9th PSO2 Station: You Are The Hero

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The 9th PSO2 Station went out this last saturday and it was one that was highly anticipated by the community as it was to reveal the first details about Episode 5. In this post I’m going to mostly be going over my reactions and thoughts to what was shown and ponder some of the implications this has for the game going forward. I’m just gonna be focusing entirely on the stuff that directly affects the game, so the GP and other events that happened during the station won’t be covered.

This post is huge, as such I’ve added links so you can jump to the parts you’re interested in.

Contents:

As you may be aware, Sega are taking down trailers so the only way I can really share the trailers is by linking to the full streams from the official channel:

Part 1:

  • Final anniversary content and Yamato content at 37:11

Episode 5 Trailer

Part 2

  • Hero trailer at 29:18

Yamato 2: Nice Boat

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The last major update in Episode 4’s lifetime will see players going up against an upgraded Yamato. I can’t really pick out any new details that we didn’t know already; that it’s got a bunch of new attacks and that it spawns considerably more missiles during the raid-wipe phase.

They did confirm that a “rematch” quest would be happening for it, however. Much like with Deus Esca, you’ll need to clear the new Yamato raid before you gain access to it. It’s also a 4-man quest but unlike with Gracia it seems the only real change is you have a tighter time-limit to clear the quest. The fight otherwise seems largely the same, which is going to make the missile phase interesting as it doesn’t seem to spawn any fewer missiles than the full raid…

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The upgraded version of Yamato is set to appear in early July while the rematch will arrive a little later on the 19th.

Drops

The re-designed Yamato will come with new drops and give you shots at some older ones too; with the classic Tokyo, Seiga and Quartz weapons returning. Additionally, you have a (remote) chance of getting one of 3 new 14* weapons.

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Dual Blade

Looks like it fires lightning effects whenever you use a Photon Art.

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TMGs

Seemingly wind-based Twin Machineguns that have a wind effect on firing.

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Before I move on to the third weapon, it does appear that these two may be a part of a series of what I’m going to call “elemental weapons”, in addition to the previously released fiery Double Saber from Deus Esca.  I’ve posted their icons below so you can make a comparison:

The Double Saber released with Deus Esca was a fire-based weapon, while the Dualblades are lightning and the TMGs are clearly wind based. I guess we can expect 3 more elemental 14* weapons in the future…

Akatsuki

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The gimmick of this classic sword appears to be when you land a successful Just-Guard the weapon unsheathes. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but presumably the effect is similar to Guard Stance Advance in that it boosts your power for a short time.

Collection Files

Collection files for Seiga, Quotz and the military series will be returning, which interestingly includes things like the Valkyrie TMGS, which were unique to the Kagaseo stone exchange last time around. They’re also reviving the AIS and Yamato files as a separate collection.

Ether Fuses

You’ll also earn a new currency item called an “Ether Fuse”. You can use 20 of these fuses together with a Tokyo, Seiga or Quotz weapon to upgrade to a new weapon or to unlock a new potential on your old ones. So it works a little bit like the Zeinesis/Qliphad exchange, only this offers you the chance to turn old-type weapons into new-types!

Here’s the few upgraded weapons they showed off, two of each of the Quotz, Seiga and military series:

Unfortunately they haven’t actually detailed how the OT to NT exchange will work out. Like what does a +40 exchange into? What-about a +37? To hazard a guess I’d like to say that each level beyond a lv3 potential would translate to half a level in NT (so a Lv3 +5 would be +32.5) but who knows what they’ll actually go with.

Interestingly, rumour has it that the Special Ability Factor of the upgraded weapons will be Power, Shoot or Tech VI. Yes you read that right, VI. We don’t know at this time how much stronger VI will be than V.

I actually also don’t know what the Ether Fuse potentials are for the Quotz, Seiga or Military weapons, so it’s hard to tell if these weapons will be worth going for. They look good, though! As we don’t know the potentials yet its hard to judge their true worth, but if we use the upgraded Sword’s attack power we can see it’s a little bit weaker than Astra though only by 6 s-atk. Depending on the potential these could be decent endgame weapons.

The AIS weapon Ether Fuse potential appears to be similar to Aura’s Battle Coin potential, only it also reduces PP consumed by PAs while the Yamato weapon Ether Fuse potential works much like their regular potentials, only they build up power over time instead of requiring you to get killing blows. So AIS may be pretty good depending on their overall power while Yamato weapons remain pretty bad.


Episode 5 Reveal

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They did it, they finally showed something about Episode 5. So who was right in the end? Was it a Phantasy Star classic revival or did it turn out to be an isekai?

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Turns out the answer was closer to isekai, overall. Though don’t worry, it doesn’t look like our player characters will be killed or forcibly transferred into the new world. Episode 5 will be releasing July 26th, so only around 6 weeks away!

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Episode 5 sees us travelling through a black hole to a medieval land of war, where the villains torment the er… the other guys.. with evil flowers that can summon demons. If you think this sounds dumb, don’t forget we just got done with Earth where the enemies were ghosts created through the power of imagination.

So yeah, we’re off to a land of knights, princesses, goblins and orcs in a land that does battle over flowers called “Ephemera”.  As you can see, the alternative world has faces both new and familiar, with Xierra as a fairy and a certain someone donning a cravat, but more on him in a moment…

Now for those who are a little disappointed that we’re not really going back to a sci-fi setting, don’t worry I feel your pain. It is a little disappointing, really, but at the very least it does seem that this episode will be more closely tied to the main plot. At least in spirit, anyway. The Profound Darkness still looms over the navigation deck and the black hole itself occupies the space that Xion used to take up. Additionally, the flowers in this new world share the same title as the Profound Darkness, namely “Non-Fruit bearing Flower”.

In these four images we have Matoi showing up top-right, so its nice to see her potentially playing a more major role again. Xiao bottom left has grown up and now looks more Harry Potter than akashic record. Bottom right we have the first sighting of Alma; who was the original Claris and one of the first three Heroes of the Arks along with Regias and Casra. Interesting that she should show up again, even if she’s presumably just a ghost, as the alternative universe has what appears to be the first Casra in it.

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“What about Luther?” you may be asking? Well as I understand, Luther is a photoner who took over the first Casra’s body. That’s not Luther’s true appearance, though it is how we all recognise him and it does at first glance seem like the alternative universe version retains Luther’s quirks a bit (or maybe the original Casra was just like that, who knows!?). Notice in the image above, where I’ve put the Luther we know against the one that appears in Episode 5. He no longer has that face marker, which presumably is the mark that its a body possessed by a Photoner, though we don’t really have any other examples of this. The lack of this marker is probably significant, though and for me makes me pretty confident that this is indeed the original Casra’s alternative universe doppleganger.

With the potential for the original three Heroes of the ARKS to re-unite, I wonder if Episode 5 might explore the distant past of the ARKS some more. It would be nice…

While talking about ARKS history, the story summary (ok, it’s a little old but as far as I know it’s still relevant) shows that in the distant past an ARKS ship encountered a black hole and was pulled into it. I doubt this is the same black hole, but regardless I’m curious how the story will justify jumping into a newly discovered black hole after what happened the last time they encountered one!

Either way, hopefully it feels a bit less like a side-story than Episode 4 did, though of course the whole alternative universe thing doesn’t bode well in that regard…

New Field and Enemies

I actually don’t know what the new field is called!

The field itself just looks so… plain to me (pun unintended). It’s dead flat, largely unsaturated tones of greys and browns, giving way to red tones once you’re inside. The field is surrounded by a thick fog, which I guess was intended to make it seem more like a battleground but it only really manages to make the field look dead and empty.

The enemies also win the award for “most unremarkable and generic designs” in the entire game so far. It’s like they went out of their way to make the majority of them look as plain as possible, though I don’t really take issue with all of them. Like I like the look of the reapers, though it’s a little bit of a shame that they’re such an obvious remodel of Luda Sorcerer.

The giant castle boss is pretty nifty at least.

Buster Quests

A hybrid of Tower Defense and Tower Attack, you’ll need to defend your own siege equipment while assaulting a castle held by demons. Like the regular Mining Base Defense quest, you’ll be collecting resources (in this case, mana) in order to trigger a mechanic known as the “Buster Pile” (gross) which can break down the castle walls.

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Once inside, do battle with the demons within and then face off against a giant animated humanoid castle. Neato!

So if Bumped is right, these are set to be the main quest style of Episode 5. I mean at least they sound like they might be fun; at the very least it’s nice to have a permanent Mining Base style quest available to us. On the other hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that this might mean we won’t get Arks Quests or Free Fields for Episode 5.

The main issue I have with the quest style is it’s designed for a multi-party. That means much like Riding Quests it’ll suffer once the content is no longer relevant. Look forward to standing around at a teleporter waiting for enough players to filter in to begin the quest. I mean it won’t be as bad as at least you’ll only be waiting on 7 others instead of 11. The lack of an Arks or Free Field would mean that this is the only way to enjoy this content though, which I find a little bit sad. Mind they’ve been messing with this formula since Episode 3 and with Vegas being the first field to not have an Arks Quest at all I guess it was only a matter of time before we ended up like this.

The lack of a Free Field would also mean no new skill-rings, incidentally.


New Class: Hero

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HeroClass

Yep, that’s the class name. Hero. In your game, you are the hero, it’s you. But remember, you are not the only hero… Really you won’t be. You know how new class releases go, raids are going to be full of them in the first week or two. We’ll see if they go through the same growing pains as Bouncer and Summoner where people would abandon groups the moment they see you!

