Arks Live: Questions and Answers

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So there was an information broadcast held today, in which various questions about upcoming content were answered. This is just gonna be a quick and dirty post to go over some of the questions and info sourced from this blog post here. I don’t speak or read Japanese however, so I’m largely depending on Google translate and bits of interpretation here and there. Hopefully I’ve got it accurate enough, though I’m leaving out some questions that got completely mangled by auto translate. Just a heads up though, there might be some inaccuracies.

Edit: Ah Bumped did one over here. They can actually translate rather than depend on a machine so check em out.

Q: Can any 80/80 character join the Deus Esca rematch quest?

A: No, you must have cleared Zephyros first.

Q: How strong is Deus Esca Gracia?

A: Its HP is reduced to about 40% but all damage dealt by players is reduced to around 50%. 

Because its attack power is high, it’d be wise to dodge its attacks. Gracia uses the same attack pattern as Zephyros.

This is a kind of strange approach they’re taking here. By reducing its health to 40% but also halving the damage we do to it its effective health is actually 80%. This is also effectively a buff to Summoner/Gunner and other Chain builds, because the damage cap will still be 999,999 damage but now each point of damage is worth effectively twice as much… I’m not sure they intended to make things even easier for Gunner types in light of the reason they implemented the damage cap in the first place!

So how tricky is this going to end up being? Well the actual fight is using the same attack patterns so it’ll be as difficult as it is now really. The main hangups are going to be at the 5-minute DPS check at the end and whether or not your party manages to not die 5 times. As far as I know, Zephyros has around 10M hp during the DPS check which doesn’t count the dragon heads. It typically takes a minute to kill the heads, so its more like 10M hp over 4 minutes which is 320 seconds. 10M/320/12 = 2600 total DPS per person at an absolute minimum. It’s a pretty low bar but after having seen some Damage Parser results I can guarantee you some people do not meet this bar.

So Gracia has its hp reduced to 40% and damage dealt to it is halved. Let’s say it still takes 1 minute to deal with the dragon heads so its 4M hp over 320 seconds between 4 people. This means your DPS will need to be around 3100 at the absolute minimum. Now of course, seeing as your damage is halved it means your current DPS needs to be higher than 6200. 6200 effective DPS is still a relatively low bar but you could well end up with people who can’t even do 1000 DPS. It’s gonna largely depend on your luck, really, but as long as each of you is doing at least 10K DPS to Zephyros right now you should quite comfortably clear it. For reference, the top players tend to do in the region of 25-35k DPS, depending on build and circumstances, so it might be possible to solo-carry Gracia in extreme cases.  These players make up a really small proportion of the playerbase though, so I wouldn’t count on it!

This rather brings up a design issue with the game if they’re going to start including more content like this; there is no way right now to measure your DPS without the use of tools that Sega has officially come out and said are a bannable offence. So how is a player meant to know if they’re good enough to run this content?

Q: Why was Deus Esca nerfed?

A: It was a balancing failure on our part. The first week clear rate was a mere 50%. 

Q: What was the clear rate difference between Extra Hard block parties and Expert block parties?

A: Expert blocks cleared it four times as often.

That’s pretty shocking! I had heard from people stuck in Extra Hard blocks that the clear rate was low but I had no idea it was that bad! In that respect, it really isn’t a surprise they felt the need to reduce the boss’s HP. This does rather highlight a serious issue with the current state of the game though and that’s the sheer variance in party performance due to just how much your damage scales off your gear. Whatever the reason people have for not upgrading their gear, the effect is dramatic.

Q: Can you get Phaleg’s Partner Card for defeating her?

A: No.

Q: What’s Hagito up to these days?

A: He’s doing charity work.

Q: It seems like the Just-Guard timing on Sword and Katana is different, is this true?

A: No, the timing is the same for both weapon (about 0.3 seconds)

Q: Are there plans to allow us to adjust and scale Units?

A: There are no plans at this time. 

Q: How far in advance is content planned?

A: We typically have a plan for the next 1 and half years. For example, plans were in place for implementing Dark Falz Elder and Kuna’s concert since the game’s release. Earth was also planned fairly early, however Episode 5 was not in the initial plans at all.

Q: There are four races among the ARKS, but are there children born to interracial couples?

A: Sure, why not?


Additional Details

Deus Esca

Disconnection policy still applies to Gracia (leaving or DCing enough could get you banned).

You can retry the quest if you fail, as long as you’re still within the 30 minute window to start the quest (unconfirmed).

Battle Arena Skill Change

It seems the Battle Arena skill “Protection” is getting nerfed. The plan appears to be to to reduce the max number of uses per match to 1 from 2.

Phaleg Battle

You’ll have 7 minutes to defeat her.

All healing effects are reduced by 80%.

The battle ends on death, but skills like Iron Will still work.

Phaleg will be able to gain weapon and element resists like Anga Fundarge, but can only resist one of each at a time.

45th Live Broadcast

sayonara_ichitaro

In hours of the day I’d like to pretend don’t exist, the 45th Broadcast took place. In this post I’ll go over some of the stuff I found interesting and as always you can find a complete summary of things over at Bumped. It was also the last time we will see the likes of Ichitaro. He will be missed.

Some other people are leaving too but who cares about them.

Trailers


Las Vegas Update Part 3: Including seasonal Bingo (boasting a 20SG reward) and the ability to bribe the Profound Darkness to show up… Paid shortcut to Austere weapons eh? Hm. Also includes upgraded versions of Gal Griffon weapons via Collect File and the next part of the story. Och Miller gets her purple demon out for us and Huey shows up more bad-ass than ever.

Due early September.

Las Vegas Update Part 4: Orga Cats shows up along with their mousy friend that no one cares about. The audience flips out over Phaleg’s dress and eyestyle, which no one is going to be able to afford ever. Giliam fucks up again.

Due late September.

 

Long Term Schedule


longterm_autumn2016

Gonna do a rundown and post brief thoughts on the new long-term schedule, at least on what I can comment on. Bullet-point translations taken from Bumped.

Autumn

New Ultimate Quest – Guess.

Episode 4 Chapter 5

More PA & Technic Customizations – The cynic in me is expecting maybe one tech and three Photon Arts much like last time. Still, nice that they’re still planning on doing stuff with this system. 

PA and Skill Balance Adjustments – Interesting. Genuinely curious to see what they’re going to do with this. Maybe Gunner and Bouncer will get the attention they’ve been needing since Episode 3?

Pet Egg Added

Collaboration Interlocking WEB Event – More Bingo! More Dudu christmas! I have no idea what the collaboration might be.

PSU 10th Anniversary Project Part 2 – Was sort of hoping the next event would be PSU themed seeing as PSO got an event. Still kinda glad to hear that there will be more to this, as while what they showed was cool it still felt like it was lacking a certain… something. Also showing Laia and not having Laia there was kinda mean.

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – Franka magically able to move her entire business at will. Either photons or the power of capitalism.

New Team Room

PSU Anniversary

Winter

Episode 4 Chapter 6

New Type Grinding System Expansion – Curious what this could be about. Maybe it’ll include Units?

Appraisal Shop Expansion – Presumably the bulk untekking that people have been wanting for forever. 

Pet Egg Added

12 Player Raid Boss – The tradition of the Christmas raid seems set to continue. Presumably something phantom related, but there’s little in the data to suggest what this could be (unless it’s DPP1 of course). Doubtless it’ll become clearer as the story progresses. 

