1st PSO2 Station Writeup

sakaibanner.jpg

The first in the successor to the old PSO2 Broadcast aired earlier today. With it, they released a few new trailers and otherwise kind of dicked around doing a lot of nothing for 2 hours. Not sure I’m a huge fan of the new format, but if I’m honest the old one had a lot of the same faults too.

As usual, I’ll be going over the bits I found interesting or had any real thoughts on. The complete summary is on Bumped as per usual.

Trailers

November updates: Famitsu Cup

  • Necky in the lobby, with Client Orders and Exchange shop
  • Event specific gathering tools
  • Gravity Daze collab and various outfits.

Late November

  • Annette from PSO2es making her way to PSO2.
  • Vehicle lobby actions for casts.
  • Story stuff
  • Phantom Darkers
  • Various quality of life changes

Early November: Famitsu Cup Event

All-star Mining Base Defense

In a new twist to the event-specific all-star quest the enemies from far and wide will be being hurled at towers  This takes place on the first Mining Base Defense map; Invasion. This will be the main focus of the Famitsu Cup, though as will soon become apparent the event permeates quite a lot of the game’s content.

Nothing really new could be gleaned about this quest that wasn’t already known as far I can tell.

Exchange Shop:

Throughout this event, you’ll be collecting “Gavas Tickets” from various sources. They’re the currency that’s used in Necky’s exchange shop for a variety of items.

You can obtain Gavas Tickets by:

  • Clearing the special Mining Base quest
  • Clearing the Rideroid quest
  • By using Gathering nodes with Famitsu picks and fishing rods
    • Not sure if it was explained exactly how you get these tools, mind.
  • By playing certain content in PSO2es

FamicupExchange.jpg

Included is Necky’s costume as well as some Famitsu shirts (which are notably outer-wear) among other cosmetic items. Somewhat interestingly it also includes two 12* units; Rear / Heavenly Ring and Leg / Mini Nyau (not sure on the Kanji).

nyau_units.jpg

While that makes these the first 12* units obtainable via currency it does seem that much like the 11* units Xie supplied before their stats are awful. At least their base defensive stats, anyway. Their bonus stats are unknown as well as any set bonuses they may have.

Orbit collection files

For many, this is likely the really interesting stuff. With the Famitsu Cup we’ll see the addition of a large number of Orbit weapons. Sighted are:

  • Wired Lance
  • Partizan
  • Daggers
  • Double Saber
  • Katana
  • Assault Rifle
  • Jet Boots
  • Wand
  • Gunslash

A weapon for every class, pretty much! There are no collection sheets for the currently available Orbit weapons however.

orbit_files

It seems they come with Ability III, Vinculim, Spirita III and Mutation I. This means they have 45 attack in affixes. Judging by that then, Orbit Wired Lance has 977 S-atk at +0. This puts it behind Seiga Shield in terms of raw attack,  but the potential is slightly stronger in terms of a damage bonus. This makes these weapons fairly average although Orbits typically aren’t taken for their power in any case.

Their chief use is as a method for quickly refilling your PP bar, which can be useful for certain classes that have trouble regenerating PP or for those whose mechanics prevent the from doing so normally (such as Ranger with weak bullet loaded). Assuming they still have this latent, that means that for a lot of people they may be good just completing a single file once and being done with it. For a lot of people this may well be Orbit Gunslash, though Ranger may want to consider Orbit Rifle particularly if they never got themselves an Orbit Launcher. In fact, the Rifle may be decent enough to use an attacking weapon, though it will still be some way behind Gix in that regard.

Of course, there may be other reasons you might want to +35 these weapons. If you want to find out about that now, skip ahead to the “New Type Affixing” section.

Late November Content

Aside waifubait Annette joining the lobby with partner card and accessories, the 2nd Update trailer was a particularly interesting one with a lot of things to go over.

Phantom Darkers

They were data-mined a while back but they were finally revealed with the 2nd trailer. Phantom Lanz Vareda, Bonta Bearadda, Dagacha, Goldrahda and Decol Malluda. They’ll be arriving along with Episode 4 Chapter 6.

As well as appearing in the story mission, these Phantom Darkers seem set to appear on Earth fields in general.

In addition to looking different (Phantom Goldrahdas in particular!), it seems Phantom Darkers will also have unique moves. Phantom Bonta Bearadda for example appears to summon tiny versions of itself which it then commands to explode. Pretty nice to see that they’ve gone this far with them rather than just do a recolour (I know a certain someone who still hasn’t forgiven them for Caterdra’nsa).

Datamining does suggest there are other Phantom Darkers either waiting to be revealed or they may have been dropped. These include:

  • Dark Ragne
  • Vid Luda
  • Damoths
  • Pitta Wadda/Parata Picoda? (the one that shoots missiles, I never remember which is which)

As I say though, who knows if these will make it to release. Kinda want to see what Phantom Dark Ragne looks like…

Collection File Change

Collection files will now display a GET message instead of 100%. A minor interface improvement I guess, though I wish this meant you got the item at 100% instead of having to find an additional target enemy to kill, which can be irritating for certain kinds of targets.

Tekker Changes

 

bulk_appraisal

We’re finally getting bulk Tekking! A much needed quality of life change.

13star_icon

13* weapons will have a different icon while they’re unidentified, which should hopefully mitigate accidentally tekking them the wrong element while mass-tekking other items.

Now you might have noticed those prices. Don’t panic, those belong to a new feature known as “Advanced Item Appraisal”.

supertekker

While much more expensive than regular appraisal, it boosts your chances at getting better affixes and evidently may raise your chances at getting a high % element on the weapon.

Gathering on Hulkotron and Tunnels

We can finally go mining in the mine. No one cares abour Shironia.
But yes with new gathering spots comes new rings, so the important question is are they any good?

  • L / PB Homing
    • Delays the blades firing for a small amount of time, but they’ll home in on enemies after

Not sure if this ring will see much uptake as the main point of Photon Blade Fever is to spam blades as fast as possible to maximize your DPS. That delay is going to cause a significant drop in damage, even if it does mean the blades are more likely to hit.

  • L / Jumping Dodge
    • It makes you jump really high.

Kind of an interesting one. Could help the airborne classes get set up more easily as well as making certain bosses even more trivial to deal with (looking at you, Malmoth and Plosiorgles). There’s possibly some other gameplay altering effects this ring could have that I’m not considering (I wonder if it boosts the jump in the Magatsu fight?).

  • L / Slow Fi Action
    • Slows down the speed of Fighter weapon actions

I assume this will also extend the I-frames much like Slow Dive Roll does. Potentially powerful ring to aid in Fighter survivability (as if they didn’t have enough I-frames through Deadly Circle).

  • L / Near Auto Target
    • Pets automatically attack nearby enemies

Tired of having to press buttons as a Summoner? Worry no more! Get your normal-attack boosting Parfaits and you can just walk right on through stages.

  • L / Peace Zondeel
    • Prevents you from detonating Zondeel fields

Handy for those who wish to use lightning techs on enemies while retaining the suction effect of Zondeel.

Overall, a sorta interesting bunch of rings. The only one I can’t really think of a good use for is PB Homing but maybe I’m being short-sighted with it who knows.

New Type Affixing

This is an interesting change indeed. I’ll go over what I can gather from the trailer.

Essentially, getting a new-type weapon up to +35 will unlock a special ability on it. This ability can be transferred in the regular affixing process with a 100% chance of success. Now we don’t yet know all the nuances of this upcoming system but here’s what I can gather from just looking at it:

  • These are only available on +35 NT weapons.
    • Shown weapons are at least 11* rarity, but it may be available for weapons of all rarities…
  • The usual rules of affixing seem to apply. You’ll still need to have your fodder items with an equal or greater number of slots than your target item.
  • The target item’s own special affix counts towards the system, giving you a total of 6 potential high-end affixes you can slot at once.
  • Each weapon has its own unique ability.
    • Ray Sword gets Astral Soul at +35.
    • D-AIS Saber gets Spirita V at +35
    • The other weapons are unknown as the trailer skips through. Can’t even hazard a guess as there’s no guarantee they chose them in order and the affixes have shifted between the edit.
      • Coat Edge Ver2, DaisyChain NT, Sega Shield and  “幻創艦砲甲” (I can’t interpret this one) grant access to Power V, Stamina V, Alter Arma and Spirita Alpha.
  • While all are at 100%, presumably the same rules apply for up-slotting

So yeah, this mostly just seems like an incentive to grinding out collection sheets in order to obtain high grade affixes for the gear you actually want to use. Especially as you’d have to complete a collection sheet 6 times in order to +35 a weapon.

This doesn’t bode especially well for weapons that belong to collection sheets that expired, as their abilities will be difficult to out-right impossible to obtain. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the list of affixes turns out to be on the more common weapons, but at least a few of the abilities they teased for us are on this list (Ray, AIS weapons, Seiga). For me this only further rubs salt in the wound that is the temporary nature of collection files..

It’s interesting, but in many respects I kind of just wish they’d do away with the current affixing system entirely. It’s one of the most convoluted and un-fun upgrade systems I’ve ever seen, though thankfully due to stat inflation on weapons it’s much less necessary than it used to be.

At the very least, I won’t be bothering to affix my weapons in the meantime!

Heaven and Hell 2 (Not official name)

prepare_to_hug

So the promised “harder than Heaven and Hell” Extreme quest is heading our way with the late November update. There seems to be at least a couple of differences..

First is that it seems it’s only 1 pass per attempt instead of the 5 per attempt that the first one is. There’s no mention of a weekly limit either…

Second is that the enemy pool will be pulling mostly from Episode 4 enemies This includes Phantoms and the recently introduced Dragonkin Aberrations.

