Episode 2: Official Update Page and Broadcast Information

hairy_sakai

The official update page for the start of Episode 2 has been posted up. It of course comes with a trailer, which I’ll embed as par for the course, however this one is unusually lengthy. You can find a rundown of the update page here on Bumped.

This post will pretty much be going over some information about particular aspects of Episode 2 that I’ve come across, as well as sharing my thoughts on them. If I find more information I’ll probably go and put it into a new post because I think this one is quite long enough now..

The background music at the start is the theme of the new Coast field’s boss, Bal Rodos. From around 2:49 on-wards I believe it’s the Coast field’s theme.

It seems Bal Rodos is Lv55 in the trailer, which puts it on the same level as Sanctum. So I guess that’s how they’re going to be keeping Advanced Quests relevant for longer, which makes me wonder if Lilipa3 will share the same fate. Seabed shouldn’t, as it’ll be released after Super Hard is out.

You can watch the live broadcast in its entirety through the following links:


Braver

The class is defined by the two new weapon types, both of which seem to at least look decent. The Katana has good mobility and area-of-effect capability, which will be good for all of melee’s demands. Katanas are at least more mobile than Swords for example, but the damage numbers that they put out seem.. small. In fact their stats and even Photon Art modifiers seem relatively low, however they could well make up for this in damage per second given how rapidly they can attack. Bows on the other hand seem to lay somewhere between Launchers and Rifles with a bit of Twin-Daggers thrown in for good measure. Certainly versatile but I have yet to be convinced of their overall effectiveness.

braverweapons

braverPAs
Tsukimi-sazanka, Gekka-zakuro, Kanran-kikyo, Sakura-endo, Hien-tsubaki, Asagiri-rendan, Master Shot, Penetrating Arrow. Thanks to Qwerty for these names.

Braver seems to be a class oriented around the Ability (or Dexterity) stat primarily. It has an Ability Up skill, which is notable for being at lv3 in the livestream as that indicates it’s a pre-requisite for something. Both Katanas and Bullet Bows also require dexterity to equip, or at least all of the weapons shown so far do. However there may be no need to go raising a pure Dexterity Mag just for this class, as the requirements are quite low anyway. One revealed Braver skill, namely “Braver Mag”, converts up to 50% of the S-atk and R-atk into Dexterity. Whether or not this will add to your base and count for equipping things I don’t know (data suggests it’s a passive skill).

braverSkills
Ability Up 1, Braver Mag, Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Average Stance, Katana Combat, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Reversal Cover, Rapid Shoot Up
mxYA7rw
The Braver Skill Tree. Skills are: Ability Up, Sriking Up, Shooting Up, Average Stance, Average Stance Up, Average Stance Critical, Average Stance Charge
Katana Combat, Combat Just Attack Bonus, Combat Finish, Katana Gear, Rapid Shoot, Rapid Shoot Up, Rapid Shoot Mastery
Weak Stance, Weak Stance Up, Ability Up 2, Weak Stance Critical, Weak Stance Charge
Step, Step Advance, Snatch Step, Step Attack, Just Reversal, Reversal Cover, Rare Mastery Braver, Braver Mag. Source: Dengeki Play.

Of interest to me are the utility skills surrounding step, as for melee it’s absolutely crucial to mobility. Snatch Step is a skill that will deal damage during a Step. It is seperate from Step Attack as that skill allows you do perform an attack at the end of a Step. You can perform step with both Katanas and Bullet Bows at that, so you’re not losing out if you choose to go ranged.

While you can guard with Katanas, Braver doesn’t have any guard skills at all. The broadcast demonstrates that Just Guarding is possible with Katanas, but possibly only through their gear. If this is the case, I wonder if there’s any point investing in Just Guard should someone decide to have Hunter as their subclass? Or if the regular Just Guard would apply to the Katana without gear applies or even if it would affect the weapon at all.


Coast Enemies

The trailer revealed a number of enemy names, as did the coast field playthrough that was done during the live broadcast. I’ll list them here with names and pictures where I can.

Torpon

torpon

A small shelled enemy, weak to both fire and ice element interestingly. Better picture of them from the official site below. At a distance they appear to be similar to Micdas, possibly sharing the same bone structure. The one on the right below makes be doubt that a little..

torpon2

Aculpus

aculpus

Seems to share its skeleton with Naberius’ Galphs. Of course, their attack behaviors don’t resemble them much, with them swimming through the sand with their fins poking out. Land sharks. They also appear to do a somersault attack.

