Nah no one cares about you this time either, sorry.
2012 was the release year of PSO2, but it was also the year in which the testing phases began in earnest. This was the year that we got to experience the game for the first time. As such, many players have seen the game grow in a number of visible ways and fans close to the series have had the pleasure (as well as some discomfort) of seeing this game evolve. Some areas of the game grew faster than others and some parts disappointingly didn’t grow much at all.
This post, much like the equivalent for 2011 will take a look at this past year’s happenings with PSO2. Much like last year this post is also huge. As such, this time I’m actually going to use one of those “more” tags so you’re not scrolling forever to get past it on the main feed, so let’s just place that here.
The official site has been updated, presenting a new registration campaign for the pre-OBT.
Participants of the previous tests will be receiving a Rappy Mini Doll room decoration, as well as those who registered for the pre-OBT before the 31st of May. The decoration itself won’t be distributed until the OBT itself, however. You can also get it if you at least registered for the email magazine. There is no level requirement mentioned.
The pre-OBT registration campaign ends on the 20th of June. This is not a release date, but it is square in the region of what many would consider to be “late June”. You will no longer qualify for the Rappy room decoration if you register after this date.
I’m not certain if this is separate to the prize for participating in the pre-OBT, expect this bit to be edited later at things become more concrete.
If you haven’t registered, you can find a guide to the process on this site here. If you don’t need a guide because you can read JP, then you can go straight to the registration site here.
We still don’t actually have a slated date for the test, yet, but it is still scheduled to take place in late June.
Sega sure likes rewarding us with room decorations, don’t they? Participants of the 2nd Alpha gained the Weapon Hologram room decoration and participants of the CBT gained a potential total of 1000 FUN points (which mostly reward room decorations). It’s like they want us to spend money on premium features or something. Ok yeah, you can get room access ticket from the FUN Gacha as well, so even if you never spend a penny you can play with your room from time to time anyway.
A guide for the game is being released, spotted on Enterbrain’s website by G-heaven. . The book will be released on the 27th of July and comes with a DVD-Rom as well as something called an “ID Envelope”. Like previous guides for Phantasy Star games it’s pretty much guaranteed to be useless after a very short while, but perhaps it will better explain some of the game’s mechanics at least. The contents of the ID Envelope are unknown.
NicoNico adverts have been sighted. Not exactly stunning news itself, but it’s nice to see them advertising the game over there. The only one I caught was the RAcaseal one, there are apparently other variations out there.
Item Codes Usable in pre-OBT
According to a tweet from the official PSO2 twitter, Item codes will be useable in the preOBT. However as the preOBT data will be wiped, if they’re used there they will need to be re-entered to use them in the OBT onward. If the codes are used in the OBT, there’ll be no need to enter them again as the data will not be wiped.
In a recent email, Sega distributed a wallpaper. No, it’s not a calendar. They seem to have stopped doing those. Have a low-effort Photoshop job instead. Bonkohara, I am disappointed.
[Sources: Gheaven, PSO2 Official Site, Sega ID email, Bumped]
So after a delay, the report was finally posted up. You can find the full report here, as well as the latest official blog entry here.
Pre-Open Beta Test
Sakai announced that there will be a pre-Open Beta held some time in late-June. Details are somewhat thin on that at the moment, aside that registrations will be opening for it tomorrow and that registering will permit you access to the Open Beta as well. People who participated in any previous tests should automatically qualify, but I’m not certain regarding people who registered for previous tests but didn’t get in..
Participants of the pre-Open Beta will be rewarded, but it isn’t specified how.
I wonder if pre-Open Beta character data will carry across?Update: Confirmed, the data from the pre-Open Beta will not carry through to the Open Beta.
So When is Open Beta?
If the pre-Open Beta goes well it’ll happen soon after it finishes.
So I guess they’re calling it pre-OBT instead of CBT2 as there’s no stated upper limit on the number of people they’ll let in. In any case, with a late-June date for that and the Open Beta possibly happening soon after, where does that put the possible release date? Depends on what they mean by “soon”, as well as the gap between OBT and release. Perhaps around early August at the earliest if I were to guess.
CBT client was downloaded 147,000 times.
Total number of people who logged in at least once: 131,000.
This is 70% of the accepted testers.
The highest number of simultaneous connections was 23,500 on April 21st
The average number of logins per day was 63,000
The highest number of simultaneous users in the 2nd Alpha was 23,097, which means CBT outperformed there despite servers being up 24 hours rather than 7 (spreading the user base more thinly). A healthy selection of numbers overall.
