Maximum Nostalgia: PSO’s 15 Anniversary

griffon

In July, PSO2 will be celebrating PSO’s 15th anniversary in a variety of ways. Just going to go over what’s known in this post.

First off, the event page for the anniversary can be found here.

Here is a trailer which includes video footage of the update. Skip one minute in to see the PSO stuff.

Gal Griffon

that_looks_painful

When this thing was found in the game’s data there was quite a reaction from the fanbase. I don’t think anyone saw this enemy coming, not even in the wildest of speculations. What’s more, it seems to be an original mesh with its own skeleton, which is to say it isn’t a re-skin! Aside the colour scheme in this picture, the model seems pretty faithful to the original. I mean the colours we’re seeing makes it look kind of like an Oceanid enemy from one of the Vopar maps but who knows, maybe that’s down to the lighting. The old Griffon was just brown rather than pink is all.

As far as I know, this is all it has so I don’t think we’ll be running through any of the Central Control maps. A shame really, as I’d have really liked to see a rendition of the Jungle area at least. Well, I think I would anyway, afterall PSU’s renditions of some of PSO’s areas left a lot to be desired (FOREST). In fact really, something’s looking a little off about the arena itself if you ask me, which… again maybe it’s just the lighting? Like the arena’s ground just seems to be way too brightly lit for what’s going on around it. Both incarnations of the boss seem to be set during dark storms, but the arena in PSO just seems better lit for it. As a result, it seems to lack that same intimidating atmosphere that the old one had. This video here I think helps illustrate what I mean. Still I’m working with still images and teasers, maybe it works better in action so to speak.

At this point we don’t really know the exact nature of the quest it’ll be involved in. There’s an unlabeled one in the translation files with operator chatter about “defeat the one who caused the accident” but that may not be related to this at all.

Team Room: Administrative District

psow_wet_dream

Pump that nostalgia up to the next level by turning your team’s room into Pioneer 2. Very nice addition, the area looks pretty good so far. I don’t actually know if the area offers any unique functionality at this point and the trailer seems to show a bunch of empty shops. Essentially, it’s something that will be cool for a couple of days before everyone gets bored of it.

PSO Outfits

So far only Humar and Hunewearl have been revealed. While I am quite OK with this myself, this does leave Cast players a little out in the dust. I’d at least expect a Hucast and Racaseal given how iconic they appear to be to the fanbase, but I wouldn’t expect them to make a rendition of every single PSO outfit. Not unless this is a part of some larger content plan, anyway.

Images captured from this video. 

Credits to Manta for uploading the video and Agrajag for sinning

Advance Quest Update

YOU_SOUND_THE_SAME

With today’s maintenance, the Advance Quest update has arrived. Gonna just start the post with a summary of the changes:

risky

  • You can now raise advance risk by paying additional caps (from +0 to +50 costs 50 caps)
    • Risk bought this way persists for a week, the same as risk gained the old fashioned way.
    • You can also apply this to Very Hard Advance Quests, which I’ll discuss below
  • Enemies can now be leveled up to 80 (this occurs at +30 risk)
  • Drop rates for Large Pyroxenes is boosted at maximum risk
    • This is what they say, anyway. So far I’m finding it hard to believe.
  • Additional E-trials and bosses can occur, such as Nyau, Apprentice, Persona and Dark Falz Angel.
    • There may be others, at this point it’s too early to say

I’ll edit additional details in as they come to light.

Apprentice

Well not really, she’s a clone of the previous Apprentice made by Dark Falz: Double. She made her first appearance in story mode, much like Persona did, however unlike Persona she didn’t wait something like a year to appear outside of it.

apprentice


I’ve only fought her once so far, all I can say about her is she seems to hit like a wet noodle most of the time however she seems to be considerably more violent than her story mode self. Small hits they may be, but they come often. She also has a hell of a lot more HP, but I was not playing the most DPS-oriented build. Additionally, she can also summon Predicahdas to assist her.

Like most other boss characters and unlike all gingers, Apprentice has a soul (ORIGINAL JOKE ALERT). Her soul gives +40 s-atk,r-atk and t-atk and also boosts the transfer rate of Modulator by a measly 10%. While small on its own, it will help with up-slotting modulator onto something. If I’m correct in how the formula works, instead of being 86% when pushing from 3 to 4 slots, it would be 93%. This is assuming you’re using a 30% booster, which I feel you should if dealing with Modulator because I’m poor. For 4-5 it’d be 84% instead of 78%.

Very Hard Advance Quests

As said in the summary, you can also raise the risk of Very Hard Advance Quests. This is particularly relevant to those wishing to level alts, as the exp gained from boosted rare enemies is formidable. That said, it does require that you can reliably kill max-boosted enemies at that level, which is why this is only really suitable for alt characters as they’re likely going to be the only ones that can be twinked to cope with it. As such, this method isn’t really suitable for new players.

The small pyroxenes you generate here can also be used on the new Live-series weapons at that!

Live-Series Weapons

This update added a new series of exchange weapons, the “Live” series. They’re straight-up recolours of  the “Bio” series weapons from Extreme Quests. Each one requires a selection of 15 large pyroxenes of 3 different kinds (for a total of 45 large pyroxenes).

