The 9th PSO2 Station went out this last saturday and it was one that was highly anticipated by the community as it was to reveal the first details about Episode 5. In this post I’m going to mostly be going over my reactions and thoughts to what was shown and ponder some of the implications this has for the game going forward. I’m just gonna be focusing entirely on the stuff that directly affects the game, so the GP and other events that happened during the station won’t be covered.
This post is huge, as such I’ve added links so you can jump to the parts you’re interested in.
As you may be aware, Sega are taking down trailers so the only way I can really share the trailers is by linking to the full streams from the official channel:
- Final anniversary content and Yamato content at 37:11
Episode 5 Trailer
- Hero trailer at 29:18
Yamato 2: Nice Boat
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The last major update in Episode 4’s lifetime will see players going up against an upgraded Yamato. I can’t really pick out any new details that we didn’t know already; that it’s got a bunch of new attacks and that it spawns considerably more missiles during the raid-wipe phase.
They did confirm that a “rematch” quest would be happening for it, however. Much like with Deus Esca, you’ll need to clear the new Yamato raid before you gain access to it. It’s also a 4-man quest but unlike with Gracia it seems the only real change is you have a tighter time-limit to clear the quest. The fight otherwise seems largely the same, which is going to make the missile phase interesting as it doesn’t seem to spawn any fewer missiles than the full raid…
The upgraded version of Yamato is set to appear in early July while the rematch will arrive a little later on the 19th.
The re-designed Yamato will come with new drops and give you shots at some older ones too; with the classic Tokyo, Seiga and Quartz weapons returning. Additionally, you have a (remote) chance of getting one of 3 new 14* weapons.
Looks like it fires lightning effects whenever you use a Photon Art.
Seemingly wind-based Twin Machineguns that have a wind effect on firing.
Before I move on to the third weapon, it does appear that these two may be a part of a series of what I’m going to call “elemental weapons”, in addition to the previously released fiery Double Saber from Deus Esca. I’ve posted their icons below so you can make a comparison:
The Double Saber released with Deus Esca was a fire-based weapon, while the Dualblades are lightning and the TMGs are clearly wind based. I guess we can expect 3 more elemental 14* weapons in the future…
The gimmick of this classic sword appears to be when you land a successful Just-Guard the weapon unsheathes. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but presumably the effect is similar to Guard Stance Advance in that it boosts your power for a short time.
Collection files for Seiga, Quotz and the military series will be returning, which interestingly includes things like the Valkyrie TMGS, which were unique to the Kagaseo stone exchange last time around. They’re also reviving the AIS and Yamato files as a separate collection.
You’ll also earn a new currency item called an “Ether Fuse”. You can use 20 of these fuses together with a Tokyo, Seiga or Quotz weapon to upgrade to a new weapon or to unlock a new potential on your old ones. So it works a little bit like the Zeinesis/Qliphad exchange, only this offers you the chance to turn old-type weapons into new-types!
Here’s the few upgraded weapons they showed off, two of each of the Quotz, Seiga and military series:
Unfortunately they haven’t actually detailed how the OT to NT exchange will work out. Like what does a +40 exchange into? What-about a +37? To hazard a guess I’d like to say that each level beyond a lv3 potential would translate to half a level in NT (so a Lv3 +5 would be +32.5) but who knows what they’ll actually go with.
Interestingly, rumour has it that the Special Ability Factor of the upgraded weapons will be Power, Shoot or Tech VI. Yes you read that right, VI. We don’t know at this time how much stronger VI will be than V.
I actually also don’t know what the Ether Fuse potentials are for the Quotz, Seiga or Military weapons, so it’s hard to tell if these weapons will be worth going for. They look good, though! As we don’t know the potentials yet its hard to judge their true worth, but if we use the upgraded Sword’s attack power we can see it’s a little bit weaker than Astra though only by 6 s-atk. Depending on the potential these could be decent endgame weapons.
The AIS weapon Ether Fuse potential appears to be similar to Aura’s Battle Coin potential, only it also reduces PP consumed by PAs while the Yamato weapon Ether Fuse potential works much like their regular potentials, only they build up power over time instead of requiring you to get killing blows. So AIS may be pretty good depending on their overall power while Yamato weapons remain pretty bad.
