Lv80 Cap: Tentative Info

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Just a short post speculating on what’s out there for the lv80 cap raise coming up in March. I’ll likely talk about this again as we’ll be getting some new info on the 28th with the 4th PSO2 Station. In this post I’m just going to go over and have a bit of a rant on what’s known with my primary source being this post on GHeaven.

Unlike more recent level cap raises there’s going to be a couple conditions you’ll need to satisfy in order to level past 75.

Skillpoint Orders

The first is arguably reasonable in the current environment most lv75s are in. It may require you to have completed all of your class’s SP orders. Seeing as you’re likely going to want to  have both your main and at least one subclass to lv80 you’re going to want to make sure you have those SP orders done! If you haven’t, start running your daily Featured Quests for shots at Bonus Keys or hit up Advance Quests with some friends.

For new players however this could make the levelling up experience stilted, because once they hit lv75 they effectively now have to level from lv74 to lv75 22 more times in order to then be able to proceed to lv76. Unless they make getting those class cubes easier later on that’s going to create something that could feel like a brick wall to new players, especially when you then add in that they’re going to have to do it for their subclass as well!

However! The alternative significantly less dumb idea is that the SP orders will simply shift to lv80 instead, which means it’ll take longer to clear them as each class cube will take longer to earn. Still dumb but not a massive bump in the road dumb.

Weapon Grind and Affix Requirement

But there’s more! So we know recently they’ve been considering measures to try to combat people entering end-game Emergency Quests with really bad gear by adding a weapon grind requirement to Expert Blocks. I assume that this condition, if it turns out to be true, is yet another attempt to combat it with content beyond Extra Hard on the horizon.

If Gheaven is right, you will need to have +35’d a weapon and have at least 6 affixes on it.

I genuinely hope they don’t go through with this mostly because +35ing a 13* weapon is a tedious affair even if you’re playing relatively hardcore. The affixing requirement on top of that just seems like overkill to me, especially when you can have a more than adequate weapon with 4 affixes!

Consider:

  • +35 Astra weapon with some attack soul , stat IV, Flict/Alter and Noble/Elegant.
  • vs
  • +35 Astra weapon with Spirita 1, Power 1, Arm 1, Mind 1, Body 1, Lucky rise 2

I know which I’d rather people have! It’s not the quantity of affixes, it’s which affixes that are important. Beyond that, actually creating a 6-slot affix can be pretty irritating to pull off.

Typically when affixing, people tend to push from lower slot count to higher slot count because it’s cheaper to do so. However doing so comes with a risk, as up-slotting reduces the success rate of every affix depending on the current total number of slots. It’s harder to up-slot from 3 to 4 than it is from 2 to 3.

With careful planning and using booster items you can keep up-slot success rates at 100%, which is wise as some affixes are very hard to obtain. However, this luxury ends at 4 slots. You can check for yourself at http://pso2affix.seilent.net/ but I’ll go over some numbers here:

  • Pushing from 3 to 4 slots reduces success rate by 40%.
    • The maximum booster happens to be 40%, so this is the last time you can completely cancel out the chance of failure outside of an event boost
  • Pushing from 4 to 5 slots reduces success rate by 50%
    • Event boosts tend to be 10%, so this combined with the strongest boost item you can use will be the last time you can cancel out failure even with an event!
  • Pushing from 5 to 6 slots reduces success rate by 55%
    • Doesn’t take much math to work out you can max out your odds at 95% with an event and 85% without.

The thing to keep in mind is if it’s 100% you’re going to pass. If it’s 95% this success rate is rolled on every single slot you have, which means in this case it’s 95% 6 times. During an event and using a 40% booster your total chance of success is 73% which is pretty good odds. Without it’s 85% 6 times, which leaves you with an uncomfortable 37.7%. This is why people making high slot affixes treasure event boosts so heavily because that 10% makes an enormous impact when spread out over 6 slots! Note that this assumes you manage to get 100% before the up-slot on all affixes, because if you don’t the odds of that 6-slot succeeding go down even further.

Point is, they effectively expect you to do a gamble in order to earn the right to level up to 76. I get the idea, you want people to have better gear in the very top end of the spectrum but this isn’t going to achieve that because this system doesn’t care what affixes you use. It’s also just going to serve as a barrier to those with solid gear just because the affix count isn’t quite high enough, which is ridiculous. If you have something like Astral Soul, Power V, Modulator, Flict/Alter Arma and Elegant Power you are more than decent enough. Adding one affix isn’t going to change your performance much, though arguably in the face of high weapon attack power affixes in general don’t have the impact they used to so putting so much importance on them just seems silly. For example, on a weapon with 1500 attack, adding 30% more element is adding 450 more effective attack to it. That competes with the total attack you could get from weapon and armor affixes, let alone dwarfing the amount of attack you could gain from the most extreme 8-slot weapon affix never-mind 6.

Tidbits

According to G-heaven there will be no new skills added with the lv80 cap raise. It’s just simply going to amount to 5 more Skill Points and some extra stats. That’s it. Pretty disappointing to find this out, especially for classes already struggling to work out where to put all their points as it is.

It does seem like there will be content in the future that will require lv80; content possibly beyond Extra Hard. The cynic in me is convinced that this is going to end up being Emergency Quests only and the rest of the game will remain untouched but hopefully I’m proven wrong on that. Just like I hope my rant on the affixing requirement turns out to be a waste of typing because it’s that stupid.

