MY INVENTORY!! Part 2: Storage Expansion

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It’s finally time for a follow-up post to my original inventory woes. Seems we will indeed be getting a storage expansion and what’s more it’s for free! However, there are some conditions that do apply to this which I’m going to go over in this post.

These changes are set to arrive some time in January.

Character Storage

This is the major new addition and is completely free. Each character you have will have its own personal inventory storage. This will contain items only for that character and items in it cannot be transferred to other characters. Each character will be able to hold 300 items each, which can be expanded permanently with Arks Cash. The time of the mule is coming, given you could now roll an alt for an additional 350 storage slots.

If your character transfers ship, their personal storage will be transferred with them. Given how seemingly unstable transferring is at the moment (causing such severe issues that they had to change how the EQ system worked to a degree just to prevent them) I can’t help but worry that the addition of this character-bound storage may introduce even more hilarious serious issues whenever people decide to jump ships.

Storage Changes

On a more minor note, Premium storage space will be expanded by 100 slots, bringing it up to 400. Basic and OTP storages are not being expanded.

storage_box

Extra rental storage will also not be being expanded, but it will have additional restrictions place upon it. You will no longer be able to send items to or sell items from any of your Extra Storage boxes. You will have to go to a storage terminal in order to interact with it. The “display all storages” tab also won’t show any items in the Extra Storage boxes. These changes will not apply to your other storages.

Sega admits that this is a downgrade but has deemed it necessary to do in order to implement the other changes for whatever reason. Given how flimsily put together their database seems to be, I wouldn’t be surprised that their hands really are tied on this issue. Sega being Sega.

So ultimately this is what your new warehouse is going to look like:

  • Basic Storage 200 slots
  • Character Storage 300 slots (permanently expandable via AC)
  • Premium Storage 400 slots
  • Extra Storage 1 500 slots
  • Extra Storage 2 500 slots
  • Extra Storage 3 500 slots
  • Extra Storage 4 500 slots
  • Extra Storage 5 500 slots
  • OTP Storage 200 slots
Thoughts

Hey it’s additional storage space, I’ll take it! While the changes to Extra Storage seem bizarre and un-necessary, it honestly won’t affect the vast majority of the player-base anyway as most people never rent the additional storage. This is more of an issue for Sega themselves, as it makes the extra storages seem less worthwhile.

While this does go some way to alleviate storage issues caused by all the currencies that they keep insisting on adding, I still feel an actual currency storage¬†would have been a preferred change. As it is, this doesn’t prevent them from adding ever more currencies to eventually screw us down the line again anyway.

Also my storage issues are partly caused by how annoying it can be to sort through which items are worth selling on the player shops and which can just be NPC’d. Some UI improvements could go a long way to helping deal with inventory management, as to an extent additional storage space just adds additional work on the player’s part.

These details may be subject to change. Please let me know if anything in this post is inaccurate.

Fun Points! And Not So Fun Points.

Shougai posted some interviews from Dengeki which Ricardo translated the main points of here. The interview concerns itself with various cash shop functions as well as what to expect at the start of the game on release. Also yes, the FUN system was announced.

FUN POINTS!

The fun point system is kind of a reward mechanism for interacting with other players. You’ll get points for example by giving other players a “Good Job!” appraisal, the receiver will also get points. You send it by clicking on another player and selecting the appropriate menu item.

CLICK TO SPREAD FUN

So what’s stopping you from spamming “Good Job” appraisals to your heart’s content? Well there is actually an upper limit to the amount of Fun Points you can acquire per day.

You can also receive Fun Points by inviting a partner friend to your party. A partner friend is just your friend as an NPC. So, yes, you can receive points for NOT playing with other people too! Incidentally the person whose character you invited will also receive points.

Other actions that can net you points include:

  • Logging in
  • Logging in a lot (on consecutive days)
  • Game Ranking Rewards
  • Buying Arks Cash (FUN!)
Your reward for FUN

So what do you do with all these Fun Points once you’ve acquired them? Well you can spend them on a lottery, the “Fun Scratch”. Like the Arks Cash lotteries, you will get a randomly selected item. Among the prizes are things like room decorations and music disks (for your room’s jukebox). Seems rather cruel that two of the prizes belong to a function that players don’t actually have any access to without paying, doesn’t it? Well don’t worry, Sega has your back! You can also win a 3-day pass to your room, so for a short while you get to enjoy the other prizes you won. Aren’t they kind?

