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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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.

PSO2 Station 6 Writeup

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It’s that time again! The 6th PSO2 Station went out earlier and it introduced a bunch of new trailers and some things to discuss. This time around we have new PVP features, Easter 2017, a glimpse of the new raid-boss Deus Esca Zephyros and the final part of the PSU celebration.

Also, say “エピソード4いよいよ完結” in-game before the 29th to get yourself a bunch of voice tickets!

Trailers

Easter 2017. Includes the Easter lobby, weapon and costume design contest winners (including Sadinian Suit for you wannabe Argonians out there) and the final chapter of Episode 4. Curiously does not include any Easter Seasonal quest…

A lot of stuff in this next one. Battle arena update, including new weapons and a skill system. Also a mini Rappy suit, the return of Annette and Jean (with Bruno as a new arrival), new Timed Abilities, Fashion catalogue system, furry themed costumes and the new Raid Boss.

For the final part of the Phantasy Star Universe celebration: Laia, Lumia and Beast face.

So yeah, a few bits to go through. I’ll only go over the stuff I personally feel is interesting to talk about, but as always you can find a full recap over at Bumped.


Battle Arena Update

So the update introduces 3 new weapons and an expansion to the system in the form of skills. So yeah, the mode has barely been out and they’re already adding a brand new system to it…

Yeah I know, that sounds like the most pointless whine and it probably is but I feel like for something competitive like this introducing something that can completely shatter the meta so soon after releasing it just feels wrong to me. That said, the mode as it stands does lack depth, so perhaps the addition of the skill system will go some way to address this… maybe. It’s just it feels like rather than this being an update it instead comes across as they released the mode before it was properly finished and are only now rolling out the rest of the features they wanted for it. Maybe I’m overthinking this, though.

New Weapons

The new weapons this time are Bullet Bow and Jet Boots.

PVPbulletbow

Bullet Bows come with Last Nemesis, which is an attack that takes a very long time to charge but hits very hard when it fires. It also has considerable rage in PvE but it remains to be seen how much of that is kept for the PvP version.

I can’t imagine Last Nemesis really successfully hitting many people in battles unless they’re distracted, because the charge time is so long and well telegraphed that outside of corridors people are going to have plenty of opportunity to either head for cover or attack you while it’s charging up. even in a corridor situation, a Sword user could block it and if the latency is low enough it should be trivial to time your i-frames around the fire time.

That said, one thing to remember about Bullet Bows is their normal attack damage is actually quite high. This makes them a potentially powerful ranged attack which doesn’t even require PP to utilize.

PVPJetboots

Jet Boots are going to be a pretty interesting addition as well. They retain their ability to double-jump, making these the most mobile weapons in the mode so far. It also lets you attack from angles that other weapons currently can’t by allowing you to jump up to areas that are otherwise tricky to access. Effectively they’re gonna be the Genji of this game if that makes any sense to you.

Jetboots come with two Photon Arts: Gran Wave and Strike Gust.

Gran Wave retains its ability to home in on players, though the demo footage suggests it might be tricky to actually land it on people. It could be the demo player was bad at using it but it just seems like it can whiff pretty easily. It also retains its shift action though, which is an absurdly long period of i-frames. This could let you zoom in for an attack then try to use your i-frames to escape. It does not retain its ability to cast Deband, however which would be pretty ridiculous if it could.

Strike Gust shift-action seems like it’s a hard hitter, though it has much smaller range than the likes of Nova Break or Rising Edge. I could maybe see it being used to get a surprise attack from above, but other than that I feel like this PA would be too easy to miss with and might leave you too vulnerable. It does not retain its Shifta effect.

So yeah, the pair of weapons seem like they’ll be interesting additions to the mode at least. Bullet Bows will grant a back-line sniper role that may be more effective than current sniping options and Jetboots seem to suit a more assassin type of playstyle. These are my thoughts of course, it’s hard to tell exactly where these weapons will fit into the meta until people have had the chance to try them.

One downside I can think of is there will be a bigger pool of items that are going to be randomly assigned when you use one of the weapon nodes. This means you’re going to be less likely to get the weapons you want or the ones your team needs than you are currently. This problem will only get worse if they add more weapon in the future (and datamining does suggest there are more to come, including Katana and Launcher if I recall correctly)

PVP Skill System

Either at the start of a Battle or whenever you respawn (it’s not exactly clear) you’ll get the choice between 3 different skills to take. These 3 are randomly chosen out of a pool of 5 different skills, because the game mode needed yet more randomness.

Once you pick a skill, it gets added to your action bar and you can use it a certain number of times. There seems to be no apparent cool-down on these skills.

Protection 

Massively reduces the amount of damage you take for a period of time.

It’s essentially an on-command use of the spawn-room buff you get whenever you re-spawn. It looks like it reduces damage by around 90% which is pretty crazy as it’d allow you to pretty much tank any attack the game currently has including Rising Edge. Might allow Sword users to jump into a pile of enemies without fear to help break a bunkered team in the rainbow emblem spawn area perhaps.

Sprint

Increases your movement speed for a short time.

Straightforward ability. The demo footage uses it to get behind enemy lines quickly which is what I imagine the main use of this skill would end up being. It could also be used as an escape tool, though it might not work that well if the enemy is using ranged attacks (or you’re lagging…). Seems to be a pretty minor buff to movement speed, so I don’t know I’m honestly not sure this skill would have much of an impact generally.

Stun Shot

Fires a fast moving projectile that inflicts a short duration stun on enemies.