Closing Thoughts

If this update plays out as current information seems to suggest it will this could possibly be the stupidest update that PSCrew has ever rolled out. The requirements as proposed are likely to have a negative impact on the game going forward as it presents an unreasonable barrier to new players and an unexpected barrier to older ones. It’ll also fail to create an environment where everyone queuing up for end-game content has consistent or at least reasonable gear unless the actual requirements are more intricate than they’ve let on. Guess we’ll see on the 28th but my best hope at this point is that it isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Who knows though, maybe this entire post is wrong. That’d be nice…

December Catchup Post

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So yeah, I’ve been away for a while. The main reason is I wanted to focus all of my attention on creating a game for a month-long Game-Jam. I won’t detail as this blog isn’t for promoting myself, but suffice to say it’s my primary hobby and it’s something I wanted to put some serious energy into getting better at. It was a good month, honestly, so fair warning I may do stuff like that in the future. Hopefully I’ll get better at managing my time as I improve but we’ll see.

But yeah, a fair amount happened since my last post. For one thing, pretty much everything from the first PSO2 Station is now live and the Famitsu Cup came and ended. I’m not going to cover everything that happened, but I will go over the things I had thoughts on and any recently useful information I’m aware of.


December So Far

Christmas is here, which for the Arks means killing things but with Christmas-y music in the background. Hey at least it actually is Christmas music this time around and not the Nights credits theme (thank goodness).

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Merry Christmas on Ice 2016

The quest itself is the standard fare of run around and kill things to make your points go up. The spawns are slightly mixed up by throwing in special bosses from various seasonal events during this year.

You have the standard PSE Burst from wearing the right costumes, but as usual you really just want to clear the quest as quickly as possible. Bursts slow you down, so you’re better off not wearing your Christmas garb for this quest.

What’s potentially interesting is that it seems the callback bosses drop their unique items from their respective events, such as Rainy Day’s Fang Banther dropping Hyper Sunlight. Other drops include:

  • Garel Stones and possibly Nemesis weapons from Diabo
  • Asta Unicorn from White Day Quartz Dragon
  • Eggscarpe from Easter’s Falz Hunar
  • Aura weapons from summer’s Chrome Dragon
  • General Mutation II items from the titled Gal Gryphon
  • Bloodspear Vlam Bram and Raygun Barrel from Halloween’s Zeta Guranz
  • Apparently Dio Hunar can drop items from the current collection file

It’s not terribly great EXP but the quest provides shots at a large variety of rare drops, which may be helpful for those who have unfinished weapons from previous seasons. It also seems to have a pretty decent rate of 2016 Weapon Badges, which well this is basically your last chance to do anything with those before presumably 2017 badges are introduced.

Izane Units

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Additionally, it has a small chance of spawning Emperappy or Izanekazuchi. The former is useful as ever for its Emperembrace grind fodder but the latter can drop a solid set of units.

Izane’s unit stats at +10 are:

  • 361 S-Def
  • 340 R-Def
  • 340 T-Def
  • 150 HP
  • 4% Strike, Shoot and Tech resist
  • +20 all attack
  • +20 Dex
  • 6% Lightning Resist
  • 4% Light Resist

These are the same for all three units. They provide no set bonus either, so you can freely mix and match them with other units as required which is nice. Otherwise this set is clearly defense oriented, providing a large amount of HP and general damage resistance as well as higher defensive stats than any unit in the game so far. The major downside to these units is they provide no passive PP bonuses at all, which may put a lot of people off wanting to use them.

With units of this caliber coming out, it could well be the death of Unit crafting. Arguably that’s been dead for a while but chalk up yet another craft skill that’s becoming useless I guess.

Collection Files

This season offers a small but interesting selection of items.

Astral Blaze

astralblaze

My favorite Twin Sabers from Phantasy Star Universe are back. What’s interesting about these weapons is they’re equippable by Fighters, which sorta revives the classic Fighter Bouncer from the Gran Fol days. It’s also usable by Forces and comes with a modest amount of T-Atk (1012 at +10). Has Heavenly Kite as an innate Photon Art.

The potential does the normal thing of boosting damage (11% at level 3) but it also has a curious way of doing PP regeneration. It has two separate rates; one for automatic recovery while in the air (100% at lv3) and another for attack recovery while on the ground (40% at lv3). Given normal attacks don’t stop automatic PP regen, it kinda effectively boosts it in both states. In any case, its high base attack and decent unconditional modifier alone makes roughly on par on Austere (it might be slightly stronger), which makes it a pretty nice weapon for Dual Blade mains.

Its Special Ability Factor is Modulator.

Fornis Ogend

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The Talis has a curious Potential wherein it boosts damage against enemies weak to Lightning or Light attacks, or the attack’s own element by 14% if the enemy is weak to it. The weapon gives 1% of the damage dealt in healing (up to 50HP) to indicate the potential was active for that attack , much like how the Gryphon NT weapons do.

The power boost on it is slightly conditional, but it’s a significant portion stronger than Austere when active. This is a very strong Talis.

It comes with a Special Ability Factor (need a shorter name for this, maybe just “factor”?) which boosts damage dealt for hitting an enemy with an element they’re weak against by a whopping 2%. While a small number on its own, it does make this weapon a pretty good target for those wanting to min-max elemental damage (though I still think you’re crazy to do this if you’re not a Force!).

Rose Skewer

rosetact

This tact allows people sub-classing Summoner to summon pets. It also has a whopping 40 more attack than your regular Talis, making it the best Talis in the game so far! This is arguably the most interesting item in this Collection File as it allows you to try other combinations of Summoner with pets out. Ever wondered how TeSu with a Shifta Strike Marron would perform? Now you can find out! It also makes raising your subclass easier seeing as you don’t need to go grab extra gear for it.

Related to this. Summoner’s Skill Tree has gone through some changes that open up some interesting options in general. I may go over this in its own post.

13* Maron Egg

Useful for those of you who missed out on the Ultimate Lilipa train and still don’t have a 13* Maron. It’s a useful spike damage pet, though it takes some getting used to. I’m a terrible Summoner so I’m bad at using it.

Necky Collection Files

Seeing as we’re talking about collection files I just wanna share a couple quick thoughts on this set too.