Observed floors:

  • 4 Emperappies
  • Falka Leopard, Falka Leone and Goronzoran
  • Hagito Phamut and various Phantoms
  • Drago Deadlion and Dragon Ex
  • Dourumble and Guar Zigmorde
  • Vegas Illusia and Laplace’s Demon
  • Devil Trailer and various Vegas Phantoms
  • 2 x Box Buvals and Zeta Guranz
  • Anga Fundarge (Beast mode)

It looks about as hectic as the first Heaven and Hell, which means it’ll likely favor classes built for durability over other things (or Fighters spamming Deadly Circle Type-0). That said, at least the lower entry fee and thus slightly lower risk factor might not put off the more fragile builds quite so much. Hopefully the floors are engineered in such a way that tactical decisions can make the floors less risky rather than it just being a case of throwing as many enemies at you they feel they can get away with.

Your prize this time, should you be lucky enough to earn it, is a material used to make a special Skill Ring which has a visual effect upon equipping it. There are no details whatsoever about what abilities this ring imparts.

Other than that, the quest demo didn’t seem to drop anything at all. I assume they’re keeping those secret for now, though I do wonder what they’d even potentially give out. It can’t be stones anymore, because they’re not utilized much at all in endgame gear now…

December Raid Boss

After what felt like enough teasing, we finally got to enjoy a  trailer for the next raid boss as promised. This time, we head to the moon to take on something strongly resembling a Dark Falz…

The first part involves chasing the boss in a stage resembling a Star Fox level while the 2nd part is the usual “fighting a space god on a see through disc” deal we’ve had since PSO.

The chase section is presumably the data-mined “DPP1 Chase” that had us so baffled from a week ago. Seem pretty arcade-y, with plenty of obstacles to avoid while you’re chasing the phantom around various parts of Mother Cluster’s moon base. Seem’s the boss itself has a bunch of orbs that you’re going to need to break. Beyond that, not a lot to tell from it. I find the Rideroid controls awkward, though presumably they’re a little different in this quest.

The second phase is a chaotic mess of blue and bloom (bluem?) but other than that seems like your standard Phantasy Star Falz-like boss. It reminds me of a kind of amalgamation between Dark Falz 3 from PSO and Orga Angelus from PSP2. In fact it does seem to take some pretty strong design cues from Dark Falz 3 in general…

We know from datamining its AI that tbe boss uses a number of attacks borrowed from Dark Falz Elder, Double, Apprentice and Loser, though it also boasts some of its own unique attacks. Unfortunately due to the quality of the video and how bright everything is I couldn’t really pick out anything in particular.

Aside the excessive brightness though looks pretty good! I gotta say its pretty cool how after all this time they can still produce content that genuinely surprises me. Unlike the Profound Darkness fight, this one seems like at least the first half will be completely unique and stand out against the other raid bosses. Of course we have no idea at all how difficult it will be, so I guess we’re gonna have to wait for the inevitable play-demo down the line where they deliberately fail the quest.

That’s all for this post. These are largely my thoughts and interpretations of what I’ve seen so I may be wrong about some things. Let me know if there’s anything particularly wrong, because I don’t want to misinform people.

TGS Day 4 Trailer Analysis

ash_and_friends_hanging_out

The 4th day of TGS saw the reveal of a couple of new trailers for content coming up in October. I’ll be going over the bits I’ve got any thoughts on. The complete summarized rundown is on Bumped as always. Despite there being only two trailers (of the main things, anyway) there’s quite a lot to go through.

The Trailers


Just including the main two  trailer that will form the bulk of this post in this section. There’s a third more minor one I’ll go over at the end.

Early October Update:

Late October Update:

PA/Tech Customizations


While only the usual handful they add in these kinds of updates I think they’re an interesting handful in my opinion.

Sacrifice Bite Type Zero:

Speeds up the photon art and strengthens normal attacks. It seems like normal attacks gain an extended photon blade during the attack animation, though it’s hard to tell from the demo if this actually increases range or if it’s just for show. It would have been nice if the demo had used it on an enemy that didn’t have super-armor frames on to see how the full charge looks now.

expand_sword

If it does significantly increase normal attack range, then this is a good buff for swords in general as their normal attacks always had plenty of power but surprisingly small reach for how large the weapon is. This would also greatly help with the PP issues that sword can have, as you should more reliably tag enemies for PP recovery as long as the buff is up.

Straight Charge Type Zero:

Hold down the button to go sailing through enemies. It drains PP as you’re channeling it, so it’ll possibly last as long as your PP does. It’s one of those silly looking customizations that I can’t help but like.

Strike Gust Type Zero:

Kick up and up and up and up. Holding the button down extends the length of the rising part of the attack, which could be very irritating for other party members.

Parallel Slide Type Zero

Finally you can be like Giliam in the original PSO2 OP movie. Aside that, having a controllable high-mobility PA on Rifles might be interesting. Might look a bit derpy on non-cast characters, mind.

Sharp Bomber Type Zero

No longer launches you backwards and greatly increases its power when charged. Bullet Bows are still lacking in good AoE attacks, so this should be a welcome addition for those specializing in them.

Safoie Type Zero

Moves you towards the target before casting and is more powerful when charged. That’s about it, not a hugely interesting customization on the surface of it. However, it may be useful for melee-Techers as a gap-closing skill as presumably the gap-closing part won’t require you to charge the PA. If it does then it’s a bit less useful for that.

Ramegid Type Zero

Surrounds you with dark orbs which deal pulsing damage to enemies on contact. Could be a interesting addition to a melee Techer’s arsenal, though it depends on how long the orbs persist for. The orbs do flinch enemies, so it may also be a handy protective barrier against trash mobs for all casting types.

I think Ramegid and Sacrifice Bite got the most interesting changes, because both of them will potentially have a large impact on game-play. It’ll be more clear when these are released and we can experiment with them.

New Skills: Summoner Quality of Life.


Summoner will be gaining two new skills; Share Assist and Long Distance Love (daww).

Share Assist appears to allow support effects to transfer between pets when you swap pets or weapons. Not sure how big an issue this was for Summoners, but it may mean you won’t have to re-cast support techs as much.

Long Distance Love is probably the most major one, as it allows you to initiate Pet Sympathy without having to recall your pet to you to get it inside Shifta/Resta range.

new_pet_ui

Another major quality of life fix is your pet’s HP and status effects will display on the palette. I’m not sure why this wasn’t a feature from the beginning, as you’d think this is the kind of thing that’d come up during play-testing. It’s great that they’re finally implementing it, but all the same it’s baffling that it took them this long to do it.

I’m not sure if this is the “Skill re-balance” they were hinting towards on the long term schedule, but if it is I’m kind of disappointed. Not because these are bad changes because Summoner needed some help and I like what they’ve proposed. It’s just the name indicates that there’d be changes to most if not all classes, not just the one. We’ll see I guess.

Evolved Summoner Pets


The three basic pets; Wanda, Torim and Ceri will be gaining upgraded versions of themselves.

jinga
Jinga, the upgraded Wanda. It appears to gain a zig-zag motion, possibly extending the width of its dashing attack.
aero
Aero, the upgraded Torim. Aero Spiral seems to have a larger range than Torim Spiral.
popru
Popple, the upgraded Ceri. Popple-plode seems to have a larger radius than Ceri-plode.

Beyond that, it’s not really known how these pets are superior to the old versions. I’m not sure if you can just consume the upgraded egg or if you have to feed it to the base version to “evolve” it. However the demo shows them using a 7* Jinga egg to upgrade a 6* wanda, so it may have similar restrictions to the pet-ability swap/rarity upgrade mechanic. That is to say; you may need an egg of equal or greater rarity. If this is true, it’s going to be awkward to upgrade any 13* pets you currently have.

Skill Ring Update


 

There’s a couple of parts to this; one is the addition of 4 new rings to go with the addition of Caves and Tundra as gathering spots. Gonna go over the new rings here, with descriptions sourced from Bumped’s post:

L/Jet Boots Tech Arts SC

  • Reduces charge times when you combo from a PA to a Technic.

I can’t see this being terribly useful for BoHu or really in general. Seems like a waste of space, but maybe Jet Boot mains can correct me on this.

L / Air Reversal

  • Allows you to perform an air reversal in the air.

This could be really useful. While Just Reversal is trivial enough with practice, its main weakness is it leaves you vulnerable to being juggled to death. This ring should prevent that, by turning a knock-back into i-frames, which mechanically should greatly increase your survivability as long as you’re paying attention.

L / Slow Dive Roll

  • Extends the duration by slowing the Dive Roll speed.

I’m not sure of the use of this ring, unless it’s just to extend the i-frames on Dive Roll. Lord knows Dive Roll needs all the help it can get…

L / Step Jump

  • Increases movement speed if you jump during the [Step] action.

The video demonstration shows it’s a fairly large increase in movement speed. Could this be the return of step-jump for faster movement over long distances? Hopefully not, but the increase in melee mobility is always welcome  It’d be a fair boon if this ring allowed you go skip straight to maximum running speed upon landing, mind! Unfortunately the demo doesn’t show this either way.

Ring Selling/Trading

skill_ring_selling.jpg

The other side of this is you can buy and sell skill rings, which is interesting. I’m not sure what kind of restrictions might be put in place on them, if any. This could work out great for players who are willing to spend the extra time gathering for profit and for those players who just plain don’t want to gather. Given the cost of creating and upgrading rings however, it remains to be seen what kind of profit margin people might be able to make with this.

To The Moon! -Story Board Chapter 5


moon_baseRejoice, those who despise Episode 4 for going to Earth because we’re heading back to something resembling the science fiction setting again. The next chapter of the story quest is set on a moon base, where Hitsugi is currently being held captive. Battle your way past Mother Cluster apostles such as Phul and Och, possibly Kohri based on the data-mining and who knows who else!

The moon base itself doesn’t seem like a terribly complicated map, given it’s just a straight corridor. That said, I guess it’s reasonable for a field that’s only going to be available in a story quest. The background music incorporates Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

hi_mom
The quest will see Mother’s face finally revealed. I’m surprised they showed it in a teaser trailer really, as I’d figure this kind of thing would be better saved for the actual quest itself. Still, it does confirm that data-mining was right about her appearance at least. She also doesn’t seem terribly perturbed that her sworn enemies are bashing her door down…

Later on in the month, additional story board events will be added including a fight between Huey and Phaleg and finally re-uniting with Matoi.