If you want to make PVP an un-fun experience a surefire way to do it is to add crowd-control abilities. Stunning a player successfully pretty much turns it into a guaranteed kill if you have a followup attack to use with it. Combine this with lag and this either has the potential to become one of the most frustrating abilities in the mode or one of the most unreliable. It depends on how it interacts with lag, really.

PP Unlimited

Massively reduces the PP consumed by Techs and PAs

I feel like the application of this skill should be obvious. The ability to spam your PA without consequence is kind of major.

Cure

Recovers HP and cures status effects

Effectively quadruples your HP pool. This could be potentially nasty if combined with the relatively high HP that sword grants but naturally the ability to self-heal is a powerful addition to any weapon type.

Thoughts

I have serious concerns about this system for the health of the mode. Now, my concerns in the past have proven needless before (I will never forget my post on Bouncers..) but I honestly think these skills in general will make the mode more frustrating than it is now.

Now you may rightly point out that other PVP games have skills just like this, what’s the issue? I argue the issue lies in the fact that anyone could have any skill. In other PVP games you can tell either by their class or by the character the enemy is using what skills they’re likely to have at their disposal. So you can potentially bait out dangerous skills or anticipate abilities that might be dangerous to you and decide whether you can countermeasure them or just choose not to engage because you’ll likely lose if you do. You can do that in PvP at the moment because you can see the enemy’s weapon which gives you some idea of how you could go about fighting them. Do they have a Sword? If you have One Point it’s not a wise idea to engage unless there’s considerable distance or they’re distracted. Do you have Piercing Shell? You can greatly cripple their survivability! You can make these kinds of decisions when you have some idea of what abilities the enemy is going to have; you can’t with the skill system because it’s completely random.

It’s also an additional level of RNG at the spawn. What happens if one team ends up with a majority of a skill that the other team rolled no effective counters to? For example, the enemies get majority Cure and none of yours do? One team is likely to utterly stomp the other! This could be a real issue as winning a fight early gives you control over the Rainbow Emblem spawning area, which can be very difficult for the losing team to take back. .

I’m not even going to go into the issues that lag could create with these skills…

But as I said, I’m not sure if these skills are assigned at the start of a match only or if they’re rolled every time you die. It’s also probably not going to be as bad as I suggest it is, honestly.

New Battle Coin Items

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You can obtain the new Jet Boots and Bullet Bow as weapon camos. You can also obtain Rappy Suit Mini for the princely sum of 100,000 coins!

I should note that being smaller doesn’t reduce the size of your hitbox in this game, however it might make you harder to spot…

All of this will be arriving late April.


Phantasy Star Universe Part 3

So yeah, data-mining was right about Laia and Lumia joining us in the final part of this event. Laia arrives sporting Guardians Formal and wielding her signature weapon “Laia Axe”, which turned out to be a Partizan. Lumia meanwhile is sporting the Guardians Uniform F and is wielding her rod the Viedima, which is a low-tier rod made by GRM (a weapons company in Phantasy Star Universe).

So in the end it seems they decided to create a new face model type for Laia. I was curious how they were gonna handle her beastly features. I’m also quite glad to see Guardians Formal make its way to PSO2 as it’s one of my favorite outfits from the game and it doesn’t look like they went too nuts with the physics on it. As for how it looks, it does seem rather flat like other PSU model ports, but it’s hard to really tell with compressed video.

Beyond that the event will see the revival of a bunch of different Phantasy Star cosmetics, including a lot of the PSP2 outfits we already have and the addition of the default Beast costumes from PSP2:Infinity among other things.

BeastFace

You’ll also be able to get the Beast face model for your character…. if you’re willing to shell out enough cash because they stuck it in the Bonus Scratch. God damn it.

And that’s it for the Phantasy Star Universe event. In the end it was some crossover characters and a large pile of cosmetics. Pretty nifty as I like the characters and some of the oufits, I’m just a little disappointed that we didn’t get any of the bosses like they did for the PSO event.

The final visit from the Guardians of Gurhal will start mid-April and they’ll be around in the lobby until the 7th of June.


Deus Esca Zephyros

The boss whose name just keeps on growing it seems. The (probably) last raid boss of Episode 4 will be arriving in late April.

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Like the Yamato quest, the first part will see the Arks going up against hordes of heavenly Phantom Angel enemies as they climb Yggdrasil. This includes a re-skin of Maxwell’s demons and Kuron’s centaur enemies. All of the minions on the way to Deus Esca seem to be weak to Dark element.

Deus Esca himself however is weak to both Dark and Light which… I don’t understand why we needed yet another Raidboss weak to Light. Guess the Ragrants spam carries on!

It also generally doesn’t appear to hit that hard and no raid-wipe move was demonstrated. It did fire off an attack which did between 1200-2200 damage to anyone it hit, which depending on which stats it scales from could effectively be a raid-wipe but it doesn’t appear to be attached to any mechanics plus you can just move out of the way of it…

Zenesis Weapon Collection

It wouldn’t be a raid-boss post Episode 4 without a weapon collection!

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All we really know about the Zenesis series so far is numbers and what they look like. We know absolutely nothing about the weapon potential.

The weapons come with Ability 3, Deus Factor, Stamina 3 and Spirita 3. It can be assumed that Deus Factor will be +20 S-atk, +10 T-atk, +10 R-Atk, 20 HP and 1 PP based on Yamato and Mother Factors. So S-Atk weapons come with +35 attack and all others come with +25. With that information, we know that Zenesis Sword comes with 1232 S-atk at +0, which makes it ever so slightly stronger than Astra Separ and 51 S-atk weaker than Gix Zangulum. As always it really just comes down to whatever its potential turns out to be.

