No Longer the Open Beta!

The official site was updated today with this page, which sheds details on the content that’s coming up upon release.

  • The open beta is scheduled to be over on the 3rd of July, 11:00am JST.
  • The release begins on the 4th of July, 2:00pm JST.

To summarise what’s coming up:

  • New Field: Tundra – The snow-covered areas of Naberius will be added, along with new bosses and monsters, as well as variations of the planet’s natives (reskins).
  • New Bosses: Snow Panther and Snow Banshee (possibly a duo boss), De Malmus and King Yede – King Yede may or may not actually be a boss, while he seems to be big enough to be one, in videos there is no event on screen that suggests he is in fact a boss or mini-boss.
  • 3rd Stage Mag Evolutions. – You can find images of them here. Mags need to be lv100 to evolve to the third stage.
  • Level Cap Raised to 40.
  • Time Attack Quests.
  • 3 New Chapters Of The Story – Venture to the snowy tundras of Naberius, investigate Lilipa’s small furry natives and actually try to talk to the dragon tribe you’ve been slaughtering the members of.
  • Cash Shop Open – Details of how to actually buy Arks Cash should surface when it’s available. The cash shop itself will open for business on July 3rd, 3:00pm JST.

With the cash shop opening, new items will become available to players, including Lisa’s outfit, Xeno’s outfit and Echo’s outfits. As well as the wedding dress and suit displayed below. All costumes are available through Scratch and can’t be bought directly. Sucks, but if you want them you’re either gambling for them or buying them from player shops.

Sega also uploaded a video to YouTube, but most of it is footage you’ve seen before if you’ve watched other videos from them. The Time-Attack Quest footage is however new I believe.

Didn’t think they’d wait too long to roll this out, though I did expect a bit more notice than 2 days!


Towards the Future

Well that’s PSO2’s future set, at least on the Japanese side of things. On the western side of things there is still no word, unfortunately. The @phantasystar Twitter, Sega of America’s official Phantasy Star Twitter account, has gone eerily silent. They only had Phantasy Star Portable 2 left to go through before whatever it was they were gearing up to announce, so seems something might have gone awry there. Of course it feels pretty certain that they were going to be announcing PSO2 in some form, so I am eager to see what they were set to say. Hopefully that silence won’t be permanent.

New Content: Mags and Weapons

Sakai updated the official blog today to post a large number of images of new weapons and Mags. That’s really all there is to say about it, there is no significant new information in the post. As such, this post will be largely just images, so enjoy!


New Mags

First a selection of new images of Mags. You will need to level your Mag beyond 100 in order to get to the stage of evolution these guys are at. Much like PSO, how you raise them will determine what form they take, however their colour simply matches your character’s outfit.


New Weapons

No new weapon types in this selection, alas. There is, however, a new outfit that’s been snuck into this selection: a rather snazzy looking suit. Quite nice looking, isn’t it? I wonder if male Casts will get access to it?

It should be noted that these weapons will not be present in the pre-OBT.


Snow Fields

Among this gallery of new Mags and weapons that Sakai unleashed to the world there are a couple of other things I feel are worth noting.

The above shot, as well as a couple of the weapon shots in the gallery in this post, are the first high-quality shots we’ve seen of the new snow field area.

The snow fields, otherwise known as “Frozen Soil”, are split into two different themes like the other fields released so far. One is an area that looks suspiciously like a re-textured forest and the other is a more of a frozen rocky wasteland.

Have a selection of other shots of the Frozen Soil area.

You can find more high quality screenshots of all of the content in this post from Andriasang here.


Towards the Future

The pre-OBT is scheduled to take place towards the end of this month. We have yet to hear exactly what content will be included in it, or how long it’s going to be or really much of any actual detail to the test itself. Hopefully we’ll be getting a post explaining at least some of this before the actual test.

To finish off the post, some concept artwork of two photon blast creatures.

