Photon Arts

The "Wired Lance", a new weapon to PSO2 that can throw small and medium enemies around

Photon arts are special moves you use with your weapons and are independently leveled from your skill tree (that is, the Skill Points you spend won’t affect the level of your photon arts). Unlike PSU, photon arts are now a customizable combo attack that you can set to a palette. You could for example, set part 1 to one photon art, part 2 to another and part 3 to yet another, or mix and match various other combinations. Well, that’s for striking weapons anyway. To advance through your combo you press the photon-art button, but unlike PSU it will actually stay on the next part for a while. This means you can weave normal attacks in-between parts of your combo.

Screen displaying the weapons palette, where you can also set up custom combos. You can see the user dragging a weapon into the 3rd row of the palette. Presumably you just drag photon arts into the 3 columns beside the weapons to set up your combos.

Technics have to be assigned to weapons, much like PSU. You can link up to 3 Technics to a rod. You can also charge techs now which will increase their power, range and alter their effects, but not their PP cost.

Another major difference between photon arts in PSU and photon arts in PSO2 is you cannot level them through repetition in PSO2. Instead they’re using the same systems present in PSO and PSP2, in otherwords they’re dropped by enemies (with the exception of low level photon arts which you can just buy). PSO fans rejoice. I’m not sure how to feel about this, I mean the addition of even MORE random-numbers to determine my character’s growth is hardly welcome, but at the same time grinding photon arts in PSU was an absolute chore. As long as the drop rates aren’t rediculously low it should be fine.

It’s been stated that they’re considering letting people turn Photon Arts back to discs. PSU players may panic at the thought of not being able to swap PAs among alts, but remember in PSU the reason they allowed you to do this was because there was a hardcoded limit! There is no limit to the number of Photon Arts you can learn in PSO2. You can also trade photon art discs so as long as you don’t use the discs you find that you’d rather have on an alt there shouldn’t be a problem.

I am at least glad that they’ve allowed people to mix up their attacks somewhat now, however I anticipate that people will find optimal builds unless there are good reasons to switch up the attacks depending on certain situations in battle. Hopefully they’re also more careful with balancing the attack power of photon arts this time round, so we don’t end up with another Dus Majarra or Anga Jabroga happening (or Dus Skadd if you’re on JP).

PSO2 Character Creation

Here is a video demonstration of the character creator, taken from the PSO2 Media Briefing and uploaded by youtube user “RemiusTheAwesome”.

One thing to immediately note in this video is the interface is clearly designed for PC. Of particular note are the click and drag diamond shapes which alter the shapes of their indicated bodyparts. This does not bode well for anyone still wishing for a console release.

Seems you can select through pre-sets (Base Type) for head and bodyshape before you decide to go in and tweak them further. This is a good feature, in particular for more complicated character creators, simply because not all players are artists. They don’t all know what looks good, what looks bad. Heck, even if you do know what you’re doing it’s nice to start from a template which is at least somewhat like how you envision your character. Having presets helps with this to give everyone templates to work with as well as giving people a means to skip the tweaking entirely if they want to.

The face morpher from PSU is back, but this time there are drop down menus on all four sides. I’m not entirely sure what they do, but I assume this means you can change what is influenced on the graph.

Next are the aforementioned “diamond editors”, diamond shaped wire boxes coupled with a graphic of the bodypart which give a nice indication of not only what they change but how the shape will change when you click and drag the points. I like this a lot, I just can’t imagine something like it on a console. I guess you could have a joystick-controlled pointer maybe, that’s the only way I can imagine a port could happen without having to completely redo the UI.

Mystery Meat

 

There is a slider for overall bodyshape much like there was in PSU, but you can go further now and tweak the size length and shapes of bodyparts (like legs, arms, boobs on female characters, ears on Newmans), much like you could in AION.

Seems like the colour pickers are similar to the ones we saw in PSP2, which is good because the colour picker in PSU was terrible (seriously the PSO one was better, with its RGB sliders). You couldn’t really pick any vibrant colours, really limiting what you could do with hair. Of course, a part of me wishes they had just gone with a color picker that would also allow you to tweak the saturation, some colour presets would be neat too. Also unlike PSU, you can set a separate colour for your eyebrows and there’s now a colour picker for skin color (though limited, so no martians). There is also body paint! You can pick things like tattoos and body-hair, but there’s not much choice with them. There’s also facial customization with things like scars and face-paint. There is also a beard picker, hell yeah.

Finally, costumes! In this demo it seems you can choose between 3 costumes and can further customize it with a limited colour picker and sticker picker. To anybody who was afraid that class would determine your appearance, you may breathe a sigh of relief!

It also seems like accessories are separated from hairstyles, which is a big improvement over PSU (where hair and accessories were one and the same). Of course I expect that there will be limitations on them for certain hairstyles to prevent clipping, anyway. It appears you get to choose up to 3 accessories.

The voice picker is pretty much exactly the same as it was in PSU.

Pusher, or shover?

CASTs, at least male casts as they were the only ones demonstrated in the briefing, get to choose between parts in a similar fashion as they used to in PSU. I assume they have sliders and whatnot to change bodyshapes like their fleshy counterparts (given the way their shape changes with the random character generator). It also seems like human faces are not an option for male casts, at least not yet. No screenshot or video has shown otherwise, so this may be bad news for anyone wanting to play a humanlike male cast but I know female casts have human face options at least. Female CAST creation was not demonstrated, but you can see one with a human face in my post on units.

