Advance Quest Update

YOU_SOUND_THE_SAME

With today’s maintenance, the Advance Quest update has arrived. Gonna just start the post with a summary of the changes:

risky

  • You can now raise advance risk by paying additional caps (from +0 to +50 costs 50 caps)
    • Risk bought this way persists for a week, the same as risk gained the old fashioned way.
    • You can also apply this to Very Hard Advance Quests, which I’ll discuss below
  • Enemies can now be leveled up to 80 (this occurs at +30 risk)
  • Drop rates for Large Pyroxenes is boosted at maximum risk
    • This is what they say, anyway. So far I’m finding it hard to believe.
  • Additional E-trials and bosses can occur, such as Nyau, Apprentice, Persona and Dark Falz Angel.
    • There may be others, at this point it’s too early to say

I’ll edit additional details in as they come to light.

Apprentice

Well not really, she’s a clone of the previous Apprentice made by Dark Falz: Double. She made her first appearance in story mode, much like Persona did, however unlike Persona she didn’t wait something like a year to appear outside of it.

apprentice


I’ve only fought her once so far, all I can say about her is she seems to hit like a wet noodle most of the time however she seems to be considerably more violent than her story mode self. Small hits they may be, but they come often. She also has a hell of a lot more HP, but I was not playing the most DPS-oriented build. Additionally, she can also summon Predicahdas to assist her.

Like most other boss characters and unlike all gingers, Apprentice has a soul (ORIGINAL JOKE ALERT). Her soul gives +40 s-atk,r-atk and t-atk and also boosts the transfer rate of Modulator by a measly 10%. While small on its own, it will help with up-slotting modulator onto something. If I’m correct in how the formula works, instead of being 86% when pushing from 3 to 4 slots, it would be 93%. This is assuming you’re using a 30% booster, which I feel you should if dealing with Modulator because I’m poor. For 4-5 it’d be 84% instead of 78%.

Very Hard Advance Quests

As said in the summary, you can also raise the risk of Very Hard Advance Quests. This is particularly relevant to those wishing to level alts, as the exp gained from boosted rare enemies is formidable. That said, it does require that you can reliably kill max-boosted enemies at that level, which is why this is only really suitable for alt characters as they’re likely going to be the only ones that can be twinked to cope with it. As such, this method isn’t really suitable for new players.

The small pyroxenes you generate here can also be used on the new Live-series weapons at that!

Live-Series Weapons

This update added a new series of exchange weapons, the “Live” series. They’re straight-up recolours of  the “Bio” series weapons from Extreme Quests. Each one requires a selection of 15 large pyroxenes of 3 different kinds (for a total of 45 large pyroxenes).

They require a rather daunting 450 dexterity in order to equip them, which may demand points in Mags or Skill trees for some race/class combos at 75/75. This makes them pretty strictly end-game weapons.

LiveSword

The exchanges for each weapon class are as follows:

  • Sword: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Wired Lance: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Partisan: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Twin Daggers: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Double Saber: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Knuckles: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Gunslash: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Katana: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Bullet Bow: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Dual Blades: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Jet Boots: Yaruna, Sarasvati, Apsaras
  • Assault Rifle: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Launcher: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Twin Machineguns: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama
  • Rod: Vayu, Agni, Prithvi
  • Talis: Indra, Himalaya, Brahma
  • Wand: Ishana, Nirrti, Yama

As can be seen, there are some which require the same stones. The weapons come with 20% element and 4 affixes (Stat IV, Arm IV, Ability III, Status Effect IV).

Their potential at level 3 appears to boost damage for each consecutive Just-Attack by 5% to a maximum of 10%. To take a single weapon as an example of attack power, the Live Katana has 499 S-atk at +0 which puts it on the same level as Orochi Agito and Evil Rakuka but inferior to Yamigarasu in terms of stats. However, the Live-series are all-class weapons, so it’s something to consider before writing them off entirely.

Zieg’s Order

zieg

You can also obtain a Dark Falz 12* weapon by showing Zieg 3 Live-series weapons. Which ones he wants to see depends on the weapon you want to get!

Here’s the list of weapons and their required Live weapons:

  • Ely Sion  – Sword, Wired Lance, Partisan
  • Lavis Blade – Twin Daggers, Double Saber, Knuckle
  • Yasminkov 7000V – Assault Rifle, Launcher, Bullet Bow
  • Blitz Fender – Twin Machinegun, Assault Rifle, Gunslash
  • Psycho Wand – Rod, Talis, Gunslash
  • Magical Piece – Wand, Talis, Jet Boots
  • Edel Arrow – Katana, Bulletbow, Sword
  • Niren Orochi – Dual Blades, Jet Boots, Twin Daggers

This leaves out a good number of Falz 12*s however, which is kind of a weird decision I feel. I get that they might not have wanted to give classes more weapons than others but this would be the case regardless anyway by virtue of classes having differing amounts of weapons they can use in the first place. In any case, if the Falzes have been stingey to you for the past two and half years then you can work towards getting one now. It will not be a quick trip, necessarily, but this is probably for the best.