Episode 5 Reveal
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They did it, they finally showed something about Episode 5. So who was right in the end? Was it a Phantasy Star classic revival or did it turn out to be an isekai?
Turns out the answer was closer to isekai, overall. Though don’t worry, it doesn’t look like our player characters will be killed or forcibly transferred into the new world. Episode 5 will be releasing July 26th, so only around 6 weeks away!
Episode 5 sees us travelling through a black hole to a medieval land of war, where the villains torment the er… the other guys.. with evil flowers that can summon demons. If you think this sounds dumb, don’t forget we just got done with Earth where the enemies were ghosts created through the power of imagination.
So yeah, we’re off to a land of knights, princesses, goblins and orcs in a land that does battle over flowers called “Ephemera”. As you can see, the alternative world has faces both new and familiar, with Xierra as a fairy and a certain someone donning a cravat, but more on him in a moment…
Now for those who are a little disappointed that we’re not really going back to a sci-fi setting, don’t worry I feel your pain. It is a little disappointing, really, but at the very least it does seem that this episode will be more closely tied to the main plot. At least in spirit, anyway. The Profound Darkness still looms over the navigation deck and the black hole itself occupies the space that Xion used to take up. Additionally, the flowers in this new world share the same title as the Profound Darkness, namely “Non-Fruit bearing Flower”.
In these four images we have Matoi showing up top-right, so its nice to see her potentially playing a more major role again. Xiao bottom left has grown up and now looks more Harry Potter than akashic record. Bottom right we have the first sighting of Alma; who was the original Claris and one of the first three Heroes of the Arks along with Regias and Casra. Interesting that she should show up again, even if she’s presumably just a ghost, as the alternative universe has what appears to be the first Casra in it.
“What about Luther?” you may be asking? Well as I understand, Luther is a photoner who took over the first Casra’s body. That’s not Luther’s true appearance, though it is how we all recognise him and it does at first glance seem like the alternative universe version retains Luther’s quirks a bit (or maybe the original Casra was just like that, who knows!?). Notice in the image above, where I’ve put the Luther we know against the one that appears in Episode 5. He no longer has that face marker, which presumably is the mark that its a body possessed by a Photoner, though we don’t really have any other examples of this. The lack of this marker is probably significant, though and for me makes me pretty confident that this is indeed the original Casra’s alternative universe doppleganger.
With the potential for the original three Heroes of the ARKS to re-unite, I wonder if Episode 5 might explore the distant past of the ARKS some more. It would be nice…
While talking about ARKS history, the story summary (ok, it’s a little old but as far as I know it’s still relevant) shows that in the distant past an ARKS ship encountered a black hole and was pulled into it. I doubt this is the same black hole, but regardless I’m curious how the story will justify jumping into a newly discovered black hole after what happened the last time they encountered one!
Either way, hopefully it feels a bit less like a side-story than Episode 4 did, though of course the whole alternative universe thing doesn’t bode well in that regard…
New Field and Enemies
I actually don’t know what the new field is called!
The field itself just looks so… plain to me (pun unintended). It’s dead flat, largely unsaturated tones of greys and browns, giving way to red tones once you’re inside. The field is surrounded by a thick fog, which I guess was intended to make it seem more like a battleground but it only really manages to make the field look dead and empty.
The enemies also win the award for “most unremarkable and generic designs” in the entire game so far. It’s like they went out of their way to make the majority of them look as plain as possible, though I don’t really take issue with all of them. Like I like the look of the reapers, though it’s a little bit of a shame that they’re such an obvious remodel of Luda Sorcerer.
The giant castle boss is pretty nifty at least.
A hybrid of Tower Defense and Tower Attack, you’ll need to defend your own siege equipment while assaulting a castle held by demons. Like the regular Mining Base Defense quest, you’ll be collecting resources (in this case, mana) in order to trigger a mechanic known as the “Buster Pile” (gross) which can break down the castle walls.
Once inside, do battle with the demons within and then face off against a giant animated humanoid castle. Neato!
So if Bumped is right, these are set to be the main quest style of Episode 5. I mean at least they sound like they might be fun; at the very least it’s nice to have a permanent Mining Base style quest available to us. On the other hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that this might mean we won’t get Arks Quests or Free Fields for Episode 5.