SG Scratch Volume 2 – :( Hope I got the costume I want before this happens! Then a brand new round of pain and disappointment awaits those that end up wanting something in the next batch. Personally, I hope it sucks!

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

Seasonal Franca’s Cafe – It’s a Christmas miracle. 

Notably no new fields (aside Ultimate) and, honestly not a lot of tangible mew content in general for the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some interesting stuff coming up as I noted, but given it’s meant to cover half a year it just feels a little thin to me. Guess that’s par for the course though. These days I don’t really mind if I run out of things I want to do in PSO2 as I can just play something else meanwhile.

Least the story seems set to move at a good pace.

New Time Attack


The next time attack will be set in Tokyo. Unlike recently released Time Attack Quests this one is not just a kill-fest. Nothing wrong with a straight up kill-fest of course, just wouldn’t be interesting if that was the only new type of Time Attack they did. It releases with the late September update.

Players are instead greeted with something akin to an obstacle course, where they’re going to have to utilize the run-boosters and platforming skills in order to get the shortest time possible. Of course there are enemies to slay along the way and potential mayhem awaits at the end of the quest with Ghidoran, T-54 and a slew of other enemies.

Also unlike recent Time Attacks, enemies do actually give EXP it seems.

While it looks like they put a fair amount of effort into this quest, I’m not really looking forward to doing platforming in PSO2 again. I spent enough time falling off the platforming section in Amduscia (more-so since they buffed running speed!)  to learn that platforming in this game feels stiff and awkward. That said, the run-boosters do standardize your motion so perhaps it won’t suffer from the same pitfalls that regular platforming does. We’ll see when it’s released I guess. Overall, it’s good to see them trying more unusual things out.

In terms of if it’s worth running? That’s going to be impossible to tell until it’s out. As it stands though, it won’t be because getting your weekly Time Attacks done is much more efficient if you just run Harukotan. This doesn’t look like a quest you can clear in a comparable amount of time, so I’m not sure how they’d give incentive for people to run it.

Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary


It’s great to see this game getting some love instead of the original PSO for a change, however much of the meat of it is going to be behind Arks Scratch it appears.

As datamining found earlier, you’ll be able to get Ethan’s Illuminus outfit and Mirei’s dress. Surprises include Kakwane Suit and something from Project CUTE. Seems Ethan and Karen’s original costumes will be getting a revival as well.

Ethan and Karen are set to appear in the lobby as temporary NPCs. You know the drill by now; run their Client Orders and get their Partner Cards. Additionally, you can get Huge Cuter, Daggers of Serafi NT and Crea Doubles as 13* weapons. Datamining suggests at least two of these are obtainable by completing their Client Orders but this hasn’t been said officially.

QUACK.jpg
Kakwane is watching…

So far, that’s it. There is however a part 2 to this on the Long-Term schedule, which hopefully does something a little more interesting. Otherwise for what’s meant to be celebrating the 10 year  anniversary of a previous game in their own series this feels barely more than a generic collaboration. I’d at least like to see Laia or something, though not sure how they’d pull her off with the lack of Beasts as a race. Ear accessory perhaps? Along with some unique face model…

The first part of the Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary will go up on August 31st.

Ultimate Amduscia


 

Yes, they finally revealed it. We first saw snippets of the area in the data way back in February 2015. To give some perspective, this was before Ultimate Lilipa was even out!

It’s due for release sometime in October.

In terms of appearance, it does somewhat fly in the face of recent mining which suggested the area would resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Instead, it seems like it’s set deep underground in crystalline caverns. The color scheme seems to change dynamically which is pretty nice, though its hard to tell how nice the area looks from the low-res video. If it’s anything to go by though, those boulders look horrendous…

Enemies

Amduscia’s native fauna seems to have become crystalline, some even more so than before. The Dinians themselves have been entirely consumed by crystals. They seem to have the trademark aggression of Ultimate enemies, though they seem to be less aggressive than the pre-nerf Naberius ones. Dinians still seem susceptible to being stun-locked to death.

Taken some shots from the trailer to have a look at the various enemies shown. As usual, it’s from a recorded live-stream so the quality is going to be muddy.

madinian
A Dinian that decided that one wand was not enough.
bowdinians_striking_a_pose
A bunch of badass bow-wielding Dinians lookin like theyre about to rain down arrows on the nonbelievers! It’s a shame you don’t see more spawns like this.
STELLAAAA
Ult variant of Sil Dinian, with a pretty nice looking sword.

 

dilandarl

This Dilandarl seems to have asymmetrical arms. Perhaps they can transform, allowing it to have swords or a lasergun or goodness knows what.

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An Ultimate variant of a Pendran

 

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Darker Aberrations show up of course, with Goldrahdas being the most visible in the trailer. You can however see the tell-tale red blades and ground effects of Luda Sorcerer which confirms that an ultimate variant of those will be showing up. Again, it’s too blurry to get a good visual on them from this trailer.

Box Deuxbles

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Finally, we get to see what the heck the “Dragonmizer” might even be. Looks pretty cool, though it seems to lack the transforming ability that Tranmizer does. Not too surprised as er.. flesh and bones don’t really work that way.

I don’t really get its name at all…Aside the “box” part referring to its boxing glove like arms.

Drago Deadlion

dragonlion

True to its name, this Ultimate variant of Dragon Ex has a lion’s mane. It uses much of the same attacks that Dragon Ex does though it doesn’t have the transforming wings anymore, instead it wields a very large lance-like thing which seems to grant it enormous reach. Its sword-stab into the ground now creates a large frontal-cone AoE attack.

Gilzoras Drago

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The ultimate variant of Quartz Dragon and it’s the bling-iest dragon yet. Adourned in gemstones and shards of gold, it’s a fairly shiny creature!

It looks distinctly more like a traditional image of a European dragon than a wyvern, with its sizable fore-arms and long neck. Much like Quartz, it boasts a large number of swooping and laser-based attacks. It seems that its lightning crystal array now fires in front of it in a large area rather than just immediately around it.

So yeah, it seems that much like Ultimate Lilipa that Amduscia will have two bosses instead of one. Unlike Lilipa, I imagine it will have Box Deubles as its mini-boss, though they usually spawn in pairs or triples when that many players are around. Either way, there are three new enemies that are likely to have new Soul affixes, which may mean the long awaited R-Atk+35 PP+3 soul may finally arrive.

Anga Fundarge!?

What if Fang Banther and Anga Fundarge got together and had a baby? Your sick fanfiction fetishes aside, the new variant of Anga boasts a large array of new attacks and is a lot more nimble than its old self.

Anga_Bark

In terms of plot significance, as Anga Fundarge is essentially the harbinger of the Profound Darkness and the vehicle through which it spreads its corruption this could only mean that at some point in the story it’ll become active again. Right now, the Profound Darkness is stuck in a time loop, I believe owing to the influence by Persona and Xion. Perhaps this will be related to certain events speculated upon in the previous data-mining post?

Also have to wonder what it’s going to drop. Ares weapons are a little out-dated now…

So yeah, Ultimate Amduscia looks like it’ll be hectic fun. Aside some enemies that have yet to be revealed, there’s the big question of “how will they incentivise running it?”. Stones like with previous Ultimate Quests seems unlikely with the arrival of Collection Files, but Collection Files are temporary while the stone exchange is permanent…

There’s also the question of who is it aimed at? Is it aimed at players who are loaded up with 13* weapons or is it for anyone? Is it going to introduce the next tier of gear or add yet another stepping stone towards Austere?