This Collection Sheet does not come with any eggs, but it does have a 13* Tact. You can obtain a 13* Rappy but only as a drop.

Zenesis Units

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They’re units from a Raid Boss. Even if they’re decent they might as well not exist.

I might be a little bitter about unit drops given that I have yet to get a single Mother unit since its been our and I’ve only ever seen one Invade Unit drop.

Aside its appearance though we know nothing about its stats so who knows maybe they’re rubbish anyway.

14* Weapons

Speaking of items you will never see, Deus will come with 3 brand new 14* weapons; a DoubleSaber, Wand and Tact. Yes, a 14* Tact.

tact

The Tact seems to be Rykros Baton from Phantasy Star Portable 2. It has the special ability to fire un-charged Megids with each swing.

14wand

The Wand seems to be Lavis Cannon. Its special ability seems to be the same as Form Wand in that it can fire shock-waves on each swing.

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The Doublesaber however is a mystery. It was initially presumed to be Twin Blaze from Phantasy Star Online but it doesn’t really look very much like it. It’s also unknown what the weapon’s special ability is as they don’t really demonstrate it doing anything unique.


Episode 5 Announced

The teaser at the end of this broadcast actually teased two separate updates; a Chapter EX for Episode 4 and the announcement of Episode 5 in name and vague theme alone.

Phaleg Fight

Phaleg has taken off the training gloves and will be going all out, testing Player-chan for all they’re worth.

The fight seems to play out much like the one we’ve already had with a couple of new moves; a ranged stun combo and a large area-of-effect stomp.

She also seems to pull off a cutscene phoenix-kick attack that nukes the tower platform. It’s not known at this point whether this is a punishment for failing a raid-like mechanic, for running out of time or if she’ll use this move regardless of wether you win or lose because she’s canonically far more powerful than anything else in the current lore (including the player character).

I’m also not entirely sure when this fight is set, because it’s slated as “coming soon”. So this could either be happening before or after Ardem’s defeat, it’s hard to tell at this point.

Episode 5

Here we go, official confirmation that Episode 5 is happening. They didn’t share any details aside some themes however, which are:

  • A new world
  • Resurrection
  • Reincarnation

This has led some to worry that the reincarnation system from PSP2:Infinity might be coming back but I think they’re jumping the gun a bit sharply. For one thing, you could equally argue that the theme of Episode 4 (which was “Reborn”) could have been that as well. If I were to hazard a guess, it has something to do with Profound Darkness doing something to finally break free of the time-loop that Persona and Xiao have had it trapped in for the last 2 years. However with so little information to go on I feel like any speculation is no better than a shot in the dark for now.

A new world does suggest we’re heading to a new planet at least, though it might also be referring to the world we knew but changed in some drastic manner. Or indeed the comment thread on the datamining post is on to something and it turns out we’re re-writing Phantasy Star 3…

We should definitely know more before spring is done, mind, as Episode 5 is due for release some time in the Summer.

5th PSO2 Station Writeup

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The fifth broadcast rolled out just today and only came with 3 trailers. One of the trailers was particularly packed though so there’s a few things to go over in this post that I have opinions about. As always the complete run-down can be found on bumped here.

Trailers

Some collab no one cares about (OK maybe a few do (a lot)…). If you’re only interested in the Emil Head just say ニーア発売おめでとう in chat before March 1st. But yeah, Nier Automata stuff!

Early March Content – NT Grind change, new custom Photon Arts/Techs, the return of Revolucio Files, Skill rings and Battle Arena stuff.

Late March content – The return of Necky, Aura and Orbit files and Class Level 80

Early March Content

NT Grinding Change

NT Grind limits are now additive. That is, if you use a +32 on a +32 item it’ll push the limit to +35 now rather than +33 (+1 from the weapon itself and +2 from the limit on the ingredient item). Not exactly sure about the intricacies of this system, like if it needs the ingredient item to be fully grinded or if it’s just the limits it’s adding up but either way this is a positive change particularly for those who are grinding collection sheets. You’ll no longer have to hold on to every completed Collection File weapon just in case a weapon drops with a higher grind limit.

Photon Art Customisations

Some new Type-0 Photon Arts and Techs are on their way.

Rodeo Drive Type-0

The rush part of the attack will continue as long as you’re holding the button. Letting go results in a slam-dunk attack.

Sakura Endo Type-0

Changes the animation of the 2nd slash to be the last part of Guren Tessen. It also removes the need to charge the attack, so you’ll be able to spam it mid-air which you currently can’t (you have to drop to the ground while it charges up then jump back up again). Because the charge is removed, it may no longer benefit from Average Stance Charge or Weak Stance Charge so be aware of that.

Sacred Skewer Type-0

Turns it into a chargeable attack and hurls the spear directly in front of the user, striking a large number of enemies at once.

It seems like it does decent damage and has good range but it remains to be seen how it’ll compare to the likes of Slide End and most of Sword’s PAs. With Partizans I’m personally left pondering how it’ll synergise with Vol Graptor which I guess depends on if this attack can hit multiple hitboxes of a single target like other piercing Photon Arts can (like End Attract). If it can, this could be potentially interesting against certain bosses.

Ein Raketen Type-0

Lets you place stationary energy blades that deal damage as enemies wander into them. Kinda wierd and probably awkward to apply consistently.

Gigrants Type-0

Amps up the blender part of the attack by extending it into an attack that revs up over time. At the end of the attack, you wield a sword made of light for one powerful over-end style slash.

