Monday, March 31, 2008

Other: EN PSOBB Finally Shuts Down and Etc.

At around 4:40 PM PDT the servers came to a close with a nice 10 minute warning. Almost puts an end to an era. Interesting to note, the lobbies changed almost at random today. Certain holidays (including curtains, cherry blossoms, and Sonic) came and went. The only official servers left are PSOBB JP and PSOX EN. The EN Xbox server is supposed to follow the JP one soon enough in closing as mentioned by Clumsyorchid (Eternal Christmas can't last forever). I can see PSOBB JP lasting for a good length longer.

Our PSOBB servers aren't the only thing gone missing. Sega's Korean division, Sega Direct, and Sammy's European division (as of a few weeks ago) have been closed. There was also a mention of a cancelled amusement complex they had already invested some money in.

I have to wonder if perhaps it would have been in their (Sega Korea's) interests to setup billing for PSO (as well as PSU if it hadn't been) over there. There are some surprising countries that weren't able to pay and play the game.

Sega Direct just launched a few of the more major PS 20th anniversary items on the 27th (OST, game collection). However, their site was in maintenance shortly there after followed by a mention of major site failure. They ended up taking some orders over the phone exclusively.

It's not all doom and gloom though. I can see some pretty promising (rumored as well as detailed) stuff on the horizon.

Update: Sega Direct is now taking orders (still over the phone) until April 3rd.

Announcement Topic

Sunday, March 30, 2008

General: More Master Type Details

EspioKaos has updated his post over at PSOW with some more specific details about the new types. They would be a bit long to list here. However, there are a few interesting points:

- Faster attack speeds
- Limited weapon selection
- Require certain levels of advanced types

You can also find videos of examples of attack speeds for the other two master types at the link. Credits for this video would be JonathanF and Kamica.

Starting on page 31, the Master types had been released and prompted a discussion of stat modifiers and the like. For those looking to see what level 1 of these types compare to level 20 of some of the advanced ones or things like that, this would be something to look at.

PSOW Topic
PSOW Topic Page 31

Thursday, March 27, 2008

MAG: Arriving April 25th and Some Update Info

Sonic Team has just announced MAG for the EN servers! Prepare for a bunch more PSO content coming in late April. Hit the link for the short backstory and a bit of preview info. If you want to find out more, check some of JP's updates from around Dec/Jan. Also remember that you'll need AotI to play.

To quote chillaura on the updates until then:

The game play changes have been pushed back to 4/25, although we are scheduled for our second title update (Since AOTI) for 4/18.

Since there is a relatively light schedule for the next 3 weeks Ill share it now. As we get closer to 4/25 there will be more information about that update.

HSM S is scheduled for 4/4
No Update for 4/11
Patch(PC/PS2) and Title Update (Xbox360) for 4/18
Big update 4/25

We are still waiting for detailed patch notes for 4/18. This is not a rebalancing update, just fixes to the game client.

Sounds pretty good. It looks like the balance patch has been pushed back a bit, but perhaps at least maybe they have more time to make other corrections. As always, I'll keep mentioning other updates as we go along.

Update: Changed tag to MAG. (Hey that rhymes!)

Official Announcement
Discussion Thread

Japan: Phantasy Star II Shirt and Goods Release Reminder

I mentioned in an earlier post that there were plans of a 20th anniversary shirt and they did at some point put up details for it. It's interesting to note that they actually use English dialogue on it. You can view this and the other products at the links below. The shirt, game collection, and soundtrack all release today.

Update: Added Sega Ages page.

Phantasy Star II Shirt
PS 20th Anniversary Goods
Sega Ages Page for PS Collection

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

General: Sonic Team is Listening 2

chillaura has posted a few polls asking players why they are or aren't playing PSU at the moment. Check them out below and please give some constructive responses.

Update: These polls have been linked from the main site so I've added that news post. They've also been upgraded to stickies.