Necky’s Challenge is gone, possibly for good. Despite this, his collection files are gonna persist for another week or two, which seems a little odd. You can’t make progress on certain parts of the files without actually running Necky’s Challenge. So the only people who can start or clear Necky files are those with access to the relevant Quest Triggers, but it still feels like a wierd setup.

I also gotta say that I’m not a fan of the temporary nature of Collection Files in general but it feels extra shoddy when it ends up splitting up weapon series. This happened with the Seiga and Quotz series before; where some of the weapons can be obtained via stones but the rest of the series is now confined to drop-only forever. I don’t know why they can’t just leave the files up or at least make the rest of the series available via stone grind.

This is also kind of a shame for Form Weapons, whose files were made unavailable after the last maintenance. Form Weapons have one of the most interesting potentials in the game so it’s a shame to see them relegated to drop-only in a quest that few people run anymore.

At least the recent change to NT weapon drops where weapons can drop with higher element and grind cap does mean you’re not cursed to finding 5 of your desired weapon anymore. That does take a lot of the burden out of completing them, but to me this doesn’t really make up for the temporary nature of Collection Files particularly when they have such potential to give incentive to under-run content.

2nd Broadcast Catchup

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To be honest, there wasn’t really a lot that happened during the second broadcast to talk about. It mostly showcased some Christmas stuff which we already have and a bunch of costumes, including a collaboration with Persona 5. It did at least show us a bunch more about the upcoming raid-boss “Esca Falz Mother” and the trinkets she could reward us with.

In any case, in this section I’m going to go over things that were revealed during the broadcast. Seeing as new information has come out since though it’d be inappropriate to go speculating just on the broadcast content alone, so I’ll be including whatever has been revealed since.

Raid Details

The raid itself is a two-part quest, with the first part seeing us chasing Esca Falz around with our Rideroids. The Rideroid automatically moves forward and shoots bullets, but the player will have access to two active skills so you won’t just be spending your whole time dodging obstacles. You’ll have access to a homing missile attack which shoots at desired targets and a spinning melee attack which you can use to hit parts which she er.. offers up to you I guess. You also have access to an “Overboost” which speeds you up if you end up falling behind for whatever reason.

You can take damage from obstacles and her attacks, which can be recovered by flying through the green rings from Las Vegas. As far as I know it hasn’t been said what happens if you run out of health, but presumably you’re given a respawn timer much like with the AIS portions of Magatsu and Yamato.

Here’s the  most recent trailer from the official Youtube channel (includes the Persona 5 collab):

The developers have since revealed in a tidbit that your performance in the Rideroid section won’t affect your access to the 2nd part. You’re there to either “shave off her HP” or just wait until time runs out. I’m not sure if this means that your performance in part 1 affects how much HP Mother has in part 2 or if it simply speeds up part 1.

For those unaware, you can actually fight Esca Falz Mother right now if you run the most recent Story Quest (Episode 4 Chapter 7). While naturally she has much less HP in this state, it does at least give you some indication of what to expect during the fight.

Mother uses many mechanics that resemble moves from other Dark Falzes. The two I saw in my encounter were Elder’s arms and meteors as well as a ring of walls from Double. The Double-Wall ring has one open gate which you need to find and exit through quickly or else you’ll take a moderate amount of damage. Datamining suggests she has moves from Apprentice (she does seem to have the bomb-bugs from Mining Base: Demise in the trailer) and Loser, both of which seem to be absent in the single-player version.

She summons Falz Arms during the fight, which act roughly independent of her. They act much like Profound Darkness bits in that if you break all of them, Mother will be stunned for a while and expose a weak-point. She increases the number of Arms each time.

The trailer shows what seems to be your regular raid-wipe move which seems to be absent from the solo encounter. While hard to tell from the limited footage, it seems like you can attack the cubes that are slowing moving towards the epicenter of the attack. It’s possible that this is a DPS check of sorts, but the actual mechanics are unknown for now.

So yeah, kinda neat that we got an interactive preview of the raid this time around!

14* Weapons

Mother will be introducing the first 14* weapons, with the Katana “Kasami Notachi” (reminiscent of PSO’s Kasami Bracer ), the Assault Rifle “Spread Needle” and the Rod “Eternal Psychodrive”. These weapons will not have collection files and so will be drop-only. The drop rates are expected to be very low (lower than Austere!), however interestingly they’ve engineered it so you’ll only ever need to get one drop to complete the weapon. They will drop with a +35 grind limit and max element, which means you won’t need to feed it additional copies of itself to finish it. You will need to grind them as you would any other NT weapon otherwise.

Kasami Notachi

14katana

Additionally usable by Hunters.

Spread Needle

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The devs noted that this is also Gunner equip-able, which is kinda a moot point given Gunners can use all Rifles…

There’s an unconfirmed rumour that this weapon may be able to fire multiple bullets per normal shot. If true, I assume it shoots in a spread pattern much like the original Spread Needle.

Eternal Psychodrive

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Usable by Techers.

In essence, these weapons feel like the spiritual successor to the 12* drops from Elder way back in the day; Ultra rare drops that you might only see one of every so often across the entire server! However, they did also say that 12* units would drop less often than Saiki units which much of the player-base came to doubt rather quickly whilst farming Ultimate Amduscia. Of course, we don’t actually know the metric they were using to compare the drop-rate to because if it was comparing it to Giguru Ginnegam’s drop rate…

Assuming the rumour about Spread Needle turns out to be true, I can’t help but ponder if the other two weapons will have unique abilties as well. I couldn’t hazard a guess as to what they’d be, but I’m all for more interesting abilities on weapons that aren’t just power boosts. We need more weapons like the Form series, because it offers up shifts in game-play and increases the functional diversity of weapons in general. If this means fewer weapons that’s fine because PSO2 has too many weapons as it is…

Astra Weapons

Mother’s collection file introduces an entirely new weapon series to the game; the Astra series. Presumably these can also drop. According to recent information from the developers this series is intended to be a replacement for Austere. I know I’ve defended Austere in the past mostly due to the sheer number of steps you had to go through to get one, but the weapons are now a year old so it really is time to move on. Whether or not they will be a true Austere killer all comes down to their stats and potential of course, which regarding that…

It seems its potential may be as follows:

  • Lv1. Boosts damage by 6% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 20%
  • Lv2. Boosts damage by 9% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 30%
  • Lv3. Boosts damage by 12% and increases PP recovered by when attacking by 40%

This data was mined from PSO2es by someone from the Arks Visiphone site. If correct, that does make these weapons particularly useful for the PP-heavy but slow-recovery weapon types such as Sword, Partizan and Knuckles. It’s less useful for those who have no issues recovering PP, although these are still solid weapons in terms of overall damage.