This reminds me, I am actually considering doing story summary posts now thanks to story translation efforts by multiple people. More details on that when the time comes.

Ultimate Amduscia: New Info


The second trailer showed some new bits about Ultimate Amduscia.

Quest Teleporter.

Boooo. The inclusion of a teleporter is bad news in my opinion, because with it the quest will likely never get started once interest wanes over time. Initially it won’t be a problem because people will be running them a lot, but let’s see if that’s still the case 3 months down the line.

Presumably they felt the need to include this because they wanted to prevent the return of Anga farming. By syncing up all the players at the start, you can put Anga at the end of the quest, making sure you can’t just shortcut your way to it. The downside however will be you can’t join the quest once its begun, nor can anyone join you after you begin it. The result is if your MPA isn’t full you get to sit there and wait, which is something you don’t suffer from for the other Ultimate Quests. Good luck getting randoms to agree to go in with lower numbers! Anyone who’s had issues getting Riding Quests, Challenge Quests or the recent Odin Limited Quest started should know what I’m worried about.

The Quest Itself

It looks like it might be a fixed-layout quest, which I don’t mind. It does run counter to the spirit of the other Ultimate Quests however which functioned more like free fields and it may have the unfortunate effect of making the quest much more repetitive. However, a fixed layout does give them the potential to engineer more interesting encounters than a random number generator could create, so I’m interested to see how it all works out. Curiously, if you follow the trailer you’ll note that they’re at varying point totals at different parts of the map between obviously different runs. Maybe the route through the quest is randomized even if the map isn’t?

lightning_weakness
The main enemies are weak to lightning element. 

Much like the other Ultimate Quests, you’ll need to amass around 2000 points to clear. It seems the encounters during the quest are randomized enough, though the demo seems to show that a boss encounter happens in the same place (the center of the map) with Deadlion, Gilzoras Drago and the new Anga Fundarge. These all seem to occur around the 1200 point mark. It may pick a random boss to have as the final encounter in the quest if defeating it earns the rest of the points, which should be OK. I don’t think we’ll be in danger of people abandoning the quest if Anga doesn’t spawn as long as the collection files are relevant or their drops are decent.

New Gear

Speaking of drops, this is no doubt what a lot of people were most eager to find out. What kind of gear can we get?

As was expected , the quest will come with a new collection file with which you can obtain the “Gicks” series of weapons. Though along with these, apparently other 13* weapons will also drop from the quest.

gicks_sword_file

Gicks Sword comes with a rather impressive 1333 attack, though it’s unknown exactly how much of that is made up by affixes. If we assume that Deadlion Soul comes with the standard +35 S-atk then its +50 attack with Ability 3, bringing it down to an estimated 1283 attack which is still huge. Austere Calibur in comparison has 1161 S-atk at +0, so its looking like these will be making the Austere series obsolete if they come with a solid potential.

12* Units

After many years of 11* units, we’re finally making the transition to 12*. It appears that there’ll only be 1 complete set and a bunch of boss parts for others. While their stats are unknown, the blue-wing unit appears to start with 225 S-Def which puts it on par with the Tagami units if so. This potentially makes Saiki and Austere units superior for defense in terms of raw stats, but of course we don’t know what set bonuses they may come with or what inherent bonuses they may have. What we do know if that even if they’re statistically weaker they come with one very important mechanic that makes them blow all 11* units out of the water; you can slot L / skill rings into them.

ring_slotting

Take one ring, 100,000 Meseta and 1 Lambda Grinder to fuse a ring with your unit. Once you fuse the ring, the ring is consumed and you won’t be able to get it back. Note that this only works with Left rings and it will also bind the unit to you.

This is a game-changer in terms of the builds that people could go with, as it allows you to essentially equip up to 4 left rings at once! The big issue is going to be that you’ll need to do an additional upgrade step every time they release a new unit set now, which will be irritating as you’ll have to re-gather and grind up a new ring each time. Though I guess the ability to buy and sell rings may help in that regard…

As an aside, the blue units appear to be Ray units. They’re similar to Ray weapons in appearance and have “ray” in their names. As far as I know it isn’t confirmed if they’ll have a set bonus with Ray weapons, but even if they do the presence of the Gicks series may topple the urge to wear them together…

Phantasy Star Universe Part 2


 

Alright, there’s one more trailer to go over quickly! The 2nd part of the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary crossover thingamajig was revealed.

This time, the focus is on the Phantasy Star Portable games mostly, also featuring a shirtless Howzer because why not. Shirtless Howzer is kinda awesome to be honest, he reminds me a bit of Liquid Ocelot  You’ll be able to get Helga, Vivienne and Emilia costumes and accessories. Howzer and Helga’s costumes will be layered wear.

This time, the lobby NPCs will be Emilia and Vivienne. They’ll come with the usual Client Orders, obtainable Partner Cards and  obtainable 13* weapons, with Clarita Visas NT and Vivienne. Both weapons will have editable photon colours.

emilia_and_vivi

What’s new and fairly interesting about this pair is that they both seem to come with their own fully voiced cutscenes. I’m not sure if these will be special story board events or what triggers them. I’m interested to see what they have to say, mind, though I’m not expecting them to do something silly like trying to make a canonical link between PSU and PSO2…

Anyway, looks like that’ll be all for the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary. Kind of a shame we didn’t see anything Laia turn up but that’s how it goes. I originally thought there were going to be three parts based on the fact that we had three major characters on the promotional artwork, but there’s nothing on the schedule for it. Kind of a blow for fans of the Guardians Formal outfit.

That’s finally all I have to write about! Long post, but there was a lot of stuff they revealed on the 4th day of the TGS. As far as I know there’s nothing else to announce, but i could be wrong. Let me know in the comments if I got anything wrong or if you have any observations of your own you’d like to add. Thanks for reading!

45th Live Broadcast

sayonara_ichitaro

In hours of the day I’d like to pretend don’t exist, the 45th Broadcast took place. In this post I’ll go over some of the stuff I found interesting and as always you can find a complete summary of things over at Bumped. It was also the last time we will see the likes of Ichitaro. He will be missed.

Some other people are leaving too but who cares about them.

Trailers


Las Vegas Update Part 3: Including seasonal Bingo (boasting a 20SG reward) and the ability to bribe the Profound Darkness to show up… Paid shortcut to Austere weapons eh? Hm. Also includes upgraded versions of Gal Griffon weapons via Collect File and the next part of the story. Och Miller gets her purple demon out for us and Huey shows up more bad-ass than ever.

Due early September.

Las Vegas Update Part 4: Orga Cats shows up along with their mousy friend that no one cares about. The audience flips out over Phaleg’s dress and eyestyle, which no one is going to be able to afford ever. Giliam fucks up again.

Due late September.

 

Long Term Schedule


longterm_autumn2016

Gonna do a rundown and post brief thoughts on the new long-term schedule, at least on what I can comment on. Bullet-point translations taken from Bumped.

Autumn

New Ultimate Quest – Guess.

Episode 4 Chapter 5

More PA & Technic Customizations – The cynic in me is expecting maybe one tech and three Photon Arts much like last time. Still, nice that they’re still planning on doing stuff with this system. 

PA and Skill Balance Adjustments – Interesting. Genuinely curious to see what they’re going to do with this. Maybe Gunner and Bouncer will get the attention they’ve been needing since Episode 3?

Pet Egg Added

Collaboration Interlocking WEB Event – More Bingo! More Dudu christmas! I have no idea what the collaboration might be.

PSU 10th Anniversary Project Part 2 – Was sort of hoping the next event would be PSU themed seeing as PSO got an event. Still kinda glad to hear that there will be more to this, as while what they showed was cool it still felt like it was lacking a certain… something. Also showing Laia and not having Laia there was kinda mean.

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – Franka magically able to move her entire business at will. Either photons or the power of capitalism.

New Team Room

PSU Anniversary

Winter

Episode 4 Chapter 6

New Type Grinding System Expansion – Curious what this could be about. Maybe it’ll include Units?

Appraisal Shop Expansion – Presumably the bulk untekking that people have been wanting for forever. 

Pet Egg Added

12 Player Raid Boss – The tradition of the Christmas raid seems set to continue. Presumably something phantom related, but there’s little in the data to suggest what this could be (unless it’s DPP1 of course). Doubtless it’ll become clearer as the story progresses. 

SG Scratch Volume 2 – :( Hope I got the costume I want before this happens! Then a brand new round of pain and disappointment awaits those that end up wanting something in the next batch. Personally, I hope it sucks!

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – It’s a Christmas miracle. 

Notably no new fields (aside Ultimate) and, honestly not a lot of tangible mew content in general for the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some interesting stuff coming up as I noted, but given it’s meant to cover half a year it just feels a little thin to me. Guess that’s par for the course though. These days I don’t really mind if I run out of things I want to do in PSO2 as I can just play something else meanwhile.

Least the story seems set to move at a good pace.

New Time Attack


The next time attack will be set in Tokyo. Unlike recently released Time Attack Quests this one is not just a kill-fest. Nothing wrong with a straight up kill-fest of course, just wouldn’t be interesting if that was the only new type of Time Attack they did. It releases with the late September update.

Players are instead greeted with something akin to an obstacle course, where they’re going to have to utilize the run-boosters and platforming skills in order to get the shortest time possible. Of course there are enemies to slay along the way and potential mayhem awaits at the end of the quest with Ghidoran, T-54 and a slew of other enemies.

Also unlike recent Time Attacks, enemies do actually give EXP it seems.

While it looks like they put a fair amount of effort into this quest, I’m not really looking forward to doing platforming in PSO2 again. I spent enough time falling off the platforming section in Amduscia (more-so since they buffed running speed!)  to learn that platforming in this game feels stiff and awkward. That said, the run-boosters do standardize your motion so perhaps it won’t suffer from the same pitfalls that regular platforming does. We’ll see when it’s released I guess. Overall, it’s good to see them trying more unusual things out.

