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.

Kuhna The Idol

I_believe_I_can_flyIn today’s Shonen Jump Weekly some information was teased regarding a new character in PSO2’s story who goes by the name of Kuhna (or possibly Koona or Kuna).

Here’s what she looks like:

up35874So who is she? It’s not entirely clear, other than she may be heavily involved in the Hadred side-story quest which could be set to arrive some time in March. The title of “idol” suggests that there will be singing involved. The data-mining also supports this in the quest text as well as the Chrome Dragon’s archive including a model of the Mic-Stand weapon. Will Hadred be singing? Just what kind of side story are we in for…

sidestory01

This is clearly taking place in Chrome Dragon’s arena, presumably for the side-story quest but this doesn’t seem to be Kuhna. The outfit looks a little unusual as well, as if a UV-map broke or something. Is this a different character or an abandoned design?

sidestory02A close up of Hadred’s face. I don’t see much singing going on here, but according to the data-mining efforts it’s involved somewhere. Singing at Hadred, being sung to by Hadred or a grand old sing-along where your avatar creepily moves its mouth roughly along, who knows! So far there’s been no text from the magazine uploaded as far as I know so the information is very thin. One was found just as I was writing this!

Posting a full-page scan below. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to have much in the way of information regarding Kuhna.

shonenscanNot entirely sure where the earlier images in this post have come from, I just found them on PSO2uploader.


200,000 hits!

As a small aside, PSO2Blog hit the 200,000 view-count milestone earlier in the month!

When I began writing this blog in July 2011 I didn’t expect this site to even reach 6 figures, let alone get this far. Thank you for visiting, I hope this site has been helpful to you!

PSO2 Vita Opening Movie + Trailer

crossplatformThe PSVita version of the game has moved further along it seems. This post will share my thoughts on the released videos as well as briefly discuss future content.


Videos!

Opening Movie

This is the same movie that was revealed earlier on during one of the recent live broadcasts on NicoNico, but of course this one is higher quality.

Promotional Trailer

Yeah, it looks like they’ve made a pretty competent port of the PC version. All of the features you’ve become familiar with on the PC version are available on the PS Vita version, including the ability to participate in 12-man multi parties.

psv_00Cross-play between the PC and Vita versions is still a thing, so you’ll be able to use the same account and character on both versions as well as play with players in cross-platform parties. As stated before though, cross-platform partying can only happen in certain blocks.

chrome_dragon_The video also briefly shows off the new boss, Chrome Dragon. As a reminder, the data mining suggests that it is to appear in a side-story quest (as a named variant of Chrome Dragon called “Hadred”). Despite its SEED-like appearance, it is a dragonkin enemy not a Darker.

The sign-up period for the beta test of PSO2 Vita is set to end on the 7th of January, with the tests themselves starting at an as of yet un-announced time. Official site of the closed-beta test can be found here.

psv_01
The character creator on the PSVita version of the game will take advantage of the touch-screen input. This has slightly perverted implications for the breast slider…
psv_symbol
I wonder if symbol arts will be easier or harder to make with the touchscreen…

Towards the Future

The final THIRD part of Where Darkness Gathers is a bit limp in comparison to other updates. It is pretty much a scratch rotation and nothing more. Some new costumes are coming such as little miss underboob’s outfit, “Mikoto Cluster” (Matoi’s outfit) as well as Sara’s outfit. I know a number of people have been eagerly waiting to get their hands on the latter outfit, so the prices could be fun. The rest of the outfits can be seen on the update page here.

In terms of content beyond that, it’s a bit of a mystery currently. But a mystery that’s set to be solved soon after tonight’s maintenance, apparently. All we know at the moment is Code: Clone is set to arrive some time in January and that a Falz Hunar emergency quest is to be added at some point. Finally of course there’s the new boss “Chrome Dragon” and its side-story quest, which we know won’t be arriving until after the Vita version has been released. The Vita version was last slated for a release date of th 28th of February. It at least looks like updates for the next two months won’t be as dense as in previous months, but that assumption could easily be shattered by the arrival of the new long-term schedule which is supposed to be due sometime soon.

Closed Vita Test and Patch Info

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A sign-up schedule was recently announced for a Closed Beta testing period for the Vita version of PSO2.

The sign-up period is between the 4th of December 2012 and the 7th of January 2013.

I unfortunately do not own a Vita so I will not be able to provide a guide myself, but Bumped has the relevant information around here.

Some key points:

  • A maximum of 50,000 participants will be selected for the test.
  • Tests will be concerning themselves with compatibility issues between the PC and Vita versions, as well as general stress testing.
  • The test servers are separate from the live servers, so PC participants will need to make new characters.
  • Character data will not carry over from this Closed Beta.
  • You can apparently sign up for it through a PS3 as long as it’s connected to the JP PSN store, so you don’t need a Vita. (I don’t have access to a PS3 either, d’oh). Update: This was deemed a bug by Sega, you can no longer sign up to the beta this way

Like the testing periods held for the PC version, there will be prizes handed out for participating in the tests and reaching class level 10 on at least one character.

  • A Riser / Nacht – a Gunslash.
  • 1 x Photon Sphere
  • 1 x 500 FUN ticket

No news of when the actual tests themselves will begin, or really much information about the contents of the test.

Related to this, during the live broadcast earlier today on Niconico the opening movie for the PSVita version of Phantasy Star was revealed. It is a recording from the broadcast, so it’s low quality.


