PSO2 Station #3 Writeup

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Saturday saw the broadcast of the third PSO2 Station at an ungodly hour for UK folk. This time they went over some of the content coming up in January/February as well as unveiling the new long-term schedule which covers things up to early Summer.

For such a short broadcast compared to the old format there ended up being a lot of things to go over this time, including a large selection of quality-of-life changes, PVP stuff and some interesting new things on the horizon.. Brace yourselves, this one’s a big ‘un.

Arks New Year Carnival 2017 Part 1

Starting us off is a web-event in January. This comes complete with a Limited Quest set in Las Vegas that pits players against a wide selection of enemies, so your usual all-star quest. This time they’re throwing ESCA Darkers into the mix and Anga Fundarge can show up in it which is neat. I’m kind of curious if ESCA Darkers and Darkers would fight each other… The quest ends with a special titled Falz Dourumble.

2017 Weapon Badges

Right out of the gate we’re getting 2017 Badges. These can be exchanged for various items in Xie’s brand new shop (yep she’s back), which includes a weapon series named “Shin-Wafuu”. At first I thought they were yet another reskin of the old Sun God weapons but they are actually something new.

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In terms of stats, historically Xie’s weapons have always been a bit underwhelming. The sword this time has 1192 S-Atk at +0 and comes with Freeze V, Ability III, Power III and Vinculum. So that’s 55 in affixes, bringing its actual S-Atk to 1137. This puts it at the same level as Invade Calibur… So yeah I suspect these weapons won’t be worth bothering with unless they have some decent Special Ability Factor. I can’t even suggest it for covering any gear gaps  because Astra weapon files will be out by then and the weapons don’t seem usable by multiple classes either.

I note she still offers Photon Boosters, Caligulas and Toranas at least. Caligula and Torana are also still 20 gold badges each, though Photon Booster seems to have come down to 30 gold. Not sure what the point is really as I doubt anyone will be after Austere weapons or units anymore.

Turret Buff

Seems Turrets are gonna get buffed as they teased about in the last stream. This seems to only affect the gatling-gun variant of turret and as far as i can tell the only real change is they increased the amount of damage it does. I can’t remember the current damage numbers right now, but it looks like they doubled it? I mean that’s nice for those classes that find dealing damage to Magatsu before the first knee break difficult to impossible, but I can’t really see the use for it anywhere else in the game.

Mag Stealth

You’ll be able to stealth your Mag by feeding it a stealth device. This will make your Mag invisible, as you might expect, but it will otherwise still function as normal. This is one of those things that I’m surprised took them this long to add, given how much of the game focuses on cosmetics.

Though I don’t know why it couldn’t be a UI fix instead of a Mag Device that will set you back 10 AC scratch items each time. This makes switching back and forth awkward or not even a choice at all for those who have an uncommon or unobtainable Mag skin…

Hide Sticker

Now you can choose to not have a sticker on your costume. This one surprises me even more than the Mag device!  Unlike that though, it seems this one will be added for free and you can just select it in the Este counter.

Is This Eaaasy Mode?

Story Quests will now have an Easy Mode added to them. I have no idea why because surely the Story Quests are easy enough as they are? Well, if you’re one of those people struggling to clear Story Quests I guess this is a good thing for you at least.

Critical Indicators

Just a simple change to make critical hits stand out more. Beyond the more striking color, they seem to take display priority over normal hits. This will be sorta handy for those doing damage tests I guess, otherwise the clearer feedback for landing crits might be welcome.

Boost Item Toggle

You will be able to set whether or not your boost items will be consumed during the current quest. This choice takes place at the drink counter and will be in effect the moment you choose a drink.

This is needed really, because I know there’s been times where I’ve chosen not to run content because I have boosters active. So it’ll be nice to have the additional flexibility in when and where I want my boosters to count down.

Cuisine in the Player Shops

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You’ll be able to list completed cuisines on your shop, which is great and all but unless the food involves rare ingredients it’s really just removing one step from what you can do already by just buying ingredients. As it costs Meseta to make them however, I wonder what degree of profit the market will settle on. Will there be a good reason to sell the cuisines rather than the individual ingredients?

Skill Rings

With gathering set to arrive in Skyscape and Seabed comes a new set of skill rings. So far 5 have been announced;

R/Panic Guard

Grants immunity to Panic at lv20.

R/Quick Mate

Grants access to Braver’s “Quick Mate” skill. Presumably stacks with Mate Lovers.

I feel like Mate Lovers is fast enough if your build needs fast-use healing items. Doubt this ring will see much uptake.

R/Another Rod Shoot Mode

Changes Rod Shoot to multiple slow moving projectiles that explode on contact

Guess the usefulness of this one depends on the function of the new projectiles. The main point of Rod Shoot is for PP recovery (though it can do some pretty alright damage) at a distance on command. The projectiles this ring replaces them with move very slowly in comparison, though if the PP recovery is counted for each one I imagine this will be a pretty nice way to recover PP quickly for point blank casting (such as spamming Ragrants into bosses).

L/Step JA Combo

Adds a Just-Attack circle to Step.

This seems like one that might go down well in the community and for decent reason; being able to just-attack out of a step is kind of a big boon. Just-Attacks make up for a lot of the damage you deal, afterall (even more if you’re a Hunter main or sub).

L/Just Reversal B

Adds a shockwave on successful Just Reversal that damages and potentially stuns enemies.

This is a really cool ring. I imagine the damage won’t be that great, but the chance to stun enemies could be that extra bit of crowd control you need to top your health up once you’re back on your feet.

Arks New Year Carnival Part 2

Mostly story stuff in this one with a look at Where’s the Chocolate 2016 for Valentines season. Not nearly as much to go over in this trailer in general.

Where’s the Chocolate 2017

You know the deal with this kinda quest by now. Seems this time we’ll be seeing Ultimate Amduscia enemies as well as the usual mix of dragons and Darkers. Interestingly unlike previous seasonal emergency quests this one seems to lack a point counter and instead has a boss E-Trial as the quest target. The target seems to be a special titled Drago Deadlion.

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Of course the new tradition is the seasonal Collection File! This Valentines you’ll be able to obtain a new 13* Wired Lance, Twin Dagger and Twin Machinegun. Also included are sheets for the 13* eggs of Viola and Synchro in case you missed out on those.

Roadmap Overview

Something new for PSO2 broadcasts is this general teaser for future content down the line. We get a bit of sneak peak at Solo Emergency Quests, 4-man “Multi Quests”, the Battle Arena and what I assume is the CG intro to Episode 4’s second and final raidboss.

Along with that, they posted the usual text form up:

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It reads:

Winter to Spring:

  • 4-Man Multi Quests (limited time)
  • Solo Emergency Quest (limited time)
  • PSO2 Anime Characters are back (yay…)
  • Union Weapon series in an Exchange Shop

Spring to early Summer 1:

  • Battle Lobby and Battle Arena
  • Gathering update
  • Franka’s Cafe seasonal change
  • PA and Tech customization update
  • New Bonus Quest
  • Nier Automate Collab
  • Class Level raised to 80

Spring to early Summer 2

  • Episode 4 chapter 8 (part 2)
  • New 12man Raidboss
  • Design Contest Scratch
  • PSU 10th Anniversary Part 3
  • New fashion feature?

So yeah I’m gonna comment on the major things I can here.

Union Weapon Series

They’re Ray weapons with a little bit stuck to them I guess.

unionseries.jpg

What is kind of curious though is they’re listed as an exchange item and not a Collection File one. Does this mean we’re not quite out of the stone age in PSO2 or is there going to be some entirely new exchange mechanic introduced with these?