Other prizes include:

  • Tickets for accessories and hairstyles
  • Special devices for Mags
  • Tickets for extra lobby actions
  • Limited-time effect items (inferior to their Arks Cash counterparts)
  • Boost items (again inferior to their Arks Cash counterparts)
  • Grinders and Synthesizers

It really just seems like Fun Points are just there to act as an incentive to log in frequently and interact with other players. As well as it seems, rather sadly, as a mechanism to tease people with what they could be getting from the cash shop. Speaking of which..

Cash Shop

Are you having FUN yet?

So you recall from before that you’d have to pay for room access? Well it turns out it’s a rental fee afterall. You pay for 30 days of room access at a time. While not unexpected, the extent of the cash shop is starting to leave a bad taste for me.

Note: Information that this section concerns itself with is still surfacing. There’s still a lot that either isn’t known or is vague, so this section may change a lot.

Consider that you need to pay for:

  • the right to trade
  • the right to sell items in your shop
  • the right to communicate in certain ways
  • access to extra talent builds
  • access to clothing outside of the defaults (unless they’re tradeable)
  • and on a lesser note access to certain appearance editing options

Now I’m not really talking about the lotteries or the consumption items because none of them are pay to win so none of them really rub me the wrong way. None of these items are pay to win either, really. But I’m not sure that the system we seem to be being presented with is actually much more acceptable than a pay-to-win system.

Take for example the talent builds item. What if that’s the only way to re-do your talents? Suddenly a single mistake becomes potentially expensive. The combination of not being able to trade, use your room, sell items in your shop or even talk in certain channels without paying is also a pretty ugly combination, particularly as they’re all separate items. What if those are also rentals? How much is it going to work out to, per month? It could well be more expensive than a PSU subscription currently, which unlocks similar features in that game. They did of course mention earlier that there may be packs in which you can buy multiple system items for cheaper than the total of their individual prices.

Is PSO2 just going to turn out to be a freemium game with an obfuscated subscription plan in disguise as a free to play? Now naturally we don’t know all the details. Maybe only access to the room will turn out to be rental, maybe other services will be a one-time payment. Maybe there’ll be a function somewhere to reset your talents with Meseta. In general I still don’t like the direction the cash shop is going in. A free-to-play game without pay-to-win is no good if too many vital features of the game are locked behind the cash shop.

Update: So there’s a bundle package you can buy which includes all the rental features and a few extras. It’s called the Premium Pack. So, yes, this is a freemium game in disguise afterall. Again, the only truly confirmed feature that is rental is access to rooms. There’s been no official word on trading, selling, or communication features. There’s also no elaboration on what those “extras” even are.

Initial State of the Game

A part of the Dengeki interview concerned itself with the initial launch content for the game. To summarise:

  • The level cap will be 40
  • Missions will come with a hard difficulty that players can select (There will be higher difficulties later)
  • There will be 3 planets initially

So sounds like they’re gonna give PSO2 a similar kid of drip-drip content feed that we had for PSU. Ultimately it depends on what they’re actually releasing per update as to whether this is a bad thing or not.¬† Naturally I imagine that’s going to vary, but players have demonstrated their lack of patience with this kind of thing before. I couldn’t blame them, but back then they were also paying a subscription fee. lv40 also seems like a worryingly low level cap, but if there’s enough to do at cap then it might not be so bad.

Another thing mentioned was the intention to include larger bosses for 12man multi-parties. Raid bosses! Or at the very least bosses with the scale setting changed. We’ll see when any information is released about that I suppose, I’m at least liking that they seem to be considering content just for larger parties to do.

[Sources: Shougai PSO, Bumped, PSBlog]

The Cash Shop: Initial Details

The official PSO2 blog updated just recently with information concerning the cash shop, as well as a number of clarifications regarding the closed beta.

Also included in the post is a high-quality release of a new trailer that was shown during the 2nd Media Briefing.


Player Level Cap

The player level cap in the closed beta tests will not be lv30 after all. It’s now 20 again. This, I have to say, it a little disappointing. I was hoping to see how the classes would grow in those 10 levels instead of having access to the same set of skills as I had before. Am also rather hoping that the city area won’t be too difficult now, assuming it’s balanced for higher level players.