Are they an upgrade from Austere? Well assuming this turns out to be their potential, I feel like if you already have an affixed Austere weapon I reckon you’re fine to stick with what you got unless you main any of the three weapons mentioned earlier. They’d be an upgrade but it’s such a minor one that I’d question if it was worth putting in the Meseta for a new round of Affixes.

We’ll see. I remember speculating that a completely unrelated potential was going to turn out to be for Gix weapons. That’s just one of the pitfalls of Datamining, sometimes you’re left guessing.

Incidentally, much like with Austere weapons, the Collection files will require you to run content outside of the raid to complete. We can see a blurred out Vegas Illusia in the trailer, but according to the update page it involves various enemies from Earth. At the very least you might have to hit up Riding Quests or Vegas Free Field or something.

Mother also drops a unit set, but there’s currently no information about them at all. Hopefully they’re not as rare as Invade units…

The End – For Now

That’s all for now. I was going to write up some stuff about the PVP mode coming up because boy have I got some opinions on that but I’m holding that back because we’re apparently going to get a live demo of that sometime soon. If so, I may as well wait for that to come out before I really talk about it at any length. I will say, my gut feeling is that it’ll be an unbalanced mess but something completely optional that shouldn’t have any major impact on the game as whole. I’m just hoping nothing too valuable ends up attached to it.

Come the 17th, we’ll have the 3rd PSO2 Station. Assuming I’m in good health then I’ll be doing my usual write-up of it when it hits. This one is a potentially interesting one as they’ll be going over some of the January updates as well as I believe they’ll be revealing the next long-term Schedule. Given Episode 4 may be coming to a close in the coming weeks, we may start to see the first shreds of Episode 5 peeking their way around the corner. There’s been nothing mentioned about Episode 5 yet, nor has there been anything particularly tantalizing from data-mining in that regard. This could mean Episode 5 is further off than Episode 4 was this time last year.

 

Gotta Go Fast – Tokyo TA and Tidbits

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The September 21st update added a new time-attack quest set in Tokyo. Just gonna do a brief write-up of it as well as go over some additional tidbits concerning the content update this October.

Tokyo Time Attack


This one is a bit more of a parkour-ish obstacle course than the other time attacks. While there’s no real puzzle to solve, you’re still going to need to learn where enemies spawn particularly for the boost-ring sections. You’ll also need decent platforming and timing skills as well as very high damage output for the final block. This quest is not particularly friendly to certain class combos, particularly anything dependent on striking weak-points.

Enemies will grant EXP but they will not drop anything. As such, they will not count towards collection files. There is also no new Client Order for this quest.

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Enemies are a bit of a mix in terms of stat mods. All enemies placed around boost rings have reduced HP, though for some you’ll still need to have passed between 2 rings in order to one-shot them with the kick. The rest of the enemies have their regular free-field HP (not the slightly reduced Arks Quest variety), which is particularly important for the final block.

Platforming

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There are two sections in the quest which will require you to do some platforming (not counting the first one which is just to introduce you to the concept). The first is easy enough, though the final jump will require you to hit jump at pretty much the last second to make it.

The second is a bit rougher, as you’ll need to avoid being bombarded or you’ll lose your runspeed as well as having to land on much more narrow platforms. Your controller best be in good shape if you’re not using Mouse and Keyboard!

The final block is a fight against Train Ghidoran. As said, this is using Free-Field levels of HP so it is very durable. What’s more is as time goes on more and more enemies will spawn; starting with 2 tanks, then adding in helicopters and roadrollers. The longer the fight is, the harder it’ll be!

Thoughts

It’s a fun enough quest, though it will be particularly rough on some class combos due to the nature of Train Ghidoran and lack of weak-points on many enemies. The quest essentially favours high-burst short attack time classes or any that can crowd-control Ghidoran effectively. As such, the likes of Banish-Graptor combos won’t be of much use here as Train Ghidoran doesn’t really expose itself for long enough for them to even hit.

Is it worth running over others for your weekly TACOs? Honestly no, but it’s short enough that you could run it for something different to do so it’s a bit like Traces of Darkness in that respect. Naberius 2 and Harukotan remain the most efficient ways to do your weeklies for now.

New Skill Rings


 

So turns out there were a bunch of other skill rings announced during TGS that sorta escaped the main show I guess, which Gheaven covered here. Most of them seem to be support oriented, I’ll go over them quickly;

L / Just Reversal JA Combo

  • Just Reversals will gain a Just-Attack window

R / Just Reversal PP Gain

  • Recovers PP on successful Just Reversals.

A lot of Just Reversal oriented rings coming up it seems, two  of which are L / Rings. I doubt that JA Combo will be interesting enough for people to want to socket into 12* units, mind.

R /  Healing Guard

  • Heals you and others close to you when you successfully activate a Just-Guard effect.

Not really sure who this ring is for, as melee-weapon types generally have access to Healing Guard anyway. This ring just enables those who don’t run a Hunter sub to use it I guess.

R / Wide Support

  • Like Techer’s Wide Area Support; greatly increases the area of Resta, Shifta, Deband and Anti.