To go along with those, it seems like there’ll be a matching upgrade to the Ray Unit set as well. Will these also be exchange items I wonder?

Solo Emergency Quests and 4-man Multi Quests

Well this is a surprise! Seems during January we’ll get to challenge Double and Profound Darkness 1v1 as well as take on various Ultimate enemies in a single party. I’d say that we’re finally seeing some content that isn’t intended for 12 players but unfortunately it seems like these quests will be temporary. I kind of hope we’ll be seeing more quests like this in the future though, because really I’ve despised for some time how it feels like every new thing that comes along requires 11 other people or you may as well not bother.

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Somewhat interestingly the quest expects you to take on multiple bosses at once, which is often more than they expect for 12-man Ultimate Quests. Presumably they have less HP than their full MPA counterparts, though.

I should say I don’t hate 12-player content nor do I think its a bad idea for the devs to keep making it.

Speaking of which…

New Raidboss

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Due some time in Summer, Earth will be getting its third and presumably final raid. As Mother has perished (or has been absorbed, you can never fully tell with PSO2’s story) this would be Ardem’s doing. The trailer shows a continent materializing out of nowhere.

Given Episode 4’s mythology undertones I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be something like Atlantis (even though it’s clearly rising in the Pacific!) or The Garden of Eden or something. Whatever it is, it seems set to be the stage for Ardem’s forced evolution of humanity or whatever it is he wants to do.

Maybe there’s some story details I’m missing out on but er … why do the ARKS care about this situation? Mother was the one who wanted to go after the ARKS and she’s gone now so are we just being heroes for the sake of it? Maybe there’ll be an explanation between now and then I don’t know. For now we have a continent with no context and giant ether Cthulu tentacles sprouting out of the ground.

Level Cap Raise

Rasing level caps isn’t anything new for an MMO, but PSO2 I felt had designed itself into a corner with all the level-cap related stuff it’s added over time. Things like Excubes, Class Excubes and Skill Point orders beyond cap… these are things that become a bit more awkward with a higher level cap.

There’s also the problem of whether or not there’s any new content to warrant levelling up, but the same thing can be said for adding new tiers of gear and they’ve been adding new gear long after we got the lv75 cap. It could be they reached a point where it felt wrong to continue giving us new levels of content without also letting us level up. In the end it’s just a number.

In any case, new levels means more skill-points, which may also mean new skills to put those points in. They haven’t confirmed this (there’s nothing on the schedule for it at least) and there’s a few classes that probably could use the extra SP somewhere but there’s also a few that players may struggle to work out where to put them. I’m sure additional details will be revealed closer to release.

But yeah, this has been a long time coming hasn’t it! We got the lv75 cap sometime in November 2014 just to give a bit of perspective. So it’s only been two years…

Phantasy Star Universe Anniversary Part 3

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It’s on there! Looks like we’re getting the third and final part of the anniversary some time in the Summer.

This crossover event has gone on for some time now, considering it started in August this year. With the last part some time in the Summer this could bring the entire event to a span of about 8 months or so.

As for what they might do we can only speculate. There’s not even anything in the data to help with it as far as I know, so it really is anyone’s guess. It could be just costumes, weapons and partner cards (with some additional cutscenes like we had for Emilia) or it could be a Limited Quest like they did for PSO complete with a remade boss from PSU. I mean I know I’d kind of like to see one of the PSU bosses ported over, but that’s really just my love for PSU talking.

Episode 5

No mention of Episode 5! I think anyone following along with Episode 4 can tell that things are starting to wrap up, so it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see something regarding the next episode turning up. As it hasn’t, this indicates that we may he with Episode 4 longer than we were with previous episodes and it may not turn up until late Summer or later still.

For perspective, Episode 4 started on January 27th. If we assume “Early Summer” covers up til the end of June then the expansion seems like it’ll end up with a lifespan of at least 18 months (because I assume it wouldn’t hit in July unless there were some announcements between here and then).

So for the heck of it let’s compare:

  • Episode 1 released with the game of course: 4th July 2012
  • Episode 2 released 12th July 2013
  • Episode 3 released 27th August 2014
  • Episode 4 released 27th January 2016

So from that we can say:

  • Episode 1 lasted 12 months
  • Episode 2 lasted 13 months
  • Episode 3 lasted 17 months
  • Episode 4 lasts for at least 18 months going by the roadmap

So at the very least we can say that Episode 4 is looking to end up the longest lasting episode in the game so far. We can also say that they’re slowing down but there’s more going on here. I mean this doesn’t take into account the volume of content added with each episode or the amount of story there was (Episode 1 had more chapters than Episode 2 for example).

I guess for fun we could also project and guess how many episodes PSO2 will have in the end. Sakai once said that he intended the game to last for 10 years and it’s gonna be its 5th year once we get to the end of the current roadmap. That may be no coincidence; it could well be that Episode 5 will end up releasing on the 4th of July 2017 to mark PSO2’s 5th anniversary. It certainly would be thematically appropriate! But yeah how many episodes might we end up with by the time it’s time to take PSO2 out back and put a bullet in its head? Well seeing as they’re slowing down each episode and they have a total of 120 months to get through (60 by the 5th anniversary of course), let’s say 22 months of Episode 5 and  23 months of Episode 6 just to sorta resemble the pattern. By the time this theoretical Episode 6 is out, there’ll only be 15 months of  PSO2’s planned life left and by then we’ll have probably had PSO3 announced or something. So I reckon that’ll be it, I suspect Episode 6 is going to be their final one.

Now to be clear that’s just a bit of fun, I’m not making any serious predictions here. If you’re reading this from the future, let me know if I was right though.

In terms of potential plot points, well we still have the Profound Darkness to deal with which I don’t know if they could stretch that out over two years but you never know. Maybe we’ll end up spending another episode on Earth… :(

PEE VEE FUCKIN PEE

So yeah, chalk this up as another feature I never thought they’d actually add! To be fair, I had plenty of decent reasons as to why something like this wouldn’t work such as latency issues, the game’s wonky class balance, the fact players have 1000hp and are tuned to fight things with 100,000s of HP…

Anyway, I wanted to withhold comment about this since they announced it in the 2nd PSO2 Station because I knew they were going to talk a bit more about it. Irritatingly this is where my lack of Japanese really does hinder me as someone’s clearly explaining mechanics in the background. For now I’m going to have to put together something from my own observations and things I’ve seen mentioned in the community at large.

Class

In order to solve the issue of class imbalance every player is set to the same class in the Battle Arena. It functions much like Challenge Mode in that respect and much like the Challenger class you can use any weapon you find in the field.

In terms of passive abilities, it seems the PVP class has Summoner’s HP Restorate as you slowly recover HP over time.

It seems you recover PP very slowly in this mode too, but I do see it also recovers in bursts without the player seemingly doing anything. It looks like it might be tied to picking up Emblems.

Emblems

The main mechanic of a match seems to be emblem collection. While you can kill enemy players, obviously, it’s not actually the main objective of the match. There are friendly, enemy and neutral (rainbow) emblems, though their individual worth in a match is unknown. It’s assumed that enemy emblems are worth the most to your team. There’s also some kind of effect that can make a lot of emblems appear near your spawn point.

Emblem collection also seems to occasionally have some kind of detrimental effect on the enemy team. The effect shown was a massive stacking Injury debuff which lowered the players HP to something like Fighter’s Limit Break levels.