Blumegalla

blumegalla

It’s a flower! It pretends to be a regular giant spikey flower and then jumps out at the player after spraying something about. It also fires laserbeams because why not. Smaller versions of this enemy exist as well, namely Blumetta. They appear to share the same bone structure as Sanctum’s Pendira’n.

blumetta

A picture of both of these enemies is up on the official page, re-hosting below.

blumegalla_blumetta

Blundarl

blundarl

One of the new bird-type Darkers. The second one named I believe, after Luda Sorcerer. A higher quality picture of Blundarl is posted below.

blundarl_hq

Strahda

StrahdaForgive me for the quality of these pictures, but it’s from a compressed video and there don’t seem to be any clear shots of these enemies sadly. Anyway, this is the somewhat legendary BIRDBIRDCROW in the flesh as it were. Their weak point looks like an exposed brain… It’s the standard orange colored weakpoint that most Darkers have it’s just how it looks given its position.

Another variant of this small bird is Tyraluda

Tyraluda

Unfortunately there are no official pictures that I’m aware of for either of these.

So it seems that the Coast field’s elements are Fire and Ice for the natives and Wind and Light for the Darkers.

Now that we have a planet full of fish, after having been fighting fish-based Darkers for a while now, I wonder if a planet populated by insects is on its way in 2014? After all, PSO2 still doesn’t have a Grass Assassin!


Subclass EXP

Old news now, but confirmed at least once and well, it being on the official update page means Sega aren’t going to be changing their minds about it. It’s sad, but subclass EXP will be capped to level 40. Before that, your subclass will gain 10% of the EXP that your main does. Yeah it’s not particularly popular this decision, but it’s still decent at least initially for a subclass. However I imagine like others, I was hoping this would mean the end of having to switch to a class you don’t like playing in order to support a class you do, but alas.


Class Appropriate Rare Drops.. From Bosses

Nothing like hearing the rare drop jingle only to get an item you can’t even use, eh? Well from Episode 2 this problem will be slightly alleviated! By how much of course isn’t really all that specific and I have a feeling that, as a player, you honestly won’t be able to tell that the drop rates had been increased at all. 1/1000 is barely better than 1/2000 for example and I highly doubt they’d give that generous a boost anyway. The idea is at least good, I just have no faith that the difference will be at all noticeable.

Also, despite the update page itself not mentioning bosses according to an article on Shougai which contains a transcript from Sakai and someone else, it only applies to boss enemies. This is kind of a shame as a number of decent items do still drop from regular enemies, but it’s a least a step in the right direction.


EXP Penalty Readjustment

The EXP penalty, which I’m still not a fan of even now, is being relaxed somewhat. Instead of altering the rates however instead they’ll be increasing the number of levels before it applies from 5 to 11. They’re um, turning up to 11 as it were…

This means that you’ll be able to run Advanced Quests a little earlier, however you’ll still have your EXP reduced to 75% at least initially (unlocks at 45, enemies start at 56). However, being able to start running Advanced Quests at lv46 is a significant improvement over having to wait until Lv52. It also means you can skip ahead areas more quickly at the lower levels, which doesn’t really affect Normal mode at all for new players in any case.

On arrival to Hard mode, you’ll be only 1 level out of reach for Forest Exploration.

On arrival to Very Hard mode, you’ll be able to run all the Free Field quests except for Sanctum Exploration and presumably Coast.


Client Order Adjustments

Reducing the cool-down time for daily repeatable Client Orders (not to be confused with Daily Orders… I know) from 24 to 22 is a big deal. Why, you might ponder, it’s not much of a change. It means they truly become daily orders. The current cool-down of 24 hours is problematic because it introduces what I call “crawl”, whereby the time you can re-do the Client Order crawls around the clock and becomes later with each day.

Say you start the Order at 12:00pm, it takes you half an hour to complete and you turn it in at 12:30pm. The next day you can’t start it any earlier than 12:30pm, so the next day you won’t be able to start it until 1:00pm. Then 1:30pm, etc. A 22 hour cool-down gives you a much better chance of being able to take on these Client Orders at a time you’d prefer to take them. It’s good to see the change, but annoying that it took them a year to do something about it.

December 5th Update and Live Broadcast

gettemhalt_looking_at_a_cloudAs has become a PSO2 tradition an update page with trailer, screenshots and little detail for the update named “Where Darkness Gathers” has arrived. Embedding the trailer below.

Given the pattern of previous trailers it’s fairly safe to assume that the background music will be the theme of Dark Falz. Or a least for one of his forms.

This update is fairly immense..


PSO2 Live Broadcast 4

PSO2 will be having yet another live broadcast, talking about the upcoming update as well as attempting to play some of it. It’ll be broadcast here on the 4th of December, the day before the update.