Have a chart.
Blue is the maximum number of simultaneous connections for that day, where as red is the total number of players who logged in throughout the day.
To finish off this section:
Players created 228,000 characters
76,000 users got a character to at least level 10
38,000 users got a character to lv20.
The races, in order of popularity:
38.5% of characters were Humans
31.6% of characters were Newmans
29.5% of characters were Casts
The genders, in order of popularity:.
Brace yourself for a surprise.
71.2% of characters were female
28.8% of characters were male
The men of PSO2’s universe are somewhat spoilt for choice..
So how does that work out for each race/gender combination?
Unless the species can interbreed, Newmans are pretty much doomed it seems.
Classes in order of popularity:
40.8% played as Hunters
31.2% played as Rangers
28.0% played as Forces.
Here is a graph breaking down classes and the levels that characters got to.
If I were to hazard a guess as to the lv1-5 anomaly with Forces there it’d be people trying the class and then getting bored of it quickly.
Players sent in thousands of opinions and requests, sending in more bug reports than were sent in during the 2nd Alpha (owing to the larger playerbase I’d expect). 37,000 people filled in the feedback questionnaire.
Ricardo at Bumped translated the usual 5-rating feedback graph that comes with these reports. You can find it here, which was posted originally on his blog here.
Players were most displeased with Tekking overall and I couldn’t agree with them more. Tekking, in the state it was in the CBT, was nothing more than a waste of time and meseta. Special weapons really should just be limited to rare weapons and even then not be quite so common. It’s possible of course that the rates were jacked up during the beta so players would get plenty of opportunities to try Tekking, but I know I left countless weapons un-Tekked in my storage. For those who don’t know what Tekking is, it’s a similar concept to unidentified weapons in other games.
Aside that, the results were about as positive as they were for the 2nd Alpha. People seem to be largely satisfied with how PSO2 is shaping up.
Will you play PSO2?
The above chart is the feed back to whether they want to go on to actually play PSO2 when it releases.
61.7% responded Yes, but I don’t know if I’ll use the cash shop
21.6% responded Yes and I’ll use the cash shop
10.1% responded Yes but I will not use the cash shop
5.5% responded I don’t know
1.1% responded No.
So we have 70.1% of the response indicating little interest in the cash shop vs 21.6% who expressed definite interest in it. I think that’s pretty good, as free to play games tend to be funded by the minority in any case as far as I’m aware.
Things players want to see in PSO2
This I was eager to see. Broken down by popularity:
20.3% want more weapon categories
11.1% want more PAs, skills and other ways to fight
8.8% want more options in the character creator
8.1% want more ways to play with more people
7.1% want more map variations
6.9% want improved character actions
6.8% want more weapons in each category
6.2% want more things to do besides combat
6.1% want a better story and improved game world
5.9% want a better chat system
3.5% want improved enemies
3.0% want pets, or something besides player stats that can be raised
2.5% want PVP
2.0% want better graphics
1.7% want improvements to My Room functions
Agreeing with the top entry, certainly. This game needs more than 8 weapon categories on release, even though I understand that as you add more categories you increase the occurance of redundancy.
As for PVP, the number of people who want it has grown slightly since the 2nd Alpha (where 2.1% wanted PVP). Given how much of the combat is client-sided as well as numerous other stat-based issues I have no idea how PVP is meant to work in PSO2. Despite this, some players are very vocal about their wish for it. I wouldn’t mind if they added it, personally, I just can’t see it not being absolutely terrible.
I’m a little surprised that no mention of balancing issues came up, given how much more damage Rangers can pump out compared to any other class at the moment. This is mostly thanks to a combination of the Weak-Bullet skill and the Launcher weapon type, allowing players to inflict well over 1000 damage an attack (I’ve seen a screenshot with over 3000 damage for 1 attack). Maybe there are other gameplay factors I’m not taking into account though, I don’t know. Somewhat difficult to comment too much on game balance until sub-classes are added anyway I guess, assuming they’re going to be added.
When asked which platforms they might play PSO2 on:
61.9% responded that they will play only on PC.
14.6% responded that they will play on both PC and Vita.
11.2% responded what they will play on PC and Smartphone
7.8% responded that they will play on all three.
The remainder specified “other”.
That’s all for now, however this post’s contents may well change as other information surfaces.
[Sources: PSBlog, Official CBT Site, PSO-World, Bumped]
Sakai updated the official PSO2 blog today with a long list of responses to player feedback and suggestions. You can find a complete list here on Bumped. I will be using this post to share my thoughts on their responses and what their implications may be.
