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.
Bonkohara posted on the official PSO2 Facebook page for what seems to be the last time. The gist of the post is that the Facebook page will become a place to keep an eye on for leaks and information on the EN version of PSO2. For the Japanese, the focus will be shifted to their Mixi page here.
Not too surprising. If you’ve kept an eye on their page you’ll note it’s almost exclusively English-speaking people who post on it. Bonkohara has admitted she can’t speak English very well, so it makes sense to pass the page on to a division that can better serve them. The page had also become very inactive lately and it’s been a long time since Bonkohara rewarded the community with concept art for reaching milestones in the number of likes the page got.
Hello everyone! Greetings from Sega of America. To our many English-speaking fans around the world who have already joined this page, I’m happy to begin talking to you about PSO2. Our colleagues in Japan have set a high standard for this page that we look forward to continuing with you all. Right now, I know there are a lot of questions and excitement for the Western release. I’ll have more to share with you soon, and we’ll also be updating the look of the page a bit … thank you to everyone for your support; we are very excited to have a chance to help bring this game to Western fans!
PSO2 On The Internet
Since the announcement of the western version of the game yesterday, PSO2 has appeared in quite a number of places about the internet.
First Sega put up a press release about the announcement on their official site here. This is separate to the blog post yesterday, but it contains most of the same text.
Finally, according to Shougai PSO, at one point Sakai said that there would be servers for each country. This was said in referral to international versions of the game. If this is true I’m not really sure what to make of it. It could suggest that in the future, new ships could be added and intended for specific countries to play on. I think that’s highly unlikely however,given that on Sega’s official forums, PSU GM Edward said that they’ll be “working on closing the content gap”, which certainly suggests that the versions will be entirely separate to me. I also don’t believe he’ll succeed in closing this gap, as I don’t think the company behind the game honestly cares enough about their foreign customers beyond the short-term.
Reaction From The Community
The reaction from the community itself has been a maelstrom of cynicism and consumer-blaming. What ever did SEGA do to earn all this cynicism and mis-trust anyway? Has nothing to do with roughly 12 years worth of consistent incompetence, nope nothing at all.
I’m frankly astonished that people are seriously blaming the playerbase for the company’s shortcomings. Here’s one such post. Seriously, if you believe that the community is at fault for the way Sega is just think about what it is you’re saying. In what bizarre land is the customer at fault for receiving second-rate service? Name me some examples where this is a perfectly reasonable scenario, because I’m all ears.
On the official side of things, the response has roughly been “if you don’t like the content delay, don’t play”. Fairly reasonable argument. Perhaps not one I’d expect official staff to put forward, though. Getting a sense of de ja vu about the official stance so far, I would advise caution to those still willing to support the western release.
I should finish by saying that I want the localised versions to succeed, of course I do. I love this game and I want it to flourish. Despite SoA’s dodgy track record that seems set to continue in the future, there is a major difference that I think will mean PSO2 will do “ok” at best. It’s free to play and it’s actually a decent game. This alone will help it succeed a fair sight better than PSU at least, but only if Sega is willing to put the work into it will it work out better for all involved. This blog will celebrate Sega of America’s victories if it has any and sing praises if they appear to actually want to redeem themselves for their past shortcomings, but this blog will not shy away from exposing their failings. So far, given the somewhat chaotic initial press release, I don’t have a whole lot of confidence.
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]
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
Emails have been sent to the people selected for the 2nd alpha tests. If you’ve recieved an email with something like 【PSO2】α2テスト参加権当選のお知らせ as the title, then you’re in the test! You’ll be able to log in to the alpha tester’s site with your PSO2 ID here.
Incidentally, it seems that a considerable number of non-Japanese players have managed to be selected for the tests, so either you all were very convincing at pretending to be Japanese or Sega have decided to let foreigners in. Either way a decent outcome.
Congratulations to all those who got in!I didn’t get in, so I hate all of you. You can of course beg for my forgiveness Disregard that, I got in in the 2nd wave of emails (you should check your inboxes again if you were disappointed earlier). Feel free to send me tips or pictures you think are worth sharing here, though if you do please make sure you follow the rules regarding posting images and videos that all testers have to follow. You can find the rules here (visible to successful entrants only).