Schedule:

  • JST: 21:00, 4th December
  • GMT: 12:00, 4th December
  • EST: 07:00, 4th December
  • CDT: 06:00, 4th December
  • MDT: 05:00, 4th December
  • PDT: 04:00, 4th December
  • HADT: 02:00, 4th December

Dark Falz

falz_wavingFalz will be appearing in an emergency quest which was already talked about. This quest won’t actually be arriving until the 12th of December, however.

As was explained before, defeat enough Falz Arms in the time limit in order to battle against Dark Falz Elder. However, it tallies up the total number of arms defeated by the entire ship, it’s this that determines if you’ll be able to go on to fight Dark Falz Elder or not. The game will inform you at various intervals how well your ship is doing. I wonder if the Falz Arms that are defeated on Normal will be worth as much as the ones defeated on Very Hard?

dec_ss_01_lYou’ll be battling Falz atop a chunk of a destroyed Arks Ship, somehow being able to breathe in space. It’s ok, we could apparently breathe in space in PSU as well. Probably because photons.

Notice the white names in the above screen-shot, confirming that it’s a multi-party quest. Also, remember this thing? There seems little doubt that it is in fact a Falz Arm that we see flying off at the end of this trailer. I wonder if, like other Darker bosses, Falz Arm will be able to spawn anywhere in the world. Falz Elder probably won’t. I imagine you’ll need to complete this emergency quest at least once in order for it to show up outside of the quest however, the same as you have to with Fang Banthers.


Parallel Maps

Something that was found some time ago through data-mining were suggestions that rare maps would be coming. Looks like that just got confirmed in the form of “parallel maps”. During regular runs, a teleporter may appear that will take you to a parallel universe. Rare monster encounter rates are boosted in these maps, so you’ll want to find them!

raremap_cityraremap_forestraremap_tundraThose areas certainly are pretty. These are the only three fields are shown off, currently, so presumably the parallel variants of the other fields aren’t completed yet.


Christmas Lobby

christmas_lobby

The lobby will be all Christmas-y leading up to the death of millions at the hands of Dark Falz.Xieeee Xie will also be back to give out Client Orders as she did for Halloween and, just like then, will give out a special item for completing all her Orders. I guess she’s set to become a seasonal event NPC at this rate.


Magic Rocks are Back

The magic rocks are back, as the sub heading indicates. So far the only rock is Iritista which can be exchanged for various 10* weapons.

magicrockshop

The 10*s you can exchange them for seem to be rather lackluster. That purple Ruins Charm, named Ruins Gloam, is weaker than Lambda Alystine.

Have a nasty feeling that the stones themselves will be much harder to acquire than the stronger 8/9* weapons too, but that’s based on nothing more than a feeling.


Soloable Time Attacks

Time attack quests will now be solo-able. How the missions themselves have changed isn’t revealed yet as far I know. This change should also be introducing new Client Orders for soloing these quests. .


Joining Parties in Other Blocks

Loved the idea when it was presented back at the start of November, so it’s great to see it’ll be with us soon. It’s one of those features that feels like it should have been in the game from the start.

This is one of the promised features to be added, an increase to the number of simultaneous Client Orders that premium users can register as well as a boost to medical drinks (also for premium users) will be added.

Really not liking the sound of the premium-only medical drink boost, it has some real potential as a true pay-to-win feature.


Towards the Future

This update doesn’t seem to include the “Darker Nest” field, which contains a couple of new enemies (the mantiswarriors!). I’m also not sure if this update will include the rare variant of Dargash, but we’ll see on the day I suppose.

The update site indicates that there will be no story mission this month, as the grayed out buttons on the update site are “System” and “AC Scratch” respectively. Possibly due on the 19th of December.

Looking further ahead, there’s the question of whether or not the Vita release will see a mission involving Hadred being added, which is the named version of a new dragon-type enemy (which also has a rare variant).

To finish this post off, a concept piece of Falz Hand from Sakai’s blog. Incidentally, according to Sakai we’re not quite done with the first Episode just yet. There is more to come in January with an update tentatively titled “A Future Worse Than Death”.

falzhand_concept

[Sources: Official PSO2 blog, Update site, Bumped, PSO-World]

Patch incoming – It’s A Big’un.

Tonight’s maintenance, taking place at the usual time, will be unusually large. The upcoming patch is 1.6GB in size. It’ll be adding the first part of the “Destroyer of History update as well as who knows what else. Users of the English patch may want to keep an eye out as the current version will almost certainly not work beyond this update.

