Fun Points! And Not So Fun Points.

Shougai posted some interviews from Dengeki which Ricardo translated the main points of here. The interview concerns itself with various cash shop functions as well as what to expect at the start of the game on release. Also yes, the FUN system was announced.

FUN POINTS!

The fun point system is kind of a reward mechanism for interacting with other players. You’ll get points for example by giving other players a “Good Job!” appraisal, the receiver will also get points. You send it by clicking on another player and selecting the appropriate menu item.

CLICK TO SPREAD FUN

So what’s stopping you from spamming “Good Job” appraisals to your heart’s content? Well there is actually an upper limit to the amount of Fun Points you can acquire per day.

You can also receive Fun Points by inviting a partner friend to your party. A partner friend is just your friend as an NPC. So, yes, you can receive points for NOT playing with other people too! Incidentally the person whose character you invited will also receive points.

Other actions that can net you points include:

  • Logging in
  • Logging in a lot (on consecutive days)
  • Game Ranking Rewards
  • Buying Arks Cash (FUN!)
Your reward for FUN

So what do you do with all these Fun Points once you’ve acquired them? Well you can spend them on a lottery, the “Fun Scratch”. Like the Arks Cash lotteries, you will get a randomly selected item. Among the prizes are things like room decorations and music disks (for your room’s jukebox). Seems rather cruel that two of the prizes belong to a function that players don’t actually have any access to without paying, doesn’t it? Well don’t worry, Sega has your back! You can also win a 3-day pass to your room, so for a short while you get to enjoy the other prizes you won. Aren’t they kind?

Other prizes include:

  • Tickets for accessories and hairstyles
  • Special devices for Mags
  • Tickets for extra lobby actions
  • Limited-time effect items (inferior to their Arks Cash counterparts)
  • Boost items (again inferior to their Arks Cash counterparts)
  • Grinders and Synthesizers

It really just seems like Fun Points are just there to act as an incentive to log in frequently and interact with other players. As well as it seems, rather sadly, as a mechanism to tease people with what they could be getting from the cash shop. Speaking of which..

Cash Shop

Are you having FUN yet?

So you recall from before that you’d have to pay for room access? Well it turns out it’s a rental fee afterall. You pay for 30 days of room access at a time. While not unexpected, the extent of the cash shop is starting to leave a bad taste for me.

Note: Information that this section concerns itself with is still surfacing. There’s still a lot that either isn’t known or is vague, so this section may change a lot.

Consider that you need to pay for:

  • the right to trade
  • the right to sell items in your shop
  • the right to communicate in certain ways
  • access to extra talent builds
  • access to clothing outside of the defaults (unless they’re tradeable)
  • and on a lesser note access to certain appearance editing options

Now I’m not really talking about the lotteries or the consumption items because none of them are pay to win so none of them really rub me the wrong way. None of these items are pay to win either, really. But I’m not sure that the system we seem to be being presented with is actually much more acceptable than a pay-to-win system.

Take for example the talent builds item. What if that’s the only way to re-do your talents? Suddenly a single mistake becomes potentially expensive. The combination of not being able to trade, use your room, sell items in your shop or even talk in certain channels without paying is also a pretty ugly combination, particularly as they’re all separate items. What if those are also rentals? How much is it going to work out to, per month? It could well be more expensive than a PSU subscription currently, which unlocks similar features in that game. They did of course mention earlier that there may be packs in which you can buy multiple system items for cheaper than the total of their individual prices.

Is PSO2 just going to turn out to be a freemium game with an obfuscated subscription plan in disguise as a free to play? Now naturally we don’t know all the details. Maybe only access to the room will turn out to be rental, maybe other services will be a one-time payment. Maybe there’ll be a function somewhere to reset your talents with Meseta. In general I still don’t like the direction the cash shop is going in. A free-to-play game without pay-to-win is no good if too many vital features of the game are locked behind the cash shop.

Update: So there’s a bundle package you can buy which includes all the rental features and a few extras. It’s called the Premium Pack. So, yes, this is a freemium game in disguise afterall. Again, the only truly confirmed feature that is rental is access to rooms. There’s been no official word on trading, selling, or communication features. There’s also no elaboration on what those “extras” even are.

Initial State of the Game

A part of the Dengeki interview concerned itself with the initial launch content for the game. To summarise:

  • The level cap will be 40
  • Missions will come with a hard difficulty that players can select (There will be higher difficulties later)
  • There will be 3 planets initially

So sounds like they’re gonna give PSO2 a similar kid of drip-drip content feed that we had for PSU. Ultimately it depends on what they’re actually releasing per update as to whether this is a bad thing or not.  Naturally I imagine that’s going to vary, but players have demonstrated their lack of patience with this kind of thing before. I couldn’t blame them, but back then they were also paying a subscription fee. lv40 also seems like a worryingly low level cap, but if there’s enough to do at cap then it might not be so bad.