The main issue I have with the quest style is it’s designed for a multi-party. That means much like Riding Quests it’ll suffer once the content is no longer relevant. Look forward to standing around at a teleporter waiting for enough players to filter in to begin the quest. I mean it won’t be as bad as at least you’ll only be waiting on 7 others instead of 11. The lack of an Arks or Free Field would mean that this is the only way to enjoy this content though, which I find a little bit sad. Mind they’ve been messing with this formula since Episode 3 and with Vegas being the first field to not have an Arks Quest at all I guess it was only a matter of time before we ended up like this.
The lack of a Free Field would also mean no new skill-rings, incidentally.
New Class: Hero
Yep, that’s the class name. Hero. In your game, you are the hero, it’s you. But remember, you are not the only hero… Really you won’t be. You know how new class releases go, raids are going to be full of them in the first week or two. We’ll see if they go through the same growing pains as Bouncer and Summoner where people would abandon groups the moment they see you!
You might expect a new class would mean new weapons but you’d be wrong! You might also be mistaken for thinking that you can play this class from the get-go but you’d also be wrong! Hero is slated as the first “Advanced Class” in PSO2. If you’re like me and come from Phantasy Star Universe you might be getting a bit of a cold sweat on but don’t fret, it’s not as bad as it was in PSU.
Also pictured above is the new class trainer for Heroes; Stratos. Stratos bares some striking similarities to Huey, I wonder if that’ll lead to something…
In order to play as a Hero you’ll need to have at least one melee, one ranged and one teching class leveled up to 75 on your account.
- Hunter, Fighter and Bouncer count as Melee
- Ranger, Gunner and Braver count as Ranged
- Force, Techer and Summoner count as Teching.
This will unlock 3 titles on your account. From there if you want to be the hero all you have to do is head over to Koffie and turn in a Client Order. Congratulations! You are the hero!!
Note that switching to Hero will un-equip your SubClass and Hero cannot be used as a Subclass. As Hero has no subclass, it’ll have access to more Right Skill Rings than any other class, which might create some interesting options.
Heroes utilize three weapons that already exist in the game; Swords, Twin Machineguns and Talis. This is where the class diverges strongly from PSU tiered classes however, as these weapons will all behave very differently from their classic counterparts while wielded by a Hero. That is to say, Hero Sword will be nothing like Hunter Sword. This is great, because my main issue with advanced classes in PSU was all they offered was higher stats with the precise same attacks.
To clear up some rumours around the class; yes they do require a Sword, TMG and Talis. They do not use a unique weapon that transforms into all three.
The reason people think it’s a new multi-weapon is due to the class’s mechanic of being able to switch weapons through certain Photon Arts. In the trailers these weapon swaps are instant, where as anyone who’s played the game any length of time will know there’s a small delay when swapping weapons. The logical answer would be an entirely new mechanic, but well…
These are shots taken during the multi-weapon combos.As you can see, the palette number changes so it definitely is a weapon swap. This does bring up a good question with regard to how the class will behave under laggier conditions, mind…
Sword attacks will change depending on how long you hold the attack button for. For the Photon Arts, this presumably just extends the combos and then ends on some finisher once you release the button (PP is constantly draining during some of the attacks shown).
Unlike Hunter Sword, Hero Swords cannot block attacks however it does seem that certain Photon Arts have i-frames attached to them. Sword’s weapon action is replaced with “Spirit Bullet”, which is essentially a Ki-Blast straight from Dragonball Z. The longer you charge it, the bigger a bullet you fire!
Twin Machinegun Photon Arts are similar to Gunner’s however they don’t seem to have the ability to rise into the air as easily (at least not from what we’ve seen so far). They may also lack the burst of classic Gunner TMGs with Chain Trigger.
Hero TMGs cannot recover PP through normal attacks, instead normals actually consume PP! The only way Hero TMGs can actively recover is by using its “reload” weapon action. You slow fall while reloading, so if you are airborne you won’t have to worry about dropping like a stone just to recover PP.
In addition to Talises gaining Photon Arts that make them resemble Slicers from the older games, Heroes cau also warp to their thrown Talis through its weapon action. The player throws out a marker then instantly warps towards it. There seems to be a bit of a charge time to this, so I doubt it’ll compete with Guren Tessen dashing or even regular running for traversing large distances, however it might be helpful to get within melee range of vertical targets.