[Sources: PSBlog, Bumped,  Andriasang, Mewn]

2nd Fan Briefing Videos and Information

This post is gonna be mostly sharing videos captured from the 2nd Fan Briefing just earlier, as well as sharing a little of the information that was revealed.

Thanks to YouTube user XtremeStarfox, aka Vashyron, for uploading these videos.

New Weapons, Mags and Snowy Mountain

This video reveals a number of new weapons, many of which are creature themed. The tradition of monster parts being turned into weapons continues, then. It also shows off various new Mag forms.

The new snowy area of Naberius looks rather suspiciously like they just coloured the forest area white, at least in some areas. It’s not too nonsensical seeing as it’s the same planet but still on first impression comes across as quite lazy. Other areas of the snowy mountain seem different enough.

Two new bosses in the video as well, Mammoth (Malmus? De Malmus? Malmoth?) and Snow Panther. Both of whom, as you’d expect, reside in the new snowy area. Datamining suggests a non-snowy version of the panther exists, so perhaps the forest area will be getting a new miniboss as well. We shall see, I guess.

New Planet: Lilipa

The newest planet to be revealed is the desert world Lilipa. It’s crawling with mad machinery, being invaded by darkers (like everywhere else so far..) and is also inhabited by little rabbity Ewok type things.

Aside the robots that are clearly reskins of Dagans. I’m not really all that opposed to re-skinning as long as the behaviours of the reskins are different enough, which from what we’ve been shown appears to be the case.
We’ve also got the return of what look like Gilchics/Dubchics from PSO but re-imagined.
Also showcased is a new mini-boss, namely Gwanada. Gwanada actually first appeared in the benchmark, where it got shot in the face by a RAcast. It appears to be based on an antlion larva, going in particular by its large mandibles and its penchant for burying itself in the sand.

New Story Content Teasing

This video teases us with upcoming story content. Main thing I can really take away from it, given my lack of Japanese language skill, is that the native lizardmen (aka Dinians) of the volanic planet Amduscia can talk. Well we knew they could talk kind of, or at least they screamed when we killed them in the CBT!


Other Tidbits

  • The closed beta’s lag issues were apparently caused by a faulty network adapter. Fun stuff, but I guess it may mean they don’t have as much to fix as was thought, potentially.
  • The closed beta client was downloaded 147,000 times
  • The test had a total of 131,000 participants, a fair amount more than the 100,000 they were going for. Not bad!
  • There was an average of 61,000 logins per day during the tests. Again pretty darn good.
  • The most amount of simultaneous players at once was 23,500. For reference, the peak during the 2nd Alpha was 23,000. This is pretty good too, given that the CBT had relatively unlimited playing hours.
  • There’s a chance that there might be another test period before the OBT begins. In any case the Open Beta is apparently delayed due to player feedback, but they still want to aim for an early summer release. Good luck to them, I guess.
  • “Time Attack Quests” – Details are nonexistent as of now.
  • The Open Beta will be capped at lv30, as well as granting access to hard mode (lv20 requirement).

You can watch a complete recording of the 2nd Fan Briefing here, uploaded by YouTube user RemiusTheAwesome

Finally, you can find a selection of high-quality screenshots of the new content on 4gamer here and a bunch more on Gpara here.

[Sources: #egs IRC, Vashyron for videos, Bumped]

Mag Features Expanded + New Mission Style: Emergency Quests.

Emergency Quests are one the latest features to be announced for Phantasy Star Online 2. They are not to be confused with Interrupt Events, which are mini-objectives that can occur somewhat randomly during regular and free-field quests. They are quests which can occur randomly throughout the day and are only available for a short period of time. Players will get some sort of message before a server-wide announcement of the emergency is broadcast.

This feature will be available during the closed beta tests and will directly concern themselves with the new city area. This city incidentally is on the Arks Ship, not on any particular planet. This makes me wonder that the only reason Arks would be deployed there would be to deal with emergencies, so it’s possible that the only time we’ll get to see this new area is when an emergency quest is available.