Aside that, a bunch of information has come out regarding that particular update as well as other things. To summarize:

  • They’re making good on their promise to re-adjust the exp curve. The change this time appears to be significant based on observations from within the community, but I’ll withhold opinion on this until we see it in the flesh ourselves.
  • The rare boss appearance rate has been increased by 10 times. How significant that will be will entirely depend on what the original rates were of course. Bringing them within the range of “having a hope in hell’s chance of seeing one” would be nice, especially as they hold Photon Arts that can’t be obtained anywhere else.
  • Techer is getting overhauled, as promised. Though from what’s been revealed so far the bulk is concerned with adjusting Wand melee (increasing range, speed, gears power and altering hit-stop), as well as their supportive abilities. I wonder how much better this will make Techer as a sub class?

As always, you can read more detail over at Bumped here.


New Trailer

During the Niconico broadcast earlier today the trailer for the second part of Destroyer of History was shown:

Uploaded by yurienu1.

As is the usual pattern with PSO2 updates, the second half will feature new outfits and story quests. In this upcoming chapter of the story it seems you’ll finally get to encounter all three heroes of the Arks in person.

From left to right: Regias, Kasura and Claris Claes

It also seems you may be set to fight Gettemhalt, which was an encounter no one saw coming. Nope, not at all. Followed up by a fight with a previously announced boss named Falz Hunar. Given the juxtaposition I can’t help but wonder if Gettemhalt will become Falz himself, which is delightfully ironic given his disposition towards anything tainted by the Darkers.


ARKS Ceremony Lobby

From Halloween to some.. other celebration of some kind! Complete with its own lobby.

Presumably it’ll have some significance to the lore of PSO2, as it somewhat reminds me of the lobby theme celebrating the “Tripartite Treaty” in PSU.

Along with this lobby comes new outfits, available through the cash shop of course. The below shots were screen-capped from the trailer, so forgiveness for the lack of quality:

Usual affair of cutesy for females, cool for males and who the fuck knows for male Casts. However one of the new outfits certainly did stand out, enough to warrant its own space on this page:

While just a female version of Xeno’s outfit, it’s a cool enough look. It’s something I really want to see more of for future outfits. Not just gender swapped ones (despite how incredible a male version of the Hunewearl outfit would be), but in general it would just be nice to have more combat-oriented gear for female characters. Not got a problem with cute or sexy outfits, it’s more a case of a complete lack of choice outside of those two.


That ENDING

A THING erupts out of the planet Naberius. What could it be? My best guess is that it will be the final area of the first story arc of PSO2, internally known as “darkernest”. You can catch a glimpse of it in the latter half of this trailer here. Along with what seems to be a massive hand, which may be a darker space station, a smaller craft seems to shoot out just at the end. Took three shots of it from the trailer if you wish to hazard a guess as to what it might be.

Looks like the war against the Darkers is heating up. Wonder if they get an emergency code when Arks are rampaging in their cities..

Looking forward to roaming about in the Ruins area tomorrow, it still looks pretty damn nice.

List Of Items For The Upcoming Exchange Shops

So it seems we have a price list for the upcoming shop systems, one of which as you may guess uses Photon Drops. The other is a mechanism for making EXP useful after hitting the level cap.

This list was originally posted at Shougai PSO, the author of which attended the event this was all announced at. I am quoting the translations done by Ricardo at Bumped.

Photon Drop Exchange Shop

  • 1 Photon Sphere = 10 Photon Crystals
  • 1 Photon Sphere = 99 Photon Drops
  • 1 Photon Crystal = 10 Photon Drops
  • 5 EXP+25% = 1 Photon Sphere
  • 1 EXP+75% = 1 Photon Sphere
  • 3 Food Device Striking Mini = 2 Photon Spheres
  • 3 Food Device Ranged Mini = 2 Photon Spheres
  • 3 Food Device Tech Mini = 2 Photon Spheres
  • 3 Food Device DEX Mini = 2 Photon Spheres

Excube

  • 3 Rare Drop Boost + 250% = 2 Excube
  • 1 Grind Success + 30% = 1 Excube
  • 1 Add ability success + 30% = 1 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Helix P = 10 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Helix I = 10 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Helix N = 10 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Ajax P = 10 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Ajax I = 10 Excube
  • 1 PB Device / Ajax N = 10 Excube
  • 1 Rear / Tiltwin γ = ??? Excube
  • 1 Arm / Titastin γ = ???? Excube
  • 1 Leg / Destren γ = ??? Excube
  • 1 Rear / Brostol γ = ??? Excube
  • 1 Arm / Bristea γ = ??? Excube
  • 1 Leg / Breasn γ = ??? Excube
  • 1 Rear / Rappy Feather = ??? Excube
  • 10 Star Unit with Lucky Rise Attached = ??? Excube

So yeah, I did say I was gonna with-hold opinion until we got a list. Well, we got a list alright, but as you can see it isn’t complete. Nor do we really know the details of certain items.