Talises seem capable of creating large damage fields, making it the most likely candidate for mobbing, though in the Zeshrayda demo the small disc field seemed to do really high damage even if it was hitting a weak-spot.
Heroes can cast Techniques like Force, Techer, Bouncer and Summoner. It’s unknown at this point if Heroes have any skills that augment them, however. If they don’t, their offensive techs ought to be pretty weak, but at least they’ll have access to support techs.
On top of this, Heroes use a gimmick where through specific Photon Arts they will automatically swap weapons, allowing them to chain together combos across multiple different attack types.
Above is just as many of the icons I could extract from the trailers. As you can see, each weapon has 2 photon arts with a symbol in their top-right that indicates which weapon it’ll swap to. Red switches to sword, blue switches to TMGs and yellow swtches to Talis. I’m not sure at this point how it determines which point in your palette to switch to, but I assume it just searches down and picks the first one it finds (cycling back to the top if necessary). If it can’t find any, I assume the attack just finishes without swapping.
At the bottom-left is what seems to be Hero’s main class skill in the available and unavailable state. They never seem to use the other skill, which shares War Cry’s skill icon but with PP on it.
For the first skill though, its the one that was used in each weapon demonstration in the trailer. The skill seems to depend on your weapon gauge; only when your gauge is full is the skill available. Once you activate the skill, the star in the center of the gauge switches off and the bar starts draining. Looks like you can activate some kind of finisher when you press the skill again, which immediately drains the bar to nothing. If the bar reaches zero on its own or you activate this “finisher” it deactivates the skill and puts it on cool-down. The cool-down shown was 120 seconds.
That’s all I can estimate based on the footage anyway, for now we don’t have any details on the precise mechanics behind these skills.
So yeah, that’s the Hero class. Kind of a boring name, but the class itself does look like it’ll be fun. It really looks like a hybrid between Fighter, Gunner and Bouncer more than its weapon selection would indicate. The trailers so far show it to be a potentially excellent bossing class while offering seemingly limited ways to clean up mobs compared to other classes, it depends on how good Talis is I guess.
My initial reaction to this class was pretty negative, as I detested the idea of the class simply being “x but better” as all classes up til now have brought something unique to the table. However, not only does the class bring entirely new mechanics to older weapons it also doesn’t seem like it’ll cover the niches the classic classes will cover. I’m not really sure what the functional differences will be with Twin Machineguns for Gunner and Hero aside their verticality, I guess we’ll see when we learn more about the class later on.
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We already knew that PSCrew were going to address the Chain+Maron problem, but we didn’t have any details nor did I expect them to re-balance a bunch of other things. There’s a lot of notes to go through (the full notes are here) so I’m just going to ponder the implications of these changes one topic at a time.
Maron Nerf, Slight Melon Buff
The bean brothers are gonna change very slightly.
Maron’s 2nd stage damage mod will be reduced while the number of hits it takes to reach stage 3 will be increased. So notably Maron will still do all the damage it did before but it’ll take a bit longer to build it up. It’s hard to say how much of a nerf this will be until we see the actual numbers…
Melon on the other hand just won’t randomly blow up anymore after a time limit. Now t’ll only blow up if you fail to catch it, which makes Melon only a little more practical to use. Melon’s damage isn’t that amazing however, so I doubt this will equalize things between these two pets much.
Zanverse Builds are Dead.
Zanverse has been changed so that it no longer takes skills or potentials into account. So rest in peace TeSu, TeGu, GuTe and Niren Orochi BoTe. This puts all Zanverse fields on an equal playing field, so you’ll no longer have issues with JetBoot users creating then anymore! Really this means the death of Zanverse elitism in general, so it really doesn’t matter who casts it as long as someone does.
This is however a nerf to Wand melee, as Wind Mastery no longer affects the power of Zanverse. Assuming you’re using Form Scythe, Zanverse hits will drop from 28% of your damage to 20% if I’ve done the math right (I’m not 100% sure how Zanverse multipliers work, please correct me on this if I’m wrong).
