Code: CLIMAX

the_bug_queen_has_arrived

Heh heh heh.

So yeah, Sega revealed a few trailers and talked about the end of Episode 3. I’ll do what I can in this post to summarise and discuss this stuff. As is usually the case with these posts, some details may be hazy. I do my best to make sure information here is accurate, but if you spot anything factually wrong please let me know.

Halloween

Just a trailer about the Halloween stuff, including your usual affair of Bingo and a seasonal Emergency Quest.

Trick or Treat 4 is the same old map, but with a selection of new enemies. This includes the Toy Darkers from Kuron (which really are probably the most appropriate Darker type for the season), Falz Dourumble and Zeta Guranz. It also seems to include an emergency trial involving pumpkins, nice.

Of course, Gal Gryphon will also be attending this quest. Seems it’s gonna just be thrust into any Emergency quest from now on. Well, for as long as its weapons are relevant I suppose. Not really an issue.

Some new 12* and 13* weapons will be obtainable during the quest, including Daggers of Serafi that are actually daggers instead of boots this time.

Halloween festivities are set to arrive in PSO2 mid-October.

Additional Power – Main Class Weapon Boost

Similar to the class-boost titles, there will be titles added for finding a certain number of rare weapons of a given selection of categories. As it’s a title, it’s expected to be account-wide just like the class-cap titles.

weapontitle

They only show the requirement and numbers for Hunters during the trailer. While it’s likely safe to assume the power boost will remain the same for all classes, apparently the number of weapons required will vary per class. I assume this is to offset that some classes have fewer main-class weapon types than others. Here is a rundown of the values shown for Hunter:

  • 20 7-9* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 25 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 40 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 70 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • Total: 20 7-9* weapons, 135 10-12* weapons, 10% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.

Will this help classes stand out I wonder? In particular I’m thinking about Bouncer as a main class for either of its weapons, as it’s currently inferior to sub-class combos such as Fighter/Bouncer. Or perhaps Hunter main using Partizans or Wired Lance, where again Fighter/Hunter out-paces it in terms of raw damage. Or Braver main Katana instead of… Fighter/Brave- basically Limit Break kind of trumps a lot of main-class weapon load-outs. Note that I’m not having a go at Limit Break, I actually don’t have a problem with it, just pointing out that it does seem to have this effect.

10% certainly will go some way to help close the gap, but the attack bonus from Limit Break as well as other modifiers available to Fighter main helps it edge out still. That said, this may well change as additional weapons arrive in the game, with a particular weapon series announced that I’ll go over later in this post.

Braver and Gunner Balance Changes

This has been something a lot of players seem to have been anticipating, probably Gunners more than anything given how they were treated in Episode 3.

bravergunnerrebalance

Braver:

  • Katanas will be stronger as the Gear Gauge increases.
  • Rapid Fire will no longer have that “wind up” time. This is a really good change in my opinion, that wind-up made no fucking sense.
  • Skill point requirements relaxes for Katana Combat and Rapid Shoot. This should make builds that take both weapons more viable at least.
  • Some Katana and Bullet Bow PAs will be buffed.

Gunner

  • Increase the rate at which High Time accumulates power. Yay?
  • S-roll speed increased for the first and second parts. I’m not sure this is an improvement, it entirely depends on how the i-frames are affected I guess.
  • Buffs to nearly all of the Twin Machinegun PAs. Probably what Gunner needed most out of these to be honest.

Braver’s changes are more interesting overall than Gunner’s, which I have to say sound a little weak. It adds little incentive to play as a Gunner main and does almost nothing to encourage using it as a subclass. Though I guess to be fair, potentially nether does Braver’s changes in that respect.

This re-balance is set to arrive mid-October.

Dress Up!

Fairy Tail Collaboration

I like Fairy Tail and even I don’t care about this. Moving on.

New Costumes and Nostalgia

Well most are new, we’ve got the Halloween costumes and some ninja costumes coming up.

gothic_stuff

Halloween costumes are set to arrive mid-October.

NINJAS

Ninja and oriental themed costumes are set to arrive late October.

I actually quite like the ninja outfits, it’s somewhat unusual for their style. Notably, we also seem to be set to get two uniforms that were previously regional exclusives.

Those regional exclusives do make me wonder what the NA/EU ones might have turned out to be if they had followed through with that localisation…

They’re also continuing their PSO nostalgia series of costumes, this time finishing off the selection of Casts.

RicoAndFlowen

Perhaps a little more surprisingly, there will be item codes for Rico and Flowen stuff. This includes costumes, accessories and hairstyles. Attendees of the Sympathy 2015 concert in Japan will receive item codes for all of these.

More Anime Collabs

Other collabs coming up include another with 7th Dragon III, Aria the Scarlet Ammo Double AA (what?), The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II,  and even Disgaea 5. This game is anime collaborations featuring PSO2 at this point…

Double and Profound Darkness

Much like the previous Dark Falz raid Emergency Quests, this will be a two parter. Unlike previous ones however, Dark Falz is the first part and the Profound Darkness is the second. Makes sense in terms of hierarchy I guess.

doubly_profound

Double and the Profound Darkness’s quest is apparently a “once per account” affair, where the fight will get easier as time progresses. Once Double has been defeated, you move straight on to the Profound Darkness.

