The Dark Falz Family

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Guess that could be the Profound Family too? This post is dedicated to everything Dark Falz so far!

As this post is going to contain story details this is likely to contain big spoilers. If you haven’t done the story and care about spoilers, don’t read this post! This also contains a good deal of my interpretation as well as observed interpretations of the story, so let me know if I’m way off base with anything! Details are fairly sketchy on some Dark Falzes…

Not helped that there isn’t a story wiki of any kind and as far as I’m aware the efforts to translate the story ended some time ago (Update: They are still going apparently, though at a very slow rate compared to the older days). That said, there is a Japanese site that has story dialogue here, though naturally it’s all in Japanese.

Dark Falz: Elder

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Also known as “Collosus”, Elder was the first full Dark Falz introduced into Phantasy Star Online 2. Elder was sealed in the Naberius Ruins area 40 years before the player character became an ARKS operative. During the events of Episode 1, a man named Gettemhart unsealed it and became its new host (seemingly unwillingly, at that). It is the head of all fish-type Darkers.

This is by far the largest of the Dark Falz introduced yet, being the size of a small planet at full power. The only way the ARKS can successfully fight him is to wear him down slowly by defeating many thousands of its fragments, known as “Dark Falz Arms”.  Despite its sheer size, when it erupts from Naberius the planet doesn’t seem to suffer any major effects.

Dark Falz Elder in its current form is rash, reveling in the thrill of battle and as such is eager to duel with any ARKS operative he deems worthy of his attention. He just really fucking loves fighting, it doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses. In fact, losing seems almost preferable to Elder as it meant he found a worthy adversary. Despite his status as a force of evil, Elder does seem somewhat honor-bound as he refuses to fight the ARKS while they’re tending to the wounded Shina and waits patiently for Zeno and the player to be ready to fight him.

Dark Falz: Apprentice

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Apprentice is technically the second Falz introduced in the story via the “End Cluster” cutscene. Apprentice was severely wounded in a battle with the second Claris around 10 years ago. In her dire state, she opportunistically made Yucretia, Affine’s sister, into her new host. While she was transferring into her new host however, she was devoured by Dark Falz: Double, rendering the process somewhat incomplete and arguably not a true Dark Falz as a result. She is the leader of all insect-type Darkers.

Notably, her hair has retained some of its original colour. This is unlike any character that has transformed into a Dark Falz shown so far. This presumably is due to her incomplete status.

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Nothing is known about Apprentice’s additional forms, though I believe it is implied that she does have a full body buried somewhere on planet Lilipa. It’s possible that it may be underneath the mining bases, but I don’t know where in the story this is confirmed. It would explain why she’s so focused on attacking the bases, however. Data recently discovered in the game client confirms she has a full form, at least. 

The current Apprentice is more cautious and strategic than Elder, preferring to plan an attack method rather than jumping into fights with the ARKS fists flying. In fact so far she has never directly challenged any ARKS to a fight in her current incarnation, where her past incarnation seemed more aggressive. Her summoning abilities seem to out-do any of the other Dark Falzes revealed so far, seeing as she is capable of summoning an entire army to do her bidding. This is all the more impressive when you consider that she’s been partially devoured by Dark Falz Double.

Dark Falz: Loser

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Otherwise known as “the vanquished” (and “dentist”). Dark Falz Loser is the end result of the ultimate ambition of a Photoner scientist by the name of Luther. Luther was combining Darkers with all sorts of things, including Dragonkin and even citizens on the ARKS ships. He was hoping to combine it with Xion, a world computer, in order to fuse it with himself and obtain omniscience. He essentially wanted to become a god as far as I could tell, but anything and everything that could go wrong for Luther did go wrong, except for his fusion with the Dark Falz he created. He was the leader of all bird Darkers.

Loser is extremely convinced of his own power. He considers himself god-like and has tremendous technique power as well as a degree of control over time itself to back up his claim. He seems to bear no camaraderie with any other Dark Falz. In fact, the other Falzes don’t consider Loser a true Falz at all. Also unlike the other Falzes, as the host Luther seems to be in total control.

After the ARKS find and defeat Loser in the center of the corrupted Mothership, Loser is executed by Regius with his unsealed Yonohate. His corpse is devoured by Dark Falz: Double, who thereafter gained the ability to create clones of Loser at will. Despite being killed, Luther somehow got better and is currently alive within Double’s inner universe. However, he is not eager to escape into the outside world, as Xion is now dead and he has lost his chance of gaining omniscience forever.

Dark Falz: Double

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The third Falz introduced during the “End Cluster” cutscene, this Falz is unique in that as the name suggests it is a pair of hosts instead of a singular one. Little is known about Double’s origins, although it is shown destroying a planet in an early cut-scene in Episode 3. It is the leader of all toy Darkers..