For that matter, will some kind of rejuvenation effort happen for the other Ultimate Quests? They kind of need it if they want them to stay at least somewhat relevant.

Also with that revealed, I guess we’re waiting on whatever crazy thing is found in the data next for us to speculate on for the next year and a half! Maybe some Ultimate Harukotan enemies will show up next and then finally appear sometime after Episode 5 is well underway.

44th Broadcast Writeup

ElderRappy

The 44th broadcast happened today so let’s get this opinions machine rolling again.

Bumped has its bullet point write-up here as always. As usual, I’ll generally be sharing my opinions on the stuff I care about as well as a gathering spot for the various videos captured from the stream.

GODZILLA


Las Vegas Update Trailer 1:

Arks League

ArksLeague

Seems to be a new ranking system in which you’re matched up with 19 other players. If you score well within your league, you can earn prizes like Stargem Tickets and Tri-boosters.

It’s nice that at least casual players will stand a hope in hell’s chance of actually competing as opposed to a ship-wide ranking. That said, I’m curious if there’s any matchmaking involved or if it’s just completely random.

SG Scratch Recycle

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So this was finally shown and no surprise it’s a disappointment. For one thing it requires 40 Stargem Scratch items to be exchanged, which is a huge number of items. Secondly, the selection of items you can exchange for doesn’t include every item in the scratch. In particular, you can only exchange for the default variations of the Dark Falz costumes excluding the battle damaged Apprentice costume. So if you want any color variation or that, you’re still at the mercy of RNG.

To illustrate, you will need 3600 Stargems total (80 * 40), which means you need to be earning 21 Stargems per day (153 days until the scratch expires, so 3600/21). If you’re not, you don’t stand a hope of using this exchange unless they get very liberal with Stargems down the line.

As someone who has been wanting these costumes for nearly 4 years, this system continues to be an insult.

Chat Commands

Chat commands to change your facial expression and your fashion preset will be added. Not sure why it took them this long to add these, really.

New story stuff

StoryStuff

Seems we’ll be learning more about “Earth Guides”, the resistance force against Mother Cluster. New Unite E-Trials will appear on Earth featuring members of the Earth Guides battling against Phantoms.

During the events, we meet yet another Mother Cluster Apostle, this time an Apostle of Fire named “Phaleg”. She’s demonstrated to have considerable power, which surprises the player even after the tough enemies they’ve had to deal with in the past. Not sure why we needed another apostle introduced so soon seeing as we’ve barely gotten to know the 5 they introduced all at once last time.

Bikini Scratch

Bikinis

Normally I wouldn’t write about this kinda stuff but it’s interesting because the three costumes on the right are the first conversions of old outfits into the Layered wear system. So it seems they are willing to do this after all, which naturally makes me ponder what other outfits are due for conversion.

Las Vegas Part 2

 

The two main things of note with this update are the new pet and selection of skill rings.

New Pet – Lucari- er Synchro

The main gimmick of this pet is essentially Tech-Arts, in that the pet’s power rises as you combo different PAs together.

Might be interesting, I just personally have no interest in playing Summoner myself so I’ll likely end up sticking to easy-mode Wanda whenever I’m on that alt.

Skill Rings

LV_skillrings

These are the skill rings shown so far (with credit to Bumped for the names).

  • L / Bullet Bow Homing
  • L / JB Elemental Keep
  • L / Standing Sign
  • L / A Launcher Mode
  • L  / Short Mirage
  • L / Wand E Change
  • L / Mate Lovers
  • R / J Reversal Cover

Ranger finally gets some skill rings!

Another Launcher Mode changes Launcher’s basic attack to be like that of PSU Grenade Launcher weapons. Not sure why you’d do that seeing as I’m fairly sure that would make the weapon much more inconenient to use. Standing Sign on the other hand shows an effect when Standing Snipe is active which… why is this even a ring? Sure, it’s useful but this is a basic gameplay feature they’re relegating to something you have to grind for. I genuinely feel bad for Rangers right now unless those rings have some other bonuses.

Bullet Bow Homing sounds like it might change up Bullet Bow gameplay a bit, depends on how accurate it is.

Mate Lovers has a kinky name, but it’s hard to guess exactly what this ring will do. May be use-time, may be boosted heals, may change the animation, it could be all the above and other things I’m too dumb to think of.

Wand Element Change could be potentially interesting, enabling Wand users to get away with just having a single Wand rather than a rainbow selection of them. Kinda sucks for those players who already gathered a rainbow selection, but at least they have a ring-slot freed up.

Rider Quest

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Kill enemies to get points, collect emblems to get bonus points. Try to get as high a score as you can within the time limit!

Enemies will still reward drops and exp, however all drops will be pooled into an end-crystal like with the current Odin Limited Quest and Mining Base Defence. The higher the score, the better your rare drop rate will be.

An emergency trial can occur during the quest which is essentially a giant Independence Day reference. Destroy the UFO’s shields before it annihilates the city!

This is a new type of quest which is separate from the Free Field. I don’t know what kind of limitations there’ll be on it if there are any. There is however at least a Klotho Client Order associated with it, though it only pays out a measly 10,000 Meseta. Sugar daddy letting me down.

Las Vegas Field

 

LasVegas02

Las Vegas will first be appearing in story mode, which is slightly unusual for the release of a field but they did do it before with Kuron in Episode 3.

Aside the verticality of the map, the free field seems to be mechanically identical to the Tokyo field in that enemies are pointed out on the radar and you need to grind out quest points to clear. This may, much like Tokyo, make the field tedious to complete solo due to the smaller spawn sizes. The lower point requirement may ablate this somewhat, I also ponder if the boss may be guaranteed to spawn at a certain point quota as with recent event quests.

The map looks alright enough, albeit embarrassingly low poly in places. The most striking thing is how small it feels while riding around on the Rideroid vehicle. On foot, the map feels spacious enough but in the air it ends up feeling really small. It does also seem like it won’t be using the old map-generation system present in other areas.

Other Trailers

 

Es Update: Starring the new character EDGELord and a badly drawn weaponoid made by someone who has never seen a woman in real life or has no understanding of anatomy at all (Whipblade Paratizel). Some pretty dang nicely drawn ones in there as well.

 

Arks Festival Items: WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB

 

Live Concerts: Featuring Dark Falz Loser as an old woman firing lasers into the Arks Shopping mall.

I’m afraid this was the surprise trailer, so no grand surprises to talk about this time.

 

Question and Answers

 

Once again, thanks to Kami_Pepe on twitter for posting summaries of these. These are interpretations based on machine translation, so please please get in touch if you can provide something more accurate or if I’ve gotten something horribly wrong.

Q:武器迷彩を複数装備できるようになる?
A:元々武器迷彩自体がイレギュラーでしてシステム上難しいので今後も絶対にないです。

Q: Why can’t we have multiple weapon camos at once?

A: The original implementation of the weapon camo system was clumsy, so we can’t do this for now.

This is reminding a bit of the problem they had back in PSU when they wanted to expand the number of Photon Arts a character could learn but couldn’t due how the game was programmed. One day, Sega will learn how to do basic software engineering I’m sure…

Q:一括鑑定できるようにしてくれない?
A:前々から試行錯誤してまして、早くても年末や年明けになりそうです

Q: Is it possible you could allow for bulk weapon appraisal?