To clarify, this is not a flat 120% as people have been saying. The patch notes only say it’ll no longer be affected by skills or potentials, which means that resistances should still apply. As such, it’ll still be terrible against Dark Falz Elder and deal bonus damage to wind-weak enemies like Escafalz Mother.
TPS Sniping is Dead.
There’s going to be a maximum range placed on the techs used for TPS sniping objects across the map, including Rafoie, Grants, Sazan, Razan, Ilbarta and Sabarta. This means that you won’t be able to depend on Forces to be able to take out Darker Towers from across the map in Mining Base Defense quests, nor will you be able to snipe the jellyfish in the Vegas field. This also impacts Time-Attack strategies that depended on you being able to hit switches from a long distance.
Graptor and Banish Trickery may be Dead
Both Vol Graptor and Banish Arrow are getting nerfed, which affects a number of off-meta or niche builds such as TeBr and FoBr.
For Hunters, they’re buffing every single Partizan PA (aside Graptor of course) so it might work out that the old Graptor-Zenith and other combos will be just as good as they are now.
Similarly, a few Bullet Bow PAs are getting buffed, but curiously Sharp Bomber 0 is getting a slight nerf by increasing its cost. Given it’s Bullet-Bow’s only practical mobbing solution I’m not sure why they felt the need to do this. They also buffed Gravity Point in every way apart from the way it’s actually useful (the suction power is unchanged).
Chain Trickery may be Dead
They’re nerfing Chain Trigger by reducing its power. In the same update, they’ll be making Chain Finish stronger but making it main-class only and only affected by Twin Machineguns dealing Striking or Ranged damage. However, even with both Trigger and Finish it’ll still be weaker overall than it is now.
Chain’s duration is increased and cooldown decreased while Chain Finish will remain 2s.
Clearly they’re trying to make it so that Chain is primarily a Gunner thing again and not a tool of niche combos such as GuFo, FoGu, the classic BrGu and of course SuGu. The death of variety here is a bit sad, honestly, because really the worst issue was with Chain Maron but I guess it does make designing encounters difficult when you have odd combos that can kill bosses that quickly in general.
Overall, the off-class combos suffer while Gunner itself will have easier to apply chains that it can apply more often even if they’re overall weaker. Interested to see how this works out for Gunners in the end, because while this is going to affect the most bursty combos in the game right now the likes of Satellite Aim into Infinite Fire 0 should still be pretty solid.
Weak Bullet Standardized
Weak Bullet will now be a 120% modifier to the target hitbox and the Weak-Bullet “jamming” mechanic will be removed from the game.
To compensate a bit for this, Weak Bullet’s cooldown will be reduced and the maximum number of bullets loaded increased. So while it’s weaker overall, you’ll be able to apply it more often.
They’re reducing the HP of a number of classic raid bosses from Super Hard and below while Magatsu will have its HP reduced across the board. They’re also increasing the amount of time that Esca Falz Mother spends in her downed state.
Weak Hit Advance Changes
They’re changing how Weak Hit Advance works on Weak-bulleted targets. Instead of running off the modified hit-box resistance value it’ll always apply to a hit-box with Weak Bullet on it.
So really, this is an overall buff to Weak Hit Advance as you’ll no longer have issues with Weak Bullet not bringing a hitbox’s weakness to the threshold where Weak Hit Advance counts (1.2x if I recall correctly). For example, right now if you apply a jammed Weak Bullet to a 0.9x hitbox, it’ll only turn it into a 1.08 which won’t allow Weak Hit Advance to work.
This leaves the likes of Gu/Ra and Br/Ra largely unchanged.
To clarify in case there’s confusion, Sega added an ammendment to the patch notes because the old wording implied that Weak Hit would only apply to Weak-Bulleted targets which would have been a terrible nerf to Rifles and x/Ra builds.
Force and Techer Tree Rework
They plan to compress a number of the skills on both classes skill trees, with the main focus being on element masteries.
They’re going to adjust the values for Mastery 1 lv1-10 and the same to Mastery 2 while also reducing their caps to lv5. So you’ll need 15 SP per element instead of 20, which should free up a few points but it still won’t allow you to make an effective all-element build for Force.