You might expect a new class would mean new weapons but you’d be wrong! You might also be mistaken for thinking that you can play this class from the get-go but you’d also be wrong! Hero is slated as the first “Advanced Class” in PSO2. If you’re like me and come from Phantasy Star Universe you might be getting a bit of a cold sweat on but don’t fret, it’s not as bad as it was in PSU.

Also pictured above is the new class trainer for Heroes; Stratos. Stratos bares some striking similarities to Huey, I wonder if that’ll lead to something…

Unlocking

In order to play as a Hero you’ll need to have at least one melee, one ranged and one teching class leveled up to 75 on your account.

  • Hunter, Fighter and Bouncer count as Melee
  • Ranger, Gunner and Braver count as Ranged
  • Force, Techer and Summoner count as Teching.

This will unlock 3 titles on your account. From there if you want to be the hero all you have to do is head over to Koffie and turn in a Client Order. Congratulations! You are the hero!!

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Note that switching to Hero will un-equip your SubClass and Hero cannot be used as a Subclass. As Hero has no subclass, it’ll have access to more Right Skill Rings than any other class, which might create some interesting options.

Weapons

Heroes utilize three weapons that already exist in the game; Swords, Twin Machineguns and Talis. This is where the class diverges strongly from PSU tiered classes however, as these weapons will all behave very differently from their classic counterparts while wielded by a Hero. That is to say, Hero Sword will be nothing like Hunter Sword. This is great, because my main issue with advanced classes in PSU was all they offered was higher stats with the precise same attacks.

To clear up some rumours around the class; yes they do require a Sword, TMG and Talis. They do not use a unique weapon that transforms into all three.

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The reason people think it’s a new multi-weapon is due to the class’s mechanic of being able to switch weapons through certain Photon Arts. In the trailers these weapon swaps are instant, where as anyone who’s played the game any length of time will know there’s a small delay when swapping weapons. The logical answer would be an entirely new mechanic, but well…

These are shots taken during the multi-weapon combos.As you can see, the palette number changes so it definitely is a weapon swap. This does bring up a good question with regard to how the class will behave under laggier conditions, mind…

Swords

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Sword attacks will change depending on how long you  hold the attack button for. For the Photon Arts, this presumably just extends the combos and then ends on some finisher once you release the button (PP is constantly draining during some of the attacks shown).

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Unlike Hunter Sword, Hero Swords cannot block attacks however it does seem that certain Photon Arts have i-frames attached to them. Sword’s weapon action is replaced with “Spirit Bullet”, which is essentially a Ki-Blast straight from Dragonball Z. The longer you charge it, the bigger a bullet you fire!

Twin Machineguns

Twin Machinegun Photon Arts are similar to Gunner’s however they don’t seem to have the ability to rise into the air as easily (at least not from what we’ve seen so far). They may also lack the burst of classic Gunner TMGs with Chain Trigger.

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Hero TMGs cannot recover PP through normal attacks, instead normals actually consume PP! The only way Hero TMGs can actively recover is by using its “reload” weapon action. You slow fall while reloading, so if you are airborne you won’t have to worry about dropping like a stone just to recover PP.

Talis

In addition to Talises gaining Photon Arts that make them resemble Slicers from the older games, Heroes cau also warp to their thrown Talis through its weapon action. The player throws out a marker then instantly warps towards it. There seems to be a bit of a charge time to this, so I doubt it’ll compete with Guren Tessen dashing or even regular running for traversing large distances, however it might be helpful to get within melee range of vertical targets.

Talises seem capable of creating large damage fields, making it the most likely candidate for mobbing, though in the Zeshrayda demo the small disc field seemed to do really high damage even if it was hitting a weak-spot.

Techs

Heroes can cast Techniques like Force, Techer, Bouncer and Summoner. It’s unknown at this point if Heroes have any skills that augment them, however. If they don’t, their offensive techs ought to be pretty weak, but at least they’ll have access to support techs.

On top of this, Heroes use a gimmick where through specific Photon Arts they will automatically swap weapons, allowing them to chain together combos across multiple different attack types.

Class Mechanics

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Above is just as many of the icons I could extract from the trailers. As you can see, each weapon has 2 photon arts with a symbol in their top-right that indicates which weapon it’ll swap to. Red switches to sword, blue switches to TMGs and yellow swtches to Talis. I’m not sure at this point how it determines which point in your palette to switch to, but I assume it just searches down and picks the first one it finds (cycling back to the top if necessary). If it can’t find any, I assume the attack just finishes without swapping.

At the bottom-left is what seems to be Hero’s main class skill in the available and unavailable state. They never seem to use the other skill, which shares War Cry’s skill icon but with PP on it.

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For the first skill though, its the one that was used in each weapon demonstration in the trailer. The skill seems to depend on your weapon gauge; only when your gauge is full is the skill available. Once you activate the skill, the star in the center of the gauge switches off and the bar starts draining. Looks like you can activate some kind of finisher when you press the skill again, which immediately drains the bar to nothing. If the bar reaches zero on its own or you activate this “finisher” it deactivates the skill and puts it on cool-down. The cool-down shown was 120 seconds.

That’s all I can estimate based on the footage anyway, for now we don’t have any details on the precise mechanics behind these skills.

Thoughts

So yeah, that’s the Hero class. Kind of a boring name, but the class itself does look like it’ll be fun. It really looks like a hybrid between Fighter, Gunner and Bouncer more than its weapon selection would indicate. The trailers so far show it to be a potentially excellent bossing class while offering seemingly limited ways to clean up mobs compared to other classes, it depends on how good Talis is I guess.

My initial reaction to this class was pretty negative, as I detested the idea of the class simply being “x but better” as all classes up til now have brought something unique to the table. However, not only does the class bring entirely new mechanics to older weapons it also doesn’t seem like it’ll cover the niches the classic classes will cover. I’m not really sure what the functional differences will be with Twin Machineguns for Gunner and Hero aside their verticality, I guess we’ll see when we learn more about the class later on.


Class Rebalance

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We already knew that PSCrew were going to address the Chain+Maron problem, but we didn’t have any details nor did I expect them to re-balance a bunch of other things. There’s a lot of notes to go through (the full notes are here) so I’m just going to ponder the implications of these changes one topic at a time.

Maron Nerf, Slight Melon Buff

The bean brothers are gonna change very slightly.

Maron’s 2nd stage damage mod will be reduced while the number of hits it takes to reach stage 3 will be increased. So notably Maron will still do all the damage it did before but it’ll take a bit longer to build it up. It’s hard to say how much of a nerf this will be until we see the actual numbers…

Melon on the other hand just won’t randomly blow up anymore after a time limit. Now t’ll only blow up if you fail to catch it, which makes Melon only a little more practical to use. Melon’s damage isn’t that amazing however, so I doubt this will equalize things between these two pets much.

Zanverse Builds are Dead.

Zanverse has been changed so that it no longer takes skills or potentials into account. So rest in peace TeSu, TeGu, GuTe and Niren Orochi BoTe. This puts all Zanverse fields on an equal playing field, so you’ll no longer have issues with JetBoot users creating then anymore! Really this means the death of Zanverse elitism in general, so it really doesn’t matter who casts it as long as someone does.

This is however a nerf to Wand melee, as Wind Mastery no longer affects the power of Zanverse. Assuming you’re using Form Scythe, Zanverse hits will drop from 28% of your damage to 20% if I’ve done the math right (I’m not 100% sure how Zanverse multipliers work, please correct me on this if I’m wrong).

To clarify, this is not a flat 120% as people have been saying. The patch notes only say it’ll no longer be affected by skills or potentials, which means that resistances should still apply. As such, it’ll still be terrible against Dark Falz Elder and deal bonus damage to wind-weak enemies like Escafalz Mother.

TPS Sniping is Dead.

There’s going to be a maximum range placed on the techs used for TPS sniping objects across the map, including Rafoie, Grants, Sazan, Razan, Ilbarta and Sabarta. This means that you won’t be able to depend on Forces to be able to take out Darker Towers from across the map in Mining Base Defense quests, nor will you be able to snipe the jellyfish in the Vegas field. This also impacts Time-Attack strategies that depended on you being able to hit switches from a long distance.

Graptor and Banish Trickery may be Dead

Both Vol Graptor and Banish Arrow are getting nerfed, which affects a number of off-meta or niche builds such as TeBr and FoBr.

For Hunters, they’re buffing every single Partizan PA (aside Graptor of course) so it might work out that the old Graptor-Zenith and other combos will be just as good as they are now.

Similarly, a few Bullet Bow PAs are getting buffed, but curiously Sharp Bomber 0 is getting a slight nerf by increasing its cost. Given it’s Bullet-Bow’s only practical mobbing solution I’m not sure why they felt the need to do this. They also buffed Gravity Point in every way apart from the way it’s actually useful (the suction power is unchanged).

Chain Trickery may be Dead

They’re nerfing Chain Trigger by reducing its power. In the same update, they’ll be making Chain Finish stronger but making it main-class only and only affected by Twin Machineguns dealing Striking or Ranged damage. However, even with both Trigger and Finish it’ll still be weaker overall than it is now.

Chain’s duration is increased and cooldown decreased while Chain Finish will remain 2s.

