Rumour Mill: Yasminkov4000F The Austere Slayer

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This information comes from a Japanese blog here, which goes into some detail about a lot of the stuff shown at the last live broadcast event. The interesting part is the data on weapons a little way into the post. I plan to talk more about those when they’re actually released in a few days, but for now I’m going to focus on the one weapon.

I’m filing this under the rumour mill because I have no idea where the above post got most of its data from. As a result, I can’t verify most of this.

Stronger than Austere!?


If that blog is right then Yasminkov 4000F boasts a whopping 1590 R-Atk at +35, which is a whole 3 R-Atk stronger than Austere Cannon. It comes with the same potential that Double Cannon has, which is 15% boosted damage and 15% increased PP consumption at Lv3 (it’s currently 30% but it’ll be changed to 15% with this update. This affects all weapons with this latent!). Given Austere Cannon’s potential is 11% increased damage, this means that Yasminkov4000F will be the strongest Launcher in the game, though it will have that 15% PP consumption drawback.

I feel like this is at least somewhat significant if it turns out to be true, because while there are weapons that do beat out Austere in specific niches as far as I’m aware this would be the first one to out-class them almost in general.

yasmincough

Possibly the first weapon that almost unconditionally out-damages its Austere counterpart and it looks like a Nerf gun… According to the blog, it seems like it’ll be an area drop from the Vegas field.

I’ve been wondering how long it would be before Austere weapons would be out-classed. As MMOs progress in content, they typically add new tiers of gear to go along with new tiers of enemies. So it’s potentially a matter of time before Austere weapons are out-classed. PSO2 tends to do this kind of progression very slowly for better or worse, so your time invested into Austere weapons probably won’t go to waste anytime soon.

There’s two big things that as far as I’m concerned makes making a new tier sort of awkward right now. For one thing there are no new tiers of content on the horizon, though with how long it’s been delayed it can only be assumed that Ultimate Amduscia will arrive with it. It’s the only way I can imagine them making the area relevant, especially if future waves of weapons end up competing with Austere.

The other big thing is the significance of Austere weapons themselves. They do come from essentially the most destructive force in the PSO2 universe so it’d be strange if just a general trash mob on earth dropped something better. Completing them also kind of requires you to run a large amount of content including Extreme Quests, various quests with Lv75+ Dark Falz enemies, Challenge Quests (sorta) and Ultimate Quests. While many of the items do have alternative ways of getting them now, making these weapons obsolete could also make a large amount of content pointless to run which is an issue they haven’t had to deal with in previous tiers…

Guess we’ll see in a few days!

Datamining: New Potentials

Just a short post having a ponder about the new latents discovered in the latest pre-patch data.

Here’s the list:

  1. [幻精共鳴] – Increase the power of photon blasts
  2. [天輪滅砲] – Boost the power of Sphere Eraser
  3. [廻天輪滅砲] – Reduce the PP cost of Sphere Eraser
  4. [廻転翔踏] – Reduce the PP cost of Grim Barrage
  5. [絶対破砕圏] – Deal 25/27/30% additional damage to enemies at close range
  6. [滅壊の光刃] – Deal 21/23/25% additional damage to Darker Aberrations
  7. [龍の威光] – Deal bonus damage to enemies that are not Dragonkin
  8. [心気一意の閃光] – Deal 14/16/18% additional damage while HP is above 70% and PP is above 40%
  9. [清明なる加護 ] – Recover 30/35/40% additional PP on attack, regenerate PP 15/17/20% faster and deal 10/12/15% additional damage
  10. [勇勢疾走] – Deal additional damage while HP is above 30%

First impression is that a number of them certainly appear to be similar to the Photon-Booster potentials that are already out, suggesting that some of these will be going to Dark Falz weapons. If I were to guess, I’d say 5, 8, 9 and 10 are the Photon Booster latents.

