The Profound Update

teeheehee

Episode 3’s finale finally arrives with the showdown against Dark Falz: Double and the Profound Darkness.

Progeny of the Apocalypse

Let’s go over the quest briefly. This will not be a breakdown of tactics and mechanics, as its too early to make an exhaustive list of what the boss does to you and you can do to it. So instead it’s going to be more of an overview.

As was stated in promotional material, the quest works just like the “Utterly Profound” quest where players face off against Dark Falz Elder and Dark Falz Loser in succession. It’s slightly more complicated in its cutscenes and one quest directly leads into the other with Double’s arena shattering upon defeating it.

df_double

Double’s attacks are fairly nippy for such a large boss, it’s also invulnerable everywhere apart from its weakspot attached to one of its “legs”. Melee classes might have issues keeping up with the weakspot due to how quickly it can move, where forces should have the easiest time with their tracking attacks. Beyond this, most of its attacks are well telegraphed enough that they shouldn’t really cause a problem for most players. Its wall and sweeping attacks can hit pretty hard, but it lacks a raid-wipe move like Falz Loser.

profound_darkness

Profound Darkness itself has at least 4 phases. Mechanically, there isn’t really a lot to the fight, as it throws attacks at you and you can throw attacks at it as long as it’s next to the arena. There’s no complicated order to things like there is with Dark Falz Loser or arguably even Magatsu. During phase 3 your raid will need to defeat some floating balls it sends into the arena however, as much like Anga’s bits destroying them all will stun the Profound Darkness, allowing you to freely DPS it.

The part of the fight that I thought was the coolest was the part where players are separated into their own spaces and they have to challenge themselves. It’s much more than clone fight however, as your alternative self behaves much more like an enemy with its own unique movesets and abilities. This is seemingly Profound Darkness’s raid-wipe mechanic, as failure to deal enough damage to your alternative self will result in the Profound Darkness dealing massive damage to the entire raid. Once you pass this DPS check the boss is seemingly motionless until you defeat it.

For both parts, Weak Bullet is significantly weaker than it is in the rest of the game. Instead of a 250% damage mod it’s around 120%, which is nice to have but it won’t make or break a multiparty (hooray!), . It really doesn’t matter much, as both bosses have much less HP than the other raid bosses meaning you won’t need to worry about your multiparty failing, especially as they give you an hour to complete it. You’re also given a stacking bonus to your stats (PP regeneration and HP at least) which all but trivialize an already easy but definitely cool fight.

So what does Episode 3’s final boss give you?

Nero/Caligula Rate

For the gear hunter in all of us, this is probably the most interesting part. That is to say it isn’t terribly interesting but whatever.

Judging from posts by players and my own experience with the quest it seems to give roughly 6 Caligula stones on average, with a varying amount of Nero stones (I’ve seen reports of 0-2).

At this rate, it would take at worst around 67 runs worth of Caligula stones in order to obtain a 60% Austere weapon. Given they probably aren’t going to typically do more than 2 rounds per day (more at the moment because they tend to do additional rounds of freshly released emergency quests), but of course this is just taking Caligula into account. Why not count the significantly more scarce Nero? Well let’s talk about that…

Nero stones can drop from any Dark Falz and Dark Falz humanoid. This means Angel, Dourumble,Hunar and Apprentce Doppleganger can all drop them. While this is great, what isn’t known is what the drop rates on them will be. The jury’s out on this one, as people haven’t done enough runs to really establish how good or bad the rate is. It’s assumed however that it only drops in the lv76-80 tier, which does severely limit your options for hunting them. This essentially restricts it to any Extra-Hard Emergency Quest featuring any of the Falzes and Super Hard Advance Quests at +12 risk or more, with Ruins being the one most likely to give you a Falz to fight. Data collected so far suggests the rate isn’t particularly good, which isn’t surprising.

Austere weapons will take a long time to obtain as a result; at least a month assuming you manage to catch every instance of the quest. Those with multiple characters parked on multiple servers with enough friends to assist may get the weapon more quickly if they’re willing to transfer characters to pool their resources. The quest is limited to once per ship, not once per account. That isn’t an approach I recommend, but doubtlessly some of the richer players in more organised teams will be doing this. This isn’t the most unreasonable of grinds they’ve presented to us even if we assume that currently observed rates are the standard.

