Thursday, January 31, 2008

PS2/PC: Elimination Challenge on February 1st

LamarJ and ~DreamStar~ are hosting a time attack event. Here are a few details:

Date: February 1st, 2008
Time: 7 PM PST, 10 PM EST, 3 AM Feb 2nd UTC
Place: Parum West juice counter on Universe 15
Requirements: AMF missions S Rank level (AotI exclusive), 4 player maximum party
Prizes: Will be announced before the race

Your teammates must survive or they will be removed from the party by an event staff member. Please visit the thread below for more information as well as to sign up.

Update: This event has been rescheduled for Feb 2nd.

Update: This event has been rescheduled for Feb 22nd.

LamarJ's Event Thread

Other: Sega of America Blog

A couple of the admins over at Sega have started a new blog to be more vocal about various games (including PSU). You'll probably recognize several names if you're familiar with the official PSU boards. The design is based off of other recent blogs Sega has put up.

I'll be linking this from the side as long as they make sure to keep putting up some interesting PSU related posts. When some PSU related posts do roll in, I'll perhaps link directly to that category (or maybe even try to integrate them).

SoA Blog
Discussion Thread
Other Blogs

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

General: Update on Grinder Exploit Bannings and Patch

chillaura writes:

"We are waiting for Sonic Team to give us a list of all cheaters. We have been told by Sonic Team to "ban them eternally" and they may request a Xbox Live ban from Microsoft. While there may be a small amount of leeway for users who might have tested the glitch once and not sold any duplicated grinders I don't know if there is a more clear way we can state that this cheat will get your account banned."
While there have been a few mentions about the glitch possibly working on the PC/PS2 servers, the effects have mostly been seen immediately and to a noticeable degree on 360. This post is aimed pretty much at them.

If you have had your account suspended, it doesn't necessarily mean that your Live account will be banned. As it was said in an earlier post, they took some precautionary measures by giving a 48 hour timeout to those suspected of abusing it.

He also writes:
"We have been working on this issue for a few weeks and have been told that the title update tomorrow night will fix it. There will also be a patch for PC/PS2. You can understand why we tried to keep this quiet until it was fixed, but this is not a new issue."
It would seem that it is included in the incoming patch as well. It's possible that one of the exploiters posted the method when he saw that the exploit might be patched soon. That or maybe he had just been banned recently and wanted to take revenge.

More on Live suspensions:
"SEGA does not have a two strike system. For better or worse we deal with each incident on a case by case basis unless you have been warned that any further incidents will result in a permanent ban.

As we have told players many times before, Microsofts Xbox Live privacy policy interferes with our ability to effectively send warnings to the Xbox players and we will sometimes suspend players without warning just to get their attention."
For those not in the know, Sonic Team can't really just call up or email these users on Live. It's just a security method for MS as well as a difference in the way that billing works. In some cases they probably figure that if they suspend a user that they will contact Sega to see what's up.

There has not been further mention about how Sonic Team plans to handle this situation. There are many of us still hoping for a rollback, although it's possible that they have something else effective in mind. However, I still cannot think of a simpler way to counteract the mess.

Update: In the announcement thread mentioned in an earlier post, chillaura has announced that they have banned more users on 360 as well as a few on PC/PS2. It would seem that the exploit is not 360 specific.

chillaura's Posts
Announcement Thread

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

General: Update for February 1st

There will in fact be a content update for this week. Here's a short breakdown:

- Episode 3 Chapter 2 [AotI]
- Parum item exchange mission
- New clothes and parts (color variations) [AotI]
- New Mt. Ohtoku box items [AotI]
- Meseta update (only given to users inside the actual mission)
- PSUv1 missions updated with same droprates as AotI ones
- Drop changes to some AotI enemies
- Rare materials from containers more common in missions with level 125+ enemies
- Xbox 360 title update (earlier thread)

This update picks up the missing story mission from JP's Nov 8th update as well as adds some more of the Nov 22nd update. The non content game changes are a collection of various updates that have hit the JP server from then up until recently.

EN Update Page
Discussion Thread
JP 360 Update Page

General: Response to Grinder Exploit

chillaura has made a post regarding how Sonic Team has been dealing with the recent appearance of the grinder exploit as well as its use leading up to its public release.

Personally, I find that a rollback should be done, even if it were to the last maintenance period. A couple of days 'lost' is more than worth recovering the economy and any other negative traits it's brought to the servers. It's the simplest and most effective solution.