Of course, along with this new area we will get to square-off with a new boss as well, a giant spider like thing which goes by the name of Dark Ragne. Like the Vol Dragon, it can randomly spawn during a mission in the city area as well as residing in its arena.

Of course, I do find myself concerned that the boss may be a lv25-30 encounter still, despite players being capped to lv20. I have no idea how much of a difference that could make, given that they did say there was a rebalance of sorts so even my experience in the previous alpha is not a suitable reference. Hopefully it’s not too severe, or else the boss could be simply too frustrating to fight.


Mag Feature Expansion

So turns out Mags will affect character stats in much the same way as they did in PSO. Mags have the same stats as players, so they can be used to support whatever build you happen to be going for,. I wonder if you can swap out mags mid-mission, essentially switching focus mid-battle. For example, say a boss monster is hitting you especially hard, you could switch to a Mag with defensive stats to give you a boost to survivability.

You will have to raise them, still, but this mechanism hasn’t changed any since it was announced. You still feed your Mag items and equipment and the stats will raise or fall depending on what you give it. Presumably the evolutions of your mag will depend on the stats it has at certain level milestones like in PSO, but this hasn’t been expanded upon.

What also hasn’t been said is what the level cap of a Mag will be during the closed beta, so I wonder if the strength of a Mag could overcome the level gap Dark Ragne could present? Disregard that, I can’t read. The cap will be lv99, which is enough for the Mag to reach its second stage of evolution. I still ponder if having a capped Mag will be enough to overcome any potential level gaps, however.

Finally, as in PSO, you can indeed chain photon blasts together. Doing so will boost the overall power of your blasts.

Can’t wait to start raising your Mags, eh? Well hold up there, bucko, you’re gonna need a license first. You can obtain one after receiving a certain client order. That’s all. I presume the function of the client order will be to introduce players to the concept of Mags or else it seems like a rather un-necessary step.

In PSO, you could trade Mags between players. There has been no word on whether or not you can do this in PSO2, but I rather hope not. I have no issue of Mags being account-bound, essentially making alts easier to raise than your first character, however

[Sources: PSBlog, PSO-World, Bumped]

Famitsu’s Upcoming Beta Content Reveal

So the stream of new information this month continues, this time from Famitsu magazine, showcasing some various upcoming knickknacks in store for the closed beta testers.

Red hot lounging about action! The beta will be including new lobby animations.

Shougai PSO posted a summary of the information in the magazine, which Ricardo of Bumped wrote up an interpretation of here. All of the images in this post are extracted from his scans here.


New Weapons

So there will be 3 new weapon types in the beta, one for each class. Namely Partisans, Launchers and Talises (or however you’re meant to pluralize that).

Partisans are Hunter exclusive weapons. Like swords, they can attack enemies all around the player. What’s the difference? They’re quicker and have a special action named “twirl”. Twirling will speed up your gear. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that means.

Launchers are Ranger exclusive weapons and as the name suggests they launch things which then explode. What you may not have expected is that they’re held like PSU’s Grenade Launchers, not like PSO’s launchers.
I’m honestly surprised by this, because I’d have thought a shoulder-mounted cannon would work much better with a TPS-style camera. Then again, maybe it would have just gotten in the way too much, hm.

Finally, Talisesesesses, a Force exclusive weapon. They’re cards that can be thrown by the player, in the style of PSO’s cards. They can be thrown to remotely cast magic at enemies as well as to remotely cast heals on allies. It can also be thrown into the air to grant Gi-techs a wider area of effect.

These weapons, along with the previously released ones will be the only weapon classes that will be available at the start of PSO2’s release. So there will be 8 different weapon types in total. That’s considerably fewer than PSU’s selection, but then again PSU had an awful lot of redundancies in its weapon selection. Mind, depending on how they handle Partisans in PSO2 they ccould end up making Swords redundant anyway!