They require a rather daunting 450 dexterity in order to equip them, which may demand points in Mags or Skill trees for some race/class combos at 75/75. This makes them pretty strictly end-game weapons.

LiveSword

The exchanges for each weapon class are as follows:

  • Sword: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Wired Lance: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Partisan: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Twin Daggers: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Double Saber: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Knuckles: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Gunslash: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Katana: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Bullet Bow: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Dual Blades: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Jet Boots: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Assault Rifle: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Launcher: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Twin Machineguns: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Rod: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Talis: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Wand: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama

As can be seen, there are some which require the same stones. The weapons come with 20% element and 4 affixes (Stat IV, Arm IV, Ability III, Status Effect IV).

Their potential at level 3 appears to boost damage for each consecutive Just-Attack by 5% to a maximum of 10%. To take a single weapon as an example of attack power, the Live Katana has 499 S-atk at +0 which puts it on the same level as Orochi Agito and Evil Rakuka but inferior to Yamigarasu in terms of stats. However, the Live-series are all-class weapons, so it’s something to consider before writing them off entirely.

Zieg’s Order

zieg

You can also obtain a Dark Falz 12* weapon by showing Zieg 3 Live-series weapons. Which ones he wants to see depends on the weapon you want to get!

Here’s the list of weapons and their required Live weapons:

  • Ely Sion  – Sword, Wired Lance, Partisan
  • Lavis Blade – Twin Daggers, Double Saber, Knuckle
  • Yasminkov 7000V – Assault Rifle, Launcher, Bullet Bow
  • Blitz Fender – Twin Machinegun, Assault Rifle, Gunslash
  • Psycho Wand – Rod, Talis, Gunslash
  • Magical Piece – Wand, Talis, Jet Boots
  • Edel Arrow – Katana, Bulletbow, Sword
  • Niren Orochi – Dual Blades, Jet Boots, Twin Daggers

This leaves out a good number of Falz 12*s however, which is kind of a weird decision I feel. I get that they might not have wanted to give classes more weapons than others but this would be the case regardless anyway by virtue of classes having differing amounts of weapons they can use in the first place. In any case, if the Falzes have been stingey to you for the past two and half years then you can work towards getting one now. It will not be a quick trip, necessarily, but this is probably for the best.

At this time it isn’t know what affixes or elements the weapons have when you receive them.

Rumourmill – Hatou Rindou Nerf

ハトウリンドウ!!(っ’ヮ’)╮▁▂▃▅▆▇█▓▓

Going by forum posts and twitter, it seems Hatou Rindou has been nerfed somewhat. The exact how has yet to be established, but it appears that it doesn’t land as many hits as it used to. As far as I know there’s no official word from Sega at this point, so it isn’t known if this is a bug or a stealth-nerf.

Thoughts

I’m pleasantly surprised. As I tweeted, I would not have been surprised at all if Sega had just updated 3 of the Advance Quests and then rolled out the rest whenever they felt like. The company is reputable for drip-feeding content like this, I mean it’s precisely what they did when they released SHAQs in the first place. So I’m glad I was wrong, it was good of them to upgrade the entire mode like this.

The downside is they’re still not worth running solo, even if you’re capable of handling them at maximum risk. The capsule reward rate simply varies far too highly, making profitability dubious and risking making a loss in caps overall.

Also solo PSE bursts are still the saddest things in the game.

The Grind

Live-series weapons have 20% element, which means you’ll need 3 of them to max them. As each requires 15 of 3 different types of pyroxene and each large pyroxene is about 100 regular pyroxenes this means you’ll need roughly 4500 of each stone or 13500 total. That number seems familiar somehow…

So far, running the missions solo I’ve managed to make something like 70 regular pyroxenes throughout 4 quests. I have yet to earn a single large-pyroxene, which feels roughly a similar drop-rate to how they were before. I’m feeling mildly cynical that maximum-risk actually boosts the drop rate at all, if it does then it’s such a small boost that it might as well not even be there. Regardless, this appears to demonstrate that Super Hard Advance Quests are still not worth running overall which is a pity. Once again the effort-reward ratio feels off judging by experience so far, especially given that you can still obtain Apprentice Soul on Very Hard as well as the materials you can use to buy the Live-series weapons without the risk of making a loss in caps. My opinion on this may change over time, especially if I can get some decent group runs going.

The worst part arguably is that as the weapons need specific combinations of stones, you’d better hope your entire group want weapons which happen to use the same or else people will be wasting their time. The issue is due to the fact that you can’t exchange Advanced Quest pyroxenes into any other kind.

All in all, not the most enjoyable of updates. It is nice that we have a higher tier of all-class weapons at least.

As always, please let me know if there are any inaccuracies in the facts stated within this post.

PSO2 Live Broadcast 16 Gallery

GOOD_EVENINGI can’t understand a word of Japanese! As such, all I can really do for a live broadcast post for now is post a gallery of images. I hope they’ll be useful for those who can read japanese and just something pretty to look at for everyone else. Well as pretty as screen-shots from a livestream can be, anyway.

PSO2 ES
Question and Answers
Campaigns, Contests and Collaboration
Attack on Titan Teaser Image

stream-Attack-on_Titan


Videos

All of the following videos were uploaded by Manta Oyamada of PSO2UP.