The photon drop shop just seems pointless in general. To actually get any items you need to exchange Photon Spheres. As you can see, you will actually lose Photon Drops if you convert them into Photon Crystals (100 Drops is 10 Crystals which is 1 Sphere, but 99 drops are also 1 Sphere. It’s only one Photon Drop but a loss is a loss!). Yeah you can randomly acquire Photon Crystals while playing so in that case you lose nothing, but otherwise converting drops to crystals seems kind of a waste.

So it’s 198 Photon Drops to get 3 Mag feed items? You’ll raise the Mag significantly faster by feeding it the items you’ll gain while acquiring drops! Of course yeah, it’s a little riskier but that’s one hell of a time cost just for the sake of being cautious. This only leaves the EXP booster items, which are useful beyond the obvious benefit of leveling faster; it lets you acquire a much more useful currency more quickly (EXCUBEs). They might add more items later, but for the moment it seems to be pretty pointless.

The EXCUBE shop (wonder if I’m meant to be capitalizing that?) on the other hand, looks quite a bit more interesting. There are some unknowns, like the actual stats of the items you can get through it as well as there’s really no way to gauge how valuable these items are as we don’t know how much EXP is required to get a single cube. Regardless, the ability to change my Mag’s photon blast is an attractive one at least, as well that meaty looking drop rate booster. Being able to influence weapon upgrading without the aid of the cash shop is also a bonus, at least currently. It depends on how things pan out later on in the game (as in, for 12*+ I wonder if success is all but impossible without these items…).

It’s pretty much guaranteed that even if these turn out to be all the things the shops have when they arrive  that there will be expansions to the shop. I recall 10* weapons being mentioned as well as units, well all I see in this preview list is a singular unit.

The exchange shops along with the first part of “That Which Destroys History” will be arriving on the 7th of November,

October 24th Patch

So the patch has arrived and with it has come the rest of Very Hard as well as a variety of new costumes and accessories. You can find a complete list of the new costumes and accessories over at Bumped.


Level Requirements

First thing on my mind was what would the level requirements of the new Very Hard difficulties of each mission be? Here are some tables, which also include the requirements for the other difficulty settings.

Free Field

Time Attack

Arks Quests

So yeah, as it is at the minute you unlock all available content in the game at lv44. I’m afraid it’s still quite a grind to get there, but it’s more reasonable than I was expecting.


Client Orders

Along with the Halloween theme are Halloween Client Orders. These Orders will only be available during the Halloween season. You get them from this advertisement of the cash shop named Xie.

Xie, looking a might sorry for herself.

The first Client Order requires you to complete Free Field Forest within 8 minutes on any difficulty. I can’t speak the rest of her Client Orders yet but you can at least start them from lv5, which is nice.

Very Hard Team Orders

This update also added a new tier of Team Orders that concern themselves with Very Hard content, which will award 350TP per turn-in.

What about other Client Orders?

…:(

The only ones for Very Hard are Gerard’s rare monster Client Orders and the Time Attack orders. That’s it.


Other Thoughts

Multi-Class Weapons

I wonder if there are more multi-class weapons amongst the items we can now access thanks to Very Hard now being complete. It’s too early to say, as we need to let the playerbase actually find the weapons first and all. At the very least, I certainly hope there are. It’s pretty disappointing that the all-class weapons that were released with the first part of Call of Mortality were so few in number and so rare as well. Well, some rarer than others with the worst example being the all-class twin daggers, Nishiki. According to Swiki, it only drops from lv46 Sil Dinians. Yeah, Sil DINIANS. The highest level you can encounter in regular Caves are lv44 at max, which means the only Sil Dinians which fit the requirement would be the ones encountered in the emergency quest. Dragonkin in general are quite rare there, so if swiki is accurate then Nishiki is an obscenely rare item.

Mr Umblla is kind of dumb.

So, the mechanic is he spins around and stops, ending up facing a random direction. If someone happens to be in front of him at this time, he thwacks them with his cane and it pleases him. So it’s basically nearly impossible while soloing. Oh, also your Mags can piss it off by hitting it, but at least Sega had the decency to make sure that NPCs wouldn’t attack it (however by doing so I wonder if they’ve also managed to break their ability to attack Baize…).

At least he looks cool enough, just wish it wasn’t such a dull mechanic is all.

Bit of trivia, Mr Umblla was confirmed as being an “Extra-Dimensional” creature. Within the client, there is an extra-dimensional category for enemies (though for most of PSO2’s life the only enemies in this category was the fluffy Rappy and its seasonal counterparts). Wonder if Umblla and Rappy could be from the same place? Of course I imagine that the category is simply reserved for any enemy that doesn’t fit in the other categories.