Sakai has said that more weapon types could be added in the future. Well we already know that there are a few weapon types hanging about in the client’s data which have yet to be mentioned..But to recap:

  • Swords
  • Wired Lance
  • Partisans
  • Double Sabers
  • Twin Daggers
  • Gunslashes
  • Assault Rifles
  • Launchers
  • Shotguns
  • Rods
  • Talis
  • Wands

The greyed out entries in this list are inferred from datamining efforts, thus are in no way guarenteed to appear in the future.


MAGs and Photon Blasts

Yes, Mags WILL be in the closed beta. Making all your wildest dreams come true, as well as blinding you permanently if the photon blast screenshots released by Famitsu represent how many of the blasts will look.

Many of PSO’s photon blasts were more like PSU’s SUV weapons, bringing down a rain of pain in a short burst. This time around, they will take the form of summonable mythical beasts which will fight alongside you in battle.

Unlike both PSO and PSU, the character will be able to move while their photon blast fires off this time.


Arks Lobby Rebuilt

Finally, the Arks lobby has had a makeover. This time it’s arranged as more of a tower, with the various Arks counters directly above the shopping area, with an elevator in the center to carry players between the two floors. It’s reminiscent of the Laboratory area of PSO Ep2, so says Sakai.

Not sure why they felt the need to change it, but it’s not like I was particularly attached to the lobby the way it was in the Alpha either.

[Sources: Famitsu, Shougai PSO, Bumped]

Wall of Speculation!

So during the PSVita Game Heaven video, revealing the handheld version of PSO2, you may have noticed some shots of a wall covered in concept artwork. Plenty of others noticed this as well, so this post is going to be looking at various thoughts people seem to be having as well as my own ideas.


Shougai made a post about this particular item, speculating that it may be a shield. It certainly does resemble one to a degree, but the character in the picture appears to be holding something in a very non-shield like pose. If it’s presenting how this weapon is meant to be held, that would make it similar to how daggers have been held in PSU and PSO.

It’s a very odd-looking dagger if it is one, however there have been references to daggers found through data mining efforts. No references to shields were found, but the results of data mining the 2nd alpha client may not be entirely relevant still. Personally speaking, seeing as Hunters have tank-like talents that they can unlock on the skill tree I wouldn’t mind seeing some defense-oriented weapons to compliment the build.


Now what could this little fellow be? I think it resembles a Medabot, myself, but of course that’s not what it is. Thoughts in the community seem to be between a type of Mag or a Partner Machine like we saw in PSU. This one is up in the air, really, as there’s nothing that’s been said or that’s been data-mined that could hint as to what this could be.

I like the idea of it being an end result of a mag the player has raised, however. It follows you into battle, riding on its hoverboard. When trouble arrives, it hops off its board and converts it into a weapon to help you to carve up your enemies. This would essentially turn it into a fusion between Mags and Partner Machines.


Looks like it’s the same little robot again. Speaking of little robots!


A Mag! This is fairly unambiguous so no real speculation needed.


This image I had to take some liberties with the resizing, given the awkward angle it was shot at in the footage. Using unsharp mask doesn’t really help it, either. Anyway, the two main speculations about what this could be is either a selection of long-bows or double-sabers. My first thought was long-bow, but to reference the data mining efforts again there is no long-bow type, yet. There is direct mention of a double-saber type, however!

Notice how each of the weapons also seems to have a version where they’re joined together and a version where they’re split up? This leads me to believe that they are in fact double-sabers, but also that double-sabers will have 2 attack modes. One where the weapons are joined together and the other where they’re split up to become twin-sabers. It wouldn’t be the first weapon to switch between two attack types, as Gunslashes already do this (melee and ranged mode). If this turns out to be true, it does make me wonder how the two modes will affect the photon arts bound to the weapon.