Before that, however!
Closed Beta Information!
The closed beta still doesn’t have a date, but we should be getting one by the end of this month. Sakai is going to be doing something like the media briefing closer to then, which will be revealing more details about the tests themselves as well as a schedule.
The limit for the closed beta is going to be set to 100,000 players. 40,245 players from the 2nd alpha test automatically qualified by raising their characters to at least level 10. This of course obviously means that there will be some way for other players to sign up, but there are no details at this time. Not only that, but there will be plenty of slots so if you want to get in for the test your odds are pretty good!
New content set to be available during the tests are the new weapon types, mags and the city area, as well as the renovated Arks lobby.
Responses to Player Feedback
During updates in Alpha Test 2, we improved the lag to some extent but it’s completely difficult to have no lag whatsoever. We will continue to make adjustments so you can play comfortably.
Seems they’re genuinely struggling with this one. Somewhat worrisome given how the launch population is likely to dwarf the testing population and the servers were struggling enough under that load.
Multi Party Areas
Since it was hard to understand the way you set up a multiparty quest, people generally didn’t cross paths with other parties. We’ll review this area and make it easier for you to meet them
Yeah, good, because it took us absolutely ages to figure out how to actually make a multi-party party. Of course it doesn’t help that most of us didn’t understand Japanese, regardless it definitely wasn’t all that intuitive. You had to basically create your party, then start a mission, then join another party doing the same mission (joining as party) and then you might just meet up with the other players in the multi-party block when you get there. Incidentally, you’ have to fight your way through a single-party area first! Among the importers I was with, we didn’t figure this out until the last hour or two of the final test period, which sucked.
Photon Sensitive Effect Burst
We’ll adjust the rate and duration a PSE Burst occurs so that it does not ruin the balance of the game.
Having gotten to see PSEs in action, where they end up breaking seems to be with regard spawns. A PSE will cause new monsters to spawn during the duration of the burst, but often these monsters will spawn in the exact same place. To keep a PSE burst going, you need to kill a certain number of monsters before you run out of time. This is of course much easier to do when the enemies are spawning on the same spot!
This is made even worse when you add in a multi party situation where you can have up to 12 players carving away at this spot, practically killing all monsters that spawn instantly. I think Sakai might want to take this issue particularly seriously, given that due to the fact that drop rates can be heightened during a PSE burst and everyone is getting their own drops, a multi party could pretty much wreck the economy. This is of course rather assuming that the drop rates weren’t already raised for the purposes of testing.
Drops don’t come directly from the boss enemies, a container will appear and after breaking it you’ll get the boss drops.
So yet another feature from Phantasy Star Zero will be making it into PSO2! I’ll be honest I wouldn’t have minded if bosses didn’t have a number of drops, but it’s nice to have that extra bit of reward for killing them I guess. What I don’t want to see happening is a repeat of PSU, however, where the only worthwhile drops came from bosses.
Breaking up enemies
I want it to hold more significance when you destroy a certain part of the body on an enemy.
Only for boss enemies, if you destroy a part of the body, you’ll get additional drops.
For regular enemies I guess this is fair enough. Many players who will have fought the larger dragon-kin on planet Amduscia may not have even noticed that you can break off their horns. I figured it had a tactical use, but the monsters were too low-level, thus dying too quickly, for any tactics to matter.
DOO-DOO DOOO DOOO
When you return to the camp ship area, the quest clear music should stop and change to the normal BGM.
Ahahahah, yes. Seriously, yes.
Rare Item Trolling
Grinders and Synthesizers and consumption items less than 6 stars will now be shown as regular drops.
Could this finally be the end of getting excited over a red box, only to find out it’s a Photon Drop? Probably not, just that fewer items will be getting players’ hopes up than before. It’s made worse by the fact that a jingle is played when rare items drop, really.
Bind On Equip
I want to make sure I don’t sell very rare items in shops and such.
We’ll make it so that if you equipped it once you won’t be able to sell a rare item in shops or trades.
This genuinely is surprising. I would never have guessed that PSO2 would be getting bind-on-equip functionality added to it. Will this even work in a game like PSO2?
Technically speaking, PSU and PSO both had bind-on-pickup items, though PSU featured them more prominently. In a game where items are doled out randomly to players, this could be infuriating as a friend could end up assigned a weapon you really need and they can’t use. Too bad neither of you can do anything about it!
Fake Full Screen
The game doesn’t really play in full screen mode. I’d like you guys to add a REAL full screen mode.