A: It’s something we’re currently doing a trial and error approach for, we may have something for the end of the year or early next year.

Nice to hear I guess, though I’m not sure how they’d handle the element portion unless people would be fine having bulk appraised weapons all having the same element. For the most part, I would be anyway.

Q:ラスベガス実装にともなってロケとか行かれたのですか?
A:行ってないですよ Googleストリートビューを元にしました

Q: Did you go to Las Vegas to do research for the new field?

A: No, we just used Google Street View.

Astounding.

43rd Broadcast Thoughts

TEAM_BETHOR

As always, you can read the bullet-point rundown on Bumped here. I’m just gonna be sharing my thoughts on any particular part I feel anything about. So I’m not going to be talking about PSO2es and the additional lolis it’s gaining or the Anime character CD. That said, still quite a lot I want to talk about so strap in and get comfortable if you want to come along for the whole ride.

To start off, here’s a trailer for content coming up in July

Includes a new casino game,  yet more Gunner themed outfits and this year’s Beach Wars quest which sees the return of Emperappy as well as a titled Chrome Dragon as its end-boss.

Casino Coins for Star Gems

What’s that? 1 Star Gem per day isn’t enough for you? Fear not, as you’ll soon be able to buy Star Gems with Casino Coins for the following amounts:

  • 5 Star Gems for 5000CC
  • 10 Star Gems for 9,800CC
  • 20 Star Gems for 19,400CC

So you’ll be able to have a free roll at the Star Gem scratch for the low low price of 77,600 Casino Coins! Who knows, you might even get Casino Coins as a prize from the Scratch! You’re always wanted some of those!

So yeah, fairly obviously this is meant to be a bonus and not so you can use the Casino to gamble your way to victory on the SG scratch. That said, it still feels like a steep price for what it is, but I admit that even I’d be tempted to drop excess coins on it unless some good rare-boss triggers came up.

As an aside, in late July it seems you’ll be getting 1 more Stargem per account per day for simply logging into PSO2es. So they do seem intent on adding extra ways for players to earn gems, so over time the scratch may become more viable for free players. Right now the odds are still stacked against you if you want a particular outfit from the scratch.

 

Final Fantasy 14 Collab Stuff

Miqo’tes, Relic Weapons and more!

Most of the cosmetics stuff looks great and I’m sure this is going to be a popular scratch when it’s out. Again, it’s a bit of a shame there was no female armor among this lot but that would have been a mere cherry on top of a great cake for me.

The Limited Quest

The center of this update is going to be a quest set in the Ruins that’s essentially another all-star dungeon-style quest with set encounters. Featured enemies include Dark Falz Angel, Anga Fundarge and Guar Zigmorde among many others. Odin awaits at the very end of the quest.

Enemy drops are all pooled into a crystal at the end of the quest, much like with the recent Easter quest and the Mining Base Defense quests. That means you must clear the run in order to get any items at all.

Odin

Odin himself works much like he does in FF14, with all his AOE and spear mechanics in place. He also retains his Zantetsuken ability, which is an outright DPS race. If the MPA fails the DPS race and Odin gets to use Zantetsuken at all, the quest immediately fails.

Weakbullet is jammed on Odin, which is fast becoming the standard for PSO2 bosses it seems like. Really if they feel that strongly about Weak Bullet I’m not sure why they don’t just give the skill itself a direct nerf, except perhaps because they’d need to rebalance a bunch of existing content which expects Weakbullet at full strength (such as Magatsu).

Healing effects are also reduced during the fight, which I assume is an attempt to make the encounter feel a bit closer to how it was in Final Fantasy 14. If it’s just using the same method they use for Extreme Quests however the likes of Megiverse and HP-steal weapons shouldn’t be affected. Automate Users may want to be aware, however.

I’m really not a fan of the way this guest is engineered. Because the quest fails when Zantetsuken fires and because items are only handed out for clearing you will lose an entire quest’s worth of drops. Given this is a DPS check right at the end of the quest, for me this seems far too punishing. My worry is if the DPS check is too brutal, then after a short while it’ll be extremely difficult to actually get a run going at all as people furiously check each other’s gear and quit out of panic.

Could you blame people if they did that though? It’s not a short quest, so embarking with a group you know might fail the DPS check is a potential complete waste of your time and boosters! You will gain no items for doing so and you will make no progress with Collection Files either. If the DPS check is brutal, this is a disaster waiting to happen. If it’s forgiving however, it might be alright. The encounter looks fun enough without the DPS check. Yeah, you may argue what’s the point in a DPS check you barely notice as why have the check at all and I actually agree with you! Mostly because I detest DPS checks, however. For PSO2, this normally boils down to “how many people can get away with carrying the entire MPA”, as in how many people with the optimal builds and great gear are needed before the quest isn’t doomed from the start. Or I suppose the inverse question would be “how many people in terrible gear can the DPS check tolerate”?

In short, Sega better be careful about the design of this quest as could create an extremely toxic environment with the wrong numbers.

FF_Odin
Comes complete with FATE JOINED message. FATEs are essentially FFXIV’s equivalent of Emergency Trials, so it’s a nice touch.

Odin will also spawn outside of the quest in regular Free Fields. Not sure if his Zentetsuken remains in-tact and I certainly hope it doesn’t retain its quest-fail mechanic! As someone pointed out on Bumped, it sure would suck to spawn into a map where a random Odin somewhere in the area uses Zentetsuken, resulting in an instant quest fail the moment you warp down there. I mean even if it doesn’t fail, getting randomly one-shot because an Odin across the map got to use the move would still be very irritating.

Weapons

The relic weapons themselves are going to be camos, not drops. There is going to be a weapon collection for this quest however and it’s a new weapon series called the “Aura” series.

aura_weapon

What’s interesting about these weapons is more the implications it has for the game than their power. In terms of attack, they sit about the same level as Revolucio weapons. I judge this based on the Wired Lance shown, which boasts 1350 S-Atk at +35 (after removing affixes). Their latent is entirely focused on bosses however, offering a 12% boost to damage dealt to and a 15% damage reduction from bosses.

As you can imagine, this makes them relatively useless weapons in general but the interesting part of this is that they directly compete with Ideal weapons. In the case of the wired lance, the difference between Ideal Scissors and Aura Wired Lance (can’t interpret its name) is about 142 S-atk. Of course, the Ideal weapon latent is 18% damage to bosses vs Aura’s 12%. So does 142 S-atk cover the difference of about 6% damage? I’m not expert enough in the damage formula to say, but gut feeling says that the two weapons would end up fairly comparable. That fact alone is interesting, because it makes Ideal weapons redundant; at least for as long as this collection file is active (until late August it seems).

While challenge mode has had a bit of an incentive issue for a while now (Ideal weapons are already outclassed by other weapons even for bossing) to have yet another thing come along and erode it even further is kind of sad. Some of my fondest memories of PSO2 come from Challenge Mode…

 

AMERICA – FUCK YEAH

So yeah, they teased the next field and it turns out it’s Las Vegas in the good old USA. I’d joke that PSO2 is finally coming to America but I already did that. So did literally everyone else so… ahem.

Based on the enemies we’d seen in the data, Las Vegas was a strong guess and it turned out that one was correct! Other guesses were just America in general, Paris and Akihabara. I would not have been surprised with any of those outcomes.

Anyway, it’s just as crazy as the Tokyo reveal and I adore it, check out the trailer:

The music is “Neon Days” by a group named Rumblebee, who seemingly previously did music for Sonic Riders.

