Kuhna The Idol

I_believe_I_can_flyIn today’s Shonen Jump Weekly some information was teased regarding a new character in PSO2’s story who goes by the name of Kuhna (or possibly Koona or Kuna).

Here’s what she looks like:

up35874So who is she? It’s not entirely clear, other than she may be heavily involved in the Hadred side-story quest which could be set to arrive some time in March. The title of “idol” suggests that there will be singing involved. The data-mining also supports this in the quest text as well as the Chrome Dragon’s archive including a model of the Mic-Stand weapon. Will Hadred be singing? Just what kind of side story are we in for…

sidestory01

This is clearly taking place in Chrome Dragon’s arena, presumably for the side-story quest but this doesn’t seem to be Kuhna. The outfit looks a little unusual as well, as if a UV-map broke or something. Is this a different character or an abandoned design?

sidestory02A close up of Hadred’s face. I don’t see much singing going on here, but according to the data-mining efforts it’s involved somewhere. Singing at Hadred, being sung to by Hadred or a grand old sing-along where your avatar creepily moves its mouth roughly along, who knows! So far there’s been no text from the magazine uploaded as far as I know so the information is very thin. One was found just as I was writing this!

Posting a full-page scan below. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to have much in the way of information regarding Kuhna.

shonenscanNot entirely sure where the earlier images in this post have come from, I just found them on PSO2uploader.


200,000 hits!

As a small aside, PSO2Blog hit the 200,000 view-count milestone earlier in the month!

When I began writing this blog in July 2011 I didn’t expect this site to even reach 6 figures, let alone get this far. Thank you for visiting, I hope this site has been helpful to you!

2012, PSO2 and You

lisa_npc_of_the_yearNah no one cares about you this time either, sorry.

2012 was the release year of PSO2, but it was also the year in which the testing phases began in earnest. This was the year that we got to experience the game for the first time. As such, many players have seen the game grow in a number of visible ways and fans close to the series have had the pleasure (as well as some discomfort) of seeing this game evolve. Some areas of the game grew faster than others and some parts disappointingly didn’t grow much at all.

This post, much like the equivalent for 2011 will take a look at this past year’s happenings with PSO2. Much like last year this post is also huge. As such, this time I’m actually going to use one of those “more” tags so you’re not scrolling forever to get past it on the main feed, so let’s just place that here.

Continue reading “2012, PSO2 and You”

The Clones are Coming.

i_think_im_a_clone_nowFilthy. The final part of Where Darkness Gathers is impending, with the last two panels on the update page having been revealed. This is the actual final part this time, not me jumping the gun. Along with this a new post was made at the official PSO2 blog here.

Trailer below:

Much of the stuff at the beginning is things we’ve already seen; New Year’s lobby and the outfits that were released yesterday. The new material is due to arrive on the 9th of January


Darkernest

darkernest_01A new field is coming. Much like “DRAGONLAND”, Darkernest is not the official name of the field it’s just the internal name used for it. Not certain what the structure in the sky is, it looks like an upside-down city of sorts, perhaps the collected wreckage of an ARKS ship? You can clearly see space in the center of it so it’s not a spherical object as was presumed before.

wolgahda_and_chumsThe field is populated by nothing but Darkers of both fish and insect flavours, including “Predikahda” which is a new enemy internally known as “mantiswarrior”. A lucky few players have already encountered Predikahda Nero in a Parallel Map.

infected_ship
A new emergency trial where you get attacked by an infected Arks Dropship.

So where does this new field fit in? Is it just limited to the escape quest (detailed in the next section of this post) or is it also a regular selectable field? Going by the website and blog the only mentions of the field are with the escape quest, but the trailer shows portions of the field with and without a timer. Presumably the escape quest is the timed one, so is the non-timed one the regular field?

hunar_darkernestWhat about Falz Hunar? He’s only mentioned as being encounter-able in the new Emergency Quest set in the Urban field, yet he’s clearly also in the Darkernest in the trailer complete with an intro. Is he the final encounter in the escape quest, or is he part of the regular version of Darkernest as its boss?

hunar_darkernest_bThe trailer shows Hunar in what can only be interpreted as a boss arena (as all other boss arenas have the same general map layout). The trial text indicates that the quest’s aim is to defeat Hunar as well as 4 other targets. ARKS Clones? But Arks Clones are meant to be a rare encounter, so it’d a little contradictory if they also fight alongside Hunar in a regular field. Despite the lack of a timer however, this could be the same as the escape quest, so this would be its end goal. This doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of a regular field existing, but all things seem to point to the field as something you won’t see all that often.