When you clear the quest you may be given a number telling you which position you came in on your ship. It has absolutely no effect on your drops or your mission rewards, it’s purely for ego stroking and nothing else. It’s OK, we all like a good stroking now and then.

Drops

So what about general drops? An average if running the quest with +250% and +100% boosters seems to be around 30 10*+ items. Pretty decent. It’s a pale shadow of the Excube pinata that is Magatsu but Double and the Profound Darkness can drop a much wider selection of weapons and has the largest pool of 13* weapons to pull from than any enemy in the game.

It seems to be able to drop any Dark Falz 13* weapon as well as significant 11*s from other bosses (including Gran Fol). It can also drop the Invade series weapons, which will significantly reduce the Caligula stone requirement should you get the type you want, it’s just an inventory space waster otherwise. What’s more, the boss can drop Austere weapons, allowing players to potentially skip this item grind entirely.

Invader and Austere Weapons

So you go through the trouble of getting all those materials together, or maybe you’ve got some gear gaps to fill in and Invade weapons look promising, how good are they really?

pdweapons

Invade weapons will only be +10, 60% with no potential if you purchase them from Zieg for 100 Caligula and 100 Excubes. Apparently they have a potential which boosts critical hit rate by 40% at level 3, which isn’t a terribly useful latent for most builds but it could be worse. Essentially if you’re hurting for gear, Invade weapons even with no latent could be an excellent stopgap, as they still provide a ton of attack power. At the rate discussed earlier, you should be guaranteed an Invade weapon after about 17 runs.

Austere weapons however are the strongest weapons in the game right now. Their potential is 12% bonus damage with a 10% bonus to passive PP regeneration, which combined with their superior attack and the fact that their damage bonus is unconditional makes them stronger than Ares weapons. That said, they’re not a massive improvement over them, so those with finished Ares weapons might not really miss them.

New Affixes

Surprisingly, this update added three new affixes, two of which we had no idea about.

Darkness Soul: +15 all attack, HP+15 and PP + 2

Soul Catalyst: HP+10, PP + 1

Astral Soul: +35 all attack, HP + 35, PP + 5

Creating these affixes requires some significant investment on the part of the player. Darkness Soul can simply be obtained from anything that drops from the Profound Darkness. Soul Catalyst and Astral Soul both need to be synthesized from other affixes however.

To make a Soul Catalyst, you will need to combine any four of Elder Soul, Loser Soul, Double Soul, Apprentice Soul and Persona Soul. This will grant a 10% success rate for creating a Soul Catalyst. Yes you read that right, 10%. Once you manage to succeed with this, your job isn’t over yet, as if you want Astral Soul you’re going to need to use four Soul Catalysts together with a Darkness Soul in order to create Astral Soul. The transfer rate on Astral Soul currently isn’t known.

That sure is a lot of gambling steps on top of a system that is already absolutely riddled with gambling steps! It’s a lot of work for +5 PP per item, but it is 20PP if you manage to get it on all of your units and your weapon. That’s a pretty significant amount, so min-maxers are likely going to want to go for it. For the rest of us, frankly it might be too much effort and you’ll be better off sticking to certain Ultimate souls instead.

40% Affix Success Rate Booster

excubeshop

Hey! Related to the previous section, don’t fret about those abysmal transfer rates because if you’re willing to put up 100 Excubes for a 40% booster you can bring Soul Catalyst creation to a nifty 50%! More likely this is an item intended for regular affix synthesis to cover things that may cap out to less than 100% with the 30% booster. Given it’s 5 times as expensive as the 30% booster, it really isn’t worth using unless failing a 90% would incur a significant Meseta loss. There are certainly affixes out there that this is a genuine concern for (hello, Modulator).

Thoughts

This was already a fair amount to go over so I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief.

