9th PSO2 Station: You Are The Hero

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The 9th PSO2 Station went out this last saturday and it was one that was highly anticipated by the community as it was to reveal the first details about Episode 5. In this post I’m going to mostly be going over my reactions and thoughts to what was shown and ponder some of the implications this has for the game going forward. I’m just gonna be focusing entirely on the stuff that directly affects the game, so the GP and other events that happened during the station won’t be covered.

This post is huge, as such I’ve added links so you can jump to the parts you’re interested in.

Contents:

As you may be aware, Sega are taking down trailers so the only way I can really share the trailers is by linking to the full streams from the official channel:

Part 1:

  • Final anniversary content and Yamato content at 37:11

Episode 5 Trailer

Part 2

  • Hero trailer at 29:18

Yamato 2: Nice Boat

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The last major update in Episode 4’s lifetime will see players going up against an upgraded Yamato. I can’t really pick out any new details that we didn’t know already; that it’s got a bunch of new attacks and that it spawns considerably more missiles during the raid-wipe phase.

They did confirm that a “rematch” quest would be happening for it, however. Much like with Deus Esca, you’ll need to clear the new Yamato raid before you gain access to it. It’s also a 4-man quest but unlike with Gracia it seems the only real change is you have a tighter time-limit to clear the quest. The fight otherwise seems largely the same, which is going to make the missile phase interesting as it doesn’t seem to spawn any fewer missiles than the full raid…

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The upgraded version of Yamato is set to appear in early July while the rematch will arrive a little later on the 19th.

Drops

The re-designed Yamato will come with new drops and give you shots at some older ones too; with the classic Tokyo, Seiga and Quartz weapons returning. Additionally, you have a (remote) chance of getting one of 3 new 14* weapons.

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Dual Blade

Looks like it fires lightning effects whenever you use a Photon Art.

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TMGs

Seemingly wind-based Twin Machineguns that have a wind effect on firing.

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Before I move on to the third weapon, it does appear that these two may be a part of a series of what I’m going to call “elemental weapons”, in addition to the previously released fiery Double Saber from Deus Esca.  I’ve posted their icons below so you can make a comparison:

The Double Saber released with Deus Esca was a fire-based weapon, while the Dualblades are lightning and the TMGs are clearly wind based. I guess we can expect 3 more elemental 14* weapons in the future…

Akatsuki

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The gimmick of this classic sword appears to be when you land a successful Just-Guard the weapon unsheathes. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but presumably the effect is similar to Guard Stance Advance in that it boosts your power for a short time.

Collection Files

Collection files for Seiga, Quotz and the military series will be returning, which interestingly includes things like the Valkyrie TMGS, which were unique to the Kagaseo stone exchange last time around. They’re also reviving the AIS and Yamato files as a separate collection.

Ether Fuses

You’ll also earn a new currency item called an “Ether Fuse”. You can use 20 of these fuses together with a Tokyo, Seiga or Quotz weapon to upgrade to a new weapon or to unlock a new potential on your old ones. So it works a little bit like the Zeinesis/Qliphad exchange, only this offers you the chance to turn old-type weapons into new-types!

Here’s the few upgraded weapons they showed off, two of each of the Quotz, Seiga and military series:

Unfortunately they haven’t actually detailed how the OT to NT exchange will work out. Like what does a +40 exchange into? What-about a +37? To hazard a guess I’d like to say that each level beyond a lv3 potential would translate to half a level in NT (so a Lv3 +5 would be +32.5) but who knows what they’ll actually go with.

Interestingly, rumour has it that the Special Ability Factor of the upgraded weapons will be Power, Shoot or Tech VI. Yes you read that right, VI. We don’t know at this time how much stronger VI will be than V.

I actually also don’t know what the Ether Fuse potentials are for the Quotz, Seiga or Military weapons, so it’s hard to tell if these weapons will be worth going for. They look good, though! As we don’t know the potentials yet its hard to judge their true worth, but if we use the upgraded Sword’s attack power we can see it’s a little bit weaker than Astra though only by 6 s-atk. Depending on the potential these could be decent endgame weapons.

The AIS weapon Ether Fuse potential appears to be similar to Aura’s Battle Coin potential, only it also reduces PP consumed by PAs while the Yamato weapon Ether Fuse potential works much like their regular potentials, only they build up power over time instead of requiring you to get killing blows. So AIS may be pretty good depending on their overall power while Yamato weapons remain pretty bad.


Episode 5 Reveal

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They did it, they finally showed something about Episode 5. So who was right in the end? Was it a Phantasy Star classic revival or did it turn out to be an isekai?

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Turns out the answer was closer to isekai, overall. Though don’t worry, it doesn’t look like our player characters will be killed or forcibly transferred into the new world. Episode 5 will be releasing July 26th, so only around 6 weeks away!

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Episode 5 sees us travelling through a black hole to a medieval land of war, where the villains torment the er… the other guys.. with evil flowers that can summon demons. If you think this sounds dumb, don’t forget we just got done with Earth where the enemies were ghosts created through the power of imagination.

So yeah, we’re off to a land of knights, princesses, goblins and orcs in a land that does battle over flowers called “Ephemera”.  As you can see, the alternative world has faces both new and familiar, with Xierra as a fairy and a certain someone donning a cravat, but more on him in a moment…

Now for those who are a little disappointed that we’re not really going back to a sci-fi setting, don’t worry I feel your pain. It is a little disappointing, really, but at the very least it does seem that this episode will be more closely tied to the main plot. At least in spirit, anyway. The Profound Darkness still looms over the navigation deck and the black hole itself occupies the space that Xion used to take up. Additionally, the flowers in this new world share the same title as the Profound Darkness, namely “Non-Fruit bearing Flower”.

In these four images we have Matoi showing up top-right, so its nice to see her potentially playing a more major role again. Xiao bottom left has grown up and now looks more Harry Potter than akashic record. Bottom right we have the first sighting of Alma; who was the original Claris and one of the first three Heroes of the Arks along with Regias and Casra. Interesting that she should show up again, even if she’s presumably just a ghost, as the alternative universe has what appears to be the first Casra in it.

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“What about Luther?” you may be asking? Well as I understand, Luther is a photoner who took over the first Casra’s body. That’s not Luther’s true appearance, though it is how we all recognise him and it does at first glance seem like the alternative universe version retains Luther’s quirks a bit (or maybe the original Casra was just like that, who knows!?). Notice in the image above, where I’ve put the Luther we know against the one that appears in Episode 5. He no longer has that face marker, which presumably is the mark that its a body possessed by a Photoner, though we don’t really have any other examples of this. The lack of this marker is probably significant, though and for me makes me pretty confident that this is indeed the original Casra’s alternative universe doppleganger.

With the potential for the original three Heroes of the ARKS to re-unite, I wonder if Episode 5 might explore the distant past of the ARKS some more. It would be nice…

While talking about ARKS history, the story summary (ok, it’s a little old but as far as I know it’s still relevant) shows that in the distant past an ARKS ship encountered a black hole and was pulled into it. I doubt this is the same black hole, but regardless I’m curious how the story will justify jumping into a newly discovered black hole after what happened the last time they encountered one!

Either way, hopefully it feels a bit less like a side-story than Episode 4 did, though of course the whole alternative universe thing doesn’t bode well in that regard…

New Field and Enemies

I actually don’t know what the new field is called!

The field itself just looks so… plain to me (pun unintended). It’s dead flat, largely unsaturated tones of greys and browns, giving way to red tones once you’re inside. The field is surrounded by a thick fog, which I guess was intended to make it seem more like a battleground but it only really manages to make the field look dead and empty.

The enemies also win the award for “most unremarkable and generic designs” in the entire game so far. It’s like they went out of their way to make the majority of them look as plain as possible, though I don’t really take issue with all of them. Like I like the look of the reapers, though it’s a little bit of a shame that they’re such an obvious remodel of Luda Sorcerer.

The giant castle boss is pretty nifty at least.

Buster Quests

A hybrid of Tower Defense and Tower Attack, you’ll need to defend your own siege equipment while assaulting a castle held by demons. Like the regular Mining Base Defense quest, you’ll be collecting resources (in this case, mana) in order to trigger a mechanic known as the “Buster Pile” (gross) which can break down the castle walls.

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Once inside, do battle with the demons within and then face off against a giant animated humanoid castle. Neato!

So if Bumped is right, these are set to be the main quest style of Episode 5. I mean at least they sound like they might be fun; at the very least it’s nice to have a permanent Mining Base style quest available to us. On the other hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that this might mean we won’t get Arks Quests or Free Fields for Episode 5.

The main issue I have with the quest style is it’s designed for a multi-party. That means much like Riding Quests it’ll suffer once the content is no longer relevant. Look forward to standing around at a teleporter waiting for enough players to filter in to begin the quest. I mean it won’t be as bad as at least you’ll only be waiting on 7 others instead of 11. The lack of an Arks or Free Field would mean that this is the only way to enjoy this content though, which I find a little bit sad. Mind they’ve been messing with this formula since Episode 3 and with Vegas being the first field to not have an Arks Quest at all I guess it was only a matter of time before we ended up like this.

The lack of a Free Field would also mean no new skill-rings, incidentally.


New Class: Hero

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HeroClass

Yep, that’s the class name. Hero. In your game, you are the hero, it’s you. But remember, you are not the only hero… Really you won’t be. You know how new class releases go, raids are going to be full of them in the first week or two. We’ll see if they go through the same growing pains as Bouncer and Summoner where people would abandon groups the moment they see you!

You might expect a new class would mean new weapons but you’d be wrong! You might also be mistaken for thinking that you can play this class from the get-go but you’d also be wrong! Hero is slated as the first “Advanced Class” in PSO2. If you’re like me and come from Phantasy Star Universe you might be getting a bit of a cold sweat on but don’t fret, it’s not as bad as it was in PSU.

Also pictured above is the new class trainer for Heroes; Stratos. Stratos bares some striking similarities to Huey, I wonder if that’ll lead to something…

Unlocking

In order to play as a Hero you’ll need to have at least one melee, one ranged and one teching class leveled up to 75 on your account.