In terms of if it’s worth running? That’s going to be impossible to tell until it’s out. As it stands though, it won’t be because getting your weekly Time Attacks done is much more efficient if you just run Harukotan. This doesn’t look like a quest you can clear in a comparable amount of time, so I’m not sure how they’d give incentive for people to run it.

Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary


It’s great to see this game getting some love instead of the original PSO for a change, however much of the meat of it is going to be behind Arks Scratch it appears.

As datamining found earlier, you’ll be able to get Ethan’s Illuminus outfit and Mirei’s dress. Surprises include Kakwane Suit and something from Project CUTE. Seems Ethan and Karen’s original costumes will be getting a revival as well.

Ethan and Karen are set to appear in the lobby as temporary NPCs. You know the drill by now; run their Client Orders and get their Partner Cards. Additionally, you can get Huge Cuter, Daggers of Serafi NT and Crea Doubles as 13* weapons. Datamining suggests at least two of these are obtainable by completing their Client Orders but this hasn’t been said officially.

QUACK.jpg
Kakwane is watching…

So far, that’s it. There is however a part 2 to this on the Long-Term schedule, which hopefully does something a little more interesting. Otherwise for what’s meant to be celebrating the 10 year  anniversary of a previous game in their own series this feels barely more than a generic collaboration. I’d at least like to see Laia or something, though not sure how they’d pull her off with the lack of Beasts as a race. Ear accessory perhaps? Along with some unique face model…

The first part of the Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary will go up on August 31st.

Ultimate Amduscia


 

Yes, they finally revealed it. We first saw snippets of the area in the data way back in February 2015. To give some perspective, this was before Ultimate Lilipa was even out!

It’s due for release sometime in October.

In terms of appearance, it does somewhat fly in the face of recent mining which suggested the area would resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Instead, it seems like it’s set deep underground in crystalline caverns. The color scheme seems to change dynamically which is pretty nice, though its hard to tell how nice the area looks from the low-res video. If it’s anything to go by though, those boulders look horrendous…

Enemies

Amduscia’s native fauna seems to have become crystalline, some even more so than before. The Dinians themselves have been entirely consumed by crystals. They seem to have the trademark aggression of Ultimate enemies, though they seem to be less aggressive than the pre-nerf Naberius ones. Dinians still seem susceptible to being stun-locked to death.

Taken some shots from the trailer to have a look at the various enemies shown. As usual, it’s from a recorded live-stream so the quality is going to be muddy.

madinian
A Dinian that decided that one wand was not enough.
bowdinians_striking_a_pose
A bunch of badass bow-wielding Dinians lookin like theyre about to rain down arrows on the nonbelievers! It’s a shame you don’t see more spawns like this.
STELLAAAA
Ult variant of Sil Dinian, with a pretty nice looking sword.

 

dilandarl

This Dilandarl seems to have asymmetrical arms. Perhaps they can transform, allowing it to have swords or a lasergun or goodness knows what.

pen_dran
An Ultimate variant of a Pendran

 

darkers_blurry

Darker Aberrations show up of course, with Goldrahdas being the most visible in the trailer. You can however see the tell-tale red blades and ground effects of Luda Sorcerer which confirms that an ultimate variant of those will be showing up. Again, it’s too blurry to get a good visual on them from this trailer.

Box Deuxbles

boxing_dragon

Finally, we get to see what the heck the “Dragonmizer” might even be. Looks pretty cool, though it seems to lack the transforming ability that Tranmizer does. Not too surprised as er.. flesh and bones don’t really work that way.

I don’t really get its name at all…Aside the “box” part referring to its boxing glove like arms.

Drago Deadlion

dragonlion

True to its name, this Ultimate variant of Dragon Ex has a lion’s mane. It uses much of the same attacks that Dragon Ex does though it doesn’t have the transforming wings anymore, instead it wields a very large lance-like thing which seems to grant it enormous reach. Its sword-stab into the ground now creates a large frontal-cone AoE attack.

Gilzoras Drago

Gold_QuartzU_STARTIN_SUMFIN_M8

The ultimate variant of Quartz Dragon and it’s the bling-iest dragon yet. Adourned in gemstones and shards of gold, it’s a fairly shiny creature!

It looks distinctly more like a traditional image of a European dragon than a wyvern, with its sizable fore-arms and long neck. Much like Quartz, it boasts a large number of swooping and laser-based attacks. It seems that its lightning crystal array now fires in front of it in a large area rather than just immediately around it.

So yeah, it seems that much like Ultimate Lilipa that Amduscia will have two bosses instead of one. Unlike Lilipa, I imagine it will have Box Deubles as its mini-boss, though they usually spawn in pairs or triples when that many players are around. Either way, there are three new enemies that are likely to have new Soul affixes, which may mean the long awaited R-Atk+35 PP+3 soul may finally arrive.

Anga Fundarge!?

What if Fang Banther and Anga Fundarge got together and had a baby? Your sick fanfiction fetishes aside, the new variant of Anga boasts a large array of new attacks and is a lot more nimble than its old self.

Anga_Bark

In terms of plot significance, as Anga Fundarge is essentially the harbinger of the Profound Darkness and the vehicle through which it spreads its corruption this could only mean that at some point in the story it’ll become active again. Right now, the Profound Darkness is stuck in a time loop, I believe owing to the influence by Persona and Xion. Perhaps this will be related to certain events speculated upon in the previous data-mining post?

Also have to wonder what it’s going to drop. Ares weapons are a little out-dated now…

So yeah, Ultimate Amduscia looks like it’ll be hectic fun. Aside some enemies that have yet to be revealed, there’s the big question of “how will they incentivise running it?”. Stones like with previous Ultimate Quests seems unlikely with the arrival of Collection Files, but Collection Files are temporary while the stone exchange is permanent…

There’s also the question of who is it aimed at? Is it aimed at players who are loaded up with 13* weapons or is it for anyone? Is it going to introduce the next tier of gear or add yet another stepping stone towards Austere?

For that matter, will some kind of rejuvenation effort happen for the other Ultimate Quests? They kind of need it if they want them to stay at least somewhat relevant.

Also with that revealed, I guess we’re waiting on whatever crazy thing is found in the data next for us to speculate on for the next year and a half! Maybe some Ultimate Harukotan enemies will show up next and then finally appear sometime after Episode 5 is well underway.

44th Broadcast Writeup

ElderRappy

The 44th broadcast happened today so let’s get this opinions machine rolling again.

Bumped has its bullet point write-up here as always. As usual, I’ll generally be sharing my opinions on the stuff I care about as well as a gathering spot for the various videos captured from the stream.

GODZILLA


Las Vegas Update Trailer 1:

Arks League

ArksLeague

Seems to be a new ranking system in which you’re matched up with 19 other players. If you score well within your league, you can earn prizes like Stargem Tickets and Tri-boosters.

It’s nice that at least casual players will stand a hope in hell’s chance of actually competing as opposed to a ship-wide ranking. That said, I’m curious if there’s any matchmaking involved or if it’s just completely random.

SG Scratch Recycle

SG_recycle

So this was finally shown and no surprise it’s a disappointment. For one thing it requires 40 Stargem Scratch items to be exchanged, which is a huge number of items. Secondly, the selection of items you can exchange for doesn’t include every item in the scratch. In particular, you can only exchange for the default variations of the Dark Falz costumes excluding the battle damaged Apprentice costume. So if you want any color variation or that, you’re still at the mercy of RNG.

To illustrate, you will need 3600 Stargems total (80 * 40), which means you need to be earning 21 Stargems per day (153 days until the scratch expires, so 3600/21). If you’re not, you don’t stand a hope of using this exchange unless they get very liberal with Stargems down the line.

As someone who has been wanting these costumes for nearly 4 years, this system continues to be an insult.

Chat Commands

Chat commands to change your facial expression and your fashion preset will be added. Not sure why it took them this long to add these, really.

New story stuff

StoryStuff

Seems we’ll be learning more about “Earth Guides”, the resistance force against Mother Cluster. New Unite E-Trials will appear on Earth featuring members of the Earth Guides battling against Phantoms.

During the events, we meet yet another Mother Cluster Apostle, this time an Apostle of Fire named “Phaleg”. She’s demonstrated to have considerable power, which surprises the player even after the tough enemies they’ve had to deal with in the past. Not sure why we needed another apostle introduced so soon seeing as we’ve barely gotten to know the 5 they introduced all at once last time.

Bikini Scratch

Bikinis

Normally I wouldn’t write about this kinda stuff but it’s interesting because the three costumes on the right are the first conversions of old outfits into the Layered wear system. So it seems they are willing to do this after all, which naturally makes me ponder what other outfits are due for conversion.

Las Vegas Part 2

 

The two main things of note with this update are the new pet and selection of skill rings.

New Pet – Lucari- er Synchro

The main gimmick of this pet is essentially Tech-Arts, in that the pet’s power rises as you combo different PAs together.

Might be interesting, I just personally have no interest in playing Summoner myself so I’ll likely end up sticking to easy-mode Wanda whenever I’m on that alt.

Skill Rings

LV_skillrings

These are the skill rings shown so far (with credit to Bumped for the names).

  • L / Bullet Bow Homing
  • L / JB Elemental Keep
  • L / Standing Sign
  • L / A Launcher Mode
  • L  / Short Mirage
  • L / Wand E Change
  • L / Mate Lovers
  • R / J Reversal Cover

Ranger finally gets some skill rings!

Another Launcher Mode changes Launcher’s basic attack to be like that of PSU Grenade Launcher weapons. Not sure why you’d do that seeing as I’m fairly sure that would make the weapon much more inconenient to use. Standing Sign on the other hand shows an effect when Standing Snipe is active which… why is this even a ring? Sure, it’s useful but this is a basic gameplay feature they’re relegating to something you have to grind for. I genuinely feel bad for Rangers right now unless those rings have some other bonuses.

Bullet Bow Homing sounds like it might change up Bullet Bow gameplay a bit, depends on how accurate it is.