It seems that both Dark Falz Double and the Profound Darkness both may have countermeasures against Weakbullet. Double’s comes in the form of a “jammer”, no real details on how that works and the Profound Darkness apparently will punish players who use it. Again, no real details. This could use some clarity.

The theme for the Profound Darkness appears to be a straight up remix of its theme “Ooze” from Phantasy Star 4.

Get ready to wrestle this dynamic duo late October. This will seemingly arrive close to if not at the same time as the release of the final chaper of Episode 3’s story.

Dark Falz Apprentice – Mining Base Defense 4

It took what felt like an age but she’s finally gotten her full body back. Bad news for you is you’re her first target (you ought to be used to this from the Falzes by now though).

As predicted, she is a part of the fourth Mining Base Defense quest, though whether she’s part of the one quest or if she’s a separate part in a quest series I don’t know.

D-AIS

Unlike the previous Mining Base quests, this one is set underground. The Darkers are bringing their entire arsenal that they deployed in other quests up til now, with the addition of Dark Falz Dourumble and Angel. In fact, aside Persona the entire Dark Falz family has come out for this one. Additionally, as seen above, the Darkers have learned to imitate even the AIS. These corrupted AIS have all the same abilities as the player ones do, including the photon cannon.

Apprentice’s trailer theme is a remix of IDOLA The Strange Fruits from PSO Episode 3. 

It looks like it’ll be fun, I just worry about the players going into it. If it’s too difficult for people, it’s just going to lead to chain-abandoning and people getting left out. At the very least, I can’t wait to be frustrated by people who are either inadequately geared for Extra Hard or simply don’t know how to play leading to catastrophic failures. Hey, at least those failures are set to look amazing if the trailer is anything to go by!

The queen of the bugs is set to grace our servers some time in December.

Weapon Exchanges

12* Exchanges

zieg12

Zieg has had additional 12*s added to his Client Orders, to cover a few Falz weapons not previously covered for whatever reason.

The weapons include:

  • Serpent Grigoros (Live Radle, Live Spat, Live Rias)
  • God Hand (Live Dogaut, Live Fanger, Live Pyrus),
  • Celestial Laser (Live Zect, Live Slidawn, Live Trina)

Invader and Austere

A new selection of 13* weaponry is to arrive in a new exchange shop also hosted by Zieg. This will require a large selection of items, possibly meant as a way to encourage people to play a wider variety of the game’s content as the wait for Episode 4 to begin has started.

These new weapons will arrive late October.

This exchange comes in two parts; the Invader series and the Austere series. Austere is an upgrade to the Invader series.

invade_series

The Invader weapons require 100 Caligula stones and 100 Excubes. As we don’t know how many Caligula stones are rewarded for clearing the Profound Darkness Emergency Quest it’s impossible to say how long it will take to get these weapons.

austere_series

Austere weapons on the other hand require a huge selection of materials.Only the sword is shown so only its materials will be listed.

  • 1 Invader Caliber
  • 100 Caligula Stones
  • 100 Nero Stones
  • 50 Yurlunger Godstones
  • 50 Garel Godstones
  • 5 Heart Key Stones
  • 5 Blood Moon Stones
  • 5 Phantom Night Stones
  • 10 Photon Boosters
  • 300 Excubes

That’s some list. You’ll note that the weapon comes with 30% element as well and you know that what means. You’re going to need two to finish the weapon! So if we include the materials to buy the Invade Calibers necessary, the total comes to:

  • 400 Caligula Stones
  • 200 Nero Stones
  • 100 Yurlunger Godstones
  • 100 Garel Godstones
  • 10 Heart Key Stones
  • 10 Blood Moon Stones
  • 10 Phantom Night Stones
  • 20 Photon Boosters
  • 800 Excubes

Some of these numbers may seem intimidatingly high, but remember we know the approximate acquisition time of most of these materials. This is naturally going to vary based on the parties you find (the Excubes may be 4 Magatsu sessions or 12 depending on your luck with randoms) as well as availability of Extreme Quest passes. Yurlungur and Garel stones both have daily Client Orders to help you obtain those more quickly, so those shouldn’t take terribly long to get.

Arguably the Extreme Quest stones may be the most irritating to get, as a full clear nets you 25 of the 2nd tier stones and you require 30 for a single tier 3 one. This means you’ll need to do 36 full clears (or 12 of each quest) in order to get the stones you need. Of course, this is a worst case scenario as it doesn’t include any of the stones acquired during the quest itself.

If you were starting from scratch and depended on only the daily passes, let’s assume the absolute worst case scenario for these calculations:

  • 1 full clear of a single XQ requires 14 passes.
  • To get 10 of its respective stone, you need to clear it 12 times, totalling 168 passes
  • To get all three required for the weapon, you will need 504 passes total.

That’s only around 1.4 years! Of course Extreme Passes can be obtained in other ways now, plus you get additional passes for clearing the weekly Client Orders associated with them.

So how strong are they? This is also difficult to pin down exactly, but they do appear to be stronger than Ares weapons. Austere Caliber starts at 1244 S-atk. Now, we can take away Power III (30), Vinculum (20) and Mutation I (10) to bring it down to 1184 S-atk (a fair sight stronger than Ares at 1083), but it isn’t known what Darkness Soul contributes to this total. In any case, this means at +10 it can be roughly projected to be around 1657 S-atk, though this total is being calculated off the lowest value we have right now. There is also no information with regard to its potential. This notably puts it on roughly equal footing with the Invader weapon, which is displayed as being 1666 S-atk wth all its affixes. However it may be that Invader weapons don’t have a potential.

