2012, PSO2 and You

lisa_npc_of_the_yearNah 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.

Continue reading “2012, PSO2 and You”

No More Bonkohara

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.

Update: The first post has already been made by SoA staff. Quoting it here:

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.

PSO2 has also turned up on VG247, VideoGamer.com, MMOAttack.com and CVG. Again, with mostly the same sort of 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.

PSO2 News Tidbits

Pre-Open Beta Registration News

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.

I think I’d rather have the FOnewearl as a room decoration, myself.

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.


PSO2 Guidebook

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

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.


Wallpaper

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]

2nd Alpha Test Report

The report for the 2nd Alpha Test has now been uploaded to the official website here. I’ll be posting translations of the statistics here.

Table of Contents



Participation

50,811 people participated in the test, which is 73% of those who got in. I wonder how much of this stat is warped by people who got in with multiple codes?

40,245 participants got their characters to at least level 10, qualifying them for automatic entry into the closed beta tests.

^Top



Characters

Race and Gender

  • 37.3% of characters were Human.
  • 31.6% were Casts
  • 31.1% were Newmans.

This is surprisingly evenly distributed, but humans are still dominating the player base overall, which hasn’t changed since the first alpha test.

What about gender?

  • 72.0% of characters were female
  • 28.0% of characters were male

Insert some kind of comment on the culture of MMO gamers here.

Heres how it breaks down with regard race and gender.

  • 26.5% played Newman females
  • 25.2% played Human females
  • 20.2% played Cast females
  • 12.1% played Human males
  • 11.5% played Cast males
  • 4.5% played Newman males

So unlike the first alpha, Newman females are now the most common, but only just. As for Newman males, I mean, do I really need to say it at this point?

Class Distribution

  • 41.8% of characters were Hunters
  • 29.5% were Rangers
  • 28.7% were Forces

Height Distributions

I have no idea why they felt the need to share these statistics! The bar charts summarise it well, however.

Males on the left, females on the right.

Completely unsurprisingly, males peak on the maximum height and females peak on the minimum height. Overall, females were shorter than males.

^Top


Player 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.

Player Requests

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.



The RAnewearl

Finally, concept art for the only remaining class, race and gender combo has been released. Reposting here.

The RAnewearl! Only a little less naked than her melee counterpart.

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



Facebook Post

Finally a message from Bonkohara on the official Facebook page. The original post can be found here.

Hello, everyone:D
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

Now I back to really disk work today.

^Top

[Sources: PSBlog, PSO2 Official Site, PSO-World]

Alpha Test 2 Schedule

Those who got into the tests can now download the client. You can find the client on this page here. Naturally that link only works for testers.

The schedule for the 2nd tests is also up! Originally tweeted by Bonkohara here. Thanks to Ricardo at Bumped for the EST PST times, and Bahn for the HST times.

Alpha Test 2 Start Dates JST

  • January 27th, 16:00 to 23:00
  • January 28th, 18:00 to 26:00
  • February 1st, 16:00 to 23:00
  • February 3, 15:00 through Feb 4, 23:00 (32 hours continuously)

Alpha Test 2 Start Dates Eastern Standard Time

  • January 27th, 2AM to 9AM
  • January 28th, 4AM to 12PM
  • February 1st, 2AM to 9AM
  • February 3rd, 1AM to Feb 4th 9AM

Alpha Test 2 Start Dates Pacific Standard Time

  • January 26th, 11PM to 6AM
  • January 28th, 1AM to 9AM
  • January 31st, 11PM to 6AM
  • February 2nd, 10PM to Feb 4th 6AM

Alpha Test 2 Start Dates GMT

  • January 27th, 7AM to 2PM
  • January 28th, 9AM to 5PM
  • February 1st, 7AM to 2PM
  • February 3, 6AM through Feb 4, 2PM

Alpha Test 2 Start Dates HST

  • January 26th, 9:00 PM – 4:00 AM
  • January 27th 11:00 PM – 7:00 AM
  • January 31, 9:00 PM – 4:00 AM
  • February 2, 8:00 PM HST – February 3, 4:00 AM

2nd Alpha Test Emails Sent

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.

Character Gallery

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.

In before Photon Drop

Characters of Akihabara 2011

Right, finally then, a gallery of the characters posted up on PSBlog and Facebook. Enjoy!