At this time it isn’t know what affixes or elements the weapons have when you receive them.

Rumourmill – Hatou Rindou Nerf

ハトウリンドウ!!(っ’ヮ’)╮▁▂▃▅▆▇█▓▓

Going by forum posts and twitter, it seems Hatou Rindou has been nerfed somewhat. The exact how has yet to be established, but it appears that it doesn’t land as many hits as it used to. As far as I know there’s no official word from Sega at this point, so it isn’t known if this is a bug or a stealth-nerf.

Thoughts

I’m pleasantly surprised. As I tweeted, I would not have been surprised at all if Sega had just updated 3 of the Advance Quests and then rolled out the rest whenever they felt like. The company is reputable for drip-feeding content like this, I mean it’s precisely what they did when they released SHAQs in the first place. So I’m glad I was wrong, it was good of them to upgrade the entire mode like this.

The downside is they’re still not worth running solo, even if you’re capable of handling them at maximum risk. The capsule reward rate simply varies far too highly, making profitability dubious and risking making a loss in caps overall.

Also solo PSE bursts are still the saddest things in the game.

The Grind

Live-series weapons have 20% element, which means you’ll need 3 of them to max them. As each requires 15 of 3 different types of pyroxene and each large pyroxene is about 100 regular pyroxenes this means you’ll need roughly 4500 of each stone or 13500 total. That number seems familiar somehow…

So far, running the missions solo I’ve managed to make something like 70 regular pyroxenes throughout 4 quests. I have yet to earn a single large-pyroxene, which feels roughly a similar drop-rate to how they were before. I’m feeling mildly cynical that maximum-risk actually boosts the drop rate at all, if it does then it’s such a small boost that it might as well not even be there. Regardless, this appears to demonstrate that Super Hard Advance Quests are still not worth running overall which is a pity. Once again the effort-reward ratio feels off judging by experience so far, especially given that you can still obtain Apprentice Soul on Very Hard as well as the materials you can use to buy the Live-series weapons without the risk of making a loss in caps. My opinion on this may change over time, especially if I can get some decent group runs going.

The worst part arguably is that as the weapons need specific combinations of stones, you’d better hope your entire group want weapons which happen to use the same or else people will be wasting their time. The issue is due to the fact that you can’t exchange Advanced Quest pyroxenes into any other kind.

All in all, not the most enjoyable of updates. It is nice that we have a higher tier of all-class weapons at least.

As always, please let me know if there are any inaccuracies in the facts stated within this post.

New Advanced Quests

sadfalzThe May 29th update brought the 2nd part of Illusory Onslaught to the servers. With it we gained three new Advanced Quests.

This time the fields covered are Urban, Ruins and Sanctum. Two of the three fields are populated by nothing but Darkers, so light weapons are particularly useful in this selection. With new advanced Quests comes new weapons in the Pyroxene Shop and of course that also means more items to take up even more of your inventory. You didn’t want those inventory slots anyway, right?


Urban

doodlebugsArguably the most significant addition as it effectively adds permanent access to the Urban field, as well as Dark Ragne’s arena. You’ll actually hear Ragne’s theme more than once per month now! This quest is populated entirely by insect Darkers, including the more recent Dicahda and Predicahda. Do you enjoy having things warping behind you and instantly killing you?

It’s however a little disappointing that the map seems to be based on the original Urban emergency quest, “Urban Recovery”, rather than what I’d argue are superior map layouts that can be found in the later emergency quests set in the field.

urban_exUrban brings us a sword, assault rifle, twin machinegun and a wand. All dark element. However the ingredient weapons themselves are among the rarest items in the game right now.

In terms of new drops El Ahda drops a powerful new wand, Evil Curst and Predicahda Nero can drop the 2nd strongest twin machinegun in the game, Pandora Extreme. Gwanada Nero can drop red versions of all its weapons, Gwanada Nero Double, Gwanada Nero Dagger and Gwanada Nero Lance. Dark Agrani can also now drop rare variants of its gear, namely Agrani Answerer, Rear/Agranesuil, Arm/Agraneanka, Leg/Agranesiezer (my own dodgy translations for now til I find better).