  • Hunter, Fighter and Bouncer count as Melee
  • Ranger, Gunner and Braver count as Ranged
  • Force, Techer and Summoner count as Teching.

This will unlock 3 titles on your account. From there if you want to be the hero all you have to do is head over to Koffie and turn in a Client Order. Congratulations! You are the hero!!

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Note that switching to Hero will un-equip your SubClass and Hero cannot be used as a Subclass. As Hero has no subclass, it’ll have access to more Right Skill Rings than any other class, which might create some interesting options.

Weapons

Heroes utilize three weapons that already exist in the game; Swords, Twin Machineguns and Talis. This is where the class diverges strongly from PSU tiered classes however, as these weapons will all behave very differently from their classic counterparts while wielded by a Hero. That is to say, Hero Sword will be nothing like Hunter Sword. This is great, because my main issue with advanced classes in PSU was all they offered was higher stats with the precise same attacks.

To clear up some rumours around the class; yes they do require a Sword, TMG and Talis. They do not use a unique weapon that transforms into all three.

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The reason people think it’s a new multi-weapon is due to the class’s mechanic of being able to switch weapons through certain Photon Arts. In the trailers these weapon swaps are instant, where as anyone who’s played the game any length of time will know there’s a small delay when swapping weapons. The logical answer would be an entirely new mechanic, but well…

These are shots taken during the multi-weapon combos.As you can see, the palette number changes so it definitely is a weapon swap. This does bring up a good question with regard to how the class will behave under laggier conditions, mind…

Swords

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Sword attacks will change depending on how long you  hold the attack button for. For the Photon Arts, this presumably just extends the combos and then ends on some finisher once you release the button (PP is constantly draining during some of the attacks shown).

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Unlike Hunter Sword, Hero Swords cannot block attacks however it does seem that certain Photon Arts have i-frames attached to them. Sword’s weapon action is replaced with “Spirit Bullet”, which is essentially a Ki-Blast straight from Dragonball Z. The longer you charge it, the bigger a bullet you fire!

Twin Machineguns

Twin Machinegun Photon Arts are similar to Gunner’s however they don’t seem to have the ability to rise into the air as easily (at least not from what we’ve seen so far). They may also lack the burst of classic Gunner TMGs with Chain Trigger.

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Hero TMGs cannot recover PP through normal attacks, instead normals actually consume PP! The only way Hero TMGs can actively recover is by using its “reload” weapon action. You slow fall while reloading, so if you are airborne you won’t have to worry about dropping like a stone just to recover PP.

Talis

In addition to Talises gaining Photon Arts that make them resemble Slicers from the older games, Heroes cau also warp to their thrown Talis through its weapon action. The player throws out a marker then instantly warps towards it. There seems to be a bit of a charge time to this, so I doubt it’ll compete with Guren Tessen dashing or even regular running for traversing large distances, however it might be helpful to get within melee range of vertical targets.

Talises seem capable of creating large damage fields, making it the most likely candidate for mobbing, though in the Zeshrayda demo the small disc field seemed to do really high damage even if it was hitting a weak-spot.

Techs

Heroes can cast Techniques like Force, Techer, Bouncer and Summoner. It’s unknown at this point if Heroes have any skills that augment them, however. If they don’t, their offensive techs ought to be pretty weak, but at least they’ll have access to support techs.

On top of this, Heroes use a gimmick where through specific Photon Arts they will automatically swap weapons, allowing them to chain together combos across multiple different attack types.

Class Mechanics

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Above is just as many of the icons I could extract from the trailers. As you can see, each weapon has 2 photon arts with a symbol in their top-right that indicates which weapon it’ll swap to. Red switches to sword, blue switches to TMGs and yellow swtches to Talis. I’m not sure at this point how it determines which point in your palette to switch to, but I assume it just searches down and picks the first one it finds (cycling back to the top if necessary). If it can’t find any, I assume the attack just finishes without swapping.

At the bottom-left is what seems to be Hero’s main class skill in the available and unavailable state. They never seem to use the other skill, which shares War Cry’s skill icon but with PP on it.

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For the first skill though, its the one that was used in each weapon demonstration in the trailer. The skill seems to depend on your weapon gauge; only when your gauge is full is the skill available. Once you activate the skill, the star in the center of the gauge switches off and the bar starts draining. Looks like you can activate some kind of finisher when you press the skill again, which immediately drains the bar to nothing. If the bar reaches zero on its own or you activate this “finisher” it deactivates the skill and puts it on cool-down. The cool-down shown was 120 seconds.

That’s all I can estimate based on the footage anyway, for now we don’t have any details on the precise mechanics behind these skills.

Thoughts

So yeah, that’s the Hero class. Kind of a boring name, but the class itself does look like it’ll be fun. It really looks like a hybrid between Fighter, Gunner and Bouncer more than its weapon selection would indicate. The trailers so far show it to be a potentially excellent bossing class while offering seemingly limited ways to clean up mobs compared to other classes, it depends on how good Talis is I guess.

My initial reaction to this class was pretty negative, as I detested the idea of the class simply being “x but better” as all classes up til now have brought something unique to the table. However, not only does the class bring entirely new mechanics to older weapons it also doesn’t seem like it’ll cover the niches the classic classes will cover. I’m not really sure what the functional differences will be with Twin Machineguns for Gunner and Hero aside their verticality, I guess we’ll see when we learn more about the class later on.


Class Rebalance

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We already knew that PSCrew were going to address the Chain+Maron problem, but we didn’t have any details nor did I expect them to re-balance a bunch of other things. There’s a lot of notes to go through (the full notes are here) so I’m just going to ponder the implications of these changes one topic at a time.

Maron Nerf, Slight Melon Buff

The bean brothers are gonna change very slightly.

Maron’s 2nd stage damage mod will be reduced while the number of hits it takes to reach stage 3 will be increased. So notably Maron will still do all the damage it did before but it’ll take a bit longer to build it up. It’s hard to say how much of a nerf this will be until we see the actual numbers…

Melon on the other hand just won’t randomly blow up anymore after a time limit. Now t’ll only blow up if you fail to catch it, which makes Melon only a little more practical to use. Melon’s damage isn’t that amazing however, so I doubt this will equalize things between these two pets much.

Zanverse Builds are Dead.

Zanverse has been changed so that it no longer takes skills or potentials into account. So rest in peace TeSu, TeGu, GuTe and Niren Orochi BoTe. This puts all Zanverse fields on an equal playing field, so you’ll no longer have issues with JetBoot users creating then anymore! Really this means the death of Zanverse elitism in general, so it really doesn’t matter who casts it as long as someone does.

This is however a nerf to Wand melee, as Wind Mastery no longer affects the power of Zanverse. Assuming you’re using Form Scythe, Zanverse hits will drop from 28% of your damage to 20% if I’ve done the math right (I’m not 100% sure how Zanverse multipliers work, please correct me on this if I’m wrong).

To clarify, this is not a flat 120% as people have been saying. The patch notes only say it’ll no longer be affected by skills or potentials, which means that resistances should still apply. As such, it’ll still be terrible against Dark Falz Elder and deal bonus damage to wind-weak enemies like Escafalz Mother.

TPS Sniping is Dead.

There’s going to be a maximum range placed on the techs used for TPS sniping objects across the map, including Rafoie, Grants, Sazan, Razan, Ilbarta and Sabarta. This means that you won’t be able to depend on Forces to be able to take out Darker Towers from across the map in Mining Base Defense quests, nor will you be able to snipe the jellyfish in the Vegas field. This also impacts Time-Attack strategies that depended on you being able to hit switches from a long distance.

Graptor and Banish Trickery may be Dead

Both Vol Graptor and Banish Arrow are getting nerfed, which affects a number of off-meta or niche builds such as TeBr and FoBr.

For Hunters, they’re buffing every single Partizan PA (aside Graptor of course) so it might work out that the old Graptor-Zenith and other combos will be just as good as they are now.

Similarly, a few Bullet Bow PAs are getting buffed, but curiously Sharp Bomber 0 is getting a slight nerf by increasing its cost. Given it’s Bullet-Bow’s only practical mobbing solution I’m not sure why they felt the need to do this. They also buffed Gravity Point in every way apart from the way it’s actually useful (the suction power is unchanged).

Chain Trickery may be Dead

They’re nerfing Chain Trigger by reducing its power. In the same update, they’ll be making Chain Finish stronger but making it main-class only and only affected by Twin Machineguns dealing Striking or Ranged damage. However, even with both Trigger and Finish it’ll still be weaker overall than it is now.

Chain’s duration is increased and cooldown decreased while Chain Finish will remain 2s.

Clearly they’re trying to make it so that Chain is primarily a Gunner thing again and not a tool of niche combos such as GuFo, FoGu, the classic BrGu and of course SuGu. The death of variety here is a bit sad, honestly, because really the worst issue was with Chain Maron but I guess it does make designing encounters difficult when you have odd combos that can kill bosses that quickly in general.

Overall, the off-class combos suffer while Gunner itself will have easier to apply chains that it can apply more often even if they’re overall weaker. Interested to see how this works out for Gunners in the end, because while this is going to affect the most bursty combos in the game right now the likes of Satellite Aim into Infinite Fire 0 should still be pretty solid.

Weak Bullet Standardized

Weak Bullet will now be a 120% modifier to the target hitbox and the Weak-Bullet “jamming”  mechanic will be removed from the game.

To compensate a bit for this, Weak Bullet’s cooldown will be reduced and the maximum number of bullets loaded increased. So while it’s weaker overall, you’ll be able to apply it more often.

They’re reducing the HP of a number of classic raid bosses from Super Hard and below while Magatsu will have its HP reduced across the board. They’re also increasing the amount of time that Esca Falz Mother spends in her downed state.

Weak Hit Advance Changes

They’re changing how Weak Hit Advance works on Weak-bulleted targets. Instead of running off the modified hit-box resistance value it’ll always apply to a hit-box with Weak Bullet on it.

So really, this is an overall buff to Weak Hit Advance as you’ll no longer have issues with Weak Bullet not bringing a hitbox’s weakness to the threshold where Weak Hit Advance counts (1.2x if I recall correctly). For example, right now if you apply a jammed Weak Bullet to a 0.9x hitbox, it’ll only turn it into a 1.08 which won’t allow Weak Hit Advance to work.