Essentially, the Austere weapon series appears to be aimed at people who have been playing most of the game’s content for some time now. Those who are starting fresh may have some difficulty obtaining some of the materials required for these weapons I feel.

That’s all for this broadcast. Seems like Episode 3 will have some sprinklings of interesting content to end on. I’m a bit disappointed that the main focus seems to be on 12-man Emergency Quests but oh well. This hasn’t covered everything there was on the recent long-term schedule, leaving the exact nature of the Extreme Quest update and the new Time Attack Quest a bit of a mystery. We’re also due a new Limited Quest at some point and of course Ultimate Amduscia still hasn’t been mentioned. We’re not done with news about Episode 3 just yet, it seems.

Datamined Photon Art Info

getting_the_spider_up_the_spout

Along with character base stats, Agrajag of psumods managed to find, extract and format the Photon Art stats. Now, before you go getting excited and leaping in to find out which Photon Arts are now going to rock I’m afraid to say that a good chunk of this data is essentially worthless. Here are some good reasons as to why:

  • Satellite Cannon is slated to have its power reduced. Its current power at lv16 is displayed as 522, its future power is listed as 4436!
  • The old power of 522 is a pretty horrible indicator of just how powerful Satellite Cannon is anyway.
  • The same is essentially true of Ilmegid, Ilgrants and Cosmos Breaker
  • There is often no way to determine what part of the Photon Art the power rating is referring to. Is it the combined power of all parts of the attack or not? Is it referring to the charged or uncharged version?

Essentially it has been well known for a while that the display stats for Photon Arts and Technics are either deceptive or outright wrong. This makes comparisons for the sake of determining what has changed hard to impossible in terms of power. OK, you could maybe do so for a select few Photon Arts which have neither charge time or multiple hits (like Twister Fall) but otherwise for a comparison you would need to determine what they were referring to and what they are going to refer to in the future. While apparently it was said that the display numbers would now display their “true” damage, or at least damage you’re likely to get from the photon art, this still makes actual comparison very difficult. Someone has had a considerable go at it, attempting to use the “actual mods” where they can for the sake of comparison, but again it’s not the most useful gauge for a lot of abilities. That said, so far it’s the best indicator of power growth we have for now, just take it with varying pinches of salt.

For PP the number is perfectly reliable, so that’s what this post is going to look at. Below is just a list of current PP values compared against the ones in the data. I have omitted any Photon Art or Technique whose PP values are the same as before. All listed values are at lv16.

Oh and before the list begins, please remember that as this is data-mined information these numbers may not reflect their values on release.

Swords

  • Rising Edge: 28pp -> 20pp
  • Twister Fall: 25pp -> 20pp
  • Nova Strike: 30pp -> 20pp
  • Ride Slasher: 28pp -> 25pp
  • Stun Concido: 25pp -> 20pp
  • Sonic Arrow: 28pp -> 25pp
  • Cruel Throw: 28pp -> 20pp
  • Guilty Break: 30pp -> 20pp
  • Sacrifice’s Bite: 25pp -> 20pp

Wired Lance

  • Bind Through: 28 -> 20
  • Grapple Charge: 25 -> 20
  • Heavenly Fall: 28 -> 20
  • Kaiser Rise: 25 -> 20

Partizans

  • Rising Flag: 26 -> 15
  • Zenith Throw: 28 -> 15
  • Sacred Skewer: 35 -> 30

Twin Daggers

  • Shoot Polka: 28 -> 20
  • Scar Fugue: 30 -> 20
  • Wild Rhapsody: 26 -> 20
  • Dark Scherzo: 28 -> 20
  • Quick March: 25 -> 20
  • Symphonic Drive: 28 -> 25
  • Orchestra: 30 -> 25

Knuckles

  • Ducking Blow: 28 -> 20
  • Flicker Jab: 26 -> 20
  • Slide Uppercut: 28 -> 20
  • Straight Charge: 28 -> 20
  • Quake Howling: 25 -> 20
  • Surprise Knuckle: 28 -> 20

Double Sabers

  • Tornado Dance: 30 -> 20
  • Scissor Edge: 28 -> 20
  • Rumbling Moon: 30 -> 20
  • Fake Capture: 30 -> 15
  • Surprise Dunk: 25 -> 20
  • Acro Effect: 26 -> 20
  • Deadly Circle: 30 -> 20
  • Chaos Riser: 27 -> 20

Rifles

  • All are precisely the same as they are now.

Launchers

  • Divine Launcher: 40 -> 35
  • Crazy Smash: 25 -> 15

Twin Machineguns

  • Dead Approach: 25 -> 20
  • Satellite Aim: 25 -> 20
  • Elder Rebellion: 40 -> 32
  • Reverse Tap: 28 -> 20

Katanas

  • Tsukimi-sazanka: 28 -> 20
  • Kanran-kikyou: 28 -> 25
  • Sakura Endo: 28 -> 25
  • Hien Tsubaki: 30 -> 25
  • Fudou-kuchinashi: 40 -> 30

Bullet Bows

  • Penetrating Arrow: 38 -> 30
  • Torrential Arrow: 30 -> 25
  • Gravity Point: 32 -> 20
  • Million Storm: 35 -> 30

Techs

  • Nabarta: 34 -> 30
  • Ragrants: 20 -> 30
  • Nagrants: 40 -> 20

The only other thing of note is that they’ve gotten rid of the spike in power at lv11 and lv16 for all Photon Arts and Techniques, like they said they would. The only exception is “JetBootsPA04” which for some reason jumps from 529 to 3413 power from lv15 to 16. Anyway this is a good thing of course, I always hated how some Photon Arts were basically worthless until you happened to find their lv16 disc.