This leaves us to speculated about the rest, which is especially relevant given a certain weapon series is coming up; the Austere series. There is a worry that they could end up with latent 1 or 6, making their hefty material cost a lot more off-putting. If it got 6, it’d be strange given the materials require playing multiple areas of the game, making such a restricted potential feel kind of inappropriate. Right now, it’s too early to say for sure as not only is data-mined content not really confirmation of anything we also can’t rule a fair number of the other latents out yet.

For now, it’s better to wait until the next update before speculating. It’ll let us rule out any latents that went to other weapons, giving us a smaller pool of things that may end up going to the Austere series. I still feel that the first person who gets an Austere weapon and discovers its potential is a brave soul indeed and potentially taking a big hit for the rest of the playerbase…

Also what the heck is up with number 7 there? An inverse racial potential? Notably its labelled as “DamageBonusRaceUlt4_1” which may suggest it has something to do with the as-yet unannounced Ultimate Amduscia. If it is a latent associated with the inevitable 13* weapon series to be released with that quest, then they could potentially be the strongest series yet as long as your target isn’t a dragon!

A post on 2chan, screencapped at pso2uploader here, lists 3 additional latents:

  • Deal 20% additional damage to airborne enemies
  • Increases the power of Ignite Parrying
  • Reduces recast time on Chain after a successful Chain Finish depending on the chain count.

I don’t see these in the data I have seen myself, so not sure where these have come from. This same post also speculates that these and the earlier latents will go to the following weapons (forgive me, I can’t transcribe Kanji from imagery):

  • Bardiche -> Unknown. It’s one of the latents that doesn’t appear to be listed.
  • Grigoros -> Unknown. Again, one of the latents that doesn’t appear to be listed.
  • Saika Hyouri -> Deal 20% additional damage to airborne enemies
  • God Hand -> [勇勢疾走] – Deal additional damage while HP is above 30%
  • Celestial Laser -> Reduces recast time on Chain after a successful Chain Finish depending on the chain count. (Hahaha)
  • Shooting Drive -> Sphere Eraser latents
  • Divine Raikou -> [清明なる加護 ] – Recover 30/35/40% additional PP on attack, regenerate PP 15/17/20% faster and deal 10/12/15% additional damage
  • Edel Arrow -> [心気一意の閃光] – Deal 14/16/18% additional damage while HP is above 70% and PP is above 40%
  • Lind Wurm -> [龍の威光] – Deal bonus damage to enemies that are not Dragonkin

I think I’ve gotten that correct. I only list these for curiousity’s sake. I’m not really sold on any of their guesses. They seem to include some Magatsu weapons in this list, which is fine however it doesn’t take into account that we’re going to be getting a new selection of the Nox-series weapons. We’ll know for sure in a few days, so let’s see how right this random post on the internet turns out to be because I have nothing better to do I guess.

Let me know if I’ve gotten anything wrong in this post, thanks.

Possible Hint of PSO2’s Localized Development?

enthusiastic-dorfThis one sits quite firmly in rumourville territory, even if it’s just my own speculation. Sega posted up a job advert here. In case the listing is taken down at a later point, I’ll also include a screenshot below.

GET-A-JOBSee? Told I’d you post a screen-shot. Anyway, as you can see it’s a position with Relic Entertainment. Relic was bought up by Sega in January last year. They’re a studio known for such games as Homeworld, Company of Heroes and a number of Warhammer 40,000 games. None of which I can say I’ve played or even really know all that much about.

So could this be it? Could this be how PSO2 will finally arrive in the US? As a project managed by Relic? I can’t think of any other major established Japanese MMOs that Sega has under its possession that aren’t already out here. Well, OK, I’d hardly call the likes of Rusty Hearts “major” from what I know of it.

Let’s say it is true. Is that a good or a bad thing? I really don’t know! I know almost nothing about Relic, though to do a worse job than Sega of America has done previously would be a fair achievement.