Techers additionally have had the numbers and caps changed for Wand Lovers, Reactor and Element. Wand Lovers new cap will be lv5 while Reactor and Element will be 1. Additionally, the skill caps for Shifta Advance, Deband Advance, Shifta Critical and Shifta Advance have has their caps reduced to 5 (and numbers adjusted accordingly). Likewise, the requirements for Shifta Critical, Deband Cut, Shifta Strike and Deband Toughness have been reduced from 5 to 3.
This combined with the changes to Zanverse frees up quite a lot of skill points for Techers indeed (up to 43 depending on what your build was!). What they should do with all these spare points I’m not sure… perhaps invest into Light and Dark masteries? I honestly don’t know..
Compound Tech Nerf
Compound Techs will retain all their power (except Zandeon which is getting a buff) but will receive a 2-minute cooldown.
So really this means you won’t be able to just build up compounds and use them nearly back-to-back anymore, as was almost the case with Magical Piece shenanigans in Time Attacks.
Bouncer Will Still Be Average
Non-Weak Element will be buffed a bit. That’s it. Also Gran Wave is buffed.
They’re Still Trying To Make Guard Stance Good
Guard Stance Advance will have its power and duration boosted. Much like with other changes the potential impact of this really depends on the numbers. Fury Stance offers 1.2 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.10 (1.4553) in terms of power right now all the time. Guard Stance Advance offers 1.2 for 10 seconds after a successful Just Guard, but of course it has the additional advantage of being way more durable than Fury Stance.
So they can’t really make its power higher than Fury Stance, so I wouldn’t expect a power mod much higher than 1.3.
Note I don’t include Just Attack bonuses because they’re not dependent on stances.
Make Shunka Great Again
A number of Katana Photon Arts are geting buffed.
- Tskukimi-sazanka, Gekka Zakuro and Fudou Kuchinashi are having their PP costs reduced
- Hien Tsubaki will generate more gear and do more damage more quickly.
- Asagiri Rendan has various adjustments as well as dealing more damage
- Shunka Shunran will deal more damage more quickly.
So yeah, they’re actually buffing Shunka Shunran again. I doubt it’ll be returning to its glory days of Episode 2 (at least I hope not) but it’s still funny that it’s getting buffed in light of its history all the same.
So in summary;
- The end of TPS sniping,
- The end of Zanverse builds
- The end of quickly building Compound Techs
- A general nerf to melee Techer and a nerf to Techer casting builds (aside TeFi)
- A general nerf to x/Gu builds that depended on Chains for heavy burst damage
- A general nerf to builds that depended on Graptor/Banish for burst damage
- A general buff to Partizans, Wired Lances and Knuckles
- A buff to Weak Hit Advance
- A buff to Katanas overall
Thats quite a few class combos suffering because of one pet!
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Just gonna cover a couple of the changes that don’t really fit anywhere else.
Could this be what I think it is? Is this taking the PVP matchmaking system and applying it to PVE Quests? If so that’s a huge improvement while at the same time one that I’m genuinely surprised they’re offering for a few reasons.
For one, what does this mean for Premium space? For that matter, how will Expert Block requirements be handled with this? I assume that instead of matchmaking you across all blocks it might just use a select group of blocks instead (for example, all the Extra Hard blocks if you’re currently in an Extra Hard block and all Expert if you’re in an Expert block). Hard to tell at this point as very little information has been revealed about the feature yet.
But yeah, this could solve a lot of issues aside the obvious of it being easier to form a group. For one thing, people AFKing in lobbies won’t be as big a problem and there might be less pressure to go park a spot in a good block well in advance of an Emergency Quest starting to ensure you get a group.
MY INVENTORY: Material Storage
They’re adding a 2500 slot warehouse that can only store material items. Fucking finally, that’s all I have to say. I hope it’s account shared for convenience!
That’s everything about Episode 5 that they’ve revealed so far. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t exactly blown me away but I also haven’t seen anything I really hate either, just some things I kind of wish they did better with. Mostly I think the enemy designs are just a little too unremarkable and the field they showed really needs something done to it to make it look less bland. The quest itself sounds like it might be fun, but I remain a little sad at the thought of not having any more Arks Quests or Free Fields potentially.
We’re set to learn more about Episode 5 with the 10th PSO2 Station on the 16th of July.