Another thing mentioned was the intention to include larger bosses for 12man multi-parties. Raid bosses! Or at the very least bosses with the scale setting changed. We’ll see when any information is released about that I suppose, I’m at least liking that they seem to be considering content just for larger parties to do.

[Sources: Shougai PSO, Bumped, PSBlog]

Free to Play!? Free to PANIC!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free-to-play games have terrible support!

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

A game cannot make profit out of the F2P model.

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

To name a few:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why Subscriptions are a Bad Thing That Should Die.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wall of Speculation!

So during the PSVita Game Heaven video, revealing the handheld version of PSO2, you may have noticed some shots of a wall covered in concept artwork. Plenty of others noticed this as well, so this post is going to be looking at various thoughts people seem to be having as well as my own ideas.


Shougai made a post about this particular item, speculating that it may be a shield. It certainly does resemble one to a degree, but the character in the picture appears to be holding something in a very non-shield like pose. If it’s presenting how this weapon is meant to be held, that would make it similar to how daggers have been held in PSU and PSO.

It’s a very odd-looking dagger if it is one, however there have been references to daggers found through data mining efforts. No references to shields were found, but the results of data mining the 2nd alpha client may not be entirely relevant still. Personally speaking, seeing as Hunters have tank-like talents that they can unlock on the skill tree I wouldn’t mind seeing some defense-oriented weapons to compliment the build.


Now what could this little fellow be? I think it resembles a Medabot, myself, but of course that’s not what it is. Thoughts in the community seem to be between a type of Mag or a Partner Machine like we saw in PSU. This one is up in the air, really, as there’s nothing that’s been said or that’s been data-mined that could hint as to what this could be.

I like the idea of it being an end result of a mag the player has raised, however. It follows you into battle, riding on its hoverboard. When trouble arrives, it hops off its board and converts it into a weapon to help you to carve up your enemies. This would essentially turn it into a fusion between Mags and Partner Machines.


Looks like it’s the same little robot again. Speaking of little robots!


A Mag! This is fairly unambiguous so no real speculation needed.


This image I had to take some liberties with the resizing, given the awkward angle it was shot at in the footage. Using unsharp mask doesn’t really help it, either. Anyway, the two main speculations about what this could be is either a selection of long-bows or double-sabers. My first thought was long-bow, but to reference the data mining efforts again there is no long-bow type, yet. There is direct mention of a double-saber type, however!

Notice how each of the weapons also seems to have a version where they’re joined together and a version where they’re split up? This leads me to believe that they are in fact double-sabers, but also that double-sabers will have 2 attack modes. One where the weapons are joined together and the other where they’re split up to become twin-sabers. It wouldn’t be the first weapon to switch between two attack types, as Gunslashes already do this (melee and ranged mode). If this turns out to be true, it does make me wonder how the two modes will affect the photon arts bound to the weapon.


A selection of what appear to be some kind of ranged weapon. The main speculation I’ve seen is that this is a Launcher of some kind. Launchers were a shoulder-mounted weapon in PSO that fired a piercing projectile through enemies. They were replaced by Laser Cannons in PSU, which serve a similar purpose. Data-mining efforts have found references to a Launcher weapon-type, so chances are pretty good that this is in fact what we’re looking at.


Finally, a selection of spear-type weapons. I would mention data mining again but you don’t even need to mine the client as a partizan-like weapon was being wielded by a HUmarl during one of the PSO2 trailers.

A screencap of the aforementioned partizan-weilding HUmarl.

That’s all I’m sharing speculation on for now, this post has already gotten longer than I intended it to get. So to finish it, here are the unedited shots of the wall of concept art, without having been put through any resizes or filters.

Thanks to Vashyron of PSO-World for these shots.

2011, PSO2 and You

Well not really about you. No one cares about you, sorry. This lengthy entry will be recapping the entire year’s worth of PSO2 news and announcements.

We’ve come a long way this year, all starting with the initial announcement of PSO2 in September 2010 where all we got was a picture of the PSO2 logo and a trailer which told us, well, that it exists.


Yes! PSO2 exists! Sonic Team were indeed working on something beyond PSU,
somewhat confirming our suspicions that a lot of the features added towards the end of PSU’s lifetime were in fact experiments for features they planned to use in some kind of sequel.

Well while the video didn’t go into much detail, it did drop quite a few buzzwords out there, among the more interesting ones being:

  • Global support

Oh exciting! Remember when PSO had global support? You do? I don’t cause I didn’t join PSO until Blue Burst, but I can imagine the excitement PSO veterans had when seeing this. So what do they mean by “Global Support” this time? Well as of yet, we still don’t know.
To get this out of the way early on, there is still no word on exactly what they mean by global support but here’s some things to consider: First, there has still been no word from Sega of America about the game. Second, there has been no word on a release of the game outside of Japan (despite Sakai’s trip to Korea). Hope is not lost, but unless we hear otherwise this game could well be a Japan exclusive.

