Monday Jul 09, 2012
Phantasy Star Online 2 is on its way to North America and Europe!
SEGA’s newest and most advanced online multiplayer game ever — and successor to the revolutionary Phantasy Star Online — will be making its way on PC to North America, where it will land in 2013 as a Free to Play title!
Of Journeys Past …
Let’s travel back in time for a moment: to the days of Sega Net and the Dreamcast, and something unprecedented: a multiplayer adventure, combining arcade action, dungeon crawling, and RPG progression with a sci-fi story blended with fantasy spirit.
The original Phantasy Star Online helped to usher in the age of the MMO while introducing SEGA and Phantasy Star to a new generation of gamers. Phantasy Star Online broke new ground while resolutely doing its own thing—in particular, weaving action-based multiplayer combat through a deeply-entrenched story.
Now, the story continues for a new generation of online games and new ways to play and explore, while embracing a free to play model and building the game around that. There are, of course, lots of details to be revealed about this model — we know everyone has questions about how “Free to Play” will work for the Western version of PSO2, so stay tuned!
The New Journey Begins
Phantasy Star Online 2 will find players joining the “Arks” organization as part of the Oracle Fleet – a group of spaceships traveling through the far reaches of the galaxy, with the mission to explore and research newly discovered planets. The game recaptures the sense of adventure and discovery of the original PSO, with players finding their way through uncertain territory while working together — the game is designed so you can adventure alone and explore at your own pace, but has a heavy emphasis on teamwork as well, making unprecedented group encounters possible.
Starting the game in a central hub reminiscent of the original PSO, players will find join a futuristic living space with the chance to learn about their missions, meet other players, and set off to explore challenging new worlds. Embark on the game’s story, and encounter the mysterious D-Arkers — a malevolent force challenging those who would venture into the depths of space.
Together, intrepid players may be able to unravel the mysteries of Phantasy Star, but one thing is for sure: from Rappies to MAGs; from player housing to massive boss encounters, with teamwork and skillful action combat, Phantasy Star is back to provide all new worlds of adventure.
Infinite Adventure and Infinite Customization
There’s a lot to tell you about and a lot to look forward to – in the coming months we’ll talk about the various features of PSO2. Here are some starting points to ponder.
First, the game features an insanely powerful character creator, giving you unprecedented control over your avatar – change the size and shape of any body part, change height and weight, and — if you play as CAST — re-arrange your parts to your heart’s content to build the robot you want to be.
Play as the jack-of-all-trades Humans, the mystical Newman, or the powerful and robotic CAST. From there, you can begin to explore the way the class system is designed to open up your ability to experience and interact with the game world.
The game features three different classes to start as: the Force class with their mastery of Photon Arts, the up-close-and-personal combat prowess of the Hunter, and the long-range tactical genius of the Ranger. Leveling in PSO2 is class-based: you level up classes as you choose, allowing you to try out different ways of playing.
Making your way through the game you will explore randomized dungeons and have special random encounters – custom-event challenges that happen during the course of a mission, designed to test your skill, nerve, and teamwork. Oh yes — and, making its return from the original Phantasy Star Online, the MAG – a combat assistant you can customize to suit your needs.
Ultimately, the game is shaped around the core idea of players extensively customizing their individual weapon combos and upgrading their own skills, combining the character progression of an RPG with the flat-out combat prowess of an arcade-action game. Mix in Phantasy Star’s unique and extensive style and incredible customization, and you have the recipe for an online multiplayer experience unlike any other.
For those of you who have traveled with us in the past, through the original RPGs, through the original Online or Portable adventures, or across the Universe: We hope you will make the journey with us to this exciting new realm. If you are new to Phantasy Star, we hope you will join us for a new adventure unlike anything else Online.
We are pleased and proud to make this announcement — stay tuned for much more news to come from Phantasy Star Online 2!
You can also check out the teaser site at: http://www.pso2.com
Thursday Sep 08, 2011
A brand new event has arrived for Phantasy Star Universe on the Xbox 360 – Maximum Attack X!
UPDATE: The event website is now live! … http://phantasystaruniverse.jp/event/max2011/en/
It has been over a year since the last “Maximum Attack” event — in PSU, these have historically been all-out monster brawls, with GUARDIANS competing against the hordes — and the more kills, the better, unlocking progressively more content and event rewards. For the all-new Maximum Attack X, you’ll still be competing against hordes of monsters, but there’s more variety in missions and of course, new rewards to pursue!
