Towards the Future: Datamining

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The Battle Arena patch was the first one in a while to contain any potentially interesting tidbits about what might be being added to the game in the future in a long time. Sega have generally been more careful about not giving the game away (or they’re working on less stuff…).

Anyway just gonna go over some of the things that were found by myself and others in the community. As always, remember that data-mined content is not representative of content that will be released, as the content might change or might never be released.

Super Yamato?

“PhantomShipEx” was spotted in the client. The reason why it’s signficant is “Ex” was used to denote updated versions of old bosses, including Elder, Loser and Profound Darkness (DpFishElderEx, DpBirdEx and DpAbyssEx respectively). Like the others, it appears to have updated attacks, but there’s no real details as to what these might be.

If this is coming out, it’s not on the current long-term schedule at least. I suspect it’s either going to arrive in the gap between the arrival of Deus Esca and Episode 5 or possibly even happen after Episode 5 is released. I guess this also potentially means that Hagito isn’t dead afterall…

PSU Collab Part 3

It seems that Laia and Lumia will be joining us in the Arks lobby for part 3, if the text files are anything to go by. So with that information i guess we can speculate what kind of items are gonna be added.

Lumia_psp2

Lumia sports the Guardians Uniform F, which is an outfit already available in the game. Lumia used a Rod, so it seems safe to assume that she’ll hand out some kind of 13* rod like Emilia did. Honestly not a heck of a lot to say about Lumia as she wasn’t a terribly interesting character in general despite getting such heavy focus during Episode 3’s story.

Laia on the other hand wears the Guardians Formal outfit by the end of PSU, which was one of my favorite outfits in the entire game. The outfit she’s wearing on the right was her original costume, but I assume that’s not going to be the one she’s wearing judging by the promo pic for the PSU event. Here’s a pic of Guardians Formal from PSU in case you’ve never seen it before. I kind of hope the PSO2 incarnation doesn’t look as tacky as some other PSU outfits ended up looking. I’m also curious to see how the physics on the outfit will end up looking; is the coat tail gonna be glued to the legs like in PSU or is it gonna flap wildly like a number of recent dresses in PSO2…

Laia is also a Beast, which is a race that PSO2 never got (even though it was in the data files here and there!), which has certain physical features not available to any race in PSO2. So I suspect what they’ll do is create a unique face model just for her, which is kind of nuts but they’ve done it before with Miku and Luka. I’m curious to see what she’ll end up looking like in PSO2.

As for her weapon…. she uses an axe and twin claws in PSU, so either a Sword or Wired Lance if I had to guess.

Future Enemies?

Occasionally, future enemies turn up in the data. The last major time this happened was with DPP1, which later turned out to be Escafalz Mother. There was also Ultimate Amduscia enemies which turned up in the data a full year before they were finally implemented.

Anyway so some new ones turned up with a completely new naming scheme:

  • B1SkSw
  • B1SkAr
  • B1GoSw
  • B1GoBo
  • B1Min
  • B1WoN
  • B1WoF
  • B1OrN
  • B1OrBo
  • B1CatsA

Completely unlike anything we’ve seen before. You’ve probably noticed there’s a pattern to the names, such as “Sw, Ar and Bo” and “Sk, Go, Wo and Or”. What could these mean? Sword, Assault Rifle and er, Bow or Boots? The next four are anyone’s guess and what on earth does the “B1” mean anyway?

Poking around in the AI files determined the following:

  • B1SkAr has an attack involving arrows – So it’d seem the “Ar” may stand for “Archer”
  • B1GoBo has a “Bom” attack. The Bo can be assumed to stand for Bomb, then.
  • B1OrN has a “club” attack. It using a club makes me think it could be something brutish, so could the “Or” stand for Orc or Ogre?
  • B1WoN has various biting attacks. Could the Wo stand for wolf?
  • B1Min has various slashing attacks and has Warcry…

The rest of the files either have setup stuff or nothing terribly interesting. Remember, this is content that is likely still being developed,  so a lot of likely to be missing.

So what we see is seemingly a selection of enemies with primitive tech. To hazard a guess, maybe these enemies are based on western fantasy tropes? Perhaps the “Go” stands for Goblin, the “Sk” for Skeleton and the “Min” for Minotaur? This is just wild speculation of course, I might be miles off the mark but being wrong is often part of the fun of speculating.

