Sega To Revive IPs: Is PSO2 Coming To The West?

engapls.jpg

No.

Probably not, anyway.

In case you’re unaware, Sega recently announced that they are planning to revive their old IPs and aim for global releases of their future content, among other plans for their Business Roadmap to 2020 which can be found here. 

Among the slides you might spy something familiar…

SegaPSO2Plan.jpg

So why might this not include PSO2? Well there’s no guarantee that it won’t, but it’d seem rather strange in the face of PSO2 closing down in Taiwan and South-East Asia.

It might just be too late to try. PSO2 is coming up to 5 years old now and the US version announcement is now nearing the same kind of age. The enthusiasm and excitement for a localized PSO2 has surely long gone.

That’s no guarantee, mind, I’m just making assumption based on the time scale for the general populous. I know from people contacting me through Twitter that there are still people out there eager for an official US release and I’m sure if it did happen they might do OK. However I feel even then they would have to release it with everything up to the end of Episode 4 and possibly some of Episode 5 in order to avoid the dreaded Content lag that plagued PSU and the SEA/TW versions of PSO2 before it. Even with all that, people rightfully have trust issues with Sega of America after their dubious performance with PSU (even if that may have arguably been Sega of Japan’s failings that ultimately caused that).

For me, I believe if this presentation means anything that it suggests PSO3 may have become more likely to be a global release. PSO3 could be another 5 years off, as Sakai planned to support PSO2 for 10 years and we’re only halfway through that (though even that’s not guaranteed!). One thing to take into account is this is their company plans for the next 3 years, so it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be acting on all the things they said right this very moment and that PSO2 announcements will occur any day. If they did act on any of these plans it’d take some time for their effects to be noticed, if at all.

It’s honestly hard to tell with a company like Sega. Remember that PSO2 did have a few hints that they were intent on an international release at one point, but for whatever reason those plans fizzled out seemingly abruptly. PSO3 could share the same fate.

Ultimately, this presentation while nifty to think about may be absolutely meaningless. It’s only a set of plans, and particularly vague ones at that. They may not deliver on most or any of it in the end.

PSO2: The South-East Asian Hype Train

pso2SEAchar

Recently it seems the region lock preventing people outside of the South-East Asia territories from connecting without a VPN has been lifted. This means at least for now, anyone can play a fully English version of the game.

This should be good, right? I should be happy about this and hyping it up to people who were holding back from starting the game due to the fact parts of the Japanese version will always be in Japanese despite the awesome efforts of the patch team. Well I’m not, and I’m even somewhat concerned about the hype train going on about it. Don’t get me wrong, as a fan I’m happy to see that people are still excited about this game but I worry people are getting ahead of themselves and don’t know what they’re in for. Particularly as the news seems to be spreading fast.

Now I’ve read plenty of rumours about the SEA version of the game and to look into them I’ve made an account over there to see if there’s any truth to them. I’ve only reached about lv14, mind, so there’s some things I have yet to confirm. I may detail more stuff in a future post, we’ll see. At most I just want to make sure that people know what they’re getting into and to confirm/dispel any of the rumours about the game. Overall I want people to be making more informed decisions and to not be swept up by the hype train and shocked by what they find.

Update: As of the 22nd of July it seems the IP block has been re-instated. This means you’ll need a VPN if you want to keep playing on the SEA servers.

The IP Block (or lack thereof) 

The first thing is the lock itself. There hasn’t been any official acknowledgement of it yet by Playpark, meaning there’s a fair chance that it was removed by accident. This means that at any time the lock could be re-established, barring you from playing without a VPN. Now, it’s true that to an extent, the non-native Japanese playerbase faces a similar issue however the reason players were blocked from the Japanese servers were not as deliberate as with the SEA servers.

This naturally should be a significant concern for anyone thinking of investing real money into this game, but shouldn’t bar anyone from just checking the game out if they want to.

Content Lag

Currently the final area of PSO2 SEA is Lilipa’s Quarry area, which was added to the Japanese servers on September 4th 2013. This roughly puts the servers around 2 years behind the Japanese version. You’re getting considerably less content, however frankly this is likely to be a danger with the official western servers as well should they ever come to be. The SEA version also has yet to have its first Tower Defense quest, which is something we got on the Japanese servers back in 2013. This should not be taken as a direct indicator as to when to expect content however, as updates aren’t arriving entirely in order on SEA.

For players who never encountered any of the content this really doesn’t make much of a difference anyway, however it’s something to be aware of.

Photon Art Balance

The only word that need be said in this section is “Nazonde”. For some reason, this tech has been absurdly overpowered for a while. This speaks somewhat negatively about how much the company cares about player feedback on the issue. How strong is it you might ask? Well.. video speaks more than words here.