Mate Lovers has a kinky name, but it’s hard to guess exactly what this ring will do. May be use-time, may be boosted heals, may change the animation, it could be all the above and other things I’m too dumb to think of.

Wand Element Change could be potentially interesting, enabling Wand users to get away with just having a single Wand rather than a rainbow selection of them. Kinda sucks for those players who already gathered a rainbow selection, but at least they have a ring-slot freed up.

Rider Quest

LasVegas01

Kill enemies to get points, collect emblems to get bonus points. Try to get as high a score as you can within the time limit!

Enemies will still reward drops and exp, however all drops will be pooled into an end-crystal like with the current Odin Limited Quest and Mining Base Defence. The higher the score, the better your rare drop rate will be.

An emergency trial can occur during the quest which is essentially a giant Independence Day reference. Destroy the UFO’s shields before it annihilates the city!

This is a new type of quest which is separate from the Free Field. I don’t know what kind of limitations there’ll be on it if there are any. There is however at least a Klotho Client Order associated with it, though it only pays out a measly 10,000 Meseta. Sugar daddy letting me down.

Las Vegas Field

 

LasVegas02

Las Vegas will first be appearing in story mode, which is slightly unusual for the release of a field but they did do it before with Kuron in Episode 3.

Aside the verticality of the map, the free field seems to be mechanically identical to the Tokyo field in that enemies are pointed out on the radar and you need to grind out quest points to clear. This may, much like Tokyo, make the field tedious to complete solo due to the smaller spawn sizes. The lower point requirement may ablate this somewhat, I also ponder if the boss may be guaranteed to spawn at a certain point quota as with recent event quests.

The map looks alright enough, albeit embarrassingly low poly in places. The most striking thing is how small it feels while riding around on the Rideroid vehicle. On foot, the map feels spacious enough but in the air it ends up feeling really small. It does also seem like it won’t be using the old map-generation system present in other areas.

Other Trailers

 

Es Update: Starring the new character EDGELord and a badly drawn weaponoid made by someone who has never seen a woman in real life or has no understanding of anatomy at all (Whipblade Paratizel). Some pretty dang nicely drawn ones in there as well.

 

Arks Festival Items: WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB

 

Live Concerts: Featuring Dark Falz Loser as an old woman firing lasers into the Arks Shopping mall.

I’m afraid this was the surprise trailer, so no grand surprises to talk about this time.

 

Question and Answers

 

Once again, thanks to Kami_Pepe on twitter for posting summaries of these. These are interpretations based on machine translation, so please please get in touch if you can provide something more accurate or if I’ve gotten something horribly wrong.

Q:武器迷彩を複数装備できるようになる?
A:元々武器迷彩自体がイレギュラーでしてシステム上難しいので今後も絶対にないです。

Q: Why can’t we have multiple weapon camos at once?

A: The original implementation of the weapon camo system was clumsy, so we can’t do this for now.

This is reminding a bit of the problem they had back in PSU when they wanted to expand the number of Photon Arts a character could learn but couldn’t due how the game was programmed. One day, Sega will learn how to do basic software engineering I’m sure…

Q:一括鑑定できるようにしてくれない?
A:前々から試行錯誤してまして、早くても年末や年明けになりそうです

Q: Is it possible you could allow for bulk weapon appraisal?

A: It’s something we’re currently doing a trial and error approach for, we may have something for the end of the year or early next year.

Nice to hear I guess, though I’m not sure how they’d handle the element portion unless people would be fine having bulk appraised weapons all having the same element. For the most part, I would be anyway.

Q:ラスベガス実装にともなってロケとか行かれたのですか?
A:行ってないですよ Googleストリートビューを元にしました

Q: Did you go to Las Vegas to do research for the new field?

A: No, we just used Google Street View.

Astounding.

43rd Broadcast Thoughts

TEAM_BETHOR

As always, you can read the bullet-point rundown on Bumped here. I’m just gonna be sharing my thoughts on any particular part I feel anything about. So I’m not going to be talking about PSO2es and the additional lolis it’s gaining or the Anime character CD. That said, still quite a lot I want to talk about so strap in and get comfortable if you want to come along for the whole ride.

To start off, here’s a trailer for content coming up in July

Includes a new casino game,  yet more Gunner themed outfits and this year’s Beach Wars quest which sees the return of Emperappy as well as a titled Chrome Dragon as its end-boss.

Casino Coins for Star Gems

What’s that? 1 Star Gem per day isn’t enough for you? Fear not, as you’ll soon be able to buy Star Gems with Casino Coins for the following amounts:

  • 5 Star Gems for 5000CC
  • 10 Star Gems for 9,800CC
  • 20 Star Gems for 19,400CC

So you’ll be able to have a free roll at the Star Gem scratch for the low low price of 77,600 Casino Coins! Who knows, you might even get Casino Coins as a prize from the Scratch! You’re always wanted some of those!

So yeah, fairly obviously this is meant to be a bonus and not so you can use the Casino to gamble your way to victory on the SG scratch. That said, it still feels like a steep price for what it is, but I admit that even I’d be tempted to drop excess coins on it unless some good rare-boss triggers came up.

As an aside, in late July it seems you’ll be getting 1 more Stargem per account per day for simply logging into PSO2es. So they do seem intent on adding extra ways for players to earn gems, so over time the scratch may become more viable for free players. Right now the odds are still stacked against you if you want a particular outfit from the scratch.

 

Final Fantasy 14 Collab Stuff

Miqo’tes, Relic Weapons and more!

Most of the cosmetics stuff looks great and I’m sure this is going to be a popular scratch when it’s out. Again, it’s a bit of a shame there was no female armor among this lot but that would have been a mere cherry on top of a great cake for me.

The Limited Quest

The center of this update is going to be a quest set in the Ruins that’s essentially another all-star dungeon-style quest with set encounters. Featured enemies include Dark Falz Angel, Anga Fundarge and Guar Zigmorde among many others. Odin awaits at the very end of the quest.

Enemy drops are all pooled into a crystal at the end of the quest, much like with the recent Easter quest and the Mining Base Defense quests. That means you must clear the run in order to get any items at all.

Odin

Odin himself works much like he does in FF14, with all his AOE and spear mechanics in place. He also retains his Zantetsuken ability, which is an outright DPS race. If the MPA fails the DPS race and Odin gets to use Zantetsuken at all, the quest immediately fails.

Weakbullet is jammed on Odin, which is fast becoming the standard for PSO2 bosses it seems like. Really if they feel that strongly about Weak Bullet I’m not sure why they don’t just give the skill itself a direct nerf, except perhaps because they’d need to rebalance a bunch of existing content which expects Weakbullet at full strength (such as Magatsu).

Healing effects are also reduced during the fight, which I assume is an attempt to make the encounter feel a bit closer to how it was in Final Fantasy 14. If it’s just using the same method they use for Extreme Quests however the likes of Megiverse and HP-steal weapons shouldn’t be affected. Automate Users may want to be aware, however.

I’m really not a fan of the way this guest is engineered. Because the quest fails when Zantetsuken fires and because items are only handed out for clearing you will lose an entire quest’s worth of drops. Given this is a DPS check right at the end of the quest, for me this seems far too punishing. My worry is if the DPS check is too brutal, then after a short while it’ll be extremely difficult to actually get a run going at all as people furiously check each other’s gear and quit out of panic.

Could you blame people if they did that though? It’s not a short quest, so embarking with a group you know might fail the DPS check is a potential complete waste of your time and boosters! You will gain no items for doing so and you will make no progress with Collection Files either. If the DPS check is brutal, this is a disaster waiting to happen. If it’s forgiving however, it might be alright. The encounter looks fun enough without the DPS check. Yeah, you may argue what’s the point in a DPS check you barely notice as why have the check at all and I actually agree with you! Mostly because I detest DPS checks, however. For PSO2, this normally boils down to “how many people can get away with carrying the entire MPA”, as in how many people with the optimal builds and great gear are needed before the quest isn’t doomed from the start. Or I suppose the inverse question would be “how many people in terrible gear can the DPS check tolerate”?

In short, Sega better be careful about the design of this quest as could create an extremely toxic environment with the wrong numbers.

FF_Odin
Comes complete with FATE JOINED message. FATEs are essentially FFXIV’s equivalent of Emergency Trials, so it’s a nice touch.

Odin will also spawn outside of the quest in regular Free Fields. Not sure if his Zentetsuken remains in-tact and I certainly hope it doesn’t retain its quest-fail mechanic! As someone pointed out on Bumped, it sure would suck to spawn into a map where a random Odin somewhere in the area uses Zentetsuken, resulting in an instant quest fail the moment you warp down there. I mean even if it doesn’t fail, getting randomly one-shot because an Odin across the map got to use the move would still be very irritating.

Weapons

The relic weapons themselves are going to be camos, not drops. There is going to be a weapon collection for this quest however and it’s a new weapon series called the “Aura” series.

aura_weapon

What’s interesting about these weapons is more the implications it has for the game than their power. In terms of attack, they sit about the same level as Revolucio weapons. I judge this based on the Wired Lance shown, which boasts 1350 S-Atk at +35 (after removing affixes). Their latent is entirely focused on bosses however, offering a 12% boost to damage dealt to and a 15% damage reduction from bosses.

As you can imagine, this makes them relatively useless weapons in general but the interesting part of this is that they directly compete with Ideal weapons. In the case of the wired lance, the difference between Ideal Scissors and Aura Wired Lance (can’t interpret its name) is about 142 S-atk. Of course, the Ideal weapon latent is 18% damage to bosses vs Aura’s 12%. So does 142 S-atk cover the difference of about 6% damage? I’m not expert enough in the damage formula to say, but gut feeling says that the two weapons would end up fairly comparable. That fact alone is interesting, because it makes Ideal weapons redundant; at least for as long as this collection file is active (until late August it seems).