It isn’t too long now before we’ll get to see how all these numbers and changes play out. Episode 3 is due out in a mere 3 days as of this post.

Datamined Skill Tree Info

THEEYES

Looks like the first real juicy bit of data is on our hands, posted up on psumods here. The raw data of every single skill from every skill tree in the game! While some of it just confirms the numbers we had before, a good amount of this is actually new.

However, as it is data-mined information it should not be taken as confirmation of anything. Parts of this could well change before release.

This post will simply talk about the data and share my thoughts on it where I can. This information is in addition to details about classes revealed by Sega before, which you can read about on Bumped here or on PSO-World here.

General

All stat-up skills are now tiered, meaning the higher versions of them give more stats than before. For example, S-Atk Up 1 gives 50, S-Atk Up 2 gives 75 and S-Atk up 3 gives 100 at lv10. If your build fills out all three in any given stat, you will now have gained 75 of it, so not bad.

Stance skills are now infinite duration with a 5 second cooldown. Well most are, as for some reason Bouncer’s Break Stance and Elemental stance currently have a duration of 30 minutes. Oddly inconsistent.

Hunter

Fury Stance as we know caps at 120% now, with Fury Combo reduced to 10% and Fury S Up both capped at 5% each. This, along with Just Attack Bonus 1 and 2, brings Hunter’s total damage bonus to 176%, down from 219%. For ranged types, it’s now 161%.

Now this is where it may get a bit more interesting. Hunter has an exclusive offensive option in the form of War Brave. This boosts damage by 3% per monster taunted and regains PP at 7 per monster, to a cap of 15% and 35 PP. This means that a Hunter’s damage potential against a crowd of enemies is higher than it is against a single target, working out to a total of 202% against 5+ enemies, or 181% if War Cry is used on one target. War Cry itself has also had its threat doubled across the board, starting at 200% and ending at 400% instead of 100% and 200%. I suspect this still may not be enough for tanky Hunters to maintain hatred from the DPS players around them, but we’ll see.

Defensive Skills

The Flash Guards are now 100% activation, instead scaling on amount of damage reduced per level. Flash Guard still maxes at 20%, while Tech Guard still caps at 30%. Guard Stance will no longer penalize your attack at all at lv10, but is otherwise the same.

Massive Hunter has changed a bit, now boasting an uptime of 45 seconds over its previous of 25, with its cooldown reduced from 100 seconds to 90. This of course means that it’s uptime is now 50%, which for what the skill does isn’t bad really.

Iron Will and Never Give Up have had their abilities changed a tad. Instead of requiring Never Give Up to gain invincibility upon triggering Iron Will it’s now an innate part of Iron Will. The invincibiility caps at 5 seconds at lv10. Never Give Up meanwhile has had its duration extended to 15 seconds at lv10, up from 5. I’m not sure if this is just referring to its attack or if its referring to invincibility as well, it’s a little confusing.

Fighter

All Slayer skills now add T-Atk as well as the other stats. This means they’re now useable options for teching types. Deadline Slayer has been boosted to 150 attack from 100.

Chase Advance has been reduced from 140% to 125%. Despite my previous assumption, this won’t apply to all damage types. “AtpRate” (in game this just displays as “power”) sounds like it would apply to all damage. The confusion here is that other skills that use AtpRate like Elemental Weak Hit use the same stat to mean “all damage types”, plus there are stat names for each attack type (AtpStrikeRate, AtpFirearmRate and AtpTechniqueRate). This is the source of my confusion and I’m sorry for that. 

Adrenaline now only requires 1 Skill Point, but still caps at 30s.

Brave Stance was boosted from 120% to 125%, making the bonus total (with maxed Brave Stance Up) now 150%, up from 144%. Wise Stance was boosted from 130% to 135%, making its total 175.5%, up from 169%. Both stances have had their positional penalties essentially removed as well.

Limit Break reduces HP to 25% of your character’s maximum HP, while boosting striking damage by 120%. Its duration is 60 seconds with a 90 second cool-down, giving it a 66% uptime. These numbers are all at lv10. Note that Limit Break is a skill unique to Fighters, so this number is irrelevant if you want to consider Fighter as a subclass. It still isn’t known whether or not this skill will trigger Halfline Slayer and Deadline Slayer as far as I know, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Tech Arts Just Attack Bonus boosts damage to 115%. The conditions for this aren’t exactly known, though.

Ranger

Weak Hit Advances have had their damage bonus boosted from 125% to 135%. That’s kind of it with regard damage bonuses that this class offers.

Bullets and Traps

Weak Bullet has had its damage bonus reduced from 300% to 255%. Mirage Shot, Bind Bullet, Panic Shot and Jellen Shot have all been compressed to 5 point skills, with all of them having the same stats at lv5 that they used to at lv10. Jellen Shot is the exception, as its damage reduction effect has been boosted from 10% to 15%.