Update: Another post has been made in the same announcement about more 360 bannings as well as a few PC/PS2 bannings.

Announcement Thread
Discussion Thread

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for January 31st

As a recent post mentioned, this new content will be available soon:

- Episode 3 Chapter 4 (Guardians Colony 5th Floor)
- S Rank Bruce's Dungeon (Moatoob Guardians Branch)
- Party formation mission (Moatoob Guardians Branch)
- New items
- New clothes and parts
- Casino rotation
- Mt. Ohtoku donation box updated

All are AotI exclusive, even the S Rank version of Bruce's Dungeon.

JP Update Page

Monday, January 28, 2008

Xbox 360: Title Update for February 1st

There will be a title update this week to take care of a few issues. This should fix the following:

- Photon Gacha room item
- Machine Gun glitch
- Other minor issues

No word has been made yet about the Messenger Kit (Chatpad) or the expansion's achievements. More details will probably be available later this week.

A recent posting of a support email also mentions that this patch should clean up some of the slowdown issues that the game has been having (most likely the expansion's robot/memory leak one at least).

Official Announcement

Friday, January 25, 2008

Japan: More Phantasy Star 20th Anniversary Merchandise

Sega Direct will be offering some new items for fans in the next few months.

First off is Sega Ages Volume 32 (Phantasy Star Complete Collection) for the PS2. This includes all four main games as well as the eight PSII text adventure spinoffs. Features such as more save slots and faster movement are available. I expect that the normal types of extras will be available as well. Sega has been doing pretty well padding out their extras sections in this series (especially with the classic versions of the games).

Next up is a soundtrack to the original games. It is mentioned that a remastering has been done to further enhance the quality of the songs. It seems that it will be a full four disks.

The next three items were featured in the recent Maximum Attack G event as prizes. There is a poster, an Eco-bag, and a notepad all designated to represent the 20th anniversary.

A mention of a t-shirt is made, but unfortunely the design is not available for viewing yet.

Most of these items will be available by the end of March.

Update: Picture removed. Sega Direct is currently gone indefinately.

PS 20th Goods
Sega Direct PS 20th Goods Page

Japan: Looking Towards the Future 2

Today JP has updated their planned content list through June. Here is a breakdown of what is listed.

January:

- 10th, 17th, and 24th already posted
[probably all next week:]
- Episode 3 Chapter 4
- S Rank Bruce's Dungeon (Moatoob Guardians Branch)
- Party formation mission (Moatoob)
- New items
- New clothes and parts
- Casino rotation

February:

- Episode 3 Chapter 5
- New field with a new free mission
- S Rank Her Secret Mission (Neudaiz Guardians Branch)
- New Parum party mission
- Additional party formation mission
- Valentine's Day lobbies put up
- New PM devices
- New items
- New clothes and parts
- Casino rotation
- Photon Art rebalancing (ones that are quite slow in leveling will become faster)

March:

- Mission Carnival Event (previously known as the Dengeki cup, Hoverboard races appear)
- Level cap raised to 140
- PA cap raised to 50
- Fighmaster added
- Master Gunner added
- Masterforce added
- White Day and Easter lobbies put up

April, May, June:

- More Episode 3 chapters distributed
- Event involved with impending story ending
- Level cap raised to 150
- New field with a new free mission
- New items
- New GBR
- S2 Ranks for AotI free missions
- Parum Unification, Sonic's Birthday, Wedding, and Cherry Blossom lobbies put up
- New PM devices

As said before, Sonic Team warns that the schedule may change and to continue expecting smaller updates during the weekly maintenance periods. They also mention to continue looking out for GM events, as well as balance and system updates.

I would want to think they forgot to mention a story mission for March (which would be the 6th). The next three months would be 7, 8, and 9. If it's 10 chapters like Episode 2, this would match up with the story based event happening near the end of the chart. GBR will probably end up being Neudaiz (as the last two were Parum and Moatoob). With the PSO type missions, we'll have to wait and see what kinds of missions they will fall under.

As for the PA rebalancing, the EN servers can probably expect this around when the JP ones get it.

JP Future Content Release Estimates 2

Japan: Event Lists

Below you'll find links to pages that Sonic Team has posted involving past events for the JP server. Before most of these pages were spread out across the website, but now they're here for reference.