A selection of what appear to be some kind of ranged weapon. The main speculation I’ve seen is that this is a Launcher of some kind. Launchers were a shoulder-mounted weapon in PSO that fired a piercing projectile through enemies. They were replaced by Laser Cannons in PSU, which serve a similar purpose. Data-mining efforts have found references to a Launcher weapon-type, so chances are pretty good that this is in fact what we’re looking at.


Finally, a selection of spear-type weapons. I would mention data mining again but you don’t even need to mine the client as a partizan-like weapon was being wielded by a HUmarl during one of the PSO2 trailers.

A screencap of the aforementioned partizan-weilding HUmarl.

That’s all I’m sharing speculation on for now, this post has already gotten longer than I intended it to get. So to finish it, here are the unedited shots of the wall of concept art, without having been put through any resizes or filters.

Thanks to Vashyron of PSO-World for these shots.

MAGs, My Room and the Item Lab.

So some feature information has been posted up on the official site, their blog, as well as shared out to a bunch of news sites. Enough to draw conclusions on them? Of course not, and at this stage I’d hardly expect them to given the 2nd alpha is around the corner.

On the subject of that, it seems the application period for the 2nd Alpha Tests will end on the 17th of January 2012.

Mags

So, new features. Well let’s first talk about what’s known about Mags in PSO2. Those who have played PSO will remember Mags, those little followers that would hover over your shoulder, help you out in your time of need and cause all hell to break loose on your enemies if their blast guage had filled up. Also a kind of trash bag you’d shove junk items into. Well we already knew they were on their way back.

A pair of new Mags.

So what new things do we know about Mags? Well you can still use them as a trash can for items as shoving items into their faces (wherever they are) will cause them to grow and eventually evolve into things. They will support the player in some manner. And that’s all that is known about them so far. It’s not a lot, but perhaps enough to ponder that functionally they may be very similar to, if not almost the same as they were in PSO.

My Room

This seems.. familiar

The Arks, like their Guardians counterparts from Phantasy Star Universe, will have their own rooms! The kotatsu in this picture appears to be lifted straight from Phantasy Star Universe but other than that it all looks new enough. Unless that’s the skyline for Parum in the background there but I doubt it somehow. The fact that it’s not a space backdrop is kind of interesting I guess, as I wonder if this means we can move onto the planets? Of course it could just be the Oracle has a simulated atmosphere as well, beats me!
The only other thing to say about the customisable rooms in PSO2 is that this time around a maximum of 12 players can be inside it at once doing.. whatever it is people do in their rooms.
What about partner machinery? Well if your decision on getting PSO2 hinges on having a little girl in your room for you to force feed weapons and make it craft things then I’m afraid you may be disappointed. And also should probably be arrested. While not outright denied so far, there’s been no information on them and I suspect if anything the Mags or some other NPC will take over the function that partner machinery had.

Item Labs

Finally, the last new feature revealed is the “Item Lab”. In it, you can customise and tweak your weapons and armor. So weapon grinding. You can also raise the elemental attributes of a weapon by combining two of the same weapon together, which I’m going to guess will work in a similar fashion as it did in Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity. Although in that game, you needed two matching weapons as well as a fusion ticket, which made things more taxing than they needed to be in my opinion.
You can also take one weapon’s special ability and put it on a different one.
You can find a rundown of the features here at bumped.

I must say I’m somewhat happy that we will be able to have some control over the attributes of our weapons at least. Always seemed incredibly cheap to me how you would end up having to find the same weapon over and over an over (or synth it), which itself was already a low % chance of dropping, to then have it be the correct element and then a high enough % elemental attribute to out do the weapon you already have. That is an awful large number of opportunities for the RNG to screw you!

A Thing!

Get a load of that thing

There’s not a lot to say about this, it’s a new monster (called Kyatadoran as it turns out) and it’s on the volcanic planet Amduscia.

Fansite Kit

Finally, Sega uploaded a fansite kit for you to use to make some kind of site on the internet that likes PSO2 or something. You can get it here.