Towards the Future

The Ruins are coming! The new field is set to be added to the game in November in the update titled “That Which Destroys History”. There’s only one more update after that on the longterm schedule, so the end of the first season of PSO2 (or PSO2v1 if you want to call it that) feels like it’s on the horizon now. I wonder if the lv60 cap is going to thusly be included in the next schedule? There has been absolutely no details mentioned beyond the schedule of course and I suspect we won’t hear anything about it until some time in the new year.

At the Arks Party held in Tokyo just recently, it was revealed that there would be two more systems of currency. The first is the EXCUBE system, which will be a shop where you can exchange excess EXP for items. It’s just a mechanic to make EXP useful beyond hitting the cap is all, which is something they expressed interest in exploring earlier. There will also be a shop that uses Photon Drops as currency, where again you can obtain various items. Hopefully we’ll hear more about these systems soon. I’m personally with-holding my opinion of them until I see what kind of items they’ll be selling.

Sakai: “We done screwed up, whoops!” – Emergency maint 12th October

Official announcement here.

A more detailed run down can be found here.

The short of it is really in the title, Sakai pretty much says they screwed up. The XP curve will be being “fixed” in the upcoming maintenance, taking place on the 12th of October at 9:00-14:00 JST.

Other time zones:

  • 12th October, 1:00AM – 6:00AM BST (UK)
  • 11th October, 5:00PM – 10:00PM PDT
  • 11th October, 7:00PM – 12:00AM CDT
  • 11th October, 8:00PM – 1:00AM EDT
  • 11th October, 2:00PM – 7:00PM HAST

Incidentally, your acquired exp will not change, so if you hit lv41 and kept playing a good while you might find you’ll already be lv42 when you log in after maint (or higher if you’re a real poopsocker).

The values themselves were allegedly based on data from way back in July, which didn’t match up with the changes that have happened to the game meanwhile. Hmmm.

Other tidbits include:

  • Plans to implement a way of earning EXP after your character hits the cap, potentially turning it into a currency of sorts.
  • Re-mentioning the plans to implement content aimed solely at capped players.
  • Next level cap won’t be for some while!
  • The prices of medical items (Monomate, Dimate, Trimate etc), medical drinks and item upgrading will be reduced.

What a messy update, was gonna post a rant on it but if the XP values post maint are reasonable then it’ll resolve most of the issues I had anyway.

Credit to EspioKaos for providing this information.

Pre-TGS Stream Summary

It was a bunch of Japanese people sitting down talking to a laptop.

Ok they showed a couple of videos showing off new content as well. First off is a video (uploaded by yureinu1) revealing the upcoming field, which will be demonstrated at TGS.

Datamining efforts reveal this field to be named “Ruin”. Not Ruins or Sealed Ruins or any fancy name, just Ruin. They teased us with the concept art of this area some time ago with the following image:

As there is no new field scheduled for the next update, named Call of Mortality, presumably Ruin will be added in the updated tentatively titled “That Which Destroys History”, with the final area to be added in the update titled “Where Darkness Gathers”. This is barely assumption, however.

I wonder if the last piece of concept art there is of the inside of the large red tower in the Ruin field that you can see in the video. The area seems to be fairly expansive, which to me suggested it might have been an external field when I first saw it.

The video also briefly shows the new boss, currently assigned the clearly temporary name of “alligator snapping turtle” in the client. It also turns out it is a jet-propelled giant turtle, reminiscent of a certain famous giant monster. This would also be the first fish-type Darker boss.

Unfortunately as the quality of the video is so poor I am borrowing a screenshot taken from the stream by Ricardo at Bumped.

Dark Gamera. Enemy of all children?

I believe this may be footage of one of the boss’s abilities.


Team Features

Another teaser which demonstrated upcoming expansions to team functionality (among other things) was also shown. Again uploaded by yureinu1.

The team rooms are a fair sight different to what I expected. I thought it’d be something like the regular rooms for players but expanded upon slightly, where as this feels more like some kind of guild hall. I believe that the Team Room is only available to Teams that reach lv2, which your team can reach by first obtaining 3000 team points. You can obtain team points through Team Orders at least, it isn’t known whether or not rare items can be redeemed for them (ala Blue Burst).

It looks like you can acquire NPCs for the Team Room, but the video is too poorly compressed to get much in the way of detail from it. Wonder if they use Team Points as a currency for buying extra things for the Team Room, or if they in fact use points gained from rare item turn-ins as a currency for this purpose?

The Team Room also features a “Photon Tree” which can be grown and can give out presumably team-wide buffs of various flavors. No details about the actual mechanisms behind it.

With TGS in full swing by the end of the week, hopefully some more detailed information will come out for the more imminent additions to the game.

