Friday, June 27, 2008

Japan: PSU Calendar Wallpaper for July

July's calendar is now posted. Linked below you'll find it in various resolutions.

PSU Calendar

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Japan: Developer Interview from Dengeki PlayStation

EspioKaos has posted a thread in a few places about an article recently featured in a gaming mag from Japan (the same host of the recent event there). This breaks down some very interesting tidbits about future events and content.

Those of you who are enthusiastic about shopkeeping or leveling PAs should definately take a look. There is also an interesting tidbit about introducing GM Live Support over there. It would only be once a week in their case, but it's definately cool to see something that started on our side make it over there. If they manage to share some of our concerns, I'm sure that it will only help progress. As far as I know, they don't even have an official forum for PSU to discuss things on (so I imagine it will help their interactions even more).

PSOW Thread
PSUP Thread

Xbox 360: Demo Cleanup

The Xbox 360 demo for PSU has long been a place filled with tons of spam and other disappointing social aspects. It even got a portion to itself as part of a news segment on one of my local news affiliates. There is some humor to be found in the clip, but generally this type of behavior (serious or not) has been making the decision for some users to upgrade to the real servers difficult. They think that these activities also exist in the actual game (which simply isn't true). Consistantly there are posts asking whether these acts appear in the full version (to which many reply that they do not).

There has been renewed interest as of late in clearing up some of the negativity surrounding the demo. A GM and a few mods entered it recently and started cleaning it up. They have been continuing since on a daily or almost daily basis to lay down bans on users acting far more inappropriately than they should. It happens to be a much nicer place now than it was a few weeks ago.

The other nice thing about it is that to play the demo a Gold subscription is required (unlike the actual game). It is unlikely that many of these users will return under a new gamertag since they would have to basically pay again or switch accounts just to continue playing the demo.

There are a few reasons that I decided to post about this (besides being relevant to the game). One is that those of you reading this that thought Sega didn't support the demo can know that there is some action going on there. This is merely a taste of the greater focus on getting rid of troublemakers on the main servers (where a larger and more complex variety of claims are now investigated). Another reason is that this is a good example of how SoA's community interactions and service have been branching out. A year or two ago there was nowhere near this level of ability to deal with bad users and thus there was a great deal of tolerance for actions that won't be at this point.

Update: Well it seems RubyEclipse is letting some of the numbers out. There have been an impressive 500+ purged over around the past week. I really need an appropriate picture to go along with this statement...

KOMO News Article and Video

General: Looking Ahead to July

It seems as if July is going to be rough around the edges.

First off, as mentioned before, Sega will be moving offices. The exact times have not been stated yet, but we are looking at a possible 2 day span between July 14th and 16th when the servers will be down. You can find out a bit more in chillaura's responses to the thread linked below. Earlier in the month (July 2nd to the 7th), Sega Support will be unavailable. All open tickets will be held until the 8th. Their databases and the forums will still be available, so you can try finding the help you need there. Linked below is the announcement on Sega's help page.

This next one is what has been causing more than a few people to get upset. The new billing site has recently been posted, however MAG will not be returning this week. It may return next week (July 4th), but it's also likely that they will have to hold off until after they finish moving (July 18th). I believe that one issue is that they don't want to break up the extension during the move. The other unfortunate news is that the next solid content update may also not be until the 18th. I'll of course update if there are any changes, but this is all we know for now.

Update: I forgot to mention that chillaura posted a response later in the thread. That is linked below now.

Update: The announcement has been posted on the main site about the server outage time. It will be from 2 AM Pacific Time on July 14th until an as of yet unnoted time on July 16th. Link added.

Update: JP just posted a page about the extended downtime. They are estimating 6 PM on July 14th to 11 PM on July 16th. This would be in GMT+9 (Tokyo). I'll make the conversions in a bit.

Update: Pacific Time is in Daylight Savings right now, so it would essentially be GMT-7 instead of GMT-8. This would make a 16 hour time difference in Japan's favor. In current Pacific Time, the range would be from 2 AM on July 14th until 7 AM on July 16th. It's still mentioned that it's only an estimation and that the servers could be closing a bit earlier or opening a bit later.

Support Offline
PSU Downtime
Nothing for June 27th
chillaura's Response
PSU Downtime Official Announcement
JP 360 Downtime Announcement

General: Maintenance for June 27th

It would seem that there will be no maintenance for 360 servers according to Japan.