As these enemies don’t really fit into Episode 4’s naming schemes and seeing as Episode 4 seems to be coming to a end soon it’s plausible we might be seeing the first hints of Episode 5 content here. Could we really be heading to a medieval western fantasy land? We could, but I feel like it’d be a bit weird going up against Goblins and Orcs while wielding laser swords.

This would also continue their departure from the science fiction-y setting that fans have missed since we went to Space Japan in Episode 3 then actual Japan in Episode 4. Like I’m sure people who were hoping we’d go back to space again once we were done with Earth’s bullshit will be disappointed if my speculations turn out to be right. Who knows though, even if it does turn out to be Orcs and Skeletons it might be Space Orcs and Space Skeletons! Or it could end up being something completely different.

BATTLE WARRIORS

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The PVP arena has arrived and honestly overall it’s not that bad. It’s not terribly good either, but there’s a lot to appreciate about it I think. This post will be entirely dedicated to most things Battle Arena.

There’s still some information in this post that needs verifying, so bare in mind it may get updated in the future.

Da Rules

It’s a point race, essentially. You gain points by grabbing allied, enemy and rainbow emblems. You’ll also earn points for killing enemies and lose points for getting killed.

The breakdown works something like this:

  • Allied emblems are 1 point each.
  • Enemy emblems are 5 points each
  • Rainbow emblems are 10 points each
  • The team’s score is the total of each of its member’s individual scores.
  • The team with the highest total score is the winner.
  • Killing enemies gives you 10% of their individual points.
  • Dying (including by suicide) causes you to lose 10% of your points.
  • Lava is bad for you. Don’t swim in the lava.
  • You’ll only earn Battle Coins for doing Ranked games
    • You can only solo queue for ranked.

Ranking

Your rank is entirely dependent on what your current “Arena Point” score is (ARP). You will only gain Arena Points when you win matches and beyond a certain rank you’ll lose some when you’re defeated. The lowest rank is D5 while the highest is Legend.

Rank ARP requirements:

  • D5 – 0 ARP
  • D4 – 20 ARP
  • D3 – 40 ARP
  • D2 – 60 ARP
  • D1 – 80 ARP
  • C5  – 100 ARP
  • C4 – 140 ARP
  • C3 – 180 ARP
  • C2 – 220 ARP
  • C1 – 260 ARP
  • B5 – 300 ARP
  • B4 – 380 ARP
  • B3 – 460 ARP
  • B2 – 540 ARP
  • B1 – 620 ARP
  • A5 – 700 ARP
  • A4 – 800 ARP
  • A3 – 900 ARP
  • A2 – 1000 ARP
  • A1 – 1100 ARP
  • S5 – 1200 ARP
  • S4 – 1360 ARP
  • S3 – 1520 ARP
  • S2 – 1680 ARP
  • S1 –  1840 ARP
  • LEGEND – 2000 ARP

Rankpoints lost on defeat:

  • D5-D1 : 0pt
  • C5 – C1 : -5pt
  • B5 – B1 : -6pt
  • A5 – A1: -10pt
  • S5 – S1: -15pt
  • LEGEND: -20pt

So in terms of rank progression, you’ll only progress if you’re exceeding a certain win percentage. For each rank:

  • D5-D1: No loss in progress, so any win-rate.
  • C5-C1: Greater than 20% win-rate
  • B5-B1: Greater than 23% win-rate
  • A5-A1: Greater than 33% win-rate.
  • S5 – S1: Greater than 42% win-rate.

There are titles for hitting certain ranks that reward Stargems.

  • 20 Stargems: Play a ranked match.
  • 30 Stargems: Reach C-rank
  • 50 Stargems: Reach B-rank
  • 100 Stargems: Reach A-rank
  • 300 Stargems: Reach S-rank
  • 500 Stargems: Reach LEGEND rank.

Your rank points are reset every month. At the end of the month your rank is set to:

  • Legend -> S1
  • S1-S4 -> S5
  • S5 -> A1
  • A1 – A4 -> A5
  • A5 -> B1
  • B1-B4 -> B5
  • B5 > C1
  • C1 – C4 -> C5
  • C5 -> D1
  • D1 – D4 -> D5
  • D5 -> D5.
  • So if you’re B1 at the end of the month, your rank is set to B5.