Due to some circumstances we had to do a fake full screen mode in the alpha test 2. but now we’ll change it so you can actually play in full screen.
While this is fair enough, I really hope they don’t outright remove “fake full-screen”. It was just so incredibly convenient to be able to play in full screen and be able to alt-tab without the client exploding. This has been a problem that’s plagued all online Phantasy Stars so far.
Photon Art Discs
I want the icons of learned PA disks in the Item Pack and Storage greyed out
We’ll do so.
Man, what? I really liked having to use every single disc in my inventory just to find out if my character had learned it already or not. Yeah this is such a rudimentary feature it’s a little silly that it had to be suggested to them.
We’ll add a function where you can save character creation data to the PC.
With a character creation system as complicated as PSO2’s is, this will be a very handy feature to have. Especially for those players who get really into making sure every detail of their character is as good as it can be. I don’t really think I’m one of those..
That’s all the comments I felt were worth sharing thoughts on. To finish this post, there are some things I’m a little disappointed didn’t get mentioned. Things like colour choice for non-casts in character creation, class balancing, the difficulty of certain interrupt events. I know a couple of those things got mentioned on the forums, at least, so I’m hoping some of these things are at least being thought about. Guess we’ll see. It is of course encouraging that Sega are continuing to take the time to address tester feedback!
In my opinion much more interesting than a lot of the fluff stats presented by the report is how the players felt about the test.
First, a 5-point scoring survey of various features in the game. Translated by Mike of PSO-World, image edited by myself.
It’s overall an improvement over the previous test, whose feedback chart can be found here. It’s not exactly a huge improvement though in the higher scores, I must say. However the scores below 3 have reduced considerably, so it’s heading in the right direction. Once again the most hated thing about the game was the user interface, followed closely by communication.
Finally a list of things that the playerbase have requested that Sega either work on or think about including:
16.3% want more weapon categories
11.7% want more Photon-Arts and skills
11.6% want more detailed character creation
10.3% want better character actions
6.9% want something to raise besides your character, like a pet
6.6% want more and better ways to play with more people at once
6.5% want more immersion and story (MY IMMERSION!!!)
5.7% want more map variations (thanks Mewn!)
5.5% want more weapons overall
5.3% want something to do outside of combat
5.2% want better communication options
2.8% want better enemies
2.2% want better graphics
2.1% want PVP
1.3% want more “My Room” functions.
Thus ends the report! You can find other statistics by going to PSO-World here ^Top.
Finally, concept art for the only remaining class, race and gender combo has been released. Reposting here.
I’m a little disappointed with it. It’s cute, sure, but I was expecting something more in line with either a gun-slinger or a military type, not a swimsuit with armor bits tacked on. ^Top
Finally a message from Bonkohara on the official Facebook page. The original post can be found here.
I am sorry for late post a comment.I was checking user`s ,questionnaire ,opinions ,requests and bulletin board after done α2test. Also Thanks you for gave us a lot of “support`message”. Producer Sakai also said in a blog,Thanks you so much to give us great opinions and report. We are cheking it all. I am glad to α2 test has been much better convenient than before that user said for us. Finally, We showed you the public the “α2test Report”.We posted a report such as status of implementation , results of questionnaire ,average height ratio and race. Please check it out ! http://pso2.jp/alpha2/
I was happy that “MYSTERY EGG” and “SEN-TAKU-KI” is the top 3 of my room.
actually I left a lot of “MYSTERY EGG” in the Producer Sakai`s room. hahaha!!(jajaja):D
I was playing game during α2test with some user. It was fun to playing together as a “party”. Member was really nice and nice to talk.
I could find some new idea and get real opinion that was really valuable.
Oh well, but stuff said please work your Job.
but playing game is also call “working” Do not you think ? hahaha!(jajaja):D
Sakai updated the official PSO2 blog a few days ago, on which he shared 2 more pieces of concept art. Sadly not of anything we haven’t seen already, but regardless reposting here. The RAcast, followed by the HUcaseal.
According to Bumped’s interpretation of the post, we’ll be receiving weekly announcements regarding PSO2 starting from March. Let’s hope that much of that will be some further explanations on some features that they’ve as of yet, not really talked about. In particular it would be nice to hear how MAGs work, or how the sub-class system functions as well as what purpose the Quest-board serves, maybe some more information about guilds. At the very least let’s not just talk about the features we already know about.
Still eagerly awaiting that report on the player feedback, but it should be with us before March so not long to wait now. Incidentally, once the player feedback has been analysed the 2nd Alpha Test site will be taken down for good.