The chief thing you’re going to notice (besides all the FREEDOM) is that this map has more vertical space than any map released so far. Seeing as the ARKS can’t fly, in order to facilitate this they’ve introduced a chicken-walker style mech called the “Rideroid” that you can use to fly around the map. Vegas also seems to be enormous compared to what we’ve had so far, though that may be a misleading artifact due to the way the trailer was shot.

LV_esca_tower
Notably, but not surprisingly, the Las Vegas field has an ESCA tower just like Tokyo. 

Given the nature of the map, I’m pondering if it might not have the same random generation that all maps have had so far or even any at all. I’m not against this idea, as a properly hand-crafted map would be a refreshing change for PSO2, it’s just this seems like it might be the death of the old style of Free Field quest.

I should say, I don’t think the old style of Free Field quest is perfect by any stretch. I always felt like a free field shouldn’t even have a boss and should instead just be about freely wandering an area til you get bored. The boss arenas should go to a set map like they did with Train Ghidoran’s Arks Quest. In my opinion, the Kuronia and Tokyo fields becoming point grinds was not the right direction to take them as it runs counter to the philosophy of “run at your own pace”, never-mind the really irritating way Tokyo handles its spawns. Hopefully Las Vegas doesn’t handle its spawns in the same way, and with the shift from grinding stones to doing collection sheets there should be no need for a point system.

Enemies

As is tradition, let’s take still shots from the best video we can find and have a look at the enemies and, where possible, try to match them to data-mined names. As is always the case, these are caps taken from a live-stream so the quality of the images is going to be very muddy.

ball_cowskull

Let’s start with the first enemy shown, which is a thing walking on a ball. There is one enemy with AI that has a ball and that’s Phantom Pierrot A. The AI file suggests it also has a knife attack.

That thing in the bottom right seems to be a cow’s skull. While this could be Phantom Buffalo, it seems Buffalo’s AI includes the ability to stomp. I guess a skull could stomp, but these are phantom enemies so for all I know the little guy could suddenly grow a ghost body or something.

Clowns and Jesters

 

By appearance, I would assume this pair of clowns are the two Phantom Pierrot variants. There do seem to be two different enemies here, with the red jester in both of them.

Judging by the AI, however, it seems that both of them are in fact Phantom Pierrot B, as it’s the only one with a chainsaw attack and balloons. Unless one is a rare variant or they decided to split this into two enemies I’m not sure why the two are different colours.

In case you don’t know, a “pierrot” is essentially an old pantomime character which was a kind of sad clown.

Phantom Sniper

I did not expect this to be a rabbit riding the sign for a gun shop, but then who would have? There are two variants of this little guy, one of which  seems to be the sniping variant we see above and the other can fire rockets. We only seem to see the sniping kind in the trailer.

Phantom Biker

Big beards, mullets and leather. Just about everything I wanted out of this enemy.

The AI for this guy is surprisingly complicated, but despite  this there’s only really a couple of methods that stand out. It seems to have dashing attacks as well as the attack it uses in the trailer, which I assume is it’s “drift cutter” ability.

Phantom Caravan

Now, I’m making an educated guess that this enemy is caravan as it aligns with the overall circus theme the map seems to have going for it. Do a Google image search for “Circus Caravan” and you’ll see what I mean.

caravan

It has an attack where it fires something, a “cracker” attack and some slashing attacks. It also may be able to grab the player. It’s possible that it’s using the firing attack during the trailer, where it seems to be shooting balls all over the place.

Phantom Goddess

phantom_goddess

The boss is Lady Liberty riding a Sphinx. I mean, we had various guesses as to what “PhantomGoddess” would turn out to be but I don’t think any of us expected this! It’s dumb as hell and I love it.

Now, PhantomGoddess is one of the earliest datamined enemies for this area and is in fact the source of the speculation that this field would take place in Las Vegas. In particular, she has a number of attacks based on Roulette, attacks involving the Eiffel Tower (seemingly using it as a lance) and of course the Sphinx. These and of course the statue herself were all things present on the Vegas strip, which is where the assumption that the next field may have been Vegas came from. From the AI I’ve seen so far, I don’t see any suggestions as to what status effect it might be weak to however it’s a boss so naturally its AI is long and complicated so I may have missed something. It does appear to have a phase shift at 60% HP.

The rest of the enemies in this section are enemies that are presumed to belong to this field either thematically or because they arrived in the data at around the same time. However, they seemed to be missing from the teaser.

Phantom Maxwell

Has “red shot”, “blue shot” and it may have some self destruction mechanic. Beyond that, I really don’t have a clue what kind of enemy this could be. I just can’t associate “Maxwell” with anything related to the theme of the field and googling so far hasn’t turned up anything.

At least, it didn’t turn up anything for those themes. What it did turn up however was a scientific concept known as “Maxwell’s Demon“. I won’t detail too much, but the important thing is that it’s concerned with violation of thermodynamics by way of separating out hot and cold particles. There was a game based on this concept called “Maxwell’s Maniac” in which the goal was to separate red and blue molecules into color coded chambers. I suspect it’s not a coincidence that this enemy has red and blue shots!

Phantom Laplace

Again, much like Maxwell, “Laplace” as a name just doesn’t ring any bells for the overall themes of “America” and “Circus”.

Laplace does seem to have quite a number of abilities however, including a barrier of some kind, slashing and shooting attacks, the ability to summon things (summons “N” and “B”) and routines to keep track of and to go to its summons. It appears the summons are either Maxwells or it’s just that it has special routines for Maxwells in particular, I’m not sure. The complexity of its AI honestly puts it as a fairly good candidate as a mini-boss or even a boss.

So yeah, evidently Laplace and Maxwell are fairly closely related. So the question is raised, “Does Laplace turn up when I search up scientific stuff?”.Well, it doesn’t turn up in science (outside of the concept of “Laplace pressure”) so much but it does seem to come up a lot in mathematics. In particular, probabilities and statistics.

So we have potentially a  mathematician/scientist theme with Laplace and Maxwell. This seems to be a fairly sharp departure from the overall themes in Las Vegas which makes me ponder if this pair of enemies may actually belong to a future field. Notably, Laplace has some routines specific to story mode.

Notably, Och Miller is a member of Mother Cluster who is a progeny mathematician. So odds seem pretty good that this pair of enemies are related to her.

Phantom Vulture:

Seems to have the ability to stick to targets and may include group-AI abilities. It contains a few grouping methods, but it’s possible that instead of having an enemy with actual flocking behavior it may be.that it’s spawned by a commanding enemy, similar to how Vardha summons Kindidds and Angel summons birds which he subsequently commands to explode.

Phantom “Track”

I guessed a long time ago that there was a good possibility that this would be an american themed field. With that in mind, I figured “track” was meant to be “truck”, especially given we already had a train in Tokyo. Its just “a” in Japanese sounds more like the “uh” sound in how most english speakers would say “Truck”, hence why they might spell it as “track”.

However, I didn’t take into account that roller-coasters were a thing, and seeing the focus on one during the trailer did make me consider the possibility that it’d be a bunch of rollercoaster cars attacking us or something. However looking at the AI it does seem like it is indeed a truck, in particular a circus truck.  Its AI file is big compared to regular enemies, suggesting it may be a mini-boss. It attacks with its “carrier car”, has a “horn bazooka” and can drift. It also has methods “Circus” and “Circus Attack”.