Weapons

Weapons can be “mined” from various locations, with a bunch of nodes at the spawn point and various nodes placed on the actual field. You can re-roll your weapon by mining a field node, but there’s some kind of cost for doing so. Observed weapons are Sword, Rod and Rifle. There seem to be different tiers, as there’s a regular Sword and a 4* Calibur.

How you actually get the higher tiers of weapons I’m not certain, as during the video the players seem to get them from field nodes and spawn nodes on occasion, but then get the lower tier weapons afterwards. Maybe it’s random?

All weapons have in-built photon arts. Observed are:

  • Sword: Nova Break and a variant of Rising Edge with a greatly extended blade
  • Rifle: Piercing Shell, One Point
  • Rod: Megid, Foie, Zonde
  • You can also run in unarmed if you like but you probably shouldn’t!

Each weapon only has one photon art.

Additionally it seems the weapons do boost your other stats, as Sword users appeared to gain 100 HP or so.

Thoughts

So yeah, making everyone the same class and giving them equal access to all the same gear was one of the only ways they could really make things fair in a game like this. Letting people bring their own class and gear introduces so many variables that I’m not sure you could ever get anything resembling balance with PSO2 having been engineered the way it has been.

I’m also on board with their decision to make it objective based rather than about player duels. Player dueling is at least a small part of the mode however and in that respect I actually think that damage is a little too high still. It’s not really a fight if it’s over in one attack which it seemed to be most of the time in the demo video.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the randomness from a competitive point of view but from a “mode to fuck around in when bored” sense it’s perfect. Like to me, this whole thing comes across as a mode intentionally designed to be not taken seriously, which is for the best as I doubt PSCrew are capable of making something competitive with all the tweaking and balancing that requires.  But really if PSO2 has to have a PVP mode something that’s there just for shits and giggles is pretty acceptable to me.

They haven’t said if there are any items you can earn by playing this mode yet. I kinda hope there aren’t, mostly because I want this to remain a completely optional mini-game rather than something you’re expected to do. I mean, if the mode turns out to be fun then I guess it doesn’t really matter either way but otherwise if there was to be some progression tied to PVP I’d want it to actually be competitive. Competitive PVP is something I just don’t think is ever going to be viable in a game like PSO2 right now, because if nothing else it’s going to have netcode and latency issues that I don’t think PSCrew would ever be able to come up with good solutions for.  Even if they could for Japanese natives, anyone playing from outside would be at a major disadvantage.

Ring System Release Info

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This is just gonna act as an information gathering spot for ring abilities and what their numbers and requirements are. As information is still being found out, expect the contents of the post to change dramatically throughout the coming days.

Feel free to share any information and to let me know if there’s anything wrong in this post.

Let’s just hope that this system doesn’t get abandoned like Photon Art customization I suppose!

Gathering 

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  • Gathering is the only way to get materials for both cooking and ring crafting/upgrading. You’ll typically need planet rocks and a specific gem to craft a ring.
  • You get 100 stamina for Fishing and 100 stamina for Mining per character.
  • Each action consumes 10 stamina from their respective bars.
  • The stamina is only consumed once you actually get the item. If you’re interrupted for whatever reason, you won’t lose any.
  • There’s a small chance for a “One More” to occur. This is RNG giving you a free gathering attempt.
  • The bars take roughly 5 hours to fully recharge, meaning you can get 3 free gathering attempts per character in a given 10 hour window of time.
  • This amounts to around 30 Mining and 30 Fishing attempts per day for free. 10 more if you’re willing to push to 15 hours.
  • You can restore Stamina through the use of “Stamina Drinks”, which can be obtained in-game and bought for Arks Cash
  • Levelling up either gathering skill restores 100 stamina for them. This can overfill, so no excess stamina is lost this way.
  • The cost of a Stamina Drink via Arks Cash increases wich each purchase. The first two cost 50AC. The ninth costs 350AC and the tenth onwards costs 750AC each. The price resets at midnight JST.

 

Fever

Each gathering attempt has a chance to trigger a Fever. Each time you gather increases your “combo” meter, which increases the chance of triggering a Fever. If you hit 25, a Fever is guaranteed.

During a fever, a gathering node will not expire. You’ll also get more materials per attempt and have a greater chance at rare materials. Attempts still cost Stamina, however.

Fever combos can be built via either fishing or mining.

Given it costs 10 stamina per attempt you have a total of 20 attempts in which to trigger a fever per session. As it requires 20-25 to stand a good chance of getting a fever, you’ll often either be out of Stamina or very low on it by the time you actually trigger a fever. It’s arguably the most irritating part of the system’s design.

Due to the above, t’s recommended that you drain your fishing bar before you start mining. This will give you the best chance to trigger a fever while mining, which is preferable as you’ll need rare mining materials for rings.

Naturally as those spending Arks Cash can get higher combos, they’ll have a significant advantage with regard to getting rare materials quicker. As such, they’ll also be able to max out their rings faster than non-paying players. While annoying, it has yet to be seen how significant a time advantage this is. Let’s just hope the whales share data on the skill rings they rushed to max out so the rest of us can learn which rings are terrible and which aren’t.

Ring Material Costs

  • L / JG Sonic Arrow
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / JG Heavenly Fall
    • Vopal Rock x 3, Coast Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / JG Rising Flag
    •  Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / DS Whirlwind
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / TD Air Chase
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Forest Emerald x 6, Lambda Grinder x 15, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Knuckle Chase
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 6, Lambda Grinder x 15, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Front Stylish Roll
    • Earth Rock x 3, Forest Emerald x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Katana Gear Guard Release
    • Vopar Rock x 3, Coast Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Tech Charge Parrying
    • Earth Rock x 3, Forest Emerald x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Recast Reverser field
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Hunter Gear Save
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Forest Emerald x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / High Time Keep
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • L / Short Combat
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 6, Lamda Grinder x15, 30000 Meseta

Right Rings

  • R / Massive Hunter
    • Vopar Roxk x 3, Coast Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Crit Strike Striking
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Crit Strike Ranged
    • Vopar Rock x 3, Coast Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Crit Strike Tech
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Killing Bonus
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Perfect Keeper Striking
    • Naberu Rock x 3, Ruins Amethyst x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Perfect Keeper Ranged
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Perfect Keeper Tech
    • Earth Rock x 3, Forest Emerald x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Photon Flare
    • Vopar Rock x 3, Coast Sapphire x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Attack Advance
    • Earth Roxk x 3, Forest Emerald x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Ele PP Restore Field
    • Earth Rock x 3, Tokyo Opal x 1, 30000 Meseta
  • R / Boost Slayer
    • Earth Rock x 3, 3000 Meseta
Ring Ability Information

Information on this section is still coming out.

For Right-rings, be aware that if your main or sub-class has the ring-skill, the ring’s effect will not apply.

Some of this data was obtained through data-mining and may not match the numbers shown in-game. The numbers themselves should however be accurate. This is particularly relevant to the Crit rings as there seem to be rounding issues with the displayed numbers.