The first day of the tests. So much anticipation, so many lost hours of sleep. Many of us were expecting the servers to buckle under the pressure but amazingly all went well. In fact throughout the entirety of the test session things were remarkably stable, wasn’t even all that laggy. The population peaked at around 19,000 simultaneous users.
This day was by far the most populated, with a peak of 23,000 simultaneous connections. The lag was rampant and blocks were even crashing under the load/ However to the client’s credit, enough of the combat was client sided that it didn’t impact the gameplay as much as it could have.
The GM announcement system crashed the servers, resulting in a two-hour extension to the test time. From here on out, the GM message ticker was silent. The population peaked at 21,000.
One random maintenance without explanation, 1 hour extension. There are seemingly no population stats for this test.
Of those who entered, 80% actually participated in the tests. Of those that participated, 73% made it past level 10 which is the requirement to qualify for the closed beta. That really isn’t all that surprising, given that reaching level 10 took at most 30 minutes or so.
[Statistics and other information taken from PSblog]
A whole lot of not much, so far. He was very apologetic about the server lag and said that they would be doing something to address this before the closed beta period, stating that it may be difficult to fix. He considered the tests a failure. Failure enough to warrant further alpha testing? Well that has yet to be seen. He was however pleased to announce that they think they know the main cause of the lag (something to do with the way players start quests if I recall correctly) and they isolated the issue that was causing blocks to crash (which again iirc was something to do with players moving to and from their rooms).
Honestly the lag issues are kind of a big deal, because while the population was reasonably large (at least for an MMO series this obscure) I expect the population on release day will be considerably larger. You only get one chance to make a first impression, or so they say, so hopefully that issue is sorted to give the game a more solid launch. Because seriously, they could a use a decent launch after the train-wreck that was Phantasy Star Universe’s.
This section will talk about the client as it was during the 2nd alpha.
The client still uses Nprotect Gameguard. So it’s looking like that pest of a program may well be staying, unfortunately.
You can use the mouse to interact with the user interface. The interface itself however is not customisable beyond a scale setting in the launcher.
You can adjust graphics settings in-game. No longer will you need to restart the client to get to the options screen in the launcher. convenient, yes, but naturally some changes will only be apparent when you do restart (the client informs you of this).
Full-screen mode is still technically windowed, which means that you can happily alt-tab to other programs while playing PSO2 on full-screen. Why not actual full-screen? Well players of PSO and PSU may know why, but in case you don’t if you switch windows while in full screen the game will terminate. It’s not because it assumes you’re a filthy cheater like a lot of people believe, it’s more to do with the fact that the game’s world ceases to exist when you alt-tab.
As of yet, still no word. However, the results of data mining do seem to suggest that they’re continuing to work to at least give PSO2 the option of localised versions, beyond what was seen in the previous client. This is by no means a certain sign that it will happen, just that they’re at the very least working to keep that card on the table.
No this does not mean that PSO2 is coming out on a console you CHUMPSTICK. I’m referring to one of the questions that was asked in the player feedback questionnaire, namely:
Q14. Using your character data from the PC version, which other platform would you like to use it to play the Phantasy Star Online 2 “Series”.
This may well be a similar deal that occured with PSU and the Phantasy Stat Portable games, in which you could transfer character data from PSU to them, at least in a limited sense. We may not hear much more on this until some time after the release of PSO2 (I’m thinking a year after, at least). This is not related to the tentatively titled “Phantasy Star Victory”.
Some information on future events as well as news that is expected soon!
A full report on the 2nd alpha tests, including detailed player feedback and maybe some cool charts. Really eager to find out what players considered the biggest issues of the game (presuming they’ll be presented to us this way of course).
The closed beta test will be happening “before it’s hot”. Which presumably means before the summer, which could also place it any time during spring.
Character data from the open beta will be carried over to release. This may seem unusual, given that most of the time in MMOs all data from any test periods is wiped, for various reasons. Sega have done this before, however, on the lead-up to Phantasy Star Universe in Japan and I believe they did this with PSO:Blue Burst JP as well. Essentially they seem to treat it more like a demo mode than the traditional idea of a beta.
Details about the billing procedures will not be announced until after the closed beta and before the open beta, so said Sakai in an interview. Not that this has stopped a torrent of fiery opinions damning any sort of free-to-play model.
Some cool concept art of the RAnewearl, hopefully! But sadly this hasn’t actually been announced, nor do I expect it to be. It will be a random surprise as the RAnewm art was.