In an interview with 4gamer, Sakai confirmed that PSO2 will have localised servers for their western audience after all. They will be separate from the JP servers and managed by SoA and SoE respectively. EU players and US players will be sharing the same servers, as they did with PSU. Given the wording of a member of SoA staff recently this didn’t come as a surprise.
What’s there to say? It’s disappointing news that’s for sure. As I said in a previous post, SoA has a long history of screw-ups and general incompetence. They are rude to their customers. As I also said before, the fact that PSO2 is actually a decent game and that it’s free to play will help it out. I don’t think the free-to-play business model will work as motivation for them to close the content update gap, however.
Here’s a list of things that they would need to do in order to address what I’m sure are the main concerns among the player base.
- Close the content gap – The localised version will be released over half a year after the Japanese version. It doesn’t matter that the localised version is its own unique platform, customers will see that people elsewhere in the world have more to play with than they do. This will upset them.
- React promptly to cheating – One of the major factors that contributed to Phantasy Star Universe’s demise in the west was the sluggish response by Sega to do anything about hackers and people abusing game exploits. No one cares which part of Sega as a whole is responsible for this, if people see the company running the game as powerless against cheaters it will destroy their confidence in the game.
- Get the word out there – Blogs like Bumped and mine, things like PSO-world and various fan groups and topics on other websites already achieve this to an extent. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, certainly, but I’d hope that Sega wouldn’t completely depend on their fans to do their advertising for them. In particular I’m hopeful that they’ll spread the word into places that aren’t already set on playing PSO2. Places outside of the core fanbase, although it’s nice to appreciated sure.
- Get on Steam – This is more a suggestion than anything, but being on Steam certainly seemed to help Spirals Knights. There are also a number of other free to play MMOs out on Steam at the moment. It’s not only a major means of digital distribution but Steam is also where a lot of people find new games so it’s a marketing platform too.
- Get people on your support staff who care – I’m not suggesting that current staff don’t necessarily (although I am sticking to my ascertation that they can be quite rude to customers), but I am suggesting that future staff they employ do. A request like this isn’t really unique to Sega though I guess, you could apply this to practically any MMO in existence.
Yes, Sega does have a chance to get it right this time. Sure. They had this chance when Phantasy Star Universe came out. Oh and Phantasy Star Portable 1. Oh and Phantasy Star Portable 2. Oh and Phantasy Star Zero. Oh and Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity, oh that never came out. Every one of these times, people would come out of the woodwork to say “hey give them a chance, guys”. How many times do people’s trust in a company need to be betrayed before you will get it I wonder? Sega will probably not do any of the things I’ve suggested in this blog entry. Not saying they won’t necessarily try, but I have no confidence that they will succeed in any of it.
The only things you are guaranteed is that it will be free to play and it will be in English, French and German. That’s all you should expect out of them. Anything else is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Ship lockdown to be lifted
To those who wanted to create characters on Ship 02 but couldn’t due to the lockdown, the restrictions will be lifted tonight in a special maintenance.
- JST: 8:30 – 9:30, 17th July
- BST (UK): 0:30 – 1:30, 17th July
- EST: 19:30 – 20:30, 16th July
Related to this, despite the blocks being re-named to suggest level ranges (with b20-b24 being labelled the lv30-40 blocks), the main importer area hasn’t changed. Ship 2 Block 20 is still the main area, with 21-24 being spillover blocks. However I believe a number of importers did also adopt block 30. I can’t comment on other ships.
Response to hacking
Sega applied a fix that now means that NPCs can’t be shuffled about. However, they’ve also changed the Terms of Service in response to the cheating. You’re now not allowed to talk publicly about hacks, cheats or exploits of the game. Instead, you must report them to the administration team.
Given the storm that happened after people posted about the hacks I can understand why they felt this was necessary. However I doubt this is really going to achieve anything. People are still going to panic when the next exploit is found. It’s somewhat understandable, given the series has a less than stellar record with this stuff.
Towards The Future
The Subterranean Tunnels update is on its way, with only 2 days to go for it. Details here.
Soaring Crystal Dragon
It appears that the Soaring Crystal Dragon update may be arriving in early August, according to an interpretation of the longterm schedule. In particular the text “8月上旬より順次実装予定”, which translates literally to “first 10 days of August” but is just used to mean “early August”. This could put the patch at anywhere between 2-4 weeks from the addition of Subterranean Tunnels. So potential dates of the 1st, 8th or 15th of August.
Speaking of the longterm schedule page, you may notice that there are images faded out in the background. Well someone did some adjustments to the images and these are the results:
The first area can only be the floating islands of Amduscia, referred to as DRAGONLAND in the client. There are strong suspicions about what the 2nd and 3rd areas are but they’re less concrete. The 3rd area does seem similar in appearance to how the Darkers look in general, doesn’t it? The 2nd area looks like it could fit into Naberius as well.
Finally, I’m hoping that they elaborate on details about the 3 new classes to be added along with the 2nd area pictured above. Are they subclasses? What will their pre-requisites be? How will skill trees work for them? Gonna be a fun wait…
[Sources: Bumped, Mewn and EspioKaos for translation]