Where Darkness Gathers – Part 1

SANTAMANPart 1 of the next addition to PSO2 will be being implemented during tonight’s maintenance. That means it’s patching time, of course!

I hope you’ve been making use of the pre-downloader service. If you have, your patch will be up to 3.2GB smaller. If you haven’t, you’ll need to download a whopping 5.2GB patch tonight. Good luck with that…

The maintenance will be taking place at the usual times listed on the right of this site, but just in case you’re too lazy to scroll up a bit:

  • JST: Wed 11:00 – 17:00
  • GMT(UK): Wed: 2:00 -8:00
  • EST: Tue 21:00 – 3:00
  • CDT: Tue 20:00 – 2:00
  • MDT: Tue 19:00 – 1:00
  • PDT: Tue 18:00 – 0:00
  • HADT: Tue 16:00 – 22:00

Towards the Future

According to information posted up at Shougai PSO, Sakai briefly hinted that future content would expand beyond the current formula of going to planets to slaughter the natives.

But that’s what ARKS do! Artificial Relict to Kill Species, it’s in their name! Keep, kill, whatever.

In any case let us all look forward to PSO2: Episode 2: Dinian Diplomacy.

Sakai Speaks! Also PSO2Vita Screenshots.

So with the announcement of Sega working on a version of PSO2 on the PSVita, rather blowing away the idea of it being a PC exclusive (which was never explicitly announced anyway), there were various reactions. Because this is the internet, most of those reactions consisted of pants-shitting and console warring, but regardless Sakai has taken some time to respond to people’s concerns. You can find a translation on Bumped here.

So, everything’s fine and dandy now, right? Well this wouldn’t be much of a blog entry if it was!

To summarise and interject with my own thoughts:

The PSVita can be patched, unlike the PS2. This means that the PSVita version can receive all the same content updates as the PC version.

This doesn’t entirely erase concerns that having two separate versions of the game will put a drag on development of new content, however. The question is, will it have a noticeable impact?

It will not be easier to cheat on the PS Vita version, as characters are stored server-side.

Much of people’s worry is centered around what happened to Phantasy Star Portable 2 on the PSP. That game had client-side saving of character data, which of course leaves it wide open to attack.

Incidentally, server-side saving doesn’t prevent cheating on its own. That all depends on exactly how much is trusted to the client, hopefully not anything as vital as the amount of money a character is carrying! They have done something like this before..

Not sure what’s up with people thinking that the Vita version will be easier to hack on, anyway. Sure, the Vita version won’t have GameGuard, but since when did GameGuard stop hackers? It’s possible that the two versions may have differing exploits, still, but the hacking difficulty is going to most likely be the same for either platform. Mind, when you consider the history, PC gamers pointing at console gamers and yelling “CHEATERS” is also incredibly ironic.

Cross-platform play will require further testing. The intention is to have the two platforms be able to play with each other, but if it doesn’t work out in testing they will be two separate versions.

Of course making them separate would possibly please a number of PC elitists, but it would be a shame to drop the idea of being able to grind your character on the go. You know, for that player who just can’t stop playing. Won’t know the outcome of this for many months yet, however.


PSO2 Vita Screenshots

To finish this post, going to share a few of the first screenshots of the PSVita version of PSO2, originally posted on 4Gamer.

The first shot of the PSO2 Vita interface.

The lack of shaders is a bit jarring, but this is also a game that Sakai has said is only 10% complete so far. Time will tell how good these graphics will end up being, but they’ve said that they’re aiming for the equivalent of the PC version at max quality.

I also find myself wondering how players are meant to chat with each other. I don’t know a lot about the Vita, but I know it has a touchscreen so hopefully some kind of onscreen keyboard, or else this could be another bout of “CANT TYPE FAST” style chatting.

PSO2: Handheld Edition!

The PS Vita Game Heaven website updated just earlier, with numerous videos. If you’re interested you can check them out here. Of course, thisblog is only interested in what Sakai had to say, so here’s an embed of his section:

So yes, looks like there will be a handheld version of Phantasy Star Online 2 on the PSVita. This version is online only and shares servers with the PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, essentially turning into PSO2 on the go. So I’m afraid if you were expecting an offline side-story sorry to disappoint you. PSO2 on the Vita is only 10% complete at current, so we won’t be seeing it soon after PSO2’s release on the PC.

My initial thoughts are that seeing as they use the same servers, what happens when the PC servers have a content update? I don’t know how the PSVita memory storage works, but I suppose it’s possible that the system could store patch data on it. But this just brings up another issue, in particular is there a danger that having 2 versions of the same game will mean we end up with staggered updates? Or worse, updates being held back from the PC version due to limitations on the PSVita version, as happened between Phantasy Star Universe’s PC and PS2 versions?

I will admit that PSO2 on the go is a tempting proposition, but not one that would cause me to shell out for a PSVita any time soon.

PSO2 on the PS Vita will be out some time in 2013, so says the official blog.


Concept Art

Well we’re out of all the race/gender defaults so now it seems they’re going to be teasing us with concept art of the outfits.

Getting a strong Jet Set Radio vibe from this one.

According to an interpretation by Bumped here, these costumes will be available in the closed Beta but can’t be selected at character creation. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of the imagination that the costume shop may be opened for the next tests. This also confirms that only the race/class/gender default outfits will be available when creating characters, which isn’t particularly a shock.

[Sources: PSBlog, Bumped, JP Playstation.com]