This leaves the likes of Gu/Ra and Br/Ra largely unchanged.

To clarify in case there’s confusion, Sega added an ammendment to the patch notes because the old wording implied that Weak Hit would only apply to Weak-Bulleted targets which would have been a terrible nerf to Rifles and x/Ra builds.

Force and Techer Tree Rework

They plan to compress a number of the skills on both classes skill trees, with the main focus being on element masteries.

They’re going to adjust the values for Mastery 1 lv1-10 and the same to Mastery 2 while also reducing their caps to lv5. So you’ll need 15 SP per element instead of 20, which should free up a few points but it still won’t allow you to make an effective all-element build for Force.

Techers additionally have had the numbers and caps changed for Wand Lovers, Reactor and Element. Wand Lovers new cap will be lv5 while Reactor and Element will be 1. Additionally, the skill caps for Shifta Advance, Deband Advance, Shifta Critical and Shifta Advance have has their caps reduced to 5 (and numbers adjusted accordingly). Likewise, the requirements for Shifta Critical, Deband Cut, Shifta Strike and Deband Toughness have been reduced from 5 to 3.

This combined with the changes to Zanverse frees up quite a lot of skill points for Techers indeed (up to 43 depending on what your build was!). What they should do with all these spare points I’m not sure… perhaps invest into Light and Dark masteries? I honestly don’t know..

Compound Tech Nerf

Compound Techs will retain all their power (except Zandeon which is getting a buff) but will receive a 2-minute cooldown.

So really this means you won’t be able to just build up compounds and use them nearly back-to-back anymore, as was almost the case with Magical Piece shenanigans in Time Attacks.

Bouncer Will Still Be Average

Non-Weak Element will be buffed a bit. That’s it. Also Gran Wave is buffed.

They’re Still Trying To Make Guard Stance Good

Guard Stance Advance will have its power and duration boosted. Much like with other changes the potential impact of this really depends on the numbers. Fury Stance offers 1.2 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.05 ^ 1.10 (1.4553) in terms of power right now all the time. Guard Stance Advance offers 1.2 for 10 seconds after a successful Just Guard, but of course it has the additional advantage of being way more durable than Fury Stance.

So they can’t really make its power higher than Fury Stance, so I wouldn’t expect a power mod much higher than 1.3.

Note I don’t include Just Attack bonuses because they’re not dependent on stances.

Make Shunka Great Again

A number of Katana Photon Arts are geting buffed.

  • Tskukimi-sazanka, Gekka Zakuro and Fudou Kuchinashi are having their PP costs reduced
  • Hien Tsubaki will generate more gear and do more damage more quickly.
  • Asagiri Rendan has various adjustments as well as dealing more damage
  • Shunka Shunran will deal more damage more quickly.

So yeah, they’re actually buffing Shunka Shunran again. I doubt it’ll be returning to its glory days of Episode 2 (at least I hope not) but it’s still funny that it’s getting buffed in light of its history all the same.

Overall

So in summary;

  • The end of TPS sniping,
  • The end of Zanverse builds
  • The end of quickly building Compound Techs
  • A general nerf to melee Techer and a nerf to Techer casting builds (aside TeFi)
  • A general nerf to x/Gu builds that depended on Chains for heavy burst damage
  • A general nerf to builds that depended on Graptor/Banish for burst damage
  • A general buff to Partizans, Wired Lances and Knuckles
  • A buff to Weak Hit Advance
  • A buff to Katanas overall

Thats quite a few class combos suffering because of one pet!


Miscellaneous

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Just gonna cover a couple of the changes that don’t really fit anywhere else.

Multi-Block Matching

Could this be what I think it is? Is this taking the PVP matchmaking system and applying it to PVE Quests? If so that’s a huge improvement while at the same time one that I’m genuinely surprised they’re offering for a few reasons.

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For one, what does this mean for Premium space? For that matter, how will Expert Block requirements be handled with this? I assume that instead of matchmaking you across all blocks it might just use a select group of blocks instead (for example, all the Extra Hard blocks if you’re currently in an Extra Hard block and all Expert if you’re in an Expert block). Hard to tell at this point as very little information has been revealed about the feature yet.

But yeah, this could solve a lot of issues aside the obvious of it being easier to form a group. For one thing, people AFKing in lobbies won’t be as big a problem and there might be less pressure to go park a spot in a good block well in advance of an Emergency Quest starting to ensure you get a group.

MY INVENTORY: Material Storage

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They’re adding a 2500 slot warehouse that can only store material items. Fucking finally, that’s all I have to say. I hope it’s account shared for convenience!

That’s All!

That’s everything about Episode 5 that they’ve revealed so far. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t exactly blown me away but I also haven’t seen anything I really hate either, just some things I kind of wish they did better with. Mostly I think the enemy designs are just a little too unremarkable and the field they showed really needs something done to it to make it look less bland. The quest itself sounds like it might be fun, but I remain a little sad at the thought of not having any more Arks Quests or Free Fields potentially.

We’re set to learn more about Episode 5 with the 10th PSO2 Station on the 16th of July.

Deus Esca Infodump

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All I’m gonna do in this post is collect data related to new content that arrived with this update. A lot of this data is still being discovered, so expect the post to change in the coming days and possibly weeks.


Phantom God of Creation

The raid functions much like the Yamato raid; you’ll need to carve your way through a large pile of regular enemies before you get to the big boss itself. You’ll also come up against two different forms of Deus Hunas along the way. I’m just gonna summarise what happens at each part of the raid; this isn’t a guide for the best tactics to defeat him quickly.

Deus Hunas

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Beware of his lightning attack; it functions much like Falz Hunar’s ground slam in that it spawns multiple projectiles at once. If you’re in the center of them, unless you time a dodge or guard well you\ll be instantly incapacitated.

He doesn’t have a lot of HP so this part should be over quickly.

Esca Angel Squad and Vines

Not much to say about this section. Don’t run into the vines and kill anything that stands in your way.

Deus Anges

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It’s Hunas again but with a hat and a new selection of attacks. Most of them aren’t terribly noteworthy though, so just hit him until a cutscene plays.

One attack to watch for is when he teleports into the center of the arena. The ground will start glowing; you’ll want to move to an area of the arena that isn’t glowing! These are typically at the edges closest or furthest away from him but the attack is also fairly easy to dodge with a step or mirage or any abusable i-frames.

Deus Esca: Part 1

Damage snake-heads until their heads are covered in bramble at which point they’re immune to damage. Once all heads are immune to damage, they’ll begin charging an orb. Attack the orbs to stun the heads. Once all heads are stunned, you can jump onto them and traverse them to attack Deus Esca’s core.

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Unlike a certain anime, you can’t fall off this road and end up in hell but the boss will occasionally fail to create this road properly leaving you stuck on the main platform…

Beware, once Deus Esca recovers he’ll split the arena in two; if you’re near the attack use i-frames or you’ll take around 3000 damage.

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If you see Deus Esca holding hiw weapon up like this don’t be where the idiot pictured is standing.

This attack splits the MPA up; each side will have to work on their own snake heads. Once they’re down you can attack the core again

Deus Esca: Part 2

deus_phase2

In this phase Deus Esca will start to use more aggressive attacks on the arena itself. However his core is permanently exposed, so attack it whenever he’s between attacks.

Deus Esca: Part 3: The DPS Check

Deus Esca will blow up the moon, which is rather rude of him. This signals the final part of the raid which starts a 5-minute countdown. This is a DPS check; you\ll need to defeat Zephyros before this timer expires or else you’ll immediately fail!

Break the snake heads first to make him use attacks similar to the 2nd phase, then hit his core as hard as you can when you can to bring this god to its knees.

At some point you’ll deal enough damage to make the boss pass out on the arena. This is actually a secondary DPS race in that you’ll need to defeat the boss before it gets up again or else it’ll use a move that kills everyone in the MPA.

Rewards

Clearing the raid gives you shots at 14* weapons, a 13* Rappy and any Zeinesis item. For the most part though you’ll be getting Nox weapons and 10* trash.

The boss drops special exchange items named Qliphad Fuses. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’re back to the stone-age. The boss typically drops 1-3 of them so you’re looking at an average of 60 runs to be able to afford the 120 Fuse fee for Qliphad exchanges or to unlock a potential. 90 if you want a full set of Qliphad units. That’s pretty rough…

Deus Factor

The S-Atk factor finally arrives. It’s otherwise exactly the same as the other two factors.

It provides 20 S-atk, 10 R-atk, 10 T-atk, 20 HP and 1 PP.


Weapons

ZeinesisCliffordCalibur

The difference between Zeinesis and Qliphad weapons is entirely cosmetic. You will need 120 Qliphad Fuses and the corresponding Zeinesis weapon in order to obtain a Qliphad weapon. Like the Ray series update, the weapon retains its grind, element, potential level and affixes.

Unlike the Ray upgrade however, it seems the weapon will force you into the Qliphad potential when you upgrade.

Potentials:

The names here are not translations of the actual affix names, just placeholders.

  • Affix Booster
    • Lv3 Boosts success rate of affixes by 10%
      • Only applies to this weapon, not if it’s an ingredient item.
  • Party Booster
    • Boosts power by 12%
    • Heals 10% of each party member’s HP every 30s
      • The timer for the heal starts on area change.
    • Boosts party attack power by 2%
      • The attack boost is like a small, passive Shifta that applies as soon as you enter an area and re-applies every 30s.
      • The buff lasts for 30 seconds
      • Note that it’s like a Shifta buff, so its only raising your base attack by 2% not the amount of damage you do.
    • The heal ability will pulse for all party members, meaning if all 4 people have the potential you get a 10% heal 4 times.
    • The attack boost is fixed, however. It’s always 2% regardless of how many people in your party have it.
    • The attack buff persists even if you swap weapon.
  • Qliphad potential
    • 14% Damage bonus and doubles the stats of your affixes.
    • This seems to include most kinds of affixes, including HP, PP and Resists. It’s not known if it affects things like Phrase.