  • Thorough racial balances

Yeah I’ll believe this when I see it. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the complete joke that is the racial balance in PSU, but trust me there’s good reason to be cynical about them delivering on this. Well, to be fair there’s decent reasons to be cynical about a lot of the things Sega says.

  •   Arkz

Wait, Arkz? That’s those chaps from PSO:Episode 3! That crappy card game that no one played! Yeah it was later confirmed that there is no canonical link between the groups, they just happen to have exactly the same name. To remind you, the Arks in PSO2 are like the Hunter’s Guild of PSO and the Guardians of PSU. They’re the faction your character belongs to.

Curiously, shortly after announcing the game, they also posted a job advert listing 3 available positions. This raised some eyebrows given that they had been allegedly working on the game for some time as they seemed to be relatively important positions to be empty.

After this initial announcement, there was nothing. Quite a whole lot of nothing, in fact. Sakai even stated that we shouldn’t expect much and he delivered! Sega are quite professional at delivering nothing.


January 2011

So we come to the beginning of this year. Shougai PSO posted about the setting and development of the game. It was here we learned that PSO2 will not be taking place on Ragol although there may still be loose ties to previous planets. Also Sakai said to expect some kind of announcement in April, which brings us to…


February 2011

Wait, that’s not April! How observant of you. This was the month where the first alpha tests were announced to be beginning in the summer. Entries would be determined by a lottery. How do you enter this prestigious lottery? You need to either have been a player on the Japanese PSO:BB servers or have bought a copy of Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity. Or just be subscribed to PSU on certain dates. Oh yeah and you also must be a Japanese resident.


April 2011

Hey, this is April! Your observational skills astound me yet again. And Sakai made good on his promises, as on the 24th a new trailer and a bunch of screenshots had been unveiled.


This was the first time we’d seen anything. Concept art, in-game screenshots? You name it, we didn’t have it. Well ok we had the logo. It was also the first time we heard any of the in-game music. So we went from nothing, to suddenly being bombarded with imagery, not all of it particularly flattering, such as those nasty ground textures. But hey, we can jump!


July 2011 – August 2011

July was the month in which this blog was born! Hurray! It was in these months that we ___, as well as a selection of _______ featuring _____, but we wouldn’t really know what they meant until _____!

Yeah the PSO2 newsletters took on a unique style to try to tease the fans with information. They seem to have dropped this tactic recently.

This was also the time in which the PSO2 Media Briefing took place, which can be summarised by the image below.
It was the first time we got to see the character creation in action and honestly I was impressed by it. This is coming from a guy who used to play Aion, the character creator in PSO2 is honestly an impressive piece of work and I’m sure its flexibility will be demonstrated when Sakai shows off the characters created at Akihabara. Until then, enjoy some character creation.

Character creation wasn’t the only thing revealed, in fact a whole lot of stuff was revealed. We had “Photon Sensitive Effect”, a bunch of race/class concept art, equipped units affecting your appearance, large party areas (think raids but not raids), random interrupt events during runs, “Jump Action”. Actually speaking of that last point, a new trailer was revealed during this time.

Still for Windows PC, you’ll note.

So we now knew the three races of PSO2: Human, Newman and CAST. No Beasts!

This time period also gave birth to the PSO2 Facebook page, on which Bonkohara even posted in English to show appreciation for their foreign fans.

  • Datamining

Ah yes, it was about this time when dirty cheaters got their hands on the alpha client and laid waste to the community by looking at the data in the files. Much harm was done. A PSO2 developer even caught wind of it and shared their disapproval about it on their twitter, which Shougai noticed.

Nothing tremendously harmful was even found, really. Planet names, the existence of Dark Falz, Technic names, the same word censor list that was in PSU. Guild functionality was also unearthed in the game’s strings.


September 2011

  • Official Videos

To celebrate the end of the alpha tests, or perhaps just another excuse for Sakai to get in front of the camera, a series of three videos were released which talked about various aspects of the Alpha test. The “Special Internet Program”, which can be found here, showed us a number of things we otherwise weren’t allowed to show due to the NDA. As such it was the first official time in which we saw the volcano planet Amduscia, the Vol Dragon being fought and various other things.

  •  Tokyo Games Show 2011

We didn’t have to wait long for potentially new information to come out after those videos, for the Tokyo Game Show was around the corner. PSO2 was present and playable at the show and two presentations were given. Sadly, not a whole lot of new information was actually announced and it was more like a further demonstration of the things we’d already seen. One of the things that was new however was a trailer, which also showed off a new area set in a ruined city.

Alpha Test Results

Thanks to EspioKaos for the translations.