Ruins

megaman_fistsWhile I argue not as significant an addition as the Urban AQ this quest brings permanent access to Falz Hunar, so that’s something. His sword, Elder Pain, is still exceptionally rare however and it’s now outclassed by a number of weapons anyway (though Vampiric Blade is still a powerful ability). This quest is populated entirely by fish darkers, although no Micdas, Ol Micdas or Gawonda/Guwonda as they’re already in the Desert AQ.

ruins_exRuins brings us another sword, doublesaber, assault rifle, launcher and talis. All dark element. A big selection for a single quest. Unfortunately these all require 10* exchange items, although they’re generally more common than the ones required for Urban.

In terms of drops, forces gain a few things. Dagash drop Dagash Talis in case you’re a crazy person who actually uses Talises. The other floatagefish, Dagacha, also drops a talis named Seireikikami. Krabahdas drop the strongest rod in the game, Divine Amaterasu. The strongest rod that can be sanely acquired anyway. So yeah, Ruins is pretty darn significant if you’re a force just for the Rod if nothing else.


Sanctum

sanctum_bridgeFairly unremarkable. It’s just like the free field only without any Darkers, in essence. The 2nd area seems to use stage blocks I’m not familiar with however.

sanctum_exFinally Sanctum brings us yet another sword, assault rifle and talis. All light element.

Za Tarot
Za Tarot

In terms of drops there’s obviously the new exchange items themselves. Dilandarl drops the new sword, Sol Dilandarl drops the new rifle and Goron Zoran drops the new Talis. The newly added rare variant of Goron Zoran, Zoran Goral, drops Za Tarot which is a good all-class Talis.


Advanced Exchange Gear

So are the new items worthwhile? Well given how rare Chelate Edia is compared to Ruins Charm it’s strange that the upgraded version of it should be weaker than its counterpart. The swords are all nearly top of their class however, only being outclassed by the likes of Dragon Slayer and the new katana. Fossletrix’s upgrade is the 5th best in its class, but requires a relatively rare exchange item. The new assault rifles are all roughly tied at 4th best, but two of them need 10* items in exchange with Calci Weapon being extremely rare. Acro-cane‘s upgrade is 6th in its class, which is a little disappointing for such a rare prerequisite item as its barely stronger than its more common counterparts. As for Talises, they have the fun issue of being out-classed by the newly released Dagash Talis, which quest records indicate isn’t too rare but I may be misinterpreting numbers. They’re decent enough weapons overall, it’s just some in particular have such rare pre-requisite items that there’s no good reason to go for them unless you really like how they look. Doesn’t help that a fair number of these require 10* items, so you’re dependant on your luck for them unless you fork over for premium.

This batch sure did add a fair few swords and assault rifles. The weapon classes are left rather imbalanced in terms of supply for the exchange so far. To illustrate:

  • Swords: 4
  • Partisans: 1
  • Wired Lances: 1
  • Double Sabers: 2
  • Knuckles: 2
  • Twin Daggers: 2
  • Assault Rifles: 4
  • Launchers: 1
  • Gunslashes: 2
  • Twin Machineguns: 3
  • Rods: 3
  • Talis: 3
  • Wands: 3

Swords and Assault Rifles seem to be favored more heavily than the other classes so far, with Partisans, Wired Lances and Launchers with one each. Though I’d argue that Fighter is probably the worst off here, given that Double Sabers are still their key weapon (due to balancing issues that have yet to be addressed…) and both of the available ones require 10* items, which can only be bought from player shops if you have Premium. Related to that, it’s nice that the new exchange items from the Sanctum AQ all require 9* items.

Advanced Quests

digdorfAdvanced Quests are the latest addition to PSO2, offering more difficult content for smaller parties. It was a feature that was announced a while back and it was initially the cause of worry among the player-base due to the steep entry fees. So now they’ve been out for a week, how have they worked out so far? This post will be talking about how Advance Quests work (as is understood so far) and share my opinions on them.