The Austere/Invade weapon grind on the surface doesn’t seem that bad a grind, though you need to consider that Caligula stones are entirely restricted to the quest. This is not a quest that is available at all times, or one that can even happen randomly. This means that the rate at which you could obtain the weapons from it is almost entirely dependent on whenever Sega fancies allowing you to do the quest. If it’s twice per day, you might obtain an Invade weapon in a week or an Austere weapon in a month and a half. There could be weeks however where the quest only occurs once or not at all, in which case who the fuck knows when you’ll ever have enough materials for a weapon! Essentially my issue with it isn’t that it’s a grind, as a grind suggests its something you can work towards when you want to. This is something you can only work towards when yours and Sega’s schedules happen to be convenient for each other…

My other problem with this quest is that it’s the conclusion to the story. As such, to me it just feels kind of strange to have it confined to a quest that happens occasionally. If it was something that happened on a rotation both my main issues with the quest would be largely gone.

That said, I do overall really enjoy the quest. It’s not particularly challenging, however it is fun in a lot of ways which for me makes up for the lack of difficulty. It’s visually very appealing and technically quite impressive for them, both of which make me eager to see what content they have in store for us down the line. It also feels like a satisfying way to end Episode 3, particularly with the story events that lead up to it which I also enjoyed even if I couldn’t understand them. Ignorance might well be bliss in this case, who knows… Roll on Episode 4, I say!

Code: CLIMAX

the_bug_queen_has_arrived

Heh heh heh.

So yeah, Sega revealed a few trailers and talked about the end of Episode 3. I’ll do what I can in this post to summarise and discuss this stuff. As is usually the case with these posts, some details may be hazy. I do my best to make sure information here is accurate, but if you spot anything factually wrong please let me know.

Halloween

Just a trailer about the Halloween stuff, including your usual affair of Bingo and a seasonal Emergency Quest.

Trick or Treat 4 is the same old map, but with a selection of new enemies. This includes the Toy Darkers from Kuron (which really are probably the most appropriate Darker type for the season), Falz Dourumble and Zeta Guranz. It also seems to include an emergency trial involving pumpkins, nice.

Of course, Gal Gryphon will also be attending this quest. Seems it’s gonna just be thrust into any Emergency quest from now on. Well, for as long as its weapons are relevant I suppose. Not really an issue.

Some new 12* and 13* weapons will be obtainable during the quest, including Daggers of Serafi that are actually daggers instead of boots this time.

Halloween festivities are set to arrive in PSO2 mid-October.

Additional Power – Main Class Weapon Boost

Similar to the class-boost titles, there will be titles added for finding a certain number of rare weapons of a given selection of categories. As it’s a title, it’s expected to be account-wide just like the class-cap titles.

weapontitle

They only show the requirement and numbers for Hunters during the trailer. While it’s likely safe to assume the power boost will remain the same for all classes, apparently the number of weapons required will vary per class. I assume this is to offset that some classes have fewer main-class weapon types than others. Here is a rundown of the values shown for Hunter:

  • 20 7-9* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 25 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 40 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • 70 10-12* Hunter weapons: 2.5% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.
  • Total: 20 7-9* weapons, 135 10-12* weapons, 10% boost in power when using Hunter weapons as a Hunter.

Will this help classes stand out I wonder? In particular I’m thinking about Bouncer as a main class for either of its weapons, as it’s currently inferior to sub-class combos such as Fighter/Bouncer. Or perhaps Hunter main using Partizans or Wired Lance, where again Fighter/Hunter out-paces it in terms of raw damage. Or Braver main Katana instead of… Fighter/Brave- basically Limit Break kind of trumps a lot of main-class weapon load-outs. Note that I’m not having a go at Limit Break, I actually don’t have a problem with it, just pointing out that it does seem to have this effect.

10% certainly will go some way to help close the gap, but the attack bonus from Limit Break as well as other modifiers available to Fighter main helps it edge out still. That said, this may well change as additional weapons arrive in the game, with a particular weapon series announced that I’ll go over later in this post.

Braver and Gunner Balance Changes

This has been something a lot of players seem to have been anticipating, probably Gunners more than anything given how they were treated in Episode 3.

bravergunnerrebalance

Braver:

  • Katanas will be stronger as the Gear Gauge increases.
  • Rapid Fire will no longer have that “wind up” time. This is a really good change in my opinion, that wind-up made no fucking sense.
  • Skill point requirements relaxes for Katana Combat and Rapid Shoot. This should make builds that take both weapons more viable at least.
  • Some Katana and Bullet Bow PAs will be buffed.