While challenge mode has had a bit of an incentive issue for a while now (Ideal weapons are already outclassed by other weapons even for bossing) to have yet another thing come along and erode it even further is kind of sad. Some of my fondest memories of PSO2 come from Challenge Mode…

 

AMERICA – FUCK YEAH

So yeah, they teased the next field and it turns out it’s Las Vegas in the good old USA. I’d joke that PSO2 is finally coming to America but I already did that. So did literally everyone else so… ahem.

Based on the enemies we’d seen in the data, Las Vegas was a strong guess and it turned out that one was correct! Other guesses were just America in general, Paris and Akihabara. I would not have been surprised with any of those outcomes.

Anyway, it’s just as crazy as the Tokyo reveal and I adore it, check out the trailer:

The music is “Neon Days” by a group named Rumblebee, who seemingly previously did music for Sonic Riders.

The chief thing you’re going to notice (besides all the FREEDOM) is that this map has more vertical space than any map released so far. Seeing as the ARKS can’t fly, in order to facilitate this they’ve introduced a chicken-walker style mech called the “Rideroid” that you can use to fly around the map. Vegas also seems to be enormous compared to what we’ve had so far, though that may be a misleading artifact due to the way the trailer was shot.

LV_esca_tower
Notably, but not surprisingly, the Las Vegas field has an ESCA tower just like Tokyo. 

Given the nature of the map, I’m pondering if it might not have the same random generation that all maps have had so far or even any at all. I’m not against this idea, as a properly hand-crafted map would be a refreshing change for PSO2, it’s just this seems like it might be the death of the old style of Free Field quest.

I should say, I don’t think the old style of Free Field quest is perfect by any stretch. I always felt like a free field shouldn’t even have a boss and should instead just be about freely wandering an area til you get bored. The boss arenas should go to a set map like they did with Train Ghidoran’s Arks Quest. In my opinion, the Kuronia and Tokyo fields becoming point grinds was not the right direction to take them as it runs counter to the philosophy of “run at your own pace”, never-mind the really irritating way Tokyo handles its spawns. Hopefully Las Vegas doesn’t handle its spawns in the same way, and with the shift from grinding stones to doing collection sheets there should be no need for a point system.

Enemies

As is tradition, let’s take still shots from the best video we can find and have a look at the enemies and, where possible, try to match them to data-mined names. As is always the case, these are caps taken from a live-stream so the quality of the images is going to be very muddy.

ball_cowskull

Let’s start with the first enemy shown, which is a thing walking on a ball. There is one enemy with AI that has a ball and that’s Phantom Pierrot A. The AI file suggests it also has a knife attack.

That thing in the bottom right seems to be a cow’s skull. While this could be Phantom Buffalo, it seems Buffalo’s AI includes the ability to stomp. I guess a skull could stomp, but these are phantom enemies so for all I know the little guy could suddenly grow a ghost body or something.

Clowns and Jesters

 

By appearance, I would assume this pair of clowns are the two Phantom Pierrot variants. There do seem to be two different enemies here, with the red jester in both of them.

Judging by the AI, however, it seems that both of them are in fact Phantom Pierrot B, as it’s the only one with a chainsaw attack and balloons. Unless one is a rare variant or they decided to split this into two enemies I’m not sure why the two are different colours.

In case you don’t know, a “pierrot” is essentially an old pantomime character which was a kind of sad clown.

Phantom Sniper

I did not expect this to be a rabbit riding the sign for a gun shop, but then who would have? There are two variants of this little guy, one of which  seems to be the sniping variant we see above and the other can fire rockets. We only seem to see the sniping kind in the trailer.

Phantom Biker

Big beards, mullets and leather. Just about everything I wanted out of this enemy.

The AI for this guy is surprisingly complicated, but despite  this there’s only really a couple of methods that stand out. It seems to have dashing attacks as well as the attack it uses in the trailer, which I assume is it’s “drift cutter” ability.

Phantom Caravan

Now, I’m making an educated guess that this enemy is caravan as it aligns with the overall circus theme the map seems to have going for it. Do a Google image search for “Circus Caravan” and you’ll see what I mean.

caravan

It has an attack where it fires something, a “cracker” attack and some slashing attacks. It also may be able to grab the player. It’s possible that it’s using the firing attack during the trailer, where it seems to be shooting balls all over the place.

Phantom Goddess

phantom_goddess

The boss is Lady Liberty riding a Sphinx. I mean, we had various guesses as to what “PhantomGoddess” would turn out to be but I don’t think any of us expected this! It’s dumb as hell and I love it.

Now, PhantomGoddess is one of the earliest datamined enemies for this area and is in fact the source of the speculation that this field would take place in Las Vegas. In particular, she has a number of attacks based on Roulette, attacks involving the Eiffel Tower (seemingly using it as a lance) and of course the Sphinx. These and of course the statue herself were all things present on the Vegas strip, which is where the assumption that the next field may have been Vegas came from. From the AI I’ve seen so far, I don’t see any suggestions as to what status effect it might be weak to however it’s a boss so naturally its AI is long and complicated so I may have missed something. It does appear to have a phase shift at 60% HP.

The rest of the enemies in this section are enemies that are presumed to belong to this field either thematically or because they arrived in the data at around the same time. However, they seemed to be missing from the teaser.

Phantom Maxwell

Has “red shot”, “blue shot” and it may have some self destruction mechanic. Beyond that, I really don’t have a clue what kind of enemy this could be. I just can’t associate “Maxwell” with anything related to the theme of the field and googling so far hasn’t turned up anything.

At least, it didn’t turn up anything for those themes. What it did turn up however was a scientific concept known as “Maxwell’s Demon“. I won’t detail too much, but the important thing is that it’s concerned with violation of thermodynamics by way of separating out hot and cold particles. There was a game based on this concept called “Maxwell’s Maniac” in which the goal was to separate red and blue molecules into color coded chambers. I suspect it’s not a coincidence that this enemy has red and blue shots!

Phantom Laplace

Again, much like Maxwell, “Laplace” as a name just doesn’t ring any bells for the overall themes of “America” and “Circus”.

Laplace does seem to have quite a number of abilities however, including a barrier of some kind, slashing and shooting attacks, the ability to summon things (summons “N” and “B”) and routines to keep track of and to go to its summons. It appears the summons are either Maxwells or it’s just that it has special routines for Maxwells in particular, I’m not sure. The complexity of its AI honestly puts it as a fairly good candidate as a mini-boss or even a boss.

So yeah, evidently Laplace and Maxwell are fairly closely related. So the question is raised, “Does Laplace turn up when I search up scientific stuff?”.Well, it doesn’t turn up in science (outside of the concept of “Laplace pressure”) so much but it does seem to come up a lot in mathematics. In particular, probabilities and statistics.

So we have potentially a  mathematician/scientist theme with Laplace and Maxwell. This seems to be a fairly sharp departure from the overall themes in Las Vegas which makes me ponder if this pair of enemies may actually belong to a future field. Notably, Laplace has some routines specific to story mode.

Notably, Och Miller is a member of Mother Cluster who is a progeny mathematician. So odds seem pretty good that this pair of enemies are related to her.

Phantom Vulture:

Seems to have the ability to stick to targets and may include group-AI abilities. It contains a few grouping methods, but it’s possible that instead of having an enemy with actual flocking behavior it may be.that it’s spawned by a commanding enemy, similar to how Vardha summons Kindidds and Angel summons birds which he subsequently commands to explode.

Phantom “Track”

I guessed a long time ago that there was a good possibility that this would be an american themed field. With that in mind, I figured “track” was meant to be “truck”, especially given we already had a train in Tokyo. Its just “a” in Japanese sounds more like the “uh” sound in how most english speakers would say “Truck”, hence why they might spell it as “track”.

However, I didn’t take into account that roller-coasters were a thing, and seeing the focus on one during the trailer did make me consider the possibility that it’d be a bunch of rollercoaster cars attacking us or something. However looking at the AI it does seem like it is indeed a truck, in particular a circus truck.  Its AI file is big compared to regular enemies, suggesting it may be a mini-boss. It attacks with its “carrier car”, has a “horn bazooka” and can drift. It also has methods “Circus” and “Circus Attack”.

Phantom UFO

Las Vegas is a city in the state of Nevada. Another thing that exists in Nevada is “Area 51”, so yes UFOs are quite thematically appropriate for this field. So while no UFOs showed up in the teaser I’m fairly sure this will be in Vegas.

Phantom UFO has a number of abilities, including multiple laser attacks, a method named “UFOCatch” and a “LittleGrey”. In case you’re unaware, Greys are very much a pop-culture icon in the US and the most common depiction of aliens in that region. Though the greys themselves don’t seem to be separate entities from the UFO,  they do have attacks and theres a few routines for their height as well as “greydown”. Given how a common depiction of flying saucers has them grabbing things with tractor beams  I’m surprised there don’t seem to be any grab or hold attacks.

Phantom Dog

Bark! The AI has a dash attack and a “fire” attack.

Phantom Roach

It has an AI file but it’s completely empty. While it’s true that Goldrahda-type enemies are all labelled “Roach”  as well, it’s likely that in this case it means an actual cockroach. This enemy was only recently added, so there’s a chance this won’t show up in Vegas.

 

 

Questions Corner

 

Much like last time, Twitter user @kami_pepe reposted the summaries of the questions and their answers. Special thanks to Mewn and Espiokaos for help interpreting these. Let me know if theres anything drastically wrong.

Q: How do you know the breast-size of characters for the Arks Report?

A: It’s stored on characters as numerical data, so we just calculate the size based on that!

I’m glad the Japanese are asking the important questions.

Q: Sachiko has moving fingers! Will you be adding finger posing to PSO2 anytime soon?

A: There are no plans to implement this. 

Presumably the main problem is they would have to add finger bones and rigging for every single outfit in PSO2, which would be a massive undertaking for such a relatively minor feature in the grand scheme of things. They’d also have to animate the fingers for most existing animations, which is a fair amount of work in its own right but not as taxing as rigging the 100s of costumes they’ve released. This I’m afraid is just going have to be something you’ll have to hope is present in PSO3 instead, whenever that happens.

Q: Why can’t we trade SG items?

A: There are two reasons for this.