What motivates you to play PSU?
Why I don't play PSU?
Official Announcement

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

General: Update for March 28th

JP has posted our incoming content update. Here's a breakdown:

- Easter lobbies and Rappies (March 28th to April 18th) [PSUv1]
- The Egg Thieves party mission C-S (Parum Guardians Branch)
- Parum Guardians Branch party formation mission
- New items

This is the same update as JP's Feb 7th one with the addition of the seasonal lobbies. I've linked the relevant pages on PSUP below.

Update: EN page has been posted. There is still a bug with the party formation missions, but it will be corrected in the future. For now, check the link to read up on it. Also, these missions are AotI exclusive, they just don't have yellow coloring yet. Now that I think about it, this seems to be an opportune time to see an 'Egg' mission. Just remember that it's not an event mission and will remain after the holiday stuff is taken down.

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
Rappy Paska on PSUP
The Egg Thieves on PSUP

Monday, March 24, 2008

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for March 27th

I've been...out there for the past couple days. Credits to EspioKaos for his translation:

Seasonal event
- Easter begins and will be running from March 27 until April 03.

Event missions
- Some new items will be added to the exchange mission "Dengeki Editorial Department." Going by the screen they're showing, looks like Electro Heart will be one of those items. Also, the mission "Do-or-die Spirit - Den" will be added back alongside "Do-or-die Spirit - Geki."

New battle types
- Fighmaster, Gunmaster and Masterforce will be added!
* These three types will be able to equip only S-rank weapons and line shields. C, B and A weapons and line shields cannot be equipped. Units of all ranks can still be used, however.
* Due to the equipment restrictions of these three types, some missions cannot be cleared with a grade of S when soloed.

System updates
* The level cap will be increased to LV140.
* Some photon arts will cap out at LV50.
* Fighgunners' restrictions on machineguns, handguns and twin handguns will be upgraded from A to S.
* Wartechers' support TECHNIC level will increase from LV20 to LV30.
* Fortetechers' support TECHNIC level will increase from LV30 to LV40. They will also receive an increase in HP.
* Acrotechers' support TECHNIC level will increase from LV40 to LV50.
* Normal rifle bullets (non-photon art bullets) will receive a PP cost reduction.
* Gifoie, Gibarta, Gizonde, Gidiga, Nosdiga, Noszonde and Nosmegid will receive PP cost reductions.
Sounds like some pretty hefty stat additions there. We might see some, but probably not all of these adjustments sometime in the near future. I assume some of them have to do with the new level cap, types, and PA caps. Don't forget that there is still a planned balance update for April 11th on the EN side.

Update: A post has been made mentioning some bug fixes and a week extension of the event.

Update: A post was put up mentioning fixes to what I believe were update notifications on JP's vision phone.

Update: A late notice was put up about the quiz mission.

JP Update Page
PSOW Thread
Official Forum Thread
Extension Announcement
Vision Phone Fix
Quiz Mission Notice

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Other: Happy Easter

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday whether they celebrate it or not. I still can't get over how early it came this year. Sort of butts into PSU's holiday schedule what with us celebrating White Day. I know the PC/PS2 players are a bit annoyed with the recent downtime, but try to remember what's truly important...what this holiday is all about. All you need to do is look above for guidance.

PS2/PC: Billing Servers Down

The authentication system has not been working since early yesterday and thus users can't get into PSU. Clumsyorchid has posted some info at the link. Unfortunately for everyone involved it just happens to be a holiday weekend. Not to mention the current seasonal event (White Day) has once again been cut down a bit. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

Update: The problem had been identified and resolved. Apparently a broken air conditioner caused the servers at Sega of Europe to overheat and go offline. More details can be found at the announcement link. More comments from Clumsyorchid can be found in the linked discussion thread.

Announcement Thread
Resolution Discussion Thread
Garfield is down

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Xbox 360: Easter Egg Hunt on March 22nd

The clan FOXHOUND will be hosting an Easter event this weekend. Full details linked below.