Gunner

  • Increase the rate at which High Time accumulates power. Yay?
  • S-roll speed increased for the first and second parts. I’m not sure this is an improvement, it entirely depends on how the i-frames are affected I guess.
  • Buffs to nearly all of the Twin Machinegun PAs. Probably what Gunner needed most out of these to be honest.

Braver’s changes are more interesting overall than Gunner’s, which I have to say sound a little weak. It adds little incentive to play as a Gunner main and does almost nothing to encourage using it as a subclass. Though I guess to be fair, potentially nether does Braver’s changes in that respect.

This re-balance is set to arrive mid-October.

Dress Up!

Fairy Tail Collaboration

I like Fairy Tail and even I don’t care about this. Moving on.

New Costumes and Nostalgia

Well most are new, we’ve got the Halloween costumes and some ninja costumes coming up.

gothic_stuff

Halloween costumes are set to arrive mid-October.

NINJAS

Ninja and oriental themed costumes are set to arrive late October.

I actually quite like the ninja outfits, it’s somewhat unusual for their style. Notably, we also seem to be set to get two uniforms that were previously regional exclusives.

Those regional exclusives do make me wonder what the NA/EU ones might have turned out to be if they had followed through with that localisation…

They’re also continuing their PSO nostalgia series of costumes, this time finishing off the selection of Casts.

RicoAndFlowen

Perhaps a little more surprisingly, there will be item codes for Rico and Flowen stuff. This includes costumes, accessories and hairstyles. Attendees of the Sympathy 2015 concert in Japan will receive item codes for all of these.

More Anime Collabs

Other collabs coming up include another with 7th Dragon III, Aria the Scarlet Ammo Double AA (what?), The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II,  and even Disgaea 5. This game is anime collaborations featuring PSO2 at this point…

Double and Profound Darkness

Much like the previous Dark Falz raid Emergency Quests, this will be a two parter. Unlike previous ones however, Dark Falz is the first part and the Profound Darkness is the second. Makes sense in terms of hierarchy I guess.

doubly_profound

Double and the Profound Darkness’s quest is apparently a “once per account” affair, where the fight will get easier as time progresses. Once Double has been defeated, you move straight on to the Profound Darkness.

It seems that both Dark Falz Double and the Profound Darkness both may have countermeasures against Weakbullet. Double’s comes in the form of a “jammer”, no real details on how that works and the Profound Darkness apparently will punish players who use it. Again, no real details. This could use some clarity.

The theme for the Profound Darkness appears to be a straight up remix of its theme “Ooze” from Phantasy Star 4.

Get ready to wrestle this dynamic duo late October. This will seemingly arrive close to if not at the same time as the release of the final chaper of Episode 3’s story.

Dark Falz Apprentice – Mining Base Defense 4

It took what felt like an age but she’s finally gotten her full body back. Bad news for you is you’re her first target (you ought to be used to this from the Falzes by now though).

As predicted, she is a part of the fourth Mining Base Defense quest, though whether she’s part of the one quest or if she’s a separate part in a quest series I don’t know.

D-AIS

Unlike the previous Mining Base quests, this one is set underground. The Darkers are bringing their entire arsenal that they deployed in other quests up til now, with the addition of Dark Falz Dourumble and Angel. In fact, aside Persona the entire Dark Falz family has come out for this one. Additionally, as seen above, the Darkers have learned to imitate even the AIS. These corrupted AIS have all the same abilities as the player ones do, including the photon cannon.

Apprentice’s trailer theme is a remix of IDOLA The Strange Fruits from PSO Episode 3. 

It looks like it’ll be fun, I just worry about the players going into it. If it’s too difficult for people, it’s just going to lead to chain-abandoning and people getting left out. At the very least, I can’t wait to be frustrated by people who are either inadequately geared for Extra Hard or simply don’t know how to play leading to catastrophic failures. Hey, at least those failures are set to look amazing if the trailer is anything to go by!

The queen of the bugs is set to grace our servers some time in December.

Weapon Exchanges

12* Exchanges

zieg12

Zieg has had additional 12*s added to his Client Orders, to cover a few Falz weapons not previously covered for whatever reason.