L / Twin Dagger Air Chase

  • Twin-Dagger normal attacks and some PAs will chase the currently targeted enemy as long as you’re mid-air

L / Knuckle Chase

  • Knuckle normal attacks and some PAs will chase the currently targeted enemy as long as you’re on the ground

L / Front S-Roll

  • Allows you to perform a front Stylish Roll with Twin Machineguns
Power 101% 102% 103% 104% 105% 106% 107% 108% 109% 110%
111% 112% 113% 114% 115% 116% 117% 118% 119% 120%

L / JG Rising Flag, Sonic Arrow and Heavenly Fall

  • Activates a PA on a successful Just-Guard
  • Swords get Sonic Arrow
  • Partizans get Rising Flag
  • Wired Lances get Heavenly Fall
PP Consumed on use 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 0
Power 175% 176% 177% 178% 180% 182% 184% 186% 188% 190%
192% 194% 196% 198% 200% 204% 208% 212% 216% 220%

L / Hunter Gear Save

  • Reduces the gear loss rate of all Hunter weapons
  • Fury Gear’s conditions must be satisfied for this to work
  • Sword Gear takes longer to decrease. Wired Lance and Partizan consume less gear.
Gear Loss rate 75% 74% 73% 72% 71% 70% 69% 68% 67% 66%
65% 64% 63% 62% 61% 60% 59% 58% 55% 50%

L / Double Saber Whirlwind

  • Certain Double-Saber PAs will have a chance to activate a whirlwind
  • Bound by the whirlwind limit.
Probability 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
55% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100%

L / High Time Keep

  • Has a chance to prevent a single hit from deactivating High-Time’s bonus.
  • It won’t protect from additional hits.
  • If you get hit at all, it won’t preserve your eligibility for One More Time
Activation Chance 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
55% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100%

L / Tech Charge Parrying

  • Nullifies incoming damage for a period of time while charging a tech with a Rod, Talis, Wand, Jet Boots or Tacts.
Duration(s) 0.03 0.06 0.09 0.12 0.15 0.18 0.21 0.24 0.27 0.3
0.33 0.36 0.39 0.42 0.45 0.48 0.51 0.54 0.57 0.6

L / Katana Gear Guard R

  • Allows you to activate Katana Gear by holding Guard for 3 seconds
  • Gear loss rate is increased if activated this way
  • Gear gain rate is massively reduced if activated this way
Gear loss rate 300% 290% 280% 260% 240% 220% 200% 180% 160% 150%
150% 150% 150% 150% 150% 150% 150% 150% 150% 150%
Gear gain rate 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10%

L / DB Snatch 

  • Adds damage to DB’s movement shift actions
Power (Unsure of notation) 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
13.5 14 14.5 15 15.5 16 16.5 17 17.5 18

L / Recast Reverser Field

  • Reduces the re-cast time for Reverser Field
Recast time reduced to 70% 69% 68% 67% 66% 65% 64% 63% 62% 61%
60% 59% 58% 57% 56% 55% 54% 53% 52% 50%

 

R / Massive Hunter

  • Makes you immune to flinch, knock-back, knockdown and launch while active
  • Also reduces incoming damage
  • Cannot be used if Hunter is your main or sub-class.
Active Time (s) 15 15 15 15 15 16 17 18 19 20
20 20 20 20 20 21 22 23 24 25
Recast (s) 120 118 116 114 112 100 100 100 100 100
100 100 100 100 100 95 94 93 92 90
Incoming Damage Reduced to 99% 99% 99% 99% 99% 99% 99% 99% 99% 99%
95% 94% 93% 92% 91% 90% 90% 90% 90% 90%

R / Perfect Keeper Strike, Range and Tech

  • Boosts damage as long as your HP percentage is above the border
  • Skills that reduce your Max HP such as Limit Break and PP Convert will not break this skill as long as your HP percentage is above the border of your new Max HP.
  • Cannot be used if Gunner is your main or sub-class
Damage Boosted to 101% 101% 101% 101% 101% 102% 102% 102% 102% 102%
103% 103% 103% 103% 103% 103% 103% 103% 103% 103%
HP Border 100% 99% 98% 97% 96% 96% 95% 94% 93% 92%
92% 90% 88% 86% 84% 82% 80% 78% 76% 75%

R / Killing Bonus

  • Restores PP for each enemy that dies within range
  • The data lists this as 5 units. I don’t know how big a unit is in-game.
  • Cannot be used if Ranger is your main or sub-class.
PP Gained 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8
3 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4 4.2 4.4 4.6 5

 

R/ Critical Strike Strike, Ranged and Tech

  • Increases critical hit damage and critical hit rate
  • Cannot be used if Fighter if your main or sub-class
Critical Damage boost % 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3
Critical rate increase % 1 1.5 3 3.8 4.8 5.8 7.8 8.8 9.8 10.8
11.8 12.8 13.8 16.8 17.8 18.8 19.8 19.8 19.8 19.8

R / Boost Slayer

  • Increases damage dealt to and reduces damage received from boosted enemies.
Damage boosted by 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%
3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3%
Damage reduced by 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10%
11% 12% 13% 14% 15% 16% 17% 18% 19% 20%

R / Photon Flare

  • Increases T-ATK for a limited time
  • Cannot be used if Force is your main or sub-class
T-ATK boosted by 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150
155 160 165 170 175 180 185 190 195 200
Recast (s) 100 95 90 85 80 80 80 80 80 80
80 80 80 80 80 74 73 72 71 70
Active Time (s) 20 20 20 20 20 21 22 23 24 25
25 25 25 25 25 26 27 28 29 30

R/ Attack Advance

  • Increases damage of normal attacks
  • Cannot be used if Braver is your main or sub-class
Normal Attack Damage boosted by 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10%
11% 12% 13% 14% 15% 16% 17% 18% 19% 20%

R / Element PP Restorate Field

  • Activates a field that increases PP recovery for hitting an enemy with their elemental weakness
  • Cannot be used if Bouncer is your main or sub-class
PP Gain 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3
Active Time (s) 20 20 20 20 20 25 26 27 28 29
30 30 30 30 30 35 36 37 38 40
Recast (s) 120 118 116 114 112 100 100 100 100 100
100 100 100 100 100 90 88 86 84 80

 

R/ PP Convert

  • Decreases Max HP and increases passive PP recovery rate while active
  • Cannot be used if Techer is your main or sub-class
PP recovery rate 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2
Max HP set to 75% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75%
74% 73% 72% 71% 70% 70% 70% 70% 70% 70%
Recast (s) 130 128 126 124 122 120 120 120 120 120
120 120 120 120 120 118 116 114 112 110
Time (s) 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 13 14 15
15 15 15 15 15 16 17 18 19 20
Upgrading your Rings

 


To upgrade your rings you’ll need to do two things:

  • Get EXP to raise the soft level-cap on your rings (to the hard cap of lv20)
  • Take your ring to Dudu with materials, grinders and of course your meseta.

Rings gain 5% of any EXP you get. You’ll need around 31M EXP to max out a single ring (which translates to about 1.6M Ring EXP). Note that the Ring EXP display doesn’t update live. You will need to change area in order for it to update.

Upgrade materials match whichever materials the ring required you to gather to create it in the first place. If it needed Earth Rocks and an Opal to make, it’ll need those materials again to grind it.

  • Lv1 – Lv5 require 3 x Rocks and 5 x Grinders
  • Lv5 – Lv10 require 3 x Rocks, 1 x Gem and 5 x Grinders
  • Lv11 – Lv20 require 3 x Rocks, 1 x Gem, 5 x Grinders and 3 x Lambda Grinders
  • All levels also cost 30,000 Meseta per attempt (except R / Boost Slayer)
  • Materials are lost on failure.

 

Sources

 

Where possible I’ll link sources. Some information is skimmed from forums and chatrooms and some is from in-game observations. Other information still is from data-mining.