Event List
GM Event List

General: Update for January 25th

Both Winter Event missions are now available and will continue to be for the next week.

EN Update Page

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XXI



Iceman returns for this episode. If you have any comments or suggestions for the podcast, post them in the thread below. Otherwise, enjoy the usual features in this most current episode.

Podcast at Switchpod (Also on iTunes)
Discussion Thread

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for January 24th

Another update this week, but fortunately it's pretty little:

- The prior released item exchange quest at the Koltova Juice stand (Holtes City West) has more items
- Tickets will be available to allow you to move your room to Moatoob or back to the Guardians Colony
- More options to advance PM weapons and armor

A couple of these sound fairly interesting. Much more will probably be known after release.

JP Update Page

Monday, January 21, 2008

Xbox 360: Free XBLA Game

As a consolation for some of the various Live issues around the holidays, MS is giving away a free Live arcade game this week (check that out, I did get to use the abbreviation...).

Undertow is the name of the game and it normally costs 800 points (10 USD). It will be available for free starting this Wednesday and ending on Sunday. Both Silver and Gold users will be able to take advantage of it. It's received generally good reviews and is more or less an underwater shooter.

It's been said that if you already bought the game to contact customer support.

Gamerscore Blog Announcement
Undertow Page
Apology Letter

Other: Comments and Suggestions

While I appreciate any and all feedback on whatever post I may come up with, this is a more general one for the site overall. It is linked on the left side of the page under PSUT Links.

Whenever you have something to say, feel free to post it here. Otherwise, here are links to my Xbox Live and Official Forum profiles:

PSOBB Forum
PSU Forum
Xbox Live

Personal Messages on the forums and Live messages are probably the best ways of contacting me outside of here. Like I said before, my forum account is also S-T-H and my gamertag is katsukiyakisoba.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Other: 200th Post Spectacular

It's been about five months now. Here's a reminder about the feed (I'll link them permanently later):

Atom: http://psutimes.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS: http://psutimes.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Not too much is different than the last check in and I think I'll hold off on the random stat breakdown. I have noticed a difference from my perspective though. Lately, instead of posting my 1-2 posts a day consistantly, they've been in several day bursts. Not to worry though, there are other reasons for this that aren't me getting bored of it.

I know I hadn't posted about Maximum Attack G or Phantasy Star Portable. Confusing, I know. I'm sure I'll do it, even though it's a little bit late. They are pretty big stories of course. Can't really understand why I kept holding off on it.

I'm also going to put up a permanent link to an incoming post I'm going to use for comments and suggestions. I know I don't get that many as it is, so hopefully having a specific area for them will help. I really do appreciate any criticism. The entire point of this site is to help people get the information they need. Most of the time the only evidence of this is the search engine data. I'm looking for anything from comments about how much focus I put on each platform to suggestions on new post categories. There's always room for improvement.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Other: PSOBB Update

From Clumsyorchid:

Experience bonus: 4x
Droprate bonus: 3x
Death Penalty: Removed

Droprate and Experience changes will only apply to QUEST content. It will
not apply to any Non-quest content. This is just how the game was coded to take
advantage of these multipliers.
Yea...I would definately say that this is probably enough to well please any player with reasonable expectations. I've already been playing with many of my old friends and teammates, so I'm hoping that some of you that have been on edge about coming back to visit will.

Remember, the servers will be free to anyone with an account until they are shutdown (March 31st).

Update: Clumsyorchid has posted saying that holiday rappy appearances are in the works.

Update Announcement

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XX



PSU_Castor hosts this one solo with all the normal news and the common mystery track contest. It's available at Switchpod and iTunes.

As an aside, I was one of the users involved in that discussion on the pros and cons of the guild forum. I wasn't PM'd for a followup, but in due time I'll probably post something about it anyway. As the thread probably won't be going away any time soon, I feel some clarification might be necessary. For the present, however, I'll say that I do not dislike what has become of that portion of the community and feel that in many cases positive things have become of them. The rest I'll cover later.

Podcast at Switchpod
Discussion Thread

General: Newman Knights GM Event on January 24th



Following the lead of the prior Beast Bonfire GM Event, the Newman Knights one is looking to honor all those Newmans of the Gurhal System. Karen Erra and Maya Shidow will be appearing during this event. Times are listed in the posting linked below. Considering this event is probably very much like the prior one, Newman characters can possibly expect a chance at receiving an item from one of these story characters.