The “Qliphad potential” potential requires 120 Qliphad fuses in order to unlock. I’m not sure which of the three this is at the moment.

Special Ability Factor

Zeinesis’ Special Ability Factor is “Sentence Triple”. It boosts all attack stats by 30, so it’s essentially equivalent to Modulator and can of course be stacked with it. It presumably cannot be stacked with other Sentence abilities.


Units

Unlike weapons, there are in fact differences beyond the cosmetic. Qliphad units will require 60 Qliphad fuses each as well as the corresponding Zeinesis unit. For the other way round, you only need the corresponding Qliphad unit.

Stats

zeinesis_units.jpg

  • Zeinesis:
    • 120HP, 4PP, 15Atk
    • Rear: 3% S-Res, 3% R-Res, 2% T-res
    • Arm: 2% S-Res, 3% R-Res, 3% T-res
    • Leg: 3% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 3% T-res
    • Each unit also offers 2% all element resist

Qliphadunits

  • Qliphad:
    • ??HP, ??PP, 35Atk
    • Rear: 2% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 1% T-res
    • Arm: 1% S-Res, 2% R-Res, 2% T-res
    • Leg: 2% S-Res, 1% R-Res, 2% T-res

So it seems that Zeinesis units are more defense oriented where Qliphad offers more PP. The values for Qliphad likely aren’t going to be known for a few days as people collect enough Qliphad Fuses.

There does not appear to be a set bonus.


14* Weapons

There’s very little information about them currently, as very few people have been lucky enough to obtain one then go on to share data about them. As such it may be some time before we know the full capabilities of these weapons. To put it into perspective, there’s still some confusion about the Escafalz Mother 14*s and she came out a few months ago..

Lavis Cannon

14wandpanel

  • Potential: 未知なる魔杖
    • Boosts the power of normal attacks. Fires a shock-wave on the third part of the combo.

Interestingly, this Wand comes with kinda low S-Atk. Kind of wierd when the potential seems focused on normal attacks and we know from the reveal that it’s innate ability is to speed up Step and Normal Attack speed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how much it boosts normal attack damage by to judge this one properly, as well as how the shockwave functions (as in, does it function like Form Wand’s?)

Rykros Staff

14tactpanel

  • Potential: 闇の一瞥
    • During Alter Ego, your Pet’s Sympathy requests are automatically fulfilled.

A fairly handy innate ability, as you won’t need to interrupt your own attacks or lose PP to heal/buff your pet when it requests it. We also know from the trailer the staff will auto-cast Megid whenever you issue commands to your pet.

Kuvele Scarlet(?)

14dsaberpanel

A double saber that turns DS whirlwinds into firey tornadoes.

  • Potential:  緋炎の両刃
    • Increases the power of DS Kamaitachi. Increases power by ??%

DS Whirlwind is already how Double Sabers do a heck of a lot of damage (thanks to the DS Whirlwind Skill Ring) so the fact it boosts the power and duration of those is already enough to make this a potentially seriously powerful weapon. We’ll know for sure once the potential’s numbers have been worked out.


Episode 4’s Astral Soul

As the subtitle suggests, Episode 4 has gained its own version of Astral Soul. What’s more is it could stack with Astral Soul making for some potentially obscene affix loadouts.

The affix is named “Ether Factor” and it boosts all stats by 30, HP by 10 and PP by 6.

You’ll need to do the following to obtain it:

  1. Fuse Yamato Factor + Mother Factor + Deus Factor = Factor Catalyst 10%
  2. Fuse To’ou Soul + Full Vegas Soul = Ether Soul 10%
  3. Fuse Factor Catalyst * 4 + Ether Soul = Ether Factor 60%

So suddenly the likes of Yamato Factor become relevant again. Ether Soul shouldn’t be a problem as those souls are readily available; but supply of the factors will only occur when the relevant raid is up.

While you could combine it with Astral Soul it won’t be easy, however having both would give you 65 in all stats as well as 45 HP and 11 PP. That’s pretty nuts for just 2 affixes!

This would also make Astral Soul, Ether Factor, Returner V and Ability 3 the most solid all-round 4-slot affixes in the game. Getting it would be nearly impossible for most players, mind. For clarity, that would be:

  • 110 all attack, defense and dexterity
  • 75 HP
  • 16 PP

Obscenely good for 4 slots but err… good luck!

I mean if we went completely nuts and shot for the stars you could go for Astral + Ether + Returner + Modulator + Doom Break + Ability  + MutaII. That would give:

  • 170 all attack
  • 110 all def and dex
  • 90HP
  • 18PP

The ultimate all-rounder unit. Or you could throw out the MutaII and put Stat V and Elegant Stat if you want to focus on one attack stat. This is so far into crazytown though I don’t want to contemplate it any..


New Recycle Shop Addition : Class Cube Shop

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This shop offers Grind Limit +1 items for specific weapon types. The exchange rate is one Weapon Specific Grind Limit +1 for 300 class cubes.

Pretty nasty… You get 5 class cubes every level up at 80, which is 9.8M exp per. So each of these items costs 60 level up bonuses at lv80, or around 588M Exp per item. I’m speechless.

Hi, Mom!

ardembanner

With the latest update we got to face off against Episode 4’s second raidboss; the malevolent shell of Escafalz Mother. I hope you’re somewhat used to the Rideroid by now!

I did want this post out sooner but new information kept kinda trickling in, making me re-write good portions of it. It’s possible some of the information in this will turn out to be wrong later on anyway..

The Fight

Chase

mom_chase

You’ll chase Mother around the moon base on your Rideroid. The base is more like a racetrack, which you can end up doing multiple laps of before it times out. Each lap the course gains additional obstacles, making keeping up with Mother increasingly difficult.

As well as avoiding obstacles, Mother herself will be throwing a large array of attacks at you all of which do considerable amounts of damage. There’s not much you’re going to be able to shrug off, as the healing circles restore very little of your health.

You’ll need to keep up with her, as if you get too far away you’ll take constant damage and be killed.

mom_walls
Get close and break her balls! You can also barrel-roll into her wall attack to deflect them into her. Doing so seems to slow her down.

In order to defeat Mother, you’ll need to break her four cores which stuns her. In that time, you’ll need to do as much damage to her as you can! Repeat this a few times (she’s typically down on her third break) and she should be defeated with relative ease. They give you a huge window of time to do this, so after people get used to the Rideroid part you should see very few failures. If you do fail, you’ll get a B rank which has a huge impact on the amount of drops you’ll get. At that point, you may want to consider abandoning unless you’re not sure you’ll get an additional run. It’ll still count just the same for collection file progress even if you do get a B-rank.

You have a few abilities at your disposal:

Autoshoot

Autoshoot will automatically fire at Mother as long as your crosshairs are over an attackable point.

Missiles

Fires a bunch of homing missiles that do decent damage. Again, you need to have your crosshairs over an attackable target for this to work. Take the environment into account, too, because the missiles can crash into them wasting your attack.

Do a Barrel Roll

You’ll spin on the spot, dealing damage within melee range. This is by far your most damaging attack and you should be mercilessly spamming it when the opportunity presents itself. This attack also serves other purposes, such as reflecting Mother’s spinning wall attacks back at her!

Overboost

Puts your Rideroid into overdrive, letting you catch up to Mother more quickly. It should be noted that most of the time you’re moving faster than Mother is but she can move in bursts or you spend too much time dodging and she gets away from you.

Dying

Well it’s sort of an ability! If you run out of HP you’ll be “dead” and have to wait 5 seconds to be respawned. You’ll be respawned right in front of Mother and are allowed up to 12 deaths before it negatively impacts your rank. As a result, if you fall behind far enough it might be better to die and respawn than attempt to catch up.

Phase 1

Phase one is relatively straightforward. She uses a bunch of well telegraphed attacks, based largely on which arms happen to be up. The main body is invulnerable while arms are alive, so the only thing you can do here is DPS those down. Once all arms are dead, Mother will be stunned for a while, exposing her core. Burn the core as hard as you can, as you only have a limited window.

She’ll repeat this cycle a few times, summoning more arms each time you down her. The more arms she had at the time, the longer she’ll be stunned for when you break them all. The number of times you’ll have to do this depends on your MPA’s DPS, as if your MPA fails to meet the DPS check while she’s stunned you’ll have to stun her an additional time meaning you’ll have to kill more arms. Their HP is not shared with Mother, so failing these checks will mean a significantly longer fight, overall.

Each arm has an attack or two borrowed from a Dark Falz. You can tell which arms are generating which attacks by looking at their crowns; Loser has wings, Double has a wall , Apprentice has sort of bug-eyes with mandibles and Elder has the head and fins from its Falz Arms. Due to the way they attack, generally Loser’s arm ends up being the last one to be taken down as it’s the most mobile. The most dangerous one is Double’s, which can put up a circular wall around the party and deal devastating damage to anyone who fails to escape. The rest deal very little damage and isn’t difficult to heal through.

Overall I like this phase but it overstays its welcome if your MPA’s DPS isn’t up to scratch. You can end up going through the cycle of breaking arms and assaulting Mother’s chest up to six times and personally by the fourth I’m bored of it. It feels repetitive, which is a shame because otherwise mechanically I quite like it.

There’s other minor annoyances in this part too, such as Mother’s hitbox taking priority if an arm wanders near her. If this happens, the Arm won’t take any damage! This is because the arms are not considered separate targets like Falz Arms are, which means you can only hit one at time even if they’re clumped together.

Phase 2

mom_fight

Mother plants herself in the arena and starts using a number of new attacks. She is incredibly aggressive in this state and can dish out surprisingly high amounts of damage out of the blue. Techers will want to try to keep pumping Resta out or putting down Megiverse fields just so your DPS can keep it up.

So much happens here that it’s kind of a cluster-fuck and as a result I can’t say I’m much of a fan of it. At least a lot is happening and she does have a wide variety of attacks it’s just the speed and number of them might be a little much for me. Mother herself also moves a lot, so if there are any mechanics attached to breaking parts I’m not going to find out any time soon as a sword Hunter! Otherwise the only thing I could really pick out so far is she summons bombs which I think you can break to neutralize.

That said, this phase is a welcome sight in certain groups after the first phase has long out-stayed its welcome.