Clearly they’re trying to make it so that Chain is primarily a Gunner thing again and not a tool of niche combos such as GuFo, FoGu, the classic BrGu and of course SuGu. The death of variety here is a bit sad, honestly, because really the worst issue was with Chain Maron but I guess it does make designing encounters difficult when you have odd combos that can kill bosses that quickly in general.

Overall, the off-class combos suffer while Gunner itself will have easier to apply chains that it can apply more often even if they’re overall weaker. Interested to see how this works out for Gunners in the end, because while this is going to affect the most bursty combos in the game right now the likes of Satellite Aim into Infinite Fire 0 should still be pretty solid.

Weak Bullet Standardized

Weak Bullet will now be a 120% modifier to the target hitbox and the Weak-Bullet “jamming”  mechanic will be removed from the game.

To compensate a bit for this, Weak Bullet’s cooldown will be reduced and the maximum number of bullets loaded increased. So while it’s weaker overall, you’ll be able to apply it more often.

They’re reducing the HP of a number of classic raid bosses from Super Hard and below while Magatsu will have its HP reduced across the board. They’re also increasing the amount of time that Esca Falz Mother spends in her downed state.

Weak Hit Advance Changes

They’re changing how Weak Hit Advance works on Weak-bulleted targets. Instead of running off the modified hit-box resistance value it’ll always apply to a hit-box with Weak Bullet on it.

So really, this is an overall buff to Weak Hit Advance as you’ll no longer have issues with Weak Bullet not bringing a hitbox’s weakness to the threshold where Weak Hit Advance counts (1.2x if I recall correctly). For example, right now if you apply a jammed Weak Bullet to a 0.9x hitbox, it’ll only turn it into a 1.08 which won’t allow Weak Hit Advance to work.

This leaves the likes of Gu/Ra and Br/Ra largely unchanged.

To clarify in case there’s confusion, Sega added an ammendment to the patch notes because the old wording implied that Weak Hit would only apply to Weak-Bulleted targets which would have been a terrible nerf to Rifles and x/Ra builds.

Force and Techer Tree Rework

They plan to compress a number of the skills on both classes skill trees, with the main focus being on element masteries.

They’re going to adjust the values for Mastery 1 lv1-10 and the same to Mastery 2 while also reducing their caps to lv5. So you’ll need 15 SP per element instead of 20, which should free up a few points but it still won’t allow you to make an effective all-element build for Force.

Techers additionally have had the numbers and caps changed for Wand Lovers, Reactor and Element. Wand Lovers new cap will be lv5 while Reactor and Element will be 1. Additionally, the skill caps for Shifta Advance, Deband Advance, Shifta Critical and Shifta Advance have has their caps reduced to 5 (and numbers adjusted accordingly). Likewise, the requirements for Shifta Critical, Deband Cut, Shifta Strike and Deband Toughness have been reduced from 5 to 3.

This combined with the changes to Zanverse frees up quite a lot of skill points for Techers indeed (up to 43 depending on what your build was!). What they should do with all these spare points I’m not sure… perhaps invest into Light and Dark masteries? I honestly don’t know..

Compound Tech Nerf

Compound Techs will retain all their power (except Zandeon which is getting a buff) but will receive a 2-minute cooldown.

So really this means you won’t be able to just build up compounds and use them nearly back-to-back anymore, as was almost the case with Magical Piece shenanigans in Time Attacks.

Bouncer Will Still Be Average

Non-Weak Element will be buffed a bit. That’s it. Also Gran Wave is buffed.

They’re Still Trying To Make Guard Stance Good

Guard Stance Advance will have its power and duration boosted. Much like with other changes the potential impact of this really depends on the numbers. Fury Stance offers 1.2 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.10 (1.4553) in terms of power right now all the time. Guard Stance Advance offers 1.2 for 10 seconds after a successful Just Guard, but of course it has the additional advantage of being way more durable than Fury Stance.

So they can’t really make its power higher than Fury Stance, so I wouldn’t expect a power mod much higher than 1.3.

Note I don’t include Just Attack bonuses because they’re not dependent on stances.

Make Shunka Great Again

A number of Katana Photon Arts are geting buffed.

  • Tskukimi-sazanka, Gekka Zakuro and Fudou Kuchinashi are having their PP costs reduced
  • Hien Tsubaki will generate more gear and do more damage more quickly.
  • Asagiri Rendan has various adjustments as well as dealing more damage
  • Shunka Shunran will deal more damage more quickly.

So yeah, they’re actually buffing Shunka Shunran again. I doubt it’ll be returning to its glory days of Episode 2 (at least I hope not) but it’s still funny that it’s getting buffed in light of its history all the same.

Overall

So in summary;

  • The end of TPS sniping,
  • The end of Zanverse builds
  • The end of quickly building Compound Techs
  • A general nerf to melee Techer and a nerf to Techer casting builds (aside TeFi)
  • A general nerf to x/Gu builds that depended on Chains for heavy burst damage
  • A general nerf to builds that depended on Graptor/Banish for burst damage
  • A general buff to Partizans, Wired Lances and Knuckles
  • A buff to Weak Hit Advance
  • A buff to Katanas overall

Thats quite a few class combos suffering because of one pet!


Miscellaneous

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Just gonna cover a couple of the changes that don’t really fit anywhere else.

Multi-Block Matching

Could this be what I think it is? Is this taking the PVP matchmaking system and applying it to PVE Quests? If so that’s a huge improvement while at the same time one that I’m genuinely surprised they’re offering for a few reasons.

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For one, what does this mean for Premium space? For that matter, how will Expert Block requirements be handled with this? I assume that instead of matchmaking you across all blocks it might just use a select group of blocks instead (for example, all the Extra Hard blocks if you’re currently in an Extra Hard block and all Expert if you’re in an Expert block). Hard to tell at this point as very little information has been revealed about the feature yet.

But yeah, this could solve a lot of issues aside the obvious of it being easier to form a group. For one thing, people AFKing in lobbies won’t be as big a problem and there might be less pressure to go park a spot in a good block well in advance of an Emergency Quest starting to ensure you get a group.

MY INVENTORY: Material Storage

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They’re adding a 2500 slot warehouse that can only store material items. Fucking finally, that’s all I have to say. I hope it’s account shared for convenience!

That’s All!

That’s everything about Episode 5 that they’ve revealed so far. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t exactly blown me away but I also haven’t seen anything I really hate either, just some things I kind of wish they did better with. Mostly I think the enemy designs are just a little too unremarkable and the field they showed really needs something done to it to make it look less bland. The quest itself sounds like it might be fun, but I remain a little sad at the thought of not having any more Arks Quests or Free Fields potentially.

We’re set to learn more about Episode 5 with the 10th PSO2 Station on the 16th of July.

8th PSO2 Station Writeup

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Yeah, I know this post is late, sorry about this. Honestly, I found this broadcast pretty boring to write about. Maybe it being in the shadow of an expansion doesn’t help! Speaking of which, no they didn’t say anything about Episode 5 however they did appear to announce that we’d be getting more information about it on June 10th.

Calling this post a write-up of the broadcast is honestly kind of a misnomer, seeing as the broadcast itself was mostly fluff and the real meat of the presentation was around the upcoming Arks Battle Chronicle event, so this post is mostly going over that.


Update Express

Normally this is where I’d post all the trailers, however Sega has been issuing take-down notices to uploads of footage from streams. Likewise, people caught restreaming have had marks against their accounts. As such, until Sega changes their stance I will no longer be adding trailers to these posts unless Sega uploads them themselves. It sucks, I know, but this is how Sega wants to do things from now on so we’re just gonna have to deal with it.

For now, I’ll share the official upload of the Update Express section of the broadcast which contains all the trailers.

Timecodes:

  • 7:21 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 1
  • 17:15 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 2
  • 24:53 – Arks Battle Chronicle Part 3
  • 35:10 – PSO2es 3rd Anniversary

Surprise trailer was an update Phantom Battleship Yamato raid

It certainly is Yamato with extra attacks. Like with previous updates to raid bosses, I worry the fight will end up a clusterfuck of effects and hitboxes however I’ve been wrong every time to far. The real question is how is the rematch version going to work? Presumably it’ll be like Gracia; requiring 80/80 and restricted to a 4-person MPA with some kind of failure condition.

I’m also pondering how it’s going to handle the old Yamato Collection Files. Will they return? Do we even really need them back? Perhaps some kind of Earth weapon upgrade system will arrive with this update allowing you to say turn your Seiga Sword in for some better version of it.

Finally, I hope that the drop rate of gear with Yamato Factor matches the rates of Escafalz Mother and Deus Esca because it’s currently pathetic. The low rates are why Yamato Factor weapons and units are so expensive which makes creating Ether Factor un-necessarily difficult.


Arks Battle Chronicle

The next major web-panel event; a large multi-stage event spanning a number of different quests. It begins with Episode 1 on June 7th and ends on July 26th. Each quest will be up for a week, with the final part presumably covering the rest of the event.

Like other web-panel events, you earn points which unlock prizes by defeating enemies (this time Bosses) in specified quests. Unlike previous events, however, from the 5th of July boosts earned will apply to both Player and Enemy alike. The higher the points, the more difficult and rewarding the quest gets!

These dates are inferred, incidentally. To the best of my knowledge they’re accurate but don’t hold me to them.