Bumped.org Gathering Mini-Guide

Fulldive.nu – Skill Ring Info

Swiki page on Skill Rings

Upcoming Content: Festa Part 2 and Gathering

io_wut

Some new details about upcoming content are out, in part from events and part from the update site itself. Check out Bumped’s summary of the Sapporo event here and the official update site here.

Embedding the trailer below:

Additional Story

What’s that? You wanted more slice of life high school anime in your PSO2? Well you’re in luck, my friend, as we’ll be hitting a number of anime tropes late February including a bath scene! I can feel myself dying inside already.

notXie

No, don’t get excited. This isn’t Xie, it’s just someone who looks a whole lot like her!

Between this and the actual anime, I will be honest I’m kind of holding out that some actual plot will happen at some point. Will it be this update? Probably not.

There is the persistent mystery of who ESC-A are (the company behind the magical wireless internet they have over there and the owner of the giant blue tower) and why their technology is having the effect that it is. I mean it’s managing to create life out of fantasy and projecting people’s PSO2 characters into the actual Arks fleet. They’re completely faceless at the moment and it’s kinda wierd… Earth also feels incredibly empty as well for a planet full of people, but then so did Harukotan and Amduscia; Both planets with some form of society and intelligent life.

There’s also the fact that all these wierd Arks are meant to be a recent phenomenon and even our boss, Ulc, doesn’t know where they’re coming from. After the events of Chapter 1, we know that they’re projections of characters played by Earthlings, sure. But the Anime is set 1 year prior to the events of Chapter 1 and there is an Arks operative freely travelling between Earth and the Arks Fleet. What’s up with that? By the way I have a horrible habit of getting invested into stupid plots for stupid things…

Part 2 of the Festa

Part 2 will arrive with a new bingo card as well as a new Limited Quest. The new one will function pretty much exactly the same as the current one with a few minor differences:

  • It will have some different enemies; essentially the ones that didn’t appear in the previous quest
  • Nemesis weapons will drop instead of Slave weapons
  • Caligulas seem to drop!

psfesta2016bingo2

The new bingo is only marginally better than what we have now if only because it gives 20 gold medals instead of 10. It’s still a fairly weak offering compared to cards of the past. I can’t tell if this replaces the current Bingo card or not given the video doesn’t show the menu navigation to it.

Gathering Info

Gonna just cut to the chase: this system will only be put in place in Forest, Ruins, Coast and Tokyo. That’s it. Why so few areas? Are they going to expand into others later? If so, why so few at first? I don’t get it.

bigthecat

When I first heard about the gathering system I was immediately cynical about it. We’ve had systems introduced to PSO2 in a half-assed state before and then subsequently completely forgotten about. Photon Art crafting is the major one. As I said at the time, “Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!”. They might still! For all I know the Skill Ring and Cuisine systems might turn out to be excellent. They might expand on the system in a timely manner, eventually opening the system across the entire selection of fields. It’s just that starting off with a measly four is for me, kind of worrying. I’d understand if it was a feature that requires a party, as it’s not a good idea to split up the player-base too much for these things. But this is a solo activity…

I don’t really dislike the idea of gathering as if nothing else it does add some purpose in running around on the planets. The Skill Ring system does have some serious potential to be interesting, as it can augment our character skills in various ways if the listed abilities are anything to go by. For reference:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

No, this is not the entire list (could you imagine?). There were some other skills mentioned as I recall, but I don’t know what they were. Who knows with Cuisines, frankly.

Also come on, we have a volcanic cavern peppered with ore veins and a mining facility filled with abandoned materials. We can’t go mining in the actual mine?

At least Henri will be back.

 

38th Broadcast Writeup

HAPPYCLARIS

The 38th broadcast went out last night. Being the final broadcast before the actual expansion, its time to iron out any remaining questions surely? Well of course not, while some details are fresh we mostly got stuff we already knew about.

As usual, this post will be a gathering of the various trailers shown throughout as well as sharing my thoughts. Bumped has done their summary of the broadcast as usual, and will cover some details that I won’t. If you’re interested in taking part in the PS4 beta in particular, check it out. Naturally I’ll be talking about some things Bumped didn’t as well as sharing my own dumb thoughts cause that’s what I do here.

First off; Henri is BACK, motherfuckers!

henriiii

Was worried he’d drowned in pussy or something, welcome back you… guy who walked back and forth in the lobby! You’ll notice the area he’s wandering around in is new: more on that in a moment.

Gathering – Phantasy Runescape Online 2

I guess this explains the inventory expansion. I think I’d be livid if they introduced an entire new way to fill your bag up with no expansion to help you out.

Much like with other games, you essentially seem to walk up to a node and press buttons to make a thing happen and you get an item. Fishing requires at least some timing it appears, for which I assume you’re just pressing a button when a fish bites I guess.

fishing_star_online
This potentially re-defines “Phishing” I suppose.

Gathering is limited via a stamina bar. It isn’t certain exactly how this works, but i feel confident in saying that Arks Cash will probably be the miracle cure for fatigue.

So what do you do with these newly acquired materials taking up all that additional inventory space you just got? Why, you take them to Franca’s Cafe turn them into cuisine and rings of course! You know, your regular jeweler in the Cafe. That’s where Henri is wandering about earlier in the post, by the way. That handsome devil.

We’ll be gaining 2 equipment slots in which we can equip said rings. Presumably Rings will be made from metals and such, but some will also need Lambda Grinders. They’ll be in the armor and costume menu. Rings seem to mostly augment class skills, but they can also raise stats. Some mentioned include:

  • Double Saber Whirlwind Lv. 1
  • JG Heavenly Fall Lv. 1
  • JG Sonic Arrow Lv. 1
  • DB Snatch Lv. 1
  • KA Gear G Release Lv. 1
  • Killing Bonus Lv. 1

The skill augments are potentially interesting I suppose, but I can’t help feeling that at some point there’s gonna be some straight up damage boosting rings and those are going to be the only ones worth going for. Unless they keep them strictly utility of course, in which case it mostly won’t be worth bothering with unless the augments really are interesting. I’m being cynical here I know, but I’m so used to them half-assing systems they’ve introduced before. Yes, the skill augments could be interesting but remember when Photon Art customization came out? Remember how that “could” have been interesting? What about Timed Abilities?

Rings seem to have something like a grind value (they’re pictured at +1) but they also have an EXP bar. How this EXP is acquired, who knows. It’d be easy to assume its just via killing enemies and such, but it could also be feeding it materials for all we know right now. They also seem to be restricted to the right or left ring slots, though I don’t know the significance of this yet. As in, what trends might right-slot rings have that left doesn’t and vice versa.

Cuisines are gonna work like the food items we can get now I would assume, so essentially stat boosters. The food shown lasts 1 minute and 5 minutes though, which is kind of a tiny period of time. I assume higher ranked food lasts longer, but who knows.

This system is set to arrive in March. Why so long after the expansion starts? Cause I have no idea, gotta spread it out or something. While on this cynical bent I guess I would say that they’ll probably only release 10 rings and 10 foods initially or something too, then six months later remember they started this project and bother to add some more things. Prove this cynical shithead wrong, Phantasy Star Crew, see your system through!

Other Trailers

We got a good selection of videos this broadcast, but unfortunately the vast majority of the time they don’t really show anything we didn’t already know. As such, I feel the best I can really do here is comment on various tidbits after the trailers.

First is a trailer showing us essentially everything we know about so far. This is a long one and it does show quite a lot of things, worth watching for a refresher and for the adorable emperor Rappy rolling around.

