Ultimate Amduscia: Thoughts and Tidbits

deaddeadlion.jpg

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.

archer_room.jpg
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.

TGS Day 4 Trailer Analysis

ash_and_friends_hanging_out

The 4th day of TGS saw the reveal of a couple of new trailers for content coming up in October. I’ll be going over the bits I’ve got any thoughts on. The complete summarized rundown is on Bumped as always. Despite there being only two trailers (of the main things, anyway) there’s quite a lot to go through.

The Trailers


Just including the main two  trailer that will form the bulk of this post in this section. There’s a third more minor one I’ll go over at the end.

Early October Update:

Late October Update:

PA/Tech Customizations


While only the usual handful they add in these kinds of updates I think they’re an interesting handful in my opinion.

Sacrifice Bite Type Zero:

Speeds up the photon art and strengthens normal attacks. It seems like normal attacks gain an extended photon blade during the attack animation, though it’s hard to tell from the demo if this actually increases range or if it’s just for show. It would have been nice if the demo had used it on an enemy that didn’t have super-armor frames on to see how the full charge looks now.

expand_sword

If it does significantly increase normal attack range, then this is a good buff for swords in general as their normal attacks always had plenty of power but surprisingly small reach for how large the weapon is. This would also greatly help with the PP issues that sword can have, as you should more reliably tag enemies for PP recovery as long as the buff is up.

Straight Charge Type Zero:

Hold down the button to go sailing through enemies. It drains PP as you’re channeling it, so it’ll possibly last as long as your PP does. It’s one of those silly looking customizations that I can’t help but like.

Strike Gust Type Zero:

Kick up and up and up and up. Holding the button down extends the length of the rising part of the attack, which could be very irritating for other party members.

Parallel Slide Type Zero

Finally you can be like Giliam in the original PSO2 OP movie. Aside that, having a controllable high-mobility PA on Rifles might be interesting. Might look a bit derpy on non-cast characters, mind.

Sharp Bomber Type Zero

No longer launches you backwards and greatly increases its power when charged. Bullet Bows are still lacking in good AoE attacks, so this should be a welcome addition for those specializing in them.

Safoie Type Zero

Moves you towards the target before casting and is more powerful when charged. That’s about it, not a hugely interesting customization on the surface of it. However, it may be useful for melee-Techers as a gap-closing skill as presumably the gap-closing part won’t require you to charge the PA. If it does then it’s a bit less useful for that.

Ramegid Type Zero

Surrounds you with dark orbs which deal pulsing damage to enemies on contact. Could be a interesting addition to a melee Techer’s arsenal, though it depends on how long the orbs persist for. The orbs do flinch enemies, so it may also be a handy protective barrier against trash mobs for all casting types.

I think Ramegid and Sacrifice Bite got the most interesting changes, because both of them will potentially have a large impact on game-play. It’ll be more clear when these are released and we can experiment with them.

New Skills: Summoner Quality of Life.


Summoner will be gaining two new skills; Share Assist and Long Distance Love (daww).

Share Assist appears to allow support effects to transfer between pets when you swap pets or weapons. Not sure how big an issue this was for Summoners, but it may mean you won’t have to re-cast support techs as much.

Long Distance Love is probably the most major one, as it allows you to initiate Pet Sympathy without having to recall your pet to you to get it inside Shifta/Resta range.

new_pet_ui

Another major quality of life fix is your pet’s HP and status effects will display on the palette. I’m not sure why this wasn’t a feature from the beginning, as you’d think this is the kind of thing that’d come up during play-testing. It’s great that they’re finally implementing it, but all the same it’s baffling that it took them this long to do it.

I’m not sure if this is the “Skill re-balance” they were hinting towards on the long term schedule, but if it is I’m kind of disappointed. Not because these are bad changes because Summoner needed some help and I like what they’ve proposed. It’s just the name indicates that there’d be changes to most if not all classes, not just the one. We’ll see I guess.

Evolved Summoner Pets


The three basic pets; Wanda, Torim and Ceri will be gaining upgraded versions of themselves.

jinga
Jinga, the upgraded Wanda. It appears to gain a zig-zag motion, possibly extending the width of its dashing attack.
aero
Aero, the upgraded Torim. Aero Spiral seems to have a larger range than Torim Spiral.
popru
Popple, the upgraded Ceri. Popple-plode seems to have a larger radius than Ceri-plode.