However, it seems there may still be for PC/PS2 servers. I know that they are reactivating authentication checks this week to once again completely tie together billing and the game servers. Once I know for sure if and when there will be downtime I'll update this post.

There is some unfortunate news about the coming weeks that I will be posting soon, but I wanted to get this out of the way at least.

Update: There is in fact a maintenance for tonight for PC/PS2. They will be restoring billing authentication, so you need to make sure that you have an active account to be able to play again afterwards. Links added.

JP 360 No Maintenance
PC/PS2 Server Maintenance

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PS2/PC: New Billing System

After some recent downtime, the new billing system is up and working. Free play is still active, however the authentication servers will be reactivated next maintenance. You will be unable to play if you don't have an account active after the 26th.

This new system should be free of many of the errors that plagued the old system. It looks very similar to the old one, so there won't be a need to adjust to the new one. If there are any loose problems to be resolved, make sure to contact Sega Support. More details about the new system can be found in chillaura's post below.

Announcement Thread
Sega Support

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for June 26th

This update is a decent sized one to kick off a new story based event that closes in on the end of Episode 3. Here's the breakdown (I'll be using EspioKaos's translation for the event name):

- Shred the Darkness (June 26th to July 24th)
- Four event missions (June 26th to July 24th, read more at the links below)
- Sonic/Shred the Darkness lobby (June 26th to July 10th) [PSUv1]
- Holy Light Festa lobby (June 26th to July 24th) [PSUv1]
- New weapons and armor
- New room items
- Light Festival Decor in Variety Shop (June 26th to July 24th)
- Small TECHNICs system update

It would seem that the Sonic seasonal event will be continuing for a couple more weeks. I thought one week seemed a bit short on that one. Otherwise it looks like the next month will mostly be taken up by the current major event. As usual, more will be added to the event later on.

The system update is a bit of a graphical one. If you have an attack TECHNIC of level 31 or more, it will be displayed as the equivalent level 21 version to the members of your party. In effect, you will also only see the level 21 effects from your teammates' TECHNICs if they are over this boundry.

Update: Sonic Team is holding another free PSU weekend as part of their PS 20th Anniversary Campaign. Link added.

Update: Seems that maintenance will be started two hours earlier this time around. Link added.

Update: Maintenance is over and the end notes are out. Game version is now 2.0008.3. Universes 24-26 have had their names changed to reflect the event name. The system update to downscale the effects of those viewing TECHNICs as a third party has been applied. There is also mention of another machinegun glitch fix.

Update: UA6 has now started and the homepage has been updated with all the sections made available. They also just mentioned another bug fix on the game update page. This one appears to be a fix to a text input issue with Windows Vista.

Update: In a new separate posting, the team has noted that trying to access the rare mission on Neudaiz (the one that resembles Caves from PSO) from a certain counter is an issue. Note 23758: Let's check eventually on the EN servers to see if there are any problems accessing Forest of Illusion or Phantom Fissure (our possible name for Caves) from any of the counters they should be accessible from.

JP Update Page
Ultimate Attack 6 Homepage
PSOW UA6 Thread
PSUP UA6 Section
Free Weekend
Maintenance Time Change
Game Server Update
UA6 Homepage
Rare Mission Bug

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Japan: OST for AOTI and PSP

EspioKaos brings news that a soundtrack has finally been announced for Ambition of the Illuminus. It will also contain tracks from the upcoming Phantasy Star Portable. The planned release date is July 31st (the same as PSP).

PSOW Thread

Thursday, June 19, 2008

General: Happy Birthday Sonic! Event

The GMs are bringing back Sonic's birthday event from last year. On Monday the 23rd, Sonic and Tails will be roaming around the lobbies at various times during the day.

Like last year, they will be handing out statues to those who celebrate by saying "Happy Birthday Sonic!". However, instead of Sonic again, they will be handing out both Amy and Knuckles statues to each participant. These will probably (like last time) be distributed during a later maintenance period to your common box.

Presently Amy and Knuckles statues are only available on the 360 servers (as far as EN ones go anyway). PC/PS2 users that have been waiting for their chance at them now have it.

Update: RubyEclipse has stated that saying the phrase at any time of day (Pacific time) on Monday will net you the statues.

Update: RubyEclipse has posted an entry over on SoA's blog about the event and Sonic's birthday in general. This one is prior to the event, but you can see a little bit of footage from last year's.