Double-saber Speculation Post

Sakai said he’d update his blog twice this week and that’s what he did. Sadly neither post talked about content beyond the one due on the 29th of August. However, a particular screenshot was posted that did show some post-August content. This post will concern itself entirely with that.

Yes, that is indeed the Naura Cake Shop. Naura is giving you the eye. But this post won’t be talking about her or her decadent little shop. Take a closer look at the player character there….

That’s a male Newman, no one cares about those though. Check out the weapon he’s wielding! It is in fact the same weapon he was wielding in the promotional pic for the Premium Package that was posted a while back. The icon reveals that it is in fact a Double-saber, which folds up when sheathed as you can see.

Two things to really talk about here: the middle icon and the icon on the right.

The middle icon is the auxiliary action for a weapon, which changes depending on the weapon type. For Swords it’s a guard, for Gunslash it changes attack mode. Now before, I speculated that Double-sabers may well have a mode change as their auxiliary action, to switch between Twin-Saber mode and Double-Saber mode.

Certainly the way the weapon looks when sheathed suggests that the two blades can be separated, but that middle button doesn’t suggest a mode change at all. Datamining also doesn’t back my speculation up, as the auxiliary action is labeled “tornado” in the client. This suggests that you twirl the Double-saber like you do the Partizan, but the Partizan’s icon for it is a shield. This could indicate that you can’t use Double-sabers to guard, so their auxiliary action may serve a different purpose.

The Gears Gauge is the same as the Partizan’s, so it could serve a similar function. It’s not conclusive of course, as the Wired Lance’s Gears Gauge also has the same appearance, which is charged through attacks. All that seems certain is that pressing Shift or the Guard button on your controller won’t split the Double-Saber up. If they do split up for anything other than being put away, then I imagine it’s only during specific Photon Arts.

Speaking of Photon Arts,  IS THAT TORNADO DANCE? It’s an icon that strongly suggests it might be! If you’re unfamiliar with Tornado Dance, it was a Photon Art in Phantasy Star Universe that was essentially just used as a transportation skill. Kind of like how Rodeo Drive is now for Launchers.

Here’s a video demonstrating Tornado Dance as it was in Phantasy Star Universe, uploaded by YouTube user aerawnt:

It certainly does seem like that icon would be fitting for an attack like this, eh?

Finally, these are two un-announced class skills belonging to what might be the Fighter class. They could be enemy control skills, but exactly what they do is up in the air. Nice to finally see something that belongs to the new classes other than weapon types, however!

Nothing new on the remaining weapon types (Knuckles, Twin Daggers, Twin Machineguns and Wands), but I suspect we’re set to hear more about them soon as September is merely a week away now.

GameGuard: Protecting You From Your PC

So GameGuard updated recently, allegedly finally being able to detect Cheat Engine on a 64-bit OS. The update appears to have introduced a number of problems however, including:

  • Preventing Vent from running
  • Causing Aero to crash and then causing Windows to shut down shortly after if a user attempts to open Task Manager via CTRL + SHIFT + ESC
  • Causing Windows to believe it isn’t a genuine copy
  • Causing general system instability (BSODs, crashing system processes).

If you can stand to read it, there’s a thread on PSO-World here.

Now I can’t personally confirm all the problems that GameGuard is causing right now, but what is certain is the recent update has caused problems and it’s made Nprotect really unpopular among the Japanese. Given the sheer number of complaints this has caused, I expect a statement will be made at some point.

I already voiced my woes with GameGuard before, it seems little has changed. It still punishes the legitimate, honest player far more than it does the actual cheaters by being as intrusive as it is. Never mind that recent events appear to have proven that once again Sega put too much trust in GameGuard protecting their game, rather than making the effort to secure the game themselves. As Sakai seems to be currently intent on spinning this into a problem that’s being caused by foreigners rather than their own ineptitudes I wonder how long before he mentions us again.

Part 2 of Soaring Crystal Dragon

Sorry for the lack of an update, but my main PC is having problems. This blog is not a place to go into detail about that kind of thing, but suffice to say I won’t be able to post everything I wish to as the materials are on another machine.


Arrival of the Floating Continent

Usual pattern for a new field, you will need to complete the Free Field Tunnels mission within the time limit while also scoring an S-rank. It’s a little different now, however! This update saw the time requirements for Koffie’s area unlock missions relaxed quite a bit. Perhaps a little too much, even, but it’s nice they did something about them still.

The new field is again the usual pattern. 3 missions unlocked one after the other with the 3rd ending with a miniboss. In this case the miniboss is a re-skinned Caterdran named Caterdran’sa. It is absolutely no different to its cousin on the surface in terms of AI, disappointingly.

Unlocking the Free Field is also the same, requiring you to S-rank the 2nd and 3rd missions within time limits as well as finding 2 area data items.