As with previous PSU events, there will be an event website chronicling the progress of players: this time around, instead of a simple all-out killfest, you are collecting data chips. And, okay, to be fair — and in keeping with the spirit of Maximum Attack — you are collecting those data chips by killing monsters.
The story of Maximum Attack X finds GUARDIANS discovering an ancient RELICS device — an Ark Reactor which seemed to be running simulations of Gurhal’s future — that is to say, Gurhal’s possible futures. The Ark needs data, and that’s where the GUARDIANS come in — collecting special packets of data to feed to the Ark, giving it the ability to run better simulations and see further ahead, with more clarity.
Of course for you individual GUARDIANS that means a number of specialized missions, and fighting of waves of monsters, and competing for glorious prizes — all in the name of the future, of course.
A special training mission to introduce GUARDIANS to the missions for MAX!
The introductory mission for MAX … or is it so simple? Left or right, left or right, until you get to the end… be sure to bring a wide variety of elemental-powered weapons with you!
Just like it sounds — a devious labyrinth, this mission has the most to offer experience GUARDIANS wishing to discover the secrets of the reactor!
And finally — a new lobby decoration for the GUARDIANS Colony, never before seen on Xbox 360 PSU!
Stay tuned, we will post the event website as soon as it is live!
Tuesday Dec 21, 2010
Welcome to the Holiday edition of the GUARDIANS Express Newsletter!
Absolute Zero – Event Update
We are still in the middle of the Absolute Zero event and GUARDIANS have put up an impressive tally so far — more than 25 million kills have been registered, and both bonus routes in the main mission have now been unlocked. Here’s the special event website:
Absolute Zero will continue well into January, and intrepid GUARDIANS now have a chance to do something that has rarely been achieved before — unlocking all reward panels for an event! This would be an excellent time to do so: getting to the end of the rewards panels will unlock an unprecedented +20% success rate for weapons and armor synthesis, a PA boost, and the unique Sacred Dusters weapon.
Additionally, the event has received an update — new items are now available for trade at the special event counter. Check out the Ice Crystal Exchange mission on the 5th floor of the GUARDIANS colony to see everything you can get with your collected Ice Crystals!
The event itself offers a very unique playstyle. You can charge through the main mission, which still requires a full group of players in order to unlock all the available rewards — there needs to be some clever positioning with your photon reflectors in order to defrost the different mission targets, and this is mixed up with killing the mission’s mobs. The real fun and challenge comes after clearing this first part of the mission, though, when you can go on to the bonus mission: here, you face a special time challenge to rush back and forth between a special combat area and a “staging block”, with the goal to defeat as many monsters as possible before time expires.
It’s a unique challenge that requires skill and experience — each member of the party must learn where best to position themselves on the map as monsters spawn, and you have to co-ordinate your efforts to clear the maximum number of monsters.
Winter Holidays abound, and in PSU the GUARDIANS celebrate with traditional decorated trees. Come see the festive holiday lobbies while they last — lobbies are available on Parum, Moatoob, and Neudaiz!
Tuesday Nov 23, 2010
Welcome to the newest edition of the GUARDIANS Express Newsletter, a roundup of news & notes for the Universe of Phantasy Star.
We have lots going on right now, and the most visible changes for PSU come with new lobby decorations — the beautiful and unique Autumn Lobbies are appearing right now on the Colony and at Neudaiz. Meanwhile, one of the most awesome lobbies — featuring some of the games best music — is now available on Moatoob: the Native Creature Festival, celebrating the indigenous life of the desert planet with spectacular bonfires.
GUARDIANS Boost Road: Colony
It’s time for more GBR action! The Boost Road features boosted drop-rates on select missions, this time routing through the Colony at Clyez City. If you’re unfamiliar with how the GBR works, each person running the mission builds their drop rate the more times they run, up to a 50% boost. Party boost rates stack, so a full party of six people has a boost rate of 300%. Considering the excellent loot that drops from some of the Colony missions included in this Boost Road, it’s a great chance to go hunting.
Coming Soon: Absolute Zero
Coming this December, the special Phantasy Star Universe event: Absolute Zero!
A special event complete with event mission, a full website with unlockable panel rewards, special event currency and an exchange mission, Absolute Zero will be hitting Western PSU servers for the first time in the very near future.