Again, I’m not sure who this is for. Force typically won’t be able to use it because they run Techer sub and you probably don’t want to get buffed by a Bouncer/Hunter… though I guess any Shifta is better than no Shifta! Pretty sure there are better rings that a Bouncer is much more likely to be wearing, mind.

The most interesting of this bunch is “L/Non Weak Bonus“, which will allow Launcher attacks to count for Weak-Hit Advance bonuses even if they’re not hitting weak spots. This is a significant buff for Launchers as you might expect, though I do wonder what limitations may be put on it. Weak-Hit Advance specifically boosts damage from shooting attacks, but not all Launcher Photon Arts are. Crazy Smash for example is R-Atk scaling striking damage, which may mean it won’t benefit from this ring. In any case, Launcher users rejoice because your weapon is going to be a lot more effective once this ring arrives.

These rings will be added with the rest some time in October.

Custom PA/Tech Details


With the release of the official update page came a few details about the upcoming custom PA/Techs. Lets go over them

Sacrifice Bite: Type Zero

  • Speeds up the photon absorption
  • Boosts the power and range of normal and step-attacks

So that blade-extension effect was not just for show! As a Hunter main I’m obviously fairly eager to see how much of an effect this has on my play-style. The additional range and power should mitigate the PP issues that Sword can suffer from.

Straight Charge: Type Zero

  • Hold the button to continue sailing through enemies while dealing constant damage
  • Constantly drains PP while in use

Nothing really new about this.

Parallel Slider: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while moving around in a hovering motion.
  • If used mid-air, will allow you to gently fall during the attack.
  • IT’S JUST LIKE ONE OF MY ANIMES

The mid-air detail is new, though I don’t think Ranger really has that much trouble dealing with airborn enemies. Might make the pre-broken knee portion of Magastu more fun if you’re incline to use anything other than End Attract I guess?

Sharp Bomber: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while jumping forward as well as backward.
  • Charging the attack greatly increases its power

Nothing really new about this.

Strike Gust: Type Zero

  • Holding the button extends the rising portion of the attack.
  • Removes the charge portion, so you’ll be able to spam this attack more often

I don’t know enough about Jet-boot usage to really comment on this, though removing the charge portion of the attack does at least give them a directed quick-fire attack which I believe they sorta lacked? Correct me if I’m wrong on this.

Safoie: Type Zero

  • Before casting it closes distance with the target
  • Makes it easier to land the attack
  • More powerful when charged

Ramegid: Type Zero

  • Causes orbs to orbit you
  • Enemies will take damage at set intervals on contact with orbs
  • The charged version will have shorter intervals.

No new details for the techs. Much the same thoughts as before; these are both seemingly engineered to make melee Techer’s life easier.

Class Rebalance


 

So turns out those two new skills heading Summoner’s way in October were indeed not the “Class Rebalance” listed on the long-term schedule. Sega made a post here on their update page for October laying out all of the changes. With thanks to translations provided by this PSOWorld post.

General

  • All stances will have their time limits removed and become infinite.

The main thing I have to say is why the fuck did this change take 4 and a half years to implement? Even more bafflingly so after they introduced this very feature for Wand Lovers all that time ago! Stance skills should have been this way from the start, so this is a welcome quality-of-life adjustment it’s just it kind of makes me despair that it took them this long to realise timers on stances were not a good idea…

Hunter

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Rising Edge

Should help with preventing incoming damage when using this; as being locked into the animation and having an attack go from tell to finish before you can guard did kind of suck.

  • Larger AoE and slower fall on Nova Strike

Nova Strike already has decent AoE I think, so I’m curious to see how much larger they intend to make it. Not sure what function the slower fall would serve…

  • Improved Just-Attack timing, reduced PP cost and increased speed of Stun Concide

Why?

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Guilty Break

I guess this adjustment is to make it a better travelling PA as right now it’s a little awkward for this (you can only cancel just after the first strike has started, giving it a kind of stop-start effect.)

  • Improved JA timing on Ignite Parrying

Not entirely sure of the purpose of this change, unless it’s to make it easier to chain Ignite Parrying together.

  • Improved JA and guard-cancel timing on Kaiser Rise. Adjusted timing of attack damage.

Again, I assume this is to make it easier to spam the attack.

Hunter got the most changes of all the classes. All fairly minor changes, eh? This is going to be the trend for the rest of this balance update as you’ll see.

Fighter

  • Improved speed of Surprise Dunk

So double-saber users can throw themselves into the action more quickly I guess.

  • L/Knuckle Chase now affects Quake Howling when used midair

Odd change, not sure why they did this. Perhaps knuckle users would be more informed.

Ranger

  • Improved cancel timing and added i-frames to Impact Slider

Gunner

  • Improved JA timing and Stlyish Roll cancel timing of Dive Roll shoot when using TMGs

Braver

  • Reduced hit-stop of Katana Gear counter

Was this even that big of an issue? I admittedly am only a casual Katana user at best, but compared to the hit-stop I experience on other weapon types I can’t say I ever really noticed this.

Summoner

  • Sped-up attack timing of Cery Chaser
  • Sped up attack timing of Cery Fall and increased period of time enemies are stopped

A bit of help for Cery, which is a pet I just don’t see used that often anymore. Not helped that I believe Maron Chaser is considered superior to Cery Chaser, but I’m not experienced enough to say if that’s true or not.

  • 12* pets can now be raised to Lv110

I take it this means that you’ll be able to visit Pietro for Pet Limit Breaking with 12* pets now. The current cap for 12* pets is lv95 and there’s a fairly significant stat gain between that and 110. Essentially, this is a big buff to 12* pets, though honestly I could swear that 13* pets are more common.

Sakai’s Favorite: Gunslash

Yet more changes for a weapon class that no one uses now and no one will use after.