Edit: Just as I finally posted this, the update page came out. Kinda excellent timing, but I’m currently not well enough to go making the necessary fixes. Here’s a raw image of the schedule for now, when I’m better I might go and make a separate post about it or just fix this one:

chronicleschedule.jpg

Event Quest Flow:

From 7th June to 14th June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 1

The first quest in the event features enemies from Episode 1 fields and story quests. This includes Rockbear, Vol and Quartz Dragon, Banthers (of at least one flavor), Purple Sword Easy Man (Persona), Chrome Dragon, a special Falz Arms and Hunar and possibly more!

Quite an intense looking quest, overall. In terms of drops, you have a chance to obtain a Coat Edge weapon camo which you can change the Photon Blade colour on. Coat Edge is a nice looking sword and I know a lot of people have been waiting for it to become a camo for some time. I hope I can get one cause damn I like me some lasersword.

From 14th June to 21st June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 2

The second quest in the event features enemies from Episode 2 fields and story quests. Do battle with Org Blan, Bal Rodos, Decol Malluda, Biol Meduna, Vardha Soma, Blu Ringahda, Theodore, Regias and other council members, Persona (Double Saber), Dark Falz Angel and Apos Dorios!

Somehow seems less intense than the first one, but still it’s nice to see that Apos Dorios finally gets to appear in a quest outside of its own raid. The big prize for this one is a recolour-able camo of Coat Doublis. I’m less fond of this weapon myself, but I know some people like it.

From 21st June to 28th June – Breakthrough Training: Episode 3

You get the idea, enemies from Episode 3 fields and story quests. Face off against Giguru Gunnegam, Bal Rodos (again), Nepto Cassadora and Malludarl, Falka Leopard and Leone, Anga Fundarge and Yuga Darkers, ending on a fight against Dio Hunar and Diabo Igrythys. .

The special prize you can obtain from this one is a mini Anga Fundarge Mag Device, d’aww.

From 28th June to 5th July – Breakthrough Training: Episode 4

Now comes Episode 4. Remember Episode 4? Good times.

Kick various phantoms in the face and challenge Train Ghidoran, Devil Trailers, Vegas Illusia, Laplace’s Demon , Anga Fundarge (cat version) with Drago Deadlion and Gruzoras Drago as well as Adam and Deus Hunas.

For the fourth part of the chronicle, you could obtain a camo for Adam’s Rapier (Alchemic Gene: Tact, Wand and Katana camo).

From 5th July to 9th August – Arks Chronicle: Extra Boost

This is when the aforementioned player and enemy boost starts to apply.  I’m not sure why the event boost applies after the event itself has ended though (it’s scheduled to end on the 26th of July) so there might be some extra details that need clarifying there.

Unknown – Breakthrough Training: ALL EPISODE?

We only really know about this one from the original teaser trailer(which curiously, Sega did not issue a take-down for) for the event. Presumably the final quest, it includes battles against enemies from the entire game to date; including Dark Vibrace, Aratron Tolstoy, AIS Exoda and Magastu Sai, Phantom Darker bosses, and ending on Falz Hunar, Angel and Dio Hunar at once.

No word yet on when this quest will arrive or what special prize might be available from it, though I assume it can drop all of the items mentioned so far.

Xie Exchange Shop

During the event, you’ll be obtaining 5th Anniversary Badges which you can trade in for various items from Xie. Xie will hand some out for clearing her Client Orders but presumably you can obtain some by clearing the Limited Event Quests while they’re up.

Below is a composite image of the shop stitched together from the trailer.

xieArksChronicleShop

Xie’s shop includes cosmetic tickets, Lobby Actions,  a music disk, exchanges for old Weapons Badges (2015, 2016 and 2017 badges) and a number of Parfaits. Interestingly this includes Megaton Parfait, which was unique to Challenge Mode. I guess life is going to get a bit easier for those who want to create a Maron revolver build!

Incidentally, who the heck wants Nero stones anymore? Who is still going for Austere weapons or units? Its not that they’re bad, Austere is still solid at endgame but in light of recent gear and PSCrew’s intent to force you to phase them out in favor of 12* units and 13* NT weapons I’m not sure why anyone would bother investing in them anymore.


Thoughts

Let’s face it, it almost doesn’t matter how good this event is because it exists under the shadow of an expansion. Even if there’s not much hype around Episode 5 and that PSO2 Expansions tend to be rather lackluster, it’s still significant enough to pique interest. People wanna know what it’s all about! I wanna know what it’s all about! We want to see the direction the story is gonna take, the new enemies we’re gonna fight, what the heck the new class is gonna be. Beyond that, what mechanics and gimmicks will they introduce and hopefully not immediately forget about?

As of publishing this post, we’re hopefully now about 2 weeks from getting at least a taste of what Episode 5 will offer, though in some ways the fact they’ve said so little about it when its due for release relatively soon is kind of concerning…

PSO2 Station #7 Writeup

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Not a lot to go over with this one, honestly. Much of it was just going over stuff we’d already seen from the last broadcast with some additional details along with the new roadmap. An oddly dull set of updates, in my opinion.  Episode 4 seems set to go out with a fizzle rather than a bang.

Oh one thing to make clear right at the start is there was no info at all about Episode 5 this time. I expect we’ll get something in the May broadcast.


Trailers

With thanks to Goukezitsu for uploading these as usual.

Deus Esca, Wedding Lobby and more Design Contest winners and Phaleg fight.

Rainy Season 2017, Episode 4 oufits (Kohri and Enga)

PSO2es May Update. Usual guff, new weaponoids (more male ones at that!).

5 Year anniversary project. Cosmetics and Lobby Actions. An Offline event.

Towards the Fu- I mean Arks Battle Chronicle! Plus new Quna concert


Deus Esca: Grasia

In early May, the Deus Esca raid will be getting a follow-up quest which you gain access to after clearing the raid; a rematch against a tougher version of the boss with 3 other players instead of 11. This requires lv80/80 however, so if you haven’t finished levelling up you might want to abuse the boost week while it’s up.

The 4-man version additionally has a quest fail condition; your party must not suffer more than 5 incapacitations total or the quest automatically fails. Sure hope you don’t get lumped with someone who keeps dying…

The trailer doesn’t really reveal any insights into the boss’s mechanics still. We see it doing a sweeping attack that deals in the region of 60K damage so I guess that’s the good old fashioned Raid-wipe attack. Presumably it also has the damage cap like the regular version of the boss, so SuGu won’t be able to cheese it as hard.

While I do hope it is trickier than the regular raid I kinda hope its not too much. This is content that occurs randomly after all, which in my opinion is an inappropriate place to make content that’s too difficult. What’s more is each character’s individual performance and build becomes much more important when there’s fewer characters in the quest, so any badly geared horror story is going to have much more impact than they would in a full raid… All the more motivation to start making friends!

Weapons and Units

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The only thing of note here is confirmation that the difference between Zeinesis and Qliphad weapons is entirely cosmetic. They both have exactly the same stats and presumably will also have the same three potentials. You can even swap Qliphad back to Zeinesis if you prefer the look of it.

  • Zeinesis to Qliphad requires a Zeinesis weapon and 120 Qliphad Fuses.
  • Qliphad to Zeinesis requires a Qliphad weapon.

A kind of one-sided exchange considering the only real difference between the weapons is looks, but I guess they intended Qliphad to be kind of the prestige version of the weapon.

You apparently only get one fuse per clear, mind, which means 120 clears of the raid for one weapon. Kinda nasty, but you might get lucky and have a Qliphad drop from Deus Esca Grasia (Zephytos drops Zeinesis).

I actually didn’t cover the weapon potentials when they were announced, so here’s what we know about them from the Arks Live broadcast a while ago:

  • Boost Affix transfer rate by 10%
  • Recovers party member HP every 30 seconds and boosts party damage
  • Doubles the numeric value of affixes (example: Power 3 becomes 60 S-Atk instead of 30)

So lacking some important details. The stat-boost potential might actually be interesting for some classes if it also boosts the affixes on your units (particularly for Katana Braver).

Units on the other hand do appear to have some differences. Qliphad seem to have slightly lower defense and offer no element resistences unlike Zeinesis. At this point we know absolutely nothing about what the units offer but just be aware it does seem like there may be a functional difference between the two. Unit upgrades require 60 Qliphad fuses per unit as well as a Zeinesis unit.

Deus Esca’s rematch is set to arrive in early May.


Phaleg Side Story

They only really announced a couple of tidbits for this quest. Essentially, the only reward for the fight will be a title for the class you cleared the quest on. So really it’s just a bonus Super-Boss style encounter, which is to say it’s entirely optional. As such, they’re free to make the quest as difficult as they like and it certainly does seem like the quest will be extremely difficult if it lives up to the hype.

The quest disables the use of Scape Dolls and Half Dolls, but it also implements the healing reduction that was present in the Odin quest. This means that all sources of healing will be 20% as effective as normal (that is, a Trimate will only heal 20% of your HP and Monomate a mere 6%). You’ll also need to defeat her in 6 minutes or less.

Its kind of hard to gauge how much damage she does, as the test character is using Guard Stance to muddy the waters a bit but she seems plenty aggressive and possibly deals plenty of damage. This combined with the restrictions on healing does have the potential to make the encounter quite a tough one, though much like the Odin quest this does effectively mean class combos with access to Resta will have a pretty huge advantage. I also suspect Megiverse will be entirely useless.

The footage also reveals that Phaleg is weak to ice, which suggests to me that Ice Force combos are going to be the ones that will find this quest the easiest unless she has some modifier for Tech damage..