Trap skills no longer consume items, instead they have a cool-down attached to their use.

Stun Grenade now works 100% of the time from lv1 and has a 15 second cooldown. Upper Trap has a 20 second cool-down. Poison Trap has a 20 second cooldown. Upper T Custom and Poison T Custom are both now 1 point skills, but they still do their old lv10 cap damage boost. These cool-downs sound somewhat prohibitive if you were intending to spam traps, but it might not be too bad in practice.

Gunner

Chain Finish Bonus has 4 of… something. Agrajag’s guess is that it’s cooldown – chain count * 4 when you finish the chain, essentially working to reduce the time you’re waiting before you start your next chain depending on how high a chain you built. If this were the case, if Chain Trigger is at lv10 you would need to build a chain of 15 or more to reduce the cool-down to nothing. If this is the case, then this means almost endless chaining for Gunners from here on out. Seems a little too powerful to me, so this may not be the case. When combined with Twice Chain, this would mean that you could get infinite chains with just 2 normal attacks with Machineguns, which just seems to be far too low to me.

Showtime, like War Cry, has had its threat generated doubled across the board. It’s also had its duration extended from 30s to 45s, on a 60 second cool-down.

High-Time’s damage bonus at max has been raised from 15% to 20%. It’s a little better in combination with the extension that Showtime is getting.

Stylish Roll JA Bonus has been reduced to 150% from 200%. It’s still a meaty enough boost to ignore doing any attack other than those that synergize well with Stylish Roll, but hey maybe the strength of the attacks that aren’t so friendly to it will be raised enough that this won’t matter so much.

Force

Freeze Ignition’s cool-down has been reduced to 30 seconds from 60. I think this is still too long but its at least out of the realms of “utterly ridiculous”.

Photon Flare has has its duration raised to 45s while its cool-down has been reduced to 100 seconds from 120, granting it a 45% uptime. It has also had its HP penalty removed . Photon Flare Afterburst now caps at lv1 with its old lv10 bonus of 100 T-atk.

Techer

Deband Toughness grants 25% to your base maximum HP at lv5. Shifta Strike boosts damage to 110% at lv5. Along with the other changes to Techer such as Extend Assist as an innate skill, Territory Burst as a 1 point skill and Super Treatment as a 1 point skill this class is getting a lot of help towards its support abilities. It should definitely help make the role a bit less of a hassle to play as well as boost its demand due to Shifta Strike if nothing else.

Wand Lovers is now a stance and boosts wand striking damage to 140%, up from 135%. Wand bonkers rejoice, for your build now sounds considerably less cumbersome to me.

Braver

This first bit is mostly relevant to Bullet Bow users. Attack Advance boosts the power of normal attacks by 150%. Charge Advance boosts charged shooting-type normal attacks to 110%, while also boosting the speed of the bullets to 150%. Rapid Shoot Up 2 has had its power boosted to +150 R-Atk during Rapid Shoot (while using a Bullet Bow).

Average Stance boosted from 110% to 115%. Weak Stance was boosted from 130% to 135%. The totals are a little dependent on attack type, so going to lay them out in a list:

  • Average Stance with uncharged attacks: 126% up from 121%
  • Average Stance with charged attacks: 139% up from 133%
  • Weak Stance with uncharged attacks: 148% up from 143%
  • Weak Stance with charged attacks: 163% up from 157%.
Bouncer

The actual function of Bouncer skills is of course rather poorly understood, so the ramifications of this are pretty difficult to judge. With that said, lets see some numbers.

Stances

Elemental Stance: 120% damage bonus to elemental weaknesses, Elemental Stance Up 1 boosts boosts damage to another 110%. This makes the total bonus Elemental Stance offers a rather paltry 132%. It seems to be a shit version of Weak Stance.

Break Stance meanwhile grants a 135% damage bonus to breakable parts, with Break Stance Up 1 boosting this by a further 110% for a total of 148.5%.

Gears

Dual Blade Gear: Lasts 10 seconds upon activation, boosts PP regeneration to 110%, possibly Gear regeneration to 110% and can stack up to 6 times. No idea how said stacking works!

On-Use Skills

Elemental PP Restorate Field: +3 PP per hit on an enemy for 60 seconds on a 90 second cool-down, so 66% uptime.

Rapid Boost increases the speed of attacks to 115% and lowers the charge-time of all charged attacks to 85%. This skill is up for 45 seconds on a 120 second cool-down, giving it a 37.5% uptime. Rapid Boost JA Bonus boosts the power of Just Attacks to 115%.

Passives

Deband PP Restorate: +3 PP per hit on an enemy while under the effect of Deband.

Shifta Air Attack Boost: 105%. The name suggests to me that it’s only applicable while your character is airborn.

Just Reversal PP Recover; Regenerate 20% of your max PP upon successful Just Reversal.

Heal Share is 20% of something. Not known.

Heal Bonus boosts healing to 115%. I wonder if this just means Resta or if it applies to all sources of healing?

Weapon Skills

Photon Blade Fever has a 130% damage multiplier, lasts 45 seconds and has a 120 second cool-down giving it an uptime of 37.5%. What the multiplier is applied to or how it works isn’t known. Same goes for its supplementary skill, Photon Blade Fever Up 1 which has a further 130% boost.