The weapons include:

  • Serpent Grigoros (Live Radle, Live Spat, Live Rias)
  • God Hand (Live Dogaut, Live Fanger, Live Pyrus),
  • Celestial Laser (Live Zect, Live Slidawn, Live Trina)

Invader and Austere

A new selection of 13* weaponry is to arrive in a new exchange shop also hosted by Zieg. This will require a large selection of items, possibly meant as a way to encourage people to play a wider variety of the game’s content as the wait for Episode 4 to begin has started.

These new weapons will arrive late October.

This exchange comes in two parts; the Invader series and the Austere series. Austere is an upgrade to the Invader series.

invade_series

The Invader weapons require 100 Caligula stones and 100 Excubes. As we don’t know how many Caligula stones are rewarded for clearing the Profound Darkness Emergency Quest it’s impossible to say how long it will take to get these weapons.

austere_series

Austere weapons on the other hand require a huge selection of materials.Only the sword is shown so only its materials will be listed.

  • 1 Invader Caliber
  • 100 Caligula Stones
  • 100 Nero Stones
  • 50 Yurlunger Godstones
  • 50 Garel Godstones
  • 5 Heart Key Stones
  • 5 Blood Moon Stones
  • 5 Phantom Night Stones
  • 10 Photon Boosters
  • 300 Excubes

That’s some list. You’ll note that the weapon comes with 30% element as well and you know that what means. You’re going to need two to finish the weapon! So if we include the materials to buy the Invade Calibers necessary, the total comes to:

  • 400 Caligula Stones
  • 200 Nero Stones
  • 100 Yurlunger Godstones
  • 100 Garel Godstones
  • 10 Heart Key Stones
  • 10 Blood Moon Stones
  • 10 Phantom Night Stones
  • 20 Photon Boosters
  • 800 Excubes

Some of these numbers may seem intimidatingly high, but remember we know the approximate acquisition time of most of these materials. This is naturally going to vary based on the parties you find (the Excubes may be 4 Magatsu sessions or 12 depending on your luck with randoms) as well as availability of Extreme Quest passes. Yurlungur and Garel stones both have daily Client Orders to help you obtain those more quickly, so those shouldn’t take terribly long to get.

Arguably the Extreme Quest stones may be the most irritating to get, as a full clear nets you 25 of the 2nd tier stones and you require 30 for a single tier 3 one. This means you’ll need to do 36 full clears (or 12 of each quest) in order to get the stones you need. Of course, this is a worst case scenario as it doesn’t include any of the stones acquired during the quest itself.

If you were starting from scratch and depended on only the daily passes, let’s assume the absolute worst case scenario for these calculations:

  • 1 full clear of a single XQ requires 14 passes.
  • To get 10 of its respective stone, you need to clear it 12 times, totalling 168 passes
  • To get all three required for the weapon, you will need 504 passes total.

That’s only around 1.4 years! Of course Extreme Passes can be obtained in other ways now, plus you get additional passes for clearing the weekly Client Orders associated with them.

So how strong are they? This is also difficult to pin down exactly, but they do appear to be stronger than Ares weapons. Austere Caliber starts at 1244 S-atk. Now, we can take away Power III (30), Vinculum (20) and Mutation I (10) to bring it down to 1184 S-atk (a fair sight stronger than Ares at 1083), but it isn’t known what Darkness Soul contributes to this total. In any case, this means at +10 it can be roughly projected to be around 1657 S-atk, though this total is being calculated off the lowest value we have right now. There is also no information with regard to its potential. This notably puts it on roughly equal footing with the Invader weapon, which is displayed as being 1666 S-atk wth all its affixes. However it may be that Invader weapons don’t have a potential.

Essentially, the Austere weapon series appears to be aimed at people who have been playing most of the game’s content for some time now. Those who are starting fresh may have some difficulty obtaining some of the materials required for these weapons I feel.

That’s all for this broadcast. Seems like Episode 3 will have some sprinklings of interesting content to end on. I’m a bit disappointed that the main focus seems to be on 12-man Emergency Quests but oh well. This hasn’t covered everything there was on the recent long-term schedule, leaving the exact nature of the Extreme Quest update and the new Time Attack Quest a bit of a mystery. We’re also due a new Limited Quest at some point and of course Ultimate Amduscia still hasn’t been mentioned. We’re not done with news about Episode 3 just yet, it seems.