Subterranean Tunnels

With Wednesday’s patch the Subterranean Tunnels, affectionately known as “Mines”, were released.

First, this is what you’ll need to do to unlock the new field.

Unlock Tunnels

Complete Iceberg Free-Field within 20min with an S-rank. You need to have cleared the Free-Field at least once for this quest to show up.

This one can be very tough to solo (pretty much for all the wrong reasons IMO) within the time limit while also scoring an Srank.

Unlock Free Field Tunnels

The usual unlock path. Complete each of the Subterranean Tunnels missions once to unlock Kofi’s next Client Order. She will then require you to complete the last 2 missions (the first ending with protecting Liliputians, the second with Tranmizer) with an S-rank and within 18 minutes for the first, 22 minutes for the second. She also requires you to find 2 items which can drop from any Subterranean Tunnels mission.


About The Tunnels

It continues the colour theme from the Desert, that is to say it is various shades of brown. While the stage is littered with the spoils of previous mining efforts by whatever used to live there the stage itself is much more factory than mines.

Environment + Hazards 

The spikes from the surface are present, as well as cursed turrets from the Urban stages. New threats include laser sensors that can set off traps, spiky things on conveyor belts that seem to have wondered out of a platforming game and explosive purple barrels. The last item in particular is very prone to griefing, as you can deliberately set them off near players to deal a tremendous amount of damage to them. They can also be used to damage enemies and inflict burn on them.

Enemies

I love Gilnatch, they’re just so brilliantly goofy. They’re not at all threatening, but I just like how they go all ambulance mode when nearby machines are in trouble, waddling over to them to throw out heals.

Like any other Free-Field, Dark Ragne can show up as a surprise. Some Gilnatch can be seen panicking on the left.

Signo Beats are not nearly as threatening as their namesakes. While they are able to make holograms of themselves and are capable of dishing out some pretty mean combo damage for much of the time they kind of stand there and take whatever punishment you deal to them. Their illusions are somewhat spoiled when a Code:Attack will point out the real one. An infected Signo Beat will also spawn uninfected illusions.

Overall the stage is much more machine heavy than the planet’s surface, although you will still encounter plenty of Darkers (all insect type).

Bosses

Tranmizer is the new mini-boss. It’s a transforming mech that can switch between bipedal mode, which is primarily melee and a more vehicular form which is all ranged attacks. Not really fought it enough times to get a feel for its abilities, but it certainly is durable for a miniboss. As a Hunter, it can be quite annoying chasing it around while it’s firing its machineguns.

Big Varder is so far the most satisfying boss to fight, but certainly not the most challenging boss by any measure. Not at all disappointed by the lack of challenge however, as the boss is fun enough to make up for it. Unlike Vol Dragon and Ragne, breaking parts of this boss can change the flow of the battle considerably as it will remove abilities at his disposal. This is the kind of boss battle I want to see more of, because I think it’s a very good thing when players can directly manipulate the boss in some way. Here’s a video of the encounter by XtremeStarfox.

Of course, with Vol Dragon breaking his tail can prevent him using certain moves if you’re quick enough. With Dark Ragne breaking his legs will stun him for a short while. But in both those cases the boss quickly recovers and can carry on as if nothing happened, which isn’t the case with Varder and Banther/Banshee. Unfortunately, enough about the Banther fight ruins the fun of that fight, but that isn’t for this blog post. Just showing appreciation for mechanics like this.


Towards The Future

You may have noticed that PSO2 has had an awful lot of maintenance periods during its time so far (a pattern that seems to be set to continue for a while it seems). Well because of this, people who have bought premium time will be compensated in some manner, although what that will actually turn out to be has yet to be seen.

An always helpful translation by Ricardo here of an interview with Sakai concerning future content. Among this is the winner of the character creation contest held a while back will be being added in August, so we’ll finally see MW in the lobbies. I wonder how that 3D print awarded to one of the runner-ups came out..

Also mentioned were named bosses. You may have seen a couple in-game before (any boss with extra kanji at the front of their names), well it seems more may be on their way. I’m somewhat hopeful that further named bosses will actually properly scale up to multi-parties, especially if they’re going to scale the trash mobs around them as well. 12-man parties are great and all, but it would be nice if occasionally things popped up that were an actual threat to the whole party (without being too ridiculous, remember that 12-mans are almost exclusively PUGs atm).

Wondering what he means by “content that any level can play”? The only thing that springs to mind would be a type of mission where the monsters scale to the highest or lowest level party member or something. As with many things Sakai likes to say though, I suspect it will be a few months before we hear about that again.

Where Is PSO2 Going

Well at this current moment in time it isn’t going anywhere. Recently however the first long-term schedule for the game was posted up on the official site and then promptly translated by Ricardo at Bumped here.

This post will be mostly sharing my thoughts on upcoming content.


July Update

Naturally the most exciting thing is a boss by the name of Big Varder (known as Big Barder), a BATTLESHIP that transforms when you hop onto its deck. I mean, look at that thing, just look at it. It has stairs.