Next is a shorter trailer showing off the Valentines update.

We’re getting a new character creation demo, complete with new bench-marking test video. As always with these, I’m kinda saddened we don’t get cutscene’s this dramatic in-game. That said, maybe I just like over the top cheesy things I don’t know. The demo is slated for release in late February.

Gameplay Demo

Just a couple of videos demonstrating Summoner game-play as well as showing off the Tokyo field. Skip about 5 minutes in to get to actual game-play.

I don’t know, the class looks kind of awkward to me still. Maybe it’ll feel OK to actually play it, but it just seems like you don’t really have as much control over your pacing as this class as you would for all the others. It seems like the game-play would just be too passive for my liking, though this style may well appeal to some. It’s only a little over a week before we get to try the class for ourselves, so we’ll see soon I guess. More importantly we can finally start to answer some questions the developers never seem to, such as how certain class skills interact with pets and how summoner skills may interact with other weapon types (if at all).

Notably, Train Ghidoran doesn’t seem to be the boss of the Free Field on Tokyo. Instead, it;s the boss of what seems to be the 2nd Arks Quest. I doubt the Free Field has a new boss, so instead I have to ponder if the quest itself essentially just functions like an Ultimate Quest; where it ends once you’ve reached the quest point quota. As they didn’t demonstrate it, I can only guess for now.

Tidbits

As we know, the character storage box starts at 300 items but can be expanded to 1000. It seems that you can increase it in 50 item increments for 800 AC each. This brings the total cost of expansion per character to 11,200 AC. That’s kind of expensive, but then +50 personal storage costs 1600AC right now.

Mutation II is coming out. It’s been in the client data for as long as I can remember. You can obtain it from a special titled Diabo Igrythis that only appears in a seasonal Emergency Quest. You can also create it yourself from 5 Mutation I at a 50% success rate. Mutation I boosts the fusion success rate of stat II into stat III. Its more advanced form will do the same for III to IV.

more_pso_nostalgia_stuff

2016 Weapons Badges are coming out. You can get camos of various PSO weapons with them, that’s about it. You can exchange 2015 for 2016 badges at a 10:1 rate. Given you need 350 just for one camo, that exchange might be a little harsh but then if you got your entire badge supply from the get-go it might impact the upcoming event. The badges will primarily be available during a Limited Quest set on Vopar’s Facility field for the PS Festa event. This will be a full on web-event, so there’s a chance of event bonuses that can be earned as well. Rico and Flowen seem set to turn up, but who cares about them.

There will be a bingo card for this event, but so far the rewards on it look pretty unremarkable compared to previous offerings.

There’s a rumour that soul fusion was mentioned during the show, involving things like Vol Soul and Vardha Soul. Essentially it’s a new Astral Soul type of soul fusion, only with different results. One of the alleged results is an R-atk +35 PP + 3 soul. I have no solid source for this however, so treat it as a rumour.

Tokyo Weapons

Seems Tokyo weapon potentials are out. Seiga series weapons regenerate HP over time and boost outgoing damage by 11%. Earth series weapons grant a 6% damage boost and a 10% damage boost for critical hits. There’s also the Quartz series weapons, which apparently have increased PP regen on attack and a damage bonus when above 30% PP. Unsure on source, so treat this information tentatively.

These are some strong potential abilities if they turn out to be true, possibly even trumping Austere weapons depending on how exactly they work and how strong the weapons themselves end up being.

Seiga Sword is listed as having 1152 attack. As the weapons appear to come with Ability III, Mutation I and Stat III, you can take away 55 attack from them.  This brings Seiga Sword’s base attack down to 1097. This puts it at slightly better than Orbit but inferior to Invade and Austere in terms of raw attack.

The 13* exchange weapons seem to cost 200 Kagaseo stones, so I expect that the overall acquisition rate is going to match Kuron exchange weapons just-about.

Thoughts

 

Still no Ultimate Amduscia! I’m starting to wonder if the area got scrapped. It’s likely more a case of bad timing, as you probably don’t want Ultimate Amduscia coinciding with the release of a new area and a web event. It’s that ever persistent fear of splitting up the player-base that modern MMOs seem to have, but they may have this “fear” for a very good reason. As a reminder, Ultimate Amduscia isn’t on the schedule between now and late Spring.

Overall, between the pets, rings and the associated gathering systems it seems we’re gaining a number of new grinding treadmills. It’s difficult to pass judgement on them completely until the systems have arrived, and much of it won’t be until Spring starts. For all I know, these systems might well boost the experience but maybe it’s my overly cynical mood today but I’m just not convinced.

There’s really not a lot else to say I don’t think, so I’ll end the post there for now. I know this has come across as cynical and I’m sorry for that. Just consider that I’m a bit burned by the developers introducing new systems before, full of promises that then kind of fell flat. For all I know, these systems really could be good, Summoners could be fun to play and pets won’t be irritating to raise. PSO2 may be a better game with all this stuff, or it could be really about the same as it is now. We’ll see.

Road to Episode 4

rappy_anus

With the very last update of the expansion now out, Episode 3 is finally coming to an end. Since we learned more about the expansion after the 37th broadcast the reaction from the fan-base has been generally positive. Well, it’s more either one of excitement, one of bewilderment or one of utter hatred that I’ve seen, though I’ve not seen many people react as negatively at that. It did lead to some forum-based comedy but this blog isn’t the place for that so, ahem. In around 10 days, we’ll be… doing largely what we do now only in a new place I guess.

Just gonna verbally vomit about some of the things that have recently been shaping the PSO2 experience and having thoughts on where the game may be going next, based on what we know so far.

 

Phantasy Stones Online 2

 

I’d relate this to my inventory woes if they weren’t giving us a significant expansion soon. PSO2 has had stone exchanges for some time, dating all the way back to Dark Falz Elder when it was initially released. Then of course Advance Quests added stones for each of its fields which would be doubled later down the line and Extreme Quests added its three sets of three tiers of stones. Dark Falz Loser, Ultimate Quests, Profound Darkness, eventually the Mining Base Defense quests and even  a Free Field all added their own stones.

moarstonesplease

It’s not a wonder people’s inventories are struggling so much currently with the sheer volume of stone currencies available and the new stones we have yet to get. Nagoya’s event revealed that there are at least two more currency items; Tokyo’s area weapons and a new currency attached to the featured quest system.

I don’t actually mind currency grinds necessarily, they do offer a sense of progression after all and aren’t usually as subject to the whims of poor luck. It’s a system of “get lucky or get the gear eventually anyway”, which is generally something I approve of as it mixes progression with the thrill of chance. I also think it’s a good thing that, overall, it’s a lot easier for people to get themselves some decent gear for the sake of making MPA raid quests more… consistent. The issues with the grinds we have come down to the already mentioned inventory woes and the fact that most progression systems in PSO2 are time gated. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that a few progression chains are absurdly grindy, particularly the Ultimate Quest weapon grinds. I’m not gonna say what an “acceptable” grind is however, as it hugely varies from person to person.

But yeah, Advance Quests are gated behind caps, Extreme Quests behind a daily pass (although there are a number of ways you can get additional passes now at least) and of course the likes of Austere and Orbit are both hidden behind Emergency Quests, which is the style I detest the most. While many stone drops are RNG themselves, I can’t help but feel that gating stones behind an RNG schedule somewhat defeats the purpose of them; especially the sheer number of runs they seem to expect players to put in.