In terms of other places speculating on this, I see a post up on DualShockers here, on SegaBits here and on TSSZ here. This news is about a month old and since nothing has been said about it one way or the other, which isn’t entirely unexpected. Say it is actually PSO2 localization work finally coming to fruition, there’s still things that could go wrong between now and any arbitrary date. If Sega says nothing, then they haven’t committed to anything so no one is let down! Apart from that 2013 release date they mentioned a little while back. If an article on PSO-World isn’t official enough for you, the vague release date of “2013” was mentioned by Ken Osagawara at the end of the PAX 2012 demo of the game here.

Wonder if this means their website might finally get any updateds?

Clones: Information

hueeeyThis update added a chance that your character could come under attack from Arks Clones. These copies of player characters function similarly to friend partners, only the slightly important difference of being able to kill you.

clonezThis post will act as a repository for any relevant information I come across regarding clones. I’ll add more as I encounter information.

There’s a reason I categorized this under rumourmill as well as features, as some information is difficult to completely verify due to the rarity of the emergency trial.

Encountering Clones

  • Clones can only be encountered in single party areas, with the exclusion of boss arenas.
  • The number of clones matches the number of human players in the party.

Clone Abilities

  • Clones have a significantly higher amount of HP than players and even NPCs. Their HP is comparable to minibosses. It’s not known if this varies by character build yet.
  • Default clones are based on the default class appearances on character creation and are named after numbers in various languages.
    • So far, these clones are much more durable than clones of actual players
    • These clones don’t really deal much in the way of damage
  • Clones of actual players can hit severely hard, possibly depending on their build. Experience so far teaches that clones of Forces or Techers can be especially lethal (though this may be due to my own build).
    • The clones of actual players I’ve encountered weren’t as durable as the default clones. This could be due to the builds of these characters, however.
  • Clones can buff each other, though I’ve yet to see clones healing each other.
  • Clones can apparently apply Weak Bullet to players.
  • Clones can be grappled and knocked around and anything else that would affect a player. So they’re not like the NPC bosses so far.
  • Clones can be flinched
  • Clones have an invincibility window when they’re getting up, just like players do.

Rewards

  • Clones seem to always drop Photon Spheres, they can sometimes additionally drop Meseta.
  • Completing Code:Clone e-trials appears to be the way to obtain the new Zan series units.

Becoming a Clone

  • You will need to successfully clear the quest in Darkernest that can randomly occur instead of the quest you selected.
  • This quest can only be triggered at a time-attack gate at Very Hard difficulty.
  • Getting an S-rank on a Very Hard quest before hitting the starting gate in a Time Attack quest seems to be related to it. However whether this includes non time-attack based quests as qualifiers isn’t certain,but the current theory is that S-ranking multiple Time Attacks raises your chances.
  • Your clone is created at the very start of the abduction quest, not the end.
  • The official blog only gives a little hint. You will need to get “a high evaluation” many times. It also suggests that you can’t just repeatedly abandon then hit the gate to get an attempt.

Miscellaneous

  • If a clone is air-locked by say a Gunner juggling combo they may appear to just be standing around to other players.

Rumourmill: Party Size and EXP

Essentially, it was believed that party size was related to the amount of EXP you gained per monster kill. Not only that, but AI characters also counted towards this EXP bonus. A very easy one to test!

For the test, I slaughtered Set Sadinians on Very Hard in the Beserk Dragonkin Arks Quest Starting with just a single-member party. Upon adding a Friend Partner to my party..

The EXP does indeed go up, really confirming the rumour there and then. Maxing out the party with Friend Partners raises the EXP to this:

That’s a significantly higher amount of EXP than you get for going in with no AI characters, in the region of 20% more.

Thoughts

You may be aware that, generally speaking, inviting AI characters to your party is frowned upon in the player base, especially if you don’t lock your multi-party. It does after-all deny actual players a spot in your party. This is a bad thing because while having AI characters in your party does increase the EXP per kill as well as the complimentary benefit of increasing the size of enemy spawns it doesn’t increase spawns as much as an actual player would. Therefore you are ruining the multi-party’s potential for all players on the map.