Death Cubes

cube_mom

This is Mother’s raid-wipe move. She’ll use it at 50% and at around 25% HP. She creates a ring of cubes that slowly make their way to the center of the arena, while also gently pushing players out toward the edge of the ring. You’ll need to break as many cubes as you can before they reach the center of the arena, as the damage she deals after scales with the number of cubes left alive. I’m not sure what the lethal cutoff point is, but the attack pulses and hits around 4 times (possibly more at higher numbers of cubes left). With 4-5 cubes left, she was dealing 350 damage to me, for a total of 1400 damage which is only just under my maximum HP. So I’d say you wanna shoot for 1-5 cubes left, as any more and unless you have a tank or Deband Toughness up you’re going to lose people. The damage is Tech based, so the higher your T-def the less damage you’ll take from the attack.

cubesplosion

You can’t guard the damage but you can dodge it if your timing with evasion skills is spot on.

Note that the cubes are not considered separate targets, so area-of-effect attacks will still only hit one cube.

Your typical MMO raidboss DPS check. I was never a fan of this kind of thing and it’s sad to see it come up more in PSO2. It’s not the most strict check, but again it’s the classic problem with raiding in a game like this; its intended for random groups to run it so you have little control over everyone’s builds and such. You don’t know if they’re going to be running ideal builds or having ideal weapons for dealing with the raid-wipe mechanic, which favors classes that can do sustained damage in an area without the worry of the push-back effect moving them out of effective range. Worse is when you have a bunch of people giving up before the DPS check begins; holding the Photon Blast button while those without end up doomed to the attack!

That said, the raid doesn’t end when everyone’s dead so there’s no punishment for being caught in the attack. So it’s not really a big deal.

Loot

Mother can drop the game’s very first 14*s but you’re basically never seeing them. She can also drop 12* units, but their rate is similarly dire. Not comparable to 14*s but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were comparable to Invade Units.

The 14*s

Just gonna go over what is currently known about the weapons. The information out there is still shakey and at times outright self-contradictory. Expect this bit to change as things become more well known.

Kazaminodachi – Increase effect of Katana Gear (12% at lv3) as well as Gear fills up when weapon is unsheathed.

If it’s as it sounds this is potentially fun at least. It means that you’ll be under the effects of Katana gear for longer so you’ll want to be triggering it to get the most out of the weapon. I mean you kind of have to do that anyway, so the only real difference is in theory it’ll be easier to keep the effect up with this weapon.

The below twitter video demonstrates the gear aquisition effect while the weapon is unsheathed during Katana Gear. That’s a sentence that’s gonna make no sense to anyone not familiar with this game… Anyway so yeah as you can the regeneration rate isn’t enough to neutralise the decay, but it does greatly slow it down. The clip shows the regular decay later on in the vid for comparison.

Spread Needle – Increased damage and chance to stun enemies. Also damage increases when you get closer to enemies.

This one’s hard to call because there’s so many unknowns around it. Does the effect apply to Photon Arts? How strongly does the close range damage effect scale? Unfortunately this doesn’t align with the rumoured potential which is unfortunate all things considered. I’ll have to update my opinion on this when we actually know more about it.

It does fire multiple projectiles like the classic Spread Needle, but it’s believed this is just a visual effect and only the regular center bullet is the valid one. Scratch that, it’s not just a visual effect! This makes its basic attacks significantly stronger than any other rifle in the game, potentially.

I still don’t have any numbers to hand, but apparently the “close range” effect kicks in on the same range that Sharpshooter counts from. This means there’s a narrow range in which you can have both bonuses up, which makes it an overall impractical weapon for traditional RaHus. GuRa is probably gonna be the one to get the most out of this weapon, as they can abuse it’s multi-projectile effect on Parralel Slider and One Point the most. This information is still tentative.

Eternal Psychodrive – Confirmed as Boosts Element Conversion’s power, reduces PP consumption
Its Special Ability Factor is “Ability IV”

As far as far as I’m aware the only one confirmed is Eternal Psychodrive with one known drop. Its potential apparently boosts the power of Element Conversion by 50%, which means you get 45% additional damage with matching element instead of 30%. If the element doesn’t match, it’s boosted by 200% so instead of 15% you do 45% damage. So if the stars align and you do get one, you only ever need that one! Now of couse forces can get 30% from element convert with any 13* rod, so really the effective potential is a 15% boost in damage. Boring, but it does mean getting one will free up a few slots in your inventory!

Max potential Gix is allegedly slightly stronger than this, but realistically you’re not going to have that up at all times.

Falz Drops

During the Christmas broadcast it was revealed that the 14*s can actually drop from all old Falz raids and Profound Darkness. However the drop rates in those quests are even lower than they are in Mother’s raid if you can believe that. Still, good to know that they didn’t forget about the old content.

Astra Weapons

The replacement for Austere is here! They’re not really much of a replacement…

collection_files

Alright I’m being a little unfair. They’re solid weapons, it’s just for something that was heralded as something to topple Austere I was just expecting something a bit more than a tiny bit of extra attack and PP regen. For those who’ve had Austere for months it’s an upgrade you’re barely going to even notice for most weapon classes. For those who haven’t and instead are wielding previous collection file gear such as Gix you might also feel a little underwhelmed. However, their potential is active at all times without stringent conditions that Gix weapons have.

Suppose I should actually say what the potential is:

  • 12% additional damage and 40% additional PP recovery on attack.

Their special ability factor is “Phase Recovery” which boosts PP recovered on attack by 5%, so you can put this on your Astra weapon to boost it up to 45%.

The files themselves are pretty generous enough, with a 250% booster meaning you’ll need  to attend something like 18 runs to get a 60% (assuming no cooldown time on the files). The rest of the file can be done in Riding Quests, which are fairly active again because of this. With a 250% booster on you’re looking at 4-5 kills for each boss. The alternative is to see if your target weapon drops from an enemy elsewhere, because it’ll also count towards your file progress is so. As far as I know, for Summoners the only option is the bosses specified. If you’re need Train Ghidorans I’d suggest going to Train Ghidoran’s Arks Quest.

Astra Units

They exist, I assure you. You just might not ever see one if the rates are anything like Invade Units.

Stats:

  • S-DEF – 233
  • R-Def – 230
  • T-Def – 236
  • S/R/T-Atk+20
  • All def attribute +2%(S/R/T and all element)
  • HP+60
  • PP+10

Pretty good, overall. They have a set bonus with the weapon and arm unit which grants 60 Dexterity. I don’t know why they bother with set effects that terrible, honestly. If you’re gonna drop Set Bonuses because you’re put off by the idea just drop them entirely don’t half-ass it.

Like the weapons, these can be recolored which is neat!

Ledran

ledran

The newest addition to Summoner’s ever-expanding selection of pets. This time though it’s a badass little dragon with moves reminiscent of Panzer Dragoon. Or maybe I’m justing seeing Panzer Dragoon in it because I want to, I don’t know. It has homing lasers!

I don’t really play Summoner enough to give an in-depth so I’ll only go over some factual stuff and the rest is kinda third-hand info.

Personalities

It has two personalities like all the other pets (with rare drop variants of course)

The first is a stacking buff where Ledran’s power increases with every kill by 0.8% / 1.0% / 1.2% / 1.4% / 2.0% up to a rather staggering maximum of a 50% boost. Whats more is according to rumours, this carries across to new areas. The effect is reset on swapping pets or getting into a vehicle however.

The second is a scaling buff which depends on the number of enemies near the pet. It’s 1% / 2% / 3% / 4% / 6% for 1-4 enemies, 2% / 4% / 6% / 8% / 12% for 5+. While weaker than the other personality in total, this one doesn’t require you to kill enemies to generate it. “Nearby” in this case means within its auto-attack range, which is fairly big.

Between the two I think I’d prefer the killcount one, but the other would be superior for raid boss quests where you don’t get the chance to kill anything. That’s just my gut feeling though, I’d need to play the class more to really judge because there might be nuances to either personality that I don’t understand.

Attacks

Ledran Laser

ledran_laser
It looks like a homing attack!

It has a homing laser attack which can be charged up. The longer you hold it, the more lasers will lock onto things. I believe it stacks up to 8 lasers, which all deal a moderate amount of damage each. It functions a little bit like Homing Emission in that it can lock on to targets that you can’t. While each individual hit isn’t much, it does charge fast so I feel like it’s an alright mobbing PA so far.

Ledran Slash

A simple melee slash attack which also returns the pet to the user. Helpful for ending its auto-attack but not much else.

Ledran Gravity

ledran_gravity

Creates a gravity well wherever the projectile lands. Similar sort of effect as Gravity Bomb but I think it persists for a bit longer.

Ledran Burst

ledran_burst

Like Ledran laser except it locks on to one target and charges up to 8 projectiles to launch at it. Unlike Laser, each hit is pretty strong making its overall damage fairly high. Useful for high HP single targets and bossing.

Ledran Mine

Not gotten to use this yet, but it places a mine on a target which when detonated by most other Photon Art creates a damaging area (it can’t be detonated by Ledran Slash). This mine works much the same as the Vol Graptor projectile, as in if Ledran is too close to the enemy (launching the projectile inside an enemy hitbox I believe) the mine will disappear even though it displays the hit effect.

This includes Ledran Gravity, so placing a mine then firing the gravity well results in enemies trapped inside the AoE. It’s also apparently fast enough that you can sneak one in before the homing lasers reach their target, allowing you to deal additional damage.

Consensus

Again, this is really third hand stuff but the general consensus I’m getting for Ledran is it’s an overall solid pet. It’s good at both bossing and mobbing (it’s likely inferior to Aero and Maron for bossing power, however), so for Summoner mains or alts this might be a good one to get. Though for a while it’ll be expensive to get one with a different personality than the Collection File offers.

PSO2 Station #3 Writeup

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Saturday saw the broadcast of the third PSO2 Station at an ungodly hour for UK folk. This time they went over some of the content coming up in January/February as well as unveiling the new long-term schedule which covers things up to early Summer.

For such a short broadcast compared to the old format there ended up being a lot of things to go over this time, including a large selection of quality-of-life changes, PVP stuff and some interesting new things on the horizon.. Brace yourselves, this one’s a big ‘un.