Code: Clone

Occasionally,when you attempt to start a quest the Campship will be attacked by Darkers and you’ll be forcibly transferred to the new Darkernest field. In this quest, your objective will be to escape from the field within the time limit. Unlike normal quests you will not be able to return to the camp ship at any time. Not even to re-stock on items. This would appear to give Forces and Techers a pretty clear advantage in this quest…

Only ARKS considered “elite” by the Darkers will be kidnapped. Exactly what this means still isn’t certain, but I doubt it will require all that much.

d-arksIf you succeed in escaping your character’s data including appearance, weapons, photon arts and even auto-words may be copied and used to create an ARKS Clone. This clone can attack anyone at any time, including you, in a rare emergency trial. This effectively acts as a pseudo-PVP mode.

d-arks2ARKS Clones will drop items when defeated, just like regular enemies. There will be weapons that can only be obtained from ARKS Clones at that. I wonder if those will turn out to be the red versions of basic weapons which were data-mined a little while ago? You can obtain better drops if you defeat your own clone or the clones of your friends.

There hasn’t been any real specifics released yet, but going by the screen-shots I think a few things can be assumed:

  • The number of Arks Clones might scale to the party size. The screen-shots show a party of four encountering a group of four clones. If you’re on your own, presumably you’ll only face one. I wonder if a full multi-party will end up fighting 12 clones at once? If this is the case you’re probably more likely to encounter your own clone if you spam MPAs…
  • The strength of Arks Clones is set to the quest you’re currently running. Which seems to be sensible, I mean it would be pretty bullshit for a new player running Oodan Extermination at lv1 to encounter a lv50 clone…
  • ARKS Clones use the partner character symbol, which makes me wonder if they also use partner character AI…
  • As ARKS Clones are presumably aligned with Darkers they could attack native enemies, as well as be attacked by them.
  • ARKS Clones do not have Mags. Makes sense.

Then there are questions

  • Will the stats of ARKS Clones be the same as players? Will they be the same as Friend Partners (low attack, high health, ignores all entries on the skill tree) or what?

Presumably their attack will be lower and health higher at least. Afterall, players are engineered to fight monsters with thousands to tens of thousands of hit-points whereas players themselves only have hundreds. If the clones were the same as players, fights would be extremely short which doesn’t really make for a particularly interesting struggle.

Due to the way PSO2 is engineered, actual PVP is something that would never work out sadly. It has little to do with balance or the gameplay, it has much to do with how the client and network functions. As such, this is the closest you’re getting and it’s a bit of an experiment on their part. Will this experiment work out is what we’ll see when the update goes live on the 9th of January.


New Longterm Schedule

Well it’s sort of a long-term schedule. There is little to no actual detail and some entries are vague but here goes.

  • January
    • Code: Clone, the addition of Darkernest and all the junk this post was talking about pretty much.
  • February
    • “Valorous Vanguard” update? – Valentines!
    • Level cap increased to 55
    • New type of quest: “Advance Quests”
    • Adjustment to the way in which rare items are acquired?
    • Launch of the PSVita version of PSO2
    • Start of the “Those Who Walk Together” update, which carries on through March
  • March
    • New Story Quest. Presumably this is the side story quest and not the beginning of Episode 2.
    • New boss – Chrome Dragon?
    • New additions to the premium set.
  • April
    • New Field – Note that Darkernest is the last known field in the client, so this one could be completely new. Given that Chrome Dragon might have been added as a story boss it’s possible that this new field would have it. If so, this could be a new field on Amduscia…
    • Class level raised – amount not specified
  • May
    • New type of high difficulty quest. Whether this is a new difficulty (like Ultimate) or not isn’t really explained. 
  • June
    • One year anniversary event

There will also be various scratch rotations going on as well as the usual bug fixes. Presumably new outfits and accessories throughout. Thanks to Mewn for help with interpreting this.

Hopefully some of the confusion will be cleared up before the update hits, but we’ll see soon enough either way!

[Sources: Official Blog, 4Gamer, Mewn and Espiokaos for help interpreting parts]

PSO2 Vita Opening Movie + Trailer

crossplatformThe PSVita version of the game has moved further along it seems. This post will share my thoughts on the released videos as well as briefly discuss future content.


Videos!

Opening Movie

This is the same movie that was revealed earlier on during one of the recent live broadcasts on NicoNico, but of course this one is higher quality.

Promotional Trailer

Yeah, it looks like they’ve made a pretty competent port of the PC version. All of the features you’ve become familiar with on the PC version are available on the PS Vita version, including the ability to participate in 12-man multi parties.

psv_00Cross-play between the PC and Vita versions is still a thing, so you’ll be able to use the same account and character on both versions as well as play with players in cross-platform parties. As stated before though, cross-platform partying can only happen in certain blocks.

chrome_dragon_The video also briefly shows off the new boss, Chrome Dragon. As a reminder, the data mining suggests that it is to appear in a side-story quest (as a named variant of Chrome Dragon called “Hadred”). Despite its SEED-like appearance, it is a dragonkin enemy not a Darker.