Yeah there were a bunch of graphs that were posted towards the end of September, showing off various statistics of the Alpha Test playerbase. The short version is everyone wants to be a girl.


October 2011

The 2nd Alpha test was announced! And that was pretty much it for October.
The only other thing that was mentioned, I really do mean just mentioned, were MAGs. A solitary picture and the briefest of information was given on sega’s newly created blog for most things PSO2.


November 2011

About as thin as October in terms of news. We learned more about PSO2’s setting, however!

To recap, your character is a member of the Arks, who live on the Arks ship! You’ll be exploring various planets because why not and the universe seems to be infested with critters known as “Darkers” which you’re also gonna have to do something about.

Towards the end of this month, new character outfits were also revealed which filled in the remaining race/class types, with perhaps the exception of RAnewm and RAnewearl.


December 2011

Contrary to the previous months, a fair amount was announced. To start off, CAST face morphing was revealed as well as CAST boob morphing. CAST morphing all around, in fact! So yes, as a CAST you won’t be denying yourself the creative flexibility that the meatier races are granted, which is nice to know.
Much of this month was dedicated to discussing things which would maybe appear in the 2nd alpha tests. The “My Room” feature was revealed, which is a customisable abode for your character. MAGs were talked about in slightly more detail, revealing that you could feed them which would cause things to happen. Revealing. And finally the item lab which revealed you can still punish yourself by trying to grind weapons, although it’s not as punishing as it used to be in Phantasy Star Universe.
Finishing off December, PSO2 was at the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. During which, I stayed up to ungodly hours on the 23rd to catch a pair of presentations. We did actually get to see some new things, however, including the PSO2 opening movie.


Aside that were some brief details about what would take place during the 2nd alpha, as well as showing off the item labs and newer features of the character creation (paying particular attention to the new CAST morphers).


So that’s the timeline of PSO2 happenings this year. A couple of noisy periods sandwiched by times where a whole lot of nothing happened.

Recap of the Major Features
To recap what the major features are (please feel free to message me if you think anything else needs to be included)

  • * PSO2 is Windows PC ONLY. There are no plans to release a console version.
  • The three races are: Human, Newman and CAST. There are no beasts
  • Clothing is NOT attached to class or race.
  • All races can use morphers to customise their appearance
  • Any race can be any class
  • The three classes are Hunter, Ranger and Force. There are no advanced classes.
  • Character levelling is done through class levels.
  • MAGs are in
  • Customisable rooms are in
  • Item grinding (more than weapons this time) and item fusion are in
  • Player shops are in (and are accessible outside of rooms this time)
  • Missions are accessed from a singular counter like in PSO, rather than multiple like in PSU
  • Missions can be interrupted by random events
  • Bosses can be fought both in and out of arenas

Alpha Test 2
The 2nd Alpha test is set to take place some time in early 2012, with the registration period ending on the 17th of January. The details can be found elsewhere, but I’d like to finish this post with information about what will and what will not be included in the tests.

What is in:

  • All features of the last alpha test
  • My Room
  • Player shops
  • Item Labs
  • New character models and CAST morphers

What is NOT in:

  • The city area shown in trailers
  • MAGs

Towards the Future
And so ends the longest post I’ve written for this blog. I hope it’s helped put this year of PSO2 information into perspective. Who knows what information will be revealed in the coming months, with the 2nd alpha client on the horizon as well as the closed beta tests having been announced. Never mind that the game it scheduled to release in 2012, so somewhere in there, I assume, is an open beta. Will foreigners be allowed into it? Probably not, but I still think that even if the game is only released in Japan that they won’t mind foreign players on it.

Finally, happy new year!

Sources: PSUpedia, Bumped, Shougai, PSO2 Official Blog. PSUmods
Thank you all for your continued effort!

Bonkohara Tweet and maybe Guilds

BONK
Regarding tomorrow’s test, Bonkohara seems to be recommending people stay on Ship 1, but to create new characters on Ship 2. Who knows. They were having lag issues with Ship 2 during one of the tests if I recall correctly. Hopefully we’ll get some videos of the new area and boss!

Guilds?
Another thing to share, some data-mining has unearthed the following strings in the game’s memory:

guild_icon
ShowGuildCreateWindow, ShowGuildDestroyWindow, ShowGuildReplyScoutWindow, ShowGuildLeaveWindow, ShowGuildKickWindow,  PromoteToManager, PromoteToCommon

I know guilds, or “Teams” as they were known in PSO:BB was something people were wondering would return. Now, the presence of these strings is certainly not a confirmation that there will be guilds in PSO2 (There hasn’t been any mention of them in promotional material so far), but it IS a confirmation that they’re at least considering it.
As far as I’m concerned, this won’t take away anything from the game, really. If there is no official guild function in-game, people will make guilds anyway (as seen rather extensively in PSU).