Arks New Year Carnival 2017 Part 1

Starting us off is a web-event in January. This comes complete with a Limited Quest set in Las Vegas that pits players against a wide selection of enemies, so your usual all-star quest. This time they’re throwing ESCA Darkers into the mix and Anga Fundarge can show up in it which is neat. I’m kind of curious if ESCA Darkers and Darkers would fight each other… The quest ends with a special titled Falz Dourumble.

2017 Weapon Badges

Right out of the gate we’re getting 2017 Badges. These can be exchanged for various items in Xie’s brand new shop (yep she’s back), which includes a weapon series named “Shin-Wafuu”. At first I thought they were yet another reskin of the old Sun God weapons but they are actually something new.

xieweapons.jpg

In terms of stats, historically Xie’s weapons have always been a bit underwhelming. The sword this time has 1192 S-Atk at +0 and comes with Freeze V, Ability III, Power III and Vinculum. So that’s 55 in affixes, bringing its actual S-Atk to 1137. This puts it at the same level as Invade Calibur… So yeah I suspect these weapons won’t be worth bothering with unless they have some decent Special Ability Factor. I can’t even suggest it for covering any gear gaps  because Astra weapon files will be out by then and the weapons don’t seem usable by multiple classes either.

I note she still offers Photon Boosters, Caligulas and Toranas at least. Caligula and Torana are also still 20 gold badges each, though Photon Booster seems to have come down to 30 gold. Not sure what the point is really as I doubt anyone will be after Austere weapons or units anymore.

Turret Buff

Seems Turrets are gonna get buffed as they teased about in the last stream. This seems to only affect the gatling-gun variant of turret and as far as i can tell the only real change is they increased the amount of damage it does. I can’t remember the current damage numbers right now, but it looks like they doubled it? I mean that’s nice for those classes that find dealing damage to Magatsu before the first knee break difficult to impossible, but I can’t really see the use for it anywhere else in the game.

Mag Stealth

You’ll be able to stealth your Mag by feeding it a stealth device. This will make your Mag invisible, as you might expect, but it will otherwise still function as normal. This is one of those things that I’m surprised took them this long to add, given how much of the game focuses on cosmetics.

Though I don’t know why it couldn’t be a UI fix instead of a Mag Device that will set you back 10 AC scratch items each time. This makes switching back and forth awkward or not even a choice at all for those who have an uncommon or unobtainable Mag skin…

Hide Sticker

Now you can choose to not have a sticker on your costume. This one surprises me even more than the Mag device!  Unlike that though, it seems this one will be added for free and you can just select it in the Este counter.

Is This Eaaasy Mode?

Story Quests will now have an Easy Mode added to them. I have no idea why because surely the Story Quests are easy enough as they are? Well, if you’re one of those people struggling to clear Story Quests I guess this is a good thing for you at least.

Critical Indicators

Just a simple change to make critical hits stand out more. Beyond the more striking color, they seem to take display priority over normal hits. This will be sorta handy for those doing damage tests I guess, otherwise the clearer feedback for landing crits might be welcome.

Boost Item Toggle

You will be able to set whether or not your boost items will be consumed during the current quest. This choice takes place at the drink counter and will be in effect the moment you choose a drink.

This is needed really, because I know there’s been times where I’ve chosen not to run content because I have boosters active. So it’ll be nice to have the additional flexibility in when and where I want my boosters to count down.

Cuisine in the Player Shops

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You’ll be able to list completed cuisines on your shop, which is great and all but unless the food involves rare ingredients it’s really just removing one step from what you can do already by just buying ingredients. As it costs Meseta to make them however, I wonder what degree of profit the market will settle on. Will there be a good reason to sell the cuisines rather than the individual ingredients?

Skill Rings

With gathering set to arrive in Skyscape and Seabed comes a new set of skill rings. So far 5 have been announced;

R/Panic Guard

Grants immunity to Panic at lv20.

R/Quick Mate

Grants access to Braver’s “Quick Mate” skill. Presumably stacks with Mate Lovers.

I feel like Mate Lovers is fast enough if your build needs fast-use healing items. Doubt this ring will see much uptake.

R/Another Rod Shoot Mode

Changes Rod Shoot to multiple slow moving projectiles that explode on contact

Guess the usefulness of this one depends on the function of the new projectiles. The main point of Rod Shoot is for PP recovery (though it can do some pretty alright damage) at a distance on command. The projectiles this ring replaces them with move very slowly in comparison, though if the PP recovery is counted for each one I imagine this will be a pretty nice way to recover PP quickly for point blank casting (such as spamming Ragrants into bosses).

L/Step JA Combo

Adds a Just-Attack circle to Step.

This seems like one that might go down well in the community and for decent reason; being able to just-attack out of a step is kind of a big boon. Just-Attacks make up for a lot of the damage you deal, afterall (even more if you’re a Hunter main or sub).

L/Just Reversal B

Adds a shockwave on successful Just Reversal that damages and potentially stuns enemies.

This is a really cool ring. I imagine the damage won’t be that great, but the chance to stun enemies could be that extra bit of crowd control you need to top your health up once you’re back on your feet.

Arks New Year Carnival Part 2

Mostly story stuff in this one with a look at Where’s the Chocolate 2016 for Valentines season. Not nearly as much to go over in this trailer in general.

Where’s the Chocolate 2017

You know the deal with this kinda quest by now. Seems this time we’ll be seeing Ultimate Amduscia enemies as well as the usual mix of dragons and Darkers. Interestingly unlike previous seasonal emergency quests this one seems to lack a point counter and instead has a boss E-Trial as the quest target. The target seems to be a special titled Drago Deadlion.

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Of course the new tradition is the seasonal Collection File! This Valentines you’ll be able to obtain a new 13* Wired Lance, Twin Dagger and Twin Machinegun. Also included are sheets for the 13* eggs of Viola and Synchro in case you missed out on those.

Roadmap Overview

Something new for PSO2 broadcasts is this general teaser for future content down the line. We get a bit of sneak peak at Solo Emergency Quests, 4-man “Multi Quests”, the Battle Arena and what I assume is the CG intro to Episode 4’s second and final raidboss.

Along with that, they posted the usual text form up:

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It reads:

Winter to Spring:

  • 4-Man Multi Quests (limited time)
  • Solo Emergency Quest (limited time)
  • PSO2 Anime Characters are back (yay…)
  • Union Weapon series in an Exchange Shop

Spring to early Summer 1:

  • Battle Lobby and Battle Arena
  • Gathering update
  • Franka’s Cafe seasonal change
  • PA and Tech customization update
  • New Bonus Quest
  • Nier Automate Collab
  • Class Level raised to 80

Spring to early Summer 2

  • Episode 4 chapter 8 (part 2)
  • New 12man Raidboss
  • Design Contest Scratch
  • PSU 10th Anniversary Part 3
  • New fashion feature?

So yeah I’m gonna comment on the major things I can here.

Union Weapon Series

They’re Ray weapons with a little bit stuck to them I guess.

unionseries.jpg

What is kind of curious though is they’re listed as an exchange item and not a Collection File one. Does this mean we’re not quite out of the stone age in PSO2 or is there going to be some entirely new exchange mechanic introduced with these?

To go along with those, it seems like there’ll be a matching upgrade to the Ray Unit set as well. Will these also be exchange items I wonder?

Solo Emergency Quests and 4-man Multi Quests

Well this is a surprise! Seems during January we’ll get to challenge Double and Profound Darkness 1v1 as well as take on various Ultimate enemies in a single party. I’d say that we’re finally seeing some content that isn’t intended for 12 players but unfortunately it seems like these quests will be temporary. I kind of hope we’ll be seeing more quests like this in the future though, because really I’ve despised for some time how it feels like every new thing that comes along requires 11 other people or you may as well not bother.

double_dragon
Somewhat interestingly the quest expects you to take on multiple bosses at once, which is often more than they expect for 12-man Ultimate Quests. Presumably they have less HP than their full MPA counterparts, though.

I should say I don’t hate 12-player content nor do I think its a bad idea for the devs to keep making it.

Speaking of which…

New Raidboss

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Due some time in Summer, Earth will be getting its third and presumably final raid. As Mother has perished (or has been absorbed, you can never fully tell with PSO2’s story) this would be Ardem’s doing. The trailer shows a continent materializing out of nowhere.

Given Episode 4’s mythology undertones I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be something like Atlantis (even though it’s clearly rising in the Pacific!) or The Garden of Eden or something. Whatever it is, it seems set to be the stage for Ardem’s forced evolution of humanity or whatever it is he wants to do.

Maybe there’s some story details I’m missing out on but er … why do the ARKS care about this situation? Mother was the one who wanted to go after the ARKS and she’s gone now so are we just being heroes for the sake of it? Maybe there’ll be an explanation between now and then I don’t know. For now we have a continent with no context and giant ether Cthulu tentacles sprouting out of the ground.

Level Cap Raise

Rasing level caps isn’t anything new for an MMO, but PSO2 I felt had designed itself into a corner with all the level-cap related stuff it’s added over time. Things like Excubes, Class Excubes and Skill Point orders beyond cap… these are things that become a bit more awkward with a higher level cap.

There’s also the problem of whether or not there’s any new content to warrant levelling up, but the same thing can be said for adding new tiers of gear and they’ve been adding new gear long after we got the lv75 cap. It could be they reached a point where it felt wrong to continue giving us new levels of content without also letting us level up. In the end it’s just a number.

In any case, new levels means more skill-points, which may also mean new skills to put those points in. They haven’t confirmed this (there’s nothing on the schedule for it at least) and there’s a few classes that probably could use the extra SP somewhere but there’s also a few that players may struggle to work out where to put them. I’m sure additional details will be revealed closer to release.

But yeah, this has been a long time coming hasn’t it! We got the lv75 cap sometime in November 2014 just to give a bit of perspective. So it’s only been two years…

Phantasy Star Universe Anniversary Part 3

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It’s on there! Looks like we’re getting the third and final part of the anniversary some time in the Summer.

This crossover event has gone on for some time now, considering it started in August this year. With the last part some time in the Summer this could bring the entire event to a span of about 8 months or so.