Phaleg will have the damage cap fix enabled, which means you will not be able to deal more than 999,999 damage to her per hit. This is an attempt to prevent SuGu from cheesing it, but it also affects BrGu and of course main-class Gunner variants as well as class combos that took advantage of Banish/Graptor. That said, 999,999 damage is still quite a lot and honestly if the likes of the Maron revolver still have trouble taking Phaleg down when they can on-demand deal nearly a million damage I dread to think the issues other class combos are going to have against her…

This fight also lacks an HP bar on the enemy, which for a challenging fight is annoying because you’ll have no idea how close you came each time you fail.

You can do battle with the ARKS favorite anime cliche in early May.


Arks Battle Chronicle

For the 5th Anniversary event we’ll be getting a special quest paying tribute to all of the major content updates along the way.

As well as starring the regular encounters from free fields it’ll also be re-using story mode and emergency quest enemies, with Theodore, Aratron and Dark Vibrace being among the long list of enemies to battle your way through. It also has things like Apos Dorios, which I believe is the first time that boss has ever appeared outside of its raid quest.

There’s quite a lot of hefty looking encounters in this quest, to the point where I wonder if what we’re seeing is actually multiple different quests that are all part of the same event? One for each episode, perhaps?

There’s currently no actual date set on this, but I assume it’s arriving in early June.


The Final Roadmap

…For Episode 4. There’s going to be another when Episode 5 hits.

roadmap.jpg

So yeah, Episode 5 is going to hit in the Summer. Other than that, to quote Bumped:

Current Update

  • 12 Person Raid Boss
  • Added Emergency Quest Rematch
  • Design Contest Scratch
  • Episode 4 Side Story

5th Anniversary Event: Phantasy Star Festa 2017 Online

  • 5th Anniversary Web Event [ARKS BATTLE CHRONICLE]
  • New LIVE Event
  • Boosted Raid Boss & Boosted Raid Boss Rematch
  • Frame Arms and Frame Arms Girl Collaboration
  • Famous Designer Collaboration Scratch
  • Tokyo Field Real Store Collaboration Part 3

So yeah, a kind of bare-bones roadmap overall. The only noteworthy item there that isn’t already covered in this post is the possibility that the boosted raid boss is referring to Phantom Ship Yamato. While this could be the case, I’m kind of curious how the rematch quest would work for that, given it’s a 4-man quest and I imagine the missile section would be quite tricky with 4 people…

That said, data-mining supports the hypothesis that it’s a boosted Yamato, as “PhantomShipEx” does exist in the game’s data. “Ex” is a term reserved for boosted versions of raid-bosses in the past.


Thoughts

Seems like a regular set of content updates as far as I’m concerned. New seasonal quest, new event quest, some story stuff and a new raid. That’s not too bad for 2 months all in all, and yet somehow it feels… lacking.

Is any of it interesting? I can’t say I’m jumping for joy at it all, except for the Arks Battle Chronicle cause that looks fun. I think my lack of excitement is just I don’t care a lot about the Raid in terms of the story. Ardem just was not that interesting an enemy; in fact everything past Escafalz Mother feels tacked on to me. The rewards for the raid are also not terribly interesting on the face of it, but that may change as more details are revealed. As for the fight itself, who knows the fight might be fun and it might still drop a decent amount of cubes or something worthwhile.

It could well be that the game is just starting to feel its age. Maybe it’s getting stale or the developers are getting sick of working on it and we the audience are unknowingly sensitive to this.

Or it could be that I and others got themselves hyped up for Episode 5 and felt a bit let down when nothing was said! In fairness, it makes more sense to wait until the actual fifth anniversary before they say something (indeed, I speculated as such some time ago).

It could also just be that the upcoming stuff just feels too by the numbers. We expect a seasonal quest, we expect a raid boss every few months and an event here and there. That they’re delivering on it is absolutely fine (indeed, preferable) but it’s hard to be excited when there are no surprises. I don’t know, I’m theorycrafting here and probably overthinking it.

PSO2 Station 6 Writeup

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It’s that time again! The 6th PSO2 Station went out earlier and it introduced a bunch of new trailers and some things to discuss. This time around we have new PVP features, Easter 2017, a glimpse of the new raid-boss Deus Esca Zephyros and the final part of the PSU celebration.

Also, say “エピソード4いよいよ完結” in-game before the 29th to get yourself a bunch of voice tickets!

Trailers

Easter 2017. Includes the Easter lobby, weapon and costume design contest winners (including Sadinian Suit for you wannabe Argonians out there) and the final chapter of Episode 4. Curiously does not include any Easter Seasonal quest…

A lot of stuff in this next one. Battle arena update, including new weapons and a skill system. Also a mini Rappy suit, the return of Annette and Jean (with Bruno as a new arrival), new Timed Abilities, Fashion catalogue system, furry themed costumes and the new Raid Boss.

For the final part of the Phantasy Star Universe celebration: Laia, Lumia and Beast face.

So yeah, a few bits to go through. I’ll only go over the stuff I personally feel is interesting to talk about, but as always you can find a full recap over at Bumped.


Battle Arena Update

So the update introduces 3 new weapons and an expansion to the system in the form of skills. So yeah, the mode has barely been out and they’re already adding a brand new system to it…

Yeah I know, that sounds like the most pointless whine and it probably is but I feel like for something competitive like this introducing something that can completely shatter the meta so soon after releasing it just feels wrong to me. That said, the mode as it stands does lack depth, so perhaps the addition of the skill system will go some way to address this… maybe. It’s just it feels like rather than this being an update it instead comes across as they released the mode before it was properly finished and are only now rolling out the rest of the features they wanted for it. Maybe I’m overthinking this, though.

New Weapons

The new weapons this time are Bullet Bow and Jet Boots.

PVPbulletbow

Bullet Bows come with Last Nemesis, which is an attack that takes a very long time to charge but hits very hard when it fires. It also has considerable rage in PvE but it remains to be seen how much of that is kept for the PvP version.

I can’t imagine Last Nemesis really successfully hitting many people in battles unless they’re distracted, because the charge time is so long and well telegraphed that outside of corridors people are going to have plenty of opportunity to either head for cover or attack you while it’s charging up. even in a corridor situation, a Sword user could block it and if the latency is low enough it should be trivial to time your i-frames around the fire time.

That said, one thing to remember about Bullet Bows is their normal attack damage is actually quite high. This makes them a potentially powerful ranged attack which doesn’t even require PP to utilize.

PVPJetboots

Jet Boots are going to be a pretty interesting addition as well. They retain their ability to double-jump, making these the most mobile weapons in the mode so far. It also lets you attack from angles that other weapons currently can’t by allowing you to jump up to areas that are otherwise tricky to access. Effectively they’re gonna be the Genji of this game if that makes any sense to you.

Jetboots come with two Photon Arts: Gran Wave and Strike Gust.

Gran Wave retains its ability to home in on players, though the demo footage suggests it might be tricky to actually land it on people. It could be the demo player was bad at using it but it just seems like it can whiff pretty easily. It also retains its shift action though, which is an absurdly long period of i-frames. This could let you zoom in for an attack then try to use your i-frames to escape. It does not retain its ability to cast Deband, however which would be pretty ridiculous if it could.

Strike Gust shift-action seems like it’s a hard hitter, though it has much smaller range than the likes of Nova Break or Rising Edge. I could maybe see it being used to get a surprise attack from above, but other than that I feel like this PA would be too easy to miss with and might leave you too vulnerable. It does not retain its Shifta effect.

So yeah, the pair of weapons seem like they’ll be interesting additions to the mode at least. Bullet Bows will grant a back-line sniper role that may be more effective than current sniping options and Jetboots seem to suit a more assassin type of playstyle. These are my thoughts of course, it’s hard to tell exactly where these weapons will fit into the meta until people have had the chance to try them.

One downside I can think of is there will be a bigger pool of items that are going to be randomly assigned when you use one of the weapon nodes. This means you’re going to be less likely to get the weapons you want or the ones your team needs than you are currently. This problem will only get worse if they add more weapon in the future (and datamining does suggest there are more to come, including Katana and Launcher if I recall correctly)

PVP Skill System

Either at the start of a Battle or whenever you respawn (it’s not exactly clear) you’ll get the choice between 3 different skills to take. These 3 are randomly chosen out of a pool of 5 different skills, because the game mode needed yet more randomness.

Once you pick a skill, it gets added to your action bar and you can use it a certain number of times. There seems to be no apparent cool-down on these skills.

Protection 

Massively reduces the amount of damage you take for a period of time.

It’s essentially an on-command use of the spawn-room buff you get whenever you re-spawn. It looks like it reduces damage by around 90% which is pretty crazy as it’d allow you to pretty much tank any attack the game currently has including Rising Edge. Might allow Sword users to jump into a pile of enemies without fear to help break a bunkered team in the rainbow emblem spawn area perhaps.

Sprint

Increases your movement speed for a short time.

Straightforward ability. The demo footage uses it to get behind enemy lines quickly which is what I imagine the main use of this skill would end up being. It could also be used as an escape tool, though it might not work that well if the enemy is using ranged attacks (or you’re lagging…). Seems to be a pretty minor buff to movement speed, so I don’t know I’m honestly not sure this skill would have much of an impact generally.

Stun Shot

Fires a fast moving projectile that inflicts a short duration stun on enemies.