Update: Kotaku (probably coincidentally) also makes an appropriately titled thread.

Happy Birthday Sonic!
Discussion Thread
Blog Post
Kotaku's Post

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

General: Update for June 20th

A little late on the announcement, but here we go:

- Sonic lobby (June 20th to July 4th) [PSUv1]
- Parum Unification Commemoration lobbies (June 20th to July 4th) [PSUv1]
- Parum Unification Souvenir room decoration in Variety Shop (June 20th to July 4th) [PSUv1]
- Casino rotation

This picks up two of JP's most current lobby designs (May 22nd and June 19th). Instead of having them up for a week a piece, we get both of them simultaneously for two weeks. The JP page also mentions Casino additions, but there is a chance it might just be a rotation. We'll see come Friday for sure.

There are a few bits of possible future update information floating around. The first is that we may see the MAG extension up on the 27th, although it could be held until July 4th. The next level cap update was also mentioned as possible for July 4th.

Looking farther down the road, there are also more bits relating to future events. Neudaiz GBR should be happing soon, followed by our version of Dengeki in August, followed most likely by Parum GBR. Also, Sega of America is moving offices in July. They are looking at upwards of two days of PSU downtime while they move the servers over to the new building. This will be around the middle of the month, although full details will be coming once they verify the dates. I'll post as soon as I know more, but consider the 14th through the 16th for right now.

Update: English update page posted. Doesn't mention the casino stuff, but maybe any additions relate to the events. Since AotI's release, the music for an event will often accompany it with a disc at the Casino.

Update: 360 maintenance end note posted. Also, the Casino did have an actual addition. It's PSU Disc 10 (Parum).

Update: Al Tippies are fixed after this update. Now you can trade, drop, and sell them.

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
Room Decoration at PSOW
PSU Downtime
JP 360 Maintenance End

Friday, June 13, 2008

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for June 19th

Not quite much, just a seasonal event:

- Sonic lobby (June 19th to 26th)

As with last year, this is to celebrate Sonic's birthday (June 23rd). I'm pretty sure we'll see this EN side this week too.

Update: Link added to a notice about a billing oriented maintenance this week.

Update: Maintenance end note posted.

Update: Notice posted about GM event.

Update: A page has been posted for the upcoming story based event. I'll have more information on this soon.

JP Update Page
Billing Maintenance
Maintenance End
Sonic's Birthday GM Event
Ultimate Attack 6 Homepage

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

General: Update for June 13th

It looks like we're going to get another update rather soon. Not too big, but still appreciated:

- New field (Il Cabo Area)
- New midpoint lobby (Il Cabo Base)
- Lonely Laboratory C-S (Underground Lake to Il Cabo Base)
- New room items

This update seems to pick up the stuff we didn't get yet from JP's Feb 14th update.

Update: Link to end of maintenance page added.

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
Lonely Laboratory on PSUP
JP Maintenance End

Monday, June 9, 2008

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for June 12th

The notes for this week are out, so here's the list:

- Item Exchange Mission at Gawik's Pub
- New weapons
- New Casino items
- New items at the Dallgun Viewing Plaza NPC shop (the one that sells boards)

Not a big update, but an interesting one. I was just wondering yesterday when they would make use of the bartender NPC.

Update: There is a maintenance on Tuesday for the billing system.

Update: Maintenance is over and they mentioned a small design change. Hyuga Ryght is said to have had changes to his equipment.

JP Update Page
Billing Maintenance
Maintenance End

Friday, June 6, 2008

PS2/PC: Team Forever Cup Time Attack Event

I really meant to post this earlier, but my schedule has been a bit weird lately. Anyway, board member Aeryn Z. (also known as Lil' Zael) is hosting a pretty large event later today. Here are some details:

Date: June 6th, 2008
Time: 2 PM PST, 5 PM EST, 10 PM UTC (Check for Daylight Savings mistakes)
Place: Seabed Plant Base (Parum) on Universe 9
Requirements: Level 75+, 4 man teams, and other various restrictions
Prizes: 3 million each for first, 2 million each for second, 1 million each for third, 500k each for fourth, and everyone else gets 100k for entering. There is also a large pool of weapons that will be handed out as prizes to the top competitors.

Apologies on the late notice, but if you can still manage to get a team together in time go for it! Visit the link below to read all the details and register your team.