It’s always hard to gauge power from the test players that they demo these things with, but I wonder if it could beat out Zondeel + Ragrants for mobbing power? Won’t know until it’s released I guess.

Nabarta Type-0

Replaces the ice stream with a shield that consumes a lot of PP over time and deals damage to enemies that wonder into it. If this doesn’t do pulsing damage this feels like a significant downgrade over the regular Nabarta just due to the sheer increase in PP it drains.

Raging Waltz Type-0

Alters the attack so it can home in on any direction instead of just directly ahead.

I’m honestly not sure this will have any greatly appreciable impact on this attack but I’m not well versed in Daggers.

Revolucio Revival

Revolucio weapons will return with significantly relaxed conditions and with an entire year before they time out. They’re meant to serve as a way for players who don’t have +35 13* weapons to obtain them at any time they like as these sheets are not tied to Emergency Quests. Additionally it includes a 13* Wanda egg.

revoluciorevival

The old files required 8 different things to farm, the new ones require only 3. However, one of the requirements teased included lv71+ Fang Banther which are not at all trivial to find. Your options are run Super Hard Advance Quests at +11 risk or higher or run the higher floors of the Sylvan Wyverns Extreme Quests.

New Skill Rings

Sanctum and Kuronia will be getting Gathering spots. With these two areas I believe that is every Free Field area to date covered. I’ll go over my thoughts on each of the rings in this section but be aware they are my speculations, we don’t have any solid numbers so it’s hard to judge a number of the rings fully.

R / HP Restorate

Recovers HP while it’s below a certain value. I’ll with-hold judgement until I see the numbers, but it’s interesting that this didn’t end up being an R/Ring which means it could actually stack with Summoner’s HP Restorate skill… Correction, it was mistakenly noted as a left ring. As it’s an R ring it won’t be usable by Summoner main or sub so it can’t stack with the aforementioned skill.

L / Atomizer Lovers

Like Mate Lovers but for Moon, Star and Cosmo Atomizers (if anyone actually buys those). Like Mate Lovers it boosts the speed of use and the amount of HP recovered.

L / Point Weak Bullet

Turns Weak Bullet into Point Assist basically. It lets you apply the Weak Bullet directly to the currently targeted hitbox regardless of obstacles (including other hitboxes). This actually could be pretty useful for Rangers particularly for the more awkward hit-boxes in the game.

 L / Katana Combat Count Up

Not really sure what this one does… Bumped says “Increases the hit counts for Katana Combat” but I don’t know if that means increasing the limit or increasing the number of counted hits per hit, effectively reducing the number of hits you’d need to do in order to hit maximum power with Combat Finish. I assume it’s the latter but I’m not 100% sure. If it is then it’s a pretty nifty ring I guess because it’d make Katana combat slightly burstier and possibly more practical to use on bosses.

R / Flame Tech S Charge

Speeds up the casting time of fire element techs. Not sure what use this ring serves as any build using fire techs would involve Force and Force won’t be able to use this ring.

Battle Arena (PVP)

Get some friends or strangers together and beat the shit out each other for a brand new currency; Battle Coins! We already know a fair amount of how it works from previous streams so I’ll go over that briefly;

  • Up to 12 players are split into 2 teams for a 6v6 match.
  • At the spawn point, you “mine” for a random weapon. This weapon is effectively your class. There are mining nodes in the arena itself if you want to re-roll.
    • Available weapons are Sword, Assault Rifle and Rod.
    • If you’re defeated you’ll have to mine again to get a new weapon.
    • Whenever an Update message occurs, stronger weapons will become available
  • The match is a point attack. The team with the highest score wins
  • Earn points by collecting emblems in the arena and defeating enemy players
    • Enemy emblems may be worth more points than friendly ones!
    • Occasionally an Emblem Fever will occur that spawns rainbow emblems around the map. These are presumably worth the most points.
  • Three different maps with differing gimmicks
    • Except Forest. Forest is boring.
    • Caverns has a rising lava mechanic. Don’t touch the lava! Good general life tip really.
    • Tokyo is also kind of boring in that its mechanic is it has greater verticality.

While you can kill enemy players, the main objective is about getting points, though I’m not sure how effective it might be to just ignore enemy players and go for emblems over just killing enemy players. Dead enemies can’t collect emblems, afterall.

The weapon mining mechanic makes me think of Overwatch’s Mystery Heroes mode and it might suffer from the same faults. It’s likely that of the weapon types available some will be much more effective than others. This could lead to one team getting an effective team composition off the bat and end up snowballing the other side into submission or indeed bad RNG on weapons screwing a side over generally. In the long run this should work out because both teams have the same chance to be screwed by random numbers anyway.

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There is a progression system in PVP in the form of your own personal rank. Shown ranks were D5 and D4. Presumably this means the highest rank is S1. It doesn’t look like your PVP rank does anything beyond bragging rights. When you win a match you gain ARP (Arena Points). In the demo the winner gained 20 ARP while the loser (in what seemed to be a different game) gained 0. It’s unknown if you can actually lose ARP or not. It’s possible they could use your rank data to try to do some rudimentary matchmaking but I’m not certain on that.

You’ll earn Battle Coins whether you win or lose, however. It seems like you might earn slightly more for winning as well as for being the MVP in various areas but other than that the difference is pretty small in the example.

You can also set up private games which you  can protect with a password. It’s unknown how this affects Battle Coins but presumably you won’t be able to rank up in private games.