If you want to make PVP an un-fun experience a surefire way to do it is to add crowd-control abilities. Stunning a player successfully pretty much turns it into a guaranteed kill if you have a followup attack to use with it. Combine this with lag and this either has the potential to become one of the most frustrating abilities in the mode or one of the most unreliable. It depends on how it interacts with lag, really.

PP Unlimited

Massively reduces the PP consumed by Techs and PAs

I feel like the application of this skill should be obvious. The ability to spam your PA without consequence is kind of major.

Cure

Recovers HP and cures status effects

Effectively quadruples your HP pool. This could be potentially nasty if combined with the relatively high HP that sword grants but naturally the ability to self-heal is a powerful addition to any weapon type.

Thoughts

I have serious concerns about this system for the health of the mode. Now, my concerns in the past have proven needless before (I will never forget my post on Bouncers..) but I honestly think these skills in general will make the mode more frustrating than it is now.

Now you may rightly point out that other PVP games have skills just like this, what’s the issue? I argue the issue lies in the fact that anyone could have any skill. In other PVP games you can tell either by their class or by the character the enemy is using what skills they’re likely to have at their disposal. So you can potentially bait out dangerous skills or anticipate abilities that might be dangerous to you and decide whether you can countermeasure them or just choose not to engage because you’ll likely lose if you do. You can do that in PvP at the moment because you can see the enemy’s weapon which gives you some idea of how you could go about fighting them. Do they have a Sword? If you have One Point it’s not a wise idea to engage unless there’s considerable distance or they’re distracted. Do you have Piercing Shell? You can greatly cripple their survivability! You can make these kinds of decisions when you have some idea of what abilities the enemy is going to have; you can’t with the skill system because it’s completely random.

It’s also an additional level of RNG at the spawn. What happens if one team ends up with a majority of a skill that the other team rolled no effective counters to? For example, the enemies get majority Cure and none of yours do? One team is likely to utterly stomp the other! This could be a real issue as winning a fight early gives you control over the Rainbow Emblem spawning area, which can be very difficult for the losing team to take back. .

I’m not even going to go into the issues that lag could create with these skills…

But as I said, I’m not sure if these skills are assigned at the start of a match only or if they’re rolled every time you die. It’s also probably not going to be as bad as I suggest it is, honestly.

New Battle Coin Items

PVPShopmk2

You can obtain the new Jet Boots and Bullet Bow as weapon camos. You can also obtain Rappy Suit Mini for the princely sum of 100,000 coins!

I should note that being smaller doesn’t reduce the size of your hitbox in this game, however it might make you harder to spot…

All of this will be arriving late April.


Phantasy Star Universe Part 3

So yeah, data-mining was right about Laia and Lumia joining us in the final part of this event. Laia arrives sporting Guardians Formal and wielding her signature weapon “Laia Axe”, which turned out to be a Partizan. Lumia meanwhile is sporting the Guardians Uniform F and is wielding her rod the Viedima, which is a low-tier rod made by GRM (a weapons company in Phantasy Star Universe).

So in the end it seems they decided to create a new face model type for Laia. I was curious how they were gonna handle her beastly features. I’m also quite glad to see Guardians Formal make its way to PSO2 as it’s one of my favorite outfits from the game and it doesn’t look like they went too nuts with the physics on it. As for how it looks, it does seem rather flat like other PSU model ports, but it’s hard to really tell with compressed video.

Beyond that the event will see the revival of a bunch of different Phantasy Star cosmetics, including a lot of the PSP2 outfits we already have and the addition of the default Beast costumes from PSP2:Infinity among other things.

BeastFace

You’ll also be able to get the Beast face model for your character…. if you’re willing to shell out enough cash because they stuck it in the Bonus Scratch. God damn it.

And that’s it for the Phantasy Star Universe event. In the end it was some crossover characters and a large pile of cosmetics. Pretty nifty as I like the characters and some of the oufits, I’m just a little disappointed that we didn’t get any of the bosses like they did for the PSO event.

The final visit from the Guardians of Gurhal will start mid-April and they’ll be around in the lobby until the 7th of June.


Deus Esca Zephyros

The boss whose name just keeps on growing it seems. The (probably) last raid boss of Episode 4 will be arriving in late April.

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Like the Yamato quest, the first part will see the Arks going up against hordes of heavenly Phantom Angel enemies as they climb Yggdrasil. This includes a re-skin of Maxwell’s demons and Kuron’s centaur enemies. All of the minions on the way to Deus Esca seem to be weak to Dark element.

Deus Esca himself however is weak to both Dark and Light which… I don’t understand why we needed yet another Raidboss weak to Light. Guess the Ragrants spam carries on!

It also generally doesn’t appear to hit that hard and no raid-wipe move was demonstrated. It did fire off an attack which did between 1200-2200 damage to anyone it hit, which depending on which stats it scales from could effectively be a raid-wipe but it doesn’t appear to be attached to any mechanics plus you can just move out of the way of it…

Zenesis Weapon Collection

It wouldn’t be a raid-boss post Episode 4 without a weapon collection!

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All we really know about the Zenesis series so far is numbers and what they look like. We know absolutely nothing about the weapon potential.

The weapons come with Ability 3, Deus Factor, Stamina 3 and Spirita 3. It can be assumed that Deus Factor will be +20 S-atk, +10 T-atk, +10 R-Atk, 20 HP and 1 PP based on Yamato and Mother Factors. So S-Atk weapons come with +35 attack and all others come with +25. With that information, we know that Zenesis Sword comes with 1232 S-atk at +0, which makes it ever so slightly stronger than Astra Separ and 51 S-atk weaker than Gix Zangulum. As always it really just comes down to whatever its potential turns out to be.

This Collection Sheet does not come with any eggs, but it does have a 13* Tact. You can obtain a 13* Rappy but only as a drop.

Zenesis Units

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They’re units from a Raid Boss. Even if they’re decent they might as well not exist.

I might be a little bitter about unit drops given that I have yet to get a single Mother unit since its been our and I’ve only ever seen one Invade Unit drop.

Aside its appearance though we know nothing about its stats so who knows maybe they’re rubbish anyway.

14* Weapons

Speaking of items you will never see, Deus will come with 3 brand new 14* weapons; a DoubleSaber, Wand and Tact. Yes, a 14* Tact.

tact

The Tact seems to be Rykros Baton from Phantasy Star Portable 2. It has the special ability to fire un-charged Megids with each swing.

14wand

The Wand seems to be Lavis Cannon. Its special ability seems to be the same as Form Wand in that it can fire shock-waves on each swing.

14dsaber

The Doublesaber however is a mystery. It was initially presumed to be Twin Blaze from Phantasy Star Online but it doesn’t really look very much like it. It’s also unknown what the weapon’s special ability is as they don’t really demonstrate it doing anything unique.


Episode 5 Announced

The teaser at the end of this broadcast actually teased two separate updates; a Chapter EX for Episode 4 and the announcement of Episode 5 in name and vague theme alone.

Phaleg Fight

Phaleg has taken off the training gloves and will be going all out, testing Player-chan for all they’re worth.

The fight seems to play out much like the one we’ve already had with a couple of new moves; a ranged stun combo and a large area-of-effect stomp.

She also seems to pull off a cutscene phoenix-kick attack that nukes the tower platform. It’s not known at this point whether this is a punishment for failing a raid-like mechanic, for running out of time or if she’ll use this move regardless of wether you win or lose because she’s canonically far more powerful than anything else in the current lore (including the player character).

I’m also not entirely sure when this fight is set, because it’s slated as “coming soon”. So this could either be happening before or after Ardem’s defeat, it’s hard to tell at this point.

Episode 5

Here we go, official confirmation that Episode 5 is happening. They didn’t share any details aside some themes however, which are:

  • A new world
  • Resurrection
  • Reincarnation

This has led some to worry that the reincarnation system from PSP2:Infinity might be coming back but I think they’re jumping the gun a bit sharply. For one thing, you could equally argue that the theme of Episode 4 (which was “Reborn”) could have been that as well. If I were to hazard a guess, it has something to do with Profound Darkness doing something to finally break free of the time-loop that Persona and Xiao have had it trapped in for the last 2 years. However with so little information to go on I feel like any speculation is no better than a shot in the dark for now.

A new world does suggest we’re heading to a new planet at least, though it might also be referring to the world we knew but changed in some drastic manner. Or indeed the comment thread on the datamining post is on to something and it turns out we’re re-writing Phantasy Star 3…

We should definitely know more before spring is done, mind, as Episode 5 is due for release some time in the Summer.

5th PSO2 Station Writeup

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The fifth broadcast rolled out just today and only came with 3 trailers. One of the trailers was particularly packed though so there’s a few things to go over in this post that I have opinions about. As always the complete run-down can be found on bumped here.

Trailers

Some collab no one cares about (OK maybe a few do (a lot)…). If you’re only interested in the Emil Head just say ニーア発売おめでとう in chat before March 1st. But yeah, Nier Automata stuff!

Early March Content – NT Grind change, new custom Photon Arts/Techs, the return of Revolucio Files, Skill rings and Battle Arena stuff.

Late March content – The return of Necky, Aura and Orbit files and Class Level 80

Early March Content

NT Grinding Change

NT Grind limits are now additive. That is, if you use a +32 on a +32 item it’ll push the limit to +35 now rather than +33 (+1 from the weapon itself and +2 from the limit on the ingredient item). Not exactly sure about the intricacies of this system, like if it needs the ingredient item to be fully grinded or if it’s just the limits it’s adding up but either way this is a positive change particularly for those who are grinding collection sheets. You’ll no longer have to hold on to every completed Collection File weapon just in case a weapon drops with a higher grind limit.