The event mission gives players a new toy to play with — a “photon reflector” which helps melt ice at strategic spots. You need to uncover special nodes in order to power the reflector, and of course infected SEED are there to stop you.
The panel rewards are, of course, one of the best parts of the event mission. In the past Shred the Darkness and Maximum Attack G have had special rewards that unlock for the entire PSU community based on the number of monsters killed, and this event will work the same. A nice additional wrinkle is that an additional route to the main event mission will unlock only after a certain number of kills.
There’s a lot of great rewards to unlock, including unique items and even a boost to leveling your Photon Arts. We haven’t always unlocked every award for previous events so it’s definitely going to take the whole community working together to get all available rewards!
Wednesday Oct 13, 2010
Welcome to the return of the GUARDIANS Express Newsletter! A long-dormant feature — we haven’t seen one since the Winter Mission Carnival — this feature will now be housed here on the blogs, as a way to follow-up on newly released and recent content updates, preview announced events and content, and in general discuss the news and goings on in Phantasy Star Universe. All of this will be edited by your friendly neighborhood GM, namely, me.
There’s good reason to have this feature return here & now. Aside from the fact that I generally enjoy the chance to write about a game I’ve been immersed in for years now, Phantasy Star Universe has had a nice expansion to available content, not to mention the recent addition to Games on Demand. Let’s get grinding!
GUARDIANS Boost Road: Parum and Experience Boost!
The GUARDIANS Boost Road returned recently to the Gurhal System, and is nearing completion. The Boost Road — or GBR — is a drop boost given for running a certain set of missions, in this case Train Rescue, Endrum Remnants, The Dual Sentinel, and Duel in the Ruins (all of which also get a new S3 difficulty rank). This GBR continues for an additional two weeks, until October 29th, but will have an experience boost applied to the missions! This is the first experience boost we’ve had in the game for quite some time — since MAG+ last Febuary. So while the regular GBR may have run its course, those of you looking to level up can hit these missions for a nice boost to the usual experience rates.
Also worth noting: Duel in the Ruins, with an outdoor nighttime setting, is probably one of the most gorgeous missions to play in the game. It’s not a bad one to spend some time in.
New GUARDIANS Advanced Content
Those of you who aren’t as interested in the Boost Road have lots of new GUARDIANS Advanced Content that’s now available!
This allows extensive customization of any maximum level character. In case you’re new to the game or to Advanced Content, it’s a special type of experience earned either once you hit max level or through the conditional “/R” missions available from the Resident Security area in Clyez City, the GUARDIANS Colony.
The full list of newly available customizations is available on the quest update page on the main site. In addition, new items have been added for purchase at the Resident Security Trading Post!
This Is Halloween
One of the joys of PSU’s different lobbies is the seasonal changes to the game’s major cities — different holidays, from Sonic’s Birthday to White Day, get their own seasonal lobbies and now is the time for bouncing pumpkins and some of the most awesome music in all of Phantasy Star Universe. This lobby is available only for a limited time in the GUARDIANS Colony!
Additionally a special Halloween room item is available from stores for a limited time — and if you go hunting for the special Halloween “Rappy Latan” enemies, they might just trick you with a special treat…
Go Tell Alis
One of the perks of being a GM is, of course, having a ready-made high level character with my chosen job type maxed, and some nifty one-of-a-kind weapons to boot. But while this is fun and all, this ready-made awesomeness does keep me from having to level a character myself. Of course I’ve done this, but not since PC/PS2 servers were active: I leveled a human fighter before I was ever a GM, and then later another human Fortefighter and later a CAST Gunmaster. And while we’ve had to bid adieu to the PC/PS2 servers, I haven’t yet started a new character on the Xbox 360 — until now.
Planning a new character is PSU is a project, and picking your race, class, and gender (since even gender affects different resistances and some abilities) is a huge part of the appeal of the game. Of coruse in PSU you are allowed to acquire multiple job types (although you can only have one active at a time), but it’s the planning of a character which makes it fun.
To that end I’ve created a new CAST — what can I say, I heart robots — and named her Alis, a memorial to, of course, the protagonist of the very first Phantasy Star game. Yes, there was also “Alys” in the excellent Phantasy Star IV, but my roots are, in this case, with the original.
Early game PSU is some of my favorite — advancing rapidly in levels, picking up new weapons, gaining new lobbies, and playing the game when it’s at it’s most challenging are all fun reasons to start a new character. And even if you’re a PSU veteran of many years, making a new character is a great way to go back to missions you may not have touched for some time.