The Mechanics

  • You need to be lv45+ to be able to run an Advanced Quest. Despite this the EXP penalty is still very much in effect.
  • Monsters will start off at lv56, which means that players will be penalized exp unless they’re lv51 or over.
  • Advanced Quests cost Advanced Capsules. One capsule corresponds to each area and each area drops the next area’s capsules, effectively making Advanced Quests resemble Phantasy Star Universe’s “Guardians Boost Road”.
  • The costs are as follows:
    • Advanced Forest: 10 Advance Capsules a / アドバンスカプセルa. 50,000 Meseta per capsule.
    • Advanced Caves: 10 Advance Capsules b / アドバンスカプセルb. 60,000 Meseta per capsule.
    • Advanced Desert: 10 Advance Capsules c / アドバンスカプセルc. 70,000 Meseta per capsule.
  • You can get your first batch of capsules for free by simply talking to Koffie.
  • You have 1 hour to complete the quest.
  • The quests consist of 3 blocks, all of which are single-party areas.
  • Monsters do not respawn, however the spawns themselves are denser than normal.
  • Quests end with a boss, but the boss itself is randomly chosen from a selection.
    • Advanced Forest: Rockbears or Fang Banthers
    • Advanced Caves: Caterdr’ans or Vol Dragon
    • Advanced Desert: Tranmizers or Zeshrayda
    • All rare variants can also be encountered
  • You can invite NPCs to these quests.
  • You can encounter Mr.Umblla, the Naura Cake Shop and Arks Clones in these quests. Be aware that Mr.Umblla can hit very hard.
  • There is no chance of being abducted or encountering a warp to a parallel world.
  • Advance Risk is acquired upon completing an Advanced Quest. Each completion will earn you +1 risk.
  • Unlike Guardians Boost Road, only the leader’s risk will affect the Quest
  • For each +3 risk the enemy levels will raise by 1 (up to a maximum of lv60).
  • Higher risk will increase the encounter rate of boosted enemies
  • Level 15 Photon Art Discs can drop

Speculated – Based On Observation

  • Risk seems to affect spawn density and the density of PSE Bursts.
  • Rare monsters seem to be more common in Advance Quests, might just be luck.

This may not be a complete list of information about Advanced Quests. I’ll add more or edit anything people point out is wrong with the information here.


Thoughts

Yeah, they’re alright. Certainly not nearly as bad as people were worried they were going to be, with the primary worry being the cost to run them. The capsules drop at a decent rate, although it’s easier to cover the cost of the next quest entirely as your risk goes up, so at least initially you may have to buy missing capsules.

pso20130214_002958_015
Boosted versions of rare bosses are particularly dangerous. If you have less than 1100 HP and are not geared (or specced) to defense then getting hit could easily spell an instant death.

In terms of difficulty they’re not really much harder than regular quests aside from monsters being able to hit harder, faster and are much more durable. If you’re under-geared, you will have a miserable time trying to kill things, however the quests have a decent chance of dropping red weapons. If you’re not well geared, I would suggest buying some of these from player shops assuming you can equip them (their requirements are rather high). They’re not as good as 10*s due to a negative Ability modifier on them (which will give you large variance) but they function perfectly well as starter weapons. I’m glad they elected to include weapons like this, as it puts players on much more even footing gear wise.

I would not recommend soloing these. Not because you wouldn’t be able to, necessarily, it’s just you’re better off partying with people. The spawn rates will be a fair bit higher, which means more shots at drops and arguably more importantly more capsule drops to cover the cost of subsequent runs. You’ll also be able to acquire your magic stones more easily, which means you’ll be able to get the exchange shop 10*s more quickly. I’ve stated before how I dislike how this game heavily favors groups, but there you go.

Related to this, based on speculation I said that Desert would drop Indra stones. I was basing this on the fact that Wind Stone: Vayu could be exchanged for wind-element weaponry and Fire Stone:Agni could be exchanged for fire-element weaponry. Made sense that Lightning Stone: Indra would be for lightning-element, but instead the stone required is Earth Stone Privthi. So I apologize for that. You can find a list of what’s available on the Pyroxene Shop at the Arkive here. 

It also has to be said that the EXP penalty is bullshit. It was bullshit before, it’s just highlighted more directly in these quests. If you’re unaware, there is an EXP penalty that will apply to players if they are fighting monsters only 5 levels higher than them. The penalty becomes significantly more severe as the gap grows. Presumably, it’s a mechanic to help prevent people from just power-leveling their way to cap by just following players in Multi-Party Areas. The way in which it manifests in Advanced Quests is just absurd though. Why let lv45+ players enter the quest if they’re going to get significantly less EXP than they would for fighting monsters their own level? Never mind that they’ll be struggling more. Further along, a lv51 player acquiring 3 risk would actually be nerfing their EXP per kill. What kind of bonus system penalizes a player for succeeding? A stupid one. The EXP penalty needs to be removed like they did for PSU, at the very least in quests like this.

The fact they only released one new level for photon art discs is also pretty ridiculous. Talk about drip-feeding.

Overall though, I like Advanced Quests. If nothing else because it feels nice to have enemies that will always present at least some difficulty as opposed to falling over the moment they’ve spawned. It’s not so hard you’ll be tearing your hair out, but it’s tricky enough that you will at least need to pay attention.