Incidentally, that’s a Force/Hunter. Yes, a Force/Hunter. Using a junk rod and no affixes. That should say it all, really. To compare, as a lv75/75 FoTe (non-lightning specced) with +70 T-atk on all gear I do a whopping 2000 damage a pulse with Nazonde on the Japanese version. That’s how broken this Technique is right now!

I can’t really form an opinion on how quick Playpark are to address balance issues as I haven’t interacted with them long enough. The Japanese servers have had their fair share of balancing issues as well (and arguably still do) however I’m not sure they’ve had anything as severe as Nazonde on SEA.

Localisation

The localisation on SEA is extremely spotty in places. I made a post comparing names across the patch team’s efforts and SEA in the past. Essentially series specific names were dropped in favor of things that people could more easily relate to, such as renaming “Force” to “Wizard” and “Braver” to “Samurai” and “Monomate” to “Health Drink” among a long list of other changes.

Does this matter much? I can’t argue for you. This bothers some people hugely and others frankly couldn’t give a shit. You can call whatever as dumb a name as you like as far as I’m concerned, but when you’re naming it different things in different places such as Oceanids in e-trial names and quest objectives, Neptunians in some quest text, Sea Kings in other random places, all referring to the same enemy type. There’s also Vaadersoma (tips call it Vardha Soma), rare counterpart Embryo Vardha and Big Varder, soul is “Vardha Soul”… You can find some more examples here. Note that some of it has actually changed, so work is being done by them to make things more consistent, but still something to be aware of.

It’s a mess, basically. If this kind of thing will bother you, beware.

Pay To Win

Now I know what some of you are thinking, “PSO2JP is P2W as well!”, but hear me out because it’s more exaggerated on PSO2SEA.

According to some posts I’ve seen, it largely revolves around outfits. Outfits are exclusively cash content, much like with the Japanese version, but unlike there they can come with affixes.

hv7pflm

These affixes are absurdly strong compared to anything you could create on regular gear and what’s more the game’s content appears to be balanced around them. The gear can confer some serious defensive stats, so in an attempt to likely make the gear seem more attractive all monsters in the game apparently deal significantly more damage than in the Japanese version. Unless you go Guard-stance or are able to never ever get hit you’re going to find life much harder unless you pony up. What’s worse is apparently these abilities are time-limited and they expire just about when it’s time for the next round of cash-shop items to turn up.

Sadly I’m too low level to confirm the enemy damage rumour, so if I get the chance I’ll do a comparison in another post.

While on the subject of cash…

ECONOMY

Players familiar with the Japanese version are going to likely say that the economy is an issue on PSO2JP as well, seeing as dance lobby actions and some hairstyles usually go for 20M+ on JP. However, searching a few items on the SEA server does seem to suggest that things are at least a little more expensive over there. Whether this is due more to inflation or it’s simply down to content differences is a little more tricky to say.

Here are a few item price comparisons (noting that I’m comparing SEA Ship 1 to JP Ship 2):

  • Item – SEA price(JP price)
  • Photon Sphere – 156,000 – (20,000)
  • Grinder – 6,000 – (1050)
  • Grind Risk +1 – 156,000 – (6,300)
  • Affix Success +10% – 250,000 – (7,000)
  • Grind Success +10% – 1,000,000 – (105,000)
  • Mizer Soul Units (1-3slot) – 315,000 – (1050-26,000, 1-3slot)
  • Vol Soul Units (1-2slot) – 130,000 – (19,000)
  • Modulator Unit (3slot) – 315,000 – (871,000)
  • Male Cashshop Outfit – ~735,000 (starting) – (315,000)
  • Female Cashshop Outfit – ~1,500,000 (starting) – (315,000)

Now some of the price differences could be explained with content difference. Excubes are much more difficult to obtain on SEA compared to JP, which has a couple of Emergency Quests that shit them out in large quantities. I remember a time when the 6 Excube price of a 250% rare drop booster ticket was a considerable price to think about, so being able to convert cubes into Fun and subsequently into grind boosting items is rather out of the question for SEA players right now.

Grinders were also rarer once upon a time, which may explain why they’re more expensive.

Boss souls are likely skewed in price due to the fact that Japan has had better alternatives for some time now. Mizer Soul has been replaced by Siorg Soul and Vol Soul by Leopard Soul (Quartz by Bayari at that).

While it would appear that costume prices would be solid evidence of an inflation issue, it has to be pointed out that costumes on the SEA version are bind on equip. This will constantly remove items from the supply chain, as you can’t resell old unwanted clothing. As such, the price is going to naturally be higher. Edit: It’s been pointed out that this seems to only apply to scratch-complete items. So scratch that off as a potential explanation for the state of the economy.

