the copyright notice, so yes it’s the same agreement as in the 2nd alpha tests. You also need to add the following to your video description:
「『PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2』キャラクタークリエイト体験版において撮影された実機動画です。」
I gotta say the scoring system seems a little tougher than I’d have thought. A score in the 5000 range is still essentially what you should aim for, for the smoothest experience possible, but honestly the benchmark seems to suggest that you only really need a score of 400 at least for the game to be playable. This isn’t the “everything looks horrible” kind of playable, the game will still look nice and run at about 30-50fps.
Incidentally if you want to see your character prancing about in the bench-test you will need to complete character creation and then give them a name. This will also create a save file, incidentally. Once you do that, your character will appear in the test, but only while you’re running the program. If you close it you will need to run a character through the creation process again in order for them to show up (loading them is not enough).
Before I start, this is a great character creator. MMOs, despite allowing you to make your own characters, have typically never really granted players all that much freedom in how they look. Not that there aren’t some insanely complex creation systems out there, but there’s few of them. Regardless, there are some issues with it.
For one thing the sliders themselves can be insanely sensitive. In particular the face shape slider can be very tricky to adjust without dramatically changing the shape of the face.
The colour choice for non-casts is still very limited on the outfits, severely limiting what you can do with them at least in the creator. I imagine the parts of outfits that you currently cannot change may have different colours as different versions of the same outfit, kind of like we have in PSU. However we’ve not seen anything to suggest this may be the case. If it isn’t or if the colour customisation ability of non-casts isn’t expanded then this will always feel like an extremely limited part of character customisation in PSO2, which would be a shame given how much the rest of it offers.
I do wonder if they’re ever going to limit what accessories you can put on your character, because as it is now you can wear 3 hats simultaneously, or 3 pairs of glasses. The accessory system is a far cry better than the system we had in PSU, of course, where accessories were bound to hairdos.
Regarding accessories, there seems to be nothing stopping players from using conflicting hairstyles with them. In fact the newest addition to the selection of hats, the RAnewm cowboy hat, is possibly the worst offender. Nearly every single male hairdo clips with the hat, severely limiting the options available for players. Outfits and outfit parts clipping through hairstyles is an issue with other combinations as well.
Looks like they implemented full-screen mode properly. A good thing, you may think, but there’s a significant downside to them no longer offering a fake full screen option. For one thing you can now no longer switch between windows in full screen mode without causing the game to crash. This has been an issue since PSO:BB, making full screen mode an undesirable option for anyone who wishes to do other things while playing.
Well that’s enough criticizing! To finish this post off let’s have a gallery of character creator results.
So, Sakai promised details about the character creation demo and the benchmarking test and he delivered!
Even provided us with a trailer of the demo..
The creator and bench test will be a 450MB download. Just unzip it and click on the cute Rappy to run it. He didn’t say exactly where it would be made available.
The Character Creator
To summarise the major points:
The creator works entirely offline
The creation options will be the same as are present in the closed beta tests
You can save characters created with the demo
You can use saved characters in the closed beta
The demo has print-screen functionality but it only saves as JPG (full game supports PNG and BMP)
There is no non-disclosure agreement, so share the shots to your heart’s content
The creator does not include character voices or the choice between running/hovering for Casts.
The data for saved characters is stored in MY DOCUMENTS\SEGA\PHANTASYSTARONLINE2.
You cannot load a character that is a different race/sex/class combo than the character you are currently editing.
This demo will be available to everyone on April 5th, not just those who applied to the tests.
I’m actually very happy that they’ve gone and done something like this, it’s not at all what I expected from them. Can’t wait to get my hands on it, as I didn’t really get to play with the creator much during the 2nd Alpha. This was mostly because the time period for the tests was so limited I felt pressured to get into the game as quickly as possible. Also, people, make those freaks! I want to see monstrosities!
The benchmark itself will be running a simulation of the game of sorts. You’ll see characters wandering about the new city area, with your own character replacing the default HUmar if you created one. At the end, you’ll be given a score based on how well your computer did. Want to boast about your HOOGE NUMBERS? Well you better know what those numbers mean! Well, aside that bigger is better.
0-2000 – Oh dear, your computer is struggling a bit. You may want to hide that inadequate number in shame. Lower your in-game settings to help give you a smoother experience
2000-5000 – Hey, you’re good enough for the game! Are you good enough for the judgemental eyes of the internet? Dare you brave it and find out? If you’re in the lower region of this score range you may want to lower some settings still.
5000-99998 – Your PC is more than good enough to run PSO2, but more importantly it’s time to slam that e-cock on the forums and watch them quake.
99999 – Well look at you.
Towards the Future
More news tomorrow, it would seem! Sakai will be discussing details of new features in the upcoming closed beta tests. That really is it, no more detail than that.
Satoshi Sakai on PSBlog and Bonkohara on the PSO2 Facebook Page posted a selection of characters created by people who attended the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. A gallery of them will be at the bottom of this post.
A couple of things to note before that, though.