Incidentally, the effect does not include players or AI characters from other parties, it only scales from your own party. This means that the most effective way to grind in a multi-party area is to join as a full party, but don’t do it with AI characters

Seems to be a self-defeating system in that respect doesn’t it? A player gains a fair advantage bringing AI characters with them at the expense of all other players in the multi-party.

Overall, it just seems like a clumsy way to encourage people to play together and yet another mechanic in this game seemingly engineered to punish players for soloing.

Rumourmill: Players Banned For AFKing

Yes, I am putting this under rumourmill despite giving out a warning on this very site to not AFK in case this should happen to you.

In case you are unaware, there is a rumour going about that players are moved behind the glass in the lobby and then reported for hacking. This results in their accounts being banned from the game.


What Is Not A Rumour

There are hackers about and they can move characters. The updated terms of service prevent me from sharing details, but the people most at risk are people AFK in the lobbies. The victim is also the only person who wouldn’t know they were moved. If you’re moving, you are at no risk whatsoever.

You can probably see the potential is that people may be moved somewhere unreachable and then other players would see them as hackers and report them. The hacker themselves could also send in reports theoretically.


What Is A Rumour

People have been banned for this

This however, does fall under rumour. Yes, there are a number of posts by people who claim this has happened to them, but none of them seem to stand up to scrutiny.

For one thing, if this really were the case and Sega were acting on such reports don’t you think more people would have been affected by this? As it stands, I can count the number of reported incidents with one hand.

The people who post the “I GOT BANNED” threads don’t seem to post any messages that they received from Sega about their ban. You’d think that would be self-explanatory given that they’re playing a game in a language they can’t understand but there’s a problem with this. One of the first such posts actually included information that they got a 3-day temporary ban, which indicates that Sega may let people know the nature of their punishment. It’s possible they post more information too, so why are they electing not so show this in their posts? You’d think that someone confused about the nature of their ban may post the contents of such a message (with necessary ommisions)  asking for a translation from the forum. Or at least posting whatever Google Translate poops out. As it is now, we have no idea if the players in these posts were temporarily banned, permanently banned or what.

This last is more food for thought than anything, as I have no physical proof of them doing it. But, have you ever been to Block 20? People post some obscene symbol arts. I’ve seen pornographic symbols, racist symbols and less offensively just plain cuss words in symbols. All these things are against the terms of service and if a GM happened to see your account posting something like that or if another player reports you for it, it could well end up with you getting banned. Having an offensive name for your character could also result in a ban.

So should I AFK in the lobbies seeing as all these guys were lying?

No and I’m not saying they’re all liars. Claims require evidence and I lack as much evidence as they do.

All this post is for is to illustrate said lack of evidence that anything is happening to any player that got moved outside the lobby window. If such evidence were to crop up, I would eat humble pie and curse Sega of Japan for being so stupid about the way they’re handling this situation.

Said lack of evidence could actually be harmful, too. If Sega are banning players for this and there is sufficient proof, an effort could  theoretically be attempted to try to get Sega to realise that they may be banning innocent players. Without evidence, that can’t happen. Of course, acquiring said evidence isn’t easy. It requires screenshots of the victims outside the window for a start (remembering that they naturally won’t be taking it themselves).

However, Sega can be quite dumb when they want to be. It IS possible that this is more than a rumour, so the advice is unchanged. Err on the side of caution, do not AFK in lobbies.

You won’t get banned if you use the Cash Shop. Only F2Pers get banned!

This is completely unfounded. Spending money in the cash shop does not mean the rules no longer apply to you, it’s ridiculous to think otherwise.

You’ll get banned if you spend money in the cash shop!