Phantom UFO

Las Vegas is a city in the state of Nevada. Another thing that exists in Nevada is “Area 51”, so yes UFOs are quite thematically appropriate for this field. So while no UFOs showed up in the teaser I’m fairly sure this will be in Vegas.

Phantom UFO has a number of abilities, including multiple laser attacks, a method named “UFOCatch” and a “LittleGrey”. In case you’re unaware, Greys are very much a pop-culture icon in the US and the most common depiction of aliens in that region. Though the greys themselves don’t seem to be separate entities from the UFO,  they do have attacks and theres a few routines for their height as well as “greydown”. Given how a common depiction of flying saucers has them grabbing things with tractor beams  I’m surprised there don’t seem to be any grab or hold attacks.

Phantom Dog

Bark! The AI has a dash attack and a “fire” attack.

Phantom Roach

It has an AI file but it’s completely empty. While it’s true that Goldrahda-type enemies are all labelled “Roach”  as well, it’s likely that in this case it means an actual cockroach. This enemy was only recently added, so there’s a chance this won’t show up in Vegas.

 

 

Questions Corner

 

Much like last time, Twitter user @kami_pepe reposted the summaries of the questions and their answers. Special thanks to Mewn and Espiokaos for help interpreting these. Let me know if theres anything drastically wrong.

Q: How do you know the breast-size of characters for the Arks Report?

A: It’s stored on characters as numerical data, so we just calculate the size based on that!

I’m glad the Japanese are asking the important questions.

Q: Sachiko has moving fingers! Will you be adding finger posing to PSO2 anytime soon?

A: There are no plans to implement this. 

Presumably the main problem is they would have to add finger bones and rigging for every single outfit in PSO2, which would be a massive undertaking for such a relatively minor feature in the grand scheme of things. They’d also have to animate the fingers for most existing animations, which is a fair amount of work in its own right but not as taxing as rigging the 100s of costumes they’ve released. This I’m afraid is just going have to be something you’ll have to hope is present in PSO3 instead, whenever that happens.

Q: Why can’t we trade SG items?

A: There are two reasons for this.

  1. Because if we didn’t, people with multiple accounts would take advantage of it given we distribute SG for free.
  2. SG Scratch is aimed at only a portion of the userbase, so allowing trades would go against our intents.

Their first reason seems a little nonsensical to me. For one thing, you can already do this with FUN points. I mean, I guess FUN Scratch doesn’t typically last for 6 months, nor does it ever contain costumes but it can occasionally contain desirable haircuts, accessories and such, all of which are trad-able.

For the second reason, it’s possible that the system is engineered so that people are meant to log in every day. Letting people trade would mean people would just buy what they wanted instead. If this interpretation is accurate, it’s an irritating reason indeed especially given that right now even if people did log in every day they wouldn’t have nearly enough Star Gems for the amount of attempts they’d need to get what they want.There is of course the possibility that it’s aimed at whales which has its own unfortunate set of implications… Either way, I’m more convinced by their second reason than I am their first one and indeed I feel it explains their motivations for the first. A system that wants you to log in every day would potentially fall apart if you allowed people to trade.

Q: What are we supposed to do with duplicate items from the SG Scratch?

A: We plan to implement a way for you recycle duplicate items at a later date. For now,keep any spare items you have in storage! We’re sorry about this, there’s no excuse for expecting you to hold on to duplicate items. 

So yeah, if you have any duplicate items or just generally SG items you don’t want I guess, hold onto them! I mean goodness knows what the eventual recycling items will end up being, but it’s better to hold on and be disappointed than to destroy your items and regret it later.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what items they’ll introduce into such a recycling shop however. I severely doubt it’ll result in a trade-in for additional Stargems, but hey that’d be appreciated!

Q: Why is there a 120 Casino Coin ticket in the SG Scratch?

A: The scratch will be up for six months, so it’s going to be a long-term thing. As you can get SG for free, you’ll have plenty of time to amass the Star Gems you require.

This is a particularly funky answer as it doesn’t really address the question at all… Assuming interpretations are correct it seems that the intention is for you to take an exceedingly long time to get what you want from the scratch. Unfortunately, as I’ve pointed out many times now, if you’re depending on the login bonuses logging in every day will give you an uncomfortably small shot at getting what you want.

Generally,  I’m not at all satisfied with their answers justifying this terrible system they’ve concocted. However, as said elsewhere in this post, it’s plausible we may gain more ways to get Star Gems at time goes on, which may bring things into the realms of obtainable for dedicated players. As of right now, it doesn’t matter how dedicated you are as even if you used all the currently available methods to get Gems and logged in every day for the whole 6 months, you still basically have a small chance of getting what you want. That alone is criminal, and I hope the Japanese continue to pressure Sega over this system.

 

Ultimate Amduscia!??!?

 

There was no mention of Ultimate Amduscia, but fear not because it definitely is not canned.

As of the latest patch, PSO-World user Shadowth117 was able to piece together this shot by swapping out some of the client’s files with some recently added assets for Ultimate Amduscia.

UldDuscia

As you may recognize, it seems to resemble Caves 3 from PSO. Of course, this is a work that is still heavily in progress and the file-swap may have altered the look of the area in unintentional ways, so this does not represent the final product at all. The little glimpse is appreciated, however.

Another thing that was added which suggests they’re working on it still is a new enemy showed up in the client, named “ult_waker_beast”. “Ult Waker” is the internal name given to Anga Fundarge, which may suggest that Ultimate Amduscia may arrive with a brand new variant. All the data can tell us is that it has a tail, has biting attacks and still uses bits like Anga Fundarge does. “Beast” is normally used to describe creatures similar to Rockbear (such as Wolgahda) but given it has a tail and bites, it may not be or resemble a Rockbear re-model at all.

So yeah, it’s still being worked on. Who knows, we may well be getting a teaser trailer for it in a live broadcast or two! Will be interesting to see what they intend to do with it with the apparent death of the stone grind post Episode 4.

42nd Broadcast Thoughts

Claris_Permanent_Kisama

I’m a little salty! I’m not ashamed to admit that. With that in mind, I’m going to go over some thoughts on some of the things they announced today.

As always, a complete list without wordy opinions can be found on Bumped here. I’m just here for a rant mostly.

Summary

To briefly summarize what’s coming up;

  • Limited Quest set in Sanctum and event in June
  • New story stuff
  • Some new PA customizations (!)
  • Stuff about Es but no one cares about PSO2Es
  • A bunch of new costumes, some new but mostly collaborations and Anime crossovers (collabs from FF14 and Sakura Wars)

That’s kinda it really. They didn’t show off a whole lot of actually new stuff.

Trailers:

 

Stargem Shop and Scratch

This is the source of most of the salt I’ve got and most of the salt I’ve seen from the general community. The star gem shop displays a random selection of items at random prices. I’m not sure how often the items are re-shuffled, but it seems you only get 3 items at any given time. It also seems to re-roll the one item you bought, so you can’t just endlessly buy the same item for the same price.

Items so far include:

  • Triboost 100%
  • Mining Base Defense Trigger
  • Magatsu Trigger?
  • All-Candy Remover
  • Multiple of any of the above?

As the prices are randomized, there’s not much point listing them.

So yeah, they’re adding the ability to essentially buy your way into Emergency Quests, effectively turning them into Guardians Cash quests from PSU in a sense. This probably isn’t that big a deal, but for me it sets a worrying precedent when people can directly buy additional goes at lucrative Emergency Quests.