Episode 2: Official Update Page and Broadcast Information

hairy_sakai

The official update page for the start of Episode 2 has been posted up. It of course comes with a trailer, which I’ll embed as par for the course, however this one is unusually lengthy. You can find a rundown of the update page here on Bumped.

This post will pretty much be going over some information about particular aspects of Episode 2 that I’ve come across, as well as sharing my thoughts on them. If I find more information I’ll probably go and put it into a new post because I think this one is quite long enough now..

The background music at the start is the theme of the new Coast field’s boss, Bal Rodos. From around 2:49 on-wards I believe it’s the Coast field’s theme.

It seems Bal Rodos is Lv55 in the trailer, which puts it on the same level as Sanctum. So I guess that’s how they’re going to be keeping Advanced Quests relevant for longer, which makes me wonder if Lilipa3 will share the same fate. Seabed shouldn’t, as it’ll be released after Super Hard is out.

You can watch the live broadcast in its entirety through the following links:


Braver

The class is defined by the two new weapon types, both of which seem to at least look decent. The Katana has good mobility and area-of-effect capability, which will be good for all of melee’s demands. Katanas are at least more mobile than Swords for example, but the damage numbers that they put out seem.. small. In fact their stats and even Photon Art modifiers seem relatively low, however they could well make up for this in damage per second given how rapidly they can attack. Bows on the other hand seem to lay somewhere between Launchers and Rifles with a bit of Twin-Daggers thrown in for good measure. Certainly versatile but I have yet to be convinced of their overall effectiveness.

braverweapons

braverPAs

Tsukimi-sazanka, Gekka-zakuro, Kanran-kikyo, Sakura-endo, Hien-tsubaki, Asagiri-rendan, Master Shot, Penetrating Arrow. Thanks to Qwerty for these names.

Braver seems to be a class oriented around the Ability (or Dexterity) stat primarily. It has an Ability Up skill, which is notable for being at lv3 in the livestream as that indicates it’s a pre-requisite for something. Both Katanas and Bullet Bows also require dexterity to equip, or at least all of the weapons shown so far do. However there may be no need to go raising a pure Dexterity Mag just for this class, as the requirements are quite low anyway. One revealed Braver skill, namely “Braver Mag”, converts up to 50% of the S-atk and R-atk into Dexterity. Whether or not this will add to your base and count for equipping things I don’t know (data suggests it’s a passive skill).

braverSkills

Ability Up 1, Braver Mag, Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Average Stance, Katana Combat, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Reversal Cover, Rapid Shoot Up

mxYA7rw

The Braver Skill Tree. Skills are: Ability Up, Sriking Up, Shooting Up, Average Stance, Average Stance Up, Average Stance Critical, Average Stance Charge
Katana Combat, Combat Just Attack Bonus, Combat Finish, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Rapid Shoot Up, Rapid Shoot Mastery
Weak Stance, Weak Stance Up, Ability Up 2, Weak Stance Critical, Weak Stance Charge
Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Reversal Cover, Rare Mastery Braver, Braver Mag. Source: Dengeki Play.

Of interest to me are the utility skills surrounding step, as for melee it’s absolutely crucial to mobility. Snatch Step is a skill that will deal damage during a Step. It is seperate from Step Attack as that skill allows you do perform an attack at the end of a Step. You can perform step with both Katanas and Bullet Bows at that, so you’re not losing out if you choose to go ranged.

While you can guard with Katanas, Braver doesn’t have any guard skills at all. The broadcast demonstrates that Just Guarding is possible with Katanas, but possibly only through their gear. If this is the case, I wonder if there’s any point investing in Just Guard should someone decide to have Hunter as their subclass? Or if the regular Just Guard would apply to the Katana without gear applies or even if it would affect the weapon at all.


Coast Enemies

The trailer revealed a number of enemy names, as did the coast field playthrough that was done during the live broadcast. I’ll list them here with names and pictures where I can.

Torpon

torpon

A small shelled enemy, weak to both fire and ice element interestingly. Better picture of them from the official site below. At a distance they appear to be similar to Micdas, possibly sharing the same bone structure. The one on the right below makes be doubt that a little..

torpon2

Aculpus

aculpus

Seems to share its skeleton with Naberius’ Galphs. Of course, their attack behaviors don’t resemble them much, with them swimming through the sand with their fins poking out. Land sharks. They also appear to do a somersault attack.

Blumegalla

blumegalla

It’s a flower! It pretends to be a regular giant spikey flower and then jumps out at the player after spraying something about. It also fires laserbeams because why not. Smaller versions of this enemy exist as well, namely Blumetta. They appear to share the same bone structure as Sanctum’s Pendira’n.

blumetta

A picture of both of these enemies is up on the official page, re-hosting below.

blumegalla_blumetta

Blundarl

blundarl

One of the new bird-type Darkers. The second one named I believe, after Luda Sorcerer. A higher quality picture of Blundarl is posted below.

blundarl_hq

Strahda

StrahdaForgive me for the quality of these pictures, but it’s from a compressed video and there don’t seem to be any clear shots of these enemies sadly. Anyway, this is the somewhat legendary BIRDBIRDCROW in the flesh as it were. Their weak point looks like an exposed brain… It’s the standard orange colored weakpoint that most Darkers have it’s just how it looks given its position.