There are apparently monthly prizes for whatever rank you managed to get. As far as I know there’s no details as to what these prizes are.

General Tips

This is just gonna be a few things I feel is generally good advice when playing this mode. While you’ll still get Battle Coins for losing (and not much more for winning), it’s a competitive mode so come on. You wanna win. Bare in mind this is largely gut feeling and personal experience, though.

Because it’s a team score, not an individual score, dying is a pretty big deal. Like it costs your team possibly more points than they’ll be able to make back in a reasonable time, so playing overly aggressively is a bad idea. You want to pick your battles carefully. Look for enemy players that are way out of position/too far from allies that can be picked off while being wary not to wander too far from allies yourself!

In particular on the Volcano stage, do not try a jump you don’t think you can make. Dying costs your team points, so every time you fuck up a jump and end up in the lava you put your team at a real disadvantage.

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Tokyo map
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Volcano map
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Forest map

The most valuable spot on the map is the area the Rainbow Emblems spawn. If your team manages to control this spot you’ll be at a major advantage. On the maps pictured nearby it’s on center-left in Tokyo and middle on both Volcano and Forest. As stated though, don’t be reckless and just throw yourself at this area, because you could just end up feeding if you do. If the enemy are guarding this area too well, consider hunting stragglers/respawners but you really want to try to join a group push to re-take the rainbow emblem area because its a very lucrative spot.

The top 3 players on each team are marked on the map and visible by an emblem over their heads. They’re worth more points for your team, so use the fact you can see them at all times to your advantage to set up an ambush. Beware that this cuts both ways, as in when you have an emblem over your head you’ll no longer be able to pull off a sneak attack. Additionally, when you’re in the top 3 your team loses more points when you die.

Spending time farming for weapons is time you’re not spending collecting emblems. However, this mode isn’t terribly well balanced and some attacks are just significantly better than others. It might be worth farming nodes for replacement weapons if the one you have will put you at a significant disadvantage. For example, if the enemy are all camping an area you really want to have some ranged pressure to apply, which a sword won’t allow you to do.

Positioning is relatively important I feel. Like if you have a melee weapon you really don’t want to be out in the open, you want to be around corners and in places where you can get the jump on an unsuspecting enemy. You’ll generally want to try to use cover to your advantage, however you’re less vulnerable if you have a ranged weapon. If you have a teching weapon, charge your tech from behind cover then jump out to fire it, as charging in the open is risky.

If you respawn and the weapon upgrade message happens, you’ll want to get a new weapon quickly unless you have something like Onepoint or Rising Edge.

I feel like prioritizing kills over emblem collection might actually be worth it, because enemy deaths cost their team so heavily. Going for enemy emblems is generally too risky to be worth it, as you’ll be at re-spawn disadvantage and when you die you’ll lose more points than you gained.

Those are my thoughts at least. Hopefully they work for you but I’m promising nothing!

Weapons and Photon Arts

For now there are only three weapon types: Sword (Nova Break, Rising Edge), Assault Rifle (One Point, Piercing Shell) and Rod (Foie, Zonde, Megid). I’ll go over my opinions of each of them.

Nova Break

It’s a kind of short range, slow but fairly hard hitting attack. If you follow up with a step attack fast enough, you’ll kill the enemy player before their ground i-frames kick in. It does have a short wind-up time that leaves you vulnerable, however.

Rising Edge

This unique version of Rising Edge has extended range and deals a huge amount of damage; enough to one-shot most enemy players. Its not a terribly wide attack however, so some accuracy is required. It also locks you in place, so if you miss the enemy do not spam the PA button or else you’ll end up missing again. This attack does leave you sort of vulnerable while using it.

One Point

Deals consistent, easy to apply damage at long range. Its damage is kind of low, however and while using it you’re either staying still or moving slowly which makes you an easy target. One Point also doesn’t flinch, so combined with its low damage it is possible to run up to someone using One Point and melee them to death.

Piercing Shell

Deals low damage and inflicts a heavy injury debuff on enemies it hits. It can pierce enemies, however its a pretty small projectile so it’s not going to happen often. The projectile is slow moving however, so it’s hard to hit moving targets with it unless they’re moving directly at or away from you.