Update: This event has been delayed until January 31st. More details can be found in eggshen's posting.

Official Announcement
eggshen's Announcement

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for January 17th

Today's update has just gone up and is rather large. While it's true that most of the details went up a couple days ago, there is also a post release update notification. Because of it's size, this one required more time.

Maximum Attack G Event Rewards (also apply to normal PSU, Jan 17-31):

- 3 star photon fortune
- +20% to synthesis rates for weapons and armor
- Free Lumilass makeovers
- Half price clothes and parts
- +10% chance of success to grinding

MAG Participation Gifts (pick up before Feb 29th from common box):

- Rappy Tip
- NiGHTS Statue
- Sange

MAG Time Attack Gifts (pick up before Feb 29th from common box):

- Gold Medal (medals seem to be for various players in the top 100)
- Silver Medal
- Bronze Medal
- Spread Needle / G (for players in the top 500)

MAG Lottery Gifts (physical items sent out to random players):

- Net Cash Credit (100 winners)
- Various PSO Statuettes (20 winners and 36 types)
- PS20th Anniversary Notepads (220 winners)
- Eco Bag (120 winners)
- Pete Cushion (5 winners)

The other two prizes for the event were the Ruins area for MAG as well as a Dark Falz boss area (reminiscent of PSU's De Rol Le).

Guardian's Boost Road (Jan 17 - Feb 28):

- Certain AotI missions will now be a part of GBR
- Location this time is Moatoob (specifically the path to Casino Voloyal)
- System Defense
- Desert Terror
- Tunnel Recapture
- Caves of Ice [AotI]
- Awoken Serpent [AotI]
- GM event announced for Jan 24th through the 31st (works similar to past GM mission events)

Normal Updates:

- New 'rare' mission (will appear at random at any Moatoob mission counter, resembles PSO Forest) [AotI]
- S2 rank option for the missions Caves of Ice and Awoken Serpent [AotI]
- Tunnel Recapture is rebalanced (featured in a prior EN update)
- New weapons and armor [AotI]
- Casino rotation involving parts, clothes, room items, jukebox disks (Casino outfits are pictured) [AotI]
- Type levels upped from 15 to 20
- The priestess on Mt. Ohtoku features new lines [AotI]
- Drop adjustments made to original PSU missions to match up with AotI missions
- AotI rates are also adjusted
- Adjustments to the board drops of monsters
- Materials found in containers on high level missions will have their drop rates adjusted
- Original PSU missions featured in GBR will give double the mission points

Post Release Patch Notes:

- Update to version 2.0004.3
- Graphical effect bug due to frame skip corrected (specifically the sun in a midpoint lobby)
- Updates to a pricing issue in clothes and parts NPC shops
- Updates to machine gun firing (this could be another attempt to fix any last glitches)
- A future fix will be available for the Windows version to take care of some My Room graphic glitches

While we'll of course have to wait for the content updates, I would assume that a patch will be incoming soon for EN PC/PS2. I would also expect that 360 players will have to wait a bit longer for MS to certify it when it does arrive.

JP Update Page
JP Patch Page
JP MAG Page
JP GBR Page
JP GBR GM Event

General: Update for January 18th

Tomorrow, the current 'The Protectors' alpha mission will disappear and the beta version will be added. Both will be available after next week's update.

No other updates were mentioned.

JP 360 Update Page
EN Update Page
PSUP Second Event Mission Page

Friday, January 11, 2008

Other: Free PSOBB

Just a reminder:

PSOBB is now in its free state. This will continue until March 31st, when the servers will be closed. Anyone who has had a playsega account for the game will be able to play. Be on the watch for error 906, though. It's been keeping the population off at random for indefinite lengths of time over the past month or two.

Update: At 11 PM PST on January 17th, Sonic Team will be increasing the experience and drop rates.

Update Annoucement

Japan: Dengeki Cup to Include PVP / Battle Mode

EspioKaos has informed the community of the recently announced mission types for the Dengeki Cup (which should be hitting during late Feb / early Mar). These include a variety of player versus player, vehicle, puzzle, survival, and the normal types of missions. He gives a few bulletpoints that they mention in his post, which is linked below.

I would foresee a similar event to hit sometime during the summer for the English version. If PSU's battle mode is anything like PSO's, I'd hope they would apply some of that work to a PSU challenge mode. Anyway, I'd expect more details on this event soon.