Another variant of this small bird is Tyraluda

Tyraluda

Unfortunately there are no official pictures that I’m aware of for either of these.

So it seems that the Coast field’s elements are Fire and Ice for the natives and Wind and Light for the Darkers.

Now that we have a planet full of fish, after having been fighting fish-based Darkers for a while now, I wonder if a planet populated by insects is on its way in 2014? After all, PSO2 still doesn’t have a Grass Assassin!


Subclass EXP

Old news now, but confirmed at least once and well, it being on the official update page means Sega aren’t going to be changing their minds about it. It’s sad, but subclass EXP will be capped to level 40. Before that, your subclass will gain 10% of the EXP that your main does. Yeah it’s not particularly popular this decision, but it’s still decent at least initially for a subclass. However I imagine like others, I was hoping this would mean the end of having to switch to a class you don’t like playing in order to support a class you do, but alas.


Class Appropriate Rare Drops.. From Bosses

Nothing like hearing the rare drop jingle only to get an item you can’t even use, eh? Well from Episode 2 this problem will be slightly alleviated! By how much of course isn’t really all that specific and I have a feeling that, as a player, you honestly won’t be able to tell that the drop rates had been increased at all. 1/1000 is barely better than 1/2000 for example and I highly doubt they’d give that generous a boost anyway. The idea is at least good, I just have no faith that the difference will be at all noticeable.

Also, despite the update page itself not mentioning bosses according to an article on Shougai which contains a transcript from Sakai and someone else, it only applies to boss enemies. This is kind of a shame as a number of decent items do still drop from regular enemies, but it’s a least a step in the right direction.


EXP Penalty Readjustment

The EXP penalty, which I’m still not a fan of even now, is being relaxed somewhat. Instead of altering the rates however instead they’ll be increasing the number of levels before it applies from 5 to 11. They’re um, turning up to 11 as it were…

This means that you’ll be able to run Advanced Quests a little earlier, however you’ll still have your EXP reduced to 75% at least initially (unlocks at 45, enemies start at 56). However, being able to start running Advanced Quests at lv46 is a significant improvement over having to wait until Lv52. It also means you can skip ahead areas more quickly at the lower levels, which doesn’t really affect Normal mode at all for new players in any case.

On arrival to Hard mode, you’ll be only 1 level out of reach for Forest Exploration.

On arrival to Very Hard mode, you’ll be able to run all the Free Field quests except for Sanctum Exploration and presumably Coast.


Client Order Adjustments

Reducing the cool-down time for daily repeatable Client Orders (not to be confused with Daily Orders… I know) from 24 to 22 is a big deal. Why, you might ponder, it’s not much of a change. It means they truly become daily orders. The current cool-down of 24 hours is problematic because it introduces what I call “crawl”, whereby the time you can re-do the Client Order crawls around the clock and becomes later with each day.

Say you start the Order at 12:00pm, it takes you half an hour to complete and you turn it in at 12:30pm. The next day you can’t start it any earlier than 12:30pm, so the next day you won’t be able to start it until 1:00pm. Then 1:30pm, etc. A 22 hour cool-down gives you a much better chance of being able to take on these Client Orders at a time you’d prefer to take them. It’s good to see the change, but annoying that it took them a year to do something about it.

Solemn Sentinel and Other Future Content

flycrySo yeah, we got a date for the new field. The 8th freely accessible field will be arriving on the 10th of April. This post will go over some of the content announced for this date as well as looking further ahead at future content. It will also act as a place to share my thoughts on some of the things announced between my last post and the present.


Solemn Sentinel Update

As has been the case throughout PSO2’s life a trailer for the new content was released as well as a new update page. Embedding the trailer below.

Dragon Altar’s map is a lot less organic than the other Amduscia areas, which makes sense given that it’s manufactured by the natives. While this concept makes it close to something like Lilipa’s Underground Complex in structure it seems to be fairly different.

altarmapUnlike the Complex, Dragon Altar’s layout is separated into rooms. Unlike any field so far, these rooms can be separated by doors. This makes me think of it as more like any of PSO’s areas, as it isn’t an open field like PSO2’s other areas. At the very least it looks like there’s enough that’s different about the field that will make it stand out from the others.

In terms of level range, the field seems to cover levels 50-55, which means that this field will be one drop tier below Advance Quests. I wonder if Lilipa3 will cover levels 55-60?

Presumably the existence of this field means we’ll be getting a “Marathon Training: Amduscia II” mission added at some point.

Like DRAGONLAND, the enemies in this field all appear to be weak to dark element attacks.


New Enemies

Pendolan

dragonhammerSo yeah, as I guessed this is indeed “dragonhammer”. Pendolans swing their hefty tail about to attack.

Deegala

flydeegPreviously known as “DragonFlyRaptor”, affectionately known as “FLY DEEG” to about 3 people. Unlike “Deeg”, however, the name for this critter really is Deeg, not Digg. If you’re confused, “Deeg” is the official translation of Digg as seen in footage of the localized client shown last year.

Deegalas appear to be the adds present in the field boss’s arena.