Foie

Foie is as solid as ever. Fairly quick charge time and hits hard. You can also graze enemies with it, allowing you to hit multiple enemies at once. Beware that you’ll need to lead shots with it if the enemy is far enough away.

Zonde

Deals moderate damage to an enemy at kinda medium range. Takes a long while to charge but is actually pretty difficult to miss with if the enemy is in range. Charging it up from behind barriers can be an effective way to snipe unsuspecting players. You won’t kill them in one hit, but you’ll weaken them significantly.

Megid

Deals good damage in a large explosive area. The projectile travels very slowly however, giving enemies plenty of time to avoid it unless they’re lagging. Works well on enemies in areas where movement is restricted like corridors.

Overall, I feel One Point and Rising Edge are the most effective attacks in the arena however if used right all of the attacks can be pretty effective. It’s just personally I feel like Megid and Zonde are a little too niche and Piercing Shell a bit unreliable. Zonde might see more use if its charge time and range wasn’t so restrictive. Megid just needs a faster projectile.

Battle Coins – Prizes

So after every game you earn a varying amount of battle coins, with bonuses for winning, getting MVP in various stats and for being the underdog in an uneven match. For your trouble, you can get a selection of cosmetic and functional items.

Unlimited Shop

There is no limitation on the items you can buy in this shop. Buy as many as you like!

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  • 2,800 coins: Sword Camo, Rifle Camo and Rod Camo for
  • 2,800 coins: Rappy Make-up
  • 1400 coins: 4-slot Vraolet
  • 2800 coins: 6-slot Vraolet
  • 250 coins: Arena Booster
  • 200 coins: Lambda Grinder
  • 200 coins: Extreme Pass
  • 200 coins: 15000 EXP Ticket.

The Vraolets include Phrase Receptor and Sentence Receptor, allowing you transfer the Special Ability Factors of Gix and other weapon series (such as Astral and Fornis) without having to sacrifice another +35 of those series to do it. I see it as more of a future proofing mechanism so you can still use those affixes long after the Collection Files have disappeared.

Arena boosters are used to unlock Arena potentials on certain weapons. So far the only two series to have Arena Potentials are Revolucio and Aura weapons. As with other Potential unlock items, you’ll need 12 of them to max out your weapon. This means you’ll need 3000 coins for every weapon you wish to unlock the Arena Potential on. Their potentials are as follows:

Aura

  • Power and passive PP recovery increases depending on how many abilities are on the weapon. It also boosts PP recovered on attack by the number of abilities.
  • Numbers are per ability on your item.
  • Lv1:
    • Power : 1.25%
    • PP recovered on attack : 2%
    • Passive recovery : 2%
  • Lv2:
    • Power : 1.5%
    • PP recovered on attack : 2.5%
    • Passive recovery  : 3%
  • Lv3:
    • Power : 2%
    • PP recovered on attack :  3%
    • Passive recovery : 4%

A curious potential indeed. It means to get the most out of it you’re going to need to raise the weapon to 8-slot which is going to be tricky. If you do manage it however, you now have a weapon with a 16% power boost with 24% additional PP recovered on attack and +36% passive PP recovery. That’s pretty solid, overall! I mean heck, that’s 12%/18%/24% if you go for a more modest 6-slot.

That said, you do actually want to put decent affixes on your gear, so it’s not wise to just up-slot the weapon for the sake of having a stronger potential.

The Aura Collection File is set to return in the near future.

Revolucio

  • Increases power every time you deal a certain amount of damage, take a certain amount of damage and use a certain amount of PP
  • Lv1:
    • 1% increase for every 150,000 damage dealt, 750 damage taken and 250PP used
  • Lv2:
    • 1% increase for every 100,000 damage dealt, 550 damage taken and 175PP used
  • Lv3:
    • 1% increase for every 50,000 damage dealt, 300 damage taken and 100 PP used
  • To a maximum power increase of 16%
  • Resets on weapon swap

This potential really only suits builds that only use one weapon and can play very aggressively. However, the damage dealt part of the potential should get you to max power fairly quickly so this at least negates some of the reset issues this weapon could have. Overall not completely sold on this one, but 16% damage boost is pretty nice and if you haven’t gotten a 13* yet this wouldn’t be too bad.