PVP Prizes

So what do you get for your efforts? A few things it seems with potentially 2 items that might be more interesting for min-maxers and the rest are kind of cosmetic.

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  • Battle Sword (Sword Camo)
  • Battle Rifle (Assault Rifle Camo)
  • Battle Rod (Rod Camo)
  • Rappy Make-Up
  • Vraolet 4-slot
  • Vraolet 6-slot (details below)
  • Arena Booster
  • Lambda Grinder
  • Extreme Pass
  • Other items not shown.

The Vraolets include Phrase Receptor and Sentence Receptor, which presumably allow you to transfer the various Sentence and Phrase affixes you can only obtain with certain Special Ability Factors. Seeing as these factors typically come from temporarily available Collection Files tied to Emergency Quests this could be a decent way of carrying these factors on to future gear.

Arena Boosters are as you can imagine much like Photon and Weaponoid Boosters in that they grant access to new weapon Potentials on certain weapons. The preview does not show a description of the example potential however, so I can’t speculate on if these are going to be worth the effort or not. The example weapon series shown however is the Aura series, whose current potential only applies to bosses so it could be interesting.

Other cosmetics include costumes and lobby actions as well as 12* “Shine Series” units. Most cosmetic items will be temporarily available because I don’t know fuck you that’s why. This includes the weapon camos mentioned earlier.

Battle Scratch

After a battle, victory or defeat, you’ll have the chance to roll for a random item. Among the potential items you could get include boosters for the amount of coins you gain in the next battle as well as a selection of weapon camos. You also have a low chance of obtaining an item that lets you raise the grind limit of an NT weapon by 1.

You get up to three scratches per battle, though presumably only the first one is free. Additional goes will cost you Stargems.

Just a mechanic to encourage you to play more games I guess. Though I suspect players will be walking away with EXP+3000 tickets more often than not.

Late March Content

Lv80 Class Requirements

Nothing new here, it’s really just confirming that you will indeed be required to clear the titles in order to unlock lv80 for a class. This means you’ll only need to do it once per class per account and not for every single character. This means the guide I made on getting your classes ready for the lv80 cap raise is still accurate.

Quest Abandon Penalty

If you abandon a multi-party raid EQ you’ll be locked out from the quest for the remainder of the EQ period. This is pretty clearly meant to be a punishment for people who’ll join an MPA then abandon if the classes and gear they see don’t meet their expectations or if a run is going poorly. This penalty will apply if you disconnect, too.

This penalty will only apply to the first person who abandons or disconnects and only if the MPA was at full capacity beforehand. This measure means that anyone remaining who ends up screwed by the fact you’re now down a person can safely abandon the quest to queue up again if need be which is a smart measure.

That said, I feel like this penalty is going to be incredibly annoying for those occasions where the quest bugs out and enemies take far longer to spawn than they should. It does also doom random Magatsu MPAs to excessively long runs should they have the misfortune of having no Weak-Bullet.

More Collection Sheet Revivals

The Orbit and Aura weapon collection files will be returning with some slight changes.

Aura sheets will be up until May 2018 which is over a year, while Orbit weapons will be up until the 24th of May this year. Hey that’s longer than they were around for first time, so if you got some Orbits to finish you’re in luck!

Aura sheets will require you to defeat lv70 Dio Hunars, which makes it possible to clear by just running the Level Up Quests (which will be returning once the event is over), even on Super Hard! They no longer require you to defeat Odin.

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Orbit Sheets seem to be largely unchanged however so they will require you to run the upcoming Necky’s Challenge quest.

Really at this point I don’t know why they don’t just ditch the time outs on these files and just leave them up permanently. I guess it would get awkward for files that are tied to seasonal EQs and EQs that only turn up on rare occasions but then I’d argue that’s an issue with them tying Collection Files to Emergency Quests period.

The Return of Necky’s Challenge

Necky’s Challenge is back, baby! Only this time without Necky as Sierra will be the one talking to you throughout the quest. The developers claim it was a popular quest though the reaction from the community was a fairly mixed one as I remember. Of course I’m only exposed to the English speaking community so who knows maybe it really was well recieved over in Japan.

It’ll have some slight differences however as Esca Darkers will be added to the mix of enemies trying to break the towers down.

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Esca Ragnus is seen latching onto and hugging a tower during the trailer (daww). It looks like it might be spinning a web around it…

The old datamined “PhantomBugLegion” (the phantoom version of Damoth) will be showing up in this quest with the name “Esmoth”.

Dataminers might be slightly disappointed that the unreleased Mining Base Defence didn’t turn out to be another fight with Apprentice (presumably her airborne Mothra mode instead of the one we fight deep underground) but honestly I think that boat has long sailed. Depends on exactly where the story goes after Episode 4 I suppose, speaking of which…

Final Episode 4 Raid: Deus Esca

Yggdrasil! The raid appears to function much like Yamato did where players will be fighting through hordes of regular enemies before squaring off against the boss itself. Unlike Yamato though we’ll be doing this on foot.

I have my worries that this boss will function much the same way as Escafalz Mother did, where we’ll be destroying it’s “arms” (more like heads in this case given it’s a Hydra) which will expose the real weak point which we then wail on before it gets up and repeats the process. This phase far out-stays its welcome with Escafalz Mother unless you have a very burst heavy composition so I’d rather not see a repeat of that.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot you can really ascertain from this footage. Presumably we’ll be getting a demonstration before its release.

Incidentally, data-mining doesn’t really hint at much more than this trailer does. From that, all that’s really known is aside all the storm based attacks displayed here it has some attack involving a horn.