Yes, always the best business plan to ban your customers for giving you money. Of course this clashes with the previous rumour and also feeds off the assumption that because many used fake addresses in order to buy Arks Cash they’ll get banned because of it. Yes it’s against the terms of service, but people have been using fake addresses since PSU and possibly before and no one has been banned because of it. Sega like money

You are autobanned if 5 or more reports are sent in about you

This is again, also completely unfounded but not impossible. If such a system exists though, ask yourself how do the people who say this is definitely the case know about it? If they’re a victim of banning how could they possibly know how many reports were sent in about them? Are they the ones doing the reporting?


Conclusion

Don’t just take people on their word that they got banned because of this. They might have, but there’s a considerable lack of evidence that says this is definitely happening.

There needs to be more information posted about the nature of the ban if you yourself were. Do Sega send a message do your account’s email explaining why you were banned? Do they tell you the duration? Were you definitely just AFKing in the lobbies or, really ask yourself, did you do anything you probably shouldn’t have?

Also, if you’re going to AFK, do it in the Camp Ship or in your room. Or better yet, log out of your game and save some money on your electricity bills.

Hacker Moves A Couple Of NPCs About, People Flip The Fuck Out

Yes, hackers happened. In an online game of all things, simply unheard of and completely unique to Phantasy Star.

Sega has noticed and has responded. Accounts have been banned and an emergency maintenance is on the way. They also stated that personal and account information was uncompromised.

A special maintenance to address the problem is scheduled at:

  • July 13th, 1:00 PM ~ 6:00 PM JST
  • July 13th, 5:00 AM ~ 10:00 PM BST (UK)

This post isn’t going to concern itself with the details of the hack, more on the reactions of people, ranging from reasonable to hysterical.

If this was possible, what else is possible?

That remains to be seen, clearly. What I can say for now is the hackers can’t do anything beyond slightly inconvenience you by moving some NPCs around. Everything on your account and which belongs to your character is safe for now, however I would advise against AFKing in lobbies as hackers can move your character around. This could result in you being wrongly accused of hacking, so be wary.

THEY GOT MY CREDIT CARD INFO

No, they didn’t.

Will Japanese players hate me for being foreign now? ;_;

If they hate you now they were probably going to hate you anyway.

SEGA’s gonna IP Block all foreigners!

No. They won’t. Not if they’re the Sega I’m at all familiar with. Yes, I am aware that foreigners are breaking the Terms of Service by playing at all but this same rule has been in place since at least PSU. It’s not like a vocal minority of Japanese players with an anti-foreigner stance didn’t exist then, either, because they certainly did. There were even public lists of foreign players maintained. There were also hackers back then. Nothing came of it then, nothing will come of it now.

One thing to remember is that by this time in PSU’s launch there were things like room hacking, Partner Machine bombing, talking through other players and let’s not forget “Haxeta”. These are all things that are genuinely harmful to the game as a whole. What’s going on in PSO2 at the minute really isn’t. I will say though that I hope Sega fixes the exploit at the cause, rather than just patching over the symptom.

OBT Release Date Leaked

Spotted by Manta Oyamada of PSO2UP who found it originally on Shougai, which was then posted on Bumped. Mouthful, but credit’s due where it’s due.

The advert that was included in the leak. It was taken down on Dengeki, but it still on display on this website.

So a potential date of the 21st of June for the Open Beta. I do mean potential, as nothing is confirmed (and the pre-OBT could delay it even  if it were accurate) but it’s at least something to go on. This would put it comfortably in the time period of “soon after pre-OBT” as orignally said, of course.

So where does this leave us with regard the overall release? Remember that it was said that the game would be officially released soon after OBT ends. We don’t really know how long OBT is going to last, but let us suppose that it lasts a week like the CBT did. Let’s also suppose that “soon” means a week. Sega also seems to like doing things on Thursdays for some reason, so this leads me to a ballpark guess of the 5th of July for a release. Could be earlier, could of course be later, but at the very least it seems certain that it will be in the month of July. Doubt it’ll be earlier than the 28th of June. I guess that sort of qualifies as “early summer”..