Limited Purchase Shop

Most items in this shop are limited to a certain number of purchases per week. There are also items that are only temporarily available in the shop.

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  • 200 coins: 10 Star Gems (5 per week)
  • 200 coins: 5 Star Gems (10 per week)
  • 11000 coins: Blue Rapid Suit, Blue Rapid dress, Red Rapid Suit, Red Rapid Dress (1 per week)
  • 5500 coins: Winner Dance (1 per week)
  • 3300 coins: Rear / Shine Blue (1 per week)
  • 3300 coins: Rear / Shine Red (1 per week)
  • 2800 coins: +2% Element (1 per week…)
  • 1100 coins: Affix success rate boost +40% (1 per week)
  • 50 coins: +20 Mining Stamina Drink (10 per week)
  • 50 coins: +20 Fishing Stamina Drink (10 per week)
  • 50 coins: Advance Capsule d, e and f (50 per week)

Rapid Suits, the Lobby Action and the Shine units are available until the 20th of September because… I have no idea why honestly.

So yeah, probably the most interesting items there are the units and the Stargems. It doesn’t take that long to earn 1000 Battle Coins so an extra 50 gems per week isn’t too shabby (or 3000 to get the rest for a total of 100 Stargems per week).

The two units have very different stats. The blue unit gives HP and PP while the red unit gives stronger attack and defense stats. Here are the known numbers:

  • Rear / Shine Red –
    • +80 all attack
    • +80 DEX
    • +3% strike/shoot/tech resist
    • +10% fire resist.
    • 337/330/334 S-R-T-def at +10.
  • Rear /Shine Blue –
    • 150 HP
    • 5 PP
    • +3% strike/shoot/tech resist
    • +10% ice resist
    • 323/319/322 S-R-T-def at +10

Not completely sold on either of these units, honestly. The lack of HP and PP on the red unit kinda hurts it and the complete lack of attack on the other makes it fairly lackluster too. However, these are 12* units still and they’re significantly easier to obtain than other 12*s for now. They might be worth getting if you really need the additional Ring slot.

Overall Thoughts

It’s surprisingly fun. I thought it would honestly be a lot more frustrating than it is but the mode works well enough that it feels good to strike enemies down through careful positioning and mind games. Of course you can also get killed because someone ran up to you with Rising Edge.

My main beef with it is how it handles latency, as my connection is bad enough that some attacks are outright impossible for me to use. For example, me using Megid is almost pointless as the enemy can easily dodge it, while I can’t dodge enemy megid because even if I jump behind cover the server will still register the hit. I’m often getting killed without any damage numbers at that, which feels so bizarre. However, this is the kind of thing I did expect going into an action-based PVP game hosted in Japan. For those having a similarly lag filled experience, I advise sticking to Assault Rifles, Foie and Zonde if you can as these seem to be the most lag-friendly weapons.

Will this mode last? I think it might, though I suspect it’ll be a lot less active once people have gotten the cosmetics and units they wanted to get. Beyond the weekly Stargems and possibly Receptor gear though I don’t think there’s enough reward for it to be really active longterm.

That said, the game uses a cross-block matchmaking server to create games and it seems like they might be hosted on a different server. This will help its longevity somewhat. My only beef with this system is why isn’t something like this present for the entire game at large? Removing dependency on parking in blocks for content would alleviate so many issues the game has it’s kinda unreal. Aside technical issues, I suspect the main thing holding them back is the existence of Premium block space, as losing that incentive might not be worth it to them…

Anyway that’ll do for one post. There’s a few more non Battle-Arena things I want to go over but I think I’ll do those in separate posts.

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

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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

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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

2ndbroadcast_important_moment

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

14sneedle.jpg

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

14epd

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.

 

Ultimate Amduscia: Thoughts and Tidbits

deaddeadlion.jpg

Today saw the release of Ultimate Amduscia. So was it worth the year long wait? Is the gear any good? This and other important life questions will be considered momentarily, while also throwing in some actually useful information.

Note that the community is still figuring a fair amount of things out. As such, the contents of this post may change in the coming days.

On an unrelated note, WordPress seems to kill the contents of

tags now. That’s why this post lacks the black bar titles that are in most of my posts these days. I can’t figure out a way to prevent WordPress from modifying my tags, so for now I’m having to use the default headers. Custom CSS is a paid feature so..

