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]
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:
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
New character models and CAST morphers
What is NOT in:
The city area shown in trailers
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!
Cause if you do, you’ll love this page: http://pso2.jp/game/ There are charts as far as the eye can see! Charts of many kinds! Bar charts, pie charts, charts for all people! There are charts on this page is what I’m getting at.
Couple of things I happen to be able to understand are that female humans are the most popular race/gender combo at 29% and 71% of the characters created in the alpha tests were female. Somewhat surprised that female Newmans were less popular given what happened with PSU, but the fact that most people created girls of some kind was expected. You know what else isn’t a suprise? The least created race/gender combo? Know what it is? You know it’s coming. Yes, that’s right. Male Newmans, at a flaccid 4.8%. Told you, no one cares about male newmans.
In the second presentation, not much interesting stuff happened at all really. Little new info, they showed off HUnewearl character creation (because we just haven’t seen enough HUnewearl), showed footage from previous demonstrations that we’d already seen and the same trailer from yesterday.
The only sliver of new information is that player rooms will be in the next tests. That’s really it, as far as I can tell. We also got to see an aspect of the Volcano Caves which appears to be something that resembles ruins. It appeared to be part of an interrupt event.
As an additional note, here’s a translated version of the alpha test feedback chart from the previous post:
The first PSO2 TGS stream has just ended. Sakai’s voice is sounding a little worn out, poor chap.
One bit of news to come from this presentation is that the developers have now decided against having defense stats on outfits! This is much more in keeping with tradition with the series and good news for anyone who was worried about being unable to wear what they wanted due to stats.
There were also a few new outfits on the character creation screen, of note were FOnewearl. I captured a couple of screens from the feed, one of which is some new maid-like armor thing and the other is the aforementioned FOnewearl:
Another thing that was shown was a brand new mission area, which appears to be an abandoned city stage:
This was screen-shotted during a brand new cgi trailer for PSO2. Here is an upload captured from the live stream by PSO-World user Vashyron.
For anyone who can read Japanese, I captured some graphs and slides from the presentation. Unfortunatly, given the quality you’d expect from print-screening text from a video stream, some of it isn’t legible. Regardless, here they are:
I believe this is something to do with the number of players connected at various points during the alpha tests
These are the results of a player poll, asking them to rate various features of the game. They seem to like the music!
And here are all the slides, I’m afraid I can’t read a word of them. If you can, I hope they’re informative!.
Well OK characters do have stats, that’s not the rumour, but what is are the values of the stats themselves. In a thread on PSO-World, user WBmike posted this image which he found on some Chinese blog:
What We Know
Not a whole lot! They weren’t something that was talked about officially nor were any screenshots leaked by alpha testers.
Well, if that chart is accurate then once again CASTs have the highest offensive stats for both Hunter and Ranger. This seems to fly in the face of the official site’s summaries of the races which indicated that humans would be top attackers and CASTs top defenders.
Of course there are two potential flaws with these stats, first is that even if they are genuine they may only remain genuine to the alpha tests. Second is although there are statistical differences it’s not really known how much those differences will even matter, or how much they’ll deviate from each other in the higher levels (I’m assuming these stats refer to the first few levels). Of course, one last thing is this time CASTs don’t have their “I win” buttons that were SUVs in Phantasy Star Universe.
I’ll end this post by saying that stat differences between the races to make the differences go beyond skin deep seem cool, but if handled poorly all it does is punish players for picking the wrong race/class combo. If playing a CAST Force gimps you severely, then why even let people play one? Same with Newman Hunters, or potentially Human anything. Of course, stat differences alone don’t contribute to this, the actual usefulness of each stat is also really important for balance and could even negate the stat differences entirely if done right.
The second of a series of three official videos discussing the alpha tests has been uploaded. Reposting here:
The video demonstrates some quest gameplay. Some things to note:
Multiple Interrupt Events
During the video, 2 interrupt events happen at the same time. Namely, “Code Attack” and “Code Arrest”. One did not over-ride the other, both were completed successfully and were rewarded one after the other.
For a brief moment we actually saw some Caseal gameplay! Is kind of strange how little of the Caseal we’ve seen in leaked videos given how popular they are.
What appear to be 2 units dropping, going by what I can understand. The screenshots are low quality because I captured them from the above feed.
During the video(about 11:30), the player opens a menu where you can access your chat shortcuts. One of the options is “Auto-Word”, which is a feature that was introduced in Phantasy Star Portable 2. In that game, there were a list of conditions you could set your character to automatically say something to, like for example when taking damage or being close to death. It appears to be set up somewhat differently in PSO2, but I lack the JP reading skills to discern what’s new. There’s fewer fields to put Auto-Words into but that’s likely unique to the alpha client.
Bonkohara has updated the official PSO2 Facebook page with another post in English, briefly detailing a new section of the official site. As before, reposting it here.
PUSONICHIWA !! :D (meaning is Hello by PSO2 word.) We open to the public internet Program about a video of the αtest by official website today. The public internet Program was three times and presided over by Voice actor’s Ms.Arisa Noto and Producer’s sakai. They were both talking about αtest and producer’s sakai was telling us a remarkable point. Please see the link below for details. http://pso2.jp/special/nettv/
As the video is in fact hosted on Youtube, here is an embed:
As implied by the Facebook post, this will be the first of 3 videos. The 2nd is set to talk about quests and the 3rd is set to be a battle against the Vol Dragon
A slight mishap during the above video. It seems there aren’t any imposed limits on the accessories you can layer, yet. Aside from you cant pick the same accessory twice. This won’t survive to release, of course (least I’d hope not.. would be funny if it did).
Sega TGS Tweet.
Bonkohara also just tweeted what appears to be Sega’s schedule at the Tokyo Game Show, which can be found here. Regarding PSO2, from my limited JP reading skills it seems PSO2 happenings will be 12:00-12:30 JP time on the 16th of September and 12:20 to 12:50 on the 17th of September.
Unconfirmed rumour: TGS will be using the client from the alpha tests, but with new costumes added.