Sol Dilandarl

dragonchariot_01One of the “dragonchariots”, in this case the ranged type. Interestingly, Dinians are riding them. This was first seen in footage revealed a while back, which turned out to be part of the new benchmark which I’ll mention later in this post. Wonder if they die together or if they can be separated?

Goronzoran

dragonfatThe mini-boss of the new field. Fair to say that PSO2 really has had nothing like it. In fact I don’t think Phantasy Star in general has had anything like this.

I’m sure the main attraction to the boss (unless fat lizards are your thing) is the ability it has to summon Vol Dragon. Well, the internal name for this “Vol Dragon” is DragonSummonerIllusion as was mentioned in a previous post. It won’t be a fully powered Vol Dragon, that’d just be mean. Remember, this is a mini-boss, which means in a party of two or more you’re going to be fighting two of these fat bastards at once. Add in summon-able Vol Dragons and it’d just be a mess. To lend credence to this, it appears that the summoned dragon can’t actually be targeted.

Dragon Ex

dragonexThe name of the field’s boss was revealed some time ago. I wasn’t able to comment then but I can share my thoughts on it now, so that’s what I’m gonna do.

Dragon Ex is a dumb name. Moving on..

The fight itself looks like it’ll be similar to fighting Quartz, only Ex is much more sluggish and naturally more focused on melee-ing its foes. Unlike other dragons, Dragon Ex doesn’t appear to be able to fly.


Hatsune Miku costume, hairstyle, Mag and posters in PSO2

mikumikumikumikuNo one cares.


Skill Tree Changes

Been wanting to talk about this for a while. With a new level cap of 60 (which you won’t need a Client Order to unlock, thankfully) comes a new set of skills. There will also be tweaks to a couple of major skills in the Hunter tree. To Sega’s credit, all players will receive an item that can reset all their skill trees. Really glad they’re doing something like that, it’s a decent thing of them to do.

So what are the new skills like? I’ll be re-posting Bumped’s interpretation of them here as well as thoughts/speculation.

  • Fury Combo Up (Hunter)

“During Fury Stance, by performing a series of Just Attacks, you’ll do bonus damage”

Not a bad sounding skill, it’s rewarding the player for decent timing after all. Wonder how the damage will scale? It also seems like faster weapons would benefit more from this than slower ones, in particular I’m thinking Knuckles will benefit from it well. Especially as their Gear ability increases their attack speed..

  • Killing Bonus (Ranger)

“PP Restores when enemies die close to the player.”

Depending on the kind of PP restoration it gives, it might make builds less focused on PP more viable. I’d imagine due to the nature of the weapon, Launcher would benefit the most from this skill. Naturally, it’d be utterly useless against bosses.

  • Photon Flare Afterburst (Force)

“T-ATK increases for a certain amount of time after the end of the Photon Flare skill.”

I don’t really get this skill, it increases T-atk after a skill that increases T-atk has expired? I assume that it loses the HP penalty that Photon Flare incurs? There’s another issue with this skill that I’ll bring up later.

  • PP Slayer (Fighter)

“When PP is less than 50%, S-ATK and R-ATK increases.”

Not much to say about this skill. It just lets you do more damage from Photon Art spam. Kind of boring.

  • Perfect Keeper (Gunner)

“When HP is 100%, your damage towards enemies increases.”

Likewise, Gunner almost never gets hit anyway. I have a bit less of a problem with this one however given that it’s rewarding you for playing the class well I guess.

  • Rare Mastery Techer (Techer)

“T-ATK increases when equipping 10 star or higher weapons.”

This is stupid. I have bad news for Techers as well, because according to datamining efforts ALL classes have a skill like this. Why is it even needed? When you’re using 10* or higher weapons you’re already doing more damage than you would with most things below it. Yeah there are exceptions if you manage to get 50% element with certain 7-9* weapons, but the point remains. While it isn’t rewarding pure luck with the presence of the exchange weapons, it’s still effectively rewarding luck to a degree.

Skill Changes

A few Hunter skills will be altered on the 10th of April. Warcry’s target priority will be improved it seems but the bigger thing on people’s minds are the changes to Guard Stance and especially Fury Stance, as both of these skills will be changed to percentage increases.

Whether the change to Fury Stance is a good thing or not depends on what they mean by a percentage increase, because if it’s a percentage increase to damage dealt then this could potentially be a nerf depending on your current character’s stats. Before going into the mathematics, the basic premise is larger numbers benefit more from % increases to damage whereas lower numbers benefit more from plain stat increases. More to the point, the closer your attack stat is to the enemy’s defense stat the more important a stat boost is. To have some numbers to back this up; given 100 S-atk vs 100 S-def the resulting damage is 1. If S-atk is 250 and the enemy’s S-def is still 100 (say you used Fury Stance as it was) your damage is now 30. If Fury changed to % increase on damage you’d still be doing 1 damage.

If however this is a percentage increase to your stats, then it’d be functioning just as it is now. More importantly it would be functioning correctly for the game’s lifespan, which it wouldn’t have without such a change. 150-250 S-atk is a significant boost to attack at lv50, but the higher our characters go the less useful that becomes. The other question of course is would Fury Stance include S-atk up skills or just your base racial stats?