Date: March 22nd, 2008
Time: 2 PM PST, 5 PM EST, 10 PM UTC (Check this for Daylight Savings mistakes)
Place: Kugo Hotsprings (Neudaiz) Universe 10
Requirements: At least level 20, form team, register on clan's forum
Prizes: Distributed from a Gacha machine

Update: Place added to thread.

Announcement Thread

PS2/PC: Arika Cup on March 29th

Official forum member Arika-chan is holding an event on March 29th. There are some fairly hefty details, so check out the thread linked below.

Date: March 29nd, 2008
Time: 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST, 12 PM UTC (Check for Daylight Savings mistakes)
Place: Gawik's Pub (bar on Moatoob) on Universe 7
Requirements: Ability to do Bruce's Dungeon S and more
Prizes: 10 million meseta and love letter for first, 4 million for second, and 1 million for third

Announcement Thread

General: No Maintenance for March 21st

There won't be a content update or maintenance for this week. chillaura says to expect more content next week.

To quote him later on:

"Next update is easter lobbies and a new party mission/waiting room on Parum.
Possibly. [tm Kubara]"
It sounds to me like JP's Feb 7 update. I've also linked another thread with his MAG update.

Discussion Thread
MAG Update Discussion Thread

Monday, March 17, 2008

PS2/PC: Content Update Appearing Tonight

Sega has managed to come through and pull a maintenance for 11 PM PST tonight to upload the various content that was held back from last Friday (instead of waiting until another usual maintenance time).

However, there is still one minor issue (which is addressed in the links below along with the update list).

Content Update Page
Official Announcement
Announcement Thread

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Community: Episode One on YouTube

Official forum user Amaury25 has begun uploading a recording of pretty much the entirety of PSU's Episode One Story Mode. Those of you that only picked up the expansion on PC/PS2 will be able to watch the original story on YouTube. At the moment, several videos are going up on a daily basis. I'd expect it won't be very long before it's finished.

Discussion Thread

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Community: Who is ideal for PSU?

I've posed another question as an extension of the 'Word of Mouth' poll I put up recently. This one concerns what kinds of people would be best suited to playing and enjoying PSU. I would most appreciate all the input I can get at your most relevant forum below.

Official Forum
PSOW Forum Forum

Friday, March 14, 2008

PS2/PC: Elimination Event on March 29nd

liGhtDamage and Warriors' Essence have announced an elimination event. Full details at the link below.

Date: March 29nd, 2008
Time: 3 PM PST, 6 PM EST, 11 PM UTC (Check for Daylight Savings mistakes)
Place: Guardians Colony first floor on Universe 16
Requirements: Level 100+, preregister, 3 man teams
Prizes: TBA

Update: Thread had been updated. Date changed from 22nd to 29th. Player doesn't have to be in a guild.

Announcement Thread

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Community: Three Weeks

I haven't really done too much of this, but I'm going to start putting in a bit of commentary. After all what kind of blog have I been running with all this completely objective information?

Around three weeks from now, I think we're going we're going to hit another high point on PSU. For one, Sega has recently been focusing on extending their community aspects. The new blog, facebook, chillaura's inquiries to the PSU population, and a number of other things have all contributed to a seemingly more open path of communication between the company and its fans. According to chillaura, there are even more things coming in the near future to help out with this initiative.

Specifically on our side of things, some fairly significant things are going on. At the end of this month, EN PSOBB will have its servers closed. This will most likely free up those resources and any last focus to be used for PSU. At the very least it will no longer be a cost to them. PSU's PC and PS2 versions will at some point in the near future be on the receiving end of a new billing system which will hopefully be more open in terms of payment methods and have less bugs than the current one. The end of this month also marks the end of the fiscal year for Sega. I believe that it is because of some of these things that Maximum Attack G has been pushed to April. It really should have been in March, however chillaura is promising that it will be the best supported event they'll have had yet. Currently, we are of course taking a variety of JP's newer updates to keep us busy until then.

Also remember certain recent events. They've been quick to act, ban, and rollback. February wasn't quite the greatest month in terms of content distribution, however they did what they could to get things out as soon as possible to whatever server it may have been on. There has been an incredible improvement to how they have handled things recently compared to in the past.