  • Improved JA timing of Step Attack
  • Improved JA timing and cancel timing of Tri Impact Type Zero
  • Added I-frames to Thrillerplode
  • Improved speed and reduced hit-stop of Slash Rave
  • Improved cancel timing of Kreuzanschlag

All improvements, all things people likely won’t notice because no one uses Gunslashes seriously.

So yeah, overall these are a bunch of minor tweaks and quality of life changes. Slightly disappointing as there’s a bunch of Hunter and general issues I’m aware of that I’m sad they didn’t address and I’m sure those more specifically experienced with other classes feel similarly. I guess I expect a class balance to shake up the meta slightly, which in this case the only two classes this may have a chance of happening for are Hunter and Summoner I feel. Wether the changes for either class will turn out to be all that significant or not we won’t know until they’re out I guess.

Of course, while the class balance changes are mostly minor the addition of L/Non Weak Bonus and some of the Photon Art crafts may shake things up significantly enough on their own! That’s all for this post; it ended up a bit longer than I intended but there were a fair number of little tidbits this time. As always, let me know if there’s anything I got particularly wrong.

 

TGS Day 4 Trailer Analysis

ash_and_friends_hanging_out

The 4th day of TGS saw the reveal of a couple of new trailers for content coming up in October. I’ll be going over the bits I’ve got any thoughts on. The complete summarized rundown is on Bumped as always. Despite there being only two trailers (of the main things, anyway) there’s quite a lot to go through.

The Trailers


Just including the main two  trailer that will form the bulk of this post in this section. There’s a third more minor one I’ll go over at the end.

Early October Update:

Late October Update:

PA/Tech Customizations


While only the usual handful they add in these kinds of updates I think they’re an interesting handful in my opinion.

Sacrifice Bite Type Zero:

Speeds up the photon art and strengthens normal attacks. It seems like normal attacks gain an extended photon blade during the attack animation, though it’s hard to tell from the demo if this actually increases range or if it’s just for show. It would have been nice if the demo had used it on an enemy that didn’t have super-armor frames on to see how the full charge looks now.

expand_sword

If it does significantly increase normal attack range, then this is a good buff for swords in general as their normal attacks always had plenty of power but surprisingly small reach for how large the weapon is. This would also greatly help with the PP issues that sword can have, as you should more reliably tag enemies for PP recovery as long as the buff is up.

Straight Charge Type Zero:

Hold down the button to go sailing through enemies. It drains PP as you’re channeling it, so it’ll possibly last as long as your PP does. It’s one of those silly looking customizations that I can’t help but like.

Strike Gust Type Zero:

Kick up and up and up and up. Holding the button down extends the length of the rising part of the attack, which could be very irritating for other party members.

Parallel Slide Type Zero

Finally you can be like Giliam in the original PSO2 OP movie. Aside that, having a controllable high-mobility PA on Rifles might be interesting. Might look a bit derpy on non-cast characters, mind.

Sharp Bomber Type Zero

No longer launches you backwards and greatly increases its power when charged. Bullet Bows are still lacking in good AoE attacks, so this should be a welcome addition for those specializing in them.

Safoie Type Zero

Moves you towards the target before casting and is more powerful when charged. That’s about it, not a hugely interesting customization on the surface of it. However, it may be useful for melee-Techers as a gap-closing skill as presumably the gap-closing part won’t require you to charge the PA. If it does then it’s a bit less useful for that.

Ramegid Type Zero

Surrounds you with dark orbs which deal pulsing damage to enemies on contact. Could be a interesting addition to a melee Techer’s arsenal, though it depends on how long the orbs persist for. The orbs do flinch enemies, so it may also be a handy protective barrier against trash mobs for all casting types.

I think Ramegid and Sacrifice Bite got the most interesting changes, because both of them will potentially have a large impact on game-play. It’ll be more clear when these are released and we can experiment with them.

New Skills: Summoner Quality of Life.


Summoner will be gaining two new skills; Share Assist and Long Distance Love (daww).

Share Assist appears to allow support effects to transfer between pets when you swap pets or weapons. Not sure how big an issue this was for Summoners, but it may mean you won’t have to re-cast support techs as much.

Long Distance Love is probably the most major one, as it allows you to initiate Pet Sympathy without having to recall your pet to you to get it inside Shifta/Resta range.

new_pet_ui

Another major quality of life fix is your pet’s HP and status effects will display on the palette. I’m not sure why this wasn’t a feature from the beginning, as you’d think this is the kind of thing that’d come up during play-testing. It’s great that they’re finally implementing it, but all the same it’s baffling that it took them this long to do it.

I’m not sure if this is the “Skill re-balance” they were hinting towards on the long term schedule, but if it is I’m kind of disappointed. Not because these are bad changes because Summoner needed some help and I like what they’ve proposed. It’s just the name indicates that there’d be changes to most if not all classes, not just the one. We’ll see I guess.

Evolved Summoner Pets


The three basic pets; Wanda, Torim and Ceri will be gaining upgraded versions of themselves.

jinga
Jinga, the upgraded Wanda. It appears to gain a zig-zag motion, possibly extending the width of its dashing attack.
aero
Aero, the upgraded Torim. Aero Spiral seems to have a larger range than Torim Spiral.
popru
Popple, the upgraded Ceri. Popple-plode seems to have a larger radius than Ceri-plode.

Beyond that, it’s not really known how these pets are superior to the old versions. I’m not sure if you can just consume the upgraded egg or if you have to feed it to the base version to “evolve” it. However the demo shows them using a 7* Jinga egg to upgrade a 6* wanda, so it may have similar restrictions to the pet-ability swap/rarity upgrade mechanic. That is to say; you may need an egg of equal or greater rarity. If this is true, it’s going to be awkward to upgrade any 13* pets you currently have.