Modulator is the clear anomaly of this data sample, being more expensive on PSO2JP by a considerable margin. I’m going to guess that this is because it’s only lately on the Japanese servers that it’s been practical to include Modulator in affixing setups. A big thing to remember is that SEA doesn’t have Soul Receptor, making some affix setups significantly more impractical than they are on the Japanese servers.

Another factor that may be pushing the economy out of balance is that SEA currently still has the daily TACO system. With enough alts, this used to be an absurdly good way (if incredibly mind-numbing) of generating Meseta. While PSO2JP does have the additional daily system and weekly Extreme Quest orders that allow you to make a similar amount of money, it’s a fair sight more spread out.

I don’t know, maybe I need to search more items or maybe I’m making some gross mis-interpretations here, but I’m not convinced that SEA’s inflation issues are significantly worse than JP’s.

Conclusion

Alright, I can’t tell you not join the SEA servers. I can’t make you come to a decision, that’s not what I’m here for, so I’m not going to say to join the Japanese servers if you’re considering playing like so many other people may. The purpose of this post isn’t to tell you what to do but to make sure you’re better informed before you make a decision to go join these servers.

The main concerns I argue are how bothered you are by localisation issues and pay to win issues and most importantly whether or not the IP block will return. If you just want to try PSO2 out, go right ahead.

That said if you’ve been waiting for an English version I can fully understand your excitement, as an official western version of the game seems exceedingly unlikely at this point. This is a shame as evidently there is still an eager fanbase awaiting its release. If nothing else, the reaction from the fans should encourage any efforts to localise the game for the west that may currently exist. Despite the odds and all the time that has passed, it seems they still have an audience.

Also sorry for the long post, turned out there was a lot more to cover than I anticipated! But of course, let me know if I’m particularly wrong about any aspect of this post.

South-East Asia Players IP-Blocked From PSO2JP?

LOSER-LOSER-LA-LA-LAAA

A good amount of noise is spreading among various places. Noise made by concerned players from the SEA region who have found that they can’t log in to the Japanese servers today.

So has there been an IP block?

Well, it certainly would seem to be that way judging by the number of people reporting it. Among the complaints about GameGuard mucking up the early access for those who actually want to play on Asiasoft’s servers, there’s a good number of complaints about being unable to connect to JP on Asiasoft’s facebook page. 

There’s also this thread on PSO-World, this thread on Reddit and various comments over on Bumped. The word has spread, people in the region are unable to connect.

Update: Seems it’s official, according to this post by CM Dynareus. Quote below:

“Hello, unfortunately yes, as countries from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines will only be able to access our server.

Cheers ”

 

sea_facebook_01
Before recently, the only official word on anything regarding IP-blocks was that players outside the SEA region would be unable to connect to Asiasoft’s servers. There was, as far as I am aware, no official word stating that SEA players would no longer be able to play on the Japanese servers.

There is a slim chance that this isn’t an IP-block. This could be a coincidental connection issue, perhaps in light of cable maintenance or something. Although my gut feeling says this is incredibly unlikely, given that it’d be a remarkable coincidence that all 6 countries covered by Asiasoft happen to be blocked at the same time and on the day after their early access is underway.

I’m in South East Asia and fuck all things Asiasoft, how do I play on PSO2JP?

You’re in luck, potentially! Head on over to PSO-World here, where AIDA of Arks Layer has put together a guide to setting up a VPN.

Thoughts

If this is indeed an official IP block, then it’s a dick move. Yes, it is within Sega’s right to do so. don’t get me wrong there. In fact, all players from SEA and indeed players from anywhere in the world aside Japan aren’t officially allowed to connect to the servers in the first place. The terms of service state that you must physically be in Japan, after-all. Blocking entire regions with no word or forewarning is still a dick move, however. It’s a dick move because Sega or Asiasoft would have had the option to inform their players this was going to happen. Give the players who were maybe willing or considering playing on the SEA servers instead some time to prepare, to bid farewell to their old characters and other players on the JP servers they may be acquainted with.

Whose fault would it be? Given that Taiwan players can freely choose to play either their local version or the Japanese version, the finger of accusation points squarely at Asiasoft. Maybe it was a part of a deal they negotiated with Sega? Who knows.

If this was indeed Asiasoft’s decision as part of a tactic to increase their playerbase, I suspect it will only further the resolve of players who don’t wish to play on their servers and drive them towards VPNs instead.

DOES THIS MEAN WE WILL BE IP-BLOCKED WHEN PSO2 COMES OUT IN THE WEST?????

No. Remember, PSO2 Taiwan (hosted by Gamania) aren’t IP-blocked, indicating this wasn’t Sega\s decision.