Photon Art Customisations

Some new Type-0 Photon Arts and Techs are on their way.

Rodeo Drive Type-0

The rush part of the attack will continue as long as you’re holding the button. Letting go results in a slam-dunk attack.

Sakura Endo Type-0

Changes the animation of the 2nd slash to be the last part of Guren Tessen. It also removes the need to charge the attack, so you’ll be able to spam it mid-air which you currently can’t (you have to drop to the ground while it charges up then jump back up again). Because the charge is removed, it may no longer benefit from Average Stance Charge or Weak Stance Charge so be aware of that.

Sacred Skewer Type-0

Turns it into a chargeable attack and hurls the spear directly in front of the user, striking a large number of enemies at once.

It seems like it does decent damage and has good range but it remains to be seen how it’ll compare to the likes of Slide End and most of Sword’s PAs. With Partizans I’m personally left pondering how it’ll synergise with Vol Graptor which I guess depends on if this attack can hit multiple hitboxes of a single target like other piercing Photon Arts can (like End Attract). If it can, this could be potentially interesting against certain bosses.

Ein Raketen Type-0

Lets you place stationary energy blades that deal damage as enemies wander into them. Kinda wierd and probably awkward to apply consistently.

Gigrants Type-0

Amps up the blender part of the attack by extending it into an attack that revs up over time. At the end of the attack, you wield a sword made of light for one powerful over-end style slash.

It’s always hard to gauge power from the test players that they demo these things with, but I wonder if it could beat out Zondeel + Ragrants for mobbing power? Won’t know until it’s released I guess.

Nabarta Type-0

Replaces the ice stream with a shield that consumes a lot of PP over time and deals damage to enemies that wonder into it. If this doesn’t do pulsing damage this feels like a significant downgrade over the regular Nabarta just due to the sheer increase in PP it drains.

Raging Waltz Type-0

Alters the attack so it can home in on any direction instead of just directly ahead.

I’m honestly not sure this will have any greatly appreciable impact on this attack but I’m not well versed in Daggers.

Revolucio Revival

Revolucio weapons will return with significantly relaxed conditions and with an entire year before they time out. They’re meant to serve as a way for players who don’t have +35 13* weapons to obtain them at any time they like as these sheets are not tied to Emergency Quests. Additionally it includes a 13* Wanda egg.

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The old files required 8 different things to farm, the new ones require only 3. However, one of the requirements teased included lv71+ Fang Banther which are not at all trivial to find. Your options are run Super Hard Advance Quests at +11 risk or higher or run the higher floors of the Sylvan Wyverns Extreme Quests.

New Skill Rings

Sanctum and Kuronia will be getting Gathering spots. With these two areas I believe that is every Free Field area to date covered. I’ll go over my thoughts on each of the rings in this section but be aware they are my speculations, we don’t have any solid numbers so it’s hard to judge a number of the rings fully.

R / HP Restorate

Recovers HP while it’s below a certain value. I’ll with-hold judgement until I see the numbers, but it’s interesting that this didn’t end up being an R/Ring which means it could actually stack with Summoner’s HP Restorate skill… Correction, it was mistakenly noted as a left ring. As it’s an R ring it won’t be usable by Summoner main or sub so it can’t stack with the aforementioned skill.

L / Atomizer Lovers

Like Mate Lovers but for Moon, Star and Cosmo Atomizers (if anyone actually buys those). Like Mate Lovers it boosts the speed of use and the amount of HP recovered.

L / Point Weak Bullet

Turns Weak Bullet into Point Assist basically. It lets you apply the Weak Bullet directly to the currently targeted hitbox regardless of obstacles (including other hitboxes). This actually could be pretty useful for Rangers particularly for the more awkward hit-boxes in the game.

 L / Katana Combat Count Up

Not really sure what this one does… Bumped says “Increases the hit counts for Katana Combat” but I don’t know if that means increasing the limit or increasing the number of counted hits per hit, effectively reducing the number of hits you’d need to do in order to hit maximum power with Combat Finish. I assume it’s the latter but I’m not 100% sure. If it is then it’s a pretty nifty ring I guess because it’d make Katana combat slightly burstier and possibly more practical to use on bosses.

R / Flame Tech S Charge

Speeds up the casting time of fire element techs. Not sure what use this ring serves as any build using fire techs would involve Force and Force won’t be able to use this ring.

Battle Arena (PVP)

Get some friends or strangers together and beat the shit out each other for a brand new currency; Battle Coins! We already know a fair amount of how it works from previous streams so I’ll go over that briefly;

  • Up to 12 players are split into 2 teams for a 6v6 match.
  • At the spawn point, you “mine” for a random weapon. This weapon is effectively your class. There are mining nodes in the arena itself if you want to re-roll.
    • Available weapons are Sword, Assault Rifle and Rod.
    • If you’re defeated you’ll have to mine again to get a new weapon.
    • Whenever an Update message occurs, stronger weapons will become available
  • The match is a point attack. The team with the highest score wins
  • Earn points by collecting emblems in the arena and defeating enemy players
    • Enemy emblems may be worth more points than friendly ones!
    • Occasionally an Emblem Fever will occur that spawns rainbow emblems around the map. These are presumably worth the most points.
  • Three different maps with differing gimmicks
    • Except Forest. Forest is boring.
    • Caverns has a rising lava mechanic. Don’t touch the lava! Good general life tip really.
    • Tokyo is also kind of boring in that its mechanic is it has greater verticality.

While you can kill enemy players, the main objective is about getting points, though I’m not sure how effective it might be to just ignore enemy players and go for emblems over just killing enemy players. Dead enemies can’t collect emblems, afterall.

The weapon mining mechanic makes me think of Overwatch’s Mystery Heroes mode and it might suffer from the same faults. It’s likely that of the weapon types available some will be much more effective than others. This could lead to one team getting an effective team composition off the bat and end up snowballing the other side into submission or indeed bad RNG on weapons screwing a side over generally. In the long run this should work out because both teams have the same chance to be screwed by random numbers anyway.

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There is a progression system in PVP in the form of your own personal rank. Shown ranks were D5 and D4. Presumably this means the highest rank is S1. It doesn’t look like your PVP rank does anything beyond bragging rights. When you win a match you gain ARP (Arena Points). In the demo the winner gained 20 ARP while the loser (in what seemed to be a different game) gained 0. It’s unknown if you can actually lose ARP or not. It’s possible they could use your rank data to try to do some rudimentary matchmaking but I’m not certain on that.

You’ll earn Battle Coins whether you win or lose, however. It seems like you might earn slightly more for winning as well as for being the MVP in various areas but other than that the difference is pretty small in the example.

You can also set up private games which you  can protect with a password. It’s unknown how this affects Battle Coins but presumably you won’t be able to rank up in private games.

PVP Prizes

So what do you get for your efforts? A few things it seems with potentially 2 items that might be more interesting for min-maxers and the rest are kind of cosmetic.

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  • Battle Sword (Sword Camo)
  • Battle Rifle (Assault Rifle Camo)
  • Battle Rod (Rod Camo)
  • Rappy Make-Up
  • Vraolet 4-slot
  • Vraolet 6-slot (details below)
  • Arena Booster
  • Lambda Grinder
  • Extreme Pass
  • Other items not shown.

The Vraolets include Phrase Receptor and Sentence Receptor, which presumably allow you to transfer the various Sentence and Phrase affixes you can only obtain with certain Special Ability Factors. Seeing as these factors typically come from temporarily available Collection Files tied to Emergency Quests this could be a decent way of carrying these factors on to future gear.

Arena Boosters are as you can imagine much like Photon and Weaponoid Boosters in that they grant access to new weapon Potentials on certain weapons. The preview does not show a description of the example potential however, so I can’t speculate on if these are going to be worth the effort or not. The example weapon series shown however is the Aura series, whose current potential only applies to bosses so it could be interesting.

Other cosmetics include costumes and lobby actions as well as 12* “Shine Series” units. Most cosmetic items will be temporarily available because I don’t know fuck you that’s why. This includes the weapon camos mentioned earlier.

Battle Scratch

After a battle, victory or defeat, you’ll have the chance to roll for a random item. Among the potential items you could get include boosters for the amount of coins you gain in the next battle as well as a selection of weapon camos. You also have a low chance of obtaining an item that lets you raise the grind limit of an NT weapon by 1.

You get up to three scratches per battle, though presumably only the first one is free. Additional goes will cost you Stargems.

Just a mechanic to encourage you to play more games I guess. Though I suspect players will be walking away with EXP+3000 tickets more often than not.

Late March Content

Lv80 Class Requirements

Nothing new here, it’s really just confirming that you will indeed be required to clear the titles in order to unlock lv80 for a class. This means you’ll only need to do it once per class per account and not for every single character. This means the guide I made on getting your classes ready for the lv80 cap raise is still accurate.

Quest Abandon Penalty

If you abandon a multi-party raid EQ you’ll be locked out from the quest for the remainder of the EQ period. This is pretty clearly meant to be a punishment for people who’ll join an MPA then abandon if the classes and gear they see don’t meet their expectations or if a run is going poorly. This penalty will apply if you disconnect, too.