It also allows you to hit up story missions which you may not have seen for some time — the game has a incredibly epic & lengthy narrative to it, which is easy to forget if you spend most of your time just hunting rare weapons in the free missions available — but with a huge cast of characters and a lot of different story missions available, it’s a great way to experience the game as you level.
Of course making a new character isn’t any kind of news, but what I want is to use this as a chance to talk about the leveling experience in PSU, the character-crafting process, and highlihgt fun surprises along the way.
Thus, Alis will be an ongoing project — I need to decide on a profession for her (melee fighter? or the CAST speciality of ranged weapons expert?) and plan on taking her through the story missions, visiting lobbies, and helping newer players as they level too. Stay tuned as this and more will be documented in future installments of the GUARDIANS Express!
Thursday Aug 26, 2010
It’s easy to wax rhapsodic about classic RPGs, particularlly from the early 1990s, when the genre was solidifying on consoles and the strength of the titles came from their epic breadth & depth. Phantasy Star II stands on its own for sure, though — it expands on the universe created in the first title, which came out for the Master System, while easing up on some of that game’s arcane difficulty level.
Phantasy Star II opens 1,000 years after the end of the first game, and features both the return of series antagonist Dark Falz, as well as the introduction of the series’ other major villian, Mother Brain. It also helps establish the aesthetics which would set Phantasy Star apart from other RPG series and make it SEGA’s longest running franchise, period: a gameworld featuring multiple, distinct planets; epic character-driven sagas grounded with a sly sense of anime humor; a preoccupation with genetically modified races and the racial conflict that emerges between those races; and a mesh of high technology and swords-and-sorcery.
The game is still very difficult, but not as mind-bogglingly so as the first entry in the series. For example, if you happen by the beach in Phantasy Star II — unlike in the first game — you will not be instantly murdered by a giant fish-man. This is still of the “old school” variety of RPGs, though, and you will not be presented with a clear linear path, and wandering too far in the game world too soon will result with an encounter with something huge & murderously beyond your level.
Here’s some tips to get started:
That’s all for now — try this game, and have fun! It’s one of the best in the genre, and a fine example of the majesty & mystery which made evolving RPGs such a natural fit for hard-core gamers.
Tuesday Aug 03, 2010
Great news for fans of one of SEGA’s longest-running franchises: our fantasy-action MMO on the Xbox 360, Phantasy Star Universe, has now made its way to Games on Demand!
One of the biggest reasons this is significant is that Phantasy Star Universe simply hasn’t been widely available for some time, with mostly used copies available on Amazon and eBay. The download is now available for 1600 MSP / $19.99, and combined with recently making the Ambition of the Illuminus Expansion free (not to mention the release of GUARDIANS Advanced Content), there has never been a better time to get in on the action.
On a more personal note — and as a GM for PSU — I’m very happy to see this available. This is a game which has been supported by a very dedicated, very engaged fanbase. Having an opportunity to make this unique game available as a digital download is definitely a win for our community.
And the game is unique — an action/RPG MMO with all the pedigree of a dungeon crawler and the unique look & feel of the Phantasy Star franchise. The game gives users a spectacular array of customization, as well — from your character’s weight & height to the countless in-game outfits, to the 15 different class types and all the available weapon types to master, you can spend hundreds of hours sculpting a totally unique character. The game also has an excellent “My Room” and shop system, where you can decorate your own player room, use it to store items, and set up a player shop to sell goods to other players.
While all of this is familiar to longtime players, there’s still a whole “universe” for others to discover, and the game has been more lively recently than ever before — while the game has always had lots of updates adding additional missions & events, the recent GUARDIANS Advanced Content release adds unprecedented customization & options to the game, giving even players who hit the level cap a chance to continue to develop and customize their character’s abilities and powers.
Check out Phantasy Star Universe over Xbox Live and download the expansion for free — even if you don’t get in on the online action, offline mode has an epic single-player “story mode”. Online mode has a subscription fee but doesn’t require a Gold Membership in order to use — whatever way you pick to play, now’s a great time to check out the Universe!
Wednesday Jul 21, 2010
We’ve got some great news for Phantasy Star Universe!
First, the long-awaited GUARDIANS Advanced Content update — known previously as the Supplemental Update in Japan — is now available for PSU! To help usher in this jam-packed new update — and the many other additions of content to follow it — we have also made the Ambition of the Illuminus expansion totally free over Xbox Live, now and forever.