I am quite ready to have this game be released. I hope they’re ready to release it soon.

Rumourmill: No Arks, You Are The Dewmans.

PSO2 news has sort of slowed down for now, so this is a minor post of information and other things I felt like sharing.


When’s That CBT Report?

According to this tweet on Sega’s official PSO2 twitter, the report is scheduled to appear mid-May. No specific date has been announced.


Has a US/foreign version been talked about? Even remotely hinted at?

No.

There has still literally been nothing at all to suggest it’s happening from official channels. As fans, we’re left speculating based on datamined files in the client which show localization functionality at the very least. Sega of America still hasn’t really acknowledged that the game even exists yet, either.

With the official release time getting close now, the lack of any word at all is a little concerning for anyone hoping for a localized version. They could of course announce it afterwards, but the hope of a global release is all but gone.


What’s Sega up to?

Posted originally here by PSO-World user MrTurkleton. Seems all 10 servers are up, or at least the client interprets them as so. According to the original poster, attempting to connect would return an error message. No illicitly logging in for anyone with severe withdrawal symptoms, then.
It’s a little weird that the client can ping their servers still or that the test servers would be connected to the internet but there you go.


Base Racial Stats

A reader sent me an email asking how the racial stats are in PSO2’s CBT. In the thick of my study-time (almost over now!) I managed to miss it. Sorry there, internet guy.

So yeah, here are the racial base stat modifiers. Thanks to Agrajag of PSUmods for obtaining them.

Race/Gender HP S-ATK R-ATK T-ATK ABL S-Def R-Def T-DEF
Human male 105 104 103 100 105 105 100 100
Human female 104 100 103 104 106 100 100 105
Newman male 95 100 102 108 104 100 105 100
Newman female 94 100 102 110 104 100 100 105
Cast male 107 105 104 96 107 105 100 95
Cast female 106 104 105 96 107 100 105 95
Dewman male 95 106 104 103 106 97 97 97
Dewman female 94 106 104 103 106 98 98 98

Update 30/7/2013: Since Dewmans were actually released these base stats have changed.


Wait What, Dewmans?

Yes, Dewmans. The race of eyepatch wearing emo space pirates from PSP2:Infinity. The race has been mentioned in the client’s strings since the 2nd alpha tests, complete with base stats.
Does this mean PSO2 is getting Dewmans? Not necessarily, for all we know that could just be a placeholder. In any case they’re definitely not going to be available early on, as Sakai has stated that the game will be released with just 3 selectable races. He did also state that more could be added in the future and this find certainly supports that notion. It seems the client is at the very least capable of adding any number of races they feel like adding, it’s just that so far Dewmans are the only additional race hinted at.

Concept art of a male and female dewmans, as seen in PSP2:Infinity.

Even if they do add Dewmans, however, those racial stats may not reflect what they end up being when they’re officially released. There is also no guarentee on what PSO2’s Dewmans would even look like, but I think it’d be nice if they got a bit more creative than pale skin and eyepatches being their defining racial features.


So What About Beasts?

Yes, there has been mention of Beasts as well in the client, but this is less significant. The place in which Beasts were found lists the  order of the races as Human, Newman, Cast, Beast and Dewman. Everywhere else that mentions races goes Human, Newman ,Cast and Dewman. The theory is it’s simply a leftover file from a previous game.


Character Creator Glitches

Well out there in the hands of the public, someone was bound to find issues with the creation demo. One of the more famous ones (as well as one of the most viewed PSO2 videos to date) is this thing, uploaded by YouTube user turk645.

As hilarious as that is, it does pose a question. Would a character with bugged out boobs be accepted by the server? Will the open beta test will an assault of flapping mammaries everywhere? What other character creation limits can be broken through either glitches or memory editing? If the server just blindly accepts whatever character it’s given all sorts of monstrosities could be populating the future lobbies! I kind of can’t wait to find out.