There are currently no announced date and times for the tests, although apparently we will be finding out this information next week.
Bonkohara Facebook Post
Bonkohara also posted another update in english on the PSO2 Facebook Page. Reposting here as usual.
Hi, everyone. :D♥
I am sorry that I posted last Friday message was only japanese.
If I could not post by English, please forgive me. but I will try my best.
This is a what I wrote last time.
The screenshot is the character who had users made it by Character Create in the akihabara'”PSO2″ ‘s event.
The staff chose it from 500 characters. There were a great variety of variations. Everyone did really awsome job!! We enjoyed the selection of the fun’works.♥
The excellent work which Producer’s sakai selected is a screenshot opened to the official blog already. but I got a comment that people want to check the Producer’s sakai selected screenshot by facebook, so I will put it on the facebook soon :)
You will know what kind of type of character he likes. Don’t miss it！:D
She is of course referring to the character gallery both her and Sakai posted which I shared in my previous post here.
Satoshi Sakai on PSBlog and Bonkohara on the PSO2 Facebook Page posted a selection of characters created by people who attended the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. A gallery of them will be at the bottom of this post.
A couple of things to note before that, though.
Alpha Test 2 Signup
First off, the signup period for the 2nd Alpha test is over, so I’m afraid if you haven’t applied you are now too late.
Non Disclosure Agreement
You remember the non-disclosure agreement in the first alpha test? That same one that means a bunch of the images in my older posts are missing? Well seems this time things will be different. Users will be allowed to post images as well as videos, but there apparently will be some kind of limitations. I assume Sakai will go into detail at some point.
Drop Icon Change
Drop icons have been changed slightly. Now, as well as their icon representing the item type, the icon will also be colour coded. Neat touch I guess.
Incidentally PSO fans need not panic, because their beloved red box will be making a return.
Characters of Akihabara 2011
Right, finally then, a gallery of the characters posted up on PSBlog and Facebook. Enjoy!
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!
Bonkohara posted a status update on the official PSO2 Facebook page. What’s more, it’s in English! Reposting here:
Hello, everyone:) I am sorry for update facebook so late. How was you celebrating the Christmas ? Did you have a great time with your family and friends ? :) I was in akihabara on 24th because we had a “PSO2” ‘s event. Rappie was wearing Christmas uniform at the event. I made a hand-knitted mufflerand and gave Rappie.it was 3 meters.The point was white pompon. We introduced PSO2’s opening movie at the event There were also development staff and Producer’s sakai talk show and Rock paper scissors’s game. I thought the event warmed up nicely ! Opening movie sounds magnificent and such feeling as we fly through the air by Orchestral performance. We update this movie and Screencasts by official website today.Please check it out! :D http://pso2.jp/
Once again it’s nice to see her taking the time to post in English and I think it’s one of the few actual signs that either an English release or some form of English support will happen (as well as potentially the language option which was spotted in the first alpha client). Not a certainty by any means, but at least nice to see. Incidentally there still hasn’t been a mention of a release outside of Japan by either side (SOA or SOJ) as of yet.
Also, as Bonkohara says, the PSO2 Official Site has indeed been updated with the opening movie as well as new screenshots.
PSO2 newsletters were sent out, so says a tweet by Bonkohara. With it came the calender for December (what happened to the one for November, did I miss that?) and two screen-shots of new default character models. Reposting them here!
Both of these will be playable in the 2nd Alpha test. One thing I’m suprised about is given how FOnewearl looked in the concept art I assumed she was wearing some kind of shorts. But, nope, that is indeed a skirt she’s wearing. I guess they did need to design her panties aferall (like they needed an excuse).
Oh yeah and the calendar I guess
Bonkohara also wants to remind you to sign up to the newsletter if you haven’t already. It’s your choice, really. In fact, don’t! The less of you that do, the better chance I have of getting into the 2nd Alpha! Thanks!