This penalty will only apply to the first person who abandons or disconnects and only if the MPA was at full capacity beforehand. This measure means that anyone remaining who ends up screwed by the fact you’re now down a person can safely abandon the quest to queue up again if need be which is a smart measure.

That said, I feel like this penalty is going to be incredibly annoying for those occasions where the quest bugs out and enemies take far longer to spawn than they should. It does also doom random Magatsu MPAs to excessively long runs should they have the misfortune of having no Weak-Bullet.

More Collection Sheet Revivals

The Orbit and Aura weapon collection files will be returning with some slight changes.

Aura sheets will be up until May 2018 which is over a year, while Orbit weapons will be up until the 24th of May this year. Hey that’s longer than they were around for first time, so if you got some Orbits to finish you’re in luck!

Aura sheets will require you to defeat lv70 Dio Hunars, which makes it possible to clear by just running the Level Up Quests (which will be returning once the event is over), even on Super Hard! They no longer require you to defeat Odin.

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Orbit Sheets seem to be largely unchanged however so they will require you to run the upcoming Necky’s Challenge quest.

Really at this point I don’t know why they don’t just ditch the time outs on these files and just leave them up permanently. I guess it would get awkward for files that are tied to seasonal EQs and EQs that only turn up on rare occasions but then I’d argue that’s an issue with them tying Collection Files to Emergency Quests period.

The Return of Necky’s Challenge

Necky’s Challenge is back, baby! Only this time without Necky as Sierra will be the one talking to you throughout the quest. The developers claim it was a popular quest though the reaction from the community was a fairly mixed one as I remember. Of course I’m only exposed to the English speaking community so who knows maybe it really was well recieved over in Japan.

It’ll have some slight differences however as Esca Darkers will be added to the mix of enemies trying to break the towers down.

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Esca Ragnus is seen latching onto and hugging a tower during the trailer (daww). It looks like it might be spinning a web around it…

The old datamined “PhantomBugLegion” (the phantoom version of Damoth) will be showing up in this quest with the name “Esmoth”.

Dataminers might be slightly disappointed that the unreleased Mining Base Defence didn’t turn out to be another fight with Apprentice (presumably her airborne Mothra mode instead of the one we fight deep underground) but honestly I think that boat has long sailed. Depends on exactly where the story goes after Episode 4 I suppose, speaking of which…

Final Episode 4 Raid: Deus Esca

Yggdrasil! The raid appears to function much like Yamato did where players will be fighting through hordes of regular enemies before squaring off against the boss itself. Unlike Yamato though we’ll be doing this on foot.

I have my worries that this boss will function much the same way as Escafalz Mother did, where we’ll be destroying it’s “arms” (more like heads in this case given it’s a Hydra) which will expose the real weak point which we then wail on before it gets up and repeats the process. This phase far out-stays its welcome with Escafalz Mother unless you have a very burst heavy composition so I’d rather not see a repeat of that.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot you can really ascertain from this footage. Presumably we’ll be getting a demonstration before its release.

Incidentally, data-mining doesn’t really hint at much more than this trailer does. From that, all that’s really known is aside all the storm based attacks displayed here it has some attack involving a horn.

With this raid arriving in late April, it seems Episode 4’s story will be coming to its conclusion fairly soon. With that, one is left pondering where the game may go from here and just how long it’ll be before we have announcements concerning Episode 5…

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Also, segways.

PSO2 4th Station

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The fourth PSO2 Station went out today. With it we got a preview of content coming up in February and March, including information about the new level cap requirements, the solo Profound Darkness, 4-player Multi-Quest, Union weapon exchange and some PVP stuff.

Details of this post may change if I notice anything new or of course if I got anything wrong.

Trailers

Wouldn’t be a proper broadcast without em! With thanks to Goukezitsu for uploading these.

Arks New Year Carnival Part 3

Lots of cosmetic stuff, part 2 of Xie’s shop, Solo EQ, Union gear and 4-man Multi Quest! Kinda curious what the background music might be teasing…

Arks New Year Carnival Part 4

White Day, seasonal Emergency Quest and new cosmetics. Chat up all your husbandos in the lobby!

End of Stream Teaser

Battle arena stuff. Zzz.

Level Cap Info

During the stream they confirmed some details that I talked about in my last post, unfortunately.

Koffie will be getting a new Client Order that will require you have completed your class SP orders (all of them) and have one of your class’s main weapons at +35 (Gunslash presumably doesn’t count), 13* rarity or higher. Summoners will need a pet at lv120.

So yeah, Gheaven was right about most of it unfortunately. They were wrong about the affix requirement at least which is a minor relief in the face of now having to grind out additional Collection Files just to get a +35 weapon for potentially every class and subclass of any alts you might want to level to 80. I need someone to check the wording on the condition, otherwise it sounds like Gunner/Ranger and Force/Techer might have it a little easier than other combinations seeing as they share weapons or if indeed said shared weapons won’t count (Rifle and Talis respectively).

Beyond that, my opinions are much the same as in my speculative post on this. This is going to be a significant bump in the road for new players down the line who will now have to be stuck at lv75 grinding out 21 class cubes just so they can earn permission to level up to 76. The +35 13* requirement might also be awkward down the line unless future collection files will still cater well enough to content under lv80.

Still, they’ve been known to relax these kinds of conditions given enough time so it probably will get better in the future. The whole thing seems needlessly clumsy to me but they kinda engineered themselves into this corner.

Solo Emergency Quest

The solo fight against Double and the Profound Darkness will be arriving early February. With it we’ll be seeing the return of the Ray series Collection Files. You’ll need Ray weapons if you want to be able to exchange for Union weapons.

It’s worth noting that even if you don’t want Union weapons you may want to run this quest just to complete Ray files as its Special Ability Factor is Astral Soul.

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This quest is only available on Extra Hard and requires your Main and Subclass to be Lv75. The enemy is lv80.

You’ll have 20 minutes to clear the quest. While it was fairly obvious they’d reduce the boss’s HP I feel this detail confirms it because I just can’t imagine them expecting you to defeat a boss intended for 12 players in 1/3rd of the time.

Looking through the trailer, it seems like the boss is using the newer AI but it also has the old behavior where it rests its head on the arena. It also seems like its attacks don’t hit nearly as hard as in the full raid on Extra Hard (I believe the fly-by attack deals roughly 1200 damage in the raid, 550 or so in the trailer) though of course it’s hard to tell how the test player’s build is interacting with that. They’re not running Guard Stance at least.

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Xie’s weapons will be getting a 2nd potential which will help you clear the quest more easily. It appears to boost damage dealt and reduce damage received while running this quest, but the numbers are hidden so it’s hard to tell how good this is.

 

Quest Trigger

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They’re going to be adding a Quest Trigger for the solo Emergency Quest for 50 Gold Badges a shot. Not too bad! I guess there’s a use for medals now outside of getting the dance lobby actions.

Union Exchange

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In order to upgrade from a Ray weapon or unit to a Union weapon you’ll need 5 Union Boosters. You’ll get one Union Booster per clear of the solo EQ as well as an additional one for each S-rank.

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When you upgrade, the item will retain all the upgrades you applied to the old item (so element, grind, affixes etc).

It seems Union Sword has 1215  S-Atk, which if true makes it the 4th strongest sword in terms of raw attack power. If it retains the Ray potential this just means that it’s a slightly weaker Astra weapon though it does offer some damage resistance which Astra doesn’t.

4-Man Multiparty

A short romp through all the Ultimate area bosses! Presumably it’ll let you have shots at their gear and affixes should you even want them by this point, though their rates might be even lower than their regular counterparts because…

Enemy Lv75

The enemies in the quest are lv75. I don’t understand why they felt the need to do this. Is it because they don’t want to make the current Ultimate Quests redundant? I mean in many respects they already are so I’m not sure what this decision is for.The exception is for Ultimate Amduscia enemies I guess, which could still drop 12* units and Gix weapons which are still relevant for now. Beyond that though I’m certain they can’t be being too wary that we might get Ares weapons too often!

I’m sure they have a good reason for it and ultimately I don’t think it’ll take too much away from the quest itself. What’s worth noting is that most of the bosses seem to have titles, so it might offset their droprates towards something a bit more reasonable. I’m looking forward to getting a couple friends together to smash some boss’s faces in whatever the case may be.

Scaling Stats

Apparently, if you run the quest by yourself the enemy’s stats will be adjusted. Pretty neat if so because I believe this would make this the first quest with actual scaling in it, which is something I’ve felt the game’s been in need of for years…

Weapon/Unit Pass Change

In the near future, you will no longer be required to have 10-12* weapon passes or 10-11* unit passes in order to be able to buy those items. This has been a long time coming as it’s felt wrong to have most of this gear which has been years out of date to be locked behind a paywall.

The upside is this means it will be easier for new players to get kitted out with 12* items and Affix fodder items wont be restricted to 9* and below anymore. The downside is those of you who converted 12* gear into passes will have potentially lost out.

I’m curious if this means we will be seeing 13* weapon and 12* unit passes soon? It might make +35ing weapons significantly easier for paid users at least though that might make the requirement all the more irritating for free players.

Over for Now!

So that’s it really. The surprise trailer was just showing that Battle Arena will have at least 3 maps with one set in Amduscia’s Cauldron and the other in Tokyo. I was actually hoping they’d at least give some more details about things surrounding the PVP mode (like if any items can be earned).

 

 

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.

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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.