As for what they might do we can only speculate. There’s not even anything in the data to help with it as far as I know, so it really is anyone’s guess. It could be just costumes, weapons and partner cards (with some additional cutscenes like we had for Emilia) or it could be a Limited Quest like they did for PSO complete with a remade boss from PSU. I mean I know I’d kind of like to see one of the PSU bosses ported over, but that’s really just my love for PSU talking.

Episode 5

No mention of Episode 5! I think anyone following along with Episode 4 can tell that things are starting to wrap up, so it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see something regarding the next episode turning up. As it hasn’t, this indicates that we may he with Episode 4 longer than we were with previous episodes and it may not turn up until late Summer or later still.

For perspective, Episode 4 started on January 27th. If we assume “Early Summer” covers up til the end of June then the expansion seems like it’ll end up with a lifespan of at least 18 months (because I assume it wouldn’t hit in July unless there were some announcements between here and then).

So for the heck of it let’s compare:

  • Episode 1 released with the game of course: 4th July 2012
  • Episode 2 released 12th July 2013
  • Episode 3 released 27th August 2014
  • Episode 4 released 27th January 2016

So from that we can say:

  • Episode 1 lasted 12 months
  • Episode 2 lasted 13 months
  • Episode 3 lasted 17 months
  • Episode 4 lasts for at least 18 months going by the roadmap

So at the very least we can say that Episode 4 is looking to end up the longest lasting episode in the game so far. We can also say that they’re slowing down but there’s more going on here. I mean this doesn’t take into account the volume of content added with each episode or the amount of story there was (Episode 1 had more chapters than Episode 2 for example).

I guess for fun we could also project and guess how many episodes PSO2 will have in the end. Sakai once said that he intended the game to last for 10 years and it’s gonna be its 5th year once we get to the end of the current roadmap. That may be no coincidence; it could well be that Episode 5 will end up releasing on the 4th of July 2017 to mark PSO2’s 5th anniversary. It certainly would be thematically appropriate! But yeah how many episodes might we end up with by the time it’s time to take PSO2 out back and put a bullet in its head? Well seeing as they’re slowing down each episode and they have a total of 120 months to get through (60 by the 5th anniversary of course), let’s say 22 months of Episode 5 and  23 months of Episode 6 just to sorta resemble the pattern. By the time this theoretical Episode 6 is out, there’ll only be 15 months of  PSO2’s planned life left and by then we’ll have probably had PSO3 announced or something. So I reckon that’ll be it, I suspect Episode 6 is going to be their final one.

Now to be clear that’s just a bit of fun, I’m not making any serious predictions here. If you’re reading this from the future, let me know if I was right though.

In terms of potential plot points, well we still have the Profound Darkness to deal with which I don’t know if they could stretch that out over two years but you never know. Maybe we’ll end up spending another episode on Earth… :(

PEE VEE FUCKIN PEE

So yeah, chalk this up as another feature I never thought they’d actually add! To be fair, I had plenty of decent reasons as to why something like this wouldn’t work such as latency issues, the game’s wonky class balance, the fact players have 1000hp and are tuned to fight things with 100,000s of HP…

Anyway, I wanted to withhold comment about this since they announced it in the 2nd PSO2 Station because I knew they were going to talk a bit more about it. Irritatingly this is where my lack of Japanese really does hinder me as someone’s clearly explaining mechanics in the background. For now I’m going to have to put together something from my own observations and things I’ve seen mentioned in the community at large.

Class

In order to solve the issue of class imbalance every player is set to the same class in the Battle Arena. It functions much like Challenge Mode in that respect and much like the Challenger class you can use any weapon you find in the field.

In terms of passive abilities, it seems the PVP class has Summoner’s HP Restorate as you slowly recover HP over time.

It seems you recover PP very slowly in this mode too, but I do see it also recovers in bursts without the player seemingly doing anything. It looks like it might be tied to picking up Emblems.

Emblems

The main mechanic of a match seems to be emblem collection. While you can kill enemy players, obviously, it’s not actually the main objective of the match. There are friendly, enemy and neutral (rainbow) emblems, though their individual worth in a match is unknown. It’s assumed that enemy emblems are worth the most to your team. There’s also some kind of effect that can make a lot of emblems appear near your spawn point.

Emblem collection also seems to occasionally have some kind of detrimental effect on the enemy team. The effect shown was a massive stacking Injury debuff which lowered the players HP to something like Fighter’s Limit Break levels.

Weapons

Weapons can be “mined” from various locations, with a bunch of nodes at the spawn point and various nodes placed on the actual field. You can re-roll your weapon by mining a field node, but there’s some kind of cost for doing so. Observed weapons are Sword, Rod and Rifle. There seem to be different tiers, as there’s a regular Sword and a 4* Calibur.

How you actually get the higher tiers of weapons I’m not certain, as during the video the players seem to get them from field nodes and spawn nodes on occasion, but then get the lower tier weapons afterwards. Maybe it’s random?

All weapons have in-built photon arts. Observed are:

  • Sword: Nova Break and a variant of Rising Edge with a greatly extended blade
  • Rifle: Piercing Shell, One Point
  • Rod: Megid, Foie, Zonde
  • You can also run in unarmed if you like but you probably shouldn’t!

Each weapon only has one photon art.

Additionally it seems the weapons do boost your other stats, as Sword users appeared to gain 100 HP or so.

Thoughts

So yeah, making everyone the same class and giving them equal access to all the same gear was one of the only ways they could really make things fair in a game like this. Letting people bring their own class and gear introduces so many variables that I’m not sure you could ever get anything resembling balance with PSO2 having been engineered the way it has been.

I’m also on board with their decision to make it objective based rather than about player duels. Player dueling is at least a small part of the mode however and in that respect I actually think that damage is a little too high still. It’s not really a fight if it’s over in one attack which it seemed to be most of the time in the demo video.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the randomness from a competitive point of view but from a “mode to fuck around in when bored” sense it’s perfect. Like to me, this whole thing comes across as a mode intentionally designed to be not taken seriously, which is for the best as I doubt PSCrew are capable of making something competitive with all the tweaking and balancing that requires.  But really if PSO2 has to have a PVP mode something that’s there just for shits and giggles is pretty acceptable to me.

They haven’t said if there are any items you can earn by playing this mode yet. I kinda hope there aren’t, mostly because I want this to remain a completely optional mini-game rather than something you’re expected to do. I mean, if the mode turns out to be fun then I guess it doesn’t really matter either way but otherwise if there was to be some progression tied to PVP I’d want it to actually be competitive. Competitive PVP is something I just don’t think is ever going to be viable in a game like PSO2 right now, because if nothing else it’s going to have netcode and latency issues that I don’t think PSCrew would ever be able to come up with good solutions for.  Even if they could for Japanese natives, anyone playing from outside would be at a major disadvantage.

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

xmasizane

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

Izane’s unit stats at +10 are:

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

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

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

Collection Files

This season offers a small but interesting selection of items.

Astral Blaze

astralblaze

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

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

Its Special Ability Factor is Modulator.

Fornis Ogend

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

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

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

Rose Skewer

rosetact

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

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

13* Maron Egg

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

Necky Collection Files

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Broadcast Catchup

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

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

Raid Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14* Weapons

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

Kasami Notachi

14katana

Additionally usable by Hunters.

Spread Needle

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

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

Eternal Psychodrive

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Usable by Techers.

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

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

Astra Weapons

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

It seems its potential may be as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End – For Now

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

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

 

1st PSO2 Station Writeup

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The first in the successor to the old PSO2 Broadcast aired earlier today. With it, they released a few new trailers and otherwise kind of dicked around doing a lot of nothing for 2 hours. Not sure I’m a huge fan of the new format, but if I’m honest the old one had a lot of the same faults too.

As usual, I’ll be going over the bits I found interesting or had any real thoughts on. The complete summary is on Bumped as per usual.

Trailers

November updates: Famitsu Cup

  • Necky in the lobby, with Client Orders and Exchange shop
  • Event specific gathering tools
  • Gravity Daze collab and various outfits.

Late November

  • Annette from PSO2es making her way to PSO2.
  • Vehicle lobby actions for casts.
  • Story stuff
  • Phantom Darkers
  • Various quality of life changes

Early November: Famitsu Cup Event

All-star Mining Base Defense

In a new twist to the event-specific all-star quest the enemies from far and wide will be being hurled at towers  This takes place on the first Mining Base Defense map; Invasion. This will be the main focus of the Famitsu Cup, though as will soon become apparent the event permeates quite a lot of the game’s content.

Nothing really new could be gleaned about this quest that wasn’t already known as far I can tell.

Exchange Shop:

Throughout this event, you’ll be collecting “Gavas Tickets” from various sources. They’re the currency that’s used in Necky’s exchange shop for a variety of items.

You can obtain Gavas Tickets by:

  • Clearing the special Mining Base quest
  • Clearing the Rideroid quest
  • By using Gathering nodes with Famitsu picks and fishing rods
    • Not sure if it was explained exactly how you get these tools, mind.
  • By playing certain content in PSO2es

FamicupExchange.jpg

Included is Necky’s costume as well as some Famitsu shirts (which are notably outer-wear) among other cosmetic items. Somewhat interestingly it also includes two 12* units; Rear / Heavenly Ring and Leg / Mini Nyau (not sure on the Kanji).

nyau_units.jpg

While that makes these the first 12* units obtainable via currency it does seem that much like the 11* units Xie supplied before their stats are awful. At least their base defensive stats, anyway. Their bonus stats are unknown as well as any set bonuses they may have.

Orbit collection files

For many, this is likely the really interesting stuff. With the Famitsu Cup we’ll see the addition of a large number of Orbit weapons. Sighted are:

  • Wired Lance
  • Partizan
  • Daggers
  • Double Saber
  • Katana
  • Assault Rifle
  • Jet Boots
  • Wand
  • Gunslash

A weapon for every class, pretty much! There are no collection sheets for the currently available Orbit weapons however.

orbit_files

It seems they come with Ability III, Vinculim, Spirita III and Mutation I. This means they have 45 attack in affixes. Judging by that then, Orbit Wired Lance has 977 S-atk at +0. This puts it behind Seiga Shield in terms of raw attack,  but the potential is slightly stronger in terms of a damage bonus. This makes these weapons fairly average although Orbits typically aren’t taken for their power in any case.