Looking forward to seeing how this boss pans out, the scale alone looks fantastic.  Mind, I wonder if it will spawn randomly in areas like other bosses do? Given the apparent size of the thing I’m not certain it’d be able to, particularly as the area it would spawn in (Subterranean Tunnels, or Mines) doesn’t appear to have wide open areas for it. To be fair, we’ve not been shown an awful lot of it yet.


New Area: DRAGONLAND?

The particular bullet point I’m referring to is:

Mid Scale Update: Soaring Crystal Dragon

Going by the name and the fact at by then Amduscia would be the only planet without a 2nd area I’m going to guess this is “Dragonland”.

Dragonland is an internal name in the client, referring to an unreleased area of the game. Suspicions are strong that this will turn out to be set on the floating islands on Amduscia. There are, as of yet, no images of this upcoming area. You can see the islands from the Camp Ship, however.

Incidentally, this update will require a more substantial patch than other updates so far,  as it will be adding content that is not yet present in the client.

The summer update is also set to add a new costume, the “Summer Yukata”, pictured below.


Level Cap Raised to 50

The level cap won’t be raised until some time in Autumn. Note that two areas will have been added before this, meaning there’s a fair amount of 30-40 content to come. Incidentally, as predicted, Very Hard could well begin at lv40. I imagine this difficulty level will cover lv40-80 if they go by PSO’s standards, with Ultimate unlocking at lv80. More difficulty levels have been spotted in the client beyond the 4th, however….


Towards the Distant Future

Beyond that, new enemies, bosses and fields, the things you’d somewhat expect. “Gigantic boss” is mentioned in the list, which is something I believe Sakai said they were going to implement for Multi-Party areas (bottom of this post). Could this be the beginning of PSO2 raiding? Probably not, but I am eager to see what it’ll turn out to be.

[Sources: Bumped, 4gamer, PSO2 Uploader]

Video Roundup: 2nd Alpha Test

A collection of various videos I thought were worth sharing. Throughout the tests, there was a LOT of video footage of gameplay that was uploaded and I expect there will be more to come. Many of them are literally hours long however, which is not something I’d want to link someone to if theyre thinking of checking out the game. Because of this I will be restricting this post to smaller videos, in particular ones which show off smaller aspects of the game rather than a complete playthrough of an area.


Class Gameplay

First, have some videos that demonstrate the gameplay of the three classes.

Hunter
HUcast gameplay. This is a multi-party area in which there are 2 * 3-man parties joined together. A “PSE Burst” happened during the run, which greatly increased both the spawn rate of the enemies and their droprate.

Ranger
RAcast gameplay. This video is also in a multi-party area, but unlike the previous one it’s a random multi party as opposed to pre-arranged.

Force
FOmar gameplay. The player is teleported into a cage by an interrupt event, “Code: Rescue”. In it, the kidnapped player and the rest of the party must attack the cage in order to free them. The event fails if the player dies.



Boss encounter videos

As the title suggests, here are videos of all the boss encounters in the 2nd alpha tests. Incidentally, whilst these particular videos show the bosses in their arenas, you can encounter them randomly during a run. You can even encounter more than 1 type of boss in the same run, which can lead to fun times.

Rockbears
This boss can hit low level characters for an awful lot of damage, but his attacks are overall pretty easy to read and avoid. Use your dodge move to get out of the way, as this will cause its attacks to miss and make it stumble. Be aware that it won’t stumble if you block its attacks.

Kyatadoran
If you’re playing as a hunter you will find this boss incredibly annoying to fight the first few times. Again, after you learn its attack cues it’s pretty trivial to time your blocks right to avoid most of the damage it can dish out. Its weak points are exposed when it’s in the stretched-out state.

Vol Dragon
The most complicated boss fight in the alpha. Has a large pool of moves at its disposal and 3 different attack phases which it can switch between by burrowing into the ground. Most of his attacks can hit very hard and you’ll have the random lava spouts of the environment to worry about. It has a number of weak points that players can attack (though all of them are covered in its most deadly phase)

[Thanks to Vashyron for the videos]

That’s all for now. If you uploaded some videos you think it’d be helpful for other people to see then feel free to link them to me so I can repost them.


NDA Stuff:

「『PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2』α2テストにおいて撮影された実機動画です。
開発中のため、正式版とは異なる内容であり、今後改良される可能性があります。」

『PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2』公式サイト
http://pso2.jp/

Phantasy Star Online 2 2nd Alpha Test”, since this game is currently under development, the contents may not reflect the final version. Additionally, such contents may be improved upon in the future.

Final Episode of SPECIAL INTERNET PROGRAM

Took few days for them to release it, but here it is in all its dragon smashing glory!

  • The video shows 2 encounters with the Vol Dragon, with the first being in a multi-party area.
  • The dragon spawns in the stage rather than its own arena. It’s treated like an interrupt event, it seems boss battles are “Code: Duel”.
  • We finally get to see the Volcano Caves area in action, which is nice given how the alpha testers who leaked videos seemed to avoid the area entirely.
  • The player is a Caseal throughout the entire video.
  • The pool you jump into on the Camp Ship changes colour depending on the area the quest is in.
  • Lava is still hot.