This leaves me wondering about skills like Photon Flare and Photon Flare Afterburst, which is the Force equivalent of Fury Stance in effect. Will that switch to a percentage increase in stats or will it keep the problem that Fury Stance had?


New Character Creation Benchmark

dorficonThis was a surprise! The character creation benchmark got an update, changing the stage from the Forest and Urban areas to Amduscia areas including the upcoming Dragon Altar field. That’s about it, it’s the same otherwise.
You can get the new benchmark from here (about 654MB).

phallicWhile on the surface there isn’t anything new aside the field, there are some interesting things under the surface which will be talked about in the next section.


Towards the Future

There is yet more content on the horizon, both officially announced and extracted from the data in the client. In this case the client is largely the new benchmark.

Enemies

Seems there’s a new variant of the bird themed enemies named “BirdCentaur”. My slight speculation of the “Bird Warriors” being somewhat Tengu-like may be a wee bit off, particularly with the addition of another bird named “bird_double_head”. Another new enemy is “MarineOarFish”, which may well be the enemy that “GoTo_0690_WaterBoss” concerns itself with. An oarfish is an actual thing, you can see one here at Wikipedia. That might feel a little familiar to a Phantasy Star Online fan, eh? Of course there’s no guarantee that it will function the same as De Rol Le did, as PSO2’s bosses are quite a bit different to bosses in past games.

Going by the area code (06xx) as well as the name of the enemy, the MarineOarFish is likely the boss of the un-announced “Coast” area. I wonder if the bird enemies also inhabit this field?

Area 2000 is a Tower. Before I would have said something like “a tower on lilipa” but that’s the wrong planet identifier for one thing (lilipa is 04xx for reference) plus Falz Arms and Falz Elder seem to be set to make appearances there. Interesting. Area 2000 used to be “DifficultQuest” before, so the chances are good that this field belongs to a new quest type scheduled to arrive later.

There’s still nothing on Lilipa3, although a new emergency trial who’s only reference is ” scene_oc_dwarfhome_defense”. Could the new field be the homestead of the Lilipans? Related to the field, it appears that Cougar, the cross-over boss from Border Break, has a rare variant. I mention it in this paragraph as chances are it’s the boss of this field. If so, I think it’s a bit weird really. A cross-over boss just doesn’t seem fitting as an actual boss as opposed to a thing on the sidelines somewhere.

With the exception of the content associated with Lilipa3, this stuff should all be here before the Summer gets going. There is no sign of Dewmans just yet, but Beasts may have become a more likely addition than they were with the addition of “race_beast” to the client. Before, the only reference to Beasts was in a random list which suggested that it might have just been data that carried across from PSU. It does not guarantee that they’ll add Beasts as a playable race, but as I say it does increase the chances of it happening. I wonder if they’ll hand out free character slots when they add new races?

PSO2 Episode 2

Outside of the client, it seems Episode 2 has been announced. It was announced during the Sympathy Concert which celebrated 25 years of the Phantasy Star franchise. No images of what was shown has turned up, but it seems it may have been no more than a key-word style teaser much like the original announcement of PSO2. To quote Bumped:

  • Oracle’s Collapse
  • Arks Road/Lord?
  • Photoners
  • “Who is the real enemy?”
  • The Third Darkers
  • The Beginning and End of the Arks
  • New Race, New Planet, New Classes.
  • New Weapon Categories.
  • Coming this Summer!

So presumably the new weapon types (Compound Bow and Katana) will belong to the new classes. Given the disparity between the amount of data there is in the client for Beasts and Dewmans it seems certain that the new race will be Dewmans. The new planet will host the un-announced Coast area more than likely, given the order of the area codes so far.

By third type of Darkers they mean a type of Darker other than insect and fish. Could these be Bird Darkers or are the bird enemies the natives of whatever planet the coast field belongs to?

That’s really all I can tie into this announcement from the datamined stuff that I know about. Who knows when we’ll hear more about this, but it probably won’t be this side of the game’s first anniversary.

Advanced Quests

digdorfAdvanced Quests are the latest addition to PSO2, offering more difficult content for smaller parties. It was a feature that was announced a while back and it was initially the cause of worry among the player-base due to the steep entry fees. So now they’ve been out for a week, how have they worked out so far? This post will be talking about how Advance Quests work (as is understood so far) and share my opinions on them.