Discussion Thread

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

General: Update for June 6th

The content update page has been posted for this coming maintenance. Here's the short of it:

- Wedding lobbies (June 6th to 20th) [PSUv1]
- Episode 3 Chapter 4
- The Dark God C-S (Rykros midpoint lobby)
- New variety shop items
- Casino rotation
- PA leveling update [PSUv1]

Seems we won't have the Parum Unification event this year. I guess with this current story mission it wouldn't make much sense to. I'm assuming the cake decoration will be returning to the variety shop like before. I'm honestly not very sure on the posted new PA leveling rates. It's true that these estimations have been making the rounds for awhile, but I've heard that they may be off. What should be clear though is they will definately be much faster. We should also be receiving the lobby area that came with Seal of the Dark God in JP, although it isn't listed here.

I've heard they are planning to get out a patch for PC/PS2 this week. We'll probably know more as it arrives, but hopefully it will pick up the missing system updates that the 360 received in it's title update before MAG.

There may be some other minor system changes that weren't mentioned. I'll be sure to look around after maintenance to see if anything's slipped in though.

This update seems to consist mostly of JP's Jan 10th update minus MAG'. It also pulls in what I think is the last big thing from their Jan 31st update (the story mission). There are still minor things from those updates (Mt. Ohtoku box for example) that I'm not sure if we have yet, but if not we'll get them soon enough. The PA update comes from their Feb 28th balance update and is the last major thing from it. The very last thing from the rebalance (Guntecher attack TECHNIC PA cap increase) will probably come with the balance update that includes the master classes.

Update: The JP page has been posted. It's pretty much the same outside of a few bits. They only seem to mention the cake (not a whole new set of items) and again they only specify that bullet PAs will get much more exp (not specific multipliers). I say it again that it is possible that we've already received the miscellaneous items from this update, but if not it's assured that we'll see them sometime in the future. I'll look into it and if we haven't gotten the items yet I'll check after the update happens. As a last note, JP also passed on mentioning the new lobby area (although they did post about it when it first came out on their PC/PS2 servers).

Update: It seems that in the header the JP page mentions some added system changes. It alludes to the rare mission finding update, but that one in particular is not listed in the article itself.

Update: It would seem that the JP page has been corrected. They removed mention of the rare mission finding update from their overview, so I've taken that bit out from this post.

Update: PC users saw a small patch recently (a day before maintenance), but PS2 users did not. All I could notice in the PSU folder was that some gameguard files seemed to have a current modify date. Usually it patches itself before the client opens, though this time it might have just been a file that PSU interfaces with that was changed.

Update: Maintenance is over and the patch for PC/PS2 did in fact go through. It consists of at least the colored meseta update, although some of the other changes from the latest 360 title update may have been included as well. Hopefully there will be some sort of patch notes out soon. The only change in the variety shop is the addition of the seasonal wedding cake decoration. I've noticed the music disc for Marriage is also out in the Casino. The mission to return the photon eraser from firebreak is now listed under the 'Old Event Missions' category.

Update: Episode 3 Chapter 4 is the beginning of some bonuses for replaying story missions. They are being detailed in the link to PSUP below.

Update: I've put up a link to a thread where some of the other minor changes are being discussed. They mostly concern weapon names and tradability so far. Also, there have been many reports that the new PA leveling rates are much different (much greater so far as I've seen) than the speculation and English update page would have someone believe. I've linked to a thread were people can post some of the rates they've been seeing since the update.

Update: Looks like there have been some Lou changes as well. This may be the update that JP received on May 8th to adjust Lou and Karen. Looking back on this update, I believe we received the other system updates too. The GH490's SUV weapon was fixed (it will probably work when it comes out), The Dark God had some fixes and there was a bit of reorganization of missions at the Colony 5th floor. I still have to see if the changes to Tyrant Spadac and some AotI drops are in there, so this part is still just speculation.

Update: There seems to have been a change to at least one of the White Beast maps (at least one fix was made to a situation where a key would drop before the enemies were destroyed). This mission and Dancing Birds were said to have had changes in JP a few weeks ago. In the same update, Deljabans in Dark Satellite no longer would use Megid when silenced. Scarred Planet boxes were given an improved set of items, Grass Assassins had some changes to their drops, and standby missions had some minor changes. These are yet to be confirmed though. Apparently that GH490 fix was actually in this update for JP.

Unless a proper set of notes is released, I may eventually have to list all the system changes that we hadn't received yet and confirm each if it was added or not.