Alpha Test 2 Signup
First off, the signup period for the 2nd Alpha test is over, so I’m afraid if you haven’t applied you are now too late.
Non Disclosure Agreement
You remember the non-disclosure agreement in the first alpha test? That same one that means a bunch of the images in my older posts are missing? Well seems this time things will be different. Users will be allowed to post images as well as videos, but there apparently will be some kind of limitations. I assume Sakai will go into detail at some point.
Drop Icon Change
Drop icons have been changed slightly. Now, as well as their icon representing the item type, the icon will also be colour coded. Neat touch I guess.
Incidentally PSO fans need not panic, because their beloved red box will be making a return.
Characters of Akihabara 2011
Right, finally then, a gallery of the characters posted up on PSBlog and Facebook. Enjoy!
Well not really about you. No one cares about you, sorry. This lengthy entry will be recapping the entire year’s worth of PSO2 news and announcements.
We’ve come a long way this year, all starting with the initial announcement of PSO2 in September 2010 where all we got was a picture of the PSO2 logo and a trailer which told us, well, that it exists.
Yes! PSO2 exists! Sonic Team were indeed working on something beyond PSU,
somewhat confirming our suspicions that a lot of the features added towards the end of PSU’s lifetime were in fact experiments for features they planned to use in some kind of sequel.
Well while the video didn’t go into much detail, it did drop quite a few buzzwords out there, among the more interesting ones being:
Oh exciting! Remember when PSO had global support? You do? I don’t cause I didn’t join PSO until Blue Burst, but I can imagine the excitement PSO veterans had when seeing this. So what do they mean by “Global Support” this time? Well as of yet, we still don’t know.
To get this out of the way early on, there is still no word on exactly what they mean by global support but here’s some things to consider: First, there has still been no word from Sega of America about the game. Second, there has been no word on a release of the game outside of Japan (despite Sakai’s trip to Korea). Hope is not lost, but unless we hear otherwise this game could well be a Japan exclusive.
Thorough racial balances
Yeah I’ll believe this when I see it. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the complete joke that is the racial balance in PSU, but trust me there’s good reason to be cynical about them delivering on this. Well, to be fair there’s decent reasons to be cynical about a lot of the things Sega says.
Wait, Arkz? That’s those chaps from PSO:Episode 3! That crappy card game that no one played! Yeah it was later confirmed that there is no canonical link between the groups, they just happen to have exactly the same name. To remind you, the Arks in PSO2 are like the Hunter’s Guild of PSO and the Guardians of PSU. They’re the faction your character belongs to.
Curiously, shortly after announcing the game, they also posted a job advert listing 3 available positions. This raised some eyebrows given that they had been allegedly working on the game for some time as they seemed to be relatively important positions to be empty.
After this initial announcement, there was nothing. Quite a whole lot of nothing, in fact. Sakai even stated that we shouldn’t expect much and he delivered! Sega are quite professional at delivering nothing.
So we come to the beginning of this year. Shougai PSO posted about the setting and development of the game. It was here we learned that PSO2 will not be taking place on Ragol although there may still be loose ties to previous planets. Also Sakai said to expect some kind of announcement in April, which brings us to…
Wait, that’s not April! How observant of you. This was the month where the first alpha tests were announced to be beginning in the summer. Entries would be determined by a lottery. How do you enter this prestigious lottery? You need to either have been a player on the Japanese PSO:BB servers or have bought a copy of Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity. Or just be subscribed to PSU on certain dates. Oh yeah and you also must be a Japanese resident.
Hey, this is April! Your observational skills astound me yet again. And Sakai made good on his promises, as on the 24th a new trailer and a bunch of screenshots had been unveiled.
This was the first time we’d seen anything. Concept art, in-game screenshots? You name it, we didn’t have it. Well ok we had the logo. It was also the first time we heard any of the in-game music. So we went from nothing, to suddenly being bombarded with imagery, not all of it particularly flattering, such as those nasty ground textures. But hey, we can jump!
July 2011 – August 2011
July was the month in which this blog was born! Hurray! It was in these months that we ___, as well as a selection of _______ featuring _____, but we wouldn’t really know what they meant until _____!
Yeah the PSO2 newsletters took on a unique style to try to tease the fans with information. They seem to have dropped this tactic recently.
This was also the time in which the PSO2 Media Briefing took place, which can be summarised by the image below. It was the first time we got to see the character creation in action and honestly I was impressed by it. This is coming from a guy who used to play Aion, the character creator in PSO2 is honestly an impressive piece of work and I’m sure its flexibility will be demonstrated when Sakai shows off the characters created at Akihabara. Until then, enjoy some character creation.
Character creation wasn’t the only thing revealed, in fact a whole lot of stuff was revealed. We had “Photon Sensitive Effect”, a bunch of race/class concept art, equipped units affecting your appearance, large party areas (think raids but not raids), random interrupt events during runs, “Jump Action”. Actually speaking of that last point, a new trailer was revealed during this time.
Still for Windows PC, you’ll note.