The Mechanics

  • You need to be lv45+ to be able to run an Advanced Quest. Despite this the EXP penalty is still very much in effect.
  • Monsters will start off at lv56, which means that players will be penalized exp unless they’re lv51 or over.
  • Advanced Quests cost Advanced Capsules. One capsule corresponds to each area and each area drops the next area’s capsules, effectively making Advanced Quests resemble Phantasy Star Universe’s “Guardians Boost Road”.
  • The costs are as follows:
    • Advanced Forest: 10 Advance Capsules a / アドバンスカプセルa. 50,000 Meseta per capsule.
    • Advanced Caves: 10 Advance Capsules b / アドバンスカプセルb. 60,000 Meseta per capsule.
    • Advanced Desert: 10 Advance Capsules c / アドバンスカプセルc. 70,000 Meseta per capsule.
  • You can get your first batch of capsules for free by simply talking to Koffie.
  • You have 1 hour to complete the quest.
  • The quests consist of 3 blocks, all of which are single-party areas.
  • Monsters do not respawn, however the spawns themselves are denser than normal.
  • Quests end with a boss, but the boss itself is randomly chosen from a selection.
    • Advanced Forest: Rockbears or Fang Banthers
    • Advanced Caves: Caterdr’ans or Vol Dragon
    • Advanced Desert: Tranmizers or Zeshrayda
    • All rare variants can also be encountered
  • You can invite NPCs to these quests.
  • You can encounter Mr.Umblla, the Naura Cake Shop and Arks Clones in these quests. Be aware that Mr.Umblla can hit very hard.
  • There is no chance of being abducted or encountering a warp to a parallel world.
  • Advance Risk is acquired upon completing an Advanced Quest. Each completion will earn you +1 risk.
  • Unlike Guardians Boost Road, only the leader’s risk will affect the Quest
  • For each +3 risk the enemy levels will raise by 1 (up to a maximum of lv60).
  • Higher risk will increase the encounter rate of boosted enemies
  • Level 15 Photon Art Discs can drop

Speculated – Based On Observation

  • Risk seems to affect spawn density and the density of PSE Bursts.
  • Rare monsters seem to be more common in Advance Quests, might just be luck.

This may not be a complete list of information about Advanced Quests. I’ll add more or edit anything people point out is wrong with the information here.


Thoughts

Yeah, they’re alright. Certainly not nearly as bad as people were worried they were going to be, with the primary worry being the cost to run them. The capsules drop at a decent rate, although it’s easier to cover the cost of the next quest entirely as your risk goes up, so at least initially you may have to buy missing capsules.

pso20130214_002958_015

Boosted versions of rare bosses are particularly dangerous. If you have less than 1100 HP and are not geared (or specced) to defense then getting hit could easily spell an instant death.

In terms of difficulty they’re not really much harder than regular quests aside from monsters being able to hit harder, faster and are much more durable. If you’re under-geared, you will have a miserable time trying to kill things, however the quests have a decent chance of dropping red weapons. If you’re not well geared, I would suggest buying some of these from player shops assuming you can equip them (their requirements are rather high). They’re not as good as 10*s due to a negative Ability modifier on them (which will give you large variance) but they function perfectly well as starter weapons. I’m glad they elected to include weapons like this, as it puts players on much more even footing gear wise.

I would not recommend soloing these. Not because you wouldn’t be able to, necessarily, it’s just you’re better off partying with people. The spawn rates will be a fair bit higher, which means more shots at drops and arguably more importantly more capsule drops to cover the cost of subsequent runs. You’ll also be able to acquire your magic stones more easily, which means you’ll be able to get the exchange shop 10*s more quickly. I’ve stated before how I dislike how this game heavily favors groups, but there you go.

Related to this, based on speculation I said that Desert would drop Indra stones. I was basing this on the fact that Wind Stone: Vayu could be exchanged for wind-element weaponry and Fire Stone:Agni could be exchanged for fire-element weaponry. Made sense that Lightning Stone: Indra would be for lightning-element, but instead the stone required is Earth Stone Privthi. So I apologize for that. You can find a list of what’s available on the Pyroxene Shop at the Arkive here. 

It also has to be said that the EXP penalty is bullshit. It was bullshit before, it’s just highlighted more directly in these quests. If you’re unaware, there is an EXP penalty that will apply to players if they are fighting monsters only 5 levels higher than them. The penalty becomes significantly more severe as the gap grows. Presumably, it’s a mechanic to help prevent people from just power-leveling their way to cap by just following players in Multi-Party Areas. The way in which it manifests in Advanced Quests is just absurd though. Why let lv45+ players enter the quest if they’re going to get significantly less EXP than they would for fighting monsters their own level? Never mind that they’ll be struggling more. Further along, a lv51 player acquiring 3 risk would actually be nerfing their EXP per kill. What kind of bonus system penalizes a player for succeeding? A stupid one. The EXP penalty needs to be removed like they did for PSU, at the very least in quests like this.

The fact they only released one new level for photon art discs is also pretty ridiculous. Talk about drip-feeding.

Overall though, I like Advanced Quests. If nothing else because it feels nice to have enemies that will always present at least some difficulty as opposed to falling over the moment they’ve spawned. It’s not so hard you’ll be tearing your hair out, but it’s tricky enough that you will at least need to pay attention.

The Future – A Glimpse

wuhBeing too unwell to update while all this new information is coming out sucks! So rather than post news as if it were new, this post will share my thoughts on the things heading our way.


Part 2 of Valorous Vanguard

The next part of the update was revealed, embedding the trailer below. This update will be arriving on the 13th of February.


Advance Quests

It’s looking like they may all in fact cost a player 500,000 Meseta to get started. An unfortunate situation, but how unfortunate utterly depends on the drop-rate of the capsules within the quests themselves. The primary worry is it will grant richer players (mostly those who bought player shops) an unfair advantage over poorer players. Paying players already have a fair number of advantages within the game (in particular with regard item upgrades).