However, there is still cause to be a bit worried. I've been sensing recently that there has been a bit of a drop in activity. It could be a variety of factors relating to the game being at a rather easy point right now or perhaps people are just tired of still being at level 120. This is why I started that poll recently wondering about how the word has been getting around about the game and how effective it's been. It's been getting some wonderful feedback and I sense that it's been doing what I had intended it to. Other posts have been starting to pop up with concerns about where things are going in a similar fashion. It's a discussion that we need to keep open if we want to try and progress ourselves. At the moment, Sega can only do so much for PSU. On the other hand, there is still a lot that the community is capable of and I don't think they've realized it yet. I think if Sega is willing to put some more energy into it, the best way we can thank them for it is by doing the same.

Soon enough I'm going to talk about the poll, what I wanted it to do, and what it's results have been. Then I'll probably start acting on a few more ideas I have. Just remember to remain positive!

Word of Mouth Poll

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for March 13th

The Mission Carnival continues with new missions! Here's what's been updated and added:

- White Day / MC lobbies (Mar 13th to Mar 27th) [PSUv1]
- MC mission update
* Bonus mission updated (Mar 13th to Apr 3rd) [Survival/Endurance mission]
* Items added to the exchange mission (Feb 28th to Apr 3rd) [Standard reward redemption counter]
* Duel mission (Mar 13th to Apr 3rd) [Gambling/Battle mission]
- New weapons, armor, and room items

JP Update Page
GM White Day Event
MC Page

General: Update for March 14th

The incoming updates for us this week have been posted. Here's a breakdown:

- White Day lobbies [PSUv1]
- Bruce's Dungeon S [Even though C-A are PSUv1, S is AotI exclusive]
- Moatoob Guardians Branch party formation mission
- New weapons and items
- New clothes and parts
- New EX PM models
* GH461 (need 40 battle stat)
* GH465 (need 50 battle stat)
- Casino item rotation
- New room items
- Level cap increase from 120 to 130 [PSUv1]

The level cap increase comes from JP's Dec 20 update (one of the few updates during MAG that wasn't MAG related). Alot of their Jan 31 update is added. The PMs are from their Feb 14 update. It would seem as if they're getting more creative with our updates again. I'm also a bit surprised that they didn't up the type levels to 20. It's the last part of one of their major updates from Jan that we didn't get yet. I can almost expect it to be soon enough though.

Update: The EN page has been updated and here's a quote from chillaura:

The Party Mission Support Room will make it easier to group up before party missions as you will be able to group up in the staging area before starting the mission. There is also a NPC who can tell you the time requirements for the party mission ranks and an item vendor in the support room.
He also mentions later on that the balance updates are scheduled to be released on April 11th.

Update: chillaura mentions that a content release delay is possible for PC/PS2. Link below.

Update: Linked below is the announcement that the PC/PS2 content is in fact delayed. Holiday stuff is still a possibility, but we have to wait and see.

Update: The White Day content is not posted for PC/PS2. However, according to chillaura, GBR will last on those servers until midnight tonight.

Update: The mission standby areas will apparently display fastest mission clear times of players inside the room. This area also features other very interesting aspects.

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
Discussion Thread
Possible Delay Thread
PC/PS2 Delay Announcement
PSUP Dagora Standby Area

Monday, March 10, 2008

Xbox 360: European Price Drops

I saw an article today on Kotaku that there have been some heavy price reductions on the 360 around Europe. This reduction actually puts the Arcade model significantly below the price of a Wii and the Pro model a bit above one. Full information at the links below (care of Kotaku).

Euro Price Drops
Price Drops Incoming

Community: Word of Mouth

I've posted a poll asking various players if they've been helping getting the word out about PSU and how successful they've been. Hopefully we'll be able to see where we're at and be able to improve. After all, word of mouth by users can often be more effective than a company's advertising.