With this raid arriving in late April, it seems Episode 4’s story will be coming to its conclusion fairly soon. With that, one is left pondering where the game may go from here and just how long it’ll be before we have announcements concerning Episode 5…

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Also, segways.

PSO2 4th Station

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The fourth PSO2 Station went out today. With it we got a preview of content coming up in February and March, including information about the new level cap requirements, the solo Profound Darkness, 4-player Multi-Quest, Union weapon exchange and some PVP stuff.

Details of this post may change if I notice anything new or of course if I got anything wrong.

Trailers

Wouldn’t be a proper broadcast without em! With thanks to Goukezitsu for uploading these.

Arks New Year Carnival Part 3

Lots of cosmetic stuff, part 2 of Xie’s shop, Solo EQ, Union gear and 4-man Multi Quest! Kinda curious what the background music might be teasing…

Arks New Year Carnival Part 4

White Day, seasonal Emergency Quest and new cosmetics. Chat up all your husbandos in the lobby!

End of Stream Teaser

Battle arena stuff. Zzz.

Level Cap Info

During the stream they confirmed some details that I talked about in my last post, unfortunately.

Koffie will be getting a new Client Order that will require you have completed your class SP orders (all of them) and have one of your class’s main weapons at +35 (Gunslash presumably doesn’t count), 13* rarity or higher. Summoners will need a pet at lv120.

So yeah, Gheaven was right about most of it unfortunately. They were wrong about the affix requirement at least which is a minor relief in the face of now having to grind out additional Collection Files just to get a +35 weapon for potentially every class and subclass of any alts you might want to level to 80. I need someone to check the wording on the condition, otherwise it sounds like Gunner/Ranger and Force/Techer might have it a little easier than other combinations seeing as they share weapons or if indeed said shared weapons won’t count (Rifle and Talis respectively).

Beyond that, my opinions are much the same as in my speculative post on this. This is going to be a significant bump in the road for new players down the line who will now have to be stuck at lv75 grinding out 21 class cubes just so they can earn permission to level up to 76. The +35 13* requirement might also be awkward down the line unless future collection files will still cater well enough to content under lv80.

Still, they’ve been known to relax these kinds of conditions given enough time so it probably will get better in the future. The whole thing seems needlessly clumsy to me but they kinda engineered themselves into this corner.

Solo Emergency Quest

The solo fight against Double and the Profound Darkness will be arriving early February. With it we’ll be seeing the return of the Ray series Collection Files. You’ll need Ray weapons if you want to be able to exchange for Union weapons.

It’s worth noting that even if you don’t want Union weapons you may want to run this quest just to complete Ray files as its Special Ability Factor is Astral Soul.

soloeq

This quest is only available on Extra Hard and requires your Main and Subclass to be Lv75. The enemy is lv80.

You’ll have 20 minutes to clear the quest. While it was fairly obvious they’d reduce the boss’s HP I feel this detail confirms it because I just can’t imagine them expecting you to defeat a boss intended for 12 players in 1/3rd of the time.

Looking through the trailer, it seems like the boss is using the newer AI but it also has the old behavior where it rests its head on the arena. It also seems like its attacks don’t hit nearly as hard as in the full raid on Extra Hard (I believe the fly-by attack deals roughly 1200 damage in the raid, 550 or so in the trailer) though of course it’s hard to tell how the test player’s build is interacting with that. They’re not running Guard Stance at least.

xiepos2

Xie’s weapons will be getting a 2nd potential which will help you clear the quest more easily. It appears to boost damage dealt and reduce damage received while running this quest, but the numbers are hidden so it’s hard to tell how good this is.

 

Quest Trigger

solotrigger

They’re going to be adding a Quest Trigger for the solo Emergency Quest for 50 Gold Badges a shot. Not too bad! I guess there’s a use for medals now outside of getting the dance lobby actions.

Union Exchange

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In order to upgrade from a Ray weapon or unit to a Union weapon you’ll need 5 Union Boosters. You’ll get one Union Booster per clear of the solo EQ as well as an additional one for each S-rank.

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When you upgrade, the item will retain all the upgrades you applied to the old item (so element, grind, affixes etc).

It seems Union Sword has 1215  S-Atk, which if true makes it the 4th strongest sword in terms of raw attack power. If it retains the Ray potential this just means that it’s a slightly weaker Astra weapon though it does offer some damage resistance which Astra doesn’t.

4-Man Multiparty

A short romp through all the Ultimate area bosses! Presumably it’ll let you have shots at their gear and affixes should you even want them by this point, though their rates might be even lower than their regular counterparts because…

Enemy Lv75

The enemies in the quest are lv75. I don’t understand why they felt the need to do this. Is it because they don’t want to make the current Ultimate Quests redundant? I mean in many respects they already are so I’m not sure what this decision is for.The exception is for Ultimate Amduscia enemies I guess, which could still drop 12* units and Gix weapons which are still relevant for now. Beyond that though I’m certain they can’t be being too wary that we might get Ares weapons too often!

I’m sure they have a good reason for it and ultimately I don’t think it’ll take too much away from the quest itself. What’s worth noting is that most of the bosses seem to have titles, so it might offset their droprates towards something a bit more reasonable. I’m looking forward to getting a couple friends together to smash some boss’s faces in whatever the case may be.

Scaling Stats

Apparently, if you run the quest by yourself the enemy’s stats will be adjusted. Pretty neat if so because I believe this would make this the first quest with actual scaling in it, which is something I’ve felt the game’s been in need of for years…

Weapon/Unit Pass Change

In the near future, you will no longer be required to have 10-12* weapon passes or 10-11* unit passes in order to be able to buy those items. This has been a long time coming as it’s felt wrong to have most of this gear which has been years out of date to be locked behind a paywall.