Their chief use is as a method for quickly refilling your PP bar, which can be useful for certain classes that have trouble regenerating PP or for those whose mechanics prevent the from doing so normally (such as Ranger with weak bullet loaded). Assuming they still have this latent, that means that for a lot of people they may be good just completing a single file once and being done with it. For a lot of people this may well be Orbit Gunslash, though Ranger may want to consider Orbit Rifle particularly if they never got themselves an Orbit Launcher. In fact, the Rifle may be decent enough to use an attacking weapon, though it will still be some way behind Gix in that regard.

Of course, there may be other reasons you might want to +35 these weapons. If you want to find out about that now, skip ahead to the “New Type Affixing” section.

Late November Content

Aside waifubait Annette joining the lobby with partner card and accessories, the 2nd Update trailer was a particularly interesting one with a lot of things to go over.

Phantom Darkers

They were data-mined a while back but they were finally revealed with the 2nd trailer. Phantom Lanz Vareda, Bonta Bearadda, Dagacha, Goldrahda and Decol Malluda. They’ll be arriving along with Episode 4 Chapter 6.

As well as appearing in the story mission, these Phantom Darkers seem set to appear on Earth fields in general.

In addition to looking different (Phantom Goldrahdas in particular!), it seems Phantom Darkers will also have unique moves. Phantom Bonta Bearadda for example appears to summon tiny versions of itself which it then commands to explode. Pretty nice to see that they’ve gone this far with them rather than just do a recolour (I know a certain someone who still hasn’t forgiven them for Caterdra’nsa).

Datamining does suggest there are other Phantom Darkers either waiting to be revealed or they may have been dropped. These include:

  • Dark Ragne
  • Vid Luda
  • Damoths
  • Pitta Wadda/Parata Picoda? (the one that shoots missiles, I never remember which is which)

As I say though, who knows if these will make it to release. Kinda want to see what Phantom Dark Ragne looks like…

Collection File Change

Collection files will now display a GET message instead of 100%. A minor interface improvement I guess, though I wish this meant you got the item at 100% instead of having to find an additional target enemy to kill, which can be irritating for certain kinds of targets.

Tekker Changes

 

bulk_appraisal

We’re finally getting bulk Tekking! A much needed quality of life change.

13star_icon

13* weapons will have a different icon while they’re unidentified, which should hopefully mitigate accidentally tekking them the wrong element while mass-tekking other items.

Now you might have noticed those prices. Don’t panic, those belong to a new feature known as “Advanced Item Appraisal”.

supertekker

While much more expensive than regular appraisal, it boosts your chances at getting better affixes and evidently may raise your chances at getting a high % element on the weapon.

Gathering on Hulkotron and Tunnels

We can finally go mining in the mine. No one cares abour Shironia.
But yes with new gathering spots comes new rings, so the important question is are they any good?

  • L / PB Homing
    • Delays the blades firing for a small amount of time, but they’ll home in on enemies after

Not sure if this ring will see much uptake as the main point of Photon Blade Fever is to spam blades as fast as possible to maximize your DPS. That delay is going to cause a significant drop in damage, even if it does mean the blades are more likely to hit.

  • L / Jumping Dodge
    • It makes you jump really high.

Kind of an interesting one. Could help the airborne classes get set up more easily as well as making certain bosses even more trivial to deal with (looking at you, Malmoth and Plosiorgles). There’s possibly some other gameplay altering effects this ring could have that I’m not considering (I wonder if it boosts the jump in the Magatsu fight?).

  • L / Slow Fi Action
    • Slows down the speed of Fighter weapon actions

I assume this will also extend the I-frames much like Slow Dive Roll does. Potentially powerful ring to aid in Fighter survivability (as if they didn’t have enough I-frames through Deadly Circle).

  • L / Near Auto Target
    • Pets automatically attack nearby enemies

Tired of having to press buttons as a Summoner? Worry no more! Get your normal-attack boosting Parfaits and you can just walk right on through stages.

  • L / Peace Zondeel
    • Prevents you from detonating Zondeel fields

Handy for those who wish to use lightning techs on enemies while retaining the suction effect of Zondeel.

Overall, a sorta interesting bunch of rings. The only one I can’t really think of a good use for is PB Homing but maybe I’m being short-sighted with it who knows.

New Type Affixing

This is an interesting change indeed. I’ll go over what I can gather from the trailer.

Essentially, getting a new-type weapon up to +35 will unlock a special ability on it. This ability can be transferred in the regular affixing process with a 100% chance of success. Now we don’t yet know all the nuances of this upcoming system but here’s what I can gather from just looking at it:

  • These are only available on +35 NT weapons.
    • Shown weapons are at least 11* rarity, but it may be available for weapons of all rarities…
  • The usual rules of affixing seem to apply. You’ll still need to have your fodder items with an equal or greater number of slots than your target item.
  • The target item’s own special affix counts towards the system, giving you a total of 6 potential high-end affixes you can slot at once.
  • Each weapon has its own unique ability.
    • Ray Sword gets Astral Soul at +35.
    • D-AIS Saber gets Spirita V at +35
    • The other weapons are unknown as the trailer skips through. Can’t even hazard a guess as there’s no guarantee they chose them in order and the affixes have shifted between the edit.
      • Coat Edge Ver2, DaisyChain NT, Sega Shield and  “幻創艦砲甲” (I can’t interpret this one) grant access to Power V, Stamina V, Alter Arma and Spirita Alpha.
  • While all are at 100%, presumably the same rules apply for up-slotting

So yeah, this mostly just seems like an incentive to grinding out collection sheets in order to obtain high grade affixes for the gear you actually want to use. Especially as you’d have to complete a collection sheet 6 times in order to +35 a weapon.

This doesn’t bode especially well for weapons that belong to collection sheets that expired, as their abilities will be difficult to out-right impossible to obtain. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the list of affixes turns out to be on the more common weapons, but at least a few of the abilities they teased for us are on this list (Ray, AIS weapons, Seiga). For me this only further rubs salt in the wound that is the temporary nature of collection files..

It’s interesting, but in many respects I kind of just wish they’d do away with the current affixing system entirely. It’s one of the most convoluted and un-fun upgrade systems I’ve ever seen, though thankfully due to stat inflation on weapons it’s much less necessary than it used to be.

At the very least, I won’t be bothering to affix my weapons in the meantime!

Heaven and Hell 2 (Not official name)

prepare_to_hug

So the promised “harder than Heaven and Hell” Extreme quest is heading our way with the late November update. There seems to be at least a couple of differences..

First is that it seems it’s only 1 pass per attempt instead of the 5 per attempt that the first one is. There’s no mention of a weekly limit either…

Second is that the enemy pool will be pulling mostly from Episode 4 enemies This includes Phantoms and the recently introduced Dragonkin Aberrations.

Observed floors:

  • 4 Emperappies
  • Falka Leopard, Falka Leone and Goronzoran
  • Hagito Phamut and various Phantoms
  • Drago Deadlion and Dragon Ex
  • Dourumble and Guar Zigmorde
  • Vegas Illusia and Laplace’s Demon
  • Devil Trailer and various Vegas Phantoms
  • 2 x Box Buvals and Zeta Guranz
  • Anga Fundarge (Beast mode)

It looks about as hectic as the first Heaven and Hell, which means it’ll likely favor classes built for durability over other things (or Fighters spamming Deadly Circle Type-0). That said, at least the lower entry fee and thus slightly lower risk factor might not put off the more fragile builds quite so much. Hopefully the floors are engineered in such a way that tactical decisions can make the floors less risky rather than it just being a case of throwing as many enemies at you they feel they can get away with.

Your prize this time, should you be lucky enough to earn it, is a material used to make a special Skill Ring which has a visual effect upon equipping it. There are no details whatsoever about what abilities this ring imparts.

Other than that, the quest demo didn’t seem to drop anything at all. I assume they’re keeping those secret for now, though I do wonder what they’d even potentially give out. It can’t be stones anymore, because they’re not utilized much at all in endgame gear now…

December Raid Boss

After what felt like enough teasing, we finally got to enjoy a  trailer for the next raid boss as promised. This time, we head to the moon to take on something strongly resembling a Dark Falz…

The first part involves chasing the boss in a stage resembling a Star Fox level while the 2nd part is the usual “fighting a space god on a see through disc” deal we’ve had since PSO.

The chase section is presumably the data-mined “DPP1 Chase” that had us so baffled from a week ago. Seem pretty arcade-y, with plenty of obstacles to avoid while you’re chasing the phantom around various parts of Mother Cluster’s moon base. Seem’s the boss itself has a bunch of orbs that you’re going to need to break. Beyond that, not a lot to tell from it. I find the Rideroid controls awkward, though presumably they’re a little different in this quest.

The second phase is a chaotic mess of blue and bloom (bluem?) but other than that seems like your standard Phantasy Star Falz-like boss. It reminds me of a kind of amalgamation between Dark Falz 3 from PSO and Orga Angelus from PSP2. In fact it does seem to take some pretty strong design cues from Dark Falz 3 in general…

We know from datamining its AI that tbe boss uses a number of attacks borrowed from Dark Falz Elder, Double, Apprentice and Loser, though it also boasts some of its own unique attacks. Unfortunately due to the quality of the video and how bright everything is I couldn’t really pick out anything in particular.

Aside the excessive brightness though looks pretty good! I gotta say its pretty cool how after all this time they can still produce content that genuinely surprises me. Unlike the Profound Darkness fight, this one seems like at least the first half will be completely unique and stand out against the other raid bosses. Of course we have no idea at all how difficult it will be, so I guess we’re gonna have to wait for the inevitable play-demo down the line where they deliberately fail the quest.

That’s all for this post. These are largely my thoughts and interpretations of what I’ve seen so I may be wrong about some things. Let me know if there’s anything particularly wrong, because I don’t want to misinform people.

Ultimate Amduscia: Thoughts and Tidbits

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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.

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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.