The_salt_factory

Scratch

The Dark Falz outfits are finally being added to the game! But they’re also locked behind the Star Gem grind as part of the Star Gem scratch. This probably caused me the most salt given I was waiting for these outfits to come out and now I’m not sure I can even reliably get them.

But PSO2Blog, you silly sausage, most outfits are part of a random pool of items you have to pay real money to have a go at. Why is this any different? Well, I will tell you!

The biggest problem is they’re untradable. That’s right, they’re account locked. This means that unlike with Arks Scratch Gold or whatever, if you get something you don’t want you can’t sell it off to someone who may want it! This sucks for everyone, because the people willing to pay don’t get to make any Meseta and the people not willing to pay  more than the Premium subscription fee are going to have a significantly harder time getting the outfits they want.

The rest is sort of a compound issue. First, unless you’re willing to spend cash beyond a premium subscription you will be acquiring Stat Gems very slowly. You’ll be getting them faster than you are now at least, as they’ll be changing the login stamp system to include a 5-Stargem ticket every 5 days. This means effectively you’ll be getting 2 per day if premium or 1 per day if freemium. Given it then costs 80 Stargems per attempt, combined with the fact you’re much more likely to get something you don’t want it’s a pretty shit deal.That’s like, one roll every 80 days for freemium and 40 days for premium players, worst case. That’s just to have a try, mind. Remember, it’s random what you get!

Now, we don’t actually know what the odds are for getting the outfits. It’s hard to tell as we don’t know the complete list of items the scratch will include, just that four of them will be outfits. Accessories will presumably be in judging by the fact that Persona’s mark isn’t forced on and there’s a chance that it may include other tickets like makeup or hair.

Ultimately, if you don’t want the Dark Falz outfits anyway you haven’t lost anything, but this situation is a real kick in the teeth for those who have been waiting for them to be released for some time.

I remember when they said that Star Gems would be restricted to stamina bars and things. Either I made that up or they sure turned on that quick…

 

Web Event

We’re going to the Sanctum this time! To fight all the dragons, or well most of the dragons. Also featuring Banthers because why not. This limited quest is the main focus of this years PSO2 anniversary and is your typical “run around until you max out the quest points” affair, with presumably the recent trend of ending the quest with some big encounter (which this time seems to be Goron Zoran plus another boss).

WebEventQuest

Seems like your general Web Event, complete with limited time Xie orders and Bingo cards. The main difference is this time we’ll also have the winners of the Weapon General Election as supposedly all-class 13*s. There is a rumour however that these weapons are incredibly weak (weaker even than Xie’s weapons), though I’m finding it difficult to find a source. They may still potentially fill in some sub-class weapon gaps (at least while Crafting is falling behind).

 

Boosted Profound Darkness

Double and Profound Darkness will be getting the same treatment that Elder got back in the day it seems. It’s a bit more like Loser’s boosted self for Extra Hard in that the pair of bosses have gained a number of new moves. This will also be lacking the Arks Effect buff present in the current quest.

Seeing as I never got round to posting it, here’s the trailer for it from the 41st broadcast.

While this is cool and all, I feel I need to point out that most of the reason Double and Profound Darkness are so easy in their current form is due to the Arks Effect buff trivializing their attacks. The pair are otherwise the most aggressive and among the hardest hitting bosses in the game. Like if you took the buff away, they’d already be considerably more difficult! I’m sure the additional moves will at least revitalize the quest for some people, though I am concerned that much of the new difficulty may be due to the fact that it’s a sea of particle effects making it difficult to actually mitigate incoming damage. Some attacks also seem like they hit excessively hard, like the chest laser Profound Darkness uses. Seriously, 1800+ damage? Why? Most people are running around with <900HP, even the tankier builds tend to not go over 1500. That level of damage seems excessively high, but it may be what’s required to make the boss remotely challenging to a 12-man MPA. Plus the attack does have a long windup, so it’s probably a lot more fair than the trailer makes it seem. Either way, I look forward to trying it out at least!

This will arrive with a new collection sheet for the “Ray Series” weapons. Not a lot to say about them, other than the fact they seem to have a decent amount of attack power and that I’m not really sure why they felt the need to add a new weapon series for this quest. Ray Sword has 1130 attack on it at +0, which puts it slightly above Seiga Sword and slightly below Sword Revolucio. No details at all on its potential, of course.

 

PA Customizations

THEY_REMEMBERED

They remembered this existed! Don’t panic, I’m sure they’ll forget about it again soon. You can see them in action in the first trailer but I’ll go over them briefly.

Other Cyclone Type Zero

Spin to win, baby! Much like with Twister Fall Zero you can hold the button to spin and spin and spin and spin. What’s more, it doesn’t seem to blow enemies away anymore.

Infinite Fire Type Zero

Remember when Infinite Fire was great? Well I’m not sure if this will bring it back into a usable state as I’m not sure how much additional power it’ll get (the notation shown is 2594% (thanks to this tweet), which is quite a bit higher than its current 1526%) . It does root you in place however, which is pretty risky so it had better be worth it.

Kestral Rampage Type Zero

Consume all your weapon’s Gear Gauge and go fucking apeshit with Dual Blades. It’s nice that they finally got an interesting Photon Art after all this time I guess, though honestly it looks so different to vanilla Kestral Rampage that I’m not sure why they didn’t just make this a new Photon Art. It’s not like Bouncer has too many Photon Arts… That said, it’s nice that they finally got a PA customization at all, though Jet Boots are now somewhat left out.

Type Zero Zonde and Type Zero NaZan

This is an interesting turn up. I did not expect techs to start to receive the same treatment as PA customizations. Zonde ends up being turned into something resembling Sattelite Cannon and NaZan changes into a small amount of damage followed by many small hits as the enemy is trapped in a whirlwind. We’ve seen too little of either tech to make any real assumptions as to what their practical uses are going to be, however.

While these are neat, not sure why it it took so long to have only 6 new customizations added. It still leaves this system dreadfully under-utilized which is a shame, but all the same it’s nice that they added any new ones at all. I wonder how long it will be before they add any more…

 

New Skill Rings

OK, it’s been a while since I posted. My last post was about the skill ring system. Since then, they’ve added 4 Skill Rings and now 2 more are on the horizon. The 4 they added before were AIS Exclusive rings and they were almost completely awful. Now they’re adding two more rings at least, both of which relate to resisting Status Effects.

Now, in my posts about this I voiced concern that their effort would fizzle out on this like it did with PA Customizations. So far, I feel like I’ve been proven pretty correct. The last four rings added literally nothing to the existing classes as they were just for AIS and these new rings will be added without expanding on the gathering system as they use a new event quest exclusive item named “Pure Photon”. Alright, I won’t deny it, my inventory is happy that they’re taking their time adding new gathering items and I’m not really a fan of the gathering system anyway. So my primary concern rests in the lack of new class augmentations that these rings were meant to provide. I mean there’s still nothing for Rangers in the left ring slot!

That said, it’s only been three months. It’s a little soon to be throwing my hands up all “Hah! I knew it was going to go the way of PA Customizations!”. There aren’t any new skill rings on the longterm schedule, but the schedule isn’t actually all-inclusive (as these new rings weren’t on there either). We’ll see! My cynical asshole senses are tingling that’s all.