  1. Because if we didn’t, people with multiple accounts would take advantage of it given we distribute SG for free.
  2. SG Scratch is aimed at only a portion of the userbase, so allowing trades would go against our intents.

Their first reason seems a little nonsensical to me. For one thing, you can already do this with FUN points. I mean, I guess FUN Scratch doesn’t typically last for 6 months, nor does it ever contain costumes but it can occasionally contain desirable haircuts, accessories and such, all of which are trad-able.

For the second reason, it’s possible that the system is engineered so that people are meant to log in every day. Letting people trade would mean people would just buy what they wanted instead. If this interpretation is accurate, it’s an irritating reason indeed especially given that right now even if people did log in every day they wouldn’t have nearly enough Star Gems for the amount of attempts they’d need to get what they want.There is of course the possibility that it’s aimed at whales which has its own unfortunate set of implications… Either way, I’m more convinced by their second reason than I am their first one and indeed I feel it explains their motivations for the first. A system that wants you to log in every day would potentially fall apart if you allowed people to trade.

Q: What are we supposed to do with duplicate items from the SG Scratch?

A: We plan to implement a way for you recycle duplicate items at a later date. For now,keep any spare items you have in storage! We’re sorry about this, there’s no excuse for expecting you to hold on to duplicate items. 

So yeah, if you have any duplicate items or just generally SG items you don’t want I guess, hold onto them! I mean goodness knows what the eventual recycling items will end up being, but it’s better to hold on and be disappointed than to destroy your items and regret it later.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what items they’ll introduce into such a recycling shop however. I severely doubt it’ll result in a trade-in for additional Stargems, but hey that’d be appreciated!

Q: Why is there a 120 Casino Coin ticket in the SG Scratch?

A: The scratch will be up for six months, so it’s going to be a long-term thing. As you can get SG for free, you’ll have plenty of time to amass the Star Gems you require.

This is a particularly funky answer as it doesn’t really address the question at all… Assuming interpretations are correct it seems that the intention is for you to take an exceedingly long time to get what you want from the scratch. Unfortunately, as I’ve pointed out many times now, if you’re depending on the login bonuses logging in every day will give you an uncomfortably small shot at getting what you want.

Generally,  I’m not at all satisfied with their answers justifying this terrible system they’ve concocted. However, as said elsewhere in this post, it’s plausible we may gain more ways to get Star Gems at time goes on, which may bring things into the realms of obtainable for dedicated players. As of right now, it doesn’t matter how dedicated you are as even if you used all the currently available methods to get Gems and logged in every day for the whole 6 months, you still basically have a small chance of getting what you want. That alone is criminal, and I hope the Japanese continue to pressure Sega over this system.

 

Ultimate Amduscia!??!?

 

There was no mention of Ultimate Amduscia, but fear not because it definitely is not canned.

As of the latest patch, PSO-World user Shadowth117 was able to piece together this shot by swapping out some of the client’s files with some recently added assets for Ultimate Amduscia.

UldDuscia

As you may recognize, it seems to resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Of course, this is a work that is still heavily in progress and the file-swap may have altered the look of the area in unintentional ways, so this does not represent the final product at all. The little glimpse is appreciated, however.

Another thing that was added which suggests they’re working on it still is a new enemy showed up in the client, named “ult_waker_beast”. “Ult Waker” is the internal name given to Anga Fundarge, which may suggest that Ultimate Amduscia may arrive with a brand new variant. All the data can tell us is that it has a tail, has biting attacks and still uses bits like Anga Fundarge does. “Beast” is normally used to describe creatures similar to Rockbear (such as Wolgahda) but given it has a tail and bites, it may not be or resemble a Rockbear re-model at all.

So yeah, it’s still being worked on. Who knows, we may well be getting a teaser trailer for it in a live broadcast or two! Will be interesting to see what they intend to do with it with the apparent death of the stone grind post Episode 4.

38th Broadcast Writeup

HAPPYCLARIS

The 38th broadcast went out last night. Being the final broadcast before the actual expansion, its time to iron out any remaining questions surely? Well of course not, while some details are fresh we mostly got stuff we already knew about.

As usual, this post will be a gathering of the various trailers shown throughout as well as sharing my thoughts. Bumped has done their summary of the broadcast as usual, and will cover some details that I won’t. If you’re interested in taking part in the PS4 beta in particular, check it out. Naturally I’ll be talking about some things Bumped didn’t as well as sharing my own dumb thoughts cause that’s what I do here.

First off; Henri is BACK, motherfuckers!

henriiii

Was worried he’d drowned in pussy or something, welcome back you… guy who walked back and forth in the lobby! You’ll notice the area he’s wandering around in is new: more on that in a moment.

Gathering – Phantasy Runescape Online 2

I guess this explains the inventory expansion. I think I’d be livid if they introduced an entire new way to fill your bag up with no expansion to help you out.

Much like with other games, you essentially seem to walk up to a node and press buttons to make a thing happen and you get an item. Fishing requires at least some timing it appears, for which I assume you’re just pressing a button when a fish bites I guess.

fishing_star_online
This potentially re-defines “Phishing” I suppose.

Gathering is limited via a stamina bar. It isn’t certain exactly how this works, but i feel confident in saying that Arks Cash will probably be the miracle cure for fatigue.

So what do you do with these newly acquired materials taking up all that additional inventory space you just got? Why, you take them to Franca’s Cafe turn them into cuisine and rings of course! You know, your regular jeweler in the Cafe. That’s where Henri is wandering about earlier in the post, by the way. That handsome devil.

We’ll be gaining 2 equipment slots in which we can equip said rings. Presumably Rings will be made from metals and such, but some will also need Lambda Grinders. They’ll be in the armor and costume menu. Rings seem to mostly augment class skills, but they can also raise stats. Some mentioned include:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

The skill augments are potentially interesting I suppose, but I can’t help feeling that at some point there’s gonna be some straight up damage boosting rings and those are going to be the only ones worth going for. Unless they keep them strictly utility of course, in which case it mostly won’t be worth bothering with unless the augments really are interesting. I’m being cynical here I know, but I’m so used to them half-assing systems they’ve introduced before. Yes, the skill augments could be interesting but remember when Photon Art customization came out? Remember how that “could” have been interesting? What about Timed Abilities?

Rings seem to have something like a grind value (they’re pictured at +1) but they also have an EXP bar. How this EXP is acquired, who knows. It’d be easy to assume its just via killing enemies and such, but it could also be feeding it materials for all we know right now. They also seem to be restricted to the right or left ring slots, though I don’t know the significance of this yet. As in, what trends might right-slot rings have that left doesn’t and vice versa.

Cuisines are gonna work like the food items we can get now I would assume, so essentially stat boosters. The food shown lasts 1 minute and 5 minutes though, which is kind of a tiny period of time. I assume higher ranked food lasts longer, but who knows.

This system is set to arrive in March. Why so long after the expansion starts? Cause I have no idea, gotta spread it out or something. While on this cynical bent I guess I would say that they’ll probably only release 10 rings and 10 foods initially or something too, then six months later remember they started this project and bother to add some more things. Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!

Other Trailers

We got a good selection of videos this broadcast, but unfortunately the vast majority of the time they don’t really show anything we didn’t already know. As such, I feel the best I can really do here is comment on various tidbits after the trailers.

First is a trailer showing us essentially everything we know about so far. This is a long one and it does show quite a lot of things, worth watching for a refresher and for the adorable emperor Rappy rolling around.

Next is a shorter trailer showing off the Valentines update.

We’re getting a new character creation demo, complete with new bench-marking test video. As always with these, I’m kinda saddened we don’t get cutscene’s this dramatic in-game. That said, maybe I just like over the top cheesy things I don’t know. The demo is slated for release in late February.

Gameplay Demo

Just a couple of videos demonstrating Summoner game-play as well as showing off the Tokyo field. Skip about 5 minutes in to get to actual game-play.

I don’t know, the class looks kind of awkward to me still. Maybe it’ll feel OK to actually play it, but it just seems like you don’t really have as much control over your pacing as this class as you would for all the others. It seems like the game-play would just be too passive for my liking, though this style may well appeal to some. It’s only a little over a week before we get to try the class for ourselves, so we’ll see soon I guess. More importantly we can finally start to answer some questions the developers never seem to, such as how certain class skills interact with pets and how summoner skills may interact with other weapon types (if at all).

Notably, Train Ghidoran doesn’t seem to be the boss of the Free Field on Tokyo. Instead, it;s the boss of what seems to be the 2nd Arks Quest. I doubt the Free Field has a new boss, so instead I have to ponder if the quest itself essentially just functions like an Ultimate Quest; where it ends once you’ve reached the quest point quota. As they didn’t demonstrate it, I can only guess for now.

Tidbits

As we know, the character storage box starts at 300 items but can be expanded to 1000. It seems that you can increase it in 50 item increments for 800 AC each. This brings the total cost of expansion per character to 11,200 AC. That’s kind of expensive, but then +50 personal storage costs 1600AC right now.

Mutation II is coming out. It’s been in the client data for as long as I can remember. You can obtain it from a special titled Diabo Igrythis that only appears in a seasonal Emergency Quest. You can also create it yourself from 5 Mutation I at a 50% success rate. Mutation I boosts the fusion success rate of stat II into stat III. Its more advanced form will do the same for III to IV.

more_pso_nostalgia_stuff

2016 Weapons Badges are coming out. You can get camos of various PSO weapons with them, that’s about it. You can exchange 2015 for 2016 badges at a 10:1 rate. Given you need 350 just for one camo, that exchange might be a little harsh but then if you got your entire badge supply from the get-go it might impact the upcoming event. The badges will primarily be available during a Limited Quest set on Vopar’s Facility field for the PS Festa event. This will be a full on web-event, so there’s a chance of event bonuses that can be earned as well. Rico and Flowen seem set to turn up, but who cares about them.

There will be a bingo card for this event, but so far the rewards on it look pretty unremarkable compared to previous offerings.