Update: I almost forgot to mention, I believe the PC/PS2 servers may still be in a free state. If you have been charged this past week, please contact Sega Support to attempt to resolve the matter. It would seem that the new billing system has been delayed a bit. It'll probably arrive in the next week or two. I've heard that this new system may provide the team with some more features as well as players with more payment options.

Update: The kubara version of Ryusaikanoh is now correctly known as Ryusaikanoc (instead of Ryusaikanoh). It can be dropped and traded now as well. Unfortunately, you still have to search for Ryusaikanoh in the shops to find it (instead of the corrected spelling). To fix it, you'll have to take it out of your shop or storage and then put it back in if you need to.

Update: I can say with pretty good confidence that all of the stuff from the 360 title update notes apply to PC/PS2 now. A few of the points I wasn't sure on only applied to My Room shops. This was mentioned in the JP notes, but not the EN ones.

Update: Jenkel Arms CV is still missing from the parts shops on the Colony and Parum. It has been missing since MAG ended on the 360. The sun in the new Falz lobby flickers pretty fast on frameskip 0 and 2 (but not on 1 and 3). This was fixed only a week after the lobby came out in JP (along with some other minor system changes), but surprisingly the fix did not come on the release of ours. This applies to PC, 360 (which is on FS0), and even PS2 (which is FS2).

Update: EspioKaos is saying that Deljabans still Megid. The Dark God fixes might actually not be in the update yet. We think they may have to do with the breakability of certain pillars on S difficulty. He's also noted that he thinks there's been a change to drops from pillars and debris since the first few days of the mission being out. It could just be coincidence though.

Update: I've been able to confirm that the Tyrant Spadac grind values have been updated. Generally there have been increases to the PP values for each grind level. Like the Ryusaikanoc, you'll have to refresh the item by taking it out of your shop or storage and then returning it there if need be. This was in the same JP update as a mention of some changed AotI drops. There have been some reports of things like people finding materials in unexpected places as well as some unprecedented elemental stats on certain line shields. It's possible that these fall under that update, so it may have actually gone through. I can't be positive that this is the case, but I don't believe I've seen any other updates mentioned that these types of changes could be listed under on the JP servers.

Update: It looks like the rare mission finding update has made it in after all. Here (once again) are the details:

* The method of getting a rare free mission has changed slightly. With this update, your chances of getting the mission will increase if you have more players in your party. Furthermore, the amount of time it takes to clear a mission will have an effect on your chances of a rare mission appearing. If a mission is cleared in less than five minutes, there is no chance of a rare mission appearing. From five minutes and up, however, the longer a mission takes, the better the chances of a rare mission appearing. Note that anywhere over 30 minutes will not increase the chances of an appearance above the maximum probability.
- Only the party leader will be able to see the rare mission appear. [Added note]
- Also, if players join mid-mission, in order for their play time to go toward increasing the chances of finding a rare mission, they must have been in the mission for at least 80% of the total time spent. [Added note]
It would seem now there is no reason to disband the party to check the counters. I also want to say that the AotI drop changes that happened in the same update as the Tyrant Spadac changes are in as well. This is again not official, but I want to say with pretty good certainty that it is based on some stuff I've seen recently.

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for June 5th

Here's a breakdown of what's coming to the JP servers this week:

- Wedding lobbies (June 5th to 19th) [PSUv1]
- Distribution of prizes from the recent GM casino event
* Prizes will be available in your common box until June 31st
* Pictures of the room decoration prizes can be found at the link to the event page below
- Two competitive Dengeki missions will be redone and rereleased
- Wedding Cake room decoration available in the variety shop (June 5th to 26th) [PSUv1]
- Casino additions

I hope that the rerelease of older event missions is starting to become a trend. I wonder if we'll see missions from even older events released in the future.

Update: In the after maintenance notice, it was mentioned that players have been compensated for items that were lost quite awhile ago. A page has also been posted about the recent casino event and some various statistics relating to it.

Update: Added a link to another notice about the recent technical issues affecting the site and servers.

JP Update Page
GM Casino Event
PSOW Thread
Maintenance End
GM Casino Event Report
Technical Issues Notice

Monday, June 2, 2008

General: PSU Calendar Wallpaper for June

This month's English version of the calendar has been posted. Pretty much the same this time around, just with the logo replaced and some credits added.

Wallpaper Page