Another somewhat related glitch is a nudity glitch that was discovered some time ago, at least for Casts. Well, as nude as you can get in PSO2 before you start tex-modding or something. Here’s a video uploaded by YouTube and PSO-World user Sizustar to prove that this glitch can carry over onto the live servers.

There is a separate glitch which allows non-Casts to get naked as well, but it’s less widespread than the naked Cast glitch. You can find more on this in the original thread here.

At the very least I hope that the server doesn’t accept as much information from the client as it used to when creating a new character. If it does, some actually harmful things could happen..

Free to Play!? Free to PANIC!!

The community reaction to the news of PSO2 being free to play has been a mixed one. Some are overjoyed by the news, others are, frankly, shitting their pants about it.

I’m not going to just dismiss the whole anti-F2P perspective in just one line though, oh no. This blog entry is about the various myths about Free To Play being a bad thing, as well as presenting why it’s actually a good thing.

P2P Keeps the idiots out.
Oh come on, have you ever been on trade chat in World of Warcraft? You may have heard of that game, it’s somewhat famous. It also has a subscription model. It’s actually somewhat offensive to attribute financial power to intelligence as well, but I’m not even going to enter that minefield.

Hm, yes. That subscription sure kept all those morons out.

Suffice to say, there really is no weight to this myth. Money is not a barrier to idiots, the only barrier to idiots in any MMO is to only play with friends or solo. You can always blacklist the ones that turn up in lobbies.

Free-to-play = Pay-to-win.

I don’t even know where this myth comes from, as I have honestly never played a single MMO which had a so-called “pay-to-win” system involved. However I’m doubtless that some did exist. Despite this, I can’t find any examples of a pay-to-win game and people don’t seem to give me any answers when I ask them.

It largely depends on what you define as “winning”. How do you win an endless random dungeon crawler like the Phantasy Star Online games are? How do you “beat” any MMO for that matter? You’re not competing against other players in PSO2, so I’m not sure how exactly you’re supposed to beat them, either.

Even if you could just buy items from the cash shop, how does this affect you in a game like PSO2? Oh they do a bit more damage than you, so what? This is not a game that depends on precise group mechanics, so you’re not getting kicked for doing crappy DPS. You’re also not penalised in EXP rewarded from monsters if you don’t do as much damage as them, so they’re not levelling faster than you. If anything they’re helping you level faster!

To conclude this section, I’m not convinced that there is actually any way to win in a game like PSO2, so I have no idea how the presence of a cash shop is going to create instant winners.

Free To Play means they’re definitely going to have some kind of Stamina system

My initial thoughts are people were just burned by Final Fantasy 14 or something, but of course that game had a whole truckload of issues aside the stamina system..

There will be no stamina system. Yes, Spiral Knights had one and that was a F2P MMO by Sega. Except it wasn’t made by Sega, it was made by Three Rings and published by Sega of America. Sega of Japan had nothing to do with it and those are the people who are going to be making and running PSO2.

To shatter a potential motivator for a stamina system in the first place, which is to limit a players bandwidth consumption to save money, you need to realise that bandwidth is actually a very small part of the cost of running an MMO. The bulk of the cost goes into paying for staff for support and maintenance, as well as developing new content.

Free-to-play games have terrible support!

So do almost all pay-to-play ones! The only exception I can think of would be World of Warcraft, whose support isn’t so much great in so much as it’s what support for all MMOs should be like. I couldn’t tell you why MMO support tends to be so bad, but whether it’s pay-to-play or not has no direct influence as far as I’ve observed.

A game cannot make profit out of the F2P model.

So why is it that so many games that were pay-to-play going free to play?