The Quest Itself


ultquest_maingate

So rather than do the circuit-style of the other two quests, we instead have semi-randomized spawns with a fixed layout. The map is split into sections which you teleport to randomly, which then chooses from a small selection of fixed spawns.

box_deubles

One of these sections is guaranteed to be a Box Duvals and it seems like every run has at least one spawn of Darker Abberations. There’s a chance one of the spawns will be replaced with an additional shot at a  boss.

After going through 4 different sections the big forcefield is dispelled and you’ll face off against either Gruzoras Drago or Drago Deadlion. After defeating them, the new Anga Fundarge spawns and after defeating that the quest is clear. So yes, you will always get an Anga Fundarge and at least one boss here, unlike in previous Ultimate Quests.

An average run should last between 6 to 10 minutes, depending on MPA quality and a bit of luck. Rank is based on time, with an S rank requiring you to clear the quest within 7 minutes. If you manage to do this, you’ll earn a title that rewards you with a Gix unit.

archer_room.jpg
This room full of archers is arguably the biggest obstacle to getting an S-rank. The archers are spread throughout the room, far beyond Zondeel range. The MPA will need to split up ideally one person per archer.

So yeah, I actually like this approach to the quest to be honest. It’s random enough but it gives you fair shots at just about everything the quest has to offer. This makes filling out the collection files much less frustrating than the Vegas files ended up being.

In terms of difficulty, it’s a little lacking for end-game players. Players at the top end are so well geared that very little gets to live long enough to do anything, but an average MPA may find things hectic enough that you at least don’t feel completely safe. I feel like most deaths will come from getting randomly combo’d in all the chaos.

Oh, and you’ll need to be lv75 on both Main and Subclass in order to participate. I’m not really sure why as the quest’s overall difficulty really doesn’t warrant it, but it’s there so you’re gonna have to deal with it.

New Gear 


The arrival of the Gix series, 12* units and a few other bits and bobs. I’ll go over what’s known here, but be aware that this is still being researched.

Collection Files

gix_sheets

Ultimate Amduscia’s collection files all offer similar sort of gear; an 11* Sun God weapon matching the weapon class of the file and various 11*/10* junk. Each part of the file requires kills of a specific boss in the quest to progress. Essentially, only boss kills will progress you towards completing these files.

Summoner gained collection files for eggs, which is interesting in its own right. It’s also fair, all things considered, as pets are essentially their weapons.

Zinga, Aero and Popple require the same things as the Gix weapons do; kills of various Ultimate Amduscia bosses. They give out various candy board items, including a Spirita Cookie + 3, rolls of various types, 2-layer pancakes and candy canes.

Synchro was added to the Trick or Treat files, offering a 2-layer pancake, Technicookie and Stamina Cookie.

As for wether or not the new pets are any good I’m the wrong person to ask. I simply don’t play summoner enough to say.

Gix Weapons

The Gix series boasts he highest base stats of all weapons in the game. On initial thoughts, the potential was unnerving but as it turns out it’s actually a strong set of weapons overall.

  • Gain a damage bonus that increases in power over time, up to a maximum of 20% at lv3.
  • The base power boost is 6%, though it may he higher at higher levels (up to 8% at Lv3)
  • Weapons that belong to a given attack type all have a mechanism that will reset the currently gained bonus to base.
  • Damage bonus resets to base if a mate item is used. This includes through Automate skills. Takes 70 seconds to fully charge.
    • Sword
    • Wired Lance
    • Partizan
    • Twin Daggers
    • Double Saber
    • Knuckles
    • Katana
  • Damage bonus resets to base if you take any damage. Takes 50 seconds to fully charge.
    • Gunslash
    • Dual Blades
    • Assault Rifle
    • Launcher
    • Twin Machinegun
    • Bullet Bow
    • Wand
    • Jetboots
  • Damage bonus resets to base if you use any evade skills. Takes 60 seconds to fully charge.
    • Rod
    • Talis
  • Swapping weapons will reset the bonus.

These are all conditions that are likely to happen very frequently making it overall impractical to stay at maximum power. That said, due to their high stats their base effectiveness is actually pretty close to Austere (within 2%) and you won’t have to wait too long before the weapon actually out-damages them. You may have to change your game-play approach in order to get the most out of them.