There’s a rumour that soul fusion was mentioned during the show, involving things like Vol Soul and Vardha Soul. Essentially it’s a new Astral Soul type of soul fusion, only with different results. One of the alleged results is an R-atk +35 PP + 3 soul. I have no solid source for this however, so treat it as a rumour.

Tokyo Weapons

Seems Tokyo weapon potentials are out. Seiga series weapons regenerate HP over time and boost outgoing damage by 11%. Earth series weapons grant a 6% damage boost and a 10% damage boost for critical hits. There’s also the Quartz series weapons, which apparently have increased PP regen on attack and a damage bonus when above 30% PP. Unsure on source, so treat this information tentatively.

These are some strong potential abilities if they turn out to be true, possibly even trumping Austere weapons depending on how exactly they work and how strong the weapons themselves end up being.

Seiga Sword is listed as having 1152 attack. As the weapons appear to come with Ability III, Mutation I and Stat III, you can take away 55 attack from them.  This brings Seiga Sword’s base attack down to 1097. This puts it at slightly better than Orbit but inferior to Invade and Austere in terms of raw attack.

The 13* exchange weapons seem to cost 200 Kagaseo stones, so I expect that the overall acquisition rate is going to match Kuron exchange weapons just-about.

Thoughts

 

Still no Ultimate Amduscia! I’m starting to wonder if the area got scrapped. It’s likely more a case of bad timing, as you probably don’t want Ultimate Amduscia coinciding with the release of a new area and a web event. It’s that ever persistent fear of splitting up the player-base that modern MMOs seem to have, but they may have this “fear” for a very good reason. As a reminder, Ultimate Amduscia isn’t on the schedule between now and late Spring.

Overall, between the pets, rings and the associated gathering systems it seems we’re gaining a number of new grinding treadmills. It’s difficult to pass judgement on them completely until the systems have arrived, and much of it won’t be until Spring starts. For all I know, these systems might well boost the experience but maybe it’s my overly cynical mood today but I’m just not convinced.

There’s really not a lot else to say I don’t think, so I’ll end the post there for now. I know this has come across as cynical and I’m sorry for that. Just consider that I’m a bit burned by the developers introducing new systems before, full of promises that then kind of fell flat. For all I know, these systems really could be good, Summoners could be fun to play and pets won’t be irritating to raise. PSO2 may be a better game with all this stuff, or it could be really about the same as it is now. We’ll see.

Broadcast 37 Writeup

romance

Well, that certainly was a show. Let’s preface this article by saying no one gives a shit about the cosplay contest, Arks GP, collaborations or any of that stuff. We’re just going to be looking at the actual expansion content and what’s there has both impressed and left parts of the community speechless. That’s not the good kind of speechless.

Final Episode 3 Content

Border Breaking Chaos returns as a level up quest. This ought to take a chunk out of Persona Soul’s price, though I still argue Astral Soul is more trouble than its worth.

We also get a look at the solo extreme quest in action, showing additional battles with Gal Gryphon, Dragon Ex and Knight Gear among the floors we already knew about. The video also confirms that the quest does not come with its own unique rewards, however it does seem to drop the 2nd tier stones from all three Extreme Quests as well as the recently added Torana stones. Like the current Extreme Quests, you can pick up to 5 items. Other rewards include Photon Boosters, Lambda Grinders and you can get Nero stones from title rewards. The quantities seem low for a weekly limited quest, but it’s at least nice to see that the quest gives more than a sticker! That it won’t eat up an extra inventory slot is also a plus.

New Summoner Trailer

Unlike other classes added so far, Summoner is considerably more complicated an affair.  It includes its own user interfaces, both for levelling the class and its mechanics as well as in battle (if datamining turns out to be accurate).

Finding eggs lets you name and raise your pet, combining eggs lets you level them up. This makes it almost a 2nd mag, though given how dependent Summoner is going to be on the pet I’m not sure how this is going to work out in practise. If the pet lags behind the player’s level or the player lags behind the pet will things get awkward?

You can also use candy items in what looks like an inventory management system from a classic PC RPG in order to customise your pet’s abilities. It’s also reminiscent of the chip system from Megaman Battle Network.

There really isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t been said already about the class; it doesn’t look like something that belongs in Phantasy Star Online, but in retrospect it does somewhat stylistically remind me of things that might have shown in up classic Phantasy Star.. I mean Phantasy Star did have Nyau.. I can say the class seems to be needlessly complicated but the pet raising side of the class might appeal to some people. It isn’t clear if there are more than the three pets shown, either.

Much like with the addition of Braver and Dewman, you will be given an additional character slot. The maximum number of characters any one account can have has also been increased from 12 to 20.

Episode 4 Trailer

The main course is coming. The expansion content itself! The first thing on the menu is additional character customization options.

This is an extended version of a trailer we’ve seen before. I’m still impressed with the additional morphers they added, as it should help address some glaring shortcomings with character creation as it is. The additional accessory and weapon positioning options as well as layered body paint are also nice additions.

A brand new feature is layered clothing. The three layers are “Inner”, “Base” and “Outer”. Inner seems to be types of underwear, base some clothing and outer things like jackets and coats. Casts will also gain this system. This layered system means that you’ll be able to mix and match individual layers, granting a new dimension to your clothing not seen since Phantasy Star Universe. The “inner” layer goes underneath body paint, so you won’t have your underwear on top of your tights (maybe I want to be Superman though!).

This is a nice new addition, though I’m assuming this will only apply to outfits added from here on out. I won’t rule out the possibility of them going back to outfits they’ve added before and seeing if they can reasonably split them into these layers, but I imagine many outfits would be incompatible with this system for various reasons.

Story Expansion

Introducing: The Story Board! It’s different to the Matter Board because I don’t know it’s different OK? Look! The interface design is different and everything! In all seriousness it is supposed to be different to the Matter Board system but there are no details at this time. All I can say is, it just looks like a rose by another name.

Some things to note at least are that Episode 4 can be skipped to by all players, even new characters. So it’s getting the same treatment Episode 3 got. It also seems that Episode 4 may include areas only accessible if you choose “Episode 4” when selecting a character upon log in. Given the story seems to show your character waking up from cryogenic sleep or something like it, it’d seem that Episode 4 won’t be taking place on the Arks Ship at all. Could this mean an entirely separate lobby?

“New” Planet Trailer

Yup, Earth. More specifically, Japan in the year 2028. Who would have thought that after going to Planet Japan in Episode 3 that we would go to actual Japan afterwards? Well, more to the point, it’s more like planet Anime if the story trailer is anything to go by. I wanted to talk about it in that section but I figured it’d ruin the surprise a bit.. or something I don’t know I haven’t slept well oh god.

So the Phantom type enemies turned out to be ghosts, essentially. It includes mutated humans, Polar Bears and even Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So we’re going to planet Anime and we’re going to beat up T-rexes in Tokyo. I mean the actual content itself is at least surprising. I will throw my hands up and admit I didn’t see this coming. The community reaction to this news has been incredibly negative to the point of entertaining. Some people are very salty about this trailer. In general my overall reaction is one of confusion…

Thoughts

There is so much confusing stuff in this trailer that I don’t think I can coherently summarize all of it. All I’ll say is I can understand people’s concerns from a story/setting point of view. So far, the game has essentially been about chasing and suppressing space-Cthulu in various alien worlds. It was a bit science fictiony, but it was mostly fantasy with smatterings of thematic roots in Star Wars. When thinking about the game from this point of view, having a story trailer which looks like it was taken from a slice-of-life anime set some kid’s bedroom it’s a bit of a unexpected shift. Going from space-Japan to actual Japan also feels incredibly hokey.

That said, I’m actually somewhat impressed by some of the creativity shown in the enemy design. A T-Rex that opens its chest cavity to fire a laserbeam from its skull? An emergency trial where you’re anime running alongside drifting ghost cars? A transforming tank? A hydra made out of TRAINS? I actually kind of like it! The area these enemies are set in isn’t terribly interesting looking, given its an environment that we’re naturally fairly intimate with already. That said, I actually don’t think it’s any less interesting than say, Shironia. I’m slightly sad that it’s another point grind quest like Kuron if nothing else because it means they’ve given up trying to make Free Field quests interesting anymore. There’s also a distinct lack of environmental hazards, which has been another thing missing in areas lately. Finally, there’s the somewhat uncomfortable fact that we already have a city field…

Tokyo is just the first field that Earth will be getting. What the other fields will be is anyone’s guess at this point, though I feel like watching some anime might help narrow it down. Judging from the schedule, we won’t know until next summer… I cant imagine anything terribly earth-shattering (heh heh) but who knows, Earth has a lot of interesting places on it. Not that most of you would know.

Yes, it isn’t a direction I would have liked to see the game go. I’d have preferred it being set on an alien planet whose tech level matches the modern era, given we’ve already been to planets that are in their respective pre-historic and medieval eras.  Or that the phantoms turned out to be a split faction within the Arks, setting the stage for some kind of civil war. It didn’t need to be set on Earth, this is a game where we’re meant to be exploring the unknowns of  a fictional universe!

Unfortunately, it seems it’s going this way as part of the transmedia campaign that PSO2 seems to have become, tying it in with the anime possibly. I mean it already had mini novels, a stage play, a radio play and possibly other things I’m forgetting. PSO2 isn;t just a game anymore, it’s a marketing campaign which includes a lot of different forms of media. That its story is spread among them is what I believe makes it trans-media. Is this a good thing? I don’t know, it frankly depends on what is important to you. What I will say is that the community response while extreme in some places is at least understandable. For the most part, we only care about the game and increasingly it could be seen like the game is being pushed into the background.

It’s wierd, but it isn’t destroying the game for me. Could be worse! The area could’ve been an anime high school (wait we go to an anime high school as part of the story, SHIT!) or we could have sprouted from a PC monitor like out of some basement dweller’s wet dream. I will say that content past Earth had better go back to alien worlds again.

Also still no mention of Ultimate Amduscia! It’s not even on the long term schedule! Truly, Dragonkin Aberrations are the real phantoms…