Skill Ring Update


 

There’s a couple of parts to this; one is the addition of 4 new rings to go with the addition of Caves and Tundra as gathering spots. Gonna go over the new rings here, with descriptions sourced from Bumped’s post:

L/Jet Boots Tech Arts SC

  • Reduces charge times when you combo from a PA to a Technic.

I can’t see this being terribly useful for BoHu or really in general. Seems like a waste of space, but maybe Jet Boot mains can correct me on this.

L / Air Reversal

  • Allows you to perform an air reversal in the air.

This could be really useful. While Just Reversal is trivial enough with practice, its main weakness is it leaves you vulnerable to being juggled to death. This ring should prevent that, by turning a knock-back into i-frames, which mechanically should greatly increase your survivability as long as you’re paying attention.

L / Slow Dive Roll

  • Extends the duration by slowing the Dive Roll speed.

I’m not sure of the use of this ring, unless it’s just to extend the i-frames on Dive Roll. Lord knows Dive Roll needs all the help it can get…

L / Step Jump

  • Increases movement speed if you jump during the [Step] action.

The video demonstration shows it’s a fairly large increase in movement speed. Could this be the return of step-jump for faster movement over long distances? Hopefully not, but the increase in melee mobility is always welcome  It’d be a fair boon if this ring allowed you go skip straight to maximum running speed upon landing, mind! Unfortunately the demo doesn’t show this either way.

Ring Selling/Trading

skill_ring_selling.jpg

The other side of this is you can buy and sell skill rings, which is interesting. I’m not sure what kind of restrictions might be put in place on them, if any. This could work out great for players who are willing to spend the extra time gathering for profit and for those players who just plain don’t want to gather. Given the cost of creating and upgrading rings however, it remains to be seen what kind of profit margin people might be able to make with this.

To The Moon! -Story Board Chapter 5


moon_baseRejoice, those who despise Episode 4 for going to Earth because we’re heading back to something resembling the science fiction setting again. The next chapter of the story quest is set on a moon base, where Hitsugi is currently being held captive. Battle your way past Mother Cluster apostles such as Phul and Och, possibly Kohri based on the data-mining and who knows who else!

The moon base itself doesn’t seem like a terribly complicated map, given it’s just a straight corridor. That said, I guess it’s reasonable for a field that’s only going to be available in a story quest. The background music incorporates Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

hi_mom
The quest will see Mother’s face finally revealed. I’m surprised they showed it in a teaser trailer really, as I’d figure this kind of thing would be better saved for the actual quest itself. Still, it does confirm that data-mining was right about her appearance at least. She also doesn’t seem terribly perturbed that her sworn enemies are bashing her door down…

Later on in the month, additional story board events will be added including a fight between Huey and Phaleg and finally re-uniting with Matoi.

This reminds me, I am actually considering doing story summary posts now thanks to story translation efforts by multiple people. More details on that when the time comes.

Ultimate Amduscia: New Info


The second trailer showed some new bits about Ultimate Amduscia.

Quest Teleporter.

Boooo. The inclusion of a teleporter is bad news in my opinion, because with it the quest will likely never get started once interest wanes over time. Initially it won’t be a problem because people will be running them a lot, but let’s see if that’s still the case 3 months down the line.

Presumably they felt the need to include this because they wanted to prevent the return of Anga farming. By syncing up all the players at the start, you can put Anga at the end of the quest, making sure you can’t just shortcut your way to it. The downside however will be you can’t join the quest once its begun, nor can anyone join you after you begin it. The result is if your MPA isn’t full you get to sit there and wait, which is something you don’t suffer from for the other Ultimate Quests. Good luck getting randoms to agree to go in with lower numbers! Anyone who’s had issues getting Riding Quests, Challenge Quests or the recent Odin Limited Quest started should know what I’m worried about.

The Quest Itself

It looks like it might be a fixed-layout quest, which I don’t mind. It does run counter to the spirit of the other Ultimate Quests however which functioned more like free fields and it may have the unfortunate effect of making the quest much more repetitive. However, a fixed layout does give them the potential to engineer more interesting encounters than a random number generator could create, so I’m interested to see how it all works out. Curiously, if you follow the trailer you’ll note that they’re at varying point totals at different parts of the map between obviously different runs. Maybe the route through the quest is randomized even if the map isn’t?

lightning_weakness
The main enemies are weak to lightning element. 

Much like the other Ultimate Quests, you’ll need to amass around 2000 points to clear. It seems the encounters during the quest are randomized enough, though the demo seems to show that a boss encounter happens in the same place (the center of the map) with Deadlion, Gilzoras Drago and the new Anga Fundarge. These all seem to occur around the 1200 point mark. It may pick a random boss to have as the final encounter in the quest if defeating it earns the rest of the points, which should be OK. I don’t think we’ll be in danger of people abandoning the quest if Anga doesn’t spawn as long as the collection files are relevant or their drops are decent.

New Gear

Speaking of drops, this is no doubt what a lot of people were most eager to find out. What kind of gear can we get?

As was expected , the quest will come with a new collection file with which you can obtain the “Gicks” series of weapons. Though along with these, apparently other 13* weapons will also drop from the quest.

gicks_sword_file

Gicks Sword comes with a rather impressive 1333 attack, though it’s unknown exactly how much of that is made up by affixes. If we assume that Deadlion Soul comes with the standard +35 S-atk then its +50 attack with Ability 3, bringing it down to an estimated 1283 attack which is still huge. Austere Calibur in comparison has 1161 S-atk at +0, so its looking like these will be making the Austere series obsolete if they come with a solid potential.