I still believe that these currencies really should have their own dedicated storage; entirely separate from our regular inventories. Anyway, whether you like them or not stone grinds seem to be something that is only going to be expanded upon rather than go away anytime soon.

 

Content Expansion

 

One new field. Singular. So far, this means that Episode 1 is the only time the game has arrived with multiple fields, although even it started off with just 2 fields back in the Alpha days. Overall the number of fields added over a given time period seems to have gone down; Despite it lasting longer than Episode 2, both it and Episode 3 added a total of four fields to the game, three of which are accessible all the time in each. Not a bad thing if those few areas are more compelling, after-all Desert was kind of incredibly dull.

oversized_wifi_router.jpg
Turns out the mysterious blue tower seen in promo material is just an over-sized Wi-Fi router. Hope future wireless is a lot better than what we have currently…

If Episode 4 lasts one year, its plausible that it too will end up adding 3 fields, with a 4th one walled behind an Emergency Quest or something. We know we’re at least getting 1 other field on Earth, but it doesn’t seem to be on the current long-term schedule at least. As the anime and in-game stories move on, it may be easier to speculate where we’re headed next, although the giant blue tower (that may belong to the ESC-A OS company) seems a tad suspect.

Related to fields, we still have the fact that no areas before Kuron have Extra Hard difficulty yet either, though in part that may be due to the developers wanting some incentive to run Emergency Quests and the fact they’ve sort of designed themselves into a corner. If they want to release an Extra Hard difficulty for any field, they’d have to add a new currency and some exchange weapons for them to keep them relevant, which is not only awful for our inventories but a pretty taxing task on their end too.

There will be new story quests, fairly expected. Who knows if they’ll be any good, its hard for me to judge not understanding the language. In fact, between now and Summer we seem to be set to get three story chapters. We’ll still only have the one field for all of these, although presumably one of those chapters will have to do with the raid boss (assumed to be the data-mined “Phantom Goddess”). Interestingly the schedule lists “Story Board events” separately. The Story Board is the spiritual successor to the Matter Board, but it otherwise hasn’t been explained how the new system may be different to the old one if at all.

Incidentally. selecting Episode 4 when you log in will only prevent you from playing the story quests for Episode 1 to 3.

 

Summoner 

 

There’s still some missing information regarding Summoners, but we do know a fair sight more than we did. Bumped did a large write-up here, which explains the upgrade and customization process for your pets. I’ll summarize a bit below.

candyboardthing.jpg

So you customize your pets through use of Candies. These candies are placed on a grid, which contain caramel cubes, jelly cubes and paper cubes that occupy space on the grid and prevent you from placing candies there. You can use caramel crushers to get rid of the caramel cubes, but to get rid of the jelly cubes you’ll need to level up. You can’t get rid of paper cubes. To level up, you need to perform Egg Synthesis, which is time-gated much like feeding a Mag is. Candies themselves can be upgraded through grinding, with higher rank candies requiring lambda grinders. This is sounding rather time consuming, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. My bigger concern is the candies and eggs are going to take up even more inventory space!

Thankfully, you shouldn’t notice unless this system adds an absurdly high number of items. With the arrival of Summoner we’ll be getting a free character slot and each character has a personal expandable storage of 300 slots. So you can easily roll a mule if you need to.

I talked about the skill tree before., but some information has since come out for a couple of skills. For one, it’s “Dear Master” not “Tear”, but I couldn’t make out the “de” from the low res pic I was working with.

Dear Master is effectively Summoner’s Iron Will as I understand. There’s a chance you won’t die if you take lethal damage (your pet takes it instead). Handy for the more fragile classes I guess, depends on if there are points left over to spend on insurance skills like this. Trouble is, Summoner seems to have a fairly high HP pool by default..

Alter Ego boosts the power of your pet, but damage your pet recieves will be shared with you. Could be useful for more durable classes to take.

Point Assist is a personal Weak Bullet that only works for your pet and your pet only.

Pet Sympathy increases the effectiveness of Shifta or Resta depending on your pet’s demands. Sounds kinda too unpredictable to be useful…

Hp Restorate gradually recovers HP if it falls below a certain amount. The amount isn’t specified but it sounds like this skill could clash with Automate Halfline and the likes.

Subclass Grow Up is possibly the dumbest skill I’ve ever heard of, as all it does is boost the EXP given to your subclass. That’s it. So what use is it once your subclass has hit its cap? Oh and it’s a main-class only skill, so you won’t be able to use it to level up Summoner!

As far as I know there’s still been no mention how pets behave without a baton or if they can even be used without them. The majority of Summoner’s class skills are still not terribly well understood either, which limits speculation on subclass viability.

Update: Just found out there’s a note at the bottom of one of Shougai PSO’s posts noting that pets are main-class only. Shougai is a very trustworthy site, so I have little reason to doubt them. If they’re right, then this really impact’s Summoner’s viability as a subclass, especially due to how many skills are dependent on a pet and the arrangement of its skill tree.

 

The End Of This Post

anime.jpg

All in all, I’m interested enough to see where the game goes. Yes the story has some cheesy roots in a very average Anime but that we’re leaving Dark Falz and friends behind (even if temporarily) does make me ponder about what kind of direction the game’s story will take. This is both for now and after the adventures of some high school kids no one cares about. They gotta do something with it, after-all we’re still a fair sight away from the 10 year projection Sakai wanted for the game some time back!

The decisions about the game itself have been equally strange, with half implemented systems from way back getting little attention and the new summoner skill tree baring an unsettling resemblance to Episode 2’s design philosophy…

This post was originally considerably longer would you believe, but seeing as the 38th broadcast is tonight, I figure I might as well wait to discuss certain things. I speculated on a lot more things in the draft, essentially. Hopefully more information about Summoners comes out seeing as they’re getting shown off and maybe, just maybe we’ll get some hint about Ultimate Amduscia?

Some images in this post were taken from Dengeki scans uploaded by Manta here. Click the link to check the rest out!

Summoner Skill Tree

 

G-heaven just posted this up today. It’s a composite screen-cap from the trailer showing all the skills Summoner is set to have. With a little help from EspioKaos, I’ve put together a basic edit to show the skills in English:

SummonerSkills

This mostly makes me ponder its viability as a sub-class, given it has a couple of all-round attack and stat-boosting skills. Assuming the All-Attack Bonus skills are percentage based and their numbers are decent, it could effectively work for any class. Classes are a little more than stats though, there’s certain functionality too (such as Weak Bullet for GuRa or Chain for BrGu and so on) and as far as I know it wasn’t explained whether or not a Summoner could use pets without using their Baton weapons. If they can’t, then that makes a large number of these skills fairly useless for sub-classing.

As for what could sub-class Summoner, I’m really just going to have to guess on this one as there’s still a lot not really known. If your pets can benefit from other class skills, melee type pets would benefit potentially massively from Fighter as a sub-class. If there are more tech-oriented pets to be added down the line, it’s possible Braver may be better to take advantage of elemental weakness.  If you can keep a pet out without a Baton, then Ranger or Gunner as subs could offer significant burst as well.

Those are just some thoughts, anyway. More hardcore players may have some more solid ideas of where this class could end up fitting as a sub or what could be a decent subclass for it.

 

 

Broadcast 37 Writeup

romance

Well, that certainly was a show. Let’s preface this article by saying no one gives a shit about the cosplay contest, Arks GP, collaborations or any of that stuff. We’re just going to be looking at the actual expansion content and what’s there has both impressed and left parts of the community speechless. That’s not the good kind of speechless.