Update: I apologize for not mentioning this sooner. PVP in terms of Dengeki means a number of competitions between users, but unfortunately none of which are direct battle.

Dengeki Cup Info
PSOW Thread

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XIX



Episode 19 has arrived after a couple week break. The normal stuff is all included, with many chances for prizes this time around.

That being said, the winter event has just started and I hope everyone gets a lot of free time for it!

Discussion Thread
Podcast at Switchpod

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

PS2/PC: Solo Race Event on January 10th

raujinn and Black Paper are holding a time attack event this Thursday. Here's some details:

Date: January 10th, 2008
Time: 3 PM PST, 6 PM EST, 11 PM UTC
Place: Neudaiz mission counter on Universe 5
Requirements: A rank Forested Islands, Rainbow Beast, and Forest Infiltration
Prizes: 1.5 million meseta for first place, 750000 for second, 350000 for third
Additional Prizes: First place of their race gets a Nanopolymer or Ortapolymer

Check the thread for full details.

Announcement Thread

Xbox 360: Extinction of the AHLM Event on January 18th

VD0gamemaster and the Brigade of the Hidden Shadow are holding a sorta time attack event this month. Some details are below, but check out the thread for full information.

Date: January 18th, 2008
Time: 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST, 12 PM UTC
Place: Guardians Colony first floor on Universe 23
Requirements: Max group of 5, no warping to midpoint lobbies, no mechguns, S2 rank missions
Prizes: 5 million meseta for first place, 3 million for second, 1.5 million for third with an increase possible

Announcement Thread

Other: Bill's Last Day



This fake recap of Bill Gates' last full day at MS has been making its way around the internet. It was featured as part of his keynote at CES. From the link below, you can download it in many forms and qualities.

Bill's Last Day at on10

General: Update for January 11th

Here's a short breakdown of the stuff going up on Friday:

- 3 star photon fortune from Jan 11th to Feb 1st to make up for the rollback on Dec 14th
- Winter event starts
- Drop rates up 250%, exp rates up 200%-350%, more rare enemies, double boss boxes with event missions
- First event mission available Jan 11th through Jan 17th and Jan 25th through Jan 31st
- This mission is accessed from the Guardian's Colony 5th floor and apparently features dual bosses
- Winter lobbies added
- New clothes and parts [AotI]
- New room goods for the variety shop [AotI]
- Casino updated (some items added, some temporarily removed) [AotI]
- Maximum level cap raised to 120
- Tunnel Recapture C-S2 rebalanced
- Additional cube for transferring Universes will be added to the Casino [AotI]
- Vision Phone added to My Room shop counter

It seems that this update is based mostly off of JP's November 8th update, just without the addition of the next story mission. The Winter Event mirrors the Thanks Festa that JP had for their 1st anniversary. The last few bulletpoints are being made in the JP update for this week (Jan 10th).

PSUP has a bit of information for the Winter Event as it was already run in JP as the Thanks Festa. I'll be on the lookout for any good guides I can find and link them like I did during the 1UP Cup on the side.

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
PSUP Winter Event Page
PSUP First Event Mission Page

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for January 10th

Incoming this Thursday for Japan:

- Winter lobbies [PSUv1]
- New Ryucross mission C-S accessed from midpoint lobby (Dark Falz appears)
- Maximum Attack G' C-A accessed from Guardian's Colony 5th floor
- Badges will no longer be obtainable, but can still be exchanged
- A new midpoint lobby (seems to be the one based off the pre Dark Falz fight area in PSO)
- Additional room goods [some PSUv1]
- More Casino items
- Mt. Ohtoku box updated
- Vision Phone update for My Room [PSUv1]
- 14 Universes dropped (56 down to 42) [PSUv1]

JP Update Page

Friday, January 4, 2008

General: Winter Event Announced and More Three Star PF

Starting January 11th, new missions will be available for a limited time. AotI is not required for the event. It seems as if this event mirrors the 1st Anniversary Thanks Festa that JP had a few months ago. Specifics can be found at the link below, but more information will be coming soon.

Also, due to the rollback about three weeks ago, we will have three star photon fortune for January 11th through February 1st.

Announcement
Discussion Thread

PS2/PC: Recent Shop and Room Thefts

Sega has handled the users that were creating problems recently on the servers. They are also in the process of responding to all the affected users that sent in abuse forms. Full details are below.

Announcement