We also got a very brief glimpse of male Newmans during the demonstration!

Hairy.

Of course, their concept outfits as seen in previous posts aren’t present which means either they share the same defaults as humans or their models just simply aren’t ready yet. Edit: In fact it was confirmed that their models aren’t ready yet.

I’m pleased with this demonstration and am looking forward to attempting to recreate my PSU characters and maybe even new ones. There are certainly plenty of tools to play with now. Character creation in MMOs is a funny business, for despite the assumed importance of looking somewhat unique in these worlds, most character creators in MMOs are really lacking. In fact even today, PSU’s character creator is still pretty exceptional in the amount of customization it gives you, which is kind of sad. Sure there are good ones out there, like in AION, EVE, APB but they and games like them are the minority. Maybe it’s not really as important as I think it is!

My only real concern with this is how much will I be able to change post creation? PSU had “Lumilass” which was the makeover shop, in which you could alter an awful lot of your characters appearance for ingame currency (JP later added body shape for cash). PSO also allowed you to remake your character’s appearance. Given the history, I’m sure there’ll be a limited makeover shop of some kind, but what will be ingame currency and what will be in the inevitable cash shop is as of yet unknown.

Photon Sensitive Effect

Your first thought when hearing this, if you’re a PSO player, might be that this could be PSO2’s photon blast or something. It was my first thought anyway.

Well. It isn’t.

The “Photon Sensitive Effect” is something that can be randomly triggered by killing enemies. It can boost various things, like your attack power, item drop rates and enemy spawn rates. You can actually boost this even further if you, randomly, acquire an “evolved drop” from an enemy during a boost. If this happens multiple times, you can trigger a “PSE Burst” which just boosts things even more and lasts for 1 minute. You can extend this timer by killing enemies during the burst.

It’s all random, so theres no way you can really influence the occurence of a PSE burst from the sound of things. At the very least the more skillful players will be able to keep a burst going for longer so this could be a neat way to reward skill over luck, however it is still luck gets you there in the first place.

So far we haven’t seen a video of this feature in action, only a couple of screenshots.

PSO2 Concept Movie: JUMP ACTION!

This is a new gameplay trailer that was shown during the media briefing.

We get yet another brief look at “Large Party Areas”, which is where 12 players can do the same missions. Raids? Perhaps. Hopefully we’ll hear more of this feature soon. I also rather hope they fix whatever is going on with the glitchy animations present on his team-mates.

It’s nice to see that jumping actually has a use beyond, you know, just being able to jump. Looks like you’ll actually need it to navigate some of the terrain, which is good as this is more environmental interaction than we were privileged to have in PSU (which had less environmental interaction than PSO did).

New Screenshots and FOnewearl Art

A few new screen-shots have been released on PSO2’s official site.

Ye see a FLASK

The “Photon Sensitive Effect” (PSE) pictured here is a temporary boost you can trigger. I’ll go into more detail about those in a separate post.

What we also see here for the first time is item drops. Unsurprisingly they’ve stuck with the style of the older games, but the actual graphics are now quite different. Well except for meseta. In particular, note the weapon drop graphic. I wonder if that will end up being the general weapon drop icon or if it only represents swords, or perhaps just that particular sword. Won’t know until more drops are seen in screenshots or they say, I guess.
A disc can be seen on the floor, which I presume is a photon art disc, so it certainly seems that drops will have a wider variety of graphics this time around. There also seems to be a hot drink flask.

Another thing that’s nice to see is the Caseal class choice section of the character creator, which was the only race/gender combo they managed to skip in the media briefing (well male Newmans were on screen for only a fraction of a second, but no one cares about male Newmans).

A new piece of concept art for FOnewearls has been released as well. Yeah you saw this one previously in the magazine scan but here she is in her complete, er, glory.

I can’t say I’m a fan of this, but then I never really liked FOnewearls much. Also note how they designed the underwear despite the outfit not showing them at all. You can find this on the PSO2 facebook page.

PSO2 Media Briefing on Youtube

Here are some Youtube videos of the entire PSO2 Media briefing. I’ll be discussing various elements of this video in separate posts. If you can’t understand Japanese, worry not, for there are plenty of pretty pictures.

Kudos to Youtube user psobb12 for taking the time to upload this.

Some thoughts I will share here is that I am very satisfied with how the character creator looks. I was expecting Phantasy Star Universe with a few more sliders but I got a considerable amount more. It’s Aion level creation, perhaps a bit beyond in some respects. Something else that is particularly pleasing to see is that race and class combo will not lock you into any one appearance, which is something I really disliked about PSO, was glad that PSU dropped and was worried that Sonic Team might fall back on it to appease the rampant PSO nostalgia. Along with this, it’s also nice to see that there are no restrictions on what class certain race/gender combos can be.

PSO2 Official Facebook Page

If you’re not already aware, PSO2 has an official Facebook page right here:

http://www.facebook.com/sega.pso2?sk=wall

One interesting post was pointed out in the #psu IRC chatroom by member Vashyron. An English speaking fan told the PSO2 to announce a US release! They responded with “we will try!”.

https://www.facebook.com/jose.portela/posts/186318298099515

Hm. Not exactly brimming with confidence from this, but that they’re responding at all in English is somewhat comforting I guess.