Photon Blade Escape: Whatever it does it does it for 0.35 seconds.

Craft Mastery just increases.. craftmasteryrate by a maximum of 0.1 or 10%. I have no idea.

Thoughts:

If these numbers are final something feels amiss. For one thing, the stances last 30 minutes, which runs counter to every other stance in the game being changed to an infinite duration. Elemental Stance is much weaker than Weak Stance, which mechanically speaking does the precise same task for teching types. Other abilities also seem markedly weak given how.. specific they are. That said, it’s pretty hard to really gauge the utility of the class without trying it out, so its a bit difficult to judge the overall effectiveness of the class at the moment. If these cold hard numbers are both indicative and final, then I feel like Bouncer might need a boost down the line…

Of course if it is accurate then it means my worries about the class in this post are for naught, which is a good thing I guess.

Critical Skills

I decided to separate these from their parent classes, as Criticals aren’t really relevant to most current builds. They may or may not make entirely new builds possible, however.

  • Hunter’s Fury Stance Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Fighter’s Brave Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Fighter’s Wise Critical: 25% up from 20%
  • Gunner’s Zero Range Critical is still 50%
  • Techer’s Shifta Critical is 20% up from 15%
  • Braver’s Average Stance Critical is 25% up from 20%
  • Braver’s Weak Stance Critical is still 25%.
  • Bouncer’s Elemental Stance Critical is 25%
  • Bouncer’s Break Stance Critical is 25%
  • Bouncer’s Critical Field is 30%

So Hunter, Fighter, Braver and Bouncer all have the option of adding 25% to their crit-rate for any of their stances. Shifta can then boost it by a further 20% and Bouncer’s Critical Field by a further 30%, with Gunner having the unique property of granting a 50% bonus to critical damage for ranged attacks in close range.

So it’s 25% + 20% for single classes under the effect of Shifta Critical, or 25% + 25% + 20% for certain hybrids (any combination of Hunter, Fighter, Bouncer or Braver). Fighter’s Critical Strike skill also grants an additional 15%, but this is only available to Fighters. This would grant a critical hit rate of 45% for a single class or 70% for certain hybrids, not including whatever the base critical rate is. Naturally if you then add Bouncer’s Critical Field you then have a critical hit rate of 100%. Gunner can achieve a critical hit rate of 75% on its own, or 95% with Shifta Critical.

Remember that critical hits cancel all variance, so if you could maintain 100% this would utterly remove the biggest downside to using crafted weaponry. Of course, Critical Field has an up-time of 37.5%, so for the rest of the time you’re going to be at around 70%. When combined with Fighter’s ability to boost the damage of critical hits to 115% (Fighter main only) as well as boosting their critical chance by a further 15%, it feels like critical builds may be more viable than they are now. Fighter/Hunter, Fighter/Braver and Fighter/Bouncer could get a critical hit rate of 65% before Shifta Critical, which is pretty nice. If you were the slightly more unusual Fighter/Gunner, should you have Fighter-usable Twin Machineguns you can get a critical hit rate of 90% while attacking things in close range. I’m actually pretty interested in looking into this a bit further…

Anyway that’s all. It’s been a long enough post as is without considering the implications for various class combinations. I was originally going to do this in another post, but as the numbers here are pre-release and thus unpredictably volatile it seems like a wasted effort, especially when all this is going to be out in a week anyway.

Ultimate Naberius

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It was data-mined a while ago that Ultimate would be arriving in some form and last night’s reveal sure did confirm it and then some. As was guessed, the field is altered from its original incarnation and the natives are very different as well, at least visually.

You can see it in motion in the 2nd half of the teaser embedded below. The first half concerns content I’ll chat a bit about in another post.

As is usual with post-stream content, expect compression artifacts in imagery. If Sega releases an HD version of the trailer or some outright screenshots I’ll replace these as appropriate.

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Ultimate Naberius Forest. Shares the sunset hue with Forest Ultimate from PSO.

The slightly worrying thing about this reveal is that it’s apparently a quest type as opposed to an additional difficulty. Both Extreme Quests and Advanced Quests have limitations on them. These limitations are not without reason, but they’re limitations all the same. Essentially the worry is they could place some annoying restriction on the quest type that may mire the experience somewhat.

Regarding the experience, what is there to expect from the quests with regard to that? Well it seems to ditch the old 3 areas per planet approach present in the rest of the game, dragging monsters from other fields into the fray. Heck, it technically drags monsters from other planets entirely. The monsters themselves, while being visually distinct as mentioned, may also have new behaviors not seen elsewhere. At least I’d hope they do, or else it would be like playing any other quest in the game.

That’s really all there is to say about this for now. The sum total of what is known about Ultimate is that it is a quest type and how some of it looks. That’s it! .The data didn’t tell us a huge amount more, other than there are rare versions of some of the monsters here. The old list is as follows:

UltNativeBeast, UltNativeBeastThrower, UltWolfA, UltWolfB, UltWolfARare, UltWolfBRare, UltYetiA, UltYetiB, UltMammothA, UltMammothB

Now, clearly there’s no where in this list a Meduna or Vol Dragon reskin can fit, so hey there were some genuine surprises! Unfortunately if there’s any more information it hasn’t arrived to us yet as the file these names are present in has so far not been included in the pre-patch. For that matter, the executable isn’t in our hands yet either!

