No Longer the Open Beta!

The official site was updated today with this page, which sheds details on the content that’s coming up upon release.

  • The open beta is scheduled to be over on the 3rd of July, 11:00am JST.
  • The release begins on the 4th of July, 2:00pm JST.

To summarise what’s coming up:

  • New Field: Tundra – The snow-covered areas of Naberius will be added, along with new bosses and monsters, as well as variations of the planet’s natives (reskins).
  • New Bosses: Snow Panther and Snow Banshee (possibly a duo boss), De Malmus and King Yede – King Yede may or may not actually be a boss, while he seems to be big enough to be one, in videos there is no event on screen that suggests he is in fact a boss or mini-boss.
  • 3rd Stage Mag Evolutions. – You can find images of them here. Mags need to be lv100 to evolve to the third stage.
  • Level Cap Raised to 40.
  • Time Attack Quests.
  • 3 New Chapters Of The Story – Venture to the snowy tundras of Naberius, investigate Lilipa’s small furry natives and actually try to talk to the dragon tribe you’ve been slaughtering the members of.
  • Cash Shop Open – Details of how to actually buy Arks Cash should surface when it’s available. The cash shop itself will open for business on July 3rd, 3:00pm JST.

With the cash shop opening, new items will become available to players, including Lisa’s outfit, Xeno’s outfit and Echo’s outfits. As well as the wedding dress and suit displayed below. All costumes are available through Scratch and can’t be bought directly. Sucks, but if you want them you’re either gambling for them or buying them from player shops.

Sega also uploaded a video to YouTube, but most of it is footage you’ve seen before if you’ve watched other videos from them. The Time-Attack Quest footage is however new I believe.

Didn’t think they’d wait too long to roll this out, though I did expect a bit more notice than 2 days!

Towards the Future

Well that’s PSO2’s future set, at least on the Japanese side of things. On the western side of things there is still no word, unfortunately. The @phantasystar Twitter, Sega of America’s official Phantasy Star Twitter account, has gone eerily silent. They only had Phantasy Star Portable 2 left to go through before whatever it was they were gearing up to announce, so seems something might have gone awry there. Of course it feels pretty certain that they were going to be announcing PSO2 in some form, so I am eager to see what they were set to say. Hopefully that silence won’t be permanent.

No Longer Early Days of the Open Beta

It’s now been a week since PSO2’s Open Beta has begun. Today there is a 27 hour long maintenance which should end in roughly 10 hours from making this post. To remind you anyway:

  • 29th: 6:00am UK time (BST)
  • 29th: 0:00am CDT
  • 28th 8:00pm HADT.

If you feel like you’re struggling to work the game out, don’t worry because most people are. Information on certain parts of the game and how things work is still fuzzy. Feels weird playing a game like this when there’s no wiki to refer to as well, but one is on its way…

Level Cap

I’ve been having a great time with the game so far, playing almost non-stop this week. I hit level 30 within 4 days, thanks to my experience from previous tests and thanks to this obscene amount of free time I have at the moment. Many hit 30 before I did and the first wave of level 30s is still growing. Hindsight tells me I did not pick the most EXP efficient route to 30,  but I’ll go into detail about that later.

Related to that, I hear people’s concerns about how it’s too quick to level. Yeah, you remember how long it took to go from 1-30 in PSO? Or how about 1-30 in PSU (about a day)? Ok it’s not the most fair of comparisons, as after all they weren’t the release caps of either game, but I can’t help but find myself wondering why people want this game to be a longer grind. Do you really want to be stuck in lowbie content for too long? Personally I felt it dragged a bit in places, particularly the lv20-25 range, but otherwise given that the final level cap could be as high as 200 I think it’s a reasonable rate so far.

It’s nice at 30 at the moment. There are 3 free-field quests that are available to level 30s on hard-mode that all contain monsters that are higher level. I don’t think this trend will continue, sadly, as I imagine the level range of future free fields will be staggered a bit. However, remember this isn’t like most MMOs where being a handful of levels above or below content means it’s not worth running. It’s going to feel that way now when the level cap is so low but later on the differences should become increasingly marginal if it works like PSO and PSU did. Monsters a fair few levels below you could still drop relevant gear for you. It should be noted however that fighting monsters that are too many levels above you will incur an EXP penalty.

Hard Mode

It’s not really all that hard, is it? Well it depends. First, if your units aren’t up to scratch then you will die very fast in missions where the enemies are above lv27 or so. Even with very good units you will find hard-mode Vol Dragon a tough fight for now if you’re soloing. Overall, it isn’t hard but neither was hard mode in PSO (or B-rank in PSU).

Honestly, given the history of Phantasy Star online games, I think you’re in the wrong place if you want something to be challenging. These games have historically only had 2 difficulty settings: easy and bullshit hard. There’s never really been an in-between. Not outside of an actual challenge-mode anyway, which may or may not be happening to PSO2.

PSO2 on the Internet

There’s been a link to this site on my blog for ages, but it’s only actually recently opened up to the public. PSO2 Project is an image uploader site which you can, funnily enough, upload your screenshots to. You do not need to register to do this. The site also supports tagging and can even generate images from character creator files sent to it. The website author, “kp”, is currently looking for feedback about the site.

Giant Bomb has also recorded an hour-long playthrough of PSO2 with commentary here.

Meanwhile @phantasystar, Sega of America’s official Phantasy Star twitter account, has continued to post images of games with the latest being of the Nintendo DS game Phantasy Star Zero. As they’ve posted a game a day and only PSP2 is left of the Phantasy Stars that got released stateside, there’s speculation that an announcement concerning PSO2 may happen this Friday. Which is er, tomorrow. Coincidentally the same day that the extended maintenance ends, but that really is just that: a coincidence.

See? I have the knack.

I hit 30 by grinding in the 3rd Desert mission, the one which ends in a Code: Collect where you have to activate drills. It’s great EXP due to the enemy levels and how tightly packed they are in their spawns. While it was great for levelling, there is a better mission for it. The first Desert mission is currently considered the best. Like the previously mentioned mission, it has good spawn density but it also has 3 guaranteed Code:Attack events as part of the mission itself that reward a sizey chunk of EXP each. It’s also a short and very easily repeatable mission. It’s also good for any machine enemy or Darker related dailies you may have.

Towards The Future

So looks like the preview text for the next issue of Famitsu states that PSO2’s official service start will be some time in July. I imagine it will be early July, as I can’t imagine them not being eager to open up the cash shop somehow.

Apparently, the issue itself also reveals that the Subterranean Tunnel, the 2nd area of the planet Lilipa, will also be released some time in July. I don’t know if that’s release content or not, however. The Subterranean Tunnel will include new robot enemies, a new miniboss named Tranmizer and a new boss named “Big Barda” (there is pretty much no information about this boss at the moment).

As far as areas are concerned that leaves us with:

  • Naberius – Forest, Tundra
  • Amduscia – Caves
  • Lilipa – Desert, Subterranean Tunnels.
  • Arks Ship – Urban

The next area that’s likely to be released would be set on the floating islands of Amduscia (internally known as DRAGONLAND), which would bring the planets to 2 areas each. There is no information yet on any future planets.

It also seems that Sakai will be appearing on TV for an interview about PSO2, on what I think is a Japanese TV show by the name of “Game Maniacs”. The interview will be broadcast on July 7th, 23:00 to 23:30 JST.

[Sources: Shougai]