 

Collaborations

As has been the norm for a long time, the collaborations keep on rolling out. I’m not too fussed mind as Collaborations have produced some genuinely cool outfits and it seems like just about anything fits in PSO2’s setting, so they’re really fairly harmless.

SakuraWars

This time we have Sakura Wars (and also Hagito) and Final Fantasy 14 stuff. Both of which for the most part look generally fantastic, with some great looking weapon camos thrown in for both collabs.

The FF14 selection includes both Miqo’te male and female outfits, as well as the relic outfits and weapons for White Mage, Black Mage, Dark Knight and Pugilist. Not sure on the gender limitations on the last outfits or if they’re Unisex as the trailer didn’t really demonstrate much. Seems like White Mage and Monk are female and Black Mage and Dark Knight male, which is a slight shame as it could have been an opportunity for some cool female armor. That all aside, the FF14 stuff all looks great. They did a fantastic job with this collaboration.

 

Question and Answers

Thanks to twitter user @kami_pepe for re-posting and summarizing the questions and answers during the broadcast I can attempt to post a summary of this section of the broadcast. I am however dependent on Google Translate and Bing so this is really my best interpretation. Let me know if I’m grossly wrong. I won’t re-post anything that gets truly mangled of course.

Q: Why is the post-quest photo-op on the deck of the Yamato after we destroyed it?

A: Cause it’s cool! Also because the photo didn’t fit in the landing craft.

Q: Does breaking the guns on Yamato yield extra drops?

A: No.

Q: What is a summoner’s pet?

A: Artificial life created from Photons. Not to be confused with robots.

Q: What’t the male/female ratio of the development team?

A: About 9:1 male:female.

Q: Are the timelines of PSO2 and the PSO2 Stage Play the same?

A: They’re considered parallel universes.

Q: Will Collection Files come back after they’ve expired?

A: Nope! This will be your only chance to get these weapons via collection files. Once the file expires, it’s gone forever.

I’m tempted to share my thoughts on collection files another time, but suffice to say I’m perplexed by the temporary nature of them. This makes no sense to me, so it’s even more perplexing to hear that they really are a limited-time deal and won’t be available later. 

Q: Is there a plan to add more Ultimate Quests?

A: In the distant future, yes.

Yes there was still no Ultimate Amduscia. Who knows when we’ll see it but this does suggest we will see it at some point at least.

Anyway, this was fun to write. Cheers if you read this far and let me know if I got anything horribly wrong.

 

Towards the Future: 36th Broadcast and Episode 4

Nyauuuuu

The 36th Broadcast has been announced and it’s a whopping 15 hours long. Yeah that\s right, 15 freaking hours. What the shit!?

It starts at 2:00PM and ends at 5:00AM in Japan time. which is ridiculous. Do they really expect their fans to stay awake that long? More to the point the hosts are gonna be shattered themselves, surely? This does however mean that for once I won’t have to lose a night’s sleep just to catch the broadcast live this time! Manta’s created a timezone table here.

Anyway bemusement at the length of the broadcast aside, this post is mostly going to be looking at things they’re announcing and what may or may not turn up at the show. So mostly speculation and pondering over announced and data-mined content.

The broadcast is planned to include the following:

  • Information on November and December content
  • New information about Episode 4
  • Live-playthrough of the Arks GP preliminaries and Mining Base: Demise.
  • Setlist for the Sympathy 2015 concert
  • Phantasy Star Festa 2016 details
  • Developer Q and A
  • Chats with PSO series staff
  • PSO2 Anime news

There’s also a sub-channel but that’s just going to be celebrities streaming.

Main Channel

Sub Channel

It’s Nico, so you’re likely going to want to find some fan re-stream if you want to catch it live. Unless you’re a subscriber in which case you probably have more money than sense anyway. If you can’t catch it live, don’t worry because people will almost certainly upload the more important parts to Youtube and I’ll endeavor to collect information into a post as I normally do.

Stuff No One Cares About

Among the updates are anime and video game collabs. There’s also going to be some new information about the PSO2 anime including characters and zzzzz…

Moving on.

Information on November and December Updates

Notably there doesn’t seem to be much room for actual updates in November. October will be ending with the Dark Falz Double and Profound Darkness Emergency Quest, making it a major month for story content but November just seems to be getting an anime collaboration and perhaps a Limited Quest.

December on the other hand could be more interesting. Among the things we know are arriving are Mining Base Defense 4: Demise, in which we face off against Dark Falz: Apprentice and corrupted AIS in what looks to be the most hectic Mining Base Defense yet. If the Profound Darkness has been defeated before this quest is set in the storyline, the Darkers aren’t going quietly into the night it seems!

Other possible things for December include a new Time Attack Quest and the Extreme Quest expansion. Presumably the Time Attack Quest is set on Harukotan, seeing as it’s the only planet without one at this point. As discussed in a previous post, the Extreme Quest expansion could either be new floors with Extra-Hard level enemies or it could be a Harukotan themed Extreme Quest. It could be both! This carries with it the possibility of a new weapon series, which has a decent chance at being 13* rarity. I’ll be hedging my bets for this in the meanwhile by doing full runs of the quests to save up on stones, but there’s obviously no guarantee that if they do add new weapons that they’ll be worth shooting for, especially as the stones will also used for Austere weapons by then.

Episode 4: Reborn

This is likely on the forefront of the minds of the playerbase right now. With Episode 3 coming to a rather definitive end and the very existence of the Darkers now under question the Arks seem to be going foward without a nemesis. This leaves room for a brand new threat to arise, which leaves me eagerly wondering where they might be taking the game next.

The data we have so far isn’t definitive enough to make any solid predictions either. Right now the only major tidbits we have are the possibility of a new class and the “phantom” enemies.

The phantoms seem to be military themed, with tanks, helicopters and various classes of soldiers among them. This suggests the possibility of a new planet or at least a foe with technology far beyond any enemy encountered so far. Well, any aside Lilipa that is. This leads me to ponder the possibility that the phantoms could be native Lilipans, either returning to the planet or some wibbly-wobbly timey-space stuff happens and in the newly altered timeline they never left. Yeah there’s not really enough information to go on, not even any new planets or areas that the phantoms could belong to. Sadly, planet and area data doesn’t seem to arrive ahead of time anymore. Assuming the phantoms are the new big bad could be like datamining Naberius enemies and determining that the grand threat in Episode 1 was a bunch of monkeys and a giant cat. That said, if it was a separate threat you’d think we’d be seeing the Episode 4 equivalent of “antsoldier” (El Dagan) or something.

As for the new class, it was found a while ago that Episode 4 files contain references to “Summoner” PAs as well as at least one summon-able pet. There isn’t enough data to definitively say that it’s a new class and not a mechanic that’s just available to all players. That said, a Summoner class could conceivably fill in the R-Atk T-Atk hybrid they have yet to add to the game.

As for what they will actually say and show is anyone’s guess. I’m more hopeful for some tidbits that might help with speculation over the details we know, though anything beyond a release date would be nice!

Surprise Trailer

As often is the case with these broadcasts, they drop an unannounced trailer at the end. They don’t always do it, they didn’t last time, but if they do I feel it will almost certainly be a teaser for Ultimate Amduscia. I mean come on, it’s been in the data for a year now. If it’s going to be a thing that happens this side of Episode 4 they’re going to have to announce it soon! Though it could well be post Episode 4 content or not happen at all.

I’m curious to see what ultimate Dragon Ex, Quartz Dragon and Tranmizer-dragon will look like!