57rogbeltAdvance Risk, which is acquired upon clearing Advance Quests, will increase the levels of the enemies as well as the appearance rate of boosted enemies. I wonder if this is a value only taken from the leader or if the value is a party-wide total? If it’s the latter, I’m not looking forward to the elitism it could cause but that ought to be mitigated by the weekly resets.

Should also be noted that generally speaking boosted enemies are easier to defeat than regular enemies. A potentially clumsy way to increase the difficulty of the quests in that light.

updateimageThroughout the lead-up to Advance Quests we’ve been teased about new weapons dropping in them. I’m sure you’ve noticed the weapons on the update page pictured above. Among them is what appears to be a golden version of Vol Scale.

ui_item_1010042It has been in the client for some time, as well as rare versions of other boss-part items. This particular one pretty much certainly drops from Burn Draal, the rare version of Vol Dragon. It’s possible that they will drop in the Advance Quests initially due to the enemy level being in the appropriate tier. There are other things that may turn up too, such as rare-versions of boss-part units. I wonder if Zeshrayda’s units will finally turn up as well?

Red-Double-Sabers

Image taken from this post at Bumped.

In the above image you can see two other rare variants of boss-part weapons. Rogbelt Knuckle and Draal Vorg, rare variants of Rock Knuckle and Fin Volg respectively. As far as I know, there is no information about red weapons or where they’re going to turn up.

In case you’re curious about the description of the Red Double Saber, here’s a translation by Espiokaos:

An experimental double saber with symbolic coloring. Its dazzling red color will surely grab everyone’s attention.

I can’t say I’m not eager to find out if these missions are any fun to run or not. Naturally the capsule system is concerning but for all I know it could work out. It could… I’ve felt that way about numerous things that Sega has introduced which then failed miserably… At the very least the spawn density looks good, though I’m not sure if the layouts are set or random at this time.

Initially there will be three Advance Quests; Forest, Volcano and Desert. These will require their own capsules as has been said, but I wonder if any capsule can drop in any Advance Quest or if they only drop their own?


Pyroxene Weaponry

The first thing to note is that none of the new items use Iritista Rainbow Spellstones. But that’s OK, because unlike the Iritista weapons these ones actually seem to be powerful. Those of you crying WELFARE RARES should probably relax too, because these items require a rare precursor item as well as a large number of stones to acquire. The general exchange pattern is:

  • Precursor rare item + 90 stones

There are three new stones:

  • Wind Stone Vayu
  • Fire Stone Agni
  • Thunder Stone Indra

These can be found in the Advance Quests, so presumably there’s one for each area. Vayu for Forest, Agni for Volcano and Indra for Desert.

pyroxene_wepons

Like the previous selection of Pyroxene weapons they all seem to come with Mutation + Attack Ability III, So for each of the stats listed there you’ll need to take away 40 in order to fairly compare them to the currently available weapons. They’re all still at the top of their classes compared to what’s out, which is why the previously cheap precursor items have all soared in price in player shops. That’s one way to keep low-level rares valuable I suppose, though I wonder if that’s such a good thing. On the other hand, it means that finding rares in the lower levels is still potentially worthwhile.


Story Content

During the 5th PSO2 Broadcast on NicoNico a trailer was shown teasing future story content. Embedding below.

As it turns out, all fun times relating to Hadred and pals will be taking place in Chapter 9. There is a side-story, but it’s named “Arks Combat Tournament” and appears to have you going up against Claris Claes and Huey, both of whom are legendary Arks members (with Huey being a member of the Council of Six). I wonder if they’ll be actual boss-fights like Persona and Gettemhalt, or if they’ll simply be something like Arks Clones functionally speaking. Also can’t help but wonder who else this quest will pit you against.

OMNOMNOM

Turns out that blue-haired girl will be about, so she wasn’t some tentative character after all. Here what’s presumed to be Hadred protects her from being attacked by a Kuklonahda

hadred_arks_lobby

The trailer appears to show you going up against Hadred in the Sphere Arena, but this screen-shot suggests that something else is about to go down. What Darker is about to warp into the arena?

Chapter 9 will be released first on the Vita version, whereas the side story is set to arrive on the PC version first. No information on when the platforms will receive each other’s exclusive quests yet.


Other Things

Longterm Schedule

It was finally posted up, expanding upon the previous roadmap page here. You can find a translated version of it on PSO-World here. I’ve also updated the update schedule on the side of the site here to reflect it.

“Phantom Tower” makes me think of the towers of planet Lilipa. I wonder if that’s a possible hint toward the third area of the planet, despite not adding a field itself? It would be the last planet to gain three areas assuming Amduscia is getting a third. However, it looks like Chrome Dragon + the rare variant are being added without a field. A new field is coming in the “Solemn Guardian” update, but that has its own boss so I have no idea what planet that will end up going to. It also seems that Ultimate won’t be arriving any time soon, with a long-term cap of lv60.

Horrible thought, but that new field better not be hidden behind RNG upon starting an Advance Quest or some bullshit like that…

As a final note, nothing hints towards the arrival of Dewmans as a playable race.

Outfits

Back to what’s coming up on February 13th, turns out all the outfits that were seen in the data-mined scratch cards are on their way.

lilipascratch01lilipascratch02Wonder how the Lilipan costume will scale with players…