Note: This is actually a part of something larger I want to try and accomplish. I'll have more details soon.

Official Forum
PSOW Forum Forum

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Other: Sega on Facebook

As part of Sega's recent focus on reaching out to their community (at least in the USA), they have created a Facebook page. I'm not so sure I'm going to be signing up anytime soon (I have a certain thing about some social sites), but I'm sure it'll be interesting to browse through it on occasion. I hope it all goes well.

I've decided to also link this too on the right.

Sega's Facebook Page

Xbox 360: Lucky Leprechaun Bash

VD0gamemaster and the Brigade of the Hidden Shadow are hosting an event for St. Patrick's Day.

Date: March 16th, 2008
Time: 2 PM PST, 5 PM EST, 10 PM UTC (sorry this may be incorrect as we've just entered Daylight Savings)
Place: Guardians Colony first floor on Universe 23
Requirements: Group of 5, S2 level missions, neutral weapons only, elimination rules
Prizes: 20 million is their goal

Visit the thread below for the full details and to ask any questions.

Announcement Thread

PS2/PC: Create a Weapon Contest

It seems I missed just a few events with everything going on. I guess lets just continue with future ones.

Official forum user the tragedy_desolver is putting together a contest to come up with the best possible imaginary weapon and its stats. It's said that this contest will be held a couple times over the course of the year. More details can be found below.

Announcement Thread

Friday, March 7, 2008

General: No Update for March 7th

There isn't any incoming content for this week. As mentioned before, the PC/PS2 servers will have 3 star photon fortune starting today and lasting until next week's maintenance to compensate for the rollback a few weeks ago.

Here's looking forward to next week's releases.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

General: Sonic Team Is Listening

As another attempt to show that Sonic Team really does care, chillaura has posted a thread over at the official forums asking for what improvements can be made over on the non-JP side of Sega's PSU support. This doesn't concern the game itself much, but what they can do more outside to improve the experience.

Update: On the bottom of page 7, chillaura has made a bit of a shopping list of suggestions.

Discussion Thread

PS2/PC: Rollback Compensation

For the recent rollback (Feb 22nd) of less than half a day, Sonic Team will be applying 3 star photon fortune to the servers for this coming week. It is interesting to note that while these servers also received the last bout of 3 star PF when only 360 had a rollback, the 360 will not be receiving this one.

Official Announcement
Announcement Thread

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Japan: No PC/PS2 Update for March 6th

Well JP has finally decided to take a break after the past two months of weekly content updates. I suppose there is still an event going on, so it's not all bad. Oddly enough, the maintenance this week will be 7 hours long. Expect new event content to arrive next week.

JP Maintenance Announcement

Other: PSOBB Update for February 29th

As promised, Clumsyorchid has switched over many of PSOBB's ships to various holidays for this last month the servers will be on. Players can now hunt any last rare rappies before the game closes. There is also a mention of additional lobbies that will be assigned later depending on player suggestions. The following are the current ships (minus two of them to be used later) and which holiday they are on:

Cronus has Valentines Day Lobby
Rhea has Halloween Lobby
Coeus has Easter Lobby
Phoebe has Xmas Lobby
Oceanus has White Day Lobby

There was a mini event to celebrate and unfortunately I didn't notice it in time. It's not that I haven't still been browsing the forums, I just must have missed it. It's disappointing since I was rather expecting this to arrive at some point, but I wasn't sure if the PSU issues were taking away any last focus on PSOBB's end. I also haven't really seen much of Clumsyorchid in awhile. Besides that, I didn't exactly post this until awhile after seeing it myself. Hopefully, there will be another similar occurance later in the month.

It wasn't mentioned whether he was able to pull through with the Maximum Attacks or not. I wouldn't keep hopes up for it, but it's always possible they might still come back.

Update: I've added a link to a post where they've uploaded various pictures from the event. In it you can see evidence of all the people that should have made sure I knew about it and was present, but didn't. Thanks to all you guys, really.

Announcement Thread
Lobby Event Official Blog Post