Double isn’t mentioned in the PSO2 timeline as far as I know, so there’s not much of a history to speak of. It behaves in a distinctly childlike manner however, doing a lot of what it does seemingly for fun and turning the things it encounters into toys until it gets bored of them. Currently, it considers the Kuronites of Harukotan its playthings and is the main antagonistic focus of Episode 3. Alarmingly for the other Falzes it won’t hesitate to turn other Dark Falzes into its toys if it gets the opportunity. It devoured Dark Falz: Loser after Reguis killed him and it also partially devoured Apprentice. It may or may not have also consumed Dark Falz Elder, we’ll see when the next story chapters are out.

While its actions may seem selfish and immature, it’s possible that Double may be the only Dark Falz that remembers its true purpose; the revival of the Profound Darkness. Elder exists only to fight, Apprentice being a shell of her former self isn’t really sure what her purpose is and Loser was solely in it for himself. In this sense, absorbing the other Dark Falzes is an essential part of reviving the Profound Darkness, as the other Falzes have forgotten their true purpose anyway. As such, defeating Double may be the only way to prevent the Profound Darkness from being reborn.

While this may be true, the other Dark Falzes aren’t willing meals for Double. On Lilipa, Dark Falz Elder challenged Double directly. Elder considers Double’s actions a betrayal, regardless of whether or not they may have been correct. During their fight, they teleport away. It isn’t known yet what the outcome of the fight was, however as Double seems to have gained some of Elder’s abilities it doesn’t bode well for Elder.

Dark Falz: Persona?

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A recurrent character in the storyline, Persona hounds the player initially with murderous intent. However, despite wearing the clothes of the other Falzes and having a lot of the same abilities as them, Persona is never directly referred to as a Dark Falz and is merely presumed to be one. Unlike the other Dark Falzes so far, Persona does not appear to be in charge nor is he ever shown to be able to summon Darkers. Though it is implied that he can influence Darkers when he was hunting for a fragment of the Clarissa in Episode 1.

Despite challenging the player on a frequent basis, Persona is arguably the weakest Dark Falz yet. Until recently Persona didn’t have any additional forms in the data nor was it implied to have any addiional forms. This may have changed with the last patch, adding in a reference to “DpAbyssChar ProtagonistEnemy enemy/en_dp_abyss_char.ice”. More on that in another section.

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At the battle between Claris and Apprentice 10 years ago, Persona is revealed to have the player character’s appearance. While it is strongly implied that Persona is actually the player character (possibly from a different timeline) it has yet to be fully confirmed this is the case as far as I know. Originally, Persona was out for the player’s life but lately they seem more interested in warning them about the Profound Darkness for whatever reason. Indeed, during the cutscene they attempt to kill Matoi even after they’ve begun turning into whatever it is Matoi is turning into. If she is turning into the Profound Darkness and the resurrection of it is their true goal, why did they try to kill her? Similarly, why did Persona protect her from Apprentice if the goal was to kill Matoi anyway?

Aside the player and possibly Xiao, Persona seems to be the only other character doing any time travelling. Apparently the player requires Xion or Xiao’s Matterboard technology in order to travel through time. If Persona is the player then they may still be in possession of their own Matterboard, presumably allowing them to travel through time as well. This is just speculation, of course.

Dark Falz: Abyss?

This is an as-yet unreleased and technically unrevealed Dark Falz. Although the player character was deemed “Code: Abyss” when they were marked an enemy of the ARKS by a mind-controlled Regius this is could be nothing but a coincidence. In that case, the “Abyss” was instead an “Avis” (絶対令), or an absolute order. At the time, the absolute order was to take down public enemy number 1, which was you!

What’s known about Abyss is entirely data-mined stuff for now. It has a human and full form in the data, making it a likely candidate for the next Dark Falz encounter beyond Double. That’s actually all that’s known for now, so the rest of this section is pure speculation.

Is Abyss the Profound Darkness?

I argue this as somewhat unlikely, as the enemy file’s internal name includes “dp”, which is used on all other Dark Falz. For those unaware, another translation of Dark Falz is “Dark Phallus”. Yes, get your giggles out of the way. Point is, the Profound Darkness is the source of Dark Falz but isn’t a Dark Falz itself.

Who is the host?

Judging by recently data-mined information, the indicatoin is that it is you. Or rather, Persona. This would mean that “Dark Falz: Abyss” and “Dark Falz: Persona” are in fact one and the same, but as this isn’t confirmed yet I felt it better to split them into their own sections. Before this latest data however it was presumed that the host would be Matoi under the assumption that Abyss is the Profound Darkness.

The Profound Darkness

The ultimate goal of the Falz family is to resurrect their creator, even if some of the Dark Falzes appear to have forgotten this goal. This entity is mentioned numerous times throughout the plot, finally being revealed to have apparently been an attempt by the Photoners to create an artificial world computer, an Akashic Record like Xion. Unfortunately, it absorbed negative emotions (as photons are fueled by emotions, I don’t know either) and it became the destructive force it’s now known as.

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It’s implied that Matoi, or the second Claris, is the current host of the Profound Darkness. During her transformation, Xiao remarks that the energy emanating from her is much worse than that of a Dark Falz. Beyond this, I believe there’s very little to speculate on about the Profound Darkness.

The Profound Darkness has been the main antagonising force behind almost the entire classic Phantasy Star series, with leaking fragments of it manifesting as Dark Falz in all of the games and finally showing itself during the events of Phantasy Star 4. PSO2 is the first online game in which the Profound Darkness may make a direct appearance (even if it was argued to be Amplam Umbra in PSO:Episode 3). Defeating the Profound Darkness in PS4 ended the 1000 year cycle, preventing any future Dark Falz from being generated. However, there is no known link between the classic series or the online series (though there has been plenty of speculation) so it’s likely that it’s a separate universe.

As we have another story chapter coming out soon it’s likely some of the information in this post will need to be updated. As said before, much of this is interpretation and speculation, as some of the facts haven’t even been acknowledged canonically. That said, if I’m wrong about anything let me know, preferably with reasons why. It’d be nice to nail down some of the looser information here.

More 2nd Briefing Information – Closed Beta 2?

4gamer posted up a few photos from the 2nd part of the presentation, which was not broadcast to the public.


New Miniboss: Tranmizer

A new enemy was revealed during the secretive presentation:

It has melee capability with something that looks like claws and I’m going to guess those rockets aren’t just for show. It spawns in an area that hasn’t really been revealed properly yet, but it is part of the newest planet, Lilipa.

As with other minibosses, you will end up fighting more than 1 at once if your party is over a certain size

Seems we’re going to have a fair selection of mini-bosses on release, assuming this underground content is going to be present. So far we have:

  • Rockbear – Naberius forest
  • Caterderan – Amduscia caves
  • De Malmoth (the emergency code has 0/2, minibosses spawn in pairs for groups of 4 players). – Naberius snowfields
  • Gwanada – Lilipa desert
  • Tranmizer – Lilipa unknown area (looks underground)

Of actual bosses, so far we have

  • Vol Dragon – Amduscia caves
  • Dark Ragne – Where-ever the fuck it pleases, but has an arena in Arks Ship – urban area.
  • Snow Panther/Banshee – Naberius snowfields.

Should note those are not the official area names outside of Forest and Desert. Datamining loosely implies there may be one more miniboss and boss


Another Closed Beta?

According to Bumped here, the staff are considering conducting another closed test. The purpose would apparently be to serve specifically as a stress test to ensure the stability issues during the first CBT have been fixed.

Now, this paragraph is pure speculation, but I don’t expect this 2nd CBT, if it happens, to last all that long. They do seem intent on making sure this game still comes out on schedule, after all, plus as they’re only interested in testing the servers under stress a shorter time window would potentially cause more people to log on in at once. I also expect that as they want as many people on as possible, that they’ll choose a weekend to do it. If the staff really feel like they could use another test, that’s perfectly fine. I’m sure people wouldn’t mind a more stable product and LET ME PLAY.

Rumour also has it that the data from the 2nd CBT, if it were to happen, would carry through to the Open Beta. Will have to wait on an official announcement about that to be sure. The data from the CBT will still definitely be wiped.


Weapons

Sakai and Kimura confirmed that double sabers and knuckles are weapons that will be added to the roster, as well as mentioning that more will be coming. In fact one of the NPCs in the story footage (namely, ゲッテムハルト) was in fact wielding knuckles.


I rather hope, given that weapon gears (a sort of charging ability that has various effects on Hunter weapons, depending on the weapon) now have to be unlocked through the skill tree, that free skill tree resets are handed out when they add said weapons.

Anyway so this is the weapon roster so far. Weapons that will be present on release are in bold. Weapons that are datamined but not confirmed weapons are in italics:

  • Sword
  • Wired Lance
  • Double Saber
  • Knuckles
  • Twin Daggers
  • Gunslash
  • Rifle
  • Launcher
  • Twin Machine Guns
  • Rod
  • Wand
  • Talis

[Sources: 4Gamer, Bumped, PSO-World]

Part 2 of the Closed Beta Test Features

Sakai updated the official blog today with further details on the closed beta.

This time he’s focusing largely on the story elements of the game, which were entirely absent in the alpha tests. Although I seem to recall Sakai saying before that in the alpha we would see a prologue movie before getting to create our characters. This of course never materialised during the actual tests, but it will apparently be present in this test however.