12* Units

After many years of 11* units, we’re finally making the transition to 12*. It appears that there’ll only be 1 complete set and a bunch of boss parts for others. While their stats are unknown, the blue-wing unit appears to start with 225 S-Def which puts it on par with the Tagami units if so. This potentially makes Saiki and Austere units superior for defense in terms of raw stats, but of course we don’t know what set bonuses they may come with or what inherent bonuses they may have. What we do know if that even if they’re statistically weaker they come with one very important mechanic that makes them blow all 11* units out of the water; you can slot L / skill rings into them.

ring_slotting

Take one ring, 100,000 Meseta and 1 Lambda Grinder to fuse a ring with your unit. Once you fuse the ring, the ring is consumed and you won’t be able to get it back. Note that this only works with Left rings and it will also bind the unit to you.

This is a game-changer in terms of the builds that people could go with, as it allows you to essentially equip up to 4 left rings at once! The big issue is going to be that you’ll need to do an additional upgrade step every time they release a new unit set now, which will be irritating as you’ll have to re-gather and grind up a new ring each time. Though I guess the ability to buy and sell rings may help in that regard…

As an aside, the blue units appear to be Ray units. They’re similar to Ray weapons in appearance and have “ray” in their names. As far as I know it isn’t confirmed if they’ll have a set bonus with Ray weapons, but even if they do the presence of the Gicks series may topple the urge to wear them together…

Phantasy Star Universe Part 2


 

Alright, there’s one more trailer to go over quickly! The 2nd part of the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary crossover thingamajig was revealed.

This time, the focus is on the Phantasy Star Portable games mostly, also featuring a shirtless Howzer because why not. Shirtless Howzer is kinda awesome to be honest, he reminds me a bit of Liquid Ocelot  You’ll be able to get Helga, Vivienne and Emilia costumes and accessories. Howzer and Helga’s costumes will be layered wear.

This time, the lobby NPCs will be Emilia and Vivienne. They’ll come with the usual Client Orders, obtainable Partner Cards and  obtainable 13* weapons, with Clarita Visas NT and Vivienne. Both weapons will have editable photon colours.

emilia_and_vivi

What’s new and fairly interesting about this pair is that they both seem to come with their own fully voiced cutscenes. I’m not sure if these will be special story board events or what triggers them. I’m interested to see what they have to say, mind, though I’m not expecting them to do something silly like trying to make a canonical link between PSU and PSO2…

Anyway, looks like that’ll be all for the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary. Kind of a shame we didn’t see anything Laia turn up but that’s how it goes. I originally thought there were going to be three parts based on the fact that we had three major characters on the promotional artwork, but there’s nothing on the schedule for it. Kind of a blow for fans of the Guardians Formal outfit.

That’s finally all I have to write about! Long post, but there was a lot of stuff they revealed on the 4th day of the TGS. As far as I know there’s nothing else to announce, but i could be wrong. Let me know in the comments if I got anything wrong or if you have any observations of your own you’d like to add. Thanks for reading!

Vegas Patch: Datamining

oracle_yaaay

We couldn’t have a 2.5GB patch without some new tidbits to comb over and speculate on, surely? Well actually we could have… there have been larger patches in the past which just updated content we already had. This post wouldn’t be happening if there weren’t a few things to go through however! So this is was not one of those notorious patches.

As always, remember that datamined information is unearthing content that’s still heavily in development. As a result, things may change before content goes live or it may not even be added at all. Also somewhat self explanatory is that such data may contain spoilers for the story. I’ll warn when spoilery stuff starts.

Icons – Phantasy Star Universe Goodies.


The community has extracted a bunch of icons for weapons and outfits from client. They were all uploaded to Imgur galleries here for weapons and enemies  and here for costumes/parts.

As you can probably see, there’s a bunch of PSU items in there which are almost certainly related to the upcoming PSU Anniversary event. This event still has no date as far as I know.

Among them are Crea Doubles and Huge Cutter, pictured above. Given how disappointing the likes of Stag Cutlery ended up looking in PSO2 I’m not holding out much hope for Crea Doubles but who knows. As long as they get the photon effect and weapon scale right it should be fine. If the text data is correct, you can get these weapons via limited Client Orders.

Ethan’s Illuminus coat and Mirei’s dress are the two new costumes. Ethan’s old Braves Jacket and Karen’s outfit were both already added to the game some time ago as part of some promotional deal I’ve long forgotten about.

More Phantasy Star Universe Stuff


As you can probably guess, Ethan and Karen are going to be the temporary NPCs added for the event. The pair of them give out Client Orders and the indications are you’ll be able to get their Partner Cards. While Ethan seems to wield a Huge Cutter, Karen wields Daggers of Serafi.

Along with weapons, there are a few affixes referencing PSU:

  • TENORA Boost: +35 S-Atk
  • GRM Boost: +35 R-Atk
  • YOHMEI Boost: +35 T-Atk

Essentially the Noble Boosts but without the PP. These are referring to the three main weapon manufacturers in PSU while roughly aligning with their specialties.

There’s also an Airboard lobby action. With it you could dress up as Ethan, trigger the Phantom Cars Etrial in Tokyo and recreate the greatest scene in PSU.

ethan0car1

As far as the data shows, this is it for the Phantasy Star Universe event. We might see if there’s anything else in the next live broadcast in a few days.

Enemies


The majority of the enemies aren’t worth mentioning in this post as you can go fight many of them yourself in today’s Story Quest. There’s a couple among the icons that warrant brief mention however:

These two appear to be Phantom Laplace and Phantom Maxwell. I’m guessing this is so as Laplace’s AI summons Maxwells and well, one of these is quite a bit larger than the other… They took the philosophical concepts of Laplace and Maxwell’s demons fairly literally it seems. I also can’t help but think of Monster’s Inc a bit here…

New Enemies

Beyond Las Vegas, a bunch of new enemy names have shown up in the client and well… let’s just say they’re fairly interesting if you’ve been sticking around PSO2 for some time.

OK, the spoiler warning is here. Don’t read beyond this point if you don’t want potential spoilers for the story. If you’re good with spoilers, then carry on!

Continue reading “Vegas Patch: Datamining”

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

SG_recycle

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

LasVegas01

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.