So we now knew the three races of PSO2: Human, Newman and CAST. No Beasts!
This time period also gave birth to the PSO2 Facebook page, on which Bonkohara even posted in English to show appreciation for their foreign fans.
Ah yes, it was about this time when dirty cheaters got their hands on the alpha client and laid waste to the community by looking at the data in the files. Much harm was done. A PSO2 developer even caught wind of it and shared their disapproval about it on their twitter, which Shougai noticed.
Nothing tremendously harmful was even found, really. Planet names, the existence of Dark Falz, Technic names, the same word censor list that was in PSU. Guild functionality was also unearthed in the game’s strings.
To celebrate the end of the alpha tests, or perhaps just another excuse for Sakai to get in front of the camera, a series of three videos were released which talked about various aspects of the Alpha test. The “Special Internet Program”, which can be found here, showed us a number of things we otherwise weren’t allowed to show due to the NDA. As such it was the first official time in which we saw the volcano planet Amduscia, the Vol Dragon being fought and various other things.
Tokyo Games Show 2011
We didn’t have to wait long for potentially new information to come out after those videos, for the Tokyo Game Show was around the corner. PSO2 was present and playable at the show and two presentations were given. Sadly, not a whole lot of new information was actually announced and it was more like a further demonstration of the things we’d already seen. One of the things that was new however was a trailer, which also showed off a new area set in a ruined city.
Alpha Test Results
Thanks to EspioKaos for the translations.
Yeah there were a bunch of graphs that were posted towards the end of September, showing off various statistics of the Alpha Test playerbase. The short version is everyone wants to be a girl.
The 2nd Alpha test was announced! And that was pretty much it for October. The only other thing that was mentioned, I really do mean just mentioned, were MAGs. A solitary picture and the briefest of information was given on sega’s newly created blog for most things PSO2.
About as thin as October in terms of news. We learned more about PSO2’s setting, however!
To recap, your character is a member of the Arks, who live on the Arks ship! You’ll be exploring various planets because why not and the universe seems to be infested with critters known as “Darkers” which you’re also gonna have to do something about.
Towards the end of this month, new character outfits were also revealed which filled in the remaining race/class types, with perhaps the exception of RAnewm and RAnewearl.
Contrary to the previous months, a fair amount was announced. To start off, CAST face morphing was revealed as well as CAST boob morphing. CAST morphing all around, in fact! So yes, as a CAST you won’t be denying yourself the creative flexibility that the meatier races are granted, which is nice to know. Much of this month was dedicated to discussing things which would maybe appear in the 2nd alpha tests. The “My Room” feature was revealed, which is a customisable abode for your character. MAGs were talked about in slightly more detail, revealing that you could feed them which would cause things to happen. Revealing. And finally the item lab which revealed you can still punish yourself by trying to grind weapons, although it’s not as punishing as it used to be in Phantasy Star Universe. Finishing off December, PSO2 was at the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. During which, I stayed up to ungodly hours on the 23rd to catch a pair of presentations. We did actually get to see some new things, however, including the PSO2 opening movie.
Aside that were some brief details about what would take place during the 2nd alpha, as well as showing off the item labs and newer features of the character creation (paying particular attention to the new CAST morphers).
So that’s the timeline of PSO2 happenings this year. A couple of noisy periods sandwiched by times where a whole lot of nothing happened.
Recap of the Major Features
To recap what the major features are (please feel free to message me if you think anything else needs to be included)
* PSO2 is Windows PC ONLY. There are no plans to release a console version.
The three races are: Human, Newman and CAST. There are no beasts
Clothing is NOT attached to class or race.
All races can use morphers to customise their appearance
Any race can be any class
The three classes are Hunter, Ranger and Force. There are no advanced classes.
Character levelling is done through class levels.
MAGs are in
Customisable rooms are in
Item grinding (more than weapons this time) and item fusion are in
Player shops are in (and are accessible outside of rooms this time)
Missions are accessed from a singular counter like in PSO, rather than multiple like in PSU
Missions can be interrupted by random events
Bosses can be fought both in and out of arenas
Alpha Test 2
The 2nd Alpha test is set to take place some time in early 2012, with the registration period ending on the 17th of January. The details can be found elsewhere, but I’d like to finish this post with information about what will and what will not be included in the tests.
What is in:
All features of the last alpha test
New character models and CAST morphers
What is NOT in:
The city area shown in trailers
Towards the Future And so ends the longest post I’ve written for this blog. I hope it’s helped put this year of PSO2 information into perspective. Who knows what information will be revealed in the coming months, with the 2nd alpha client on the horizon as well as the closed beta tests having been announced. Never mind that the game it scheduled to release in 2012, so somewhere in there, I assume, is an open beta. Will foreigners be allowed into it? Probably not, but I still think that even if the game is only released in Japan that they won’t mind foreign players on it.
Finally, happy new year!
Sources: PSUpedia, Bumped, Shougai, PSO2 Official Blog. PSUmods
Thank you all for your continued effort!