The upside is this means it will be easier for new players to get kitted out with 12* items and Affix fodder items wont be restricted to 9* and below anymore. The downside is those of you who converted 12* gear into passes will have potentially lost out.

I’m curious if this means we will be seeing 13* weapon and 12* unit passes soon? It might make +35ing weapons significantly easier for paid users at least though that might make the requirement all the more irritating for free players.

Over for Now!

So that’s it really. The surprise trailer was just showing that Battle Arena will have at least 3 maps with one set in Amduscia’s Cauldron and the other in Tokyo. I was actually hoping they’d at least give some more details about things surrounding the PVP mode (like if any items can be earned).

 

 

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

 

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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)

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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.

Gotta Go Fast – Tokyo TA and Tidbits

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The September 21st update added a new time-attack quest set in Tokyo. Just gonna do a brief write-up of it as well as go over some additional tidbits concerning the content update this October.

Tokyo Time Attack


This one is a bit more of a parkour-ish obstacle course than the other time attacks. While there’s no real puzzle to solve, you’re still going to need to learn where enemies spawn particularly for the boost-ring sections. You’ll also need decent platforming and timing skills as well as very high damage output for the final block. This quest is not particularly friendly to certain class combos, particularly anything dependent on striking weak-points.

Enemies will grant EXP but they will not drop anything. As such, they will not count towards collection files. There is also no new Client Order for this quest.

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Enemies are a bit of a mix in terms of stat mods. All enemies placed around boost rings have reduced HP, though for some you’ll still need to have passed between 2 rings in order to one-shot them with the kick. The rest of the enemies have their regular free-field HP (not the slightly reduced Arks Quest variety), which is particularly important for the final block.

Platforming

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There are two sections in the quest which will require you to do some platforming (not counting the first one which is just to introduce you to the concept). The first is easy enough, though the final jump will require you to hit jump at pretty much the last second to make it.

The second is a bit rougher, as you’ll need to avoid being bombarded or you’ll lose your runspeed as well as having to land on much more narrow platforms. Your controller best be in good shape if you’re not using Mouse and Keyboard!

The final block is a fight against Train Ghidoran. As said, this is using Free-Field levels of HP so it is very durable. What’s more is as time goes on more and more enemies will spawn; starting with 2 tanks, then adding in helicopters and roadrollers. The longer the fight is, the harder it’ll be!

Thoughts

It’s a fun enough quest, though it will be particularly rough on some class combos due to the nature of Train Ghidoran and lack of weak-points on many enemies. The quest essentially favours high-burst short attack time classes or any that can crowd-control Ghidoran effectively. As such, the likes of Banish-Graptor combos won’t be of much use here as Train Ghidoran doesn’t really expose itself for long enough for them to even hit.

Is it worth running over others for your weekly TACOs? Honestly no, but it’s short enough that you could run it for something different to do so it’s a bit like Traces of Darkness in that respect. Naberius 2 and Harukotan remain the most efficient ways to do your weeklies for now.

New Skill Rings


 

So turns out there were a bunch of other skill rings announced during TGS that sorta escaped the main show I guess, which Gheaven covered here. Most of them seem to be support oriented, I’ll go over them quickly;

L / Just Reversal JA Combo

  • Just Reversals will gain a Just-Attack window

R / Just Reversal PP Gain

  • Recovers PP on successful Just Reversals.

A lot of Just Reversal oriented rings coming up it seems, two  of which are L / Rings. I doubt that JA Combo will be interesting enough for people to want to socket into 12* units, mind.

R /  Healing Guard

  • Heals you and others close to you when you successfully activate a Just-Guard effect.

Not really sure who this ring is for, as melee-weapon types generally have access to Healing Guard anyway. This ring just enables those who don’t run a Hunter sub to use it I guess.

R / Wide Support

  • Like Techer’s Wide Area Support; greatly increases the area of Resta, Shifta, Deband and Anti.

Again, I’m not sure who this is for. Force typically won’t be able to use it because they run Techer sub and you probably don’t want to get buffed by a Bouncer/Hunter… though I guess any Shifta is better than no Shifta! Pretty sure there are better rings that a Bouncer is much more likely to be wearing, mind.

The most interesting of this bunch is “L/Non Weak Bonus“, which will allow Launcher attacks to count for Weak-Hit Advance bonuses even if they’re not hitting weak spots. This is a significant buff for Launchers as you might expect, though I do wonder what limitations may be put on it. Weak-Hit Advance specifically boosts damage from shooting attacks, but not all Launcher Photon Arts are. Crazy Smash for example is R-Atk scaling striking damage, which may mean it won’t benefit from this ring. In any case, Launcher users rejoice because your weapon is going to be a lot more effective once this ring arrives.

These rings will be added with the rest some time in October.

Custom PA/Tech Details


With the release of the official update page came a few details about the upcoming custom PA/Techs. Lets go over them

Sacrifice Bite: Type Zero

  • Speeds up the photon absorption
  • Boosts the power and range of normal and step-attacks

So that blade-extension effect was not just for show! As a Hunter main I’m obviously fairly eager to see how much of an effect this has on my play-style. The additional range and power should mitigate the PP issues that Sword can suffer from.

Straight Charge: Type Zero

  • Hold the button to continue sailing through enemies while dealing constant damage
  • Constantly drains PP while in use

Nothing really new about this.