The GUARDIANS Advanced Content represents the most important (and largest) update to the game since the launch of the Ambition of the Illuminus expansion: There are tons of new customization options and upgrades to abilities and classes, as well as tons of new items of all ranks to collect (some of which are being added right away, and more of which are being rolled out over time), new missions to try, and tons of refinements and adjustments to gameplay.
The gameplay updates — detailed here, in one of our previews — are essentially all improvements to existing classes: the game has a total of 15 different classes, and this update gives some of the underpowered classes (especially the Techer classes) some nice boosts, giving everyone a lot more versatility in group and solo play.
More than just gameplay updates though, GUARDIANS Advanced Content now adds the ability to earn AEXP, or “Advanced Experience Points”. This special type of experience can be collected by players of all levels and used at the level cap to customize abilities and powers, giving an unprecedented control over your character’s abilities. You can, for example, add damage to certain types of weapons, and become a specialist with your favorite gear, or you can add unique defensive abilities and give yourself more utility on the battlefield.
There are also new missions added, with the “/R” designation after their title, which are unique group-oriented missions. These missions have special rules designed for greater challenge and group play, and help players earn more of the “AEXP” for customizing their characters.
There’s a lot to see & explore with this Update, with a lot more on the way. It’s a great time to start playing — or to come back. Stay tuned — there’s a lot more news on the way for PSU!
Friday Jun 04, 2010
Coming soon to Phantasy Star Universe is the long-awaited Supplemental Update. This major update for the online game represents not just an influx of new missions, items, options, and even character outfits, but a whole new way to play the game. Featuring a host of game balance adjustments for weapons, abilities, and character classes, the update will also provide the ability for max-level players to continue to customize their skills even after hitting the level cap.
The update is due early this Summer, and over the next several weeks we will be rolling out previews of the content. While a large portion of the Supplemental Update itself is available soon — including the all-important ability to acquire “AEXP”, which allows for character customization to take place at max level — different missions and features will be rolled out all summer long in a series of packed updates.
Of course, end game experience is key in any MMO-type game. Getting to the level cap is always a unique experience, but what about once you’re there? Phantasy Star Universe is about hunting the best and most rare weapons from the biggest bosses, and maxing your character’s abilities like that. But now? I look forward to seeing our always-lively forums lit up with discussions of how best to spend the “AEXP” points which allow for customization of end-game characters.
Also introduced in the update will be special GUARDIANS Advanced Style missions — these missions will offer unique challenges to players, with automatic “level caps” for the missions and restrictions on the weapon types that can be used, as well as other unique conditions. If that sounds like a throwback to the “Challenge Missions” of PSO — or for that matter, the upcoming Phantasy Star Portable 2 — well, that’s intentional. This new class of missions in game — with more slated to be added throughout the summer — is a chance to play a new way, with new challenges.
For a lot more details and information, here’s the first two parts of our preview for the Supplemental Update:
If you would like to learn more about the game, check out phantasystaruniverse.com for lots of background and details!
Stay tuned: There’s more to come soon!
Friday May 21, 2010
Phantasy Star Portable 2 — the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Phantasy Star Portable — has now been announced for the Playstation Portable, and will be coming to North America and Europe in the Fall of 2010!
Taking place three years after the end of the story missions that occur during Phantasy Star Universe, the denizens of the Gurhal System have dispatched the menace of the SEED — but the war effort has cost them, and with dwindling resources the game’s heroes will travel & take on entirely new challenges.
The game allows up to four players to connect online via Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure modes, allowing people to play with their friends wherever they are. Fans of old school Phantasy Star can also rejoice — the game features the return of Battle and Challenge missions, adapted from the original Phantasy Star Online. These multiplayer options combine with an epic single player experience and story missions which allow for extensive and advanced character customization and exploration.
In the true spirit of Phantasy Star, there really is a whole universe of things to explore: Phantasy Star Portable 2 features double the amount of content from previous games, with all new characters (and some returning favorites), over 100 missions, more than 170 enemies and all-new bosses, and more than 2,000 weapons and items. Combat has been enhanced as well, with familiar action-style combat of the Phantasy Star series augmented with all new features and abilities.
Stay tuned for more news — and look forward to Phantasy Star Portable 2 in Fall of 2010!
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