The sign-up period for the beta test of PSO2 Vita is set to end on the 7th of January, with the tests themselves starting at an as of yet un-announced time. Official site of the closed-beta test can be found here.

psv_01
The character creator on the PSVita version of the game will take advantage of the touch-screen input. This has slightly perverted implications for the breast slider…
psv_symbol
I wonder if symbol arts will be easier or harder to make with the touchscreen…

Towards the Future

The final THIRD part of Where Darkness Gathers is a bit limp in comparison to other updates. It is pretty much a scratch rotation and nothing more. Some new costumes are coming such as little miss underboob’s outfit, “Mikoto Cluster” (Matoi’s outfit) as well as Sara’s outfit. I know a number of people have been eagerly waiting to get their hands on the latter outfit, so the prices could be fun. The rest of the outfits can be seen on the update page here.

In terms of content beyond that, it’s a bit of a mystery currently. But a mystery that’s set to be solved soon after tonight’s maintenance, apparently. All we know at the moment is Code: Clone is set to arrive some time in January and that a Falz Hunar emergency quest is to be added at some point. Finally of course there’s the new boss “Chrome Dragon” and its side-story quest, which we know won’t be arriving until after the Vita version has been released. The Vita version was last slated for a release date of th 28th of February. It at least looks like updates for the next two months won’t be as dense as in previous months, but that assumption could easily be shattered by the arrival of the new long-term schedule which is supposed to be due sometime soon.

2nd Media Briefing Summary

This post will likely get longer as details are ironed out. Especially as videos are uploaded to Youtube!

And while I was writing this, one video was uploaded! This one demonstrating some of the upcoming beta features, uploaded by RemiustheAwesome

A video of the entire briefing uploaded by pipochan55.

Official upload of the new trailer included in the briefing:

Official upload of a video demonstrating closed beta features:


Payment Model

Phantasy Star Online 2 will be following a similar payment plan to the JP version of Phantasy Star Universe. PSO2 will be free to play. The game will also be supported by a cash shop, whose currency is the elusive Arks Cash. The client will also be completely free to download. It’s also possible that there may be a subscription based premium model as well, as there seemed to be mentions of limitations on F2P users, but details are thin at the moment.. Update: They’re less thin, now! There will be no subscription model included. It’s only free-to-play with cash-shop.

So yes, you will never have to spend a single penny to play PSO2 if you don’t want to.

Incidentally the client is free to download on all platforms that PSO2 is coming out on, including a surprise one mentioned below!

Closed Beta Announcements

Some new details about the closed beta were announced.Among these:

  • Player cap will be lv30
  • The tests are scheduled to take place late April. No specific dates were given.
  • Unlike the alpha tests, there aren’t any planned maintenance periods. This means that you can play the game for 24 hours in a day if you wanted to.
  • Those who didn’t participate in previous alphas and thus who are not automatically qualified will get an opportunity to sign up soon.

PSO2 – Not Really PC Exclusive Anymore

We already knew about the PSVita version of Phantasy Star Online 2, I bet you didn’t expect there to be a smartphone release of the game as well, did you? You did? Well look at you! Don’t look so smug.

So yeah, PSO2 will also be being released on Android and iOS smartphones. All three platforms will use the same data as each other, meaning you can play as your character on all of them. This does not mean they can all play with each other, however. The below chart explains the interactions between the platforms a bit.

This chart shows that servers are shared between the PSVita and PC versions, meaning that players of these platforms will be able to play with each other (or at least that is the intention). All three versions will have access to the same play data.

Symbol Chat

Yes, symbol chat has made it in to PSO2. It’s considerably more versatile than before, so making phalluses will be much easier.

Like the original symbol-chat, players will get multiple layers to play with. Spam up those lobbies in style!

Other Tidbits

Various bits of info picked up from videos, from skimming the community or from live translations in the feed. Some of this may be fact, some of it may be rumour, who knows!

  • There is a counter that was shown where you could set your “Team Flag”.
    This is the first mention of teams (PSO’s version of guilds) outside of datamining
  • Some new techs observed were Rabarta and Grants..
  • A standalone character creator demo will be released on the 5th of April
  • A benchmarking tool will be released.
  • An EXP Boost special effect attached to a weapon.
  • Three new story characters revealed: Echo, Afin and Zeno.
  • You seem to be able to invite the npcs to your party. PSU-style, perhaps.
  • A playable dartboard in your room that keeps score!
  • Players will have to use a medical counter to heal up, no more auto-healing when you return to lobby
  • “Weapons Holograms” – A room decoration item you can use to show off your loot. Taunt others will all the rares you can’t equip! Players who raise their characters to level 10 in the closed beta will recieve one for free.
First in-game shot of the RAnewearl outfit
Two new story characters, Echo and Zeno
Another new story character! Afin.
Look! New weapon-type, Knuckles! Nah it's actually just a Wired Lance that LOOKS exactly like a pair of Fists. Man, the jokes on you, huh? HA HA HA.