To name a few:

  • Age of Conan
  • Aion: The Tower Of Eternity
  • Champions Online
  • City of Heroes
  • DC Universe Online
  • Dungeons And Dragons Online
  • Everquest 2
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Phantasy Star Universe
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea.
  • Ragnarok Online
  • Star Trek Online

Naturally not all of these games have the exact same model. Some have  a premium mode subscription model which either lifts restrictions or adds bonuses, some want you to pay one time fees for extra content. They all have things in common though, they all offer the ability to play without paying a subscription. They also all used to demand a subscription to play at all. Many of these games are now actually more successful under the free-to-play model than they were under the subscription based model, the most famous example being Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Another fairly well-known game for being successful despite not charging a fee is Guild Wars by ArenaNet. Now hold on a minute, Guild Wars isn’t a real MMO I hear you say? Yeah, well, neither is PSO or PSU. In fact, Guild Wars is probably the closest thing to the Phantasy Star Online games that there is!
Think about it:

  • They both instance all the combat areas.
  • They both have lobbies in which you can interact with other players and merchants.
  • In both of them you have to form parties in lobbies before setting out on your adventures

Guild Wars has sold over 6 million units in its history. It is unarguably a successful game, so successful that a rather major sequel is in the works. This sequel, incidentally, will also be free to play.

It should be said that there is of course a slight difference between Guild Wars and the Phantasy Stars, in particular PSO2. You needed to pay for the Guild Wars client and will need to pay for the Guild Wars 2 client as well. As you know, PSO2 will be free to download on all platforms. I really do not think this will prove to be a significant difference, however. Players spend obscene amounts of money in the cash shop of Phantasy Star Universe, including some users who admitted to spending 100s of dollars to obtain clothes or weapon upgrades.

To conclude this section: Yes, you can make a profit from a free to play game and many companies do. In fact in the current market, it seems companies are better off doing so.


Why Subscriptions are a Bad Thing That Should Die.

The subscription-model for MMORPGs seems to be dying off and for that I’m glad. The subscription based model has a few glaring flaws with it from a player’s point of view, which I’m going to present in this section.

First off, a subscription at its base level is a commitment. You are saying to a company, “I will play your game for a pre-determined amount of time because I think it’s good enough. ” Trouble is, this commitment can end up locking you in somewhat. You’ve paid for a month, maybe 3 months, you better damn well play it enough to get your money’s worth or you’re gonna soon feel buyer’s remorse.

The subscription is also a method of exclusivity of sorts. When you pay to play an mmo, you may not be able to play another one. This can lead to situations where you’re having to choose between one MMO and the other, essentially meaning you’re paying to play just the one game.  Why do that? Don’t you want to try other MMOs? What if there are two or three that you enjoy? Do you really want to pay subscriptions for all three of them and try to get your moneys worth out of all of them? Free to play doesn’t have this problem.

You need to see it from the company’s point of view as well. You’re trying to get players to try your fantastic new MMO, but they’re already subscribed to others. A lot of others at that. The MMO market is filled to the brim with competition, all vying for those subscriptions. Most players can’t afford to just pay for more than one, so you’re having to convince them that your game is worth cancelling their other subscription for. This is difficult to do when players are invested in their other games, so it’s much easier to get them to try your game if it won’t cost them anything.

Speaking of “trying”, there’s another issue to the subscription model. So you’re interested in this one MMO, huh? Wanna try it? Cough up your credit card details, first. Don’t bring up free trials in MMOs, I know they do them. They’re also usually terrible trials that only allow you to play basic introductory content that gives you no real idea what the game is like. Especially seeing as MMOs nearly always come into their own in their respective endgames, not before.

Say you’re enjoying an MMO and you want friends to try it out! Oh dear, they look at it and are put off by, you guessed it, the subscription. Not a barrier in a F2P.

To conclude, from a player’s point of view subscriptions can lock you into just the one game and make it harder to try new games. From a company’s point of view, the market has become so saturated that players are much more likely to try your game out if it won’t cost them anything.

That’s all for now! Whilst writing this post, some actual details about the cash shop have been announced so now I get to write up about them.