Should you upgrade from Austere? That’s up to you, personally I’d say refrain if you’re really comfortable with your playstyle. If you don’t have an Austere yet then I’d recommend getting one of these over it as they’re almost as strong at their worst and they’re much, much easier to get.

Due to the mechanics of the potential, melee users who only use one weapon type now benefit greatly from having a dedicated healer in the party. Keep the Gix using melee train topped up with Resta and they’ll be able to maintain max power for longer. The value of support-oriented Friend Partners may have increased a tad…

Of course the fact you can’t swap weapons is a bit of a liability if you’re aiming to keep max power up.

Less mainstream combinations can make use of these weapons; such as the self-healing HuSu as well as HuTe. Any melee combination that has access to Resta, Megiverse or some auto-heal that doesn’t consume Mate items essentially. I guess it’s nice they got chucked a bone, eh? Even with a weapon as strong as this behind it though, the likes of HuSu and HuTe would not be able to compete with HuFi for damage, so it’s really not recommended.

 

I still personally think they look like poorly made hunks of plastic…

Boss Weapons

Names are my own interpretations. Let’s just say I’m no translater, so awaiting better names for em.

Gruzoshoes

  • Drops from Gruzoras Drago
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Deadliogridda

  • Drops from Drago Deadlion
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Box Duvleos

  • Drops from Box Duvals
  • Lv3 Potential boosts damage by 6%, reduces incoming damage by 20% and makes you immune to knockbacks.

Kind of a nifty potential. In fact, the wand would have been pretty amazing were it not for the addition of Form Wand with Vegas a while back. If you missed that gravy train however, this would be a solid wand to pick up. Knockback immunity would be pretty handy for Knuckles too, with the damage resist making you that bit more durable while using Limit Break. I’m not familiar enough with Jet Boots to say if the protection from knockback would be that helpful.

Units and Set Bonuses 


12* units are here and they’re also remarkably underwhelming in terms of stats. We were told a little bit back by the developers that Austere units would not be becoming irrelevant just yet!

Ray Units

  • Individually, they provide 50HP, 9PP, 25 all attack, 2% all resist.
  • They can be dropped by Profound Darkness Lv76+
  • Ray units have a set bonus with Ray weapons, granting you an additional 60 Dexterity…

Gruzoras Unit

  • Rear only.
  • Can be dropped by Gruzoras Drago.
  • Provides 40 T-atk, 15PP, 1% strike resistance and 2% fire resistance.
  • Gruzoras’ unit pairs up with the Jetboots it can drop, granting a measly 40 T-def…

Deadlion Unit

  • Arm only
  • Can be dropped by Dragon Deadlion
  • Provides 150HP, 40 S-Atk, 3% Strike Resist, 2% Fire Resist, 1% Tech Resist.
  • Set bonus currently unknown.

Gix Unit

  • Arm only
  • Title reward for clearing Ultimate Amduscia with an S-rank
  • Can apparently drop, but source is unknown.
  • Provides 50HP, 10PP, +30 all attack.
  • The Gix unit can pair up with any Gix weapon to give you 20 Dex and 2% Light and Dark resistance…

What’s with these limp set bonuses? I know they don’t want to make Austere irrelevant yet but jeez this is treading just a tad too carefully! The bonuses are so bad they may as well not exist. The base stat bonuses they provide are actually pretty alright, with the Ray set being particularly decent.

The main draw to 12* units is of course the ability to socket L / Skill Rings into them, allowing you to effectively equip 5 rings at once (including your R/Ring). While an alluring prospect, it does mean actually obtaining a full set of 12* units, which means you’ll need to re-affix the lot of them. Add in that you’re also losing a potentially decent set bonus and the whole thing is a lot less attractive. It may be better to hold out for a bigger upgrade if you’re already sporting a good set of units (Saiki, Orbit, Austere and a select few others). Again, like with Gix weapons, if you lack such gear then go for it.

So yeah generally an underwhelming update for those ready for the next tier of gear.I mean we don’t really have a new tier of content to use this gear on anyway, but that hasn’t stopped them before!