Parallel Slider: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while moving around in a hovering motion.
  • If used mid-air, will allow you to gently fall during the attack.
  • IT’S JUST LIKE ONE OF MY ANIMES

The mid-air detail is new, though I don’t think Ranger really has that much trouble dealing with airborn enemies. Might make the pre-broken knee portion of Magastu more fun if you’re incline to use anything other than End Attract I guess?

Sharp Bomber: Type Zero

  • Allows you to shoot while jumping forward as well as backward.
  • Charging the attack greatly increases its power

Nothing really new about this.

Strike Gust: Type Zero

  • Holding the button extends the rising portion of the attack.
  • Removes the charge portion, so you’ll be able to spam this attack more often

I don’t know enough about Jet-boot usage to really comment on this, though removing the charge portion of the attack does at least give them a directed quick-fire attack which I believe they sorta lacked? Correct me if I’m wrong on this.

Safoie: Type Zero

  • Before casting it closes distance with the target
  • Makes it easier to land the attack
  • More powerful when charged

Ramegid: Type Zero

  • Causes orbs to orbit you
  • Enemies will take damage at set intervals on contact with orbs
  • The charged version will have shorter intervals.

No new details for the techs. Much the same thoughts as before; these are both seemingly engineered to make melee Techer’s life easier.

Class Rebalance


 

So turns out those two new skills heading Summoner’s way in October were indeed not the “Class Rebalance” listed on the long-term schedule. Sega made a post here on their update page for October laying out all of the changes. With thanks to translations provided by this PSOWorld post.

General

  • All stances will have their time limits removed and become infinite.

The main thing I have to say is why the fuck did this change take 4 and a half years to implement? Even more bafflingly so after they introduced this very feature for Wand Lovers all that time ago! Stance skills should have been this way from the start, so this is a welcome quality-of-life adjustment it’s just it kind of makes me despair that it took them this long to realise timers on stances were not a good idea…

Hunter

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Rising Edge

Should help with preventing incoming damage when using this; as being locked into the animation and having an attack go from tell to finish before you can guard did kind of suck.

  • Larger AoE and slower fall on Nova Strike

Nova Strike already has decent AoE I think, so I’m curious to see how much larger they intend to make it. Not sure what function the slower fall would serve…

  • Improved Just-Attack timing, reduced PP cost and increased speed of Stun Concide

Why?

  • Improved guard-cancel timing on Guilty Break

I guess this adjustment is to make it a better travelling PA as right now it’s a little awkward for this (you can only cancel just after the first strike has started, giving it a kind of stop-start effect.)

  • Improved JA timing on Ignite Parrying

Not entirely sure of the purpose of this change, unless it’s to make it easier to chain Ignite Parrying together.

  • Improved JA and guard-cancel timing on Kaiser Rise. Adjusted timing of attack damage.

Again, I assume this is to make it easier to spam the attack.

Hunter got the most changes of all the classes. All fairly minor changes, eh? This is going to be the trend for the rest of this balance update as you’ll see.

Fighter

  • Improved speed of Surprise Dunk

So double-saber users can throw themselves into the action more quickly I guess.

  • L/Knuckle Chase now affects Quake Howling when used midair

Odd change, not sure why they did this. Perhaps knuckle users would be more informed.

Ranger

  • Improved cancel timing and added i-frames to Impact Slider

Gunner

  • Improved JA timing and Stlyish Roll cancel timing of Dive Roll shoot when using TMGs

Braver

  • Reduced hit-stop of Katana Gear counter

Was this even that big of an issue? I admittedly am only a casual Katana user at best, but compared to the hit-stop I experience on other weapon types I can’t say I ever really noticed this.

Summoner

  • Sped-up attack timing of Cery Chaser
  • Sped up attack timing of Cery Fall and increased period of time enemies are stopped

A bit of help for Cery, which is a pet I just don’t see used that often anymore. Not helped that I believe Maron Chaser is considered superior to Cery Chaser, but I’m not experienced enough to say if that’s true or not.

  • 12* pets can now be raised to Lv110

I take it this means that you’ll be able to visit Pietro for Pet Limit Breaking with 12* pets now. The current cap for 12* pets is lv95 and there’s a fairly significant stat gain between that and 110. Essentially, this is a big buff to 12* pets, though honestly I could swear that 13* pets are more common.

Sakai’s Favorite: Gunslash

Yet more changes for a weapon class that no one uses now and no one will use after.

  • Improved JA timing of Step Attack
  • Improved JA timing and cancel timing of Tri Impact Type Zero
  • Added I-frames to Thrillerplode
  • Improved speed and reduced hit-stop of Slash Rave
  • Improved cancel timing of Kreuzanschlag

All improvements, all things people likely won’t notice because no one uses Gunslashes seriously.

So yeah, overall these are a bunch of minor tweaks and quality of life changes. Slightly disappointing as there’s a bunch of Hunter and general issues I’m aware of that I’m sad they didn’t address and I’m sure those more specifically experienced with other classes feel similarly. I guess I expect a class balance to shake up the meta slightly, which in this case the only two classes this may have a chance of happening for are Hunter and Summoner I feel. Wether the changes for either class will turn out to be all that significant or not we won’t know until they’re out I guess.

Of course, while the class balance changes are mostly minor the addition of L/Non Weak Bonus and some of the Photon Art crafts may shake things up significantly enough on their own! That’s all for this post; it ended up a bit longer than I intended but there were a fair number of little tidbits this time. As always, let me know if there’s anything I got particularly wrong.

 

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!