Final Episode 3 Content

Border Breaking Chaos returns as a level up quest. This ought to take a chunk out of Persona Soul’s price, though I still argue Astral Soul is more trouble than its worth.

We also get a look at the solo extreme quest in action, showing additional battles with Gal Gryphon, Dragon Ex and Knight Gear among the floors we already knew about. The video also confirms that the quest does not come with its own unique rewards, however it does seem to drop the 2nd tier stones from all three Extreme Quests as well as the recently added Torana stones. Like the current Extreme Quests, you can pick up to 5 items. Other rewards include Photon Boosters, Lambda Grinders and you can get Nero stones from title rewards. The quantities seem low for a weekly limited quest, but it’s at least nice to see that the quest gives more than a sticker! That it won’t eat up an extra inventory slot is also a plus.

New Summoner Trailer

Unlike other classes added so far, Summoner is considerably more complicated an affair.  It includes its own user interfaces, both for levelling the class and its mechanics as well as in battle (if datamining turns out to be accurate).

Finding eggs lets you name and raise your pet, combining eggs lets you level them up. This makes it almost a 2nd mag, though given how dependent Summoner is going to be on the pet I’m not sure how this is going to work out in practise. If the pet lags behind the player’s level or the player lags behind the pet will things get awkward?

You can also use candy items in what looks like an inventory management system from a classic PC RPG in order to customise your pet’s abilities. It’s also reminiscent of the chip system from Megaman Battle Network.

There really isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t been said already about the class; it doesn’t look like something that belongs in Phantasy Star Online, but in retrospect it does somewhat stylistically remind me of things that might have shown in up classic Phantasy Star.. I mean Phantasy Star did have Nyau.. I can say the class seems to be needlessly complicated but the pet raising side of the class might appeal to some people. It isn’t clear if there are more than the three pets shown, either.

Much like with the addition of Braver and Dewman, you will be given an additional character slot. The maximum number of characters any one account can have has also been increased from 12 to 20.

Episode 4 Trailer

The main course is coming. The expansion content itself! The first thing on the menu is additional character customization options.

This is an extended version of a trailer we’ve seen before. I’m still impressed with the additional morphers they added, as it should help address some glaring shortcomings with character creation as it is. The additional accessory and weapon positioning options as well as layered body paint are also nice additions.

A brand new feature is layered clothing. The three layers are “Inner”, “Base” and “Outer”. Inner seems to be types of underwear, base some clothing and outer things like jackets and coats. Casts will also gain this system. This layered system means that you’ll be able to mix and match individual layers, granting a new dimension to your clothing not seen since Phantasy Star Universe. The “inner” layer goes underneath body paint, so you won’t have your underwear on top of your tights (maybe I want to be Superman though!).

This is a nice new addition, though I’m assuming this will only apply to outfits added from here on out. I won’t rule out the possibility of them going back to outfits they’ve added before and seeing if they can reasonably split them into these layers, but I imagine many outfits would be incompatible with this system for various reasons.

Story Expansion

Introducing: The Story Board! It’s different to the Matter Board because I don’t know it’s different OK? Look! The interface design is different and everything! In all seriousness it is supposed to be different to the Matter Board system but there are no details at this time. All I can say is, it just looks like a rose by another name.

Some things to note at least are that Episode 4 can be skipped to by all players, even new characters. So it’s getting the same treatment Episode 3 got. It also seems that Episode 4 may include areas only accessible if you choose “Episode 4” when selecting a character upon log in. Given the story seems to show your character waking up from cryogenic sleep or something like it, it’d seem that Episode 4 won’t be taking place on the Arks Ship at all. Could this mean an entirely separate lobby?

“New” Planet Trailer

Yup, Earth. More specifically, Japan in the year 2028. Who would have thought that after going to Planet Japan in Episode 3 that we would go to actual Japan afterwards? Well, more to the point, it’s more like planet Anime if the story trailer is anything to go by. I wanted to talk about it in that section but I figured it’d ruin the surprise a bit.. or something I don’t know I haven’t slept well oh god.

So the Phantom type enemies turned out to be ghosts, essentially. It includes mutated humans, Polar Bears and even Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So we’re going to planet Anime and we’re going to beat up T-rexes in Tokyo. I mean the actual content itself is at least surprising. I will throw my hands up and admit I didn’t see this coming. The community reaction to this news has been incredibly negative to the point of entertaining. Some people are very salty about this trailer. In general my overall reaction is one of confusion…

Thoughts

There is so much confusing stuff in this trailer that I don’t think I can coherently summarize all of it. All I’ll say is I can understand people’s concerns from a story/setting point of view. So far, the game has essentially been about chasing and suppressing space-Cthulu in various alien worlds. It was a bit science fictiony, but it was mostly fantasy with smatterings of thematic roots in Star Wars. When thinking about the game from this point of view, having a story trailer which looks like it was taken from a slice-of-life anime set some kid’s bedroom it’s a bit of a unexpected shift. Going from space-Japan to actual Japan also feels incredibly hokey.

That said, I’m actually somewhat impressed by some of the creativity shown in the enemy design. A T-Rex that opens its chest cavity to fire a laserbeam from its skull? An emergency trial where you’re anime running alongside drifting ghost cars? A transforming tank? A hydra made out of TRAINS? I actually kind of like it! The area these enemies are set in isn’t terribly interesting looking, given its an environment that we’re naturally fairly intimate with already. That said, I actually don’t think it’s any less interesting than say, Shironia. I’m slightly sad that it’s another point grind quest like Kuron if nothing else because it means they’ve given up trying to make Free Field quests interesting anymore. There’s also a distinct lack of environmental hazards, which has been another thing missing in areas lately. Finally, there’s the somewhat uncomfortable fact that we already have a city field…

Tokyo is just the first field that Earth will be getting. What the other fields will be is anyone’s guess at this point, though I feel like watching some anime might help narrow it down. Judging from the schedule, we won’t know until next summer… I cant imagine anything terribly earth-shattering (heh heh) but who knows, Earth has a lot of interesting places on it. Not that most of you would know.

Yes, it isn’t a direction I would have liked to see the game go. I’d have preferred it being set on an alien planet whose tech level matches the modern era, given we’ve already been to planets that are in their respective pre-historic and medieval eras.  Or that the phantoms turned out to be a split faction within the Arks, setting the stage for some kind of civil war. It didn’t need to be set on Earth, this is a game where we’re meant to be exploring the unknowns of  a fictional universe!

Unfortunately, it seems it’s going this way as part of the transmedia campaign that PSO2 seems to have become, tying it in with the anime possibly. I mean it already had mini novels, a stage play, a radio play and possibly other things I’m forgetting. PSO2 isn;t just a game anymore, it’s a marketing campaign which includes a lot of different forms of media. That its story is spread among them is what I believe makes it trans-media. Is this a good thing? I don’t know, it frankly depends on what is important to you. What I will say is that the community response while extreme in some places is at least understandable. For the most part, we only care about the game and increasingly it could be seen like the game is being pushed into the background.

It’s wierd, but it isn’t destroying the game for me. Could be worse! The area could’ve been an anime high school (wait we go to an anime high school as part of the story, SHIT!) or we could have sprouted from a PC monitor like out of some basement dweller’s wet dream. I will say that content past Earth had better go back to alien worlds again.

Also still no mention of Ultimate Amduscia! It’s not even on the long term schedule! Truly, Dragonkin Aberrations are the real phantoms…