Thoughts 


So yeah, overall it’s a fun enough quest. I like the approach they took with this one it’s just a shame the gear in it is considered underwhelming for those at the upper end of the gear spectrum. The enemies are fun enough, the bosses are particularly decent.Hopefully the quest doesn’t suffer the same fate as Riding Quests and end up near impossible to get runs going in the near future. However, the quest isn’t so difficult that you couldn’t just get a group of 3 or more people together to get a good clear. That’s at least one positive note with regard to the quest’s overall lack of difficulty.

Let me know if any information is wrong in this post. There was still some unknown stuff as of writing this, so as said at the start the post’s content may change.

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!

Upcoming Event: Famitsu Cup

100_percent_ridiculous

The Tokyo Game Show has seen a few tidbits released for PSO2, including a couple of collaborations no one cares about (alright, the Persona 5 collaboration has stirred up a bit of a reaction..) and the announcement of a classic Phantasy Star event, the Famitsu Cup. This event will be a full on web-event and is starting some time in November. Reposting the trailer:

That thing that looks like a failed attempt at a 90s console mascot is Famitsu’s own mascot “Necky”. Unfortunately you’re presumably going to have to interact with it during the event.

gatheringticket

Details are a little thin on the event for now, but it does seem that it’ll involve the gathering system at least. Gathering items net you “Gabasu Tickets”, though it doesn’t give any indication what these tickets are for. If it’s always 4 per gathering attempt, that is quite a lot of tickets you could acquire if you have a large number of alts…

Special Mining Base Defense


The Famitsu Cup will come with a slight new twist on the all-star style of event quest by setting it in Mining Base: Invasion’s map; an Emergency Quest named “Challenges from Necky”. You’ll need to fend off Gal Gryphon, Kuronites, Lilipa Mechs and even Aberrations. We’ve only been shown a tiny snippet of it, but it seems hectic enough.

Update: As pointed out, it’s Invasion’s map not Despairs. Guess I’m the one despairing.

miningbarrier

Aside the towers being threatened by enemies they’ve never seen before, it seems at least one new mechanic is added as well in the form of a barrier. This barrier seems to be protecting AIS Exoda as they charge their cannons, which makes it a significant threat.

I’m pretty interested in how this quest will play out, as I’ve pondered before how some non-darker enemies might function mechanically in a tower-defense style quest. Barbarillipas for example could be pretty destructive if ignored, what with their very long range and constant attacks. Gryphon tornadoes, lightning and general charging about could be tricky to deal with. Falka Leopard and Zeta Guranz with their huge amount of missiles and potential for collateral damage (especially Zeta Guranz’ spinning laser attack) present a potentially interesting positioning problem. I also can’t help but ponder what might happen if the attacking waves end up turning on each other (as Darkers and non-Darkers will fight each other) but I kind of doubt they will due to how the aggro mechanics work; it can be hard enough for a player to peel mobs off the towers and they do a lot more damage.

The quest will apparently award collaboration items.

So far, that’s all the information about the event that I’m aware of. Not much to go on, really, but at least the emergency quest looks like it’ll be fun. Kind of hoping the rest of the event isn’t based on gathering items, mind…

45th Live Broadcast

sayonara_ichitaro

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

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

Trailers


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

Due early September.

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

Due late September.

 

Long Term Schedule


longterm_autumn2016

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

Autumn

New Ultimate Quest – Guess.

Episode 4 Chapter 5

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

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

Pet Egg Added

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

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

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

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

New Team Room

PSU Anniversary

Winter

Episode 4 Chapter 6

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

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

Pet Egg Added

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

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

Famous Game Collaboration Scratch

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

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

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

New Time Attack


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

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

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

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

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

Phantasy Star Universe 10th Anniversary


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

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

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

QUACK.jpg
Kakwane is watching…

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

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

Ultimate Amduscia


 

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

It’s due for release sometime in October.

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

Enemies

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

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

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

 

dilandarl

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

pen_dran
An Ultimate variant of a Pendran

 

darkers_blurry

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

Box Deuxbles

boxing_dragon

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

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

Drago Deadlion

dragonlion

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

Gilzoras Drago

Gold_QuartzU_STARTIN_SUMFIN_M8

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

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

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

Anga Fundarge!?

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

Anga_Bark

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

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

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

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

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

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