This is incidentally the only change. Everything else is still in-tact, which is good to know.


Arks Cash Details

First of, some of the key intentions regarding ths shop:

  • There will not be direct selling of items in any form
  • You will not be able to buy powerful items through the cash shop
  • There will not be a special level cap for those who pay

This, rather doesn’t rule out the possibility of indirectly selling items of course, but you won’t be able to just buy your way to the top gear either. The types of items that Sakai says that players should expect to see in the player shops are:

  • System things
    • Access to rooms – Update: It would this actually means access to more features in your rooms. You can go to your room without paying, apparently.Update Update: You can go to other people’s rooms without paying, but you need to pay to access your own.
    • Access to trade functions
    • Access to selling items in shops
    • Skill tree expansion (Not buying new skills, you’re buying essentially more builds as far as speculation seems to suggest)

These are more like add-ons for your account, so these are all one-time charges (updated information below). If you’re soured by this, remember that in the PSU free-to-play model you had to pay a subscription fee to do any of these things. Also remember that you’re not having to pay for the client this time (although PSU JP did drop the client fee eventually).
Incidentally, it seems some communication abilities may be locked until you buy some system items, which is apparently aimed at fighting bots, spammers, gold sellers and the other usual annoyances in MMOs. Of course, if subscriptions and client fees don’t keep them out (and they don’t), this certainly isn’t guaranteed to, but I don’t mind making life harder for them.
Update: Seems some of these system items will be timed, others will be permanent. There as no specifics as to what, however. That has the potential to be very bad news and I hope that Sega very carefully considers their options here.
I’m also hoping that they don’t intend on that skill tree extension item to be the only way to try out new builds, either. I want a means to reset my tree if I make a mistake.

  • Consumption Items
    • Scape Dolls
    • More powerful healing items
    • Other certain consumables

Scape dolls as a cash shop item? Oh dear. This will obviously impact soloers more than anything, as Moon Atomizers are purchaseable from NPCs (and will become dirt cheap by endgame) and Forces might get some form of resurrection skill at a later date. Remember however, that partying with randoms isn’t the handicap like it was in PSU. You’re not penalised for not getting the last hit in on enemies. You’re not missing out on drops as everyone only sees their own drops anyway, so by that logic playing with others is actually beneficial as monsters are dying more quickly, which means more rolls at obtaining items in less time.
Scape dolls were an item that I always felt impacted co-operation anyway. What is the point of helping team members back on their feet if they could instantly revive themselves as soon as they were incapacitated?

  • Efficiency, or Short-cut Items
    • Grind-rate Boosters
    • EXP boosters
    • Drop rate boosters

Standard cash-shop fare. I’ve already read reactionary posts getting upset about EXP and Drop-rate boosters. Would like to remind those people that said items were available in PSU even back when it had a subscription fee and client charge. No one gave a shit. Once again I’d also like to ask how exactly does it hinder you as a player? If another player is levelling up more quickly or is weilding better gear, it doesn’t impact your levelling rate. You are not competing with anyone in this game!

  • Character / Avatar stuff
    • Clothes, accessories and some hair styles
    • Some make-over options will be cash-shop

More usual cash shop stuff, really the more benign kind that no one really gets upset about seeing as it’s all vanity anyway.

There will be two lottery-style cash shop features, called “Arks Scratch”. The cheap version contains a larger variety of items including accessories, clothing and consumables. The more expensive one only contains clothing.

As a final note, many of the items acquired through the cash shop can be traded on the player market. Some can’t, but it seems all clothing is up for grabs at least.

So there you go, some actual information about the cash shop. It came in just after I criticised people’s concerns about the free-to-play system and it didn’t contradict anything I said. I see no pay-to-win in any of the items on offer, just the expected “pay to go a bit quicker” and “pay to dress up slightly differently”. Admittedly, some items may well give players who pay an easier time when soloing, but there’s little benefit to soloing in this game anyway.


Towards the Future

The very near future, at that! Sakai will be talking about the upcoming character creation demo due for release on the 5th of April.

The game’s release is still scheduled for some time early in the summer, but no specific date has been given yet. The smartphone version of the game is scheduled for release in the winter.

To finish off, a piece of artwork by Akikazu Mizuno.

[Sources: PSBlog, PSO-World, Bumped]