Ultimate Quests are set to arrive some time in the winter.

Bouncer: My Fears.

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Some details about Bouncer’s skills have been revealed. By some I really do mean a select few details, which you can read about on Bumped here. As we don’t know all that much this post will just be my speculative worries about what could go wrong with the class.

Craft Mastery

Description: Boosts the power of crafted weapons.

Given that all classes can use crafted weaponry this seems like an unusual skill to give to a single class. Perhaps the designers consider it a method to make crafted weapons better if you were to take Bouncer as a sub-class? While that may be true, there are some potential issues with this I feel.

First, we don’t really have any idea what they mean by “boosted power”. If it’s just attack power then it remains potentially useless as crafted weaponry has some immense damage variance. I won’t go into detail if you don’t know much about it, but suffice to say it means the damage output of crafted weapons is remarkably unreliable. This could be circumvented if you could get your critical hit rate high enough though, which may make another Bouncer skill by the name of “Critical Field” quite relevant. Critical hits in PSO2 don’t work like they do in most other RPGs/MMOs, as instead of granting a damage bonus on hit they just do the maximum damage your current attack power can do with a given attack, effectively cancelling variance.

Of course, the possibility remains that the skill may do something about this variance, which then threatens the game in an entirely different way. If it’s too good, it makes higher rank weapons pointless. If this is combined with any boost to attack this skill could do, it could make Bouncer a mandatory subclass for all classes. Not a fun outcome, but due to how 10* and 11* equipment rely on players spending money on the game (in order to buy them from other players) this kind of outcome seems vanishingly unlikely.

Break Stance

Description: Boosts damage dealt to breakable parts on enemies.

Really just two questions about this stance: How much is the damage boost? Does the boost persist after you have broken the part?

To me, it seems unlikely that the answer to the 2nd question will be “yes” due to how the game works. A breakable part on a boss is a different hit-box entirely. That is to say. Quartz Dragon’s crystal nose is not the same as its exposed squishy nose. That said, something like Vol Dragon’s face may or may not be considered “breakable” given how its hit-box will also disappear once you pass a certain damage threshold. It depends on how the game internally defines what is breakable and what isn’t, as of course the skill will use that data to determine if the damage boost applies. If it’s more flexible in this definition than I expect, then Break Stance could be extremely effective at killing bosses.

Well, it could be anyway. This rather depends on the answer to the first question, to which the answer is “we don’t know”. The damage bonus could be so much that it out-does Weak Stance as a boss killer or it could be so bad it isn’t worth bothering with. If it is bad and only applies to what we understand as breakable parts then the stance would be almost utterly worthless. The worst case scenario for me is if it were something like +50% damage and it was liberal about what it defines as breakable…

Elemental Stance

Description: Boosts the damage dealt to an enemy if you use a weapon with an element that they are weak to.

Essentially this is Element Weak Hit, the stance. If you’re using a fire weapon on enemies weak to fire, you’ll boost your damage. This stance seriously worries me, as I feel it has the potential to do the most damage to the game out of all of Bouncer’s skills.

If this boost is too weak, or around the 20% range, then it clashes with Element Weak Hit too much. Element Weak Hit is a passive skill, making it essentially a free stance. This would suck for Bouncer but it wouldn’t threaten the game.

It being too strong sounds like an obvious thing to worry about, but I’m going to tell you why I think that this could threaten the game more than even Fury Stance. See, if it greatly boosts your damage if you use the correct element, then it also boosts the effectiveness of weapons which also have a latent ability that does the same. One such latent ability is “Ancient Oath”, which boosts the damage dealt by 14% for striking an enemy’s elemental weakness. As it happens, there aren’t many weapons that have this latent but this could change going into the future. The issue this creates is the new top-end could be to take Elemental Stance and equip a rainbow selection of the highest available weapon with Ancient Oath in your given class. Essentially it tuns the game into Phantasy Star Universe. I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of having to find at least 4 copies of the same difficult to obtain weapon, +40 each of them and affix them all accordingly to be a bit of an obnoxious task to undertake. Unless of course you have bottomless pockets of Meseta which is related to my final point in this paragraph. The essential reason why I worry that this skill could make the game worse is it could make the gap between best and decently geared players even more severe than it is. For a lot of players, the top end already feels unattainable due to the layers of random numbers involved. To have that multiplied by several times just seems unreasonable to me. It’s difficult enough, I argue.

This stance may have strong synergy with Force’s skill. “Element Conversion”. If it’s too powerful, this may make Bouncer a mandatory subclass for Force, returning us to a time where Fire and Lightning techs rule the Teching side of the game. OK, ice techs may have a place too if the re-balance adjusts them accordingly.

Again though, this is speculation based on my own fears about how things could go wrong.  It may just be a minor power boost over using a non-elemental power boosting stance (with an Ancient Oath weapon), in which case people are still having to get a rainbow selection of weapons but now they’re spending hundreds of millions of Meseta on something marginally better instead of significantly. The gap between best and decent wouldn’t be changed much.

Deband PP Restorate

Description: Boosts PP regenerated per attack while Deband is active.

The damage this skill could do to the game seems limited on its own, it really depends on how much the bonus is and how strong the above skills are. This skill could make the above worse by allowing people to use Photon Arts more frequently on top of the bonuses the other skills may grant.