All this incident would prove, should it be absolutely officially confirmed that it is an IP-block, is that Sega are willing to comply with requests to IP-block regions. So should whoever be hosting the western release of the game ask for it, Sega may comply.

 

Possible Hint of PSO2’s Localized Development?

enthusiastic-dorfThis one sits quite firmly in rumourville territory, even if it’s just my own speculation. Sega posted up a job advert here. In case the listing is taken down at a later point, I’ll also include a screenshot below.

GET-A-JOBSee? Told I’d you post a screen-shot. Anyway, as you can see it’s a position with Relic Entertainment. Relic was bought up by Sega in January last year. They’re a studio known for such games as Homeworld, Company of Heroes and a number of Warhammer 40,000 games. None of which I can say I’ve played or even really know all that much about.

So could this be it? Could this be how PSO2 will finally arrive in the US? As a project managed by Relic? I can’t think of any other major established Japanese MMOs that Sega has under its possession that aren’t already out here. Well, OK, I’d hardly call the likes of Rusty Hearts “major” from what I know of it.

Let’s say it is true. Is that a good or a bad thing? I really don’t know! I know almost nothing about Relic, though to do a worse job than Sega of America has done previously would be a fair achievement.

In terms of other places speculating on this, I see a post up on DualShockers here, on SegaBits here and on TSSZ here. This news is about a month old and since nothing has been said about it one way or the other, which isn’t entirely unexpected. Say it is actually PSO2 localization work finally coming to fruition, there’s still things that could go wrong between now and any arbitrary date. If Sega says nothing, then they haven’t committed to anything so no one is let down! Apart from that 2013 release date they mentioned a little while back. If an article on PSO-World isn’t official enough for you, the vague release date of “2013” was mentioned by Ken Osagawara at the end of the PAX 2012 demo of the game here.

Wonder if this means their website might finally get any updateds?

2012, PSO2 and You

lisa_npc_of_the_yearNah no one cares about you this time either, sorry.

2012 was the release year of PSO2, but it was also the year in which the testing phases began in earnest. This was the year that we got to experience the game for the first time. As such, many players have seen the game grow in a number of visible ways and fans close to the series have had the pleasure (as well as some discomfort) of seeing this game evolve. Some areas of the game grew faster than others and some parts disappointingly didn’t grow much at all.

This post, much like the equivalent for 2011 will take a look at this past year’s happenings with PSO2. Much like last year this post is also huge. As such, this time I’m actually going to use one of those “more” tags so you’re not scrolling forever to get past it on the main feed, so let’s just place that here.

Continue reading “2012, PSO2 and You”

TGS 2012 and Ship Transfers

This post is just a summary of the various happenings in the world of PSO2 at the moment.

MMORPG.com – MMOFTW – PAX Prime 2012 Awards

PSO2 got some props in a video over at mmorpg.com, getting the “Rising Star” award. You can see the video here.

Unfortunately it doesn’t show anything beyond the opening movie, but it’s good to see PSO2 getting some exposure.


Tokyo Game Show 2012

This year’s TGS will be seeing 3 playable versions of PSO2 demonstrated. The PC version, PSVita version and the Android/iOS versions.  You can find Sega’s TGS portal here.

At last year’s TGS Sega streamed a couple of presentations. Whether that will happen this year or not I have no idea.

As a reminder, the 2nd Media Briefing revealed that all three versions of PSO2 would be using the same server data as each other. However, the Android/iOS version will not support cross-platform play and is a single player experience. Wonder if this will still be the case or not?


Ship Transfer Feature Announced

Let’s just get the price out of the way: 700AC, one character at a time.

Not a bad price, honestly. However you should be aware that only your character and their current inventory is transferred, as well as all forms of quest completion. Items in storage, your room settings and contents, shop, social things (team, friendlist, mail, profile) and any other data that’s attached to ships will not be transferred over. They’re not deleted, but they just don’t transfer with the character.

There is a cool-down period of 120 hours before you can transfer a character again.

If you’re a Team Master (guild leader) you can’t transfer. You also can’t transfer to a ship that’s hit its character creation limit.


Towards The Future

Next Wednesday will see the addition of the first part of the Attain New Power update, which includes the 3 new classes (Fighter, Gunner, Techer) as well as new weapon types. Presumably, the drop charts will all be different too with all the new additions. The new Interrupt Events will also be arriving, including the Naura Cake Shop complete with extremely annoying voices..

As you can see on the update page there is more to come for Attain New Power, including Team features, Story Quests and some new things for the AC Scratch.

I’m eager to hear more about the Team features more than the others, especially details around earning “Team Points”, what you do with them and information on how Team rooms will work.