The field itself is not quite what I expected, it’s a lot nicer than I thought it’d be for one thing. It has an under-ocean theme about it, despite it taking place in the sky. The 2nd area of the field isn’t quite what I predicted though. I wondered if it would look somewhat like the arena that the Quartz Dragon resides in but instead it’s just the first area but an almost eye-searing shade of green.

The reskinned enemies, like the miniboss, are no different to their cousins on the volcanic surface. Yes, Windilla are just as annoying to melee as I dreaded them to be. The Quartz Dragon itself is nothing like the Vol Dragon, despite clearly being a remodel of it. It’s an utterly different fight. To summarise it it’s a bit like fighting the Banthers crossed with a Tranmizer. It does a lot of very fast movements, zipping about the arena as well as firing barrages of homing missiles. Unlike the Banther though, Quartz Dragon’s attacks have plentiful tells and it’s quite easy to dodge most of them. Arguably its most deadly attack is the lightning it casts around itself. This lightning inflicts Panic (suggesting it is in fact a light-element attack instead of a lightning one as you may expect), which impairs your control over your character. The attack itself also deals a pretty nasty amount of damage. This is deadly as it leaves players with a horrible choice: try to heal the effect with a Sol Atomiser leaving them open for an attack, or let the effect wear off which also leaves them open for an attack. The Panic effect lasts for a very long time as well (about 30 seconds I believe).

Nice new area overall, despite being riddled with lazy reskins.


Terms of Service Change

I already sort of addressed this on Twitter, but the terms of service were changed recently to re-add a clause they’d taken out since the open beta. Namely, a clause that prohibits foreigners from playing the game. This is the same clause that was in effect during the entirety of PSU JP’s existence and nothing was ever done about foreigners then, so panicking about an IP ban was a waste of effort.

However, Sakai did recently directly address this change, presumably due to a somewhat negative reaction from foreigners and Japanese players alike on Twitter. Essentially the change was to make it easier to deal with malicious players, most of which appear to be foreign according to him. He also stated that he appreciates the foreign support that the game has been getting and that there are plenty of decent players who have made progress in the game that he wouldn’t want affected by a blanket ban. However, if foreign hackers continue he may have to take drastic action.

Personally, I think this is the completely wrong type of response to make. It feels more like he’s just validated cheaters and given them a chance of a lasting impact to whatever action they decide to take now. This is again apparently in lieu of actually doing anything to fix the underlying security problems.

Of course, by “drastic action” people presume it means an IP ban and understandably so. It certainly is something I would consider a “drastic action” at least. Ultimately what this implies though is that the actions of a select few people with hugely over-inflated senses of self-importance could ruin this entire thing for everyone.

It could of course also be a blind threat and nothing at all will happen. But the worst happening would waste the efforts of dedicated fans who made and are making accessing and enjoying their product easier for people to do, all because of the actions of an extremely selfish few.

Related to this, Sega of Japan will apparently no longer be accepting payments by foreign Credit Card in order to combat malicious users. No idea how that’s supposed to do that, so I’m a bit perplexed by this decision.

On the positive side of things, it’s nice that he appreciates the support of foreign players and does seem to recognise that most of us are decent folk.


Towards The Future

New classes are on their way, but the actual subclass system won’t be until later on. I still am pretty certain that the new classes will be Fighter, Gunner and Techer. In order to access them, you will need to be at least lv30 in certain classes. I presume this means something like, to play as a Gunner you will need to be at least a lv30 Ranger first.

Switching to a new class will bring your level down to 1, as remember in PSO2 your actual level is your class level.

With the new classes will come new weapon types:

  • Twin Daggers
  • Double Sabers
  • Knuckles
  • Twin Machineguns
  • Wands

Presumably these weapon types will be doled out to the new classes, but it’s not yet confirmed how exactly they will be. Sakai did say before that the developers were considering allowing multiple classes to equip certain weapon types after all. In any case it would be pretty unfair for melee classes to gain 3 types when the others only gain one, especially as melee already has the widest selection as it is.

There is also the question of new Technics. Presumably, the Techer class will have trees that specialise in the three elements that Force doesn’t cover (wind, light and dark), so I wonder if new techs for each tree will be released as well? Would hope so, as it would be weird if there was a tree that specialised in an unreleased element. Given that the new weapons types will all come with Photon Arts though I think this scenario is unlikely.

Other things heading our way:

  • Ship Transfers – Finally.
  • Team Feature Expansion – There will be team-specific content headed our way at some point. Including Client Orders through which you an acquire points for your team. You can spend the points on features, such as team rooms. Sounds good to me!

New classes and weapons will be heading our way in September. There is still one more update left for August, however, including 2 new story missions.