Closing Thoughts

While the balance changes announced during the last broadcast are for the most part interesting and do sound like they could go a fair way towards balancing things, I worry that they may not be balancing Bouncer along with them. I just hope they are carefully considering the power of the skills involved, not just so we don’t end up with new overpowered builds but also so that Bouncer actually can compete with the other classes.

Reining in Everybody’s Sugar Daddy

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They said they were gonna do it for a while and now Sega has set a date for it. From the 27th of August, all Time Attack Client Orders will have a 166 hour cooldown applied to them, effectively turning them into weekly quests. But fear not, because the amount paid per quest will be increased.

To go along with this, Meseta payouts from some Daily Orders will be increased as well as the addition of some new Client Orders (unelated to Time Attacks). This is presumably to ensure that players can still earn roughly the same amount of Meseta that they were able to before.

Thoughts

Overall, I feel this is going to be a good change. Much of my gameplay of late had simply become “log in for TACOs, get XQ pass, log out”. If they can pull this off correctly by making more of the game more rewarding then the end result is I am encouraged to play more of the game. I feel like this will be a good thing for the most part, however there are ways this could all go wrong.

TACOs are a high payout for a small time investment, making them suitable for players with limited amounts of time to play. If the new way to earn Meseta is too time consuming then those players may be at a disadvantage. Heck, even those with all the time in the world may find the new means to earn their income too much effort depending on how it’s executed. Some of the Daily Quests take a very long time to complete, though you can at least spread those out over multiple days as keeping a Daily Order won’t cut into the number you\re allowed to take per day. Of course, the lengthier Daily Orders may not be among the ones having their Meseta payouts boosted.

Another potential downside is, while TACOs could be solo’d easily by players with mediocre gear and skill, a lot of players preferred to run them in groups to speed them up. As they are set to become weekly quests, I feel like there will be less opportunity for those who like to group up with random players. Fewer interactions between players is kind of a sad thing in a chiefly multi-player game  This doesn’t bother me personally because I can’t stand pick-up groups in this game anyway.

This may or may not make running TACOs on Hard and Normal more worthwhile, it depends on their payout and how much you can tolerate running the same quest that many times! While you could technically do that with TACOs as they are, I don’t think there are many people who could stomach running the same set of quests 3 times per day on each character. While they’re daily, I know I myself can only really stand to run a couple of the quests on a single difficulty on a single character each day at the most.

Of course, potentially moving the main source of Meseta away from daily Time Attack Quests also opens up room to add new quests. While I’m sure laziness was the main thing preventing us from getting more of these quests, the fact that the economy could have been negatively affected by adding them may not have helped.

In any case, I am happy that I will only really need to run Time Attacks once a week to keep on top of my Meseta.

Titanic Tidbits

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While the online services continue to be down, some little tidbits regarding planet Harukotan were revealed during the event in Osaka. Harukotan is a new planet set to arrive with the release of Episode 3 in August.

Titans are bigger than you!

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While rather self-explanatory and not entirely unexpected, this image does at least give us a scale. With it it’s a little easier to appreciate just how large the monsters are on this planet. The Shiro-Nation Titan is on the left, the Kuro-Nation Titan is on the right. Lets call an individual from each nation a Shironian and a Kuronite.

Alternative names are White Nation and Black Nation. Why not use them? Well, for one thing the planet is very Japanese so using the Japanese names in Romaji seems thematically appropriate for once. The other reason is to avoid certain unfortunate racial implications the names would have otherwise…

The Shiro Nation

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The Shiro Nation, the first field that players will be visiting on planet Harukotan, is suffering an invasion by the Kuro Nation. Where the ARKS will fit into this is kind of a good question, but hints would appear to be that the Shiro Nation are the er, “good guys”. That said, watching through the video it does seem like Shironians will also attack you.

The field is populated by titans and Yokai-like enemies.

This slide also shows the field does indeed have an environmental mechanic, this time in the form of a purple Miasma which is said to strengthen the Kuronite invaders. Players will be able to purify these fields somehow. They sound mechanically similar to the corrupted relics in the Ruins field but clearly the scale is larger.

No information yet on what future fields may be, though I still feel the Kuro Nation is a pretty safe bet!

New Darker Type and Titan Boss

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So there we have it, I said before how the field appeared to be lacking a Darker type and speculated which type may inhabit the field. Turns out it will be a new Darker type entirely, the Plaything/Toy type. We know Dark Falz Double is in the area due to the previously released teaser trailer for Episode 3 content, but given the events towards the end of Episode 2 it seemed like Double was in control of the Bird-type Darkers. Well, this revelation rather shoots that idea in the face. Dark Falz Loser really was the king of the chickens, after all. The aesthetics on the new type certainly are different, so different that if I was shown an image of them without being told they were Darkers I doubt I’d say for definite that they were. The only hint I’d have is the patterned red+black parts of them. In fact the teaser does show one of the Darkers and I don’t think anyone figured it was a new Darker type.

This makes me rather curious as to what Toy Falz is going to look like in its various forms…

The field boss is a Kuronite Titan by the name of Gigiru Gun’negamu (Gigil Gunnegam?).  It uses ice-based attacks. That’s all there is to say about that for now.

 [Thanks to Mewn for names]