There are more details to come, but for now I will leave you with this.

[Sources: EspioKaos, Famitsu]

Sakai Speaks! Also PSO2Vita Screenshots.

So with the announcement of Sega working on a version of PSO2 on the PSVita, rather blowing away the idea of it being a PC exclusive (which was never explicitly announced anyway), there were various reactions. Because this is the internet, most of those reactions consisted of pants-shitting and console warring, but regardless Sakai has taken some time to respond to people’s concerns. You can find a translation on Bumped here.

So, everything’s fine and dandy now, right? Well this wouldn’t be much of a blog entry if it was!

To summarise and interject with my own thoughts:

The PSVita can be patched, unlike the PS2. This means that the PSVita version can receive all the same content updates as the PC version.

This doesn’t entirely erase concerns that having two separate versions of the game will put a drag on development of new content, however. The question is, will it have a noticeable impact?

It will not be easier to cheat on the PS Vita version, as characters are stored server-side.

Much of people’s worry is centered around what happened to Phantasy Star Portable 2 on the PSP. That game had client-side saving of character data, which of course leaves it wide open to attack.

Incidentally, server-side saving doesn’t prevent cheating on its own. That all depends on exactly how much is trusted to the client, hopefully not anything as vital as the amount of money a character is carrying! They have done something like this before..

Not sure what’s up with people thinking that the Vita version will be easier to hack on, anyway. Sure, the Vita version won’t have GameGuard, but since when did GameGuard stop hackers? It’s possible that the two versions may have differing exploits, still, but the hacking difficulty is going to most likely be the same for either platform. Mind, when you consider the history, PC gamers pointing at console gamers and yelling “CHEATERS” is also incredibly ironic.

Cross-platform play will require further testing. The intention is to have the two platforms be able to play with each other, but if it doesn’t work out in testing they will be two separate versions.

Of course making them separate would possibly please a number of PC elitists, but it would be a shame to drop the idea of being able to grind your character on the go. You know, for that player who just can’t stop playing. Won’t know the outcome of this for many months yet, however.


PSO2 Vita Screenshots

To finish this post, going to share a few of the first screenshots of the PSVita version of PSO2, originally posted on 4Gamer.

The first shot of the PSO2 Vita interface.

The lack of shaders is a bit jarring, but this is also a game that Sakai has said is only 10% complete so far. Time will tell how good these graphics will end up being, but they’ve said that they’re aiming for the equivalent of the PC version at max quality.

I also find myself wondering how players are meant to chat with each other. I don’t know a lot about the Vita, but I know it has a touchscreen so hopefully some kind of onscreen keyboard, or else this could be another bout of “CANT TYPE FAST” style chatting.

PSO2: Handheld Edition!

The PS Vita Game Heaven website updated just earlier, with numerous videos. If you’re interested you can check them out here. Of course, thisblog is only interested in what Sakai had to say, so here’s an embed of his section:

So yes, looks like there will be a handheld version of Phantasy Star Online 2 on the PSVita. This version is online only and shares servers with the PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, essentially turning into PSO2 on the go. So I’m afraid if you were expecting an offline side-story sorry to disappoint you. PSO2 on the Vita is only 10% complete at current, so we won’t be seeing it soon after PSO2’s release on the PC.

My initial thoughts are that seeing as they use the same servers, what happens when the PC servers have a content update? I don’t know how the PSVita memory storage works, but I suppose it’s possible that the system could store patch data on it. But this just brings up another issue, in particular is there a danger that having 2 versions of the same game will mean we end up with staggered updates? Or worse, updates being held back from the PC version due to limitations on the PSVita version, as happened between Phantasy Star Universe’s PC and PS2 versions?

I will admit that PSO2 on the go is a tempting proposition, but not one that would cause me to shell out for a PSVita any time soon.

PSO2 on the PS Vita will be out some time in 2013, so says the official blog.


Concept Art

Well we’re out of all the race/gender defaults so now it seems they’re going to be teasing us with concept art of the outfits.

Getting a strong Jet Set Radio vibe from this one.

According to an interpretation by Bumped here, these costumes will be available in the closed Beta but can’t be selected at character creation. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of the imagination that the costume shop may be opened for the next tests. This also confirms that only the race/class/gender default outfits will be available when creating characters, which isn’t particularly a shock.

[Sources: PSBlog, Bumped, JP Playstation.com]