So where does adventure begin for the young Arkstards? Well the first planet you will visit will unsurprisingly be Naberius, in particular in the forest area.


Characters

The first person your newbie Arks will meet will be Alfin, who is clearly a female newman with a flat chest.

After meeting your training buddy you’ll be sent of to Naberius where you’ll start your adventures. You will be having to get rid of the Darkers, while also killing everything else that breathes.

You and Alfin are mere noobs in the ranks of the Arks. More senior members are introduced as well, namely Echo and Zeno. Voiced by Yōko Hikasa and Ryōhei Kimura, respectively.

All my friends are fake. :(

Assuming you meet the requirements, you will also be able to aquire a story NPC’s Arks Card and invite them to your party any time you wish.  This is of course, precisely the same as in PSU. I would advise for the sake of your reputation that you don’t attempt to strike up conversations with your NPCs..

And then there’s the mysterious Zion. She’s mysterious, you know. She mysteriously hands you the matter board which itself is mysterious. She also mysteriously sounds like a man.


So What is the Matter Board?

What is board? No matter. What is matter? Never board. HEHEHEHEHEHEHHEH

The matter board seems to be the mechanism to progress the story with. Each “node” on the matter board has a set of requirements that the player must satisfy in order to unlock. These conditions can vary from aquiring certain items to interacting with specific NPCs.

You can enjoy the entire story free of charge, however it won’t be all be out on release. The story will be released in parts, much like it was for PSU. Hopefully not too drip-fed, but not unexpected.


Tutorial

A tutorial mode will be included to help explain to new players what’s what. An NPC by the name of Hilde will walk your sorry newbie ass through the basics of the game. There’s really not a lot else to say about this, if you’ve played video games in the last 10 years you’ll know what a tutorial is.

Client Orders

Yes this is a thing that was introduced in Phantasy Star Portable 2. Essentially NPCs would give you a task of some kind, that largely resembles a generic quest in other MMOs. So NPCs might ask you to go kill 10 of a specific monster, or collect certain items for them. Something a bit extra to do while exterminating all life on each world.


That’s all!

Seems they’re going full steam ahead with the intent to drip feed content over time. I hope they’re careful about it, because it was something that definitely soured people’s opinions on Phantasy Star Universe. I’d say they should be fine as long as we have a decent amount of content to start off with on launch, however given the time frame before release (early summer) and how much of it seems complete at the moment I don’t there is going to be a whole lot. I rather hope I’m wrong, because it was a part of the reason the launch of PSU was such a disaster.

Seems there might not be any future posts about the closed beta features now. The rest we’re gonna have to wait til we get our own hands on them. If you haven’t registered for the Closed Beta Tests then you still have 12 days to do so.

Speaking of which, the character creation demo is scheduled for release tonight, somewhere in the region of 5 to 11 hours from me publishing this post. Or so they say.. Scratch that, Bonkohara tweeted to say that the creator will not be released tonight afterall. Tonight of course being Japan’s tonight, so for others in the world there is a chance that it will end up releasing some time during the night still. Later than expected!

PSO2 Setting

So Satoshi Sakai made a blog post detailing the setting of PSO2 as well as explaining some other bits. You can read a fully translated version on Bumped.org here.

So where is Phantasy Star Online 2 set?

In the Gurhal system? No, you’re dumb.

On Ragol? No, a bit less dumb though given the title of the game..

On Algo- yeah not gonna go through the list.

Have you guessed what it is, yet?

The answer is space. Yes. Space. As it turns out, the Oracle, that great big tree like spaceship, consists of a fleet of ships that travel to many planets. Now, given that they seemed to struggle to come up with enough content to cover just 3 planets in Phantasy Star Uiverse, I’m not going hold up my hopes that they’ll create meaningful content for what could be a considerably larger number of worlds. On the other hand, a setup like this allows them to basically add whatever worlds they feel like, keeping things very open for future expansions. It’s also somewhat fitting, seeing as we’re also going back to an explorer theme as opposed to what we had in Phantasy Star Universe, where all 3 worlds were already well explored before the player arrived.

Your arch enemies this time are the “Darkers”. Same old. Although they appear to be life forms all their own rather than corrupted life forms, but corruption as a theme is bound to be in there somewhere.

Oh, yeah, that giant-tree ship? You’re not allowed on it. It is a holy place or something. You’re too filthy. You filthy bastard. Instead, as a member of the Arks you will live on the Arks Ship.

See that? You're not allowed there.

Oh yeah and the planet full of green that you saw is called planet Naberius. Data mining, or cheating depending on who you ask, revealed 7 more planets. But hey, given the setting of the game they could add more without any explanation necessary.

Knife goes in...

Naberius has these cute little things on it, called Nav Rappies. I don’t know about you but I cant wait to slice them up and use their bodyparts to make new weapons.