Beyond that, it’s not really known how these pets are superior to the old versions. I’m not sure if you can just consume the upgraded egg or if you have to feed it to the base version to “evolve” it. However the demo shows them using a 7* Jinga egg to upgrade a 6* wanda, so it may have similar restrictions to the pet-ability swap/rarity upgrade mechanic. That is to say; you may need an egg of equal or greater rarity. If this is true, it’s going to be awkward to upgrade any 13* pets you currently have.

Skill Ring Update


 

There’s a couple of parts to this; one is the addition of 4 new rings to go with the addition of Caves and Tundra as gathering spots. Gonna go over the new rings here, with descriptions sourced from Bumped’s post:

L/Jet Boots Tech Arts SC

  • Reduces charge times when you combo from a PA to a Technic.

I can’t see this being terribly useful for BoHu or really in general. Seems like a waste of space, but maybe Jet Boot mains can correct me on this.

L / Air Reversal

  • Allows you to perform an air reversal in the air.

This could be really useful. While Just Reversal is trivial enough with practice, its main weakness is it leaves you vulnerable to being juggled to death. This ring should prevent that, by turning a knock-back into i-frames, which mechanically should greatly increase your survivability as long as you’re paying attention.

L / Slow Dive Roll

  • Extends the duration by slowing the Dive Roll speed.

I’m not sure of the use of this ring, unless it’s just to extend the i-frames on Dive Roll. Lord knows Dive Roll needs all the help it can get…

L / Step Jump

  • Increases movement speed if you jump during the [Step] action.

The video demonstration shows it’s a fairly large increase in movement speed. Could this be the return of step-jump for faster movement over long distances? Hopefully not, but the increase in melee mobility is always welcome  It’d be a fair boon if this ring allowed you go skip straight to maximum running speed upon landing, mind! Unfortunately the demo doesn’t show this either way.

Ring Selling/Trading

skill_ring_selling.jpg

The other side of this is you can buy and sell skill rings, which is interesting. I’m not sure what kind of restrictions might be put in place on them, if any. This could work out great for players who are willing to spend the extra time gathering for profit and for those players who just plain don’t want to gather. Given the cost of creating and upgrading rings however, it remains to be seen what kind of profit margin people might be able to make with this.

To The Moon! -Story Board Chapter 5


moon_baseRejoice, those who despise Episode 4 for going to Earth because we’re heading back to something resembling the science fiction setting again. The next chapter of the story quest is set on a moon base, where Hitsugi is currently being held captive. Battle your way past Mother Cluster apostles such as Phul and Och, possibly Kohri based on the data-mining and who knows who else!

The moon base itself doesn’t seem like a terribly complicated map, given it’s just a straight corridor. That said, I guess it’s reasonable for a field that’s only going to be available in a story quest. The background music incorporates Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

hi_mom
The quest will see Mother’s face finally revealed. I’m surprised they showed it in a teaser trailer really, as I’d figure this kind of thing would be better saved for the actual quest itself. Still, it does confirm that data-mining was right about her appearance at least. She also doesn’t seem terribly perturbed that her sworn enemies are bashing her door down…

Later on in the month, additional story board events will be added including a fight between Huey and Phaleg and finally re-uniting with Matoi.

This reminds me, I am actually considering doing story summary posts now thanks to story translation efforts by multiple people. More details on that when the time comes.

Ultimate Amduscia: New Info


The second trailer showed some new bits about Ultimate Amduscia.

Quest Teleporter.

Boooo. The inclusion of a teleporter is bad news in my opinion, because with it the quest will likely never get started once interest wanes over time. Initially it won’t be a problem because people will be running them a lot, but let’s see if that’s still the case 3 months down the line.

Presumably they felt the need to include this because they wanted to prevent the return of Anga farming. By syncing up all the players at the start, you can put Anga at the end of the quest, making sure you can’t just shortcut your way to it. The downside however will be you can’t join the quest once its begun, nor can anyone join you after you begin it. The result is if your MPA isn’t full you get to sit there and wait, which is something you don’t suffer from for the other Ultimate Quests. Good luck getting randoms to agree to go in with lower numbers! Anyone who’s had issues getting Riding Quests, Challenge Quests or the recent Odin Limited Quest started should know what I’m worried about.

The Quest Itself

It looks like it might be a fixed-layout quest, which I don’t mind. It does run counter to the spirit of the other Ultimate Quests however which functioned more like free fields and it may have the unfortunate effect of making the quest much more repetitive. However, a fixed layout does give them the potential to engineer more interesting encounters than a random number generator could create, so I’m interested to see how it all works out. Curiously, if you follow the trailer you’ll note that they’re at varying point totals at different parts of the map between obviously different runs. Maybe the route through the quest is randomized even if the map isn’t?

lightning_weakness
The main enemies are weak to lightning element. 

Much like the other Ultimate Quests, you’ll need to amass around 2000 points to clear. It seems the encounters during the quest are randomized enough, though the demo seems to show that a boss encounter happens in the same place (the center of the map) with Deadlion, Gilzoras Drago and the new Anga Fundarge. These all seem to occur around the 1200 point mark. It may pick a random boss to have as the final encounter in the quest if defeating it earns the rest of the points, which should be OK. I don’t think we’ll be in danger of people abandoning the quest if Anga doesn’t spawn as long as the collection files are relevant or their drops are decent.

New Gear

Speaking of drops, this is no doubt what a lot of people were most eager to find out. What kind of gear can we get?

As was expected , the quest will come with a new collection file with which you can obtain the “Gicks” series of weapons. Though along with these, apparently other 13* weapons will also drop from the quest.

gicks_sword_file

Gicks Sword comes with a rather impressive 1333 attack, though it’s unknown exactly how much of that is made up by affixes. If we assume that Deadlion Soul comes with the standard +35 S-atk then its +50 attack with Ability 3, bringing it down to an estimated 1283 attack which is still huge. Austere Calibur in comparison has 1161 S-atk at +0, so its looking like these will be making the Austere series obsolete if they come with a solid potential.

12* Units

After many years of 11* units, we’re finally making the transition to 12*. It appears that there’ll only be 1 complete set and a bunch of boss parts for others. While their stats are unknown, the blue-wing unit appears to start with 225 S-Def which puts it on par with the Tagami units if so. This potentially makes Saiki and Austere units superior for defense in terms of raw stats, but of course we don’t know what set bonuses they may come with or what inherent bonuses they may have. What we do know if that even if they’re statistically weaker they come with one very important mechanic that makes them blow all 11* units out of the water; you can slot L / skill rings into them.

ring_slotting

Take one ring, 100,000 Meseta and 1 Lambda Grinder to fuse a ring with your unit. Once you fuse the ring, the ring is consumed and you won’t be able to get it back. Note that this only works with Left rings and it will also bind the unit to you.

This is a game-changer in terms of the builds that people could go with, as it allows you to essentially equip up to 4 left rings at once! The big issue is going to be that you’ll need to do an additional upgrade step every time they release a new unit set now, which will be irritating as you’ll have to re-gather and grind up a new ring each time. Though I guess the ability to buy and sell rings may help in that regard…

As an aside, the blue units appear to be Ray units. They’re similar to Ray weapons in appearance and have “ray” in their names. As far as I know it isn’t confirmed if they’ll have a set bonus with Ray weapons, but even if they do the presence of the Gicks series may topple the urge to wear them together…

Phantasy Star Universe Part 2


 

Alright, there’s one more trailer to go over quickly! The 2nd part of the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary crossover thingamajig was revealed.

This time, the focus is on the Phantasy Star Portable games mostly, also featuring a shirtless Howzer because why not. Shirtless Howzer is kinda awesome to be honest, he reminds me a bit of Liquid Ocelot  You’ll be able to get Helga, Vivienne and Emilia costumes and accessories. Howzer and Helga’s costumes will be layered wear.

This time, the lobby NPCs will be Emilia and Vivienne. They’ll come with the usual Client Orders, obtainable Partner Cards and  obtainable 13* weapons, with Clarita Visas NT and Vivienne. Both weapons will have editable photon colours.

emilia_and_vivi

What’s new and fairly interesting about this pair is that they both seem to come with their own fully voiced cutscenes. I’m not sure if these will be special story board events or what triggers them. I’m interested to see what they have to say, mind, though I’m not expecting them to do something silly like trying to make a canonical link between PSU and PSO2…

Anyway, looks like that’ll be all for the Phantasy Star Universe anniversary. Kind of a shame we didn’t see anything Laia turn up but that’s how it goes. I originally thought there were going to be three parts based on the fact that we had three major characters on the promotional artwork, but there’s nothing on the schedule for it. Kind of a blow for fans of the Guardians Formal outfit.

That’s finally all I have to write about! Long post, but there was a lot of stuff they revealed on the 4th day of the TGS. As far as I know there’s nothing else to announce, but i could be wrong. Let me know in the comments